EVE vs WoW: A Comparison

EVE Online and World of Warcraft, even though they're both MMOs, are about as different as you can get. You start with the actual mechanics of characters - skill-based versus level-based, and go from there.

The most fundamental difference in gameplay, I think, is where the horizon is. In WoW, you start out with hundreds of things you can do, and narrow down to raiding and PvP. In EVE, you start with a few things you can do (mining, missions, and low-scale trading) and expand upwards into hundreds. I'm completely bored with WoW's endgame now, and am really only keeping my account active between now and the expansion because there are a few RP events I want to go to, and some plotlines that might get off the ground. EVE's endgame, on the other hand, is nearly impossible to get bored of.

Then there's the player influence on the setting. In WoW, there isn't any, except via the roundabout route of trying to influence the developers - which, judging by the expansion, isn't all that effective. Besides, even if you could have some effect on the world, it would only be on your server. The only people who are famous throughout the WoW fanbase are people who've got there by doing things outside the game - Leeroy Jenkins being the prime example. Whereas, if you're really good (or really nasty), setting-wide fame can be yours in EVE. And at less exalted levels, you can participate in wars that actually change the setting, build stations, and engage in politics. There are constantly changing maps of the galaxy, detailing what factions and alliances control what areas, pin-pointing no-go systems, and illustrating where wars are in progress.

Character choices are another major area of difference. In WoW, if you create a character, you know from the first second in the starting area what they're going to do. If you're a mage or warlock, it's DPS all the way, with a secondary role as a food vending machine or a transporter beam. In EVE, what your character can do is limited only by what skills they have, and what ships you have access to. If you have the skills and ships, you can go from hauling huge amounts of cargo to being a DPS-monster in seconds.

Then there are the skills. In WoW, you grind, you do quests, you go up levels, and that's it. In EVE, you buy the basic skills, and you learn them better over time - and that's also it. You can go on as many missions as you like, and while you'll get more cash, you won't get more skills. It makes EVE characters nearly impossible to twink or power-level - unless someone's got a way to literally give you more time. On the other hand, it means that at the start of the game, your options on what to do actually are limited, and no amount of effort will change that; you have to wait.

Finally, there's a matter of player skills. In WoW, there's a very definite feeling that time spent on something (especially in the end-game, in PvP and raiding) should equal reward. In EVE, skills and cleverness are what's valued. You can grind and grind and grind at your mining or trade route, but someone can sneak in with a better ship configuration, or a better trade route, and blow you out of space. Indeed, in lower-security areas, they can literally blow you up and take your stuff, unless you've been intelligent with your defenses.

So... to conclude, according to the way I'm looking at things at the moment, WoW has a limited lifespan as regards interest, going from really interesting in the beginning to just dull at the end, and EVE goes from pretty dull to really interesting, and doesn't seem to have limits.

Am I persuading any of you to come play EVE yet?

Posted by Drew Shiel at November 10, 2006 4:23 PM

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I would definely start playing EVE again, but not from scratch. Either buy or borrow an account I suppose. But come endgame, and EVE Online is definetly the superiour game, since you can leave your mark on te world and PVP takes ito account your skill far more than it does in WoW.

Posted by: Andrei at November 17, 2006 2:44 AM

I have tried them both and think that everyone should play EVE! You can much more different stuff in EVE many more goals to reach.
I WoW you reach lvl 60 then you can start from the beginning again.
In EVE you don't need to play it 24/7 to get better, like you have to in WoW. That gets you feel more free to play it and not HAVE to play it.

Posted by: Patro at November 28, 2006 7:19 PM

Nice articles on EVE. I have been playing nearly 1.5 years and occasionally have the odd 2 week break from it but I always come back to it. As you said, there is so much to do. Occasionally though this what some players find overwhelming, too much scope in what to do.

