What playing EVE means
June 8, 2010 6 Comments
I’m going to regal you with a short story of what happened to me in EVE yesterday, I’ll try to keep it as jargon-free as possible, since most of you guys probably aren’t familiar with the game, and well versed on the phrases I’d be using otherwise. At first blush, this is going to seem like a depressing and frustrating story, making you wonder why the hell anyone would play this game. At second blush it might seem that way too, until you sit down to examine the reality of the game and what makes these actions possible. It started with me accepting a level 2 mission with my Rifter the night before.
Information time: In EVE, the PvE portion of the game is handled in the form of quests (called missions) from NPCs called “Agents”. These NPCs can be found in different stations scattered throughout the universe. Each of them belong to a particular corporation (a guild of sorts, that can be composed of both NPCs/PCs), and each players standing (faction) is tracked for all of these corporations. When a player has done enough missions for an agent, their faction standing with the corporation goes up. Do enough missions, and eventually you get a special mission that increases your standing with the “mother” faction – one of the dominant empires or pirate groups. When that faction standing is high enough, you open access to higher “level” missions. All-in-all there are 5 levels of missions, each significantly harder in general than the previous. Essentially, the PvE in EVE is a faction grind to allow you to do the level of mission best suited to your ship and able to make money of fit.
I had previously been flying a ship called a Kestrel. Kestrel is a ship that is part of the racial pairing that makes the best PvE set-ups. They use missiles which have incredibly long-range, and let you avoid almost all harm, while doing strong, but slow, burst damage. I had been doing level 2 missions with ease in my Kestrel, but had recently turned my eye to a Rifter, in part because of its incredible appearance, and also because I know it’s a very strong PvP frigate (smallest class of ship). Having trained up my skills for the ship, I had been doing Level 1 missions to get used to the ship and learn it’s ropes in PvE. In a couple of days, I felt like I was ready to try my hand at level 2 missions, and so Sunday night I took a mission from my level 2 agent. The mission proved to be a tad too difficult for the firepower I was bringing, so I decided to get some bigger guns – literally.
Because I play in the low security section of space (read: open PvP), fittings are more expensive and less commonly found spread throughout the different systems. The result was that I had to spend about 15 minutes flying to pick up my purchase. Just as I was about to make my last jump through a gate (I’m at the zone line!) I get blown up by some players, and then have my pod destroyed. I lost my ship, and got resurrected a ways away (but still in the same region). I was a tad frustrated at first, I won’t lie about that, and I logged off to play some Warhammer. There I proceeded to bring my claymore of destruction to kill people, in the face. After the catharticly violent pounding I gave to my opponents with the instant gratification of my most beloved of MMOs, I was able to think about what went on exactly, and what it means.
I know, that somehow, there is a way I could have avoided my death and loss, and that I’m currently limited purely by my knowledge of the game and it’s systems. I’m nearly 100% positive, that had I been more familiar with the game, and how it is played, I could have skipped over this whole mess. For me, that’s the best thing about this game, I can do whatever I want, and am primarily limited by my knowledge of the game itself. I’m going to have to look into what it is that I did wrong, or just didn’t do right, and correct for it. In the end, I only lost a bit of money and the time it’s going to take me to repurchase and fit my ship, but what I learn will save me money, time, and frustration in the long run, as well as teaching me a tactic to use myself. As far as I’m concerned, that’s the essence of what playing EVE is about, having fun, and always learning.