I’ll admit, the older I get, the harder it seems to make friends. I spot things I don’t like about people, am often unwilling to take the bad with the good, and am more set in my ways. The last time I made a new friend, someone I actually think of as more than an acquaintance, was around 1999, which seems a bit much when I look at today’s calendar. Even worse, the time before that was 1984. I’m not sure what to make of it. Things are what they are.
I’ve not met many people in EVE Online, and it’s my own doing. There are plenty of people around; on the weekends there’s commonly more than 30,000 people logged in. During the week? Well over 20,000. I’m usually in systems where there are a fair number of people around as well, and in the NPC corporation my character was spawned into (and is still in), there are usually a couple dozen people logged in. There really is no excuse to not meet people.
But two things come to mind: commitment and the basic nature of EVE Online. And playing the game as a part-timer comes into play for both.
I often have no idea when I will be playing next. My playing schedule is squeezed into the cracks in my real-life schedule, which includes a job, a family of four and other activities. EVE Online is a low priority for me, so it’s hard to make commitments about playing time. It’s easy to use EVE as a glorified chat room, and it’s fun to meet far-flung people online and talk about the world at large, but the unpredictability of my schedule makes that hard to maintain. I wonder when I’ll “see” these people again, so the appeal is not what it might be.
As for EVE itself, the mechanics make it a very serious game that one needs to settle into for the long haul. Things take time, and the bigger the thing, the more time it takes. Many activities require multiple players to tackle, and those players, in order to accomplish their goals, need one other to be reliable. If anyone needed to count on me for multiple hours at a time, I obviously would need to play more than an hour at a time. And with my schedule, that’s a rare event.
Basically, playing part-time, combined with my personality and the nature of the game, works against my making friends in game and me being a useful participant in a corporation. So for now, I play solo.
If you’ve read my previous columns (links below) it’s obvious that I mostly salvage for a living (in EVE Online, of course). I’m currently outfitted to start a life of crime as a pirate, but I’m dubious about it. I’ve taken a couple of ships out to LowSec to try out PVP, just to see what that’s like, and I’ve had them effortlessly destroyed–no surprise there. Additionally, I can’t quite divorce the feeling I get from picking fights with people in the virtual world from the feeling it engenders in the real world. I don’t particularly care for having people angry at me, so I doubt I’m really cut out to be an EVE pirate, despite how appealing I find the idea. And at that, pirating, like so many other things in EVE, needs more than a single player to make it work. Perhaps something else will manifest as the next thing to do before boredom with my current capabilities sets in.
At this point the question is: If my playing habits don’t change and my approach to making friends in game doesn’t change, how long will my interest in EVE Online last? We shall see.
— Will Collum
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