I’m starting to really hate EVE Online.
I’m starting to hate it because it makes all other MMOs look like crude kids toys, like silly side activities you dabble in before getting back to the ‘real’ game. It makes events that happen in other MMOs look like droplets in the ocean that is EVE’s history. And it does all this before you even start to really compare designs, before you start to realize how well so many things in EVE work despite the fact that it’s been out almost seven years now. Think about that; seven years and pilots are still advancing in basically the same skill system, still living and thriving in basically the same set of ‘zones’, and even after seven years the economy, by far the deepest in any MMO, is as strong as ever. There have been no ‘Cataclysms” to shake things up, there have been no total revamps to systems to make them work, no “re-roll an alt and play it all again” pitches. Just the constant, inevitable progression of both the pilots and New Eden itself.
All MMOs have a set timeframe that they are expected to thrive in, to either be replaced by something else or put into maintenance mode, a relic for new players to explore. There are no major changes coming to UO or EQ1 or AC1. If you never played them, go check them out. If you have, you know what to expect, and if you’ve ‘finished’ them, you move on. All MMOs but EVE. A pilot with close to 7 years of experience is not about to ‘finish’ the games content, he is not about to ‘max out’ or finally acquire the ‘best in slot’ in everything. He is not waiting for the next content patch to have something to do. He is not taking a break until more ‘stuff’ is added. He is, in the purest sense, going about his business in EVE, with more options available to him today than he likely had the year before. Dwell on that long enough and it really is amazing, and yet seemingly so simple. It’s a virtual world after all, of course you continue living in it until you, not the content, decide to move on. Yet it’s the only game in the genre that can legitimately make that claim, and it has the growing sub numbers to back that up.
And I hate EVE because as much as I love DarkFall, and as much as I agree with what Aventurine is going for and what they have delivered, placing DF next to EVE is just sad. I mean sure, the actual combat in DF is tops in the genre, and while very different, the graphics in both games do some amazing things. But the economy, the territory conquest, the political game, and the size and impact of certain events? Or the balance issues, the long-term prospects of character development, the size of the world, the technology to handle epic battles? Not even close is an understatement, and DF is better in many of those areas than most MMOs. How well does your MMO handle 200 players all fighting each other? How often does that happen? Does the outcome affect 300k others? How much real character progression can you make after playing consistently for over a year? How solid, viable, and balanced is your crafting after three years? Are items that were useful five years ago still useful and in-demand today? Hell, will ANYTHING you are doing today matter in five years in the MMO you are playing?
All of this comes about because I was recently asked to contribute to EON magazine; they had some space for a WoW-bashing article about how anyone playing that game is a racist bully, and who understands those MMO parasites better than I do, right? (That’s not the actual topic, sadly, it’s about PLEX and RMT). During my previous times in EVE, I had never seen a copy of EON, and so when I got my copy just a few days ago, I was literally floored, and it took reading the first ten pages to get me to re-subscribe. I’m not joking about that either, literally after reading ten pages I put the magazine down, went to the computer, and re-subscribed. One can only ignore the call of something so great for so long, and with EON’s passion as evidence in front of me, it was not a hard choice.
I have an overall goal for my return, along with several smaller ones, but that’s a post for next week. For now, I’m going to finish reading EON, get the rust off from being away from EVE for so long, and attempt to figure out a way to split my time between DarkFall (not giving that game up by any means), EVE, and Guild Wars (with Aria).
And I owe it all to the magic of the sparkle pony, as without your overpriced, less-than-pointless, zerg-inducing addition, the original blog post here that started all of this would have never been written. So thanks Blizzard, I owe ya one.