First, I must confess that I’m not a very patient woman. I don’t like kicking around and doing nothing in a game. I like getting into the action. Second, I really enjoy working with other people. In Eve, a fleet, probably a big fleet, is where I feel at home. The life of a lone pirate, while it may be fun for a short time to probe out and set up those kills, just doesn’t fulfill me the same way being part of a group does. The last few days have been fantastic. I log in at a safe spot in H-W, I hit the fleet finder, click on the support fleet and ask for coms and a warpin. Yesterday I did just that with my five minutes before work and got in on a dred kill. Convenience. Ease of use. Similarly, the last time I left Eve was because fleets just weren’t running during my game time and I had an invite to raid nightly at exactly 7-10 in EQ2 with some very nice people.
So back in December, when I was playing World of Warcraft, patch 3.3 seemed to be the answer to all my dreams. It included a new feature that would instantly match you with other players interested in doing a dungeon instance and teleport you there. Just in case there weren’t enough people on your server, it would pull from other servers as well. It would even meet my desire to level some lower end alts without having to grind through WoW’s solo game, which I have always found dull and find mind numbing to repeat. Perfect for me. I log in and I have an instant group. What else could I ask for?
I stopped playing a week after it went live.
While this type of instant gratification is extremely appealing to me and fits in with my real world needs, the real appeal of any MMO game is the world. I don’t have any interest in first person shooters, even ones you play with a team. I want a world. I want a sense of something that exists beyond a game. Something that goes on while I’m not there. That has continuity. Something with a sense of shared history and community.
I have played plenty of EQ2 and WoW, so clearly it doesn’t have to be much of a world, but it has to be a world. I need that little handle to hold onto. With 3.3, WoW effectively became an advanced sort of FPS with the city of Dalaran as a graphic game matching lobby and random people from other servers who I was never going to see again. I realized that I had scouted out a spot with a repair shop and a mailbox next to me and hadn’t moved an inch. I’d teleport to the dungeon, do the instance, mail the loot to my bank alt, repair, and that was it.
To be honest, Eve is almost everything I dislike about games. It is PVP and I have for most of my gaming life been a dedicated carebear. It also requires long periods of basically doing nothing. Here I don’t just mean something repetitious like mining, but things like waiting for a fleet to form, roaming around with little or nothing to fight, or camping a gate in the vague hope that something actually jumps through.
Yet the huge narrative is what keeps me interested. Yes, sitting in a POS last night waiting in the vague hope that Sir Molle would tell his inept minions to login wasn’t very interesting. The cranky Fleet Commanders being baited by the goons a bit more so, though I could have done without some of the ethnic jokes. But the fact that this entire evening was part of this larger narrative of the IT invasion of the Northern Coalition somehow made my evening far more emotionally satisfying than an evening of instancing with random strangers.
That’s what Eve has. It has a world. I want the world.