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Eve Online: Living Another Life (Rather A Personal Story Than An Actual Review)


Currently i was writing mostly about free to play games, recent betas and a few pay to play projects that aren’t exactly new to the gaming market. This is another post about a game that is not a newborn project – Eve Online. It’s rather a “Nostalgia, you’ve got me…” post than an actual review because i can’t review a game i’m not playing for over a year now (and i’m not going back just to look at it for the sake of doing the review post), but i spend several years of my life in Eve Online since 2006. Eve changes, yes, more new expansions come out every now and then, but the core structure of the game do not change – it’s about freedom, socialization and war (for me – in that particular order). When i come back, i see the technical details like ships and skills being changed, but the core is always there, all the same. This MMO was always more than a game for the most people who played it (not excluding me) – it was a lifestyle more than a game, a parallel world where we lived another life – and i never saw another online game that would make me form a bond strong anywhere near to that one. I’ve made real life friends in Eve Online, one of whom even came over from another country for a visit. And this is my story of living an Eve Online life.

A short notice – screenshots in this post aren’t made by me. I wish my screens could survive it up to this day, but I’ve lost them somewhere between changing a few computers.

And now little back-story to begin with.
Eve Online: Exodus When i first heard of Eve Online i had a lousy dial-up connection that would require me a month of real-life time (not continuously, of course, but on and off) to download 210MB of Descent: Free Space archive (yes, i really wanted to play that game). Anyway, i couldn’t download Eve Online or play it, but I’ve heard much about it, because my online friend enjoyed both playing and talking about it. So i ached to play the game i heard so much interesting stories about, and when i had a chance, it was a hit.

Eve Online: Red Moon Rising In 2005, i still couldn’t download Eve, but i moved to a city where i started my high education, and i found a guy over ICQ who gave me a CD with Eve Online Exodus: Cold War on it. Playing Eve on dial-up was only nearly possible, and no matter how much i wanted to play it i had to wait. On 26th of January, 2006 i made another account and started playing on a lousy ADSL that was only barely better than a dial-up. It was already Exodus: Red Moon Rising version then.

Eve Online Eve Online was the first online game i ever played, and i already had a good opinion about it even before actually playing, so that may be a part of the reason why Eve hit me so hard. It was a really stunning experience. I loved everything – the looks, the ships, the space, the music.  Every bit of a detail, even the most small, was described. There was such a huge background for everything, you couldn’t role-play into that game – you really was a pilot traversing endless oceans of space, meeting new opportunities and dangers. You could get into a system and see a merry chat in there, or be killed by pirates camping the star gates. When doing something, you had to travel about the map – and believe me, it was a huge! With low navigation skills and slow ship it took hours on auto-pilot to cross several regions from border to border.

Eve Online Jump Gate Back then, when you jumped into a system, you was 15 kilometers away from it and either you had to fly to the gate (risking being killed if anyone hostile is getting in while you’re doing it) or do a trick with bookmarks. In Eve Online, you can bookmark space coordinate and jump your ship to it – so people formed routes of bookmarks, setting one 15km past the gates, so when you jumped on the bookmark you landed right to the star gate. For each gate you had to have as many bookmarks as many routes from other gates lead to that one, and it took a hell lot of a time to bookmark every rout, even if it was a short one. People soul their bookmarks for a huge profit, but i always made mine myself or copied from a friend. I remember, when i was in one corporation (analogue of a guild in Eve) that joined an alliance residing in region where none of us been, i was dispatched to bookmark the main routes so others would fly safely. I spend 3 days just flying around and placing bookmarks, and you know what? A week after that CCP made a patch that deleted all player bookmarks and made ships jump right to the gates – they wanted to reduce the server load by that.

Eve Online political map as of middle 2009 - we lived where Against All Authorities is maked, they kicked us out and kept the space for years. I joined my first corporation short after starting to play. Almost every corp I’ve been in since then had formed a bond close to a family one – at least, for a short time – and there were people everywhere, doing everything. Apart from other players, i never was alone in Eve, because even if corporation’s chat was empty for some reason, there were other channels to talk in, or you could just fly into some solar system and chat in the local. Or do something with other people. Or trade with them. Or hunt them. Or be hunted, at the very least. When you come to the wrong corporation, wrong community of players, it could be fatal for your gameplay, but when the people were right you could form a bond as strong as i’ve never seen in any other online game. We spend days together, doing something for everyone’s sake, we talked in ICQ and Teamspeak about in-game stuff, we met each other in real life – at least those, who lived close enough.

Eve Online - another jumpgate In my city there were 3 other players and we would gather together to spend time. Once, one of those guys went to Moscow to meet others (because the biggest part of our corporation lived in Moscow) and they all got drunk together, hehe :) Another time a guy crossed border over from Ukraine to meet with us in my city, and i got up at 5:30 AM to meet him at the train station. I never had any activity like that in any other games – everywhere else people were just doing their stuff alone, the best thing was to talk in ICQ or some other chat to each other, but no one ever met anyone in real life. When i played in Lord of the Rings Online and joined a guild, other members hardly believed in my tale of someone coming from other country to meet his virtual team-mates.

