EVE Online: The Masks of Cyber-Purgatory


It’s been ages since I wrote about Eve Online from the perspective of a player, instead of issuing proclamations full of bombast and demagoguery as the leader of a vast space tribe. From 2009 to 2012, my ‘Sins of a Solar Spymaster’ columns would follow a reassuring format: pose a question, lay out history or arguments around that question, and end with a definitive answer.

Paradoxically, my position as the leader of Goonswarm Federation has steadily eroded any sense of certainty and understanding about the game we play, compared to when I first began. Why do we play? Is this even actually a game? If not, are we really playing, or living out existences in dual realms? Is Eve, to quote the much-mocked CCP ad campaign from 2011, ‘real’? If so, is that a good thing, and what does it say about those of us playing it? Long ago, when I knew less, I had all sorts of easy, quick, and inaccurate answers to these questions which made for great column fodder. I think the reason I stopped writing regularly about Eve is simple: as I learned more about Eve, I ran out of answers, especially to these most fundamental questions.

Everything is Strange in This World

Let’s face facts: Eve Online and its playerbase are anomalies in the world of video games – which is a nice way of saying that we’re playing a tremendously weird game in a tremendously weird way. The average age and demographic makeup of the players (37+ years old, overwhelmingly male, overwhelmingly well-educated) doesn’t resemble any other online game. The sandbox gameplay of Eve doesn’t even vaguely track that of other games; most sandbox games like Second Life are feel-good wish-fulfillment simulators, while Eve is more like nightmare fuel. There is no game with the shardless scale of Eve, no game with half a million rats trapped in one cage without another server to flee to in order to escape their conflicts. There is a whole cadre of academics who are steadily working their way up the tenure track writing papers about what goes on in New Eden.

I watched a clip of a twitch streamer which was making the rounds. Someone asked him what he thought about Eve, and he summed up in a few sentences what has been nagging me for more than a decade: Eve isn’t a game, it’s a lifestyle – or perhaps a cult.

But there’s more going on here than a mere cult. Consider that Eve players agree that ‘winning’ Eve means getting over it and quitting the game forever. Eve players will refer to their real-world names as their ‘slave names’. Eve players seem to meet up in the real world far more than players of other games, and are compelled to talk about their in-game experiences with each other with an unmatched drive and enthusiasm. We are forced to interact with one another in the game, and choose to seek out even our bitter foes to have beers with them.

What the hell is going on here? If your real name is your slave name, why do you win Eve when you quit it forever? Why are we driven to hang out with each other in the real world over Eve, where at-a-distance disposable relationships suffice in other games? And why is it so hard to quit for good, even when we want to?

It is about the roles we choose to play, and what it says about us when we choose them.

Donning the Mask

When new players first encounter Eve, many of them simply turn away, clicking out of the tutorial and never returning. Some, however, stay. They fight through the tutorial and the worst-in-class PvE experience, and if they play the game for longer than six months, statistically speaking those players will continue to play Eve forever – a decade or more. What is it about Eve that makes some players stick, where others are instantly repelled?

Those who stay have chosen a mask to wear – a role for their time in New Eden. This mask sets their path, a set of skills to develop and values to live by which goes beyond their opportunities in the real world. Some players begin wearing a mask immediately, diving in and becoming a pirate from their first hour in the game; others play the game for a while before finding a mask that fits and then committing to the game.

There are a number of identities we can assume when playing Eve that are not safe in the real world; this is one of the game’s primary draws. Come to New Eden and be a spy, a warrior, a diplomat, a pirate, a warlord! In Eve you can safely wear a mask and engage in activities that would get you thrown in jail or killed in reality; a scammer like Scooter McCabe would be a criminal instead of a folk hero, and being a warlord – like a nullsec alliance leader – only works in failed states like Somalia or in a criminal enterprise.

The key thing is this: until we are done wearing these masks, as long as we desire the experience from this other identity, we are engaged with one another in a sci-fi themed masquerade ball along with hundreds of thousands of others wearing their own masks – with all the ups and downs inherent in such events.

