EVE Online rewards long-term players. First and foremost, the skill point system accumulates skill points over time. It follows that simply by having a subscribed account longer, your character is getting ‘stronger’.
There are lots of debates as to how players can be persuaded to play the game for a couple of years. Two years will leave someone who has been skilling diligently and trying to optimise their training plans with somewhere in the order of 40 million SP, and that, in my opinion, is the sweet spot, for PvP, at least. You start to develop a little diversity in what you can fly, above average to perfect support skills, good weapons and the like.
How does a player find the motivation to play for two years, though? Some just naturally fall into their rhythm, but most play games to have fun.
Sometimes EVE, in all its beauty and complexity, is not always fun. It gives you a different sense of satisfaction than the shiny level-ups other MMORPGs give you. EVE gives you a slow-burning, grand-scale glow in your heart as you slowly build yourself up to be supreme overlords of the systems you have chosen to inhabit. This glow is easily overwhelmed by the shorter-term, intense experiences other games can provide.
I’m saying this because I it’s happening to me right now. EVE has taken a backseat ever since the Steam Holiday Sale began and I turned my eyes to other games. One such game I decided to purchase (long overdue) was Skyrim… and you can probably already tell where this is going.
A few dozen mods and a giant mansion I built with my own hands later, I realised I haven’t logged into EVE for a couple of days, unprecedented since my trip to Sydney for EVEDownUnder. I was consumed by Skyrim, so much so that I couldn’t see the stars I had abandoned through the misty haze of blood I left behind me as I slew bandits left and right.
A week passed by and my quest journal was at bursting point. The flame of Skyrim, initially bright as dragon-fire, dwindled. Suddenly, when I looked towards the sky, I could once again see New Eden twinkling in the distance.
I was not particularly worried about dropping EVE entirely, though. I have already settled on the decision to play the game probably until I am too decrepit to press F1 anymore. It did open my eyes, however, to the possibility of others being diverted the same way I was, but never returning to EVE.
I wondered about people who thought: “If I’m loving this game and I want to play it for a few months, why should I remain subscribed to EVE Online?”
I wondered about the possibility they’d forget EVE in the weeks or months they spent not playing it regularly, and never return.
But my thoughts also turn to the players who don’t play anything other than EVE, hardcore, for a few years, burn their desire to play to ashes, and never return.
There is a necessity for longevity when playing EVE Online. We may not see it now but it is possible for this game to connect you with people who could turn out to be the best friends you will ever have. It is possible for you to also find your worst enemies amongst the dozens of people you will surely meet. It is possible for you to learn life lessons from this game, to make mistakes, to refine organisational and strategical skills. It’s possible for you to become a leader even though you spend your day job taking orders from some guy who doesn’t care about you.
To truly unlock the full potential of EVE, to have a chance at doing all of this, you need to spend time on it.
But you also need to realise that EVE is not like other games, that you will be lured away by these false mistresses only to be cast aside when you need them the most. For me, EVE is the constant amongst the change (ironic considering the Jita 4-4 monument description). I know I can return to the game from where-ever I decide to go and be able to meet new people, enjoy some company and conversations, witness people shedding tears, sweat and blood to conquer one another, and most importantly, find somewhere in the goings-on to fit in and contribute my own little things.
As the song goes, “you only miss the sun when it starts to snow”. I’m not saying you should never unsubscribe from EVE, but it’s not something you should do hastily either, especially if you’ve been playing for a while already. You need to let it simmer in the background to develop its flavour, to put it another way.
Anyway, hopefully in the next few weeks I can get myself back into EVE refreshed and in earnest. Fanfest 2015 hype should do it, if worst comes to worst. I am feeling a return of the EVE Online solo PvP itch though, and that one bugs you until you scratch the hell out of it.