Eve Online capital shipsI changed several corporations tagging along with friends, and then we moved into one corp where i was a second in command (Production Director) after our CEO and we went into an alliance – a huge band of corporations. Another alliance wanted our space, so we had to defend (we lost after all, but it didn’t took away the fun of it) our home. Hundreds of players were in cooperation – some hunted NPC is asteroid belts so others could mine them out, and others refined the ore, and more people were in hauling it back and forth, and others built ships out of it for our fleet to fight. We erected POSes (Player-Owned Structures) – small stations, where our fleets could hide in time of danger, and someone also needed to haul the fuel and the spare parts for the POSes.

Eve Online I remember waking at 6 AM just because we had a hauling operation – several huge hauling ships were out on the road while most of our enemies slept. I remember exhausting races when i drove a hauler myself, it was jumping out of the system right when enemy ships jumped in – they seek to destroy me, but couldn’t catch me, and i mocked them to pretend i’m not in any danger right now. And then, when we lost we had a 3-days-long corridor to get our stuff back to the Empire space, and guys spent 3 sleepless nights hauling it. But, actually, i never liked PVP myself – was more of a backbone support, mining, refining and building stuff for others to fight with. However, when Capital Ships were out, i ached to have one and spent 5 months in training be able to ride one – everyone donated their money to buy me a Capital Carrier, so we can participate in full-scale Capital fights.

Eve Online fleet battle  It was amazing, how many people were into it. You needed half a dozed people just to get a Capital to the right spot – it needed a beacon set by other player in order to jump somewhere, and usually the rout took more than two beacons. Then, every Capital ship there were many more lesser ships – damagers, interceptors, interdictors, support ships, etc., etc. Back then having 600 people in one system was fatal to Eve Online node servers, they would crash or lag to death, but nothing could stop us from what was called “the blob wars” – hundreds of ships from each side clashing together in a fierce, lagged fight. It was a hell lot of a fun.

Eve Online mining Other activity that was available, as i mentioned, is mining. It was possible to do alone only in safe Empire space, if you wanted to mine in zero security space you had to have a bodyguard sitting in an asteroid belt, and to mine stuff while aggressive NPC would nag at him. You also had to watch carefully the local channel for anyone hostile coming in, and be sure to align the ship to a safe spot so it won’t spent precious time turning around when you had to run for your life. Usually we gathered several people to mine together, one to guard us and one to haul, and just spend our chatting about everything. There was a lot of chatting in Eve, we even called it “big fat 600MB-worth graphical paid chat” :)))

Eve Online market - a window displaying recent price fluctuation changes Another activity was trading. A person naturally fitted for trading could make a fortune on it, buying stuff here cheaper and selling it there for the higher price. It was quite like to the real-life market – you had to watch trends, price changes, and a whole hell full of different factors affecting the prices. I never was good at it, but a friend of mine made a lot of money off trading. Once he borrowed money from many of us and bought a ship full of precious mineral, worth almost a billion (it was a big sum back then). He set his ship on auto-pilot and went away to have a dinner. While he was eating, some pirates popped up and killed his precious ship – they were destroyed by Empire NPCs, but his ship was lost. He wrote a petition to CCP stating that there was a bug that prevented NPCs to kill the aggressors earlier and… CCP reimbursed all his belongings. He sold the mineral and returned the borrowed money, no one ever knew how close to losing them they were.

Eve Online mission in progress Another activity was to do the missions – Eve Online analogue for quests. There were solo and group missions, but often players invited each other to help with solo missions – every mission had a level, and together we were able to finish high level missions that were impossible to take on alone on the ships we had. I played with other people close to my development level, so we were about the same skills levels and could use the same ships (at least with those who was of Caldari nation, as my character). Many players were doing missions as a main source of income and made a fortune on it too, but it was too boring for me and i actually never made much money out of anything. But, as a girl – and girls were really rare in Eve back then, i only knew 4 or 5 of them – i was given birthday present like expensive ships and stuff like that ;)

Eve Online skill tree - at least, a small part of it. Yes, this part it IS small.  Usually people seeing Eve Online skills system for the first time either hate it or love it. I loved it. Yes, it took a long time to develop a character, because each portion of training – for using weaponry, or ships, or industrial skills, or something else – took months to develop, and some skills alone took more than a month of real-life time, but… When you finally was there, able to do something new, it was a major accomplishment – not just a random loot you could buy off the auction anyway, but something in what you invested your time and money (no matter if you pay for the subscription in real-life money or in the in-game currency).

Eve Online I spend more than 2 years in Eve, then had a time off, came back again for another 6 months, then got off, came back again and so on, so on… Why did i left it in the first place if the game was so cool? I left Eve Online because people i played with for over a year left the game, and i couldn’t find others as decent as the ones who left. Suddenly i found myself in a position, where our CEO (corporation’s leader) thought of himself as of something like a God-Emperor of Dune and that everyone else are working for him, not playing together. Some people were okay to play gold farmers, but i had to leave. I couldn’t resist and came back again, but got into a wrong company again. And again, after a year. Obviously, after CCP released Russian version of Eve Online the audience had changed dramatically – I suppose, next time I’ll be there again, i won’t get near any Russians anymore. Why do i come back time after time?

I can’t resist Eve Online’s call, if so to say. It’s like a part of my life forgotten, like being a sailor for years and then forcing yourself to never see a sea again – and I’m such a impressionable person that i saw Eve Online in dreams for several years after i stopped playing it full-time :)) I come back again and again – because my life without Eve is not what it was before.

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