BlogBanter 26: EVE … beautiful …
Welcome to the twenty-sixth installment of the EVE Blog Banter, the monthly EVE Online blogging extravaganza created by CrazyKinux. The EVE Blog Banter involves an enthusiastic group of gaming bloggers, a common topic within the realm of EVE Online, and a week or so to post articles pertaining to the said topic. The resulting articles can either be short or quite extensive, either funny or dead serious, but are always a great fun to read! Any questions about the EVE Blog Banter should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Check for other EVE Blog Banter articles at the bottom of this post!
This month’s topic was proposed by @KatiaSae of the much praised “To Boldly Go” blog. Katia asks: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. As an astrophotographer, I’ve found it in the stars and planets of New Eden. Where have you found it? Perhaps you’ve found beauty in the ships we fly? Maybe it’s the sight of profits being added to your bottom line? Or maybe it’s the pilot portraits you see in the comm channels? Where ever you’ve found it, write about it and post an image.” Don’t be afraid go beyond the simple visual aspects of EVE as well. Is the EVE Community in itself a thing of beauty? What makes EVE the game, the world, the Community, so appealing to you?
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” I will tell you about what I found beautiful in EVE Online during my existence as a pod pilot (note the past tense). I start through this argument. We are all human beings looking for entertainment through a computer game. As such, there is the underlying humanity of us beings, and as an older blog banter tried to ask, I do not think that a person can actually behave any different than his/her real self in an online game. If this is the case, it’s a mental case. Anyways, there are some underlying realities common between all of us pod pilots, and these realities are true both in real life and online.
Let us take relationships. In particular, me being a male and all, I’ll use as an example the relationship between and man and a woman from the perspective of a man. How does a relationship with a girl start? “She hits your eye” would be a word-for-word translation from my native language (Maltese) to English. There’s beauty written all over her and you want to get to know her, you want to spend time with her, think about her when you are doing other things, etc, etc … You all know the feeling I suppose. Well after some time, maybe years, things change (no reference to better or worse is made here). Your eye is not hit as much, although it is still pleased, but the woman starts to mean something else beyond the physical properties. As time goes on, well, all this evolves into something, which is beyond the scope of this blog today.
My relationship with EVE Online is very similar to the above example. I had a couple of games prior to EVE, and they were of the online-multiplayer type. Note I am not saying MMO here as for me this is different. Take a game like World in Conflict, you log on to a server, choose a room, participate in the fight, and that’s it. The next game is with different people, maybe different map, but whether you win or you lose, you are not better or worse off, except for standings and rankings, which in effect do not mean anything, and maybe mood. I am currently playing World of Tanks. It is very similar to the above concept: you log in, shoot a couple of red tanks, and log off. If you win the battle you earn experience points and credits which you need to research better tanks and modules; if you lose a battle you earn a few experience points and enough credits to repair your tanks, replenish the ammo, and have a couple of hundreds left. Anyway it goes, you do not lose anything.
EVE Online is different. It is a persistent environment and depending on the case, you stand to lose.
How did I come to meet her?
I was past my first session of examinations after many years of professional work life. It was a Masters Degree course at the University by evening classes. After this first session of stress (I had 6 such sessions in total) I saw a banner on some website saying “EVE Online, the universe is yours”. I said to myself “What is EVE?”, “Is it the name of a game?”, “Who calls his game EVE, like a woman’s name?”
Anyways, I clicked, I downloaded the client, I registered and ran it the first time.
Wow, this is just like Elite! The spaceships game I had on the Amiga way back in the early nineties. I loved that game. You could do anything in that game. I liked that, and EVE was just like that, so I liked it too – you can say love at first sight. I won’t bore you with my stupidities as a noob (btw, noob was a word I learned on EVE, as is btw, and all the other keyboard shortcuts to express emotions) Man I still can’t understand how you can express yourself through lol, rofl, lmao, :), :P, ;P etc. You kids are really weird sometimes. (Just as a side note, I hear you kids drop your girls through SMS these days … in my days we had to face her either in person or on the phone to tell her that its over)
Anyways, EVE was beautiful (again, please note the past tense). I liked the concept of player-driven market. I liked the concept of a persistent universe with more than 60000 systems. I liked the concept that you can own space for yourself. I liked the concept of skill training, jump clones, implants, CONCORD, the 4 empires, Jove, the whole standings mechanism, the whole physics engine behind the game (although it lacks in immersion – for example I would add line-of-fire to the turrets in such a way that if a friendly or drone lies between your turret and your target at time of firing, it gets the damage – bye bye blobs … if only CCP would listen). I liked it all.
Then one fine day I received an ingame mail. I contacted the character who sent it and started a chat. Believe it or not, I asked him/her whether he/she was a bot This was at a time when I was still trying to fit a large autocannon on my velator and did not know how to place ammo in a gun – such was my level of noobness. Anyways, this character was a recruiter and I joined this corp. 13 jumps or so away from Algogille at a time when autopilot was a completely alien concept to me. Oh my first corporation! I loved EVE even more for it. I was a good corp member at the time, happy about the tax I paid, about my free contributions “for the corp”, etc EVE was just addictive at this point. I just could not stay away from my PC, both in body and mind. Work started to feel my lack of attention and wife started to wonder who this EVE was and where I had met her (lol). I was even entrusted the reigns of the corp as a CEO.
Then came null sec. How can a game turn so sour? All of a sudden this game became a chore, it is not a way to spend time idling anymore, it’s almost become a job. Null sec leadership expect things of you – are we serious?! This is a game, it does not have to mean anything to anyone other than a pass time. These guys do things which are uncomprehensible to me in a game environment.
Then came the pvper/carebear distinction. Hell this is outright ridiculous! Why do I have to justify my gamestyle to anyone, let alone be reprimanded for behaving in a certain way.
At this point the relationship with EVE is past the hit-the-eye stage and it’s into the getting to know the real woman behind the makeup. A certain feeling started emerging in me, a feeling of “wtf?!” By this time I was past the 20 million skillpoints mark, and had started to level up to 5 many high-ranking skills.
The final insult to injury came at this point. It was not that I did not know about it, but I had to try it for myself to verify. This is the realisation that solo you do not stand a chance, not even in the best fitted and most expensive ship hull. Not that in itself it is an issue, as is the fact that “you do not stand a chance”. A chance for what you ask? A chance for winning, whatever winning is to you. Think about it, have you ever felt that you won something in this game? I’m not saying winning at skirmish or battle level, it’s more at the high level strategic level. You are never any better, whatever your choice of game style. It is always the same, you’re always running in circles. In fact, after some years people just quit, and that’s saying lots.
Nowadays I’m not subscribed to EVE anymore. I still read many blogs about it daily, but I’m having a well deserved break.
Is EVE beautiful to you? Not anymore, sorry. I used to call it “A beautiful game”, now it’s just “a nice game”.