29 Oct 2019
Perhaps one of the biggest games in PC history is EVE Online. This MMORPG has one of the most thriving communities, even 16 years after its initial release. Fast forward to 2019, and developers CCP Games have decided to partner with NetEase to bring the vast world of EVE to mobile devices in a new iOS and Android game, EVE Echoes.
We recently attended a preview event for the game in Las Vegas, as part of the EVE World Tour, where we were able to go hands on with the game, as well as sit down with developers and ask some questions about the new mobile game. Below you will a full preview of EVE Echoes, along with out first impressions, information about EVE Echoes microtransactions, and more.
EVE Echoes | What is it?
Simply put, EVE Echoes is a simpler, yet still vast and expansive version of EVE Online designed specifically for mobile devices. Launching on iOS and Android, with an open beta coming later this year, players will now be able to take the world of EVE with them on the go. According to NetEase, the mission of EVE Echoes is to, “bring the best sci-fi MMO game to mobile gamers.”
While EVE Echoes isn’t a direct copy and paste of EVE Online, it’s very, very similar. At launch, there will be features like multiplayer combat, ship fitting, mining, a player driven market, and much more, with other EVE Online mechanics, such as Fighters, coming later on.
However, while Echoes will be quite similar to EVE Online, CCP Games and NetEase have promised players that there will be things specifically unique to EVE Echoes. Unfortunately, we will have to wait a little bit longer to see exactly what those differences are.
EVE Echoes | Gameplay Impressions
After sitting down with Echoes for around an hour, we can confidently say that those who are already involved and engrossed in the world of EVE Online will find great satisfaction in Echoes. In addition to being very similar to the original game, the controls, mechanics, and on-screen UI feel really, really good on mobile devices.
Not only is navigating your ship and inventory smooth, but exploring the vast depths of space and mining planets is equally satisfying. We found that the best experience comes from playing on a tablet or iPad compared to a mobile phone, because the on-screen UI has more room to shine. While it still felt good on a mobile phone, the extra room afforded by a tablet really allowed Echoes to excel.
My only real complaint about EVE Echoes was that it doesn’t do enough for the new user. While NetEase wants Echoes to be “an authentic EVE Universe MMO on mobile,” (by recreating the ‘learning cliff’ from the PC game?-ED) they also want the game to expand the influence of EVE and attract old players who haven’t played in a while, as well as new players.
While old players who want to return to the franchise will probably be familiar enough with the game to get the hang of things pretty quickly, new players are going to feel a bit lost when trying to navigate the complex world. The demo we played, which will be very close to the open beta that is coming later this year, did not offer much in terms of tutorials. If NetEase and CCP Games really wants to attract new players to the world of EVE Echoes, they are going to need to put in a little extra effort in creating more tutorials and in-game explanations for new players.
However, we are very hopeful that developers will be adding in some extra support for new players. During a roundtable discussion with representatives from both NetEase and CCP games, EVE players were ensured that there would be more tutorials at launch, which would offer new community members an easy way to transition into the game.
EVE Echoes | Will it have microtransactions?
One of the more common questions the developers were asked at EVE Vegas, from press and the community alike, revolved around in-game microtransactions and the rich pay-to-win history of mobile gaming. As you might expect, many are afraid that the introduction of a new EVE mobile game is just a quick cash grab by developers, and won’t have the best interests of players at heart, something they addressed with us during an interview:
“The monetization plan is still in discussion between NetEase and CCP Games. Obviously, we are going to leverage the free to play experience that EVE Online has which has received quite positive feedback from our community, and we will keep listening to our players and get their feedback before we finalize out monetization plans. It will be free to download.”
Later on during the EVE Vegas fan event, developers shared that they would be looking to EVE Online for monetization inspirations and they did not want Echoes to be a pay-to-win game. So while the final details are still being discussed and negotiated, we anticipate the EVE Echoes monetization (hope-ED) plan to be very similar to that of EVE Online.
EVE Echoes will be launching in 2020 and is set to have an iOS and Android beta in December 2019, which is the second time players will be able to get their hands on the game. If you’d like to pre-register to be part of the beta event, you can do that on the official EVE Echoes website.
Are you looking forward to EVE Echoes? Do you have any other questions or concerns? Let us know in the comments!