Welcome to Part One of a series in which I will attempt to explain why everyone who enjoys gaming, should play Eve Online. And by "play" Eve Online I mean join up, log on, and have fun playing the most amazing virtual/real universe ever conceived by man. With spaceships in it!
Part One: The Common Thread
There are many unique things about Eve Online. One of the most amazing is the fact that every single event that has happened in the last eleven years, every battle, every victory, every asteroid mined, ship built, wormhole explored, all of it - has happened to everyone who plays the game. Eve, just like real life, happens in one long continuous history thread. On one server.
The state of the current Universe is directly tied to every single event that has happened before today. Alliances, hatred, envy, jealousy, the entire spectrum of human emotion is present and built upon the layers after layers of past events. It is impossible to escape and impossible to ignore. Exactly like political tensions in the Middle East. Eve is constantly shaped by the history of events happening right now - even as you read this.
And here is the mind-blowing bit. All of that history? Everything that has happened in the last eleven years? All of it, every last detail, was driven by the players. Individuals. Real people that play Eve Online. From the player who plays once a month, to the college student that plays eight hours a day, to the professional executive that plays during lunch in the office, to the Mom that sneaks in while the kids are at school, the cucumber farmer in Romania and thousands more. Each one contributes in their own way to the on-going tapestry that is Eve Online.
In gaming terms this is referred to as a "sandbox", in which everyone plays, builds, stomps, and throws sand in each others eyes until they cry. And there is no other sandbox quite like the one being built each minute, of each hour, of each and every day in Eve Online.
To some this might seem overwhelming. How can I, a single player, have an impact on such a large, expansive, and long-running place? The beauty of Eve is that you don't have to. One of the most important and often over-looked aspects of Eve is choice. That sandbox we talked about works in a multitude of ways. You have a choice, a choice that presents itself each and every time you have time to play. A choice I face each time I log into the game. A choice all of us have. I don't enter the game with history changing events on my mind. I suspect that very few players do. That is way to much pressure. And a common lie told to new players or potential players. For years, the sandbox has been touted as the participatory equivalent of professional sports. If you are not performing you are failing. Nothing could be further from the truth.
It goes like this. Player enters game. Player does his or her best to learn, play, and have fun flying spaceships around. Player meets other players who are also trying their best to learn, play and have fun. Before long these players are grouped together in some way. This group grows, moves, changes, just as the players inside that group naturally do. Before long, this small or medium or large group is making waves somewhere. Building things, moving things, exploding things, or otherwise making things happen.
Or not. That is only one potential path along a journey that has thousands of potential paths. But it all starts with you. History happens to those that have other plans. Just like life. A great author doesn't start out to write the next bestseller, a great author only wants to write. Great players don't start out to change history in Eve, they only want to achieve some personal goal. The rest just takes care of itself.
The beauty is in trying. Playing, meeting new people, and working towards common goals. All of which, happens together in a universe populated by thousands of other people going along their own paths.
The end result is that Eve is all about sharing. Sharing a common history, a shared server, a shared and daily story that is being written by the individual players. Young, old, student, professional, farmers, oil-rig workers, soldiers, doctors, lawyers, husbands, carpenters, from around the world.
You can try Eve Online for FREE. And you really should. You get to fly spaceships.