Some geeks get old but never die. I suppose I’m one of them. The timer that a few minutes ago signaled me to finish up what I was doing is an HP 48G with an alarm set. What can I say ? For the past hour I’ve been engrossed with a bit of a distraction, but it’s one I’ve been guilty of for months now: playing EVE Online part-time. I’m not a hardcore gamer by any stretch of the imagination, and EVE is known as a game for the hardcore types. But can a person, while playing only a few hours a week, get enough out of a game like EVE to really have fun with it and make it worthwhile?
Well, a couple of features in EVE have grabbed my attention.
First, all of EVE is PVP. Even in areas with law enforcement, crime is punished rather than prevented, meaning your ship and everything in it is always at some varying level of risk. Next, skills are gained as a function of time rather than activity. They are purchased and then set to train in the background, and training takes place even if not logged in. Concerning material items in game, both items and markets have locality, just like in the real world, and so transportation is important. Mix in the PVP risk, a.k.a. piracy, and transportation becomes interesting.
Overarching all of this is that things are player-controlled to a large degree in EVE Online. For example, courier contracts facilitate the hiring-out of transportation and use of collateral to protect the contractor against theft, but the items can still be stolen. Suicide squads sometimes attack others in high-security space, knowing their ships will be destroyed, but also knowing there can be a profit in it. This risk/reward characteristic gives players choices with consequences.
EVE Online’s combination of features is incredibly deep, so as a part-timer, what can I realistically do with all of this? Part of the answer lies in picking a direction and a style of play for my avatar. As a part-timer, I’ll decide whether to be more reckless because I have less time to gain things, or less reckless because I have less time to regain lost items. Strategically, what I have in mind is to work toward a mid-level ship that’s useful in battle, then find a corporation to employ my services, perhaps as a courier (a classic part-time scenario). Tactically, and for the moment, I’ll work on mining and agent-based missions to raise money. All the while, I’ll watch for unforeseen opportunities.
One last consideration is that as a part-timer, I won’t spend near as much time in forums trolling for information as a full-timer. I’ll be learning the game mostly from the inside out, on sight, so to speak.
So, there’s the idea. Let’s see how far I can take it. I’ll bring you along every step of the way.
— Will Collum
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