Lack of urgency

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been playing quite a bit of Marvel Puzzle Quest lately. And yesterday I even updated Guild Wars 2 due to the new Living World story of Lion’s Arch getting destroyed. Didn’t actually get around to logging in, since I went to play basketball until 11 pm which was a bit later than I had planned.

It struck me then that a very large reason of why I haven’t really been doing anything in EVE lately is because there is very rarely anything urgent going on in EVE. EVE is a sandbox where there is a ton of stuff you could do. The problem is that you can always do it. There’s no reason to do something RIGHT NOW compared to, well, maybe I could do it next week. Or the week after. Or next month.

Marvel Puzzle Quest has timed tournaments, so if I don’t do them I miss out of some easy rewards. Sometimes it can feel like a little bit of a grind, where even if I don’t particularly want to play MPQ versus, say, Assassin’s Creed IV, I still feel obligated to put in the time because I don’t want to kick myself later for not spending a couple of hours.

Guild Wars 2 on the other hand has it’s Living Story updates (which have been getting a fair amount of criticism lately). For the past few months, every 2 weeks there has been a minor content release with new events that gradually tell the story of some crazy person with some grand plan (since revealed to be the attack on the main hub of Lion’s Arch). I can’t even imagine the developer resources that go into this, quite amazing that ArenaNet managed to pull this off so well. Personally I was a bit meh with some of the chapters, but I did also have quite a bit of fun doing the meta achievements and getting the corresponding rewards for quite a few of them. This latest (maybe final?) chapter has gotten me a little bit excited about logging on and seeing what’s up. The previous chapter wasn’t so great as there was a big boss event that depended heavily on the ability of groups of 5 random people to be defeat a sub-boss multiple times. Yeah, no thanks, since the average random person has the intelligence of a rock while still being too stubborn to actually go and read up on what’s going on or even read chat when instructions are given.

But anyway, the point is that EVE in comparison is always there. There’s nothing to really motivate me to log in on any particular day. My skill points chug along all the time. My main income is (mostly) passive with just some orders to be updated once a day. I suspect that for a lot of older players ISK very quickly becomes just a way of keeping score rather than anything of import. I mean, I’ve really dropped down my market activity in January and as of right now I’ve made 2.3 billion ISK (pre-PLEX, so take off 1.2 billion and I still have a 1.1 billion profit 2/3 of the way through the month). If I want to mission, do incursions, industry, wormhole, explore etc… those can always be done at any time.

EVE has pretty regular expansions, but most of them don’t really change anything about the universe. Maybe you fly a different ship because your old one was nerfed, or you mission somewhere else because SISTERS OF EVE LP OMG. But for the most part the universe just ticks along quietly, same old same old. Does it really matter which alliance controls what space in null? It doesn’t to me, and I’m pretty sure it doesn’t matter to a large proportion of pilots even in the alliances in question. It just churns around and around.

So, what would I like to see? I guess one of the biggest things I’d like to see is more events. Even failed ones like the pre-Rubicon Ghost Site Massacre are better than none. I have very pleasant recollections of the Sansha attacks that heralded the introduction of incursions. I don’t think I actually even went to one of those attacks, but I still remember the event. I don’t know how much developer resources it takes to plan one of these, but honestly I would prefer multiple, smaller scale stuff rather than something earth-shattering that would probably just garner 10 complaint threads on the forums from whiners. And I’d go for these events even if there weren’t really any rewards, maybe just some bounties on destroyed ships or something, I’m not talking about event ships dropping PLEX or anything like that. One idea that popped out of my head would be something like a Caldari-Gallente skirmish, where you could join in fighting over a border system. Depending on what happens, maybe the system sovereignty changes to the opposite faction. Yeah, sounds like Faction Warfare, but that again is just a churn of people farming LP and it’s just a designated FW system. It would be much more meaningful if a “real” high-sec system actually changed hands. Probably a bad idea but just something in that vein would give players something to log in for.

I was also thinking a bit about having official monthly tournaments, like maybe 1v1 or 2v2. Maybe like all competitors can only use T1 frigates, or all T1 battleships, etc etc. But then I realised that there are already plenty of player-created tournaments, so I’m not sure whether this would really be a good idea. When I think of those player tournaments, most of the time the impression I get is that it’s just pointless lol-PVP for the sake of space explosions, so I’m not sure how to make any other kind of tournament a bit more meaningful. Maybe a leaderboard for best Rifter pilot, best Ishtar pilot, etc etc?

One other thing I kind of like about Guild Wars 2 is their Monthlies. They have daily achievements where if you finish 5 of them, you get a reward chest with some small loot in it once per day. The monthly achievements however are a different set of 4 per month, that give you a bigger chest (roughly equivalent to the reward from 10 dailies). EVE could benefit a bit from the monthly idea, where if you achieve some set of goals over a month you get some small reward (maybe CONCORD LP?). It could be “donate 50,000,000 units of tritanium to your faction” or “kill 10 capsuleer ships” or “clear 20 anomalies”. I think it would help introduce different aspects of EVE to players (the monthly rotates to a random subset every month), which is part of the reason it was introduced in Guild Wars 2. Yeah yeah it could turn into a grind, where you don’t really want to do it but “man I gotta finish my monthly or it’s wasted” but honestly almost any kind of incentive is going to be like that, you just gotta be able to set your foot down and realise you’re not being forced to do it.

Maybe the whole player-constructed jump gate thing will change stuff around. But in lieu of that being announced, I guess I just wish that there would be something going on in EVE that would really make me want to log on.

