EVE Online Diary #2


posted 10/16/2006 by Randy Kalista
other articles by Randy Kalista
One Page Platforms: PC
My Caldari frigate, a tier-one Merlin class fighter, cuts a v-necked silhouette against the blue Sobaseki sun. I’ve warped past the star a dozen times on various missions (courier, seek-and-destroy, trade) but indeed I’d thought it was only a background graphic of sorts. Its size shifts unhurriedly, its apparent magnitude never implying anything more than it being a photogenic but otherwise ineffectual prop. Then, in an inexplicable fit of wanderlust, I determine that I’m going to soar into the sun.  I fly to the planet nearest Sobaseki, curve my ship toward the star, and warp to that seemingly non-functional center of the solar system.
Surprise grips me. The warp engines cut out at a healthy 150,000 km distance, but Sobaseki flares and churns under its own fiery tentacles, looming larger than ever. Apparently, the stars are set to scale. I veer my Merlin onto an approach vector. This will be the ultimate ride into the sunset.
Until, about 30 minutes in, I do the math. I pull up EVE’s in-game calculator (handy for large transactions and, now, time-distance calculations) and find that at 275 meters per second -- not a bad speed considering my lack of afterburners or micro warp drives -- I will reach the sun in approximately …
…eight days. Not eight sped-up day and night cycles as most MMOs proffer. Eight real world days of constant no-logging-out progress. 
Suffice it to say, I’m convinced of this system’s spatial authenticity, and I abruptly abort my ride into the sunset. I’m trying, but wrapping my head around the sheer immensity of the EVE universe and its 5,000+ star systems is simply impossible at this time. The dimensions of the galaxy just keep on expanding.
There is a multiplicity of reasons why EVE Online is not the game for you. Reasons that have been dutifully carved out over the short history of massively multiplayer online games by disgruntled forum posters and disgruntled game reviewers. Reasons that butt heads with nouveau MMO mantras swearing against grinding, swearing against free-for-all PvP, and swearing against painful death penalties.
And yet, so much of what EVE does well flies in the face of these arbitrary standards supposedly cementing the MMO genre in place. The designers at CCP have got their MFAs in Reverse Psychology, and, critics be damned, their ideas work. You can adhere yourself to a single agent, say Internal Security, that bestows mission after mission of combat action; and you can grind away to your heart’s content, building up your standing with the agent and, subsequently, the attached corporation (which translates into higher quality agents, exponentially growing monetary awards, et cetera). Or you could look into the job variety handed out by Legal, Command, Astrosurveying, Mining, and Marketing agents. There are more. You could settle into the expected #1 money-maker in EVE and start strip mining asteroid belts. A regular 9 to 5 in piracy or bounty hunting is not uncalled-for either and has great leads for adventurous types. 
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