Hell Is Other People

However, the freedom to wear a mask comes with a price; you can choose your mask, change your mask, and swap between masks, but you cannot escape other players. The game which allows the most freedom of identity and experience traps us with one another; our masks compete. If I am to get my kicks as a pirate, you as a miner must suffer. If I am to get my kicks as an empire-builder, you as a plucky independent rebel must suffer. Eve promises us heaven – the ability to be who we imagine ourselves to be, to explore other identities, changing them like our clothes – but then gives us hell: the fact that in order to be who we want to be, we must compete with the identities of hundreds of thousands of other identity-seekers.

But the other players and the scale at which Eve operates are key to giving our masks value. You can play Second Life and skin an avatar as a spy or a pirate, but you don’t impact anything; it is more like playing dress-up or writing fan-fiction about yourself. In Eve you can attack, seize, conquer, and test yourself against other people whether they like it or not. When you become a pirate in Eve, you have proven to yourself that you in fact have the capabilities as a person to live up to at least part of the mask: you realize that the mask you chose is no longer entirely a mask, but a reflected aspect of your capabilities and talents as a person.

On the flipside of success, we also have the electronic safety net to fail spectacularly and not die or have our lives ruined; a failed pirate in Eve gets a lossmail and a bruised ego, while an aspiring criminal in the real world may be thrown in jail or even killed. You can test out masks and find hidden skills you never imagined: the sysadmin discovers a talent as a fleet commander, the military veteran discovers she has a knack for market analysis.

This provides the irresistible tension of Eve: by testing yourself against other players striving against you, your victories and failures have meaning and say something about your identity. And victory is addictive; if you succeed in your goals in Eve, you want to keep doing it. Other players will validate your success; you can become known among legions, cementing your sense of real accomplishment through the admiration or enmity of the other. More wars, more heists, more ISK – more conflict with other players who themselves are striving to fulfill their chosen identity. Our successes and our failures can resonate even after we have won the game, inspiring a new generation to take up our masks and mantles; how many thousands of spies began their careers emulating Istvaan Shogaatsu, long after he achieved final victory?

Eve Online is the only world offering this semi-toxic mix of identity, risk, security, and realness – and this is why our desire to be our other, imagined selves, our desire to wear these masks, imprisons us here.

Trapped in Cyber-Purgatory

What is Eve? A galaxy which doesn’t exist in a ‘game’ which resembles a lifestyle, populated with players wearing masks that fulfill deep-seated desires. A universe of social anarchy where no one can be coerced with physical force or the threat of death, where emotional violence is unleashed with impunity. A place which is not quite real, but not quite fake; a place where one can learn new skills, develop and mature as a person – to ascend. But also a place where one can descend – to see human behavior stripped from law and virtue, to find an outlaw tribe where wrong is justified as right. Eve Online is a cyber-Purgatory, a half-realm offering redemption or damnation for those exploring their identities within it. By offering us our choice of masks, Eve can enable us to know ourselves and lift ourselves and our friends up, but also to drag each other down – enabling our darker natures.

This is why Eve players win the game when they quit. We see players gaining confidence in themselves, unlocking talents that are valuable in the real world, making connections and forming real friendships; when they win the game and no longer need their masks, we wish them well and hold them up as success stories. “He won Eve, good for him.” You can always tell who is simply ‘on break’ from Eve but hasn’t actually won; they are not done wearing their mask, and have merely put it on the shelf for a time. We can tell who has won – and we know who will be back.

Saints and Sinners

There are saints and sinners in this Purgatory. We have the Space Pope, Maximilian Singularity VI, the First of His Name: a genuinely good human being who sticks around in this world to bless us and help players in dire need through the Sixth Empire. I don’t know any other game with a Pope; at an intuitive level it seems to make sense that Eve would have a Pope who would bless us, and it doesn’t get questioned much. Of course we have a Pope!

Meanwhile, there are dire examples of those who have fallen and become worse as people. There are scams that go too far, such as the infamous I Am Olivia incident, or the Bonus Room. There are little cliques of racists and bigots who have found each other here and reinforce their evil, leaving 1488 units of gas as references to white supremacy in their lossmails.

