By now I suspect we’ve all seen the fantastic “This is Eve” trailer, and no doubt noted its success. I don’t want to spend much time critiquing the video (as in my bias opinion its clearly fantastic), but I do want to talk about the bits in-between the video clips. Sure the fights and flights shown represent the best bits of eve, the peaks of intense excitement that make this game worth playing, but what is the video not showing? What happens in-between those peaks? What is the humdrum maintenance and preparation work that supports these potent moments of excitement?
Let’s start with money, it makes the universe go around after all. In eve, PvP Costs money, there is pretty much no way around this. PvP almost never ends in profit for an eve player, and so most of us dedicated PvP players spend a lot of our time in-between the fights in one way or another generating cash with which to fund our habit. For me this means logging in every day during my lunch hour (I take the weekends off!), to update trade orders, prod my PI chains and occasionally shovel minerals into a production line. It’s a fairly tedious process, but one which I do enjoy on at least some level. Keeping track of my investments, and watching my asset value chart slowly climb upwards is always gratifying. I doubt CCP’s next advert will be about it however.
Keeping up with the meta is also something that fills the time between the fights for me. Eve online is constantly moving forwards in Fleet PvP. Especially since the beginning of the fast cycle releases the FOTM and fleet rock paper scissors has been changing at a rapid pace. When your Alliance is stationed deep in Nullsec, with no easy access to Jita, changing fits can be a time consuming and even risky process. This mostly entails checking the Alliance forums frequently, and watching for potential changes to established fleets, and new and upcoming flavours which might take over the meta.
New compositions are the easiest to accommodate, most of the time you simply buy a new ship from alliance contracts, as the new fleet will be shipped out by your logistics network. Although you do have to keep an eye on how many runs you’re going to end up doing with the carrier to ship them all home. In the post Phoebe universe, nobody wants to do an extra set of jumps for just one ship. Changes to fittings on the other hand are the hardest to accommodate, as most of the logistics people will be brining entire fitted ships out, conversion kits are rare at best. Often, you’ll need to source individual modules at highly inflated prices, or run out to Highsec to source the items. Alternately most Alliances (mine included) have frequent jump freighter runs which you can leverage to keep your fits up to date. It’s not glamorous, but in its own way refitting ships is kind of fun, if nothing else but in anticipation of the fights to come.
We also send a lot of time waiting for the fights. Eve is a demanding mistress, and one who doesn’t generally let you dictate the times of your liaisons with her. You can spend hours by the phone waiting for her call, or you might find her calling you before you can even finish booting your PC. Most alliances (all of the ones worth joining) have some sort of electronic “paging” system. The most popular of which are IRC and Pidgeon, these are simply ways of FC’s or leaders mass messaging people who are not currently logged in, to let them know that something is afoot. If I have more than a few hours free time for some gaming, I will rarely log directly into eve, instead I will throw open MIRC and await the sirens that calls us to arms.
With all this administration work to be done, you might be wondering how often you actually get to have the fights depicted in the trailer and of course this varies from group to group. For me, I find that I need a window of around 5 hours free to find a fleet(during peak times at least), and that if I am looking for something to do I will find it on average within that timeframe. Of course you can never guarantee what that fleet is going to look like; combat in eve is, after all, like a box of chocolates (assuming your incompetent enough to have lost that little menu card).
None of these things are as exciting as the segments highlighted in the trailer, but they are all enablers for the lifestyle I choose in eve. As such I enjoy them for what they bring me. Speaking of which I believe I have some ship fittings to sort out, so I’d better get back to it sharpish!
Don’t always be flying,