February 1, 2010

Why Do I Love EVE Online?

CrazyKinux has asked everyone to write an article on why they love EVE Online. Of course there is a contest involved, but I would love to share the many reasons I love playing this game.

I started playing EVE 9 months ago. Prior to that I was playing RTSs like Company of Heroes and my all time favorite, Homeworld 2. The group I played with was XENO, a clan formed during the original Homeworld. Homeworld was a space based RTS that depended heavily on strategy and microing your ships. Being very much an action based individual, I frowned at what I now know as "carebearing". XENO Corp did lots of mining, manufacturing, etc. I made fun of their EVE adventures constantly. I joined up when the two guys left in XENO that played CoH dropped off the face of the planet. The two week trial was no charge to try, so I gave it a shot. Within a couple days I was hooked.

I started off in Caldari space running missions. I got a feel for the game and the controls, but it wasn't exciting. A week after playing I moved out to 0.0 with my corp. At that point we were in the Fade/Pure Blind region living as a "pet" to Mostly Harmless. A few days after the move I was loaned some isk and bought a Drake, lost it the same day, and bought another. Ratting was huge money for me back then, and I ratted my heart out to make the money to buy more ships and more mods. I was still missing something, however, and kept searching. I started doing as many roams as possible with alliance members, due to the lax PVP nature of my own corporation. I got my first taste of blood and that was that.

Being a PVP based player, I loved the thrill and adrenaline of an engagement. The multi tasking was joyous. I have very bad attention spans. Playing a first person shooter like MW2 keeps only a part of my brain occupied. A game like EVE means watching local, watching intel, doing whatever it is you're doing, talking in corp, talking in chat, talking over vent, talking over teamspeak. You are absorbed into the game on all different levels. You have microing (fleet movements, system to system, moving your ship into optimals, out of optimals of enemy, orbits around targets, as well as managing reppers, cap, etc.). You also have Macro, which includes wars, market fluctuations, corporate espionage, spys, supply lines, funding for conflicts, etc. Its a brutal world that sees very little influence by CCP. When BoB was disbanded, CCP watched. When Goons bounced their sov check, CCP watched. Those had cataclysmic affects on the EVE universe, and are now written into the history of EVE.

Immersion in the EVE verse is fully realized in the storyline. Sure the game has developer storylines built in, but YOU are the storyline. You create the news. Being in IT Alliance but not having been in BoB, I could only read about what happened with the first Delve War. I learned what was expected and what we wanted, and I took on that vendetta and made it personal to take Fountain and Delve. There may be people living under rocks in the EVE verse here and there, but for most people, the war is their daily read in EVE. The giant war in the south, the NC fighting in the north, those are the big events. Those huge battles, I am a part of them. Some of the smaller engagements, I am FC ing. Unlike other games where you follow a choose your adventure book of sorts, there is no limit to what you can do in EVE. Who thought Goons would drop sov in all those systems in Delve? An author could not have created such an ironic twist of fate as what happened last week. Yet who made all this possible? Thousands and thousands of players in the EVE universe involved with IT Alliance, Goonswarm, PL, SoT, -A-, CVA, Triumvirate, Morsus Mihi, Mostly Harmless, Atlas, XXdeathXX, and all the other Nullsec Alliances that make the politics. Don't forget all the industrialists in Empire that make all the ships I blow up and get blown up in, create all the modules and rigs I need to fit the ships, and buy my moon goo. Since Apocrypha you now have the added dimension of wormhole space, which is always a rabbit hole that many can't resist.

Of course you have the RPG portion that all MMORPGs share. By this I mean the knowledge that in a few days or a week you will be able to fly that new ship, or do that task better, or use that new module. It never gets old. I remember how excited I was to fly a Drake. Now I am excited to take my new Tengu out for a spin. Someday I may even vest in a cap ship, although cap warfare isn't quite my thing (right now). There is always something bigger and better you can fly if you just train long enough. You choose your career, whether it be high sec war dec combat, low sec pirating, carebearing, or all of the above joining a null sec alliance. You can fight smart, fight crazy, or not fight at all. You can run missions all day long, or kill people running missions. I love that there is no PVP server. The moment you log in you are in combat, whether or not you know it. Undock in a hauler with 200 mill worth of mods in Jita 4-4 and you will know what I mean. CONCORD will come to your rescue, but they will always be too late to save your loot from my hauler alt.  Think you're safe in deadspace? My probes will sniff you out. Trying to make that quick run through null sec? My drag bubble will bring you to me. Think those warp stabs will keep you safe in low sec? The script in my HIC will still point you with a full rack of warp stabs. There is no safety in EVE, except you keeping an eye on local and knowing that people like me will kill you for fun if you don't plan for the worst.

Comparing EVE to other MMORPGs (although I have never tried anything else) the one thing that comes up time and time again is that EVE is one giant server. This sometimes causes issues with lag, but you can always run into someone in game, no matter what their trade or faction or alliance may be. That is crazy. Last night I noticed a guy in intel channel posting. I recognized the name of a player that popped my first battleship 3 hours after I bought it (kill rights lesson learned hard). He was dilly dallying around low sec Gallente space last time I saw him months and months ago. Now he is part of Black Star Alliance, who a smaller ally of IT that holds space in Fountain with us. Who would have thought?

The other large difference is that there is a free market in EVE. Adam Smith's "Invisible Hand" is in full swing. With the exception of a few items including skill books and sov mods, all items in EVE are player created. Players mine the minerals, refine the minerals and gases, and manufacture the ships, mods, and everything else. Then players like me blow them up. There is very little intervention by the "governement" or CCP (which is more than I can say about the US Government these days). Sure there are fluctuations when new game mechanics are introduced, but the system always irons itself out and stabilizes. There is even a professional economist in charge of the game, Eyjo Gudmundsson, who keeps an eye on the economy in EVE. He is EVE's Chairman of the Federal Reserve, and does an outstanding job. Some people whine about the changs in prices, but just like in the real world, things change. Its part of the game. You won't find that with other games out there. Those are rigidly run state controlled economies.

Who would have thought that 9 months after playing one of the most complicated MMORPGs I would be an LT in the biggest (coolest) alliance in the game leading out roams with numbers in fleet ranging from 10-150? With an analytical mind and good leadership skills anything in the EVE verse is possible. I look back on my days early on in EVE and smile now; I have come so far. You can pick up the game and take whatever path you want in EVE. No one will stop you except yourself.