Why I Can't Quit Eve Online

I sit, nervously waiting, with my hands on the controls.  I listen intently, but all I can hear is my ragged breathing.  My head is on a constant swivel, urgently searching the space around me for enemies; searching to make sure I’m in my assigned position.  The call goes out, “I’ve got point! Bridge is up! Jump! Jump! Jump!” Hurriedly, I try and follow orders, not knowing what might happen next.

We decloak, my fleet mates and I, and plunge our ship through the hole that was just ripped through space and time.  Ending up on the far side, a massive ship pounds away at our tackler – the nickname for someone who shuts down a ship’s warp engines, keeping him from getting away – missiles shearing away the precious shields that keep our tackler’s ship alive.  If those shields go down, even for a short time, the heavy missiles of the enemy Tengu-class strategic cruiser will obliterate massive chunks of armor, very likely destroying our tackler, an Arazu-class recon ship.

Luckily, this time it turned out well, and we all made it back safely with our clients happy – we’re mercenaries, you see, paid to be here by another player and keep an alliance from utilizing an entire region of space, denying them precious resources.  We fight outgunned and outmanned, deep inside enemy territory.  We usually win. This is why I play EVE Online.

EVE is a difficult game to quantify.  In the most basic of stylings, it’s a sci-fi sandbox MMO, but that doesn’t tell anyone much about what makes EVE great to some and a nightmare to others.  EVE is so big, so – dare I say – ambitious, that it has the ability to reach out to hundreds of thousands of people in totally different ways.  If you were to ask 10 people what they enjoyed about EVE the most, you’d probably get a mix of 10 different answers.  I’d like to share three reasons why I love and continue to keep coming back to EVE Online month after month, even when I thought I was done with it for good.

  • Single Server

Unlike almost every MMO on the market, EVE Online doesn’t separate its player base among servers. There’s only one in EVE.  That means that if you log in, you’re playing with every other EVE Online subscriber that’s logged in with you.  More importantly, it means your actions have a real effect on every other single player in the game.  Blowing up a ship means that there’s one less in circulation for the entire game.  When everyone plays in the same place, it gives your actions weight and meaning, and that’s something not many games can say.  Every MMO tries to make you feel special, but only EVE has made me feel like I matter.

  • Economy

Quite simply, the economy in EVE Online runs everything.  No matter what aspect of EVE you might play, whether you’re an industrial player (crafter), a hauler, a trader, a PvP expert, an explorer, or any other ‘profession’ you can think of in EVE, you’re beholden to the market.  In EVE, almost every single item has to be created by players from scratch, and almost always takes a chain of people to produce a final good. From ammunition to drones to capital ships, someone, somewhere, mined the minerals, hauled the minerals to a station, refined the minerals, processed the minerals into a product, and then combined multiple products with minerals to create an even more complex product, which was then put on the market and bought by someone else.  Every time you fire a round of ammunition or destroy a ship, a new one must be produced to replace it.  It’s so complex that CCP, the company behind EVE Online, has an entire team of economists, headed up by a man with a doctorate.  This economical team even puts out quarterly reports (although now it’s only internally released, where it used to be given to the public).

  • PVP

EVE Online is somewhat notorious for its PVP.  There are many people who don’t find the interface-heavy, menu-based system any fun.  Other people find the combat challenging and thoughtful.  Personally, I’m one of the latter.

There are many types of PVP in EVE, so to speak, but I’ll focus on what I know best – small gang warfare. As I stated, I play a mercenary.  We’re often hired to sneak behind enemy lines and disrupt their supply lines or cause as much damage as possible for the benefit of our benefactor.  We’re also usually employed against large groups of people compared to our small numbers, because guerrilla warfare doesn’t require massive amounts of men to be effective.  It does require a certain type of play style though, which I find tactical, thoughtful, and intriguing.  Plans must be laid in advance, and situations must be dissected from a different perspective.  Clever tactics must be employed to come out victorious against larger numbers, and the thrill of winning when your enemy outnumbers you two to one is a feeling unique to itself.  Heck, most games don’t even offer the chance to fight like this. It’s moments like the one I described in the first few paragraphs that I login every day for.  Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose, but the unknown is alluring.

EVE is not an easy game to get into, and it certainly isn’t perfect.  But, if you can put in the time and effort to get “over the hump”, it’s a rewarding game. One that is certainly the most satisfying game I’ve ever played as  consistently produces gameplay that doesn’t get boring.  For $0.50 a day, I find it’s a hell of a bargain. Won’t you join me on the bleak frontier of space?

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