I've been playing MMOG's for well over a decade. I started with Everquest at the start of the Millennium, in fact I think I was playing EQ back in 1999 (although back then it was called Neverquest thanks to the stability of the servers). Then there was Star Wars Galaxies. Next up, World of Warcraft. Then Age of Conan I think. Bit of Warhammer Online after that. WoW was the one that kept plodding along in the background though. And like all games, I'd blast them from a couple of months and then go AFK and do something else for a few weeks or a few months. In fact, it appears I was well known for this cycle of game playing, particularly as I followed some friends who also hopped between these games.
I was told a while ago that one of those friends said to my first CEO when I joined Eve Online I would "....get bored after a few months, go afk a few weeks and come back refreshed".
Looking back, he was right...... before Eve Online. That was my traditional pattern of gaming. Play, burn-out, do something else, play, burn-out, do something else......
I was having a chat to a mate last weekend (an Eve-made one, not one of those I knew before) who pointed out that basically I've not had a break from Eve...... ever!
To be honest I'd not thought about that, and he's right. Over the last four years, the longest time I've gone without logging into Eve is two weeks. And each of those times it's been because I was on holiday somewhere hot with good scuba diving. I can recall texting from the poolside in the Dominican Republic to my CEO and tbh, that's a bit sad and geeky! I play almost every day and usually 6 nights a week!
So why did Eve Online break my usual cycle of play/burn-out/play/burn-out? What is different about this game?
To get the best out of Eve, you need to play it with people. It's a game to enjoy with friends, have a laugh. I do enjoy fleet fights and gangs, but I also enjoy solo. 1v1's are some of the best fights and really get the blood pumping. But when I'm solo'ing I'm not alone. I'm on voice comms. Whether if it's our resident Greek player being trolled by the Germans over their finances, two ship fitting "experts" telling each other they know FA, our CEO telling us why it's not good to have naked piggy-back riding with the female rugby team after 8 hours in the bar whilst his father-in-law is there or simply tales of apricot scrub or Scandinavian doors, there is usually something interesting going on.
Now don't get me wrong. Given the choice between being down the bar with the lads or being online doesn't compare. But on an online sense, Eve is the closest I've got to an "online bar".
OK, it very much depends what you do in game. Mine all the time, then no, you're not getting a lot of variety. However, PvP is very varied. Compare that to doing dungeons/raids in other MMOG's that are the same enemies, doing the same thing, in the same place, using the same AI. Surprises like 4 super carriers being dropped on your head, and then surprising them with 25 dreadnoughts? They don't come in many other games. Fight the same guy, but different ships, different fight. The sandbox offers you a hundred different "careers" and if you get bored of one, you can try another.
Play-driven Story Lines
The big stories in Eve aren't created by the developers, they are created by the players. Several times this year our "little faction war alliance" has hit the news. Some times it's just blogs, sometimes its Eve news sites like EveNews24 and best of all, sometimes CCP even mention our antics. With some of these a couple of hundred people will read about us, a few articles will have thousands and the rare one will have tens of thousands reading about what you did the night before.
I've always been a fan of Sci-Fi, why are these so few MMOG set in a sci-fi universe? Warp engines, laser cannons, tractor beams, cloaking devices. I love that shit!
So I guess I'll be playing Eve for some time more by the look of things. Diablo III is out (although who knows when it'll hit the shelves here in the desert, and no, with restricted bandwidth downloading it is not an option) which might cause a very minor blip to my Eve playing. The re imagination of-XCOM: Enemy Unknown later this year might cause a bigger blip (I bloody loved the original) and may be, who knows, DUST might also be a blip. However I'm waiting for the finished game and reviews before I buy a PS3 just for a single game.
Why has Eve pulled me in where no other game has? I really don't think the above explains it fully. How can this game suck you in and devour you. May be there are subliminal suggestions in "Below the Asteroids".
But what ever it is that keeps me coming back for more, it keeps me happy!