"What drew us into EVE, what keeps us playing the game and what brought us back if we've ever left?"
I tend to be a two MMO player. One main one and one I "dabble" in. Back in the days before I had an internet conection I had played MPBT on the Genie network (think Guild Wars with mechs and EGA graphics, but no PvP and you'll be close enough) and learnt a valuable lesson about waiting for the internet to make things cheaper. Much later I started playing FFXI, wich I played For 3 and a half years. This alone qualifies me as a hardcore MMO player. Much later I had dabbled in WoW, CoH/V, Guild Wars, EQ2, Vanguard, AoC, TR, the public beta of Ragnarok OL.
Then I noticed a little game I'd heard some buz about but hadn't realy thought about except to note that it looked like it took the Elite familiy of games and brougth it to the MMO world. Then I found out that the client was free online and only the montly cost was charged. My what a progressive thinking company I thought. So I had to try it.
Now bearing in mind, that in all the games I've played I really like crafting. Add this to the fact that one of the major reasons I never abandoned FFXI for any other MMO was that I could get all the jobs with one character in FFXI and I find the artificial restrictions of the rest of the MMOs offensive. Also FFXI allows you to maintain multiple LS (guild/chat channels) and most MMOs restrict you to a single guild channel. The last nagging problem was that if I met any players locally the odds were we were on different servers. I find the sharding to be a stumbling block to the potential of MMOs. I appreciated Guild War's attempt to remedy this but the lack of an evolved crafting system killed that one off for me.
Then I downloaded EvE Online. A week in I knew that my Tarutaru Red Mage was in deep trouble. It took a year but eventually I could no longer justify keeping my FFXI account on life support. This was actually a very tough decision because of the way that FFXI handles accounts. With most other MMOs if you cancel the account (as opposed to delete the character) you can re-activate it at a later date with all your progress intact. Not so FFXI. I knew that 3-6 months later the Character would be deleted and there would be a very small chance of revival in the future. In fact this EvE blog is not my first MMO blog - Strangeone's was.
That last post in Strangeone's blog prety solidly explains why I quit FFXI for EvE. Don't get me wrong, I'd go back to FFXI from time to time - in between trying out other MMOs from time to time if it wasn't for their account policy. It's still solidly in 2nd place on the list of MMOs I like. But EvE took over first place entirely.
- To paraphrase that political quote that keeps popping up whenever the economy in the real world goes bad: "It's the economy, stupid". Look, I'm a crafter in MMOs. Nothing, absolutely nothing else out there has the breadth and depth of EvE's in game economy. I've looked. In fact what killed Age of Conan for me by level 13 was the fact there was no crafting till level 20.
- No other game seemlessly integrates the newbies with the grizzled old veterans. This may loose us new players (very consistently) but at the end of the day everyone can contribute to an op one way or another. The veteran players have more options, but everyone can contribute. All fleets need scouts and tacklers so there will always be a place for low SP players.
- Single shard. Any eve player you meet in the real world is someone you can run into in game. And vis-versa. You can even go to the pub with them and exchange stories, lies and advice. You may get the occasional strange look, but what's better? Going to the pub with friends to discuss the football game where you talk about the accomplishments of other people playing a game. Or going to the pub to discuss the accomplishments YOU achieved playing a game.
- Evolving. Even in the short time I've been playing (not yet 2 years), one can't help but admire the dedication to improving the game that CCP evidences.
- Scale. Pushing the limit trying to get to the 1000 player fleet fight level. Over 5000 solar systems. The lowly tech 1 scout frigate which can cost as little as 100k modules and ammo inlcucde all the way up to the titan class ships which sell for 10's of billions.
- No other game has seen the evolution of in-game banks and stock markets.
- No other game has players manipulating the New York Times for the purpose of pushing forward an in-game agenda.
- In no other game is the PvP as pervasive and realistic. There are no "drop you in an even fight" situations in eve. No pre-arranges you bring 10 guys, I'll bring 10 guys and we'll play capture the flag. Intelligence and reconnaissance mean something in this game. The pre-battle phase is just as important as the battle and the post-battle phase in EvE.
- We have spies, we have scams, we have great characters and heroes and villains. Honorable pirates and scum that would lower property value in the poorest slum in Calcuta. These are just the players. Sometimes the NPCs have a tough time competing with the egos and personalities that play the game. At one point a gm or dev had unceremoneously moved all high sec drednaughts to low sec including the Veldnaught. Such is the upstanding reputation of Chribba that soon thereafter the veldnaught was restored to the Amarr system and formal rules covering the dreadnaughts build in high sec were published.
- I could go on but you get the point.
Well I never left so can't answer that one yet.