Eve exposes its players to the limits of humanity in an unfiltered way. In real life, most people do not personally encounter extremes of behavior unless they choose to work as police, nurses, social workers, or join the military. Yet in this video game, we are confronted with both the best and worst of human nature on a regular basis, and have the opportunity to learn – or become embittered – from that exposure. For some players, their masks become an avenue of liberation, showing a path of hope for a different life path, a different career, and different worldview. For others, their mask become a prison, trapping them within an addictive, unhealthy identity.

In the context of cyber-Purgatory, a player threatening to cut off another players hands seems tame; what would send the World of Warcraft community into a fit of vapors barely raises an eyebrow in New Eden. We eat death threats for breakfast and the bulk of our expressions of outrage are simply concern trolls leveraged to advance our positions in the metagame; today’s torches-and-pitchforks mob is tomorrow’s detached, ironic punchline. Victory in Eve becomes the opportunity to express your chosen identity your way, often at the cost of someone else not being able to express theirs. It’s simply part of the price we pay to explore our potential selves.

No Answers, No Masters

I wish I could end this piece with a tidy conclusion wrapped up in a bow, but humanity is simply too messy for that, and Eve Online is ultimately a realm populated with humans doing human things. Even as we try to label and describe the framework of what is happening in Eve, the situation mutates. Normal video games sanitize human behavior and make it safe, putting limits on what we can and cannot do to one another; Eve Online does not, and so here we are, groping for answers as to what the hell we’re doing, wearing our masks in Purgatory – and wondering why we enjoy it so damn much.

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  • who made the artwork?

    February 27, 2018 at 9:10 AM
    • Keyboard Rain

      That would be Matterall

      February 27, 2018 at 6:20 PM
  • Jon Paul Meunier

    If Fight Club and Game of Thrones had an baby in space…

    February 27, 2018 at 9:16 AM
  • Lars Jansen

    you should write more stuff dick head

    February 27, 2018 at 9:20 AM
    • TheMittani Lars Jansen

      Working on it! Doing a team feature with Matterall got me over my writer’s block, these words wouldn’t have been worth much at all if it wasn’t for his conceptual guidance through every step of the process.

      Plus, holy shit, that art. I want to get some of this shit framed, no joke.

      February 27, 2018 at 9:26 AM
      • General Thade TheMittani

        damn, this article overall is just plain impressive!!! Good job space leader!!!

        March 1, 2018 at 4:24 AM
  • hurf


    February 27, 2018 at 9:32 AM
  • Empanada

    matteral, really do a very good job with the art for complement the good writhin, nice to read good job. 🙂

    February 27, 2018 at 10:06 AM
    • Thanks for doing most of the art for INN. Good job.

      February 27, 2018 at 5:49 PM
  • xearal

    Good read!
    As a recent victim of ‘One does not simply quit Eve Online’, I decided to find my mask colleciton again, after keeping my distance, just reading and watching the world of Eve unfold, standing on the shores, not ready to get wet, and now standing on the shoals, wondering which way to dive.

    February 27, 2018 at 10:16 AM
    • Joseph White xearal

      Come venture into the waters. They are warm, but hold marvels and dangers that can only be imagined.

      February 27, 2018 at 2:12 PM
      • xearal Joseph White

        Oh I fullly intend to, I’m jus wondering into which part of the waters I’m going to dive.

        February 27, 2018 at 3:32 PM
        • Might consider writing too. those few sentences you wrote above were pretty good.I want ot hear more.

          February 27, 2018 at 4:40 PM
  • Feiryred

    Love the art! You need to write more my dear!

    February 27, 2018 at 10:59 AM
  • Joseph White

    To a certain point, I agree with you. As one of those empire builders, I will sell to both sides of the conflict and even accept that I will lose a ship or a dozen. however, that doesn’t stop me from trying to help others as they escape their slave names, and the baggage it entails.

