A New Player’s Story.
Originally posted to the EVE subreddit here. Please upvote for visibility if you were moved by this story, for good or worse! Thank you for reading my experience.
I’ve largely sat on the sidelines throughout my gaming career, almost avoiding actually starting a journey to EVE Online. The mystique about it was delicious: Headline gripping articles of fantastic exploits and wealth destruction apparently unhinged and unabated. A (dys)topia of space and specimen… a place one could actually exist as a space person.
I heard horrors of the ugly, spread-sheet & nerd rage underbelly of pilots who fled or were otherwise flung out of the fray… almost serving as evangelists to those who haven’t experienced the burn to shy away from it.
Despite my best intentions & strength, I started my Eve journey earlier this month. What I found was nothing short of expectations. In fact, the game has blown away my expectations - which likely is not a surprise - I’m a simple human of course…
One thing I immediately notice is how hopeless everything feels in New Eden. There is no magic. There is no tales of fantastical new horizons. Everything, even the shifting, shady spectrum of space under the wormhole anomaly is mapped out and bookmarked to a T.
People and organizations have effectively created an understanding of the game, so thoroughly and thoughtfully crafted, that it leads one to quickly realize there is no mystery anymore in Eve.
I was discouraged, encouraged, and discouraged again. In my first week, I was a part of a corporation where the person was a literal schizophrenic, who made alts and pretended to talk on them as if there were actual people in his corporation. It took me a few days to realize this… but after fleeing that corp to my own pursuits, I fled to wormhole space for the first time.
. . .
The Flight from Fail Space
Ahhh… wormhole space. The MOMENT I pressed my “Enter the Wormhole” radial button, I was flung into something else entirely. Gone was local. Gone was the harassment of some of my critical sensor systems. As I pushed away the screens, something beautiful splashed across my vision: The WORLD of Eve was stunningly beautiful. I was so taken aback that I couldn’t imagine anyone not being in just as much awe as I was. Everywhere you looked, unknown anomalies and solar weather blooms… everywhere you felt the silence of space… only the thrum of your ship’s trusty (and infinitely fueled… kinda odd) propulsion system. The eerie music…
My Dscan still worked; amazing. Thank god. Throwing the spread out 360 degrees, to the farthest my little system can reach (a measly 15AU, or 2.244e+9 kilometers… measly)…
No ping backs. I was truly alone in space.
Thank ■■■■■■■ God.
I spent the better half of seven to eight hours diving through wormhole after wormhole, scanning down everything in my little Anathema, hoping for an unoccupied data or relic site that I could pilfer. Frustratingly, the sleepers seemed to be everywhere I went. Out of options, I hit the net to discover I was spending hours in a section of wormhole space where nothing BUT sleeper explor sites were. How foolish of me.
My heart would race every time I saw other sister probes in the region, or the odd derelict Raitaru. Sometimes I felt like a submariner. Often times, I felt like a true space explorer. EVE Online has been one of the rare moments where I did NOT investigate and pre-plan my every move. As a once-way-too-competitive cs player & hardcore Darkfall power politico, this was a significant and conscious break from my usual routine.
Yes. This was the EVE Online I had envisioned in my head!
Danger! Mystery! Shady associates whose backstory I had no idea of, and where trust meant something big.
Yes… This was the EVE Online I had so carefully constructed in my naive head, after almost decades of buildup. My wounds from the skitzophrenic corporation, of the sheer and humiliating, embarassing, ugly look at what this type of realm does to people… they started to heal in wormhole space.
Then I got blown up to a very well executed pipeline gatecamp coming back from my new sanctuary to sell some paltry wares when the reality of it all came flooding back to me: In EVE Online, nothing is mysterious anymore. I didn’t even attempt a burn back. A casual look at the map confirmed I naively stepped into a gatecamp that took the lives of hundreds before me in the past hour. Imagine that… my map is intelligent and omnipotent, it seems, to be able to update me with everything everyone is doing even when I was cut off from everyone in “wormhole space”.
… Yet Local doesn’t work. Okay, I see, makes much sense… ha ha!
. . .
(Yet Another) Aside Before the Suggestion
This may seem like I’m complaining that the game isn’t what I thought it was. If that is the case, I wish to nip that right here. That is not the case. I came into the world to break my stereotypes and contrived, third person influenced understanding. I made minimal research a priority because I wished to see the world through new eyes. I tried my best to keep my clone here on Earth at the door as I stepped into New Eden.
