“You play EVE Online?”

Here’s a typical conversation regarding my playing of EVE Online with another gamer. She’s a pretty cool person that I follow on Twitter from back when Pownce was a thing. Random conversation picked up from resisting the call of the recently released Grand Theft Auto V into a mention of the iOS 7 beta breaking a lot of games. The conversation continues:

Now, I know that I’m not the best person that could possibly describe EVE Online to a non-player because I am pretty low on the ladder of respect in the community of the game as a whole partially because of what I’ve chosen to do with my time in the game. However, I think I hit the nail on the head in two major ways.

First, the actions that are sanctioned in a game like EVE Online could be considered to be a breach of other games’ terms of service, including owning multiple accounts and scamming. Owning multiple accounts is typically an indication that you wish to cheat the system of other MMO titles to benefit one particular character. For instance, doing multiple daily quests in WoW while sending all of the rewards for these quests to a main character. In EVE, this strength in numbers is an important part of being able to operate in the game world and trust is a pricey commodity. So the solution is simple: own multiple accounts so that you can run multiple instances of the game to have more efficient and/or more secure operations. Scamming is a huge part of what makes the upper end of the EVE universe move. Where particular high-level hulls cost on the order of billions of ISK to manufacture and tens of billions of ISK to purchase outright, one would assume the most precautions are taken in these deals. However, the game’s interface combined with a few tricks could make understanding these deals difficult, if not impossible, therefore rigging the game in favor of the scammer. If things go the right way, it becomes the most profitable activity in the game.

Second, that in the case of EVE Online, time and experience are two different things where they are the same thing in other games. Unlike WoW, where leveling up requires a player to constantly adapt to stronger enemies thanks to the difficulty curve known as the grind, EVE Online’s “leveling system” requires a certain amount of time to pass before a player is certified for a new class of ship or new variant of weapon. It forces the player to do something in the meanwhile—it forces a player to experience what the game has to offer as an open world. This is more important for players who are new to the game and have not traveled outside the relative order that is empire space.

Like I said, I’m sure that’s not really the best way to look at the game when trying to tell someone who doesn’t play about it, but it’s the truth. It’s not a game for everyone, in the same way that not everyone like comedy films compared to a live performance: one is formulaic in an attempt to be funny to everyone while the other can change from day to day and is generally never the same show twice. While some of the jokes might not change, it’s always a new experience.

That and comedy films are the absolutely worst form of entertainment that I can think of.