It’s Chira’s birthday. I have been flying internet spaceships for one year now. Somehow this seems hard to believe. Last year went so fast in retrospective. When I recall how it was, looking for a computer game to play for the first time in many years and then stumbling upon EVE, I get a curious feeling. Part nostalgia, part a strange echo of unanswered expectations. Unanswered but far from disappointed.
There were two key trailers that brought me into the game. Butterfly Effect and Causality finally made me click the registration link and download the client to start off into the reaches of New Eden. The idea of a sandbox MMO was new to me but I immediately had to think about the good old days at the pen and paper gaming table. The freedom to create your own stories, your own world, always was the best thing about (role-)playing. Having spent countless hours drawing maps and plotting schemes as a game master, the prospect of doing this online with thousands of players was just too nerdy to resist.
I remember being fascinated by the dark scifi theme with its nice artwork. Actually, there still is something about those videos, which I cannot put my fingers on precisely, which catches my attention. It resonated slightly differently last winter when I could not yet distinguish destroyers from battleships, but even today these scenes move me. There is, however, this small pang of having lost something. Despite the gorgeous nebula, the beloved ships and engine trails the epic scifi feeling is sometimes drowned in the serious business of spaceship game mechanics. Maybe I should roleplay a bit more from time to time?
Maybe it is not even the scifi feeling itself. Maybe it really is “the story”. Watching the videos it is too easy to forget how much grinding is actually going on behind the scenes. Working your way up in an alliance is as lot about performing basic services and grinding alongside your corp mates. In a video this may be a quick sequence, in a story a single sentence, in the game it’s months and months of playing. The game itself is not enough to create an engaging story, or better: the game is too much. Stories emerge in our minds. Stories have to be told. If there is no storyteller then its just events strewn out across many game sessions. Even the most exciting battle will remain a couple of numbers on the killboard if there is nobody to put it down in words.
Fortunately there are many creative storytellers around. Out of game but in New Eden. On the #tweetfleet and across the wonderful blogs out there. Reading the stories of EVE has become as much part of my game experience as actually flying spaceships. Special thanks on this occasion to Sugar at Low Sec Lifestyle. Her stories kept me engaged in New Eden through many an evening. In a way her encouragement is also to blame for me taking up writing myself. To all of you out there who keep the inspiration coming: I’ll link your blogs soon on these humble pages. Thank you for a truly wonderful year!
I only noted this today, reviewing the old trailers and find it a nice coincidence that Chira now happens to live in exactly that pocket of space, which is mentioned here in the Butterfly Effect. It’s become her home during the last few months. She fought for it and settled down. Maybe the story how she got there should be told sometime. Not today, though. Today it’s birthday celebrations.