EVE Online

19May07

I’ve been away from the blog for a while, still need to get used to doing this on a more regular basis. What I have been doing in the meantime is (1) bartending which, while generally thankless, does provide the opportunity for me to get away from the computer and read; (2) working on the oral history project which is greatly picking up steam and I need to find a way to break it to the bartending management; and (3) EVE Online.

EVE is gigantically, titanically, cavernously, enormously BIG. I mean other virtual worlds are big, it would take a few hours to run end to end on one of Azeroth’s continents. But Eve is larger than anyone can really imagine. It is so starkly barren, one rarely sees other players, and given the intrinsic PvP aspects of the game, you’re generally better off for it. Nevertheless, in addition to its “geography” (galaxgraphy? univergraphy?) it has a overwhelmingly complex and robust trade and bartering system. There is no simple “take loot to vendor, get coins from vendor, buy sword from AH with coins” economy here – contracts, corporations, bounties, margins, taxes… it can be overwhelming. But it’s also really interesting, plus I get to play out my ambitions of being the renegade gun-for-hire like Hans Solo.

Like I said before, EVE has a small player base, maybe 30-50k active; but it definitely attracts a very different crowd based upon my interactions. One “levels” in the game, not necessarily by repetitive combat to gain experience, but by learning skills that train in real time… ie, powerleveling is impossible since your character’s power is tied to skills that require finite amounts of time to learn. Gone are many of the behaviors that are stereotypically associated with hormonal teenage boys ganking and pwning everything in sight; public channels and Vent conversations are measured and mature and even the OOC discussions about politics or current events occur on a higher plane than most games. That being said, the mechanics of gameplay are tedious, repetitive, and have an enormous learning curve – nevertheless EVE should be an interesting case study or counterpoint to many other virtual worlds.

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