I make a big point of staying firmly anchored in real life, so the christmas season is a good way to gear up for those level V skills that require a bit more training time when you are off having fun elsewhere. Aeon is training Astrogeology V, and Loreena Learning V, and both will be ready for the week after new year. I think I will update my skillplans then, a few ideas have been on my mind for a while now.
The place we are staying has no Internet connection in a 20km radius, so you do not even get tempted to play, knowing there is no way you are going to get online anyway. I knew even before I started playing EVE that it could be addictive, and I have felt the real power this game can unleash over the past two months. I would not know how to classify myself as a gamer, but I think it is safe to say I am addicted for life. Envisioning a life without computer gaming does not come easily – I know I have the power in me to turn my back on it, but after 22 years of playing it is a part of my soul.
I have played a lot of addictive games like the Civilization series, Privateer, the Elder Scrolls series and a lot more, but none were addictive in the way that EVE is. Okay, when playing Civilization I used to print out sheets to write down my Civilization’s statistics every X turns that I would use to create evolution graphs in Excel to optimize my playstyle – but that was still just for “fun” because I like statistics. Playing EVE is fun, but through a number of ingredients it has begun to transcend fun.
Putting aside the facts that I like Scifi and enjoy the game’s aesthetics and playstyle a lot, I think what makes EVE different is the player interaction and level of complexity of the game. The player interaction is what makes EVE’s world credible and feel truly alive – very much like the real world we live in.
The level of complexity also makes it credible, because there is so much to do and so many ways to do them that you do not get the “I have done it all” feeling you usually get in other games. In essence, when you are tired of running missions and decide to dedicate yourself to manufacturing, you discover an entirely new aspect of the game – one that you can spend as much time on than running missions. Same goes for mining & refining, running corporations, archaeology and the like. All this makes EVE’s world seem very much as complex as the one we live in, yet more accessible and more fun. There is no way you will ever know it all either – with a current skill training time of 3 years to learn all available skills and knowing that there are always new skills being added, you can be sure your life in EVE will never get boring.
Incidentally, all these elements make EVE and other MMO games like WOW very addictive. Addiction scares my rational me, because it has ways to crawl in that you did not know existed. Of course there are the big, flashy signs like when a deadline to finish a mission suddenly takes precedence before a real-life project deadline. There are more subtle signs though, like thinking of things to do in-game when you would usually be thinking of what nice things you could do this weekend. It is perfectly understandable, as thoughts like those are enjoyable and transport you back into the game… a game that allows you to socialize with people that like it as much as you do, and understand your in-game problems and wishes perfectly. It definitely feels real in a very enjoyable way and can flatter your ego in ways you will not get in real life, and everything is so much easier in-game.
I am in no way a specialist on addiction, I just try to analyze objectively my own experiences and to understand how a game like EVE can be so addictive. I need to be able to protect myself, as I am convinced that if I did not have a happy family life and trained my control over my gaming needs EVE would already have gotten the better of me. Many fellow gamers obviously have not – in the encounters I made in-game I met quite a few people who even if they are not roleplaying are already spending way too much time in there. I have a few moments every day I can spend gaming, and usually have one game I spend them on for a while, then switch to another for a while so I do not get bored. A while back I bought Civilization IV and played it until I got The Elder Scrolls V: Oblivion. Oblivion obviously gave way to EVE – but in a while, I will switch back to either Civ IV or Obilivion to clear my head (and residual addiction). One of the most important things I have found is to keep seeing the game as a game. Nothing in there can ever be more important than, say, your family/girlfriend/friends. You cannot really lose anything in a game. In the real life you are in, you can and you will. There is nothing bad at all in playing, but it must not govern your real life decisions.
Okay, I think this is quite enough for today.
Time to spend some time to play! 🙂