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.