Saturday, September 25, 2010

Welcome to EVE A to Z

Welcome to EVE A to Z, the newest EVE blog. I am very excited to present this blog to you. We’ve got quite a trip ahead of us, and we’re undocking now. So strap in, hold on, and enjoy the ride!

I’ve been playing video games since there’ve been video games to play. I still remember the first night my dad brought Pac Man home. I’d never seen a video game, never seen a computer. There was a magic to video games in those days, days when people still played Monopoly and UNO. Somewhere along the line, that magic faded away. I thought it had been lost forever until the first time I played EVE.

In those early days I had a favorite video game—everyone did. Most people in those days either played video games in arcades, or, if they were really lucky, they had an Atari console at home (remember those?). Well, in a way, I was even more lucky. We didn’t have an Atari console; we had an Atari computer! An 800XL. This computer played video games too; it had its own cartridges. And at least at the time, it seemed the computer games were superior to the console games in graphics (they were, but someone with today’s eyes might not even notice the difference, it was so small).

My favorite game was called Star Raiders. I don’t know if games didn’t come with instruction manuals in those days, or if ours had just disappeared. What I do know is all I had was the cartridge, and I had to figure out how to play the game on my own. The Atari 800XL could use two joysticks—the classic Atari black joystick with one red button. In the game you flew a starship.

Almost every button on the keyboard did something—and it took me a while to figure out what they all did. You could change your speeds, raise and lower shields, fire photons (which were bursts of pixels), go to warp. The game was so basic. The graphics were laughable. But I loved it. I played that game every chance I got.

In those days, playing a video game was like reading a book—you had to inject a lot of your own imagination into it. The graphics sucked, the options were extremely limited, and there was no story. There were no voice actors, they had crappy digitronic “music”, and there were no in-game cinematics. I lived whole adventures in my mind, while I flew my ship around fighting the “bad guys”.

Even now, decades later, that first love affair with a video game has stuck with me. My inner dream has always been to find a game that was as immersive and inspiring in reality as that game was in my mind.

To me, a quantum leap in gaming occurred when I played my first MMORPG—Everquest. I’d gotten into playing roleplaying games in high school (D&D, Vampire: the Masquerade, Changeling: the Dreaming, Star Wars). Here was a video game that blended an RPG with a virtual digital world. Again I was hooked.

That love affair was short-lived; it didn’t last nearly as long as my relationship with Star Raiders. Everquest had a lot of problems; the MMORPG was a new creation; there were a lot of bugs to work out. It was light years better than MUD’s and MUSH’s (which I’d never been able to get into), but ultimately I found it frustrating to play. In the end, it was vastly inferior to tabletop roleplaying, and definitely not worth $15 a month to play.

So I gave up on MMORPG’s and video games altogether, figuring it was time to “grow up” anyway. But I still played my tabletop RPG’s (I was almost always the storyteller).

I had a buddy who played WoW when it came out, and he played EVE too. I had no desire to play WoW. My experiences with Everquest had scarred me. EVE looked cool, but I didn’t want to get into it. I was devoting a lot of time to my Changeling, D&D, and Vampire adventures (which I ran). I still considered a video game inferior. Deep down, I think I was afraid of EVE disappointing me, so I never tried it.

About two years ago, I installed a trial account of WoW out of sheer boredom. I had no intention of ever playing it for real, but I had a buzz on a Saturday night, with nothing to do, and I thought it might be a fun diversion. I ended up enjoying it more than I thought I would. I found a lot of the problems I’d had with Everquest had been fixed. I found a great guild and played WoW for about a year, and had quite a bit of fun with it.

Then I hit level 80. It took me a while because I had a few characters I played—a warlock, priest, mage, and paladin. I had fun being level 80 for about two weeks, and then the heroic grind got really boring. I watched some YouTube videos of raids, thinking maybe that would be fun to get into. It didn’t look remotely fun to me. Doing the same fights over and over and over, just to get some new piece of gear. Stupid.

About that time a lot of people in my WoW guild were trying EVE, so I figured, what the hell? Again I installed a trial, thinking I’d probably never play it for real. Again I was wrong, and I was hooked. For real this time.

EVE is superior to WoW in so many ways, I won’t even go into it here. Maybe I’ll do a post on it in the future. EVE is the game I always wanted Star Raiders to be—immersive, complicated, fun, beautiful.

I have been playing EVE a little over a month now. I guess you’d say I’m a noob, but don’t hold that against me! I’ve been reading everything about EVE I can get my hands on. I am a sponge when it comes to learning. I read fast, have great reading comprehension, and my hunger for knowledge is never satiated. EVE is a game I can really sink my teeth into. In my mind, WoW seemed very much a “kids’ game.” EVE is for adults.

I’ve been wanting to do a blog for a while now. I’ve just been waiting for the right idea for a theme to hit me. Now it has.

This is an EVE blog. I call it EVE A to Z because, like me and my experience in the game, this blog will grow and evolve over time. The blog is going to be divided into series (or seasons if you prefer). Each series will have a particular theme.

This first series will, among other things, be a guide to the new EVE player. There is a LOT to learn in this game, and even now, there are new players every day. There’s a lot of great information out there, and I don’t intend to reinvent the wheel here. I will be sharing with you what I learn about EVE, as I learn it. I will be sharing all the wonderful resources I find along the way. Expect to find lots of links in this blog! If there’s something you want to know how to do in EVE, and if you find a post on it in this blog, you will find links to the best material I could find on the net.

My intent is to publish at least one “episode” a week. In the beginning, at least, there will likely be more than one episode most weeks. However, one episode a week is my commitment to you. I will do my best to keep it.

I have some ideas for the following series, but I don’t want to get too ahead of myself. I already have lots of ideas for series one. However, I am always open to suggestions. If there’s a topic you’d like to see in this blog, please email me. If I was already planning to do that topic, I will move it ahead in the queue and cover it sooner if I get requests for it.

Please feel free to email me with comments, or you can contact me in-game if you like what you see here. If you contact me in-game, I suggest you send me an EVE-mail as opposed to trying to convo me. I don’t always accept convo’s from people I don’t know, but if you EVE-mail me, I will get back to you. Once I know you, I will accept convo’s. Please try to keep your comments constructive. If you have an issue with something I say, or how I’m doing things, please let me know. Just do it constructively. Respect and courtesy are key. I am very open to constructive criticism, but no one wants to listen to nastiness.

Comments are moderated on this blog just to avoid spam. I have no intention of blocking legitimate comments, and I will try to post them in a timely manner. That said, however, I do have a real life, so please keep that in mind.

I will get the first real post up soon. Until then,

Fly smart.