How it started

Lo these many years ago, back when I was young and broadband was exotic, I used to play a Mac game called Escape Velocity. The basic principles of EV went like this:

  1. Here is your spaceship.
  2. Here is a large, complex universe full of piracy, interstellar trade, warring factions and distant uncharted regions.
  3. On you go.

EV was addictive, hilarious and awesome. You could side with the Confederation of United Planets (slogan on all their stations: “Back in the Confederacy! You don’t know how lucky you be!”), or the Rebellion against them, or one of various other groups and coalitions big and small; you could be a trader, or a pirate, or an asteroid miner, or you could make money running missions for planetside aliens. Shareware was enforced by a pilot called Captain Hector, who came and shot you if you kept playing past the demo period without coughing up. But of course you did cough up, because it was that good. I had trade routes memorised, bits of paper listing mineral prices stuck to my computer, and oh, the fury when I came home once to find out that my boyfriend (playing on my account) had pissed off one of the major empires to the point where their ships were shooting at me.

I loved it. I loved it even more for the absence of big bosses and ultimate goals. I loved my funky Vell-os ship and my fleet of captured ships, now serving as escorts. I loved watching pirates go boom. I loved it.

And then I read a Metafilter thread or two about EVE, in which some people grumbled fondly at its massive complexity, and some people grumbled less-than-fondly about its impossibly steep learning curve, and there were people saying all this stuff about trade and mineral prices made it sound like space accountancy and people saying that nothing involving mining asteroids should ever be so addictive, and then someone said it sounded just like an MMO version of Escape Velocity… and I thought, hell, I have a lot of free time these days. That sounds fun.

It is.

Pretty much everything you’ve ever heard about EVE – the learning cliff, the complexity, the 0.0 craziness, the really-it’s-just-a-nice-GUI-on-a-spreadsheet bitching, the sociopathic viciousness (not for nothing does it get described as ‘Everyone Versus Everyone’) – is true. And all those things? They just make it better.

Me, I’m a new pilot. I stay in the relative safety of Empire space, where CONCORD, your friendly space police, will show up and blast anyone who shoots you to smithereens. (In other games, this might mean you wouldn’t get shot; in EVE, it means people just weigh up the risk calculations of shooting you a little differently.) I make things; I sell things; I move things; I mine things; I learn. I’m not too interested in PvP, the shooting-other-people aspects of the game, but I’m getting awesomely good at running away.

And long may that continue.


1 Response to “How it started”

  1. June 2, 2010 at 6:09 am

    I found your blog earlier this evening a few hours ago while surfing and reading some other blog on my IPhone. So I started reading with a little free time here at work and now it seems I’ve read your entire blog content all the way backwards to the very beginning in a few hrs. It’s been quite a awesome read of your short and interesting adventures so far in Eve.

    Like you I recently started playing Eve. I’ve just recently passed my active first month subscribed playing Eve. It’s damn fun and it’s so interesting to learn and play and learn and find things interesting. But I’m a very fast learner so that’s been one my great asset starting off in Eve as a new pilot as well coming from another popular and now playing Eve.

    You have a really nice writing style and sense of humor in your blog. It’s quite enjoyable to read am glad I found it. So far I’ve read everything so I can only look forward to reading what’s new. I’m sure it will be interesting.

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A new EVE Online player comes to term with spreadsheets, spaceships and the steepest learning curve in MMO history. (SPACESHIPS, you guys!)


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