Posted by: Jark mennings at January 4, 2007 7:23 PM

I've been playing WoW for 2 years, no doubt it is a total fun and very enjoyable game. however, it become so boring, time consuming and ends your life (litraly)when you hit the highest lvl (70), then its time to join raids ontime, cant go out when u r tird, have to spend hours & hours farming for potions ... etc. I have downloaded EVE to play the 14 days trial, but i found it very complicated and couldn't understand many things, although i am following the instructions of the tutorial agent. for example, dont understand the market setups, how to develope and improve my ship, ... etc. I just cant imagine how i have all the freedom in manuvering in space when stuck in pvp (i can see it just lock the tarket --> approuch --> watch whether u kill or be killed first) probably there are many things that i dont understand in the game, but i know in terms of maturity and graphics EVE will dominate. your feedbacks will be highly appreciated.

Posted by: Drako at February 22, 2007 1:18 PM

I've played WoW for 2 years as well - stopped playing a few weeks after TBC was released (just didn't have any motivation to do the grinding to 70 after all the epic gears that have been painstakingly acquired lost all their glamors).

I'm trying to understand EVE online better before I spend money on it - seems like that the game only have 1 server (20,000 people versus 6,000,000+ that WoW have) and that the game is short on PvE Content. (The developers attitude seems to be *Create the world, let the players create the content*). Which might be all great and good if you have 24 hours a day to spend on it. But it sounds like Gank Fest to be otherwise

Posted by: Coward at March 17, 2007 9:30 AM

I have played wow for 2 years now, I have my 70 priest, and 3-4 other 60+ chars, and though it is fun and a nice distraction, I am a bit tired of hack and slash, there seems to be nothing left to do except kill stuff, then goto auction house to buy/sell stuff.

I have played EVE for 2 days now, and though it seems much slower content, I feel like I may like the potential political and business interactions much better than, trying to find the best DPS or healing gear...I'll post again in a week or so to give update.

Posted by: Curious at April 6, 2007 4:20 AM

I have played WoW since it was Launched until about 2 Months ago Numerous Characters ,When i wasnt working i was spending about 6 hours a day Raiding MC/Bwl and AQ/ZG ,Thats over 30 hours a 5 day week,More with Weekends thrown in :)(You could say i had NO life).

About a year ago i started a EVE account in one of my getting sick of WoW fads,played for 2 months ,looked at how complicated it was and how big the learning curve was and ended up Leaving.(Whent back to WOW).

2 Months ago i hit 70 in WoW and Grinded/rep/Farmed matts for a Week and a half,Realised that the game is Exactly as it was at 60 Just a few nice little Things etc etc - i quit.

Ive been playing EVE now for 2-3 months and its brilliant,i cannot see myself getting bored with it ever ,i really forsake the time i put into WoW now,Considering i put in about 10 hours perhaps a few more into EVE a week now and i still have time to do all the things i wanted to in Real Life,and the best part im still keepiong pace if not infront of a few freinds i made ingame when they are putting in 4x the time i put into the game,Cept they make a little more ISK .

Flock to EVE ,the average player age in EVE is 27
------Mature Gamers--------- Ftw :))

Posted by: Splitter at April 26, 2007 6:49 AM

Started playing WoW about 9 months ago for 6 months straight. 1-70 was all in all very enjoyable, albeit quite a grind at times.

When I hit 70 I got bored very quickly with the repetitive and time consuming raiding. Then doing it all over again in heroic mode and so on. PVP got old quickly and arena weren't all they were made out to be. Shortly after I quit WoW.

Didn't touch games much since but after reading your article I started downloading the EVE client =)

Posted by: mike mahler at May 18, 2007 3:39 AM

i started WoW only 3 months ago and i already have a level 70 mage, i found it very enjoyable tog get to lvl 70 and am still having fun even after a couple of weeks aat level 70. Ithink in WoW it mainly depends on what character you pick because i started off rolling a paladin but got bored at lvl 34 or so so switched to rogue but got bored at about lvl 27 so the finally i rolled a mage and loved it! I've only played the 14 day trial of eve but it seems less user friendly, in WoW u get ganked, especially on a highly populated PvP server, but in eve i continually got ganked if i tried to go anywhere!

In summary to this WoW FTW!!

Posted by: Stephen Rose at May 25, 2007 1:52 PM

What is wrong with some people, Having played Eve for a couple of weeks now its hard to think of anything more boring. Wow has its downsides but most of them are shared by eve and usually worse. Theres no doubt in my mind that wow is the better of the two, having enjoyed it almost the whole time ive played it. Did all you guys really get lvl 70s and 4-5 60+s? im finding it hard to believe that you could dedicate that much time to a game you dont really like.

