Tuesday 13 April 2010

All's fair in love and war

April is my favourite month of the year. The last threat of frost is over and the chill of winter replaced with fresh yet warm mid-spring air. The birds outside are “at it” like drunken Romans and everything seems to be growing. The world has gone green and suddenly feels like a much brighter place to be.

This month marks 2 special real-life occasions in my personal calendar. Firstly my birthday (feel free to send gifts to top station Villore) and secondly the anniversary of the day I first met my other half.

Rash (short for Rashmika Clavain, as he is known in-game) and I had our first date 5 years ago this month. We actually "met" about 2 years before-hand, in the mmo Star Wars Galaxies. Since then we have played several online games together including the one that stuck, Eve Online. The arrival of our wonderful daughter 3 years ago had a rather devastating side effect on our social lives, but Eve was a hobby we could both enjoy together at home and without the need for a babysitter. Thus our addiction grew.

There is a chap in my corp who often jokes about how we surely play together; snuggled on the sofa whilst playing our respective laptops with one hand whilst at the same time kanoodling with the other. No doubt periodically gazing into each other’s eyes and sneaking off for a quickie during long gate camps or POS ops. Ah living the gaming couple dream. I have tried to explain to him that this isn't what happens, but I'm not sure he believes me.
Just as real life romance is never a fairy tale neither is romance in Eve. Let me give you an example of what I mean.
Imagine you are engaged in some sort of difficult touch and go combat situation. Let’s say you are trying to keep your ship alive but also keep the enemy red boxing and interested long enough for your dps to arrive. You’re flying something fast but flimsy and you need to concentrate on keeping a balance between baiting a heavier target, not making it obvious, and not exploding. Voice coms are a little frantic as your fleet burns best speed to your location. Your heart is racing, you are totally focussed on game play… you are in the zone!

Then someone in the real world starts peering over your shoulder and adding helpful commentary…
Oooh be careful... hmm hon make more range… no, more range… ahh his drones are out he’s going to get you now… oooooh that hurt… bail hon just bail... get out hon… align, align! What are you doing…? WHAT ARE YOU DOING? Well I wouldn't have done that… AWW YOU LOST YOUR SHIP… quick get your pod out, GET YOUR POD OUT! Omg how did he get your pod? What were you thinking? Shall I tell you what I would have done there…?

That’s a pretty accurate rendition based over several true incidents. All followed by severe glaring and silent treatment, which HE obviously doesn’t notice, but it makes me feel slightly better all the same.

I guess you could say art imitates life, and I often think we are prime examples of this. Our different personalities come out in the game and in some respects so does our relationship.

Whilst Rash and I have much in common we also have strong opinions that don't always match up. There have been several occasions in the past where our voice coms have suddenly gone very quiet whilst we had a private "debate" on some Eve matter. I confess that there have been times when leaving an Eve dispute at the computer and not taking it away to the real world has been hard to do.

But with all things considered there are some rather fantastic benefits to having a partner who shares your Eve addiction, such as;

- You always have a scout

- Your partner understands that the middle of a fleet battle is not a suitable time to go AFK to check on the baby/cook dinner/speak to the mother-in-law about her borked email.

- You have a 2 man fleet with perfect voice coms.

- You have someone face to face to help explain things rather than picking through blurry videos or complex written descriptions. I helped Rash get to grips with the new probing system and he helped me get to grips with, well, everything else.

- There is a much lower % chance of being sent to the sofa for staying up till 2am on some long winded but essential a POS op

- If you have 1 account each, that is still a minimum of 6 potential alts for Eden-wide price checks.

- You can take advantage of each others separate career paths. If one of you is into mining and the other into production for example you have the makings of a good business partnership. Or in our case if one of you does a spot of invention and the other looses lots of ships you can get a nice deal on replacements... sometimes.

- If you are both equal in your Eve addiction then there is no chance of either partner suffering the dreaded "gaming widow syndrome".

But there is something else, something that goes much deeper. You have a 100% trusted comrade to confess and confide in, which is a rare thing to have in a game like Eve. I have been Rash's sounding board on all manner of Eve matters particularly when it comes to other players and corp running help. In return he has always been there for me when I've hit a technical block or more importantly when matters relating to my Directorship role have started to feel like a chore. He is always there to drag me away from my keyboard and enforce a much needed break when he knows that I need one but I don't realise that I do. We both have this voice of reason sat next to us, which we might not always agree with, but it is always there non-the-less.

I'd be quite interested in hearing how other couples who play together get along in Eve and what ups and downs you have faced... or are you living the dream on the sofa?!

Or do you prefer to keep Eve separate? A private escape from the real world?

Personally, I would say to anyone who has a partner showing an interested in what you are doing sat plugged into your PC all night - go for it and show them the beauty of New Eden. Playing Eve with someone you love can enhance your game 100 times over. Just don't expect it to run smoothly all the time. And never ever take your Eve arguments to bed, just the making up stuff.

Happy Anniversary Rash. Here’s to the next 5 years of ups, downs and everything in between. Both in Eve and out of it! x


  1. Great write up! Now if I can just get my wife to read this! Actually, she is a "very" casual gamer, and believes Eve is much too complicated. While she may be right, it only takes a few months to get up to speed, and then you just continue your learning as you play. Congrats on finding a hobby that you both enjoy! Here's to many more years of gaming!

  2. "No doubt periodically gazing into each other’s eyes and sneaking off for a quickie during long gate camps or POS ops"

    [22:45:53] Eelis Kiy > oops i went afk on a gate for a shag :s

  3. Hah! Busted by Drakarn!

    On a serious note this is a great little post and best wishes to you and Rash.


  4. Very cute writeup :) My husband doesn't play EVE--has no desire to, for which I'm thankful. But he is indulgent, thankfully.

  5. Cool write up Eelis.

    My gf doesn't play eve or intend too and she always cooks dinner at the worst possible moment. I think she does that on purpose though. I find the hardest thing is balancing the time with her which is why I don't play as much as I would like, but I think that's only fair. :)

    Looking forward to the meetup to meet people's other halves who also have to endulge the pain that is a eve player haha.

  6. Hmm my comment seems to have not appeared *eyes wine glass suspiciously*... Thanks for all the feedback folks, had a great response to this ingame too, haven't found any lovesick eve puppies yet but I'm sure theres a pair out there somewhere heh!

    And as for you Drack, that was a one off! :P