Friday, April 29, 2011

Blog Banter #26: "The Beauty of EVE" (OOC)

It is a pity that when CK initiated this sharing amongst EVE bloggers with "Blog Banter #1" my attention was diverted from EVE, elsewhere. Now, almost three years later I will finally enjoy participating in my very first blog banter...





"Welcome to the twenty-sixth installment of the EVE Blog Banter, the monthly EVE Online blogging extravaganza created by CrazyKinux. The EVE Blog Banter involves an enthusiastic group of gaming bloggers, a common topic within the realm of EVE Online, and a week or so to post articles pertaining to the said topic. The resulting articles can either be short or quite extensive, either funny or dead serious, but are always a great fun to read! Any questions about the EVE Blog Banter should be directed to crazykinux@gmail.com. Check for other EVE Blog Banter articles at the bottom of this post! 
This month's topic was proposed by @KatiaSae of the much praised "To Boldly Go" blog. Katia asks: "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. As an astrophotographer, I've found it in the stars and planets of New Eden. Where have you found it? Perhaps you've found beauty in the ships we fly? Maybe it's the sight of profits being added to your bottom line? Or maybe it's the pilot portraits you see in the comm channels? Where ever you've found it, write about it and post an image." Don't be afraid go beyond the simple visual aspects of EVE as well. Is the EVE Community in itself a thing of beauty? What makes EVE the game, the world, the Community, so appealing to you?



So, the subject of Blog Banter #26 is the very thing that lured me to EVE Online: It's beauty. Initially, the game's visual beauty amazed me; I remember marveling at in-game screen shots, impressed that the game graphics "played" that way. It seemed alien to me that, at that time, a player was largely represented by the ship that they chose to pilot- because the little avatar picture was easily lost in the rest of the muddled HUD. I remember how the introduction when starting a new character swept me up, however, once I was in-game attempting to digest the tutorial proved almost impossible.

 Over time, I became immune to the game's graphics- focusing more on the information contained within my HUD, including the internet browser, than on beautiful pixels. By that time, I had discovered a new form of beauty within EVE Online- the sand box. EVE was one of few games that relied heavily on player driven content to define the in-game universe. I have shot at, and bested, more than my share of generic NPC terrorists and pirates whilst saving a plethora of exotic dancers from a cruel fate. Those antagonists- NPCs' with names that are a blur of "difficult to pronounce strings of text" are quickly and easily dismissed in a spam of button mashing. On the other hand, uttering player names such as 'Mynxee', 'The Mitani', 'Sir Molle', 'Ginger Magician', or 'Verone' cause me to stop and take pause...Speak these names as a subject in conversation with fellow pod-pilots, and one is greeted with a wide variety of reactions ranging from reverence to contempt! 



That is the sand box that makes EVE so alluring; real life people doing in-game things and becoming famous or infamous as a result. Add to that sandbox the ability to dupe, cheat, steal, and swindle fellow players out of InterStellar Kredits (ISK), ships, modules, structures, Pilot Extension Licenses (PLEX), corporations, or even alliances, in game, (barring actual cheating with a third party program or hack) and it becomes clear that the denizens of New Eden enjoy a dimension of risk versus reward unlike any other sort of MMO available. Such an environment provides a fertile opportunity for players wishing to engage in role play. In fact, because of the game's mechanics, traditional boundaries of role play are often blurred to pull off the next heist, to insert the next spy into a competitor's corporation, or alliance, or to fly alongside an NPC faction that a player greatly admires with the express purpose to kill players.



That thing which attracted me to EVE Online would prove to be multi-layered and change over my time spent in game. EVE is multifaceted and allows players to do many different things within New Eden. Hi-Sec, Null-Sec, drug production, trade wars, pirating, planetary interaction, exploration, factional warfare...and more. Add walking in stations somewhere down the road, and a player is presented with a large list of ways to hook-in to the game and new things to try when a current profession becomes mundane.



At this point I want to mention the devs' and CCP employees. Many of them take the time and enjoy interacting with the EVE player base, patiently answer questions, and have even been known to take player ideas and implement them into the game itself. The most beautiful thing about this game- that eclipses any other aspect is the player base. There are so many talented and passionate people that channel EVE Online as a muse, then infuse it in their blogs, artwork, music, websites, fiction- in turn elevating the game above any competitor. One such player, Chribba, has an entire website devoted to many different utilities that he created to make the lives of pod-pilots easier!



Were it not for it's players, EVE Online would simply be an interesting game of spreadsheets with a masochistic interface. Were it not for the players that populate New Eden, I would have lost interest in EVE Online a long time ago.


Fellow Blog Banters' to follow:

(The pilot responsible for BB #26. Check out the tweetfleet collage!)

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