What Makes EvE Matter
Posted by Corelin
So I had a little discussion with a couple of friends who have quit EvE for one reason or another. Some feel that they aren’t that great (You’re wrong buddy. Yes you.) Some just don’t have the time/money, but one of the comments really cut to the core of what makes EvE matter to me. The comment had to do with two things that broke EvE. Travel time and devastating losses. Travel Time does matter in EvE. Sometimes it is REALLY painful as well, but it makes strategy and tactics at the operational and strategic level possible. If you can instantly move then operational tactics and strategic operations are kind of useless. I don’t like moving freighters any more than the next guy but that’s what it is.
Devastating losses make EvE’s metagame “Real” without the prospect of a tough loss, achievements pale. A huge success is only possible where a real setback can occur. Without the possibility of some sort of setback, what have you really achieved? To give you an example, let’s look at a raid in a more “traditional” MMO. There’s considerable cachet to getting a “World First” kill, that is nailing his head to the wall before anyone else on your server. It’s a binary set, either you got him first or you didn’t. Ok cool, there’s something at stake, you can lose that run and lose out the e-honor. Now lets look 3 months down the road when people are pugging things. If you wipe on a raid you have to restart the fight. You incur a repair bill. If your party is bad enough you go home with whatever you managed to get on the previous bosses. Unless you have a REALLY terrible group you killed a couple of bosses, and quite possibly got some loot. That’s the size of your “Defeat”
EvE puts a price tag on defeat. If you live in empire you can lose what you fly. You can go out there, get hammered, blow up your ship, pod, everything in space. It can be rough. The first T3 I lost also cost me a headset. I’ve lost faction BS, nearly lost a Cap ship. Literally lost one in my assets window once for a couple months… these losses are part of EvE. For my money you cannot play the game to its fullest without standing in harms way electronically. This is because standing in harms way is where you put your enemy in harms way. You can only win big by putting ships at risk, and those victories are priceless. My old laptop still has a picture from my first PvP kill against poor Bezelebub. I still get a huge rush from pvp and it forms a real emotional watershed. Imagine the feeling of a world-first kill, only you can get it several nights a week, even on your own.
Other games let you risk assets, but not to the extent that EvE does. If you want to conquer empires you have to put one at risk. Take your stuff to null, get chased out and lose it all sometime, feel the impending terror of a full evac, feel the grinding defeat of a Goons offensive, and feel the triumph of pulling off a great trap, or even just soloing a player that should be much better than you. It’s not the same when you can respawn with all your gear, pay a tiny fee and get back to the killing. Battlegrounds where you can kill and die a dozen times just aren’t the same. Browser games where you can be chased out of an area, but not lose anything permanent, other than time just aren’t the same. I said it before, I’ll say it again, to win an empire, you have to risk an empire. To kill a ship you have to risk a ship. If you are smart you can minimize the risk, but you still have to put it out there.