At the end of the day, it bugs me that New Eden is much more like the real world than anything. Is that even rational or fair? After all, would we really be expected to act anything different if us players HAD actually been flung into a world like New Eden, left to defend for ourselves? There still would be people being human chasing honor, chaos, and currency and throwing romance out of the window… surely?
I don’t blame the EVE Online community for what has happened to their game. For better or worse, this is the reality of things: No mystery, no real conflicts as people become jaded or smart to the meta and limits of what this space has to offer. That, to me, is a natural consequence of games where real lives are not on the line. Sure, we lose our space ship and some of our pride (especially if podded)… but do we really die?
There are some mechanics of this game that prevent it from, ironically, ever becoming a true space frontier sim. This is a faction war game hands down. Everything is done to upset or to uphold one’s rule over the land. Despite some of the internet’s most brilliant minds, content has driveled down even in New Eden to the mundane. I spoke at length to the FC of the gatecamp in question, and he even admitted that New Eden of today is incredibly boring, predictable, and outright not FUN anymore.
People who are taking this more seriously than ever are the ones that are losing out, even. I’ve never seen the extent of some of these players carry on, who are depressed and plainly state so, but continue to exist and execute orders simply because they invested so much of their real life into this game.
All of this is in my view aligned to a textbook typical new-entrant-to-mature-MMO experience. Yet I don’t simply wish to share my experience… I wish to help, where ever I go. That brings me to a suggestion (which I picked up from someone further down this sub. It’s not my original thought, but one that piqued my interest as a once-PK in the great Asheron’s Call Darktide wars between BLOOD (PKs, or player killer) and Mindeater (anti’s, or anti-player killer) alliances. Perhaps the world’s first great good vs evil MMO faction war. Try to beat it. Not even UO had one to the extent of DT’s exploits. But I digress ~
. . .
What if we re-analyzed how CONCORD existed, and allowed the system to be much more dynamic based on what was happening in their space?
What if people could join CONCORD and help fight against the gatecamp - either as target painters or combatants able to fend off bumpers and tackle, or had the ability to try and prevent loot from being stolen? What if CONCORD became not so inept, and recognized when gatecamping groups were forming and thereby deployed increasingly sophisticated means to combat it?
Imagine if there was a new dynamic, of CONCORD sanctioned ‘anti-campers’, so to speak. Now, I am not suggesting to give people a “police” type of power over others, but it seems frustrating that this is the meta of a space sim… that there is no other plausible thing to do for freighters and others than to hope not to get bumped, or decloaked, or whathave you. Seriously, in my wormhole I can get updates to my world map but the creators of these technologies couldn’t prevent JFs from being bumped off warp? There’s so many disconnects and disputes I have with this world as a new player, and many of them probably are just due to that… but surely others are not feeling like all the magic is lost to these weird disconnects in technology and culture?
I don’t think gatecamping is what’s the true problem of EVE Online’s flight from fantastic to fanatic. It could very well be that people have discovered and are now living comfortably at the limit of this world, and that the mystery really is gone.
I see where the gate-camping group’s reasoning lies. Botting and a huge accumulation of wealth was a huge problem during the earlier decade, and it does not take a market-minded person to see the obvious and destructive inflation put onto the currency by the actions of the few. In a sense, those camping the gates are doing the little guys a favor by taking out some of these huge loot pinatas.
That was the angle the FC gave me, anyway. It seems people are more obsessed with having a good zkill scorecard than anything, though. Thats my personal opinion, is that it’s much less noble than people wish to make it sound.
This world feels crushingly small. It feels nothing like what I had contrived in my head. Is that fair? I don’t think it’s fair… I waited almost a decade after my initial interest to dive in, and even then I was hearing about many of the things I now see claimed as “game breaking” aspects, or ones that are being attributed to the rapid demise of this world.
I feel like the magic is gone. I wouldn’t be surprised if most newbies are so overwhelmed by the learning curve that they never got to be able to look past their ship and see how BEAUTIFUL and BIG New Eden was. I spent a week prior to my wormhole experience learning the UI, and it was shocking to me that I never once looked beyond my ship or UI to notice that.
. . .
Conclusion & Call for Comms
Is this viewpoint simply a consequence of my niavity, or does my story resonate with anyone else here?
What are your thoughts on this world and its denizens?
What is the outlook for New Eden?