I’ve been suffering from one of the worst cases of bitter vet syndrome lately, my feelings of ‘treading water’ slipping into outright sinking. Sadly, the decision of whether or not to continue playing has been on my mind quite a lot. There are reasons I play the game besides entertainment, however. Chief of which, lately, is as an escape to get my mind off of a rather stressful day job that I occasionally have trouble ‘turning off’ when I come home at night.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the ‘reality’ of EVE, and how it is often very different a game from what people expect. As I’m doing other things on the internet, EVE ads occasionally popup on my screen and I smile at the promises of epic space battles and the opportunity to ‘be the villain.’
Epic space battles often are few and far between. And, becoming a villain has become so popular over the last ten years, that being a ‘bad guy’ in EVE is somewhat mediocre. After all, being a ‘bad’ guy is relative. If everyone becomes a ‘bad’ guy then nobody really is one.
For me, beyond the escape of losing myself in my various trading schemes, and the comings and goings of various alts and projects, a lot of what draws me in most is the people.
Sometimes, my ‘EVE time’ comprises of a rather long chat with an alliance mate, during which he tells me all about his home in New Zealand—a place that seems so distant it might as well be out of a fairy tale for me.
Sometimes, EVE lacks explosions of the spaceship kind, and instead I read a heated debate over in-game channels between some Australian corpmates about whether the lyrics to a popular Australian folk song talk about a kangaroo, or a barbecue out back. (Youtube eventually confirmed it’s a Kangaroo!)
Last night, there were Amarr and Minmatar in-system. There was a little smack talk, and not a lot of fighting. There was also mutual frustration and sadness expressed over the recent death of Robin Williams, and reminiscing about the various movies and etc. he had played in over the years.
Sometimes, I simply sit back and read. I love stories. Not necessarily fiction, or in a role-playing kind of way. But the ‘real’ stories around EVE. For example, I could care less if you told me another titan died. Ships die. It’s what they do. The fun part is the story of the semi-unexperienced dread pilot who nervously jumped into the fray trying to figure out when to cycle guns and siege, and then coming out with her first super capital blood drawn, and the killmail to boot. (And the idea of a big bad Goon titan being killed by someone named ‘Pixie Vixen’ made me giggle almost uncontrollably for a few moments…)
Sometimes, my entire enjoyment for the evening involves trolling my CEO. He’s a particularly grumpy sort and never fails to tell me how much he hates me and how bad I am at EVE. Sometimes, I bring a condor in his fleet just to hear him rage at me about how all I ever fly is tech-1 frigates. Or half way through a roam in which we’re all supposed to be in kitey stuff, I cheekily imply (as nonchalant as possible) that I brought a brawler. Sometimes it’s a little too much fun getting a rise out of him.
I guess for some, it’s all about the battles and explosions and the ticks they add on their killboards.
But EVE is not just about spaceships. And some days, that fact is the only reason I play.