Sunday, January 31, 2010

EVE Blog Banter Special Edition: Why I Love EVE

Crazy Kinux is holding a contest asking "Why do you love EVE?" Below is my submission on why I've come to love EVE.

Why I Love EVE
By Allvan Harl

Why do I love EVE? Holy cow. This question is up there with “what's the meaning of life” and the wife asking “what do you want for dinner?” All three are very hard to answer correctly, if possible. I've been turning my answer over in my head for a few days now. Picking out a can of chili in the grocery story took longer than usual as I stood there, mulling over EVE's complexity, EVE's openness, and what EVE meant to me at a deeper level. Where to start. Where to start.

I started playing EVE two years ago during my New Years break from work in 2008. I'd grown bored with real time strategy games and I was suffering from swords and knights and trolls burnout. I needed science fiction bad. After checking with the wife several times to make sure she'd be ok with my taking on a monthly subscription game, I downloaded the client, made an account, and went through the 3 hour tutorial.

Right away I was hooked. The sheer complexity of EVE was the first reason I came to love EVE. I read non-stop for a month and felt like I was barely scratching the surface. The number of skills and the need to plan and prioritize. The expanse of the universe and the hundreds of NPC agents and stations. The ship stats, the equipment stats, the layouts.

I got a friend at work hooked into this game. He dived right in. The 30 minute lunch break simply wasn't enough to discuss everything we'd learned the day before or everything we needed to plan to get into that next ship, find a great corp, try manufacturing or get up the guts to venture into low sec. Other games I had sat idle. My friend had a boxed game that sat next to his computer, unopened.

As the months went by, I managed to form a birds eye view of EVE. The professions everyone talked about started to make sense as I gave them a try and some began to provide real streams of income. I joined a corp and got in on larger operations but was still free to do my own small freelance flying. I found my place in the game and enjoyed doing what I'd chosen to do. At times I would venture into something new, and it was comforting to know that if I decided it wasn't for me, I could drop it and try something else, or continue what I already knew. There are no dead ends in EVE. Every skill, piece of equipment, ship, corp and play style is available to me.

This is the second reason I came to love EVE. This game fit my interests, both long term and short term. I can grind a mission for isk, or go relax in an asteroid belt, or join a low sec roam and sit on the edge of my chair for hours. I can sit in station and just produce and research. There's a task or profession that fits my particular interest at the time. I can pursue those interests for 6 months, or for a year, or longer or shorter.

EVE also fits me should my mood be different on any particular day. Some days I'm just anti-social and want to do my own thing on my own. Other days I want to be part of a larger group. Other days I want to be helpful and help a new player with a mission or answer a question. Some days I just want to put someone in a vice and squeeze them until they pop. EVE lets me do all this at the drop of a hat. I have total freedom to do as I wish.

But that's not all for EVE and why I love it. You don't think I really stood in the chili isle at the grocery store and pondered over the just the complexity and openness of EVE, do you? No, what I realized there, trying to decide between no beans or with beans, is that EVE is more that just a game for me. EVE is about Space.

I was raised on a healthy dose of science fiction as a kid. Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rodgers, Space 1999, Star Wars, Star Trek, the space shuttle launches, Alien, and Bladerunner. I read science fictions and still do. I looked forward to the day the space station was finished and we built other ones, then opened a colony on the Moon and Mars.

Unfortunately, the future hasn't worked out as I hoped. The US spent around 100 billion dollars over some 15 years on the space station. We just spent almost 200 billion dollars on AIG in 6 months. When I was a kid, space was the new frontier to tackle, where the best nations would go, the future. Now my president is trying to revitalize the economy by getting everyone to install compact fluorescent light bulbs. Somewhere along the line the human race seems to have given up the dream of getting off this rock and became more concerned with the number of rooms in our houses, the size of our cars, how many cable channels we have, and how much free consumable media can be ripped off from the Internet. Hollywood can't do a space movie if their life depends on it and the TV networks are even worse.

