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5 years of EVE. - Ed's journal
5 years of EVE.
So, today is the 5th Anniversary of when I started to play EVE. I thought I'd take a little time to ramble about it, because to some it seems incomprehensible that someone might spend 5 years playing a game. Here's the thing though - I've been a chess player for longer than I've been an EvE player. I've played tabletops roleplay games for longer than I've played EVE too, and probably spent more money doing Live Action Roleplay than I have on EVE subscriptions.

Playing a game isn't intrinsically wrong - I'd make the argument that the time I've spent playing EVE, others have spent watching their daily dose of soap operas, and I've gained better value out of my time.

You see, people see EVE and see a 'flying spaceships game'. Truth is, that's only a very small part of it. EVE is a massively multiplayer real time strategy game. I've always been a big fan of strategy games - I like the mental challenge that they present, especially when I'm going up against other players - a computer opponent is really no match for a human player.

EVE is ... well, probably the best strategy game I've ever encountered, simply because it's not automatically putting you 'in charge' - you get command and control of one ship - your own. You get a resource stream - your own - and you trade off time to accumulate more resources. Those that think of the game in only those terms - because that's all they've ever seen in other games - are missing the real beauty of it. They accumulate some resources, get bored, move on.
And y'know, that's pretty much why I've got bored with every other game out there, to date.

EVE on the other hand - you're playing a strategy game. You don't automatically get to be 'general' - you have to 'prove' your leadership in order to get people to follow you.
You have pilot morale and skill level to think of - in game skills, and 'hard skills' you need to be aware of capabilites of everyone you're flying with and take best advantage of it.
It has logistics - that resource stream I mentioned, how do you best aggregate it and make good use of it. Where do you base and deploy, how to you keep ships fueled, and starbases operational. How do your organise the construction of capital ships, when you _need_ multiple people to be involved to do it effectively?
You have market dynamics and economics - the market is almost entirely player driven. Anything you buy on the market, another player has taken the time to build and has set a price on it. The price fluctuates... based on all manner of factor, but not least is emerging turmoil in key production areas - 'rich' producers in deep space will slow production when they come under attack, and the economy will shift as a result.
It has diplomacy and politics - I have never seen a game where 'realistic' diplomacy and politics have been implemented. EVE manages it, because it doesn't try and do it, it just sets a playground up, where it makes a difference.
Same's true of propaganda and spying - in EVE, these things matter. They're real and relevant.
You've got intelligence to think about - what you know, what you don't, and what you need to know. How to deal with the unknowns.

And in all that, in working together with other people you get to know them really very well indeed. Because you have to - because it's important to how the game unfolds to know that one person is a bit impulsive, where another is calculating. To know that one person is good at being friendly and personable, and so is a better person to conduct diplomacy than the other guy who's just there to blow up other spaceships.

It really is quite a breathtaking amount of depth and freedom, in a way you don't get anywhere else, barring perhaps real life itself. But I think I would get in trouble in real life if I were looking 'play' real life the way I 'play' internet spaceships.
9 comments or Leave a comment
jorune From: jorune Date: February 12th, 2010 11:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Aside from EVE:

