Long time readers are probably smiling to themselves (or shaking their heads) that I’m apparently playing EVE Online again. Not only because I had just posted a couple weeks ago that everyone should expect little to no game content here at Iggep’s Realm for a while, but also because they know I’ve gone through three other EVE stints in the past. My last stint was in September/October 2009 and the one before that was February through April 2009. If you read any of my posts about EVE during those periods you have to ask yourself the question of why I’m back playing it again. First, you should also know I’m seemingly too susceptible to the whims of my friend (the one that got me to spend $100 on StarCraft2 CE!), and secondly the issue with my previous stints was that I like action and got involved with small corps. Small corps mean low activity. At least as I measure things, anyway.
This time around I’m being very purposeful in my search for a corporation to join. While I like the atmosphere in small corporations I’m not likely to experience the aspects of EVE that I’ve most wanted to experience there – PVP. I’ve always been a bit of a PVP fanatic and like most sandbox MMOs, EVE has a really terrific system. Tied to mechanics that enable occupation and control of territory no less. That is the kind of PVP that greatly interests me but unfortunately EVE is also the kind of game that one has to invest inordinate periods of time in before you can truly do anything meaningful. Unless you can get involved with a group that is. Groups make all the difference in the world in EVE because through groups you aren’t just a noob with a low skill set. This is where the larger corporation comes in because in my previous corporation I liked the people but there were very few online at any one time. We might do one group mining operation a week or the odd lvl 4 mission here and there, but for the majority of the week I was totally and completely on my own and didn’t have the skills to do much of anything interesting. I’ve mentioned how utterly boring running missions are in EVE, so anything more than a handful of these at a time had me nodding off.
Then why do I keep coming back? Believe me, I’ve spent many hours thinking about why I seem to keep coming back to EVE. Out of all of the MMOs on the market, why does this one seem to capture my attention more than the others? I haven’t researched or played every offering on the market today but I do tend to like sandbox MMOs because of the greater freedom and generally greater complexity. And EVE is about the truest sandbox that I am aware of. It’s also very different in that it’s not just another re-tread fantasy sword and board MMO. EVE is unique and offers unique game play that I simply can’t find anywhere else. It’s also got one of the best, most complex, crafting systems I’ve ever heard of, and for someone who dislikes SOE yet still points to the crafting system in the original SWG, that is saying a lot. Crafting isn’t usually a primary attraction for me, but I tend to dive into it for long periods. In EVE I won’t even have to have a dedicated industrialist, unless I want to.
There is another aspect of the player-run economy that I find irresistibly intriguing. The economy in EVE is ultra-realistic. So realistic that CCP actually employs a full time economist to manage it. Which if you stop and think about, is interesting in that any of the economic activity you can conduct in the real world, is also possible inside of EVE. Yes, including market manipulation, embezzlement, speculation, and everything in between. Not only is it possible inside EVE, but it’s encouraged. If you’re one to play the market in WoW you should come take a look at the market in EVE because I guarantee you’ll like what you see. And ultimately that’s where I hope to go with my “hauler” in the long term. Once I finish training all the skills I need to maximize my Orca capabilities, and pilot a freighter I’ll begin the long line of industrial and market skill training I’ll need to make that character a successful business character.
EVE seems to be able to offer me everything I could hope for in immersive entertainment. From true tactical and strategic warfare, coupled with territorial sovereignty and a deep, rich industrial and economic system. The key to enjoyment while you wait for the longer term training to occur seems to be in finding the right corporation. But isn’t that the case in any MMO to one extent or another? The only real difference, in the greater scheme of things, is the length of training time it takes to get to the “end game”. There are a lot of things I could do in EVE while I “level”, but the difference is how much of it, and how well, I can do any of it. At least this time around I’ll have external forces helping me be a little more patient with my training queue. I’ll be a bit busy starting in October and so won’t notice the time as much.