Posted by: Edd at June 1, 2007 11:37 PM

Wow is fun, except after BC I tried playing PVP, it was insane, everyone had twinked char, pets did devistating damage, and I died pretty quick, everytime. I played Wow before when it first came out, lots of fun and it took up my life. Some where around 40 I couldn't do it anymore it was just the same thing over and over again.

Eve is fun too, however its massiveness is intimidating. However, I feel like I have an impact on things in EVE can do whatever I want, I am not stuck to one path and I can participate in Wars, Wars! Not some little raid. Plus I can keep my life. My Char advances when I am not playing, I can't make as much ISK, but I can just dock and stop playing. Eve is amazing!

Posted by: Chuck at June 25, 2007 9:02 PM

I played WoW for about a year and a half...with a few breaks of 2-3 months that I took simply because I got bored. I kept playing WoW because I had alot of friends and even family that played it as well,but I kept looking for somthing better. It's as the other guys have said, WoW is a simple hack and slash grind fest. All u can do is kill stuff for loot with insanly rare droprates, which gets you doing the same friggin run 20-30 times over for 1 crappy item that's sure to become obsolete come next expansion. No matter how hard blizzard tries to immerse you in the gameplay fact of the matter is that nothing you do will ever matter to other player's (or even your own) game experince....everything is static. To top that off there's absoloutly no talent requirements, all you need to do is find a nice talent build and farm gear and then press buttons in sequence...ffs boiled clams could play it as well as any player...all you need to excel is the monthly fee an internet connection and time....lots and lots of time. EvE on the other hand is the complete opposite of WoW...playing well takes skill and for the most part everyone sucks at first. And theres no cheesy taksies backsies if you choose some idiotic skills....u can't unlearn but if you're smart you can make even wrong choices work FOR you. It's true that Eve is overwhelming at first....and pretty much for a long while after that too, but that's a good thing. It makes you need to actually think instead of just being time consuming AND it keeps all the 9-12 year olds at bay. What's not to love ? :) To sum all my ranting up WoW is a good enough game to begin with but it just get's very old very fast. EvE is simply the next step....the mature mmo. So give it a try...you just might like it. I know I did

Posted by: Luskemis at July 23, 2007 3:18 AM

Crawl out of the baby cradle and fall into Eve...

Posted by: Lancard at August 16, 2007 7:56 AM

WOW is for kids

Posted by: Dracol at August 29, 2007 11:31 AM

OK, it comes down to this (since most the people I have talked to say "EVE is cool, but I don't get it"
Got it...good

Posted by: That Prick at September 4, 2007 1:12 PM

One of the best comparisons I've seen. I have played both but it seems in the reverse order of most of the other posters. I had been playing EVE for about 3 years when I tried WoW (had several friends that play it, who I've largely converted to EVE).
I just wanted to add a few more things that have been largely missed. EVE requires much more of a community approach. Yes it is overwhelming to a lot of newer players due to the huge variety of options. The game is also very poorly documented, either out of date due to updates or wasn't that good to start off, but this is where the highly dedicated player base kicks in. There are always other players willing to help. Just drop by the help channel. There are very good guides that have been written by players. And even in game Corporations (about the same thing as guilds) that exist to train new players. They consist of instructors and students. The level of thought and planning really requires a more mature player base. Finding that balance of DPS, survivability, and the energy to keep those systems running until your opponent dies is a never ending process. There is no such thing as the best fitting and every setup has a counter. Also the content updates are much more often for EVE and you don't have to fork out extra cash for them.

Posted by: Brian at September 9, 2007 3:08 PM

i'm only 12 but i a pretty good player in eve. a freind of mine has a wow accaunt. he almost doesnt play it because it gets realy boring after a while but with eve you just dont get bored im a barge miner/pvper atm in 0.0 with the small starting alliance freelancer alliance and because most people in eve are between20 and 40 because you need to be smart to play it i want to say that when you are young and smart you can play it to! ev is better

Posted by: smartx at October 27, 2007 8:01 PM

Good comparison. I played WoW from release until the expansion, got a few chars up to 60 and did the whole rep grind/BG thing. WoW was a lot of fun for a long time, especially playing with RL friends on the same server, but at a certain point it just gets really repetitive. PvP takes a certain level of skill but for the most part gear beats tactics every time, and if you don't put in the time and effort to go on massive raids for your phat lewt you're not going to stand a chance against dedicated PvPers.

