A Digital Life Fully Lived

2017-01-20

When I came to Eve in 2011, I did not know a single other person that played the game or even what Eve Online was really about. About the only thing I did know was that Eve is in a Sci Fi setting.
I had briefly tried World of Warcraft, but quickly found it wasn’t my cup of tea. It wasn’t the game so much as the players that rubbed me the wrong way. So when I kept hearing about how there was this terrible game called Eve Online where everyone was a scammer or psychopath, I figured Eve must be doing something right. I hated WoW players, and they hated Eve….clearly I needed to investigate.

From the beginning I was committed to giving Eve a long term effort. I didn’t bother with a trial and simply set up a recurring payment of a credit card, determined to stick with the game despite what I was told would be a merciless ‘newbie’ phase. Meanwhile, all the things that the theme park players hated about Eve only served to intrigue me. The idea of non-consensual PvP along with loss being real in particular struck a chord with me. While I’m not a scammer myself, the notion that it’s allowable by the devs makes New Eden take on a whole new level of immersion.

I also made one other decision that has completely driven my experience within the game-I have only ever had one account, and only use one character on that account.

Eve is unique in the ability to truly create an alter ego and live one’s ‘life’ in New Eden. More importantly, there is a series of consequences for one’s actions that has direct effects on the game experience. The use of alts in Eve is almost universally done to avoid exactly these consequences. Despite being hugely inconvenient at times, those consequences for my actions have made my time in New Eden an ‘organic’ RPG experience. Alaric has one continuous story line that has followed a believable arc since his creation. If told in a narrative, his story would need only some fabricated pre-capsuleer portion to be complete-all the important parts being fictional in that they took place in a game world, but ‘real’ in the sense that I actually had to undock a ship and play the game to accomplish it. To quote a trope….”I was there.”

Like most newbies with no friends, I scratched around high sec trying to learn the game mechanics and accepted a random invite to a corp full of newbs like me. They mined while ran missions to train up skills I hoped to one day apply to PvP. That newbie corp ended up joining a comically bad null sec alliance and I jumped at the chance to finally PvP. My first taste of combat was being podded by my own FC who flew into a nerd-rage at not getting any kills and decided it was because I must be a spy. At this point I didn’t know TeamSpeak was or what the D-Scan did, but already I had been executed as an enemy agent. For some, that would have been the moment they logged out and uninstalled the game, but I took it as even more of a challenge….how tough must this game be if I was accused of being a spy on my very first PvP fleet?!

Eventually the CEO stole everything and disappeared. That was my cue to finally take the plunge and pursue the life I had wanted to lead when I first spawned Alaric- low sec piracy. I fail-fit several frigates and attended weekly events held in Anamake called the Friday Frig Fry. I also began asking for 1v1 duels at the sun in low sec systems, usually dying horribly but always offering a GF in local and often sticking around to beg advice from anyone with experience. This was exactly the attitude most pirate corps look for, and I was invited to join the Black Rebel Rifter Club, then based in Molden Heath.

I divide my time in New Eden into two chapters; before joining a good corp, and everything since. Becoming part of a active corp with solid leadership and happy members completely changed Eve Online for me. Logging in became a near obsession as I looked forward to just chatting with friends even if there wasn’t any action to be had in game. To this day one of my proudest moments was killing a faction battleship with just a friend in a Rifter and myself in a Stiletto. I learned more in one fleet with those guys than in months of running around alone.

At the time low sec pirates were seen much the way CODE is today. There were constant complaints by care bears about piracy ‘ruining’ the game and driving away players. Several short lived anti-pirate groups popped up on the forums but rarely accomplished anything in game. Pirates continued to have a blast flying around blowing up internet spaceships. But as my security status tumbled, life became increasingly difficult. The consequences for my actions not only were very real, but well considered and balanced. Most people don’t consider security status much more than an annoyance to be dodged by the use of alts the moment they cause inconvenience. But I embraced this impact on my character. Soon I was cut off from generating ISK by running missions in high sec, and keeping my guns loaded with Phased Plasma became a chore. Rather than roll an alt, I was forced to make friends and even cut deals with people instead of ransoming their ships for ISK. Living the hand-to-mouth life of a poor pirate was engaging and being creative to keep myself sustained was more satisfying than kill mails.

The local pirate factions often fought among themselves, but just as often we would fleet up and work together. Perhaps the coolest thing though was that we had our own Mos Eisley. A low sec market set up and serviced by the pirate corp big wigs with industrial alts. We had an unspoken peace agreement, so there you might see ships from a rogue’s gallery of pirate corps mingling and chatting in local. It’s a testament to how many ships I lost that I could so often be found there buying another frigate.

After a year of raiding low sec space lanes, being flashy red to the entire player base, and in a perpetual state of poverty, I had decided to make a change. I would go where a man’s past doesn’t matter and he can fight for a cause- Sov null. I always envisioned some kind of recruiting holo-poster outside of a dive bar in a low sec backwater station advertising for combat experienced pilots to make their fortune out on the frontier.