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Wow… anyone in here?

Ahem. Well. Hiya blog, it’s been a long time. Hope you’re not mad at me for bailing out for like…oh… more than a year. I’m sure it went by in a flash, no hard feelings?

Anyway… I’m still alive, unless the blog evolved A.I. while waiting for me to log back in. And strangely enough, in the great big migratory cycle of Currently Played Games, I find myself back in EVE, which is where I left off last time.

What’s been happening

In real life, I’m still trucking along in my PhD studies. Right now I’m coming up on my third year and have mostly finished my classes and will be concentrating on research and writing that pesky formality known as a thesis. In fact that’s part of the reason why I’m here, I thought it would be a good idea to get used to doing a bit more writing again to try to get the brain cells working.

Spaceships

Dakka dakka dakka

Dakka dakka dakka

Shiny gold space tick

Shiny gold space tick

During the hiatus I stopped playing EVE for a while, for a couple of reasons. I was in a great corp, but unfortunately corp operations were not really very regular and a lot of them were in an awkward time zone (since they are mostly Aussies). I kinda really feel bad about not telling them though, since I basically just stopped logging in. As a matter of fact I think they demonstrated enormous patience by only just kicking me from the corp in July (one month before I resubscribed…) I’m going to try to reapply but they have a rule saying even returning players need to play EVE for a month before reapplying, which understandably helps to cut down on the number of applications from people who just want to come in and see what’s new (*cough* not like me at all, uh huh). Part of it was also that I got ganked moving 1.5 billion ISK worth of modules from Jita to Amarr in a T1 hauler. First time I’ve been ganked, and probably a story I will tell later. The monetary loss wasn’t a big deal, but I felt bad about it nonetheless especially as it greatly impacted the corp’s killboards. Lastly, a large part of the fun in EVE is based on having some kind of goal or plan. I felt kinda aimless at the time and was basically just spending time updating orders and training skills again, and so eventually I just let my sub lapse.

Tanks

I started playing World of Tanks again for a period of time, but ultimately stopped as well. I ground up the German heavy line to the Tier 9 E-75, expecting to be a bulletproof monster romping on the battlefields (based on my own experience from the other end of the 128mm cannon). I also ground up to the Tier 9 Russian tank destroyer Object 704, a.k.a Boomstick. Unfortunately, I came to the realization that I mostly just suck at higher tier matches. Also, I got into a streak of incredible losses where my win rate just plummeted drastically and I felt that I was just spending my evenings grinding out my daily doubles while getting aggravated. Part of it could be that I got too caught up in my stats, but at the same time I didn’t want to be one of the facerollers that present a bigger obstacle to their own team than the enemies.

Cute rabbit-eared things with big swords

Ferociously cute

Ferociously cute

I believe it was around December 2012 that I bought Guild Wars 2, after hearing so much hype about it. Some delicate negotiation had to be handled with the wife, the tight-fisted Scrooge McDuck in charge of finances. Mostly she just wanted me to concentrate on my work and stop playing so much, but eventually my devastating charm (or maybe the pathetic puppy dog eyes) managed to secure the go-ahead.

Guild Wars 2 is pretty fun, especially for a title which only requires a box purchase. I think I tend to have pretty positive impressions of any cash-shop game which allows you to trade cash shop currency for game currency. This is probably no surprise to any reader (hah!) who has read some of my earlier posts, especially since Scrooge McDuck also got interested in the game and predictably proceeded to amass a gold stockpile to fill her swimming pool with. I’ve converted gold into diamonds to buy 2 more character slots and a pack of miniatures. I’m generally pretty indifferent to any sort of cosmetic upgrade, so most of our gold just sits there looking sparkly. It does make me snigger whenever I see anyone in chat talking about how they earned 2 GOLD OMG I’M RICH, but at the same time I’m pretty sure that there are people out there with tens of thousands of gold so yeah best not to feel too snide. So far we have a level 80 warrior, necro, ranger, mesmer, a mid-level (and abandoned) elementalist and now I’m leveling a guardian. We participated in World vs World quite a bit early on, but nowadays I just PVE and my wife has stopped playing.

Mining and crafting

Wow, I did a lot of things didn’t I. I also started (and stopped) playing Minecraft for quite a bit. Maybe it’s a sign of my old age that my interests tend to drift around a lot more nowadays, at least compared to when I played WoW for what, 6 years? Minecraft has grown quite a lot since I first tried it out, and the modding community is amazing. Mods really add so much more to the game. I tried out quite a few of them and had quite a lot of fun, even going to the Nether this time and building a base inside a stronghold I found there. Ultimately though, I’m not a very creative type and most of the fun I had was in setting up a home in a new place. Once it was actually set up though I start feeling aimless, and eventually I felt that there was no point exploring for resources to obtain if I never build anything with those resources.

Back to spaceships

Which brings me back to EVE… again. Even though I wasn’t playing EVE, I still maintained a distant interest through reading blogs like Jester’s Trek or The Ancient Gaming Noob who basically is 80% of the reason I even started to play EVE anyway. After the Odyssey patch, I realised that there was a bunch of new stuff in EVE (ship rebalancing, hacking mini-game, salvage drones) and decided to resubscribe to check it out (hope my corp doesn’t read this…). So far I’m pretty happy in space, getting back in the flow of things and blowing stuff up with my two accounts, which shall be detailed in further posts since this is getting way too long. And of course, part of the joy of EVE is new shinies.

Slayer of evil pirates everywhere

Slayer of evil pirates everywhere