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My experience with Eve Online and why I keep trying to enjoy games that I don’t enjoy.

Content of the article: "My experience with Eve Online and why I keep trying to enjoy games that I don’t enjoy."

So, this is a topic I've been struggling with for a long time as a game lover. My brain seems to be divided into two distinct halves. The part that says "Hey that game looks really cool I want to play that!", and then there's the other part…the one that actually has to play those games. For some nonsensical reason I cannot reconcile these two halves of my personality. I know in the back of my mind that I will not enjoy a certain type of game, but another part of me is dying to dive in headfirst and inevitably be let down.

This post is really nothing more than me talking out loud and trying to convince myself to stop trying things I know I won't like, and to stop putting off playing game I know I will like (looking at you Shovel Knight DLC!) But, I'm also talking somewhat specifically about Eve Online, so I don't think I'm breaking any rules here!

Eve Online is the latest entry in my own little circus of disappointment. So let me begin by talking about why I was so excited to give this game a shot:

  • It's really pretty. There's some absolutely gorgeous space porn happening in this game for a sci-fi lover. The ship designs, massive space stations, beautiful backdrops, etc. You spend a lot of time on auto-pilot in the game, warping from point to point and I really enjoyed zooming in and just drooling over my ship as it flew.
  • The scale is mindblowing. After all, it is freaking space! The Eve galaxy(?) is enormous. Distance between points of interest is vast, and you need to warp pretty much everywhere. Longer trips require the use of stargates, which is just so, so cool to me.
  • You can do A N Y T H I N GTM . You can be a miner, pirate, trader, combatant in a war, smuggler, explorer, bounty hunter, etc. That sounds so appealing! The galaxy is your oyster, right? I love the idea of noncombat being a viable path in games. A simple asteroid miner can make a living for himself, and never even take down a single enemy player!
  • You can participate in massive faction wars and huge space battles with a player driven chain of command. I think it's super neat that players are the driving force behind conflict in Eve, and battles are fought with all different sorts of player roles, from the flagship, to the destroyers, to the smaller frigates dedicated to hamstringing the opponents bigger threats.
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So, those are the main contributing factors to why the excitable half of me was so interested in trying Eve. However, I had put off trying for many many years because it was just a daunting time sink. After finally diving in and completing all the tutorial missions, here is what the other half of my brain has to say:

  • I can do anything I want, and that's cool….but what do I actually want to do? After all, those asteroid mining tutorial missions nearly put me to sleep! Actually, most of the main avenues of income were painfully boring in practice.
  • I'm genuinely excited to try faction wars, but I don't know where to begin. What corporation do I join? How often will we actually be able to fight? Will I even be online during those times? I don't want to be a hindrance….maybe I shouldn't then…
  • Progression seems meaningless. All your skills are advanced passively, it just take X hours to train a skill and it counts down even when you're offline…so I really have no hand in my character growing stronger.
  • In addition to skill progression stinking, item progression also seems a bit futile. After all, death is a constant threat, so most people recommend you just fit some cheap gear on a cheap ship to mitigate your losses. Is there ever gonna come a time when I want to go all in and max out the best ship I can afford with all the bells and whistles? Why would I?
  • You spend 90% of the game on autopilot or AFK next to an asteroid. Combat can be exciting, but it's still all auto-targeting and no real interaction.
  • Okay, I'm done with the tutorial…time to start out on my own! Should I venture forth in my VentureTM to do some mining, or should I hop into my freighter and haul some cargo? Eh, I think I'll just log off for now. I don't really feel like doing any of that.
  • Oh, so it turns out I'm not enjoying this at all? Weird. Guess that game really wasn't for me….a few hours later: laying awake at night thinking about all the cool, fun things to do in Eve "what the fuck is wrong with me??"
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At the end of the day it is painfully clear that I do not enjoy these types of games. I know what I like, I need a game with action, meaningful progression, linearity, a clear goal, deep lore, and lots of secrets to uncover. I DO NOT enjoy sandbox environments, and I need my freaking hand held at all times.


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