I played Guild Wars for a minute but got tired of the grind, then gave up on MMORPGs for awhile. I basically picked up EVE after I got a little tired of BF2142 and the like. I've been playing for about a month, and I've got to say that, although you basically get thrown to the wolves as far as the learning curve, it's addictive. I haven't gotten in to PvP yet (unless you count my first destroyer getting whacked in 0.0 by gatecampers) mostly because I started off trying to trade, but I'm looking forward to getting enough money together to lose a couple of ships in the learning process.

One thing I noticed coming from WoW is that you have to stop worrying about character development. The way WoW is designed encourages a min/max mindset, where you're constantly worried about "speccing" your character effectively. EVE seems to be much more forgiving. If you start out geared towards manufacturing, say, and decide you want to mess around with trading, or maybe beef up your combat skills, you can. The WoW equivalent would be like playing a holy spec paladin and then deciding to try out the retbomb build, without losing your holy talents. Or, for that matter, having a 35 rogue and deciding you want to be a druid, too. The only real downside I find is that the time-based training system prevents you from effectively using alts on the same account, since you can't train more than one character at the same time per account. Not that big a deal until you find yourself with one character who needs to train something that'll take about a week and another character that needs a couple of skills that will take about an hour each. Still though, EVE's a great game and it seems like it's loaded with potential.

Posted by: loosifur at November 1, 2007 5:09 PM

eve is cool and huge yes i play it and love it i cant personlly say its better then WoW as ive never bothered to concider it but eve has a infinite horizen and for the love of god if your a trail or newbie a) dont go to low sec b) stay away from jita and c) gang up for missions they can be hard

Posted by: Jim at November 20, 2007 2:53 PM

I've been playing EVE for about 1 year now only using trials, IT IS THAT ADDICTING! My older bro got me into it and its really been fun. The only problem is paying for me though, but not for other people, and yet even if you don't have money in real life, you can still play via GTC's (Game Time Codes). So if your really good at getting money quick, but don't have money in real life, this is great. I've tried WoW Before, and yes grinding is slightly fun, but you constantly have to do that, and once you ARE lvl 70 or so, excitement goes WAAAAY down. I do agree that there are alot of choices in WoW at first but, yeah, it goes down quick. I hope this has changed a few WoW players minds.

P.S. You can contact me via EVE-mial
P.S.S. Thats my charecter name, look up just "Woobly" to find my alt that I am currently on or something close to it.

Posted by: Woobly Shnufflepops at December 4, 2007 3:02 AM

I played Wow for about 6 months, but I played it to have fun, not try to be the ultimate pvper. It was a blast exploring the world and doing the mission storylines. But once I had been everywhere I saw no point anymore. I have played EVE before, but Ive let my account go as I have no time anymore. But I cannot wait until I can start playing again because it literally is an entire universe

Posted by: tim at December 15, 2007 3:08 AM

I just recently found out about EVE and I am an old WoW player. I started two months before the Burning Crusade Expansion played a warlock to level 70 and I recently admitted to myself WoW is really just hack and slash combat. I got an EVE trial and the combat seems a little simpler, but having a ship at stake every mission and battle is just amazing and the game is very immerse. I also really like the idea of a story being changed by players since WoW was the same story day after day. Let's just say IT GOT BORING FAST!!
I hope I can grasp the concept of the game a little better I am going to start paying for it. All in all quit WoW try EVE seems more mature.

Posted by: Ethan at December 22, 2007 3:49 AM

I started playing WoW four months ago. I enjoyed the fantasy RPG genre and the initial coolness factor of Azeroth, but I quickly started to see a repetitive pattern in the game structure: quest, grind, PvP, buy crap, guest, raid, buy more crap; it was really kinda pointless since anything I did couldn't affect the gaming universe itself. I'd heard of EVE, and after playing only 12 hours of my Trial account I am convinced that the developers got a lot of things right. I don't know if I'll keep playing (I think I could use some additional 'skill development' in the real world first), but I don't see myself going back to WoW after playing EVE. Now if only you could land on planets...