And then along came EVE. EVE suddenly reminded me there are people out there still interested in space. Maybe they're not as romantically enthralled with space as I am, but they are still interested. EVE also showed me there are entertainment companies (CCP) that can do science fiction very well. EVE gives me an escape from real life and sends me to a destination I thought we would have been closer to than we are now. EVE gives me hope that the dream of space isn't dead and there are others who enjoy the subject as much as I do.

So there you have it. I love EVE because I enjoy complexity. I love EVE because I enjoy openness and non-conformity. I love EVE because I love space. I love EVE because EVE is me.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Submission for Ecliptic Rift's Flash Fiction Friday

Ecliptic Rift is hosting a weekly prompt for fiction from the EVE-Online community. Below is my submission for the latest prompt: You Did What?!

“Well, in review of your past record, we'll keep you on contract. At least the ship was insured.” said the corporate monkey.

“Ok, thanks, I guess” I replied.

It was absolutely ingratiating having to look this pencil neck in the face after what had happened. I'm a damn capsuleer and he pushes a pen. He has no right to sneer at me!

Well, he can. I royally screwed up.

With the last forms signed and my new body passing all the needed med tests, there was nothing left for me to do but leave the med clinic and return to my quarters.

The walk through the station was agony. I took the long way, through the commerce levels, hoping the displays and music would pick up my spirits before I returned home.

The door slid open and I hesitated before stepping across the threshold. My wife sat at the table in the dining room reading the latest paper. She glanced up as I passed through the entryway and to the dining room, the front door sliding closed behind me.

“Hi hon.” she called from the table.

“Hi babe.” I returned, as simply as I could manage. It didn't work. She knew something was wrong.

“What happened. You didn't get into structure this time, did you? You know corporate doesn't like that kind of repair bill.”

“No, not into structure.” I said as I walked up to a chair.

My wife paused, waiting for me to explain, a blank look on her face.

“All the way through structure. I lost the ship, and the crew.” I blurted out.

My wife's mouth dropped open in shock.

“What? You lost the ship? And the crew?” She'd put the paper down now, her full attention on me.

I pulled the chair back and sat down. I continued slowly. “Yeah, she went down so fast I didn't have a chance to let the crew abandon ship. It just happened so fast. The bubble, the web, the ECM. The damage was incredible.” I waited. She was a capsuleer too. Better to have her figure it out on her own than me having to tell her.

Her eyes glared at me. She wasn't going to let me off the hook. The brewing storm on her face said she intended for me to explain it all. I paused, trying to figure out how to get out of this confession. Minutes went by.

“Yeah, I know, I know. I'm an idiot. I shouldn't have taken that job in a point four syst-”

She cut me off. “You did what?!”

“A job in a point four system. I got jumped by pirates. And podded.”

The look on her face fluctuated from anger to sweet victory. I'd never been podded before, she neither. Now I couldn't tease her anymore about me being the better pilot.

“Well,” she said as she returned to her paper, “the company will put you in a new battleship.” Her tone became matter-of-factly. “The instructors were right. You don't have that killer instinct needed to deal with pirates. It's best if you forget about the lawless low security systems and stick to Empire patrols and damping out Guristas flare ups.”

My stomach turned upside down. She didn't know. I hung my head down, wanting to curl up and be forgotten.

“I'll be flying a cruiser for a bit. I was flying with an out of date med clone.”

She stood up, ripping the paper in two, screaming “YOU DID WHAT?!?!”

Thursday, January 28, 2010

First Blog, First Entry

Welcome all to my very first blog: SpiderMonkey Express. Here you will find EVE-Online related content as well as anything else I decide to post on any given day. I've specifically created this to post EVE-online related fiction I'm going to write.

What is EVE-Online? EVE-Online is an on-line only multiplayer game which I enjoy very much. If you're into spaceships, danger, and having complete freedom in a game with some 50,000+ other folks at the same time, you should check out EVE-Online.

I have two primary characters in-game: Allvan Harl and Veshna Harl. Feel free to convo me anytime to chat or hunt me down and pod me (or at least try.)

So, without more delay, I'm going to post this, goof around with the site's settings (remember, I've never done this before so expect changes) and get ready to post my first fiction story.