Eve Online is basically Ultima Online in space. This is a good thing. Too few MMOs have aped UO’s unprecedented freedom, opting instead to follow the strict leveling treadmill structure of Everquest. Flying in the face of convention has benefited Iceland’s CCP Games, with Eve Online currently sporting 195,000 subscribers and with a single server population topped only by Second Life. In order to combat the sort of lag affecting the game’s most populated areas, CCP Games is currently building one of Europe’s most powerful super computers. No word yet on how closely it resembles Eve’s in game, space age tech.
In addition to ridiculously awesome (and awesomely ridiculous) server farms, CCP Games also has a new, free expansion planned for release in early December. Besides 20 new ships, new mission content, and free voice chat, Eve: Trinity will also include a major graphical overall featuring brand new models for over 500 of the game’s spacecraft.
With a unique, deep space setting, a single, massive server, and free expansions, it’s no wonder Eve Online has enjoyed such tremendous success. Note to other MMO developers: it’s virtually impossible for your game not to make money, even in a market dominated by World of Warcraft; why not take a note from CCP and actually try something different? Us players will thank you for it.