    February 27, 2018 at 2:10 PM
  • Fantastic article, it really gets to the heart of what it is about this game that addicts those of us who are grabbed by it. I remember being gobsmacked not just by the beauty but the POTENTIAL of the game by day 2 of my first account’s trial period. That was 11 years ago and despite some serious ups and downs, here I still am. The reasons why resonated with me in every paragraph of your article. And damn! Matterall’s artwork is superb! Hope there is more such collaboration planned!

    February 27, 2018 at 2:26 PM
    • You’re no stranger to collaboration… quietly helping everyone :). Many things are not possible without you Mynxee.

      February 27, 2018 at 4:43 PM
  • Another deep dive into our dark world well enjoyed. The art work is spot on in EVE Online style, it is as if CCP artist did it (but Matterall’s is a tad better in this case). Heh… Art Agro! That is EVE, everything even artwork is up for competition. In my case, a mask was handed to me by the players but I am guilty to enjoying how comfortable it fits. 🙂 Thank you for the shoutout.

    To others that want to bash on The Mittani, well go ahead that is the mask he chose, but the player Alex is someone you want to sit and have a beer (or six) with. This article is just a hint of the intellect that resides inside, in fact, you’ll be challeneged to keep up.

    February 27, 2018 at 3:42 PM
  • gone fishing

    Really good read and I agree with almost everything, but my internal pedantic is struggling with the name ‘maximilian singularity VI’ and the phrase ‘first of his name’. What were the first 5 called then? 😉

    Looking forward to the next article.

    February 27, 2018 at 4:05 PM
    • Naice Rucima gone fishing

      There have been five Maximilian Singularity (in-universe), so he’s the sixth ; however, as the first Maximilian Singularity to hold the title of “Space Pope”, he’s the first of his name.

      February 27, 2018 at 4:25 PM
  • Xenuria

    Nicely done.

    February 27, 2018 at 4:42 PM
    • Jibbers Crabst Xenuria

      I second that.

      February 27, 2018 at 4:47 PM
  • Stu Taylor

    Best article i’ve read in a long time, thanks for the shout out to Sixth Empire. You should do more of this writing lark!

    February 27, 2018 at 6:43 PM
  • Muul Udonii

    I think I’m gonna need 1488 units of gas explained…?

    February 27, 2018 at 7:36 PM
    • Rhivre Muul Udonii

      In an Alliance Tournament, one of the teams had 1488 units of gas in the hold of their ships.

      February 27, 2018 at 7:42 PM
    • Arrendis Muul Udonii

      And if you need what 1488 units of gas means explained… google 1488, and think of what ‘gas’ would reference.

      February 28, 2018 at 12:12 AM
  • Smart stuff. Well done.

    February 27, 2018 at 8:15 PM
  • Deitra Vess

    Normally, I just read your articles and quietly mock the spin you apply or whatever. This however….

    Please write more. Great article

    February 27, 2018 at 9:35 PM
  • What I really like about Eve is that there truly is no wrong way to play it.

    In the real world everyone has an opinion about what you should and shouldn’t be doing, if you do more hard work than them they ask why you bother and if you do less hard work than them they ask why you’re so lazy. If you spend less money than them you’re stingy if you spend more you’re wasting it. If you spend less time single than them you’re a whore and if you’re single more than them you’re a loner. In the real world and indeed in other games, there’s this “average ideal” behavior.

    Whereas I suggest that Eve has no such thing.

    Maybe Eve used to have it but by now the limits have been pushed so far that barely anyone bothers pretend that there are limits. Fewer still bothers to object to behavior they deem beyond the “acceptable behavior” limit.

    I further propose that when people truly go “grrr those guys for doing that”, its not really to object to someone going beyond the acceptable behavior limit, its just content spice. Without that “grr them over there” then you might realize that camping someone’s systems to kill VNIs and MTUs for 90 days straight is entirely without meaning, like real life.

    February 27, 2018 at 9:37 PM
    • ha, very interesting. Never thought of it in those terms. You should be writing too.

      February 27, 2018 at 11:00 PM
      • Maybe one day I’ll be writing for INN. I did write a book about the meaning of life for my generation so there’s that.

