EVE Online is a game I should love, but I hate it, and I love hating it, but I also hate that I love to hate it. We have a complex relationship, EVE Online and I. I was in the beta, played for a year or so after launch, before people started getting wise to the meta-game, but I played it “wrong”. My skills were all over the place, and no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t make money. After a long absence, my friends and I made a concerted effort to jump in together, and we finally got our act together enough to earn some decent pocket change, but we were eventually run out of town by the kind of asshattery that EVE is so good at promoting. I had vowed that after that, there would be no reason to return again; I had played my fill, knew what it was about, and it certainly wasn’t about anything that I agreed with.
Of course, “never say never” is not just an adage, but a way of life. The 2017 EVE Fanfest happened/is happening as of the time of this writing, and there have been a few announcements of worth. One is that there’ll be an EVE-themed mobile game that sounds a lot like Ingress, although without the location services. The other is a whole suite of updates that focus on PvE, the part of the game that the hardcore EVE players probably wish didn’t exist (I can’t imagine how they’re taking this announcement right now).
Among the bevy of changes is the introduction of increased pirate activity in high-security space. Pirates in EVE had always been used as one of the primary PvE targets in missions, and sometimes as irritations for miners who just wanted to strip rocks in peace. Now, however, pirates are getting a shot in the arm. They’ll be opening forward operating bases in high-sec, and they’ll be attacking faction mining operations. Pirates will now actively harass players with negative pirate-faction standing, which should help fulfill CCP’s desire to make pirates behave more like real players.
EVE has a lot of stuff to do for those who want to do it, but a lot of that stuff is engineering degree-level complex, with a lot of little UI numbers and icons that help to make everything seem way more complex than it should be. Thing is, I like that. I like the feeling of coming to grips with the systems that are unnecessarily complicated because it feels like what doing these activities in a sci-fi setting should feel like. But at this point, if you miss a release and the accompanying explanation on how to use the new system, you’re behind the 8-ball. Missing one results in a scramble to catch up; missing several is like going to college if you decide to take that route. Honestly, I have no idea where or if there’s a resource out there that explains everything up to now, because my furthest progressed character can Do Stuff, but I’m no longer sure how.
I’m considering signing up for a month to see this new Lifeblood expansion which is due out at the end of October, and that might be enough time to reacquaint myself with the depths of the game. Unfortunately, I’m running solo, which in EVE is very much like a “tourist” status: yes, I can see the sights, but I won’t be able to get any of the true EVE experiences that I would in a group. I don’t think that EVE will ever be my “forever MMO”, but I think I like to return on occasion just to see what I’m missing, and also to remind myself why I’m missing it.Read More »