Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Does EvE Have A Soul?

Oh I don't mean it in the way you're probably thinking. It is, after all, a piece of software. It's also a lot more though, because without the community of people who play it, EvE as we know it could not exist. Even if it could exist, it would not the same. I tend to think that there is a community spirit in EvE that's like in no other game I've ever played.

I mean that's not to say that there isn't plenty of help and community available in other games, it's just that I've never seen it expressed so generously by so many people as frequently as I have in this game. I was reminded of this earlier tonight when I logged into EvE and discovered that an amazingly generous reader had apparently read of my financial woes and donated 50 million ISK to my wallet. Wow. That's the kind of thing you just don't see in most games. With that, I'll be able to put something decent in space and start making some real ISK. I'm not sure what I'm going to buy just yet, but I'll be giving that some serious thought tomorrow.

By the way, I've always made it a policy that unless I get an OK first or I already know it's not an issue I don't usually mention people who make those kind of donations by name in the blog. Not that I don't want to, but because I know that not everyone wants to be acknowledged publicly, so I like to always get an ok before I mention someone by name here.

It reminds me of EvE University, a massive corporation set up with the purpose of training noobs to play EvE. Pilots good enough at the game that they probably could be leading frontier battles in 0.0 are instead teaching noobs how to PvP. Think about it: In what other games do you see this much generosity and willingness to help others just because a need is noticed? Of course, I haven't played everything, but I've never seen anything else like it.

So yeah, I think EvE does have a soul, and it's a soul that can be as warm and soft as the environment it encompasses can be cold and hard. It's an interesting juxtaposition, but not an entirely surprising one when you think about it.

No matter who you are, what you do in-game, or how long you've been playing, everyone can agree on one thing: EvE is a tough game.

EvE has probably the steepest learning curve of any MMO out there. In addition, it also has probably the steepest cost of death as well. You fuck up in this game, you remember it, and you pay for it, maybe for a while.

In addition, this game has legitimized griefing and given it an in-game role as piracy. This sets EvE apart from pretty much any other game I've ever heard of. I used to have a big problem with this, but over time I've come to accept it as part of the game.

Given all this, with so much stacked against a new or returning player getting ahead, I guess it's not so surprising that a force has emerged in response to even things out a little. Just as there are those who enjoy preying upon and taking advantage of noobs, there are also those who enjoy helping others out. There are the folks who hear about someone like me who could use some ISK and just donate it. I don't know what to call it, "spontaneous generosity" maybe? Maybe but E-Uni's been around so long you could hardly call it spontaneous. No, I just think it's a natural outgrowth of the kind of players this game attracts, and a testament to the diversity of the playerbase. Not everyone wants to be a pirate, and in fact, while they may not be as interesting as the pirates and thieves and we may not hear about them as often, there's still a place for heroes in EvE.

I don't know what it is, but I do know that in my experience it's unique to EvE and part of what makes it special. Yes, EvE's rough edges are very sharp and dangerous but there's also a lot of comfortable places to be found within it.

Kind of feels like coming home.


Anonymous said...

I don't know that I'd say it has a "soul" as such, but it lets you see a side of "people as a whole" that you don't often see in other games. It's not often warm and fuzzy, and because of that, it provide a challenge and that special something that you just don't find in other games

Bekka Jae said...

An interesting perspective. One thing I think we definitely agree on that there's just something special about EvE for a certain type of player that keeps us playing and coming back for more.

Karren said...

I know that guy! He played Lineage 2, and World of Warcraft with me. He is a very nice gentleman, and very sophisticated at that!