It may have come to your attention that I haven’t posted anything since November 4, more than two weeks ago. Even for me, this is quite a gap.
For the past six years, I’ve played Eve pretty regularly, logging in usually a little bit every day. In that time, nearly everything has changed in my life. I have a lot more real-life concerns that need my attention, and put bluntly, I was mortgaging myself my giving up sleep to maintain the same level of engagement with the game. Most nights, I’d be looking at 6.5 hours of sleep if I was lucky. That was a choice.
But, I can’t really justify that choice anymore. While a component relates to the game itself, the bigger part is the realization that this pace doesn’t really suit what I want and what really matters.
Writing a blog related to Eve Online requires a much deeper commitment to the game than even being an FC or committed line member. In many ways, even being a CEO isn’t as complicated. After all, as a CEO, you need only concern yourself with the happenings of a single corporation, alliance, and perhaps even a coalition. You can focus on the politics, the administration, etc.
But as a blogger with an interest in writing about every aspect of the game, you need to consider everything – the politics and events of every alliance, rebalances, administrative actions, perceptions and philosophy behind the game and players, and a dozen other aspects. The level of immersion with the game really is on another level.
Added to that is the fact that you volunteer to assume a role as a thought leader, either by turning public focus to a topic or by sharing perspectives to a wider audience than a typical player has for existing topics. You enter into the discourse and, in so doing, you need to become conversant with everyone talking on that topic. It’s a lot of reading.
The side effect is that for you, Eve is “always on”. You read reddit, every blog you can find, industry articles about the game, the forums, and solicit feedback and perspectives from anywhere you can. Playing Eve becomes a lot more about what happens outside the game than inside.
Now, that’s all well and good, and can be a source of great fun. But it can also be consuming. At some point, you realize how far down the rabbit hole you’ve gone, and you have to take a step back for your own health. Not to get into too much personal detail, but suffice it to say, that’s where I ended up.
Eve is a great game, and it’s easy to want to engage with it, particularly now. With so many new and returning players and the PCU at a healthier state than it’s been in years, now would be an ideal time for blogger to build his/her audience and contribute to that engagement. But, what we’d like to do is different than what we need to do.
Sometimes, you need to just simplify and untangle some of the connections.
That means things are going to change for me in this blog. I don’t think I’m going to be writing about the larger issues as much anymore, but rather sticking to more personal experiences. I don’t want to be able to do them justice anymore; if I do, it means I’m just as enmeshed as I was. The “Lessons” articles are probably the ones that’ll be most unchanged.
That also means I’m going to be playing Eve on my own terms. I won’t be logging in as often, so when I do, I’m going to want quick action. I just can’t sit and participate in a null alliance fleet for two hours anymore. I’m looking for fast food, not a six-course feast anymore.
While I’ve given up my late-night gaming time, I have found segments of time over the past two weeks. It’s been half an hour here or there, though, or time when I’m waiting for the laundry or some other intermittent chore. And when I’ve picked up a game, it hasn’t been Eve, it’s been Skyrim Remastered. I can log in, kill a few things and steal from a few chests, save, and log off.
That’s not really something I can do in Eve in my current circumstances. I’ve long felt that while the lengthy setup of Eve activity leads to enjoyment, it’s also a serious detriment to casual players. What’s the saying? “Eve is two hours of boredom broken up by ninety seconds of heart-pumping excitement.” It really is true.
Eve really is defined by its thresholds. If you have more than X amount of time, Eve can be very satisfying. If you don’t, it’s incredibly boring and more enjoyable to talk about than play.
At least, without changes, it is. I have a character in a wormhole corp with a per-month membership fee and another in a null alliance with certain activity expectations. I don’t think either are going to be well-suited to the amount of activity I can expect to deliver anymore. I’m going to need to make changes.
Eve is about thresholds. There are a number of lines we either surpass of fall short of. A given activity is isk-efficient if you can earn X isk per hour, and it’s sub-optimal (ie. stupid) if you earn X-1 isk per hour. Fleets are Y minutes long for a given corp; if you can be online for that length of time, they’re enjoyable, but if you can’t, you don’t participate and gain no enjoyment from that corp. To the left of the line, you’re wasting your and your leadership’s time. To the right, you’re a productive member of the corp and having fun.
I’m certain that I’ll be dipping below that threshold in a lot of ways, but that’s life. Eve is a game, an enjoyable activity I do in my spare time. I can’t play the way I used to years ago anymore.
So I’m making a change. I’m a casual, and will continue to give voice to that, hopefully sharing a little insight between the two groups as I go. I suspect it’s going to change my perspective quite a bit. Interacting with Eve less frequently and in smaller chunks will be different.
It’s possible that playing Eve at that pace isn’t really viable. We’ll see. I’m not making any promises, only sharing what’s in my mind.