        February 28, 2018 at 5:35 AM
        • I’m not suprised you wrote a book on the meaning of life, because of the short paragraph you put in these comements. Was really interesting.

          February 28, 2018 at 6:11 AM
    • Fewer still bothers to object to behavior they deem beyond the “acceptable behavior” limit.

      Have you been to either the official forums or /r/EVE lately? If you’re a miner, you’re a worthless carebear. If you fly with one of the large blocs, you’re a dirty blobber. If you’re in FW, you’re a goddamned farmer… and on and on. And whenever the question of balance comes up, out come the knives to tell everyone ‘shut the fuck up, what you want for balance is bad because you don’t play the way I play, so you play wrong’. Holy shit, do they come out.

      It’s not that there’s nobody objecting to behavior that’s not average… it’s that there’s no ‘average’ where nobody’s bitching about what you do. Do you play EVE Online? Then most of the players think you’re doing it wrong… just like everybody else. Rather than saying ‘nothing is beyond the limits’, I think it’d be fairer to say ‘nobody bothers hiding how much they despise everyone outside their self-proscribed circle’.

      February 28, 2018 at 12:11 AM
      • Like I said in the last paragraph, when people do object its more or less to give reason for their own actions. Like a PL player cloaky camping delve saying goons are baddies, if goons weren’t “baddie-fied” then he might have to admit that what he’s doing in itself is as pointless and meaningless as anything else.

        February 28, 2018 at 5:32 AM
        • All you have to do is look at recruitment standards. If they let anybody in like any other big group in the game then that group is bound to have any number of bad players other groups have. Even then this game really isn’t that hard. It’s the isk commitment and time sink that prevents players from learning the game from repeated battling and trial and error. If everyone in delve knew what they needed to do to prevent themselves from dieing. There would probably no way to get a kill in delve ever again.

          February 28, 2018 at 7:25 AM
          • In my experience the biggest problem in delve (or anywhere really) is that some people think they’re playing a game where you just magically die sometimes when gating a super with no tank. They just live with it and relish being able to afford it. That’s just what they think the game is like. Maybe they haven’t even installed the alliance comms or fleet ping solution because the welcome-message that said they should/must do it meant nothing to them, like asking you to install “diddlydoodad” because its important, you know not why or how.

            Meanwhile the rest of the players are playing this as a multiplayer game where they work together to not spontaneously die to tiny groups in interceptors.

            February 28, 2018 at 4:07 PM
        • But it’s not. The same people who’ll tell you you’re bad for blobbing and ’empire building’ will also insist that there’s no real reason to care about backstabbing, or loyalty, or trust in the long term because ‘it’s just a video game’.

          It’s not about validating themselves. I wish it were. It’s just about shitting on everyone else.

          February 28, 2018 at 12:47 PM
          • You insisting there’s a reason to care about backstabbing is just another way you do the same. You go “grr backstabbers” and they go “grr goons” (I’m also a goon), all after the behavior of shooting each other. We shoot them, THEN dislike them, and vice versa (they shoot us, then dislike us). Behavior precedes opinion. I can’t find the citation but it was about neuroscience where they discovered that making someone aware of something climate friendly about their behavior (or even lying about some of their behavior by lying that its actually climate friendly behavior), made them hold more climate friendly views and opinions in later surveys. We act and then we justify our actions after the fact. The backstabbers themselves do the same, it takes extreme effort and long-term planning to avoid this behavior.

            February 28, 2018 at 3:58 PM
          • My insisting there’s a reason to care about backstabbers has nothing to do with their behavior. They can behave however they like, it’s a perfectly valid playstyle. My insistence that there’s a reason to care about backstabbers is based on the fact that caring about backstabbers is, in the bigger scheme, my job.

            I’m part of leadership. That means that my job exists to take care of the membership. And if my job is to take care of the membership, then backstabbing is, by its nature, something I don’t want to see among the membership.