Posted by: Michael at January 6, 2008 10:56 AM

Michael here again. Ouch, I wonder if you'll actually post this, but I have to say that I didn't realize that EVE was scarred by the 't20 / Band of Brothers' scandal before my last post. If any of what I have read is true, I simply can't endorse CCP and EVE Online. I still like the game, but man, that company needs to clean out its closet first.

Posted by: Michael at January 8, 2008 8:05 AM

I have been playing EVE since beta. Before going to EVE I played mankind which like many games, you can get so big that it becomes near impossible for one person to beat you.

In EVE it does not matter how big you get, how long you have played, or how skilled you are, everyone dies. There is always a challege for everyone in the game. It has been so long since I began playing eve, that I have nearly forgotten what it was like being a "noob". I do remember my atraction was the ability ro expand in whatever direction I wanted and with the constand updates to the game, I am able to expand even farthur. The drawback to the game though from my view is there is SO MUCH to train. There is always some skill you are needing to do something in the game. The learning curve is substantial, but that is why there are corporations and alliance; to help players get ahead in the game. The KEY IMHO is to specialize in the game. do not get yourself too spread out.

One thing to be said about EVE is their in-game economy. It does have its close similarities with RL economy which is to say it fluctuates with supply and demand, bills to pay, sells to make, orders to place, and everyone's favorite, corp taxes. Then there is also the ever present politics. Almost like RL fantasy world. lol It is a world you can easily loose yourself in.


Posted by: greymist at January 14, 2008 4:30 AM

I've been playing eve for almost three years now. While it is true that Eve starts out with fewer choices, I think beginning Eve is fantastic and I wish I could do it again.

You start out without knowing much at all and having to discover everything is perfect for those who really enjoy exploring.

Mining and mission running are the most popular ways to make money early on but I discovered trading and that brought in quite a bit of wealth when I needed it most. Take your time and be prepared to lose more often than you succeed. The fact that it really matters makes it worth it. I discovered trading robotics between two regions to be very profitable. Eventually to get the best profits I moved on to delivering them to low-sec where I risked getting shot down by pirates and once lost almost every cent I had to my name. It was wonderful. The true winners in Eve pick themselves up, learn from their mistakes, and try again.

Some people above have suggested that combat is rather simple. It isn't. It looks deceptively primitive when you start out and thankfully you can get by without having to know too much. However, to really succeed against other players (and this is where the most fun can be found) you need to recognise that it is far more involved. Fitting your ship in an unexpected way, and squeezing every last watt of power out of your engines can surprise the enemy and give you an advantage.

Combat itself is not just a case of switching on modules and waiting for the result. You need to be able to hold your enemy in place while keeping your defences and weapons running optimally. Often this is a case of delicately managing your distance, speed, approach angles and capacitor. Leading your prey away from a gate by looking wounded and then trapping them when the distance is too far to run gives you a fantastic feeling of accomplishment. No other game rewards cunning, planning and ingenuity like Eve.

I've given many players a bad day in Eve, and I have never once shot an innocent. You can play by your own rules, whether they are honourable or deceptive.

Posted by: Piter at January 14, 2008 7:53 PM

WoW Fails Eve Wins?
That sums it up :)

Posted by: Sniperwolf at February 23, 2008 12:25 AM

i've played both eve and wow. i played wow for about 2 years and eve for about 3 months and i can honestly say that eve is beter then wow why?
because in wow everything you do is planned nothing unexpected shows up everything goes like blizzard planned it and when you reach lvl 70 the only thing you can do is pvp/pve/grind and pvp/pve are pretty much always the same so that's gets bored afther a while.But in eve everything is up to you ccp dint plan anything they just created the eve world but it is up to the players to decide what they are going to do.but i must sau when i first started to play eve it was boring but eventualy it gets beter you learned a few skill got new ships etc.and the best part of all is you have more time in RL
where in wow you need to spend 24/7 to be one of the best,to get good gear and all. Wich really brings your social life down believe me :P.another good thing in eve is that you can actualy change the world like putting station in space and controling solar systems. but in wow you control nothing.and another great thing is the type of gamers playing eve they are all between 20-30 years old where in wow it are all kids between 10-15 years wich you notice in the chats.

so in my opinion eve is beter then wow.

