Simply type into Google “a PVE version of EVE” or “Space MMO with PVE” and you immediately find tons of posts on Reddit and EVE’s community asking things like “Why no support for solo PVE players” or folks being forced into private and solo play content in games like Elite Dangerous. Fortunately, Ascent is the first Space MMO with PVE combat; designed to be similar to EVE, but focused on PVE first, not PVP.
The Space Game – a PVE Space Simulator MMO done right
The folks at indie gaming developer, Fluffy Kitten Studios, have been working on “The Space Game” or rather on an online multiplayer 3d space simulator with combat, trading exploration, starbase construction, research, custom-built ships, mining, salvaging and colonization without the grief that is EVE Online. While still in early Alpha the game already feels like a PVE version of EVE.
Why EVE sucks for PVE
For years EVE Online has been the king of the Space Simulation MMO genre. It’s a game that looks amazing and in recent years has had its UI overhauled as to be a lot more friendly to newer players, even if it is still Excel in space.
You can often find on the forums people bitching about the unforgiving Player versus Player that is EVE and most Space Simulators and the elite player base fanboys defending the game as a PVP focused game – which it is designed to be.
EVE for better or worse has been the worst side of a libertarian’s wet dream. Scamming is allowed, Ganking is allowed, you want to stay in High Security (HiSec) space and PVE? Nope, sorry, you can still get suicide ganked or worse, War-Dec’d (War Declaration) continuously by larger corporations (guilds) until you just decide to give up and quit the game as my corp did since we had no way of fighting back or allying with others who just weren’t’ trying to extort us in game for their assistance.
On the other hand, stepping away from EVE there is a big gap in the quality and focus of space games. Most are simply shooters in space, such as Vendetta Online or Elite Dangerous and the vaporware Star Citizen. Other space games are anything but space games and instead just take place in science fiction based settings such as SWTOR or STO. While STO does have a strong PVE space combat and exploration, it’s a very basic game and doesn’t offer anywhere near the level of customization of space simulation that EVE has.
While Elite Dangerous is a fairly solid space shooter, it attempts to help new players with a solo and private mode offerings, but falls short when offering pilots something other than PVP. Essentially the game allows you to play with other players if you don’t mind being ganked occasionally, or a solo mode where you live in empty space all by yourself with no other human interaction, or you and friends can join a private group to play in with only yourselves.
This has led to groups such as Mobius’s private group that players can join specifically for living in a Space MMO PVE environment instead of playing publicly. But you end up with limited player interaction in a huge world.
This is why every fan of Space MMO’s should support Ascent’s PVE space game
Ascent’s goal is to build a better sci-fi sandbox MMO; one where players can enjoy the world and take part in a galactic economy that changes and grows as the players shape the universe. By removing the forded PVP setting and instead focusing on consensual PVP and PVE combat the game becomes far more accessible to players of all skill levels and as the game ages will continue to be friendly for new players in the years to come.
Unfortunately the game is not without its challenges. Its limited funding efforts from Kickstarter have lead to slow momentum on the UI and Graphic development of the game. In addition the developers are struggling with how to apply a micro-transaction model to help pay for further development of the game.
The game is currently P2P (Pay to Play) for $19.99 and then offers a premium subscription model for additional content unlocks ranging from $1 to $5 per month based on each unlock (total of 5) you want to focus on. While the subscription model is very affordable and allows players to dabble in only the areas they want to focus on there has been negative feedback from the community because of the stigma around MMO subscriptions. Note that purchase of the game and playing the game does not require the subscription. The premium subscription simply offers additional content unlocks.
The company has also taken some negative hits from its selling of ships for as much as $89.99, which are simple freighter/hauler ships of limited function purely there for folks to purchase in order to help fund development. A much better alternative would have been to sell additional ship skins instead.
Ascent – the PVE Space MMO has a release date of July 2016, but is available for Early access today on Steam.