Just when I thought I was out…Niden
EVE is silly. It’s a silly game about spaceships and its players get way too worked up about it. They generate intrigue out of thin air, meet each other all over the world to talk about spaceship drama, and sit behind broadcast desks and comment on other nerds duking it out in silly tournaments to determine the king of the nerds. It’s all quite ridiculous really.
So why can’t I be rid of it?
After Fanfest this year, I came home to many real life obligations that demanded attention and EVE naturally took a back seat. To be frank, I’d let EVE take up too much of my time and attention and there was a need to step away. There was parenting and work to be done, music that needed writing and recording, friends that needed meeting, and a gym card that needed more use.
So I involved myself in the world of the world of the Normal People(™) who don’t get worked up about fighter nerfs or what NC. dropped on a fight last week. I won’t lie, it was nice stepping away. But the reason why surprised me a little.
The kind of EVE I enjoy is stressful
The kind of EVE I enjoy is stressful. Whether that has more to do with what I do or my own poor constitution, I can’t say. I seem to find it hard to do anything casually. That isn’t to say I am the best or even particularly good at the things I do in EVE, but I definitely prefer the deep end, with sharks in there. And ninjas. On fire.
This means PVP on a (relatively) high level, more often than not with two clients running at the same time. With the fights Snuff get into, it can get quite complicated and you really have to be on your toes. In any high-level alliance, you’re expected to not make stupid mistakes. Me not being the best and all, I have to watch my shit in order to not fuck up.
So even though I enjoy it, it’s stressful. Piled on top of all the other stress I have from my life – work, kid, marriage, economy etc. – as well as the responsibilities I shouldered in running CZ, it could get a little much sometimes. So when real life conspired to put the brakes on my EVE life, I cannot say I did not welcome it on some level.
After a while, I realised days could pass without me doing anything EVE-related at all. I wasn’t even checking Discord, Twitter or reddit, which I’d done religiously in the past. It was good. I had time to focus on some RL things that needed attention. It felt good not to fret about moving capitals, updating fits to doctrine, keeping track of EVE politics and drama. For a while, I felt that perhaps my time had come to step away from EVE entirely. After all, I am fast approaching middle age. Surely it’s time to stop playing silly video games, right?
Then something happened. Or rather, it crept up on me. There was a feeling of missing something, like forgetting a language or missing an old friend. It would happen as I saw pings for fleets, chanced upon an EVE-related article, or even as I looked up at the stars at night. I remember one moment in particular: I was walking my dog one night and listening to the audiobook version of Armada (by Earnest Cline, the author of the critically acclaimed Ready Player One, and in the same vein). The main character mentioned EVE Online, and I could feel a pang of longing as well as a sense of pride that we, the EVE nerds, had contributed to the legacy and infamy EVE enjoys in the collective consciousness of the gaming world.
It may not be good for me, it might not be wise or even particularly responsible, but I needed EVE back in my life.
I missed getting into close fights and pulling out a win, joking about the sexual orientation of certain fleet members and FCs on comms, putting together videos of the fights and talking about it all afterwards, reddit PVP, community drama, nerd rage over nerfs, the Alliance Tournament, Suitonia’s weird stare, Apothne’s tight shirts, fucked up posts on Kugu, alliance forum leaks, large scale war & politics, surviving with 10% hull, trash talk in Local – I missed all of it.
I also realised I needed to learn to enjoy EVE in moderation
However, I also realised I needed to learn to enjoy EVE in moderation. A slow burn is the right way to go about it for the long term. I have to be realistic about the fact that my daily schedule and ongoing real life concerns don’t allow for the kind of EVE overdosing I indulged in for years. Many EVE players are young, often single, people with plenty of time on their hands and much less responsibilities. I am none of these things, and a growing number of EVE players aren’t either. I have to be realistic about the kind of space I can allow EVE to take in my life.
But I also know that I can’t seem to be rid of it. For better or worse, I am an EVE player. It has a been a part of my life for 12 years, and looks like it’s here to stay. Like some kind of fake internet spaceships STD that the doctor just told you you can never be rid of and you should probably call all the other people you infected and apologise for ruining their lives.
This is me learning to live with the disease, or accepting the addiction if you prefer that metaphor. EVE, like all things, should be done in moderation. It’s a special thing, unlike any other, but if let it, it will cripple you. It’s dangerous that way, but I find that most great things in life can be and it’s a test of one’s personality to be responsible about it.
Link to my artwork for this piece