I do a lot of philosophical thinking when I’m driving. Recently, I was desperately trying to get to work on time (that’s a common theme, now that I think about it… too many late nights with Eve) and no matter what I did, I couldn’t get past the drivers who think the left lane is meant for cruising. I’m not sure if it’s the same outside of the U.S., but here, it’s not. The left lane is meant for passing and bursts of speed; if someone’s on your tail in the left lane, you’re doing it wrong.
I’d get behind one inconsiderate driver, then switch lanes and be stuck behind another. This happened for 20 minutes. Hell is other people, sometimes.
But in Eve, it’s exactly the opposite.
You wouldn’t ever face the challenge of running into a gate camp. You’d never be blobbed. You’d interact with anything outside of the red crosses in space and the little pictures of agents in station. You’d slowly accrue your isk and grow ever-wealthier, along with a bunch of other players who you never interact with, since there’s no need.
The idea of having to log in specifically to set skill queues annoys you, as does the 4-hours you need to wait when you decline missions from the same agent. It’s annoying that you can’t immediately transport your ships to whatever system you want, and you think CCP should set up a separate shard with GM buffer NPCs to make a “storyline” version of the game, like other MMOs do. It frustrates you that you need to play for a few months before you can fly that ship as well as you’d like. Why can’t you skill up faster if you play all day long?
You can play your game exactly as you want, stop and start any time you want. Nothing ever really surprises you unless you choose not to read the online wikis, but if you avoided those, you’d waste so much time experimenting and you might die.
Sound boring and frightening? Here’s the really scary part. That’s what Eve already is for a majority of players.
We have the famous statistic about how only 10% of players join an in-game community, and that this is the best way to ensure the longevity of an account. Ultimately, Eve is probably the only MMO that lives up to the definition. The primary content it provides is player interaction. CCP is literally like the man/men who invented the rules of football; you never see them in the game and you never play against them. Players are the content.
Or so the marketing, the wishes of CCP, and the attitudes of those players who DO choose to join a community and become integrated into the game believe. But for the other 90%, Eve is no different from a very, very long SimCity session. They might pick it back up and play it every few months, if they didn’t have to pay more money each month they want to play. But they simply don’t “get” the true value of Eve.
And that’s a scary thought. In the real world, sometimes hell is other people. In Eve, hell is isolation.