By Stephan Bazzochi
With fall upon us, it’s time to look forward to chillier weather, snow – more snow – and cold. (At least the mosquitoes are beginning to migrate south.)
It’s time to put away the summer toys and hunker down for a good season of gaming to keep ourselves nice and snug indoors.
We’ve covered some casual and fun games in the past months – now it’s time to get serious. And there is no game more serious than the addiction I have spent the last eight years trying to shake.
I have spent months trying not to write about it. Alas, I ended up hitting that subscribe button, transferring the funds from my bank account and diving back into the world of wonder, beauty, and unbelievable levels of treachery.
With the new update of Hyperion just being released, there really was no better time. Being a lifelong fan of science fiction, artful trolling, scamming, espionage, and many things that almost all other games frown upon, it’s no surprise that my love of EVE never dies.
You’ve seen the ads – read countless articles about the massive battles, the unbelievable thefts of player assets, the scams, the spreadsheets, and the beauty of the graphics.
EVE delivers on all these things and then some.
There is no other game I have played for this length of time. I leave for months on end, then every time, get sucked back in. There is no escape.
You can find all sorts of info out there as to what the game is about, the events that happen, the debauchery and the scandals. There are several things all those articles can’t give you an idea of: the scope, the scale, and the camaraderie. I have played numerous Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOs): World of Warcraft, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Anarchy Online, Neverwinter. None of them hold a candle to EVE.
Let me tell you my tale of one of Iceland’s greatest exports. We started as a small group of friends that worked together: one of us tried EVE, and we all soon fell prey to her vice-like grip. We started a little co-operation of miners: mining asteroids, making money, building some spaceships.
They have a name for this, it’s called a target. Soon, we were being plagued by other players who played the role of space pirates. Hunting us to blow up our ships every waking hour we were in the game. I had had enough. I had lost two ships to them in one day – being a player only a couple of months old, this really hurt my virtual pocket book. I swore to exact revenge.
Thus, we dove into the metagame headfirst, not fully knowing what we were getting into. The plan was I was going to join and infiltrate this pirate gang, gain their trust, lure their leader out behind the galactic woodshed, and then our group would take our revenge. It was to be a long con. Or so we thought.
I spent the next several months building to that point, flying on pirate raids of other players with this group, pillaging all the way. We would sell guided tours to new players to show them the wonders of the galaxy, lead them down the road less travelled, ransom them, then blow them up whether they paid up or not.
Surprisingly, my local friends and I enjoyed this style of gameplay, and we soon discovered these pirates from the southern U.S. were a lot like us, and a fun bunch of players to chat with and play the game with.
Priorities changed, friendships forged, and trust built. We ruled our section of space with an iron fist. We started and finished wars, we conquered. As with all games, newcomers join, and veterans move on to something else.
The core group of those pirating days has stayed the same, and we will all reactivate our dormant accounts at the need of our teammates. We game together in every game I write about; we celebrate parenthood together, we show compassion for each other at the loss of a loved one, and we worry when our buddies in the military get deployed.
Yes, it’s a fancy spreadsheet simulator, with a fancy space screensaver, but the people that inhabit this place are real. They are all there in this virtual galaxy: backstabbing, helping, and killing each other’s little pixel spaceships. Some are friends but most are foes.
But those friends from EVE, they are real. So loosely, like they say, EVE is Real. And for about 18 bucks a month, with 30,000 players online at any given time, yes, Internet spaceships are a pretty serious business.
Still don’t believe me? Track me down in-game, send me your in-game money and I will double it and send it back.