Welcome to another episode of the Solo Trader, my weekly column where I review the latest news and interesting happenings within the Star Citizen community.
This week, I want to focus on a game I have been playing for a while: Eve Online. I first played it back in 2011, and have been meaning to write a review ever since. Finally, with the release of EVE: Space Exploration v1.2 and the upcoming EVE: Space Trading v1.2, I figured the time is right.
Space Exploration was a free update to the game that I had previously purchased. It added new systems and mechanics to the game that allowed for deeper gameplay, such as planetary exploration and asteroid mining. The update also added a space freighter called the Mule, which players can use to transport and sell items in space. The Mule is the basis for this week’s review, so read on if you want to know more about it. If you are new to the game, I would recommend starting with the U.S. Navy’s Recruitment video, which is completely free and covers the basics quite well.
What Is Eve Online?
If you’re unfamiliar, Eve Online is a massively multiplayer online game set in a sci-fi universe. You take on the role of an elite spaceship pilot, captaining a ship and forming clans with friends. There is also an in-game economy where players can buy and sell goods, and ship components are upgraded over time using in-game money called ISK.
What will make Eve stand out from other PC-based games is the community focused interface. In most PC games, communication is primarily done through text chat, while in Eve, players can use an in-game microphone to converse with one another. This results in a much more personable gaming experience.
Review: Mule Space Freighter
Now for the review! As I mentioned above, the Mule is the basis for this review, as it is the ship used to transport and sell goods within the game. I will not go into great detail about what it is like to fly the Mule in-game, as there are plenty of in-game videos that you can watch to get a sense of how it feels. Still, there are a few key things I want to point out about this ship.
The first thing is that it flies really well. It handles smoothly and doesn’t feel sluggish or difficult to pilot. This is important, as the physics of Eve are mostly focused on feeling realistic and not like something from 2010. For those who played PlanetSide 2 or Black Ops II may remember Ices, the weapons in those games were almost unusable, due to them feeling sluggish and imprecise compared to real life. Fortunately, this is not the case with the Mule.
I usually like to start the reviews by talking about the ship’s stats, as they are an easy way to compare it to other vessels.
The Mule is a small, civilian-rated starship, which you can upgrade to a capacity of four with additional systems. Its combat capabilities are quite low, as it only has 3 weapons, none of which are designed for massive destruction. Still, it is adequate for most space battles. The shields are also quite low, making it a bit more vulnerable to attacks.
Shields And Restorative
One of the things that set the Mule apart from other ships is its shields. They are completely customizable, and allow players to block incoming fire, disrupt enemy weapons, and repair damage done to their ship.
The shields in EVE are built on a reactive system. This means that when they are damaged, they will automatically repair themselves to a certain extent, based on how much energy they have. This can be seen when looking at the shields of various ships in action, as they will be gradually flashing from red to yellow to green as they repair themselves. This automatic repair occurs even if the shields are completely depleted, and it is very convenient as you do not always need to be near a friendly ship to get repairs done.
The most important thing about the Mule’s shields is that they are completely overhaulable. You can take this ship apart, scrap metal by metal, and replace its various components to create a completely different look. You can also replace the reactor and hyperdrive to increase speed.
Maximum Engine Rating
The maximum engine rating for the Mule is a rather unimpressive 500,000 kilograms of thrust. This is better than average for a small spaceship, but it is still a significant amount. It would be comparable to the thrust of a large shuttlecock or a small fighter jet.
Mixed Cargo And Passengers
Another unique feature of the Mule is that it can carry a mix of cargo and passengers. This is not a task normally associated with small vessels, as most of them are either designed to carry a specific amount of cargo or have the potential to carry a limited amount of passengers. The Mule’s design is based on a Yacht, resulting in a very luxurious and spacious feel to the inside, with room for up to 12 players. Still, the ship is rather small, and is better suited for smuggling runs, cargo runs, or diplomatic missions.
What Sets The Mule Apart?
Let’s take a quick look at what sets the Mule apart from other ships. It is quite lightweight, weighing in at just 2,600 kilograms, barely more than a shuttle.
The Mule is equipped with low-power impulse engines that give it excellent acceleration and a top speed of 425 kilometers per hour. Its maneuverability is good, enabling it to quickly dart in and out of traffic or quickly change directions. However, this is just a single digit increase in maneuverability over other ships in the same weight class. If you want to use the Mule for combat, you will most likely need to upgrade it with an Inertial Dampener system or other defensive equipment.
Still, none of this makes up for the fact that it is a small ship with very limited cargo space. If you plan on carrying any passengers, they will have to sit in cramped conditions for the whole trip. Also, this ship can only fit one person in a combat situation, assuming they are seated in a standard position. Lastly, it has very low armor and shield strength, making it vulnerable to attacks from larger ships or capital structures.
Overall, the Mule is a fun little ship to fly, and it is certainly better than a shuttle. It has its perks, though, as it can carry a couple of people across space and is easy to pilot. It also has a level of customization that other ships do not have, which can be useful if you want to change the design significantly.
This ship is definitely worth the effort if you’re a fan of space exploration and want to try a small craft. It also provides an excellent basis for beginners, who want to experiment with space flight before moving up to a heavy cruiser or destroyer. Still, if you want a sturdy ship that can last the distance, you should probably look elsewhere as the Mule is more of a novelty item.