So, my MMORPG habit comes to an end. Last night I cancelled my subscription to EVE . It’s funny really – I love the game, it’s well thought out, well balanced, engaging and deep and suffers from relatively few gripes that I’ve had with other MMORPGs whilst also allowing me to fly fricken huge spaceships with fricken huge lasers and leave a trail of interplanetary destruction in my wake.
This should feel good – and generally it does.
Those who are unlucky enough to engage with me on a daily basis will know that EVE talk is a staple of lunchtime conversation with banter about trade routes, mission running, corporation politics and future plans for ‘assault frigate goodness’ which are so frequent that most of my colleagues must be aware of how to play EVE simply by osmosis. Jen, Neil, Matt, Phil, Harriet and myself have all played at one point or another, and I don’t think there’s anyone who hasn’t enjoyed it.
So what is the problem?
There are multiple things that have brought me to this point. Firstly, the daily grind at the computer is getting to me. When I come home in the evening, I turn on the computer to do 3 things. Read Slashdot, read The Register and go on MSN for an hour. After that, my desire to stay online is inversely proportional to what is on TV, what is on DVD, how many back issues of Nature I have to read and how tired I am. I work at a PC all day. Coming home to one is no longer the experience it used to be. There are work emails, work colleagues online (although in fairness work boundaries are always maintained), and after a day troubleshooting what are effectively IT issues I can’t be bothered troubleshooting machines at home.
Secondly we’re on a new phase of EVE – the phase which is about to require Vista for the ‘ultimate’ experience. I cannot get into another round of expensive PC upgrades for limited entertainment returns. Hence the decision to purchase the Nintendo Wii. My gaming can now be done from my couch, online or otherwise, and without the need to worry about forking out for a new motherboard/cpu/gfx card or whatever else may be required to play the latest thing. The only PC game I care about is episodic releases of Half Life 2. I spend more time gaming with my GBA (mainly Pokemon I admit) than with anything. EVE and HL2 are the only titles that approach this.
Finally.. the big problem, that was hit on by Neil (not in the pub in the afternoon, oh no). You cannot win at EVE. You cannot become the best at EVE, ever. There is always someone with a bigger, faster ship, bigger guns, more skill points, more time to invest in it than you etc. Neil pointed out that it’s relatively easy to master an FPS – a couple of months at most is what is needed to ‘pwn the n00bs’, but it’s only after 6 months of EVE playing that I feel remotely competent at what I do, and suspect that it would be another 6 months before I could fly the ships I’m flying the way I want to fly them. It’s easy to play EVE incrementally if you like, but when you accept a mission that you have no hope of finishing in an hour – that’s not good. 30 minutes or an hour a night I can take. 3 hours, I cannot. The Wii will let me dip into gaming, the way I like to do, not make it a bloody lifestyle choice. And I can finish HL2, Zelda and Pokemon. I might sink 20 to 40 hours into a title, but there’s a defined end point, and that’s more important to me than I’ve previously wanted to (or been able to) admit.
EVE is great. Try it. If you’re of a certain age, and you liked Elite. You’ll love it. My reasons for quitting are my own and not a reflection on the game.
The next post will likely be my impressions of my new Wii :)
PS: Star Trek Online is coming next year. Who will be playing EVE then hmm? Not I ;)