            But as a playstyle in EVE? It’s totally valid. Every playstyle is valid. There’s nothing wrong with the backstabbing in the big picture. That has nothing at all to do with the fact that for some people, there is no ‘validation’ only ‘everyone else sucks, too’.

            (Also: Decisions have been known to take place before the conscious mind is aware of it for a few years now. There was another study involving ‘push button when light comes on’, and monitoring the different parts of the brain.

            More and more, the evidence is pretty clear: the conscious mind is a lie. It’s an emergent level of awareness that lies to itself as a coping mechanism to deal with the subconscious knowledge that we literally have no idea what we’re doing. That’s not ‘we’re fools’, that’s ‘our subconscious mind is doing shit, and our conscious mind only finds out after it happens’… and then it comes up with all sorts of justifications… which may even be right, but the conscious mind has no way to know.)

            March 1, 2018 at 1:38 AM
      • To me, it’s a reflection of modern internet culture. Lots of deeply entrenched niche beliefs steadily creeping out from any kind of rational viewpoint. For some reason there is this all or nothing attitude that people seem to have these days. Unlike Eve players, though, nobody realizes they can lay down their keyboards and happily drink a beer with the people on the other side of the screen. When that happens is when Eve truly dies.

        February 28, 2018 at 10:54 AM
    • Life goal achieved, upvoted by the space overlord: https://i.imgur.com/dkuDrLE.png

      February 28, 2018 at 5:40 AM
  • TheMittani

    That’s a really interesting point, I hadn’t considered that. The first generation of nerds who got access to LANs at college, that’s the core Eve demographic. You’re right.

    February 27, 2018 at 9:38 PM
  • Bill

    Looks like we’ve got a space Hamlet in addition to a space pope. To Eve, or not to Eve, that is the question. Some heavy video game shit, man.

    I’ve been playing since the 4th of July, 2003. I’ve been an alliance leader, and an alliance soldier, and a soloist renegade, and a bunch of other shit that I did on a whim, just to see if I could.

    Not a single thing that I did says jack about who I am. It’s a game. Games present challenges. Puzzles to figure out. You either do, or don’t. If you start waxing all Hamlet like about a video game, you’re way too far down the rabbit hole. Pull out, Maverick, you’re below the hard deck.

    February 27, 2018 at 10:02 PM
    • Sylphinja the Dark Rose Bill

      There are connections between doing horribly detrimental things to others in Eve and your Real-world psyche, even if you are afraid to openly admit that.

      March 4, 2018 at 5:53 PM
  • Easy Esky

    Perhaps it could be time to put down the General Marshal’s baton, and take up the cutlass of a buccaneer?

    (Die Hard) When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer.

    (Ghost in the Shell) And where does the newborn go from here? The net is vast and infinite.

    February 27, 2018 at 10:47 PM
    • Rammel Kas Easy Esky

      So you say LIMIT your horizons not expand them by camping the Tama gates or lounging around in unconquerable lowsec NPC stations?

      Thankfully there are plenty of die hard idiots bred every day. We’re in the business of paving highways over their carcasses.

      Indeed our options are near limitless thanks to the fact we embrace ALL the game styles in EVE and have since many years ago.

      February 28, 2018 at 11:19 AM
  • theseconddavid

    I have always maintained that who you are in eve is who you would be in the real world, if it was free of consequences.

    February 28, 2018 at 3:14 AM
  • Maulth

    I can say this entirely without reservation: This is one of the best articles this site has produced. Actually, not just this site, but any Eve Online related news organization. I often times find myself heartily disagreeing with your viewpoints, whether politically motivated or tinged with personal agenda, but this article resonates pretty deep with me. As a former alliance leader, of several now-dead alliances, and a current corp leader going on a decade, you’ve given credence to my own thoughts about New Eden. It’s why I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to quit. Despite being embittered by the inexcusable actions of others, despite the political and meta shifting in a way I despise, I rail against it. That has everything to do with, I think, the fact that it is entirely humanity driven. The only cages in this game are the ones we make for ourselves, and we seem to be doing that a lot lately., both good and bad.

    February 28, 2018 at 4:14 AM
  • eMtoN

    Hear, Hear!

