When you tell fellow gamers what games you play, you’re usually met with responses like: “That’s cool”. EVE Online is different. When you tell someone you play EVE, and they know what you’re talking about, you get a very different response. One of fear, awe, and maybe consideration of your mental state. I know this from experience. They say things like “I couldn’t play that” or “Too much for me”.
EVE Online is a different breed of game because EVE isn’t really a game at all. EVE is real. So what is EVE? Let’s look to a trailer from way back in 2009 that is most often used to explain to newcomers.
Sounds crazy, eh? Seems like the kind of stuff developers dream about. Players gleefully creating all their own content and paying a monthly subscription fee to do it. No way a game like that actually works in 2017. Well, EVE does, because EVE is real.
It’s very difficult for an online world to stay alive and grow for almost 20 years, especially in the MMO market. More than 500,000 people play EVE from all over the world, and all together on a single shard. True, those are not WoW numbers. There would be more people, but the scope can be intimidating.
An EVE pilot is rarely not thinking about the game, and what EVE pilots bring to the table as far as intrinsic skills and experience outweigh any other asset. An EVE pilot lives a second life, but all of your skill is an asset in the world of internet spaceships. EVE either becomes part of you or feeds off your tears before discarding you.
In a way, the citizens of EVE shape it more directly than the developers do. The map of who owns what changes by the hour and those whats are worth tens of thousands in real money. A democratically elected council acts as a liaison between devs and pilots. Once a year we turn Iceland into our playground in celebration of EVE being their third largest export (big ups to fish and aluminium, though). When large battles happen, this world takes notice of the economic impact of that world. We raise money for disaster relief and weave actual citizen science into the game mechanisms Our tournaments dominate Twitch, and our ads are… different.
EVE pilots (known in lore as capsuleers) are known to be a breed apart. Creative. Machiavellian. Inclusive. Unforgiving. Uplifting. In all my years of not just gaming but being alive, I’ve never had the pleasure of being involved in a community that is so loving and so ruthless at the same time. We’re the family that doesn’t put up with your bullshit excuses, knowing you’re capable of more and forcing you to find it in the crucible of your own making. Know that you will be challenged.
We know each other, either through killmails, forum posts or voice comms. We get together and share stories. The greatest of us find our place in history. EVE has a story, but we fill it with life through our actions.
None of this should be taken to mean that EVE is a nice place. It’s not. Like this world, EVE is a place of Darwinism. Everyone is vying to be at the top. The deadliest. The smartest. The most connected. The wealthiest. Killers and entrepreneurs. Creators, protectors, and destroyers. We’re all working hard to carve our name in the stars, and in the dead and frozen corpses of our enemies.
If you want to get ahead in life, you may need to educate yourself in a thousand different ways. You may need to spend a thousand hours to master a single skill. You may need to find a way to pay the bills and have something left over to grow on. You may need to appreciate the euphoria of a split-second reaction and the delayed gratification of a plan that takes months to execute. EVE is the same, and it’s full of risks. Making mistakes will cost you and your mates dearly, but learning from mistakes will make you a force to be reckoned with.
If and when you find a corporation (EVE’s version of a guild) you will be interviewed, vetted, and if you’re lucky you’ll be put to work. None of this is done in direct menus, but with actual interaction with people who run alliances like one would run multi-national firms. Corporations are often part of alliance and alliances are sometimes part of coalitions, each with their own web of ever-shifting relationships.
EVE is truly the ultimate sandbox.
The future of EVE is bright. Its 41ST FREE EXPANSION just went live. CCP is constantly utilizing new technologies and new design methods, the devs are constantly evolving the world we play. Free-to-Play limits are getting pushed to give new players and players who are still unsure even more freedom and access to content. EVE has always been the prettiest MMO, so much so that nobody believed it could be done when it was first shown to other devs in its alpha state.
Getting in is easy, and a learning cliff that used to border on impossible is opening up quickly. You won’t learn everything there is to know in EVE quickly, but you’ll learn the basics faster. It’s not for everyone.