There has been a lot of talk-talk over my years in EVE about “Malaise”, that sense of boredom with and in the game brought on by the lack of Things To Do in EVE Online. It’s even the topic of the recent Blog Banter, BB:77. “Malaise” And a helluvalot of the ‘why’ and ‘who’s-to-blame’ and especially the ‘how-to-fix-this-sorry-state-of-affairs’ is almost universally centered around (1) CCP’s massive failure as a game company and (B) how EVE needs New, Improved and Amazing ™ PVE.
To all of this I say Bullshit.
If I sound bitter, it’s because I have recently discovered that I am… but I’m a new kind of Bittervet… I am not bitter over any perceived or actual issues with CCP, or any perceived or actual issues with the game… I am not bitter that when I log on there is nothing all setup and laid out an all hand-holdy waiting for me to do… No, I’m getting daily more and more pissed off at the players who whine that they step into a sandbox and there’s nothing all laid out for them to do… it’s a godsdamned SANDBOX rich and FULL of toys and buckets and sand and shit... As Harrison Ford’s character Quinn in “Six Days Seven Nights” put it so oh well, “It's an island, babe. If you didn't bring it here, you won't find it here.”
That resort island btw, like all resort islands, was FULL of things to do. Bikes and bars and scooters and boats and sailboats and surfboards etc., etc., etc. But, if you don’t make the decision to do something, if you don’t make the effort to go ride a bike, sail a boat, surf a wave, find friends, make some enemies… then yeah, you’ll probably get pretty bored too.
Do I mean EVE does not need any PVE? of course not. PVE is in EVE a way to make ISK. Itsa grind, itsa job and it aint the point of the game… And as I have pointed out before and as is extremely well known in the gaming community, no game company can create, code, test and deploy Content at anything approaching the rate at which players can burn though it… nowhere near. Hundreds, even thousands of Devs cannot begin to match the abilities of the hundreds of thousands, even millions of gamers working singly or in small to huge groups to figure out the puzzles crafted for them by those, in comparison, few Devs.
Created PVE is and always will be nothing more than a snack for really good gamers. CCP wanted to avoid that trap. They felt that content created by the players, the endless interaction and reaction between solo players and groups of players in a virtual environment where there was stuff worth fighting over was the way to go. And I for one believe there were spot on then and they are still spot on now.
So where is all this whinging and gnashing of teeth and these juvenile tantrums at and against CCP and their “shitty unfun lackluster boring game” coming from? From players who want to login and have all kinds of fun things all setup and ready for them to do… and I don’t get it. Some of the people involved in all this whining are older players who used to know better… and as a playerbase, we didn’t use to be that way. We used to have imagination… we use to understand that EVE was a bag full of toys… not a board game… EVE is a trampoline, not a chess game, EVE is a swingset, not a Poker match. EVE is a sandbox… full of things to play with. But YOU have to use your imagination, YOU, the player, has to make up the story.
When I was a child, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10… I used to love the Ben Franklin Five and Dime store in my hometown of Kilmarnock VA. Every summer when we got the farm house all spring cleaned and mom and us kids would be out there every weekend, some summers for months on end… my Dad would take us all into town and give us each $5… and we’d go to the Ben Franklin 5&Dime… There was one aisle, the toys aisle… oh Wonder of Wonders!! Oh Frabjous Day!!! The toy aisle at the 5&Dime was sheer magic to a kid with a King’s Ransom of 5 WHOLE REAL DOLLARS burning in his pocket!!!
You would be amazed in 1968 how far $5 would go in a 5&Dime… And the one thing I always got, every year, was the Big Damn Bag of green plastic toy soldiers! I am not sure how many there were in actuality... I was a kid and it was a ’lot’ to me. But here’s the thing, years later my mother would tell of how I would go out in the morning, 9 or 10ish, and start playing with those toy soldiers around the big old complex root system of the old walnut tree out in front of the house, the one right outside the kitchen window. She would watch me play with them for hours and hours. I would run in for a PB&J and Quik and run back out sammich in and chocolate milk hand… and she had to call me in for dinner… from that tree and those soldiers.
The roots and sand and dirt around that tree and that slowly depleting magic bag of green plastic toy soldiers… and my imagination. I played out sweeping tales in my mind of evil empires and those who pitted themselves against them to fight for what’s right and good in this life with those soldiers. That was all it took back then.
I discovered something else about me… that’s all still takes now, almost. My old plastic toy soldiers have been traded in for shiney pixel spaceships, the old roots and sand and dirt around that tree, now replaced by our POS and the planets, moons, stations and the infinite black reaches of space... the evil empires and the good, replaced by all the players who share this virtual ‘verse with me. But now… now I find I don’t want to play alone anymore… I prefer to have a few friends with me who are willing to play along.
It’s not PVE you are missing… it’s the point of the game that you’re missing. It’s a sandbox. CCP has bags and bags of toys soldiers and cargo containers chock full of matchbox cars and STUFF… it’s not up to them to give you something to DO with all of that…
No, that part is up to you.