    Now, please excuse me while I another proteus ready. There’s a miner party I feel like crashing.

    February 28, 2018 at 4:30 AM
  • Hachisu

    Ya did good, Mittens, ya did good. Almost all of the articles I’ve read on this subject matter were written in the context of Second Life (or the metaverse in general) but this might be the first I’ve seen about EVE. Well done. I guess that’s what part of what makes EVE compelling: Nowhere else in the MMO space allows the kind of Lord of the Flies writ large behavior and interactions quite like it.

    February 28, 2018 at 4:44 AM
  • Viktor Fel

    Thats the guy I kicked back with in Vegas on more than one occasion. That’s the guy I mercilessly blew up internet spaceships for.

    February 28, 2018 at 5:38 AM
  • Ryan McConnell


    February 28, 2018 at 6:32 AM
  • edeity

    Needs dancing.

    February 28, 2018 at 7:40 AM
  • Gnshadowninja

    Not one for usually reading articles but this one was very well written and enjoyable, it actually made me reflect over my time in Eve Online for the last ten years and realise I have been apart of a game, community and somewhat a social experiment that may never exist again if it ever goes.

    February 28, 2018 at 10:23 AM
  • I wonder why you picked the word masks, and not roles, mask playing game sounds weird.

    February 28, 2018 at 11:06 AM
    • Rammel Kas Peter Petermann

      I think this goes back to ancient Greece where the actors would don clay or other masks to method act particular characters. These masks were often grotesque in their portrayal of a particular character trait. And the character would nearly always be styled in the same way regardless of who drew that particular role that evening.

      So there is likely a lot more meaning to this choice.

      February 28, 2018 at 11:23 AM
  • Gigi Bellon

    I really had to stop reading, my god this is bad. Next time you have an existential crisis don’t try to get all of eve involved.

    February 28, 2018 at 12:13 PM
  • Apollo Tyrannos

    Damn, I had a step back from my PC for a moment after reading this article.

    I’ve been playing EVE religiously for almost 3 years now, I have heard the whole “EVE is a second life” meme that is spread around and I never really thought of myself as playing it like it was a second life but after reading this article I came to realisation that EVE is not my second life, real life is my second life.

    God damn I have no life lmao, anyways really great read Mittani, go write more articles so I can have another existential crisis 😀

    February 28, 2018 at 1:10 PM
  • Rydis

    Always enjoyed your writing and now I’m nostalgic. CCP should just pay you.

    February 28, 2018 at 1:17 PM
  • Antar Logan

    Good article. One of my major reasons for not quitting is the sheer amount of stuff I acquired over the years. Not using it imo would be a sin. Also being able to do what other newer characters couldn’t, because of my skill tree, is a nice perk for the aged player.
    Just something to think about.
    I’m sure theres games where an item is like $2k like a titan but…. if only i could rmt. :X
    That video card for plex was nice a few years back. Plz more ccp.

    February 28, 2018 at 5:21 PM
  • Riz

    I did 2003 to 2010 with BDCI and the MC. I stopped EVE BECAUSE it is a time sink. I ran spreadsheets of market data, production issues, and station resources. I went to college as an adult then got married, then a kid… I no longer have time for EVE. Not to play on 5 accounts with 3 PCs. I live vicariously through others that still do.

    February 28, 2018 at 5:38 PM
  • Yoshi Tadaruwa

    All I can say is “WOW” you have hit that one on the head with a BFH (Big F’in Hammer). Great Article. Eventhough I hate you and your Alliance, I respect you in RL. Well done!

    February 28, 2018 at 6:03 PM
  • Defenestrator47

    I was sort of thinking about this the other day, in describing Eve to non-Eve players. I ‘won’ a few years ago but I still keep in distant touch and sort of follow things. Maybe if some new development comes along and my interest is piqued, I might return. For now, though, I have this article to point people at to try and use the good words as to why I enjoyed space pixels so much.

    March 1, 2018 at 7:59 AM
  • Krister Brandser

    I met the Pope. He really _is_ a genuinely cool guy!