Posted by: teh_pwner at March 3, 2008 9:27 PM

I have played Eve Online for 2 years and WoW (rogue main) for about a year (eve first).

These are 2 very different games, but the thing that lets eve down is not the pvp (which is great) but the PVE. I find the PVE in eve not only boring from an action perspective, but also visually. Some of the ships look the same in the game, but after doing some of the missions again and again, there is very little difference in any of them. Group pvp in Eve is good, because losing has real consequences. Because of this, you will get ganked a lot (same with WoW though!).

Personally I have enjoyed both of these games, the fan base in WoW is a lot more immature, but I have also met some pretty decent people on WoW too. Out of the two, I'm still playing WoW, but not Eve. Although it takes a while to level in WoW, you will NEVER have the skillpoints that someone in Eve will have if they started before you. When this is a 3 year gap, it is noticable (but you'll still have other low skillers to play against too).

Play both and see which is for you :)

Posted by: Ben at March 26, 2008 11:51 AM

I played WoW for the free trail.. it was alright, but after 2 hours i was lvl 9 which made me feel that i didnt achieve anything ("Congratualtions, you can now kill bigger boars")

I've been playing EVE online for about a year now, and i have to says it is a slow burning game, where you cant expect to have everything then and there. Someone will most likely have better things than you, but it would be the same in WoW.

Also, for WoW you have to go out and buy it from the shops (for the price of a full game nearly) whereas with EVE it is 100% free, and is downloaded when the servers are patched. Downtime is alot better on EVE then on WoW; so instead of the servers going down once in a blue moon (to the cries from the ultra-sweary teens) and taking hours to get back up, the EVE servers are down for 1 hour (unless they find a very large problem) everyday for routine maintenance.

Basically, if you want quick kills go on WoW. If you want to have FUN.. play EVE

Posted by: Jerrod Kane at April 8, 2008 7:35 PM

I played EvE since 2005 and left in Oct 2007. Thats a good 2 years in game. I left to play wow (my opinion of wow last)

I found the game got very boring after all that time, I had a POS, I did mining, I did trading, I did PVP & ratting, I made some T2 blueprints and fittings....

I felt I did everything that the game had to offer. the scenery in eve is extremely boring one system looks just like another with maybee a different colour sun etc...

Missions got extremly boring and repeatative.

In the end I was using it as an expensive glorified chat client.

IMHO EVE does have an endgame!, regardless of skills!

As I said I now play wow, I have the following charactors since oct 2007 (5 - 6 months work)

Lev 70 Rogue
Lev 70 Warlock
Lev 40 Hunter
Lev 19 Twink Mage (heh waste of time and expense that was lol)
A few 10 - 20 chars also..

I love the graphics, and different scenerys (take not CCP!)

My view on the Skill / Level systems!

I like to put as much time into my gaming as possible, thefore I like to be rewarded for my efforts.. In EVE I was no better off at the end of the day than someone who just logged in once a day just to change a skill!. That sucked!

However, The more effort I put into wow the better I got, I progressed much further than someone who only played 30mins a day etc..

I will end this by saying...

a) the Op of the first post was a very biased view and seemed to much up ccp's backside

b) both games ae great games. You will get bored of ANY game eventually (exclude Quake 2 :P)

Just enjoy whatever you enjoy doing.

Posted by: Rich at April 25, 2008 1:55 PM

So here we go....I have played EVE for over a year. In that time I have my own player run corporation in a bigger alliance, have my own player owned station (POS) in alliance controlled space and can fly one of the biggest ships in the game.
Simple fact is this an adult game and what a game??!!
the depth of this game is huge and i am always learning something new.

IMHO, this game is fantastic. Sometimes u just want to stay docked and chat but even that's acceptable. Simple fact is you can't really compare EVE to WoW for the simple fact the're too different.

Anyway enough of my rant ... Catch me in game for a chat. My character is delboy119

Posted by: Rod at June 13, 2008 6:43 PM