Tuesday 15 June 2010

Blog Banter #18: A journey, not a destination

Welcome to the eighteenth installment of the EVE Blog Banter, the monthly EVE Online blogging extravaganza created by none other than me, CrazyKinux. The EVE Blog Banter involves an enthusiastic group of gaming bloggers, a common topic within the realm of EVE Online, and a week to post articles pertaining to the said topic. The resulting articles can either be short or quite extensive, either funny or dead serious, but are always a great fun to read! Any questions about the EVE Blog Banter should be directed to crazykinux@gmail.com.

On May 6th 2010, EVE Online celebrated its 7th Anniversary. Quite a milestone in MMO history, especially considering that it is one of the few virtual worlds out there to see its population continually grow year after year. For some of you who've been here since the very beginning, EVE has evolved quite a lot since its creation. With the expansion rolling out roughly twice a year, New Eden gets renewed and improved regularly. But, how about you the player? How has your gaming style evolved through the years or months since you've started playing? Have you always been a carebear, or roleplayer? Have you only focused on PvP or have you given other aspects of the game a chance - say manufacturing. Let's hear your story!

I've already written a lot on my past in Eve here so I will try and keep this fresh and hopefully not bore anyone into a new clone.

The TL;DR answer is that yes things have changed for me, in fact about 95% of my play style is now completely different to how I started out.

And here is the long answer.

I began playing Eve in 2006 and straight away fell into mission running. Now this is back in the days when Dodixie really was a pve paradise. It was a pretty quiet system, not the hectic hub of today (at the time Tranquility hitting 22k players was a big deal). With that fantastic level 4 Federation Navy agent and no salvage yet in game it was the perfect place to grind isk in peace and quiet. In fact, mission running forever seemed like a perfectly legitimate career to me at the time. My big goal was to one day fly a Dominix with enough skill to solo level 4s. I joined my partner's corp along with some old friends from other games and we had a few great years doing our missions together and reminiscing over days of old.

In the beginning it was quite a challenge however I inevitably reached the point where my SP and knowledge caught up with my activities. Finally I could run level 4s by myself without much hassle. And there was the problem, it had become easy. There was no longer a real challenge and running missions all night soon became dull and seemingly pointless.

I tried to expand my interests with Cosmos chains and probing down complexes but it simply wasn't enough. Production and Industry gave me a headache, mining seemed to be something you did AFK and I was very firm in my opinion that I was not "the pvp type". I avoided low-sec and 0.0 like the plague. Looking back I think I certainly had a real hang-up with the sandbox and it's something I see a lot of other new players stumbling over on the forums. In most other mmo-type games much of the game play is scripted for you, in the form of quests and storylines. It took me quite a while to realise that this isn't how Eve works.

In short, my Eve life was peaceful, safe and utterly dull and whilst I knew Eve was an amazing game I just couldn't seem to tap into that amazement.
It's probably no surprise then to hear that I took several breaks during my early years in New Eden. But ironically it was during one of these breaks that I met the catalyst which eventually changed my Eve play style forever. Here's what happened.

One evening I was sat at home playing some other (inferior) game. I looked over at my other half, Rashmika, who seemed to be having a right old jolly in Eve. I took up an over-the-shoulder spying position to see what all the noise was about. It turned out he was in some sort of giant 60 man fleet filled with ships of all shapes and sizes. I'd never seen a fleet this big before nor some of the ships that were present.

The fleet was warping around low-sec trying to locate an enemy fleet of similar proportions. Rash's speakers were spitting out all the fleet chatter and it sounded like some sort of army operation, with intel flying in and tactics being discussed. Over the top of it all came the authoritative voice of some god-like being called a "Fleet Commander", directing and controlling his fleet. I'd never seen anything like it before and found myself completely glued to what was going on. The chatter soon became more frantic and then the screen filled with orange dots as the enemy fleet arrived... WOAH!

I was swiftly shooed away as the fight kicked off but continued to watch in the background. If I was a cartoon it would have been a true jaw hits the floor moment. You can do THIS in Eve?

