It's easy to take the things around us for granted. Sometimes it's good to stop and take a look around, try to see with new eyes. Especially in EVE, it seems so many become jaded. It's easy to complain; it takes more effort to be positive. It takes even more effort to see things as they truly are.
I have recently joined a new corporation, Lone Star Exploration. I had a lot of fun yesterday doing some combat ops in the corp, and I found myself thinking about what an amazing game EVE is. To make my point, I will compare and contrast EVE with another game I used to play that some of you may be familiar with--World of Warcraft. Now before the groaning starts (I'm already too late, aren't I?), let me just say that I'm using WoW as an example of your "standard" "run-of-the-mill" MMO. I could just as easily be talking about EQ, D&D Online, Lord of the Rings Online, or RIFT.
In WoW you had some options for how to play the game. In an attempt to keep this post from becoming a novella, I'll simplify. When you logged on to WoW, you could basically choose between 4 play styles or activities. You could:
- Run Instances
- Run Battlegrounds
Again, this is a bit simplified, but good enough to illustrate the point I'm making here. In a nutshell, those were your choices when playing WoW. As much as I love RIFT (and I do), it's very similar. If you're anything like me, by the time you played a character to level 80 in WoW, you were pretty sick of questing (especially since there are only 4 or 5 quests in the game--all the rest are just variations on the theme). You'd done the instances appropriate for your level. Battlegrounds can be fun, if that's your thing, but surely they get boring after a while too (I wouldn't know; I'd get bored in a battleground within minutes). Raiding was supposedly the be-all-end-all of WoW, but you had to sign large portions of your life (aka time) away to participate, and even then you faced the long grind of "gearing up". To me, the results of a cost-benefit analysis of raiding came out as a joke.
A lot of people seemed to do the same thing when they got bored with WoW--make up an alt. And another. And another.
As an aside, let me just say that RIFT is a huge improvement over WoW in my book. I'd predict it will be the WoW killer, but that would hardly be original. I think the writing is pretty clear on the wall to anyone who's played both games. Their character-customization is second to none in the genre and will hopefully lead to fewer altaholics (although I hear purple fever is still at epidemic proportions).
When I think of EVE, on the other hand, I can make quite an exhaustive list of things I can do and the various play styles that exist. No matter how well I do with the list, I'm sure I'll miss some. Here are just a sample of ways I've played the game since I began last August:
- I've done the whole missioning thing. Kind of like questing in WoW and just as boring, monotonous, and repetitive (not to mention having zero impact on the world/galaxy).
- I've done ore mining. A perfect activity for those who want to do something so boring and monotonous in a game that they spend most their time tabbed out doing something else. Oh, and you get to do it for a pittance too. And yet miners abound...
- I've had a small amount of experience in small fleet PvP. Now there's some real fun.
- I've done solo-roam PvP. Not a lot of it, but enough to discover I have a lot to learn about PvP. Loads of fun, though.
- I've done high and low sec exploration, and then run the sites. I really enjoyed that, and for some reason it seems a lot more fun than missioning.
- I've flipped some cans, just to see what it was like. I'm still amazed there still people silly enough to jetcan mine. The first couple times were fun, but after that it was like spearing fish in a barrel--no challenge and therefore little real fun.
- I've ninja salvaged, just for kicks. Same problems as number 6. Picking fights with those unable (not to mention unwilling) to defend themselves is just not my idea of a good time.
- I've done some trading and hauling. Boring but profitable.
- I've done loads of scanning in wormholes. Kind of a mini-game that is fun at first but can quickly lead to burn-out.
- I've done gas harvesting. A little more fun than shooting rocks, if only because it pays a hell of a lot better and doesn't take as long.
- I've run sleeper combat sites. The best PvE experience I've had in EVE hands-down. Unlike missioning in high sec, at least it's somewhat of a challenge.
- I've done planetary interaction. Kind of a diverting mini-game. As far as play experience, I'd rate it up there with Minesweeper or Bejewled. If I could do it on my iPod it would be a great way to pass time while standing in line.
Whew! Quite a list. And then there are all the things I haven't tried. Things like:
- Ice Mining
- Moon mining
- Nullsec blobbing
- Pirating argh!
- Corporate espionage/takeover
- Other forms of metagaming
- Being a director or CEO of a corp
- Scouting for a PvP fleet op
- Running with a Black Ops/Covert Ops fleet. I'd really like to try this some day. Sounds like a lot of fun.
- Epic story arcs. I've heard great things about these. I did most of the Sisters arc and wasn't impressed, so I haven't tried any of the others.
- Playing the markets
- And so much more
Once Incarna is going strong, I think EVE will truly be a game with something for everyone.
All of this makes me suspect CCP may be right. EVE is forever, or at least, it could be. I've never played another game that has so much to do. I haven't even been playing a year, and already I have a good list of things I've tried in the game, and a longer list of things I haven't done yet.
In WoW, if you got bored you had to either make a new character or find a new game. In EVE if you get bored, you can find a new area of the game to explore. I've been in high sec corps and wormhole corps. If I ever got sick of wormholes (I'm sure it will happen eventually), I could join a low sec PvP corp or a null sec alliance. There are so many options, the main limitations are ones I put on myself. For instance, I have no interest in blobbing or in manufacturing.
It's really amazing how much there is to do in this game, how many ways there are to play it. I can't help but wonder what other play styles there are. If you play the game in a way I haven't mentioned, feel free to comment and add to the list. You might just give me an idea for my next endeavor.
For another article about a similar topic, check out Sleepless in Space.