While I was scanning through an EVE related forum the other day, I saw someone ranting on about how some new changes to the game would affect "my EVE". Now, as much as seeing this kind of perceived ownership in regard to games usually has me reaching for the nearest sharp object to jam through my skull, it actually got me thinking, what is "my EVE"?
Games are very much a subjective medium, but with MMOs in particular there is such a wide range of content that it's possible for players to have radically different experiences. EVE Online is very similar to the age old Elite series of games, or the more recent X series- space-sims with massive, open universes, where you can fight, trade, and explore to your heart's content. Now, with the addition of other human players to the universe, the possibility for dramatic events suddenly becomes quite ridiculous. EVE runs on player interaction, with people that will either help you out, shoot you, or a combination of the two. These interactions define our experiences in the game, and this is what separates the MMO from any other genre.
I'm not amongst the oldest tier of EVE veteran, like those who have been around since the beta stages, nor was I flying through New Eden in the dark ages of no CONCORD and no insurance, but when I started there was no Trinity graphics engine, no factional warfare, and no harbingers. I started, like a lot of people, through the free trial- but also thanks to the ravings of the same heartless individual who had gotten me hooked on World of Warcraft almost a year before. During my first few weeks, amongst picking up the basics, I learned something that has stayed with me for the four years that I continued to play: corporations don't last forever.
My first corporation was The Hersch- a small band of players that frequented the same gaming forum- and together we ran missions, mined (although it should be pointed out that I have never mined, and any evidence to the contrary is nothing but slanderous lies), and did a little bit of everything else. Life was good in The Hersch, but it wasn't to last. There were some members that were unhappy with the way the corp was being run by the directors and, like a lot of disagreements in Eve, it ended with no small amount of drama and fire. The dissenting group split off to form the Reaver corporation and the arguments ended, for about five minutes.
We still lived out of the same low security system and, as the old cliché goes, it just wasn't big enough for the both of us. Tensions escalated in to a "cold war" situation (during which I was kicked out of The Hersch for supposedly being a spy, and was taken in by Reaver) and this eventually resulted in a war declaration by The Hersch- a war that lasted less than twenty four hours, as, after a series of minor scuffles, two opposing fleets consisting of around half a dozen assorted cruisers and frigates, engaged each other outside a station in the disputed system. Reaver won a resounding victory and The Hersch members were booted out of the system.
I've spent my time in EVE sampling the variety of small-scale warfare that it has to offer (and I'm currently preparing to return to a life of piracy), but my first experience with war in EVE sums it all up for me. There is a kind of "Lord of the Flies" culture in EVE, where good intentions just end with two groups shanking each other for fun and/or profit- but it's this competition that drives the core of the game. "My EVE" is an endless cycle of player-driven conflict- a thousand individual wars, just like the Hersch/Reaver incident, that vary from a handful of frigates to hundreds of dreadnoughts and carriers. It's about going out every night in search of glory, and the idea that someone, somewhere, at this very moment, is frantically clicking the "warp to" button as their hull begins to fail.
Now, the reason I've just droned on for several hundred words of egocentric nonsense is to pose the same question to any of the EVE players that happen to be reading this: What's your EVE?