After the fight Rash explained to me that he was trying something new that had just started in the game called "Faction War". Apparently you could pvp around low-sec, hunting people in the opposing militia. I was most curious indeed.

Ok there will be people reading this thinking, well DUH it's a pvp game and 60 man fleets are pretty tiny in the grand scheme of things... and yes I knew this. I'd always known it and had read on the forums and heard stories about piracy and the epic battles 0.0. But seeing and hearing pvp in the flesh like that, after years of actively avoiding it, was like finally realising I had feelings for a forbidden lover.

It was this fight, a fight I wasn't even part of (I wasn't even subbed to the game), that helped to tempt me down a whole new path in Eve.

It was a slow journey however. I am stubborn as hell and detest change so when I returned to Eve it was straight back to my pve ways. But things were certainly different now. My corp had all but disbanded before I'd left, having been subject to a rather brutal war dec. The memory of this time along with the curiosity of this new Faction War thing had sown a seed of pvp in my head. Many of my old corp members had also started to drift back and it seemed that many of them had been having a taste of pvp in different ways. Some had been in low-sec, some in 0.0 and our CEO had been in RvB as well as his stint in Faction War. We were still Carebears, but this time around we had teeth.

It was Rash who first suggested that we put the corp into Faction War for one weekend a month, so everyone could indulge in a little consequence free pvp on the side... and the rest, as they say, is history.

One weekend each month soon became two weekends, then pretty much every weekend. Before long it was a few weeks at a time. In August 2009 we merged our active pvpers into Shadows of the Federation, one of the most prominent Faction War corps in the Gallente Militia.

And today? Well of course I'm still with Shadows, and also a corp Director. SOTF is also now part of an unofficial pvp alliance within the Gallente Militia. I spend almost every night that I'm online scouting, tackling or causing explosions in some way (sometimes my own asplosion rather than someone elses, meh!). In a couple of months I will have been out here for a year, and I still love it.
I guess it has been quite a journey. Eve has pretty much become a new game for me and a world I now see with different eyes. I also see the future in a more open ended way. Will I become a pirate? Live in a wormhole? Harvest tears from the Carebears of Dodixie, the system I once called my home? I will never say never... I've realised that, just like real life, Eve is indeed a journey and not a destination.

Banter participants list:
  1. CrazyKinux's Musing: The Heroes with a Thousand Faces
  2. StarFleet Comms: Life. Evolved.
  3. A Carebear's Journeu: This Carebear Thinks He Is Developing Teeth
  4. The Elitist: Our ventures in EVE
  5. A Mule in EVE: From a guppy predator
  6. Travels of the Ronin: Evolution and Adaptation
  7. The Ralpha Dogs: The Past Through Tomorrow
  8. Where the frack is my ship: A journey, not a destination
  9. I am Keith Neilson: 7 Year Itch?
  10. Inner Sanctum of the Ninveah: Evolution Me
  11. EVE Opportunist: A long history of a short time
  12. Roc's Ramblings: Things Change
  13. Guns Ablaze: Onwards and Upwards
  14. EVE On Real Life: Haven't you grown up yet?
  15. The Fang: The path of the ninja
  16. EVEOGANDA: Whoops Apocalypse!
  17. EVE SOB: Learning to swim
  18. The Life of a Dead Jester: My Time with EVE
  19. Personal Files, Ciarente Roth: Personal Diary 18.6.112
  20. Learning to Fly: Change is Good
  21. Depths Unknown: Falling With Style
  22. Morphisat’s Blog: Jack of all trades
  23. Sarnelbinora's Blog: Thoughts of EVE
  24. Confessions of a Closet Carebear: It's the yellow box, stupid...
  25. Adventures in Mission Running: My path amongst the stars
  26. When 11 Ninjas isn't enough: First days in the North (continued)
  27. More as they get published...

(er yes this post dissapeared for a short while... sorry too much sun today!)

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