avevale_intelligencer: (Default)
I was boggling earlier at people selling EVE Online money and resources in the real world. Having played the game for a little while, I’m beginning to see the point.

EVE is actually extremely dull. It’s been described (not by me) as a glorified screen saver, and you do spend the vast majority of your time watching your ship zooming through space or hanging in a hangar. You never see people, or planets, or even yourself, apart from the portrait on your character sheet, which always comes out looking like a bus pass photo. There are three things you can do: trade, mine asteroids, or fight. And to do any of those effectively you need to upgrade your ship, your weapons and your skills. And that comes pricey.

So you start out like a first level mage in a game full of amped-up heroes. I got a very generous leg-up from Rolf and Carole’s characters, but it’s still going to take me months of play to get to a point where I would dare to get into a fight, or mine in a belt where there’s a chance of finding something worthwhile (the rare and expensive minerals are only found in belts where you’re liable to be jumped on by half a dozen bigger ships before you’ve got your laser warmed up). Trading is the safest way of making ISK, but also the most boring. The game is addictive, but it’s the addiction of constantly deferred expectations: maybe next time I’ll make enough to get a bigger rail gun/cargo hold/whatever… Just like real life, in fact.

Compare and contrast. I’ve played Riven, Exile and Uru several times now, and I never get tired of them. There’s always a pay-off, not somewhere nebulously down the line but right there. If I remember to do the moves right in Voltaic I will get the ride at the end, and it’s always breathtaking. Cyan remembered to bring the fun. The designers of EVE left it on the hall table.

I’ll play the trial period out and see how I feel then. It is reminding me of the song I wrote about Elite and similar games, way back in the mists of time…

You load sixteen tons, and what do you get?
A fifty ISK profit and a hundred ISK debt.
Saint Dismas come and get me, I can’t take no more—
Galactic trading is a h*ll of a bore!

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avevale_intelligencer

July 2017

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