I started playing EVE Online about 8 years ago, shortly before the birth of my first son. It took awhile to get its hooks in me, but eventually it did, and there was a glorious period of about a year to a year and a half where there was no other game in the whole world more appealing to me than EVE Online.
Then I burned out. And since then, I don’t think I’ve ever truly returned.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been in EVE (both in the client sense and the community sense) for a long while. I spent two years helming the S.S. Cashboat (er, Mittani), took turns in game with various prominent organizations, did podcasts and blogging and community services and all that jazz. But really, I’ve never returned to playing EVE consistently. Undocking became first a rarity, then a novelty, then a secondary consideration. Allowing my subscription to lapse for a month or three became first a rarity, then a regularity, then the norm. The people I’ve met in EVE continue to be among the best I’ve ever met, period. I continue to hang around in chats like some sort of shadow of days gone by. Remember when Mynxee started a lowsec advisory/focus group? I was there. Remember when EN24 was the only place to get coverage of in-game events? I was there. Remember when ninja salvaging and ransoming were not only possible, but probable? I was there.
It would be easy to classify me as a bittervet, then. Except that it isn’t, because I’m not bitter. Nostalgic? Sure. But disenfranchised? No. Disappointed with the direction the game has taken? Largely, no. Angry? Certainly not. EVE was one of the coolest and best things to happen to me (behind the obvious things like marriage and kids). What, then, blocks me from developing that passion for the game again?
Time is the easiest answer and an excuse I’ve trotted out with regularity before. But other people have full, enjoyable lives that incorporate a healthy amount of EVE in them. The community changing is another good excuse, except that the community continues to be the one reason why I stick around, lurking silently, and bursting forth in sudden 1 month bursts of ‘doing things’. Sure, we don’t have Wensley or Ka Jolo or any number of other prominent community figures anymore, but we have other people who are great in their own ways now.
I think the thing that has changed is that I no longer have a close knit group of pals to fly with. This is no slight to Stay Frosty or Signal Cartel, as the fault belongs to me. I’ve failed to develop new in-game relationships with enough people to keep me going. At every stop I’ve made on the Grand Tour of New Eden I appear to have been on for the last few years, I’ve spent less and less time on comms, engaging in game activities with people.
Of course, this turns into a cyclical problem. As I spend less time chatting with corpmates, I become more detached from the current swing of things. The more detached I become, the harder it is to join conversations. The harder to join conversations, the more detached I become – and on and on until finally I’m just a familiar name in local to an increasingly small handful of people.
The only way to break a cycle, in my experience, is to hammer at it directly and with vigor. So I’ve done that. I resubbed to EVE Online this past Friday, began to gather up all my worldly possessions (that are accessible anyways), and started to move. I need a fresh start, I need to reengage with the community that has brought me nothing but good, and get back into the game. And I’m doing just that.
Time to see what comes next!