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The Digital Continuum: Space-tripping with EVE Online

Kyle Horner

I'm sitting in a space station in EVE Online at this very moment. I've been doing this lately, because I find myself quite addicted to much of the music in-game. Between the amazing audio and dazzling scenery I don't think I've accomplished much in the grand view of my EVE career. For many a year I've purchased and played countless MMO for lesser reasons than audio and visuals. Hell, I once I bought a post-apocalyptic car combat MMO simply because of the want to believe it would be something different; something executed well. So yes, I have made some unwise purchases in the past.

The first thing I did was read much (all) of the text regarding the four factions and their subsequent races available for play. It's very likely that this little endeavor absorbed a good hour of my time and this is all before I even began creating my character. Once I had entered the aforementioned creation-of-character screen I was met with a very nice surprise that would be followed up with a somewhat disheartening revelation. You see the character creator is fairly deep and allows to you do much in the way of adding that nice personal touch. Then after you've gotten your digital-self just right, it throws all your hard work onto your profile page and all you ever see are a couple thumbnail-sized pictures of all that effort. At this point you either feel like crying or murdering the person who allowed this raw deal. Granted, CCP has already announced a planned update that will allow everyone's characters to walk around space stations, but until this happens (sometime in the next year or two, I'm guessing) all you're ever going to get is some rather small pictures.

Then again many would argue that your EVE Online character's appearance doesn't matter too much in the first place. Your ship is what you're staring at ninety-nine-point-nine percent of the time. So for those of you out there who roll females and use the, "I'd rather look at the backside of a girl than a guy." excuse; that doesn't fly here. Trust me on this, I know it from personal experience.

"Wow, nice spaceship." commented my friend.

"Hey, thanks! Check out all the skills I already know." I responded in a un-deservedly proud tone, since all of these skills came with my character upon creation.

"Cool, but why are you a lady?" he questioned, knowing my strange habit.

My eyes looked upwards to think of an excuse, "Um, I just... I'd rather stare at a picture of a girl all day?"

He grinned and spoke with a dry wit, "Why, so you can pretend it's a mirror?"

Rest assured, a swift kick to the jaw was the first response that came to mind. Except I was too busy with other things, such as reading a great book I just bought. I was just about to finish a chapter when I heard the ship's computer deactivate my autopilot, causing a quick glance up at the screen. It was time to warp to a space station and dock to do a few tasks. I talked to my agent who gave me a mission, EVE's equivalent to quests. Then I refined a bunch of minerals I had been mining. After a few more clicks I was off into the depth of space to travel again, so I alt-tabbed and checked on a few news sites to see if there was any juicy gaming news to bite into. This is common practice in EVE for me, I can only really stare at my ship warping through space for so long before it wears thin.

Getting back to those agent missions; While they appear to be the best way to earn some quick ISK (EVE Online's currency) early on, I kind of wish there was a bit more to combat missions EVE Online offers. So far my only two missions have been, "Go kill these guys and get back this item." followed by, "Now take this item to this place, thanks!" which usually has some variance to the amount and type of ships you battle. Without any kind of active or passive skills to toss into the mix (at least not after about four days of playing the game for a few hours each day) I find my attention waning almost immediately.

Yet to be honest I still haven't done too many missions, so as I play on this could become less tedious. I certainly hope so, because they just don't seem to be what I particularly want from a space MMO. For me it's always been about exploring and trading, I never had too much desire to battle in my space-faring craft. Though I do admit the idea of duking it out in giant battleships sounds like fun, but the price of getting to those ships just seems a bit too steep for my tastes. Nevertheless, I find myself floating here in this space station wondering where to venture out to next. I want to see more sights and hear more music, even at the risk of entering PvP space and getting blown into vapor.

I don't believe the twenty dollars I haphazardly spent on EVE Online was a waste in any sense of the word. You might be asking why I believe this; because I enjoy a different and well executed game, even if the game moves about as slow as a doped up sloth. I've gotten through about half of a book that I'm really enjoying and all the while I'm manning (womanning?) the helm of a pretty damn cool space skipper. I do have to admit that the first time a player in a larger ship passes you get that shimmering, "Ooh I want one!" effect. That is until you realize just how much work (or how many books read) went into getting the skills, materials and ISK required to obtain said awesome ship. Still, here I am playing EVE, because of this gorgeously, devilishly deceptive nebula burning its light into my eyes to some of the most mind-numbing space-trance I've ever heard.

The dedicated players love EVE Online and it is easily apparent to me why that is; they're all math nerds and EVE Online is probably the closest they can get to real space adventure right now. Well I'm a lot like them, expect I just really couldn't give you the mind-numbingly accurate mathematical equation that allows you to efficiently mine and refine like a EVE pro. Personally, I don't see myself playing EVE Online in the long term, mostly because I'm secretly hoping Star Trek Online will start releasing information and cause me to hold off on a space MMO in holy geek preparation of the day I serve on-board the USS Benderthighs.

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