Thursday, 4 March 2010

Corporations and alliances in EVE Online and my online gaming history

Now I have quite a long history with massively multiplayer online role playing games. The first one I played was Tibia in 2003, when I had just turned 14, and I absolutely loved it. I loved the sense of belonging to an online community, and especially the feeling of having a second life where I could be a sword-wielding knight running around and stabbing things (I’ve loved swords since I was about 7 years old), but I was an incredibly reclusive person back then, and didn’t particularly get involved in the community until I convinced my friends to play the game with me. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind talking to random people I meet online, I’m not quite that shy, and I wasn’t even back then, but I am a generally private person (you really have to question why I’m writing a blog and sharing my thoughts with the world don’t you?) and I prefer to keep myself to myself wherever possible. Also, as anyone who has played Tibia for any length of time can tell you, back in 2003 before the current player-killing rules were introduced the wrong word in the wrong place at the wrong time, or even being in the wrong place at the wrong time could get you killed (it’s not that much better these days, but at least now there are systems in place that prevent people from going on blood-drunk killing rampages and slaughtering every poor peasant they see). On top of that, the death penalty in Tibia wasn’t fun in the slightest (7-10% loss from total experience and skills, the loss of everything in your backpack and even your backpack itself, and a 7-10% chance of losing every piece of equipment you were wearing at the time). So yeah, I was quite quiet in the land of Tibia. I still play Tibia these days, and have done on and off for the last 7 years.

In 2004 I had a brief period where I played the Korean MMORPG Priston Tale (at least I think it was Korean...). I never got very far on this one mind, since once you reach level 40 you have to pay to continue playing. Not having access to my own credit card was a big barrier to this end, since convincing my parents that the nice shiny Korean site was a perfectly safe place for them to leave their credit card details proved harder than I expected. Anyway the theme still continued with me keeping to myself and not interacting with many people.

In 2005, I started playing Guild Wars, and this was a radical change for me. Instanced areas!??! No one trying to stab me, or bludgeon my face in, or set my pubic hair alight when I left towns?!?!? Hell yeah!!! I thoroughly enjoyed it, and since this was back in the days when Heroes (AI party members) didn’t exist, and putting Henchmen in your team was about as useful as covering yourself in BBQ sauce when going to fight big angry bulls, I was forced into interaction with other players. I got used to it, and actually started enjoying playing the game with other people, even if every so often you got a player in your party who decided who seemed to think they knew more about how to play Guild Wars than God himself. I even joined a guild towards the end of 2005, and started getting into Guild Vs Guild combat. We got our arses handed to us in nearly every battle we fought mind, but I was enjoying myself nonetheless. I still play Guild Wars to this day, once again on and off, but I now tend to play it on a smaller scale, usually only with friends and heroes.

In 2006, I had a brief spell where I decided I wanted to know more about World of Warcraft. I won’t go into too much detail here, but suffice to say that I never got past the 14 day free trial. Yeah, I was less than impressed.

And now, after all that spiel, to the main point of this post. In 2008, when I started University, I met some friends who played EVE Online, and they convinced me to give it a try. The first time I tried I wasn’t particularly impressed, and gave it up as a bad job after about a week due to the complexity of the system, but they convinced me to give it another go later that year, and I managed to get into it that time. I now have an EVE character with (at the time of writing) over 27,000,000 skill points. I’ve reverted back to my old ways somewhat while playing EVE, and tend to play it more as a solo game with other people around me than I do as a multiplayer game. Mind you, I’ve always wanted to get a group of friends together and start a corporation that can get somewhere in the game and perhaps become known within the EVE universe. But this is my major problem with the game. From where I’m standing, it just seems impossible for someone who plays the game like I do (as a solo player or with a small group of good friends) to get anywhere in EVE. I don’t want to join a corporation with hundreds, or even thousands of members. Where’s the individuality in that? You’re a number in a system, just like in the real life multi-national corporations, and why would anyone want to mirror that in a fantasy universe? The only corporations and alliances that seem capable of getting anywhere in EVE, however, are the massive ones where the individual members don’t matter, and if a small upstart corporation were to try and claim some territory they’d get their arses handed to them faster than you can say “warp drive”. It just really irritates me that I seem to be forced to play the game the way other people want me to play it, rather than the way I like to play it if I don’t want to be performing endless missions in the format of “kill ships belonging to faction X, and bring item Y to station Z”. Anyway that’s my rant for the day over and done with. It went on a little longer than I expected, but if you’ve managed to reach this point without giving up and going home (figuratively, not literally), then congratulations!!! You get a picture of a cute cat as a reward:

Thanks for reading!

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