If there is one game out there that is guaranteed to be talked about when something happens, I would say that it is EVE Online. You know the game. The one with the internet space ships backed up with the learning curve from hell and the spreadsheets of doom.
Monumental – EVE Online
Video games are infecting life. It’s been going on for a while but to my mind the absolute best example of it has to be EVE online. Pick an event, you know you can. Is it the time, my personal favorite, that the Guiding Hand Social Club turned space into a murderous installment of Oceans Eleven? Is it the time the leader of EVE Bank walked away with like …. all of the money? Or was it that little spat in a tiny system called B-R5RB? Poetic name isn’t it?
There are better after action reports than I, someone who wasn’t even there, could possibly write for you. The EVE Dev Blog has a selection of nice links if you want to get down into the nitty gritty.
For our purposes lets discuss some highlights of what happens when EVE goes to war.
First and foremost? There is the little tidbit that took this battle out of the internet and into the broadsheets regular non gaming humans read. All told, according to reports, there was 11 Trillion ISK worth of destroyed spaceships. This works out, thanks to PLEX trade values, to about $300,000. Those virtual bits and pieces of video game spaceships had an equivalent worth of a reasonably nice house or if you want to be a landlord, several smaller rubbish ones.
Over the course of twenty plus hours people didn’t just change the economic and military balance in EVE, they punched their way into regular newspapers. They brought home the fact that for all the trappings, EVE isn’t just a game nor can it be dismissed as such. It is a monument to what we can do, how we can entertain ourselves. In the game, there is even a monument waiting for adventurous players, TITANOMACHY. If you ask me, it’s a monument not to in game hubris but to sheer unadulterated awesome.
Why be content with destroying the equivalent of a home in Tuscany? No matter the achievements of EVE, there is an inescapable fact. Online games can disappear, like sandcastles on the shore. They don’t necessarily have to as seen by some games going into maintenance mode, but they still do. You need only look at Sony Online Entertainment which despite running EverQuest forever and a day (okay for fifteen years), they’ve had to close some games.
What happens then? Well… the memories live on. There are times when your actions may be graced by an in game memorial. Look at Asherons Call, still going, still commemorating the Defenders of Harry.
Other times, like the Columbia Space Shuttle Memorial added to Earth and Beyond, the game goes and takes the monument with it. Doesn’t matter who or what was being remembered. It’s gone.
Well… not any more. Not in Iceland anyway.
On the 1st of March this year, CCP went and took stock of all of the active paying players of EVE as well as some of their dearly departed. Those names are going to be added to a five meter tall physical monument in Iceland. That’s going the whole hog. Between the time capsule buried beneath it and the sheer physicality of an actual monument, can you think of a better commemoration for a game that is a passion to so many?
The monument will be unveiled on Wednesday April 30th, a day before Fanfest 2014, the annual gathering celebrating the EVE Universe held at Harpa Concert and Convention Center in downtown Reykjavik. At the event, thousands of EVE Online, DUST 514 and EVE: Valkyrie players will witness the dedication in a special ceremony that will include CCP staff, city officials, friends, and family.
I like to think I’ve played some games that have won my adoration and commitment. It is a pity that I never stuck with EVE and repaid that stellar sandbox with loyalty. If I had, you’d be able to find my name in Iceland.
If you take anything away from this, it should be the impression that EVE Fans are a breed apart. I know that I’ve always been fascinated by them, impressed by them, and when the stories of the latest and greatest heist break, entertained by them.
What is it that creates this environment though? Is it a function of the sandbox? Is it just plain hard work from CCP and some form of sinister mind control?
These are real people playing make believe in internet spaceships but even with that, they still flock to Reykjavik for FanFest. They gather in a mass and breathe life into that universe. It’s more than a Council of Stellar Management. It’s more than whatever is in the air in Iceland.
You know what we need? We need a documentary. Something to answer our questions. What exactly is it EVE online? That’s a good question. Fortunately for me there is such a thing.
A team of students from Sweden’s Malmö University went to FanFest last year to record their tale of internet spaceships. Petter Mårtensson, Philip Raivander and Elin Thedin came together to bring us that tale. In their own words:
A Tale of Internet Spaceships won’t be an unashamed tribute to all things EVE. What we aim to capture on film is the relationship between CCP and the people that play the game; a love-hate relationship that, several times during the game’s lifespan, has been quite strained. What makes thousands of players start an in-game riot and what did it mean for the player base when it was all over? What did it mean for CCP? What kind of power do the consumers wield over the companies that supply a game service like EVE online? Why do hundreds of players travel to Iceland every year to celebrate the game? What kind of bonds do massively multiplayer online games create between players, and between players and the creators?
The full documentary is still coming but check out the latest teaser trailer here where some people try to answer that question.
What is EVE Online?Related: EVE Online, F2P, Fantasy, Sci-Fi