I applied to a corp in a Sov alliance based solely on the fact that they specialized in cloaky warfare, at the time something I hadn’t done but wanted to try. I knew nothing about Sov politics, no idea who The Mittani was, or how to activate a Titan bridge. I just happened to join a CFC alliance…on the border of Fountain… A couple months before the TEST fail-cascade that sparked the Fountain War. My welcome to null sec was some of the biggest battles in Eve online (and gaming history). The glory days of DomSov where armadas of battleships undocked at a time supported by whole wings of EWAR and Logi ships. Often a Rooks and Kings pipebomb lurking somewhere, a blob of Brave Newbies camping chokepoints, and PL/NC supers on grid.

In Sov, I truly ‘came up’ as a ship captain. I began to specialize in various fleet roles, really taking the time to experience the depth of game play offered by each. Starting off as a short lived but essential Dictor pilot, moving to EWAR for awhile, and finally fielding the Baltec Megathron ship of the line. I had gone from high sec newb to flying in thousand-ship fleets. From bringing everything I owned to null sec in a stealth bomber to having a hangar full of T2 ships and billions in my wallet. Captain of a kilometer long star ship firing projectiles the size of a city bus, locked in titanic battles with thousands of enemies invading our space.

Having lost the last big war and finding myself in high sec for the first time in years, there is suddenly an opportunity to start yet another chapter in Alaric’s story. The beauty of Eve is that even after playing for years, there are whole chunks of content I’ve never experienced. I’ve considered joining the traveling circus of Incursion runners- I’ve lurked in the public channels and it seems to be an active and fun community. Or perhaps having just retired from service in the Sov wars, I will do the Eve equivalent of RV’ing and just see where the next wormhole takes me.
Whatever I do though, it will be with my one account, with my original character. All just part of the ongoing story of Alaric Faelen.

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Comments

  • Caleb Ayrania

    Nice read.. Kudos for playing the hardcore single character mode.

    January 20, 2017 at 1:34 PM
  • OlivierMilla

    I’m glad to read that post. There is nothing creative done anywhere without constraints, and I believe that havin alts wastes a big chunk of the fun. Being red is something you did and had to deal with.

    That being said, as anything in Eve, people do things differently. Some feel the need to have multiple personalities, and so I think they should be allowd to live with that. One thing though, I wonder what Eve would look like if Industrialists couldn’t ship stuffs all around with alts. I believe this would radically change the economics of Eve, by making stuffs less affordable, and thus a big part of the game for the best, at the cost of newbies with no ISK though.

    January 20, 2017 at 1:44 PM
  • Rhivre

    Thanks for submitting this article Apostophe. Really interesting to read about your ongoing story, especially from the more unusual perspective of a single character player

    January 20, 2017 at 2:23 PM
  • Borat Guereen

    Great article, and insights into your character’s life in New Eden.

    I also approach Eve from a RPG perspective, integrating it with the play-style I prefer. Having been a game master for D&D for a long time, I found in Eve online an potential for creating stories integrating into the larger whole lore as well as player’s interactions. Creating “campaigns” in sandbox games like Eve Online is imho the next evolution of RPGs.

    I embrace the Minmatar struggle with all my alts. I just chose to use the alt system fully, and my “tribe” are all freedom fighters, struggling to free all Minmatar slaves from Amarr, denouncing the corruption and collaborationist policies of the Minmatar Republic and fighting to free Null Sec space enclaves that freedom-loving space travelers can roam like our ancestors used to roam the plains of Matar before the Day of Darkness.

    January 20, 2017 at 6:07 PM
  • Suthorn

    Apotheosis. is recruiting. 🙂 Come try wormhole life!

    January 20, 2017 at 6:59 PM
  • Loki

    “Several short lived anti-pirate groups popped up on the forums but rarely accomplished anything in game”. – to this day, Cat O’Ninetails and the Rancer Defence League is still one of the best things to come out of the Eve-O forums :v

    January 20, 2017 at 8:24 PM
    • Mynxee Loki

      I remember Cat with great fondness 😛

      January 20, 2017 at 11:06 PM
  • Mynxee

    Always very interesting to read about another player’s journey in EVE! I like that you are so committed to a single character. I have alts but almost never use them. I don’t know how people handle multiboxing. I have done it in the past just with a cyno alt to help my jump freighter get around and it was just nerve-wracking and unfun.

    January 20, 2017 at 11:08 PM
  • jasperwillem

    07

    January 21, 2017 at 4:26 AM
  • Krull Eve

    Very nice reading. Good perspective on single account/pilot.
    I have more than one account for cynos as this is one area with the “nice folks” we have in eve, you must to be very careful.

    January 21, 2017 at 6:05 PM
  • Trii

    Quite the story indeed! Wherever you may roam, I’d say, remember to stay cloaked and that once fired – a bomb is not your friend 😉

    January 22, 2017 at 11:25 PM
  • Warpstone

    A nice read on the commitment to play with just the one character.

    January 23, 2017 at 6:10 AM