Three posts in 2 hours? Looking to break your own record of 9 posts in 24 hrs or is it a slow work day?
sobrique From: sobrique Date: February 12th, 2010 11:57 am (UTC) (Link)
I tend to get a backlog of thoughts and ideas that I would have just posted about before, but ... haven't yet. This is thanks to sporadic posting access. I start composing something, and post it once it's sort of fleshed out, which does mean that on a 'slow day' I'll finish off a few ideas and post 'em as a block.
4givensins From: 4givensins Date: February 12th, 2010 11:51 am (UTC) (Link)
I am massively tempted to play EVE, my only concern is the time commitment required. I tend to be quite all or nothing about this sort of thing and whilst I think I would enjoy it I fear that either it would turn me into a recluse or be a waste of money. Out of interest, how often/long do you play EVE for? Or is that a bad question?
sobrique From: sobrique Date: February 12th, 2010 12:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hmm, well, do I ever really stop?
Anyway, it's ... one of these games that's hard to access in 'small' chunks - I find a session is somewhere around the 2 hours mark if I'm doing something fun - a mission can take an hour or so to complete, and our current group combat ops, probably run to about 2 hours - we can extend them, and do sometimes, but usually introduce a break in the middle, or make sure it's the kind of op where people can leave easily. (IF you're on a patrol in hostile space, it's undesirable to be flying certain ship classes if you might need to leave in a hurry - whilst you're probably safe to log off, logging back in and getting 'home' again is somewhat harder. But there's lighter ships, cloaking ships which mean that's less of a problem)

I do log on for shorter sessions, as there's activities that can be done in smaller timeframes - mining, industry, market trading can be done at much finer granularity - 5 minutes here and there if you're so inclined.
But you can't really do a 'quick mission before work' (well, you can, but it's one of the low level ones that stop being worth the effort after a while) nor can you really do a 'quick combat op' unless you're really being very focussed about it - forming up a gang intrinsically takes a bit of faff, and finding a target does too.

And I have, back in the day, played EVE continuously for long stretches - in no small part because I was off work with a broken leg - it was interesting and timeconsuming enough that I could pretty much fill my day.

At the moment, I'm 'on' for about 1-2 evenings a week, and sunday evenings, and am finding it quite satisfying as such.

Outside of EVE, I spend a bit of time thinking, theorycrafting, strategising, and forum posting. That kind of thing is of course, optional :).

Edited at 2010-02-12 12:05 pm (UTC)
jorune From: jorune Date: February 12th, 2010 12:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
Whoa there!

Focus on completing that PhD and leave EVE alone. EVE is famed for having a steep learning curve and being a time sink.

Put down the MMO and step away from the pc.
4givensins From: 4givensins Date: February 12th, 2010 12:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm not that stupid, although I do admit to letting my mind wander to places PPhD (that's short for post-PhD in case you were wondering)
sobrique From: sobrique Date: February 12th, 2010 12:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
They do offer trial accounts, where you can play for a couple of weeks to see if you like it. Free, gratis and for nothing.
And actually, in theory at least, you can play EVE completely for free - 'game time' is a tradable commodity on the market (it does have to be bought (for real cash) by another player to sell).
crashbarrier From: crashbarrier Date: February 12th, 2010 12:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
when i was learning the ropes it took up most of my evenings and soem of teh weekends for about 6 months.. then it tapered off as I got used to it and started strategically planning my time and energy.

These days though its a good deal easier as you ahev the Skill training queue which means you don't have to be on every night waiting for a skill change over which is what used to take up most of your "time"

EVE like most immersive games can take up as much time as you give it...

also it depends on what game you play I play a Player verses Encounters (PvE) game so time is largely dictated by me. if i want say an hour on the game i will go and do a few low level encounters, if I want longer a few high level... If you are doing Player vs Player I believe that your time can be more variable depending on what your doing..
elrohana From: elrohana Date: February 12th, 2010 06:47 pm (UTC) (Link)

Newbie comment

I've been playing about 3 months, or so the list of subscription payments in my inbox tells me. I've played sporadically, and only REALLY started to play 'much' in the last few weeks, as a reaction to having much stress and busy-ness at work. I'm finding it very therapeutic, and not as hard to understand as I expected (previous experience of online gaming amounts to about a year of NWN), but I have got a seasoned player in the house to help and advise. I'm running very basic missions at the moment, they take from about 2-15 minutes to complete and the buzz of satisfaction is surprising. I;d say if you are a bit of a gamer, it would probably eat your life, but I'm not, and am finding it much more worthwhile and fun than my usual diversion which entails reading loads of forums and news websites.
9 comments or Leave a comment