20
May
11

EvE – Thinking WTF to write about internet spaceships.

What hasn’t been said about EvE online, “that hasn’t been said a thousand times before?”. Even ending that sentence with a cliche left a gut wrenching pain, I might need to visit a health profesional.

Some writers have covered the game so brilliantly that finding new ways to think of your game can be quite stressfull. There is only so much back patting that can go on for a game as great as EvE but still I find that the awesome mechanics we are given to play with can be so hugely in your face that you miss them, or horribly hidden so that you miss them. Subtle ideas, psychology and ideas are hidden behind a layer of blatant sci-fi settings, spaceships, drama and visuals. though foccusing on one specific thing without trailing off onto other subjects can be quite hard to write about at times.

If you look at CK’s blog roll you can find hundreds of blogs dedicated to EvE online on all manner of subjects, and personal accounts of gameplay. This huge list is more than enough for the world to keep it occupied with EvE online for a very long time leaving very little room for any more typing and reading. these blogs and web articles serve more types of people than I could list. Though I want to give that a shot so let’s get a “in no particular order” list going.

Those people would be interested in: EvE online, Multiplayer games, Internet games, Sci-fi games and Sci-fi in general, Online social groups and social networking, Online markets within online games, Roleplaying within a sci-fi universe, social forums and websites forming large groups within games, MMO hardware, MMO software, MMO data, MMO currency, spreadsheets of ingame data, “new school” business meetings, education within MMO’s, adventure/exploration games, empire creating, spying and subterfuge, online romance, space barons, care bears and forum trolling.

All of those people can find what they are looking for within the hundreds of thousands of allready written words from bloggers, games websites, journalists, authors and various internet media, all about EvE online. So what’s left?

Messy shoes.

When I start to think about EvE online in blog terms I get my brain using the same routines, imagining about things I’d like to do, or have heard about. Things I know are NEVER going to happen and not because I don’t believe they will, thus they won’t, but because they simply don’t exist in EvE yet. Movies often help with my imagery. Movies like Blade Runner where you could be sat at a noodle bar talking Chinese living in some neo-city wearing a trenchcoat and just trying to get by. Movies like Alien where you are a crew member aboard a Weyland-Yutani deep space vessel travelling for years and years. Or a good TV show like Firefly, where a…well you all know how awesome Firefly was. I’ll think of these things, stick them in a mixer, set it to full power and wait until something good comes out. Usually you can spot the fake good ideas quickly because a little prick jumps in the way and says something helpfull like, “Fuckface, that’s been written about a hundred times allready”, or “Yes thats a good idea but she’s allready done that and did it better than you”. And then I get depressive and slighty anxious, sweaty palmed and then I develop an eating disorder.

After I have some good inspiration in my head I then try to use those same thoughts and apply them to EvE. And then I realise that what I want to write about came from my first idea and that idea was about character, or rather a REAL body to my current character and then I think about Incarna and then BAM! I’m on to something. And so now I can write a little about my thoughts on the subject of Incarna and I can get excited about things like Incarna because it adds another layer to our allready impressive game. So here we go.

Agreeing to 2 different camps is quite the normal behaviour so while I can agree with the people who say CCP should focus on their current game and get that perfected first. I agree more with the people who are interested/open minded to the possibilitys of what Incarna will bring to EvE online. Despite the obvious benefits of more players coming to our game, injecting new life to an old crusty gaurd that is quite content in sitting sweaty and piss ridden, while the rest of us like fresh things and new experiences. Basically, I am looking forward to more game. More game that let’s us possibly pretend that we are Decker or Hicks or Jayne from our favourite movies. The point being that having an avatar gives us more choice for a good Sci-Fi game that does not allready reside in Star Wars, Star Trek or some other well known franchise.

EvE would be our own Sci-Fi universe finally. Nobody can relate to the stories of a spaceship, this is not the little train that could. Our spaceships do not have personalities as such, mainly because my Drake looks like your Drake looks like his Drake and so on. We could have as dark and gritty as a noir piece as we wanted in some systems/stations or as bright and visually stunning as a Summer blockbuster in others. Providing of course that they don’t just implement it and then leave it to die like most other expansions, right? Right?

And I guess back to my original point. Having a body and something you can relate to gives us more opportunity to write in a way that feels more rounded. You have a body, the body connects to the ship, then you are the ship. It’s very Manga almost. Large robot suits stomping around destroying shit, then the hatch opens up and it’s some kid wearing odd clothing and having a weird cuddly toy/cute animal in the co-pilots chair. Except that in EvE it would be a Battleship the size of a town docking into a station, a pod being transfered to some living hab, the pod goo being flushed out leaving a naked podder in much need of a shower and a drink. People still manage to find personality in the robot suit, but the character underneath is what people are usually drawn to. In EvE we would have more of a ‘life’ instead of just a series of ships one after another.

The future of our game.

Of course not everyone is going to see possitivity in this, and I do hope that these people do not have to have their EvE interupted by arms, legs, clothing, bars, endless hat shopping and cyber-hound walking.

Like good coffee or Tea*, you need a good blend of flavours. Right now all we got is Strawberry and Vanilla. And people want chocolate, kiwi, rainbow, Orange, cola, cookies, liqourice, tomato and __________ (a space for your favourite flavour, go and grab a pen and write it on). It doesn’t really look that way to the people who are fine with their strawberry and vanilla EvE but more choice is always a good thing. Keep the core simple, but give options so at least you have the illusion of choice to some degree. SUPER HYPER METAPHOR TIME!!!!!!!! A Milkshake is still milk, or cream and milk, and you just add a flavour to it. Over complicating it with bits and fruit, and fucking candy and shit just distracts you from what is meant to be a simple pleasure. Change the flavour a little every time and it becomes a bit more interesting and fresh every time, just not complicated.

In lot’s of games you can customise your character in someway, but it is still essentially the same character as everyone else’s. Being able to dock in EvE and have the choice to leave your ship, walk around the station and just hang out is going to be a good thing. It’s going to create good stories and good gameplay and good ideas from this initial stage. Probably.

*Notice how I made the T in Tea upper case, and the c in coffee a lower case? That’s because coffee is not as awesome as Tea.

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