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Friday, October 14, 2011

Blog Banter 29: What's It To Ya, Mate?

  I have failed my blog banter writing the last time or two, but I'll get back to it. CK's BBs are gone and now we have a new era led by Seismic Stan of Freebooted.

  The premise is the same, so no worries there. This time around, the question is:

"EVE Online is renowned for it's depth. Its backstory, gameplay and social aspects are all qualities that draw players in. What does immersion in EVE Online mean to you?"

  This is actually a bit of a timely thing too, because I've been thinking about this as of late. I think I have mentioned before, or if not then I am now, that Eve is the first game and MMO in particular that I have ever been compelled to write about. I think it's one of the very few MMOs that lend itself to more than just "How To" guides and shallower topics.

  Eve is a single shard universe and as such, is able to offer much more in the way of political intrigue, player interaction, reputation persistence, and other enduring characteristics. I think the social aspect is what really keeps people here, though. When other games push players into competing for the same quest item, it tends to make them more combative and less likely to play with others. Which is ironic since these are massive multiplayer games and the whole point is to play with others. While Eve certainly does make players compete for resources, it's more direct and you can make sure another player dies for trying to take your macguffin.

  But the part that has had me thinking lately is Eve's actual lore. I have played other MMOs and never cared to learn much of the lore while I played. I skipped the stories and got to collecting or killing whatever I needed to level. Eve's lore is a bit more involved, in my experience. You can always skip over the mission text you get from agents, but going through a system plagued by an Incursion is a little harder to ignore. Or for those more interested in the unknown, why is a Sleeper protecting abandoned facilities.

  That last is why I am interested in the lore. There is a massive hunt for some clue that will move the story forward for the Sleeper mystery and it has quite a few people searching and theorycrafting. That is a pretty effective tool for keeping players engaged and props to Dropbear for perpetuating it. Although, I am getting a little frustrated that we supposedly haven't found the right thing yet, despite doing everything short of dancing naked on a Sleeper Enclave. Well...not that we would admit to at least.

  I also find the skills training a more involved and immersing aspect since one must plan and train the necessary skills to do what they want. It requires far more patience than most MMOs and I quite enjoy being rewarded while I'm not playing.

  All this is why I have stuck with a game that might have squished my brain otherwise or beaten the will out of me long ago. The internet family I found in my corp, Adhocracy Incorporated, does also make Eve worth playing. I play the way we recruit, focused more on meshing well with other players rather than focusing on player SP or what they can do for me in game.

  But is there something this question has missed? Is there another aspect that you find is more immersive or is what really hooks you into Eve?

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