It seems everybody I know is ill at the moment. In contrast to my typical behavior when it comes to games and hardware (I’m typically a late adopter), I was ahead of everybody this time. I was ill all of last week and half-ill this week, which I’ll blame the lack of posts on this time. Because I need something to put the blame on this time around, right?
Anyway, Ripard asks whether his readers would have played EVE Online at launch in 2003. I like that question, because it is not at all hypothetical to me. I actually tried out EVE at launch. (Or maybe shortly afterwards. Must’ve been before Castor released in December of 2003 because I remember rumors in chat about T2 ships.) I tried it, and was turned away fast.
Ripard names a couple of things that weren’t in the game at launch and that are considered fundamental pieces of EVE these days: war-decs, POSes, capitals, T2 ships, a mature player market. None of the these turned me away from the game, though.
No, the thing that made me boggle and leave after just a few sessions was… seriously, you develop a game about fighting and trading in space… a game like Privateer, an online game like Jumpgate, just grander… and I can’t fly my spaceship?
Most EVE players probably don’t think about this any more when they log in, but at that time, it felt utterly ridiculous to me that “flying” your spaceship meant choosing targets from a list and hitting a button. That system surely was designed by someone who sucked at even the most basic flight simulators! I wanted to use first-person view out of my cockpit, and my joystick! In a way, all flying in EVE is autopilot-based. “Manual” flying means clicking somewhere in space and hoping the ship will fly in vaguely that direction. All normal flying is based on choosing a target and a command (approach, orbit, warp to).
I mean, how strange is that? At that point, I came from trying out Jumpgate, which annoyed me for other reasons (which I have mostly forgotten). A spaceship game which didn’t allow you to actually fly your spaceship seemed like the weirdest idea to me. Surely, only crazy Icelanders who had too much rotten shark could’ve come up with such an idea? That would never fly! (1 Euro in the pun jar, yes yes…) The game would crash and burn and nobody would remember it in 5 years!
Yeah, I’m obviously great at predictions.
Anyway, that’s why I didn’t play EVE when it was released. If EVE were to be released for the first time today, I still wouldn’t. Only playing this weird “space simulator” which really isn’t one made me think that such a concept might work, after all.