    March 1, 2018 at 10:02 AM
  • Amiral Degrace

    Excellent story. Convinced me not to get back.

    Is EVE real?

    It become real if you start to develop a dual personality that compete with your IRL personality. Like being a good guy IRL and a space tyran ingame. Being honest, loyal and trutfull IRL then a scammer, treaterous and liar ingame. Then EVE is real and becoming a problem. Because your EVE personality will sooner or later affect you IRL.
    When it start, you have to quit. Then its when you win. You win because you quit the intoxication, the illusion to take back your real life.

    Real life is short, in no time it will be gone.

    Good luck Alex

    March 3, 2018 at 9:35 PM
    • Do you know where politeness comes from? Its that deep down people think you’ll steal their house, wife and farm animals if we don’t respond to every perceived slight with enough vigor and force to dissuade would-be thieves and murderers. So when you do something and don’t want to back up your show of your vigor with a fist-fight, you apologize for what you did. This of course stems from way back when there was no police or prisons, so the world was literally Eve Online: Earth. Where if you could enforce your rule it was your right to do whatever the hell you wanted regardless of what suffering it meant for others that you didn’t care about.

      Of course, now a days we have an entire legal system to do just this, if someone takes your house they can’t exactly run away with it so the police comes and acts as your muscle and gets them removed. Any damages is reimbursed by insurance contracts. Even if they manage to steal all your farm animals you won’t starve to death next winter because of stores and again, insurance contracts. Even if you as a nation wants to do something there are laws for nations now.

      Norway is perhaps the most advanced/enlightened nation in the world when it comes to politeness, if you bump into someone on the street the polite thing to do is to say nothing and get a move on before you waste the person’s time any further. Both parties know sometimes you accidentally bump into someone, neither side believes they have to make clear their vigor and strength by throwing a macho display of force. Because its been generations since any of them ever had to live in the Eve Earth world.

      March 4, 2018 at 10:42 AM
  • Sylphinja the Dark Rose

    Choke on a bag of dicks Mittani.

    With the “GRR GOONS” quota fulfilled, admittedly, great articles like this is why I keep coming back to a news site of a game I currently don’t play.
    And no, I have not won EVE, just a short sabbatical to get my financial life in order.

    Like someone mentioned already, keep going and write some more. <3

    EVE Online really is an anomaly out of the other games that stays with you for life.

    March 4, 2018 at 5:22 PM
  • Soulis Sectar

    As much as my space mask wants to hate yours Mittens… you Got this 100% spot on! I still generally struggle to explain EVE after 10+yrs to the people around me in RL. This is a great way to call it.

    Thank you,

    March 4, 2018 at 8:48 PM
  • wtfbullshit

    Very nicely written and enjoyable text… Your perspective lacks only one thing; experience from other similar mmorpgs. You see, eve is unique only in it’s longevity and the behaviours could be found in many other sandbox mmorpgs. In reality the game is nothing more than a set of conditions that allow behaviours to unfold. The key ingredient is that the player needs to desire these conditions and the more he desires them, the more the game stops being just a game for him. Ask yourself Mittani, why did you start playing? What void or need did the game filled in your life? Why playing a game and not viewing life as the game? Nietzsche said that adults need to live with the same seriousness they had while playing games when they were children! The eve paradox, and player pathology … humans being unserious and escaping the natural reality to become serious in an artificial reality. The illusion, a game about risks played by people who sit in the comfort and safety of their chair, away from “slave names” and actual risks, away from having to live with their choices, away from the real world which is much, much scarier and darker.
    The important part is not to win at eve, but to not loose at life… It is just a game.

    March 6, 2018 at 12:14 AM
    • roxtoto wtfbullshit

      Life isnt darker, nor scarier. Yet you are right in that we cowering from our fears is a big motive for getting immersed in video games.

      May 5, 2018 at 7:24 PM
  • Alex Ivanov

    I’ve played many games including Eve for long time. At the end I realized that all time I spent and all stuff I got in games is a waste. Yes, I enjoyed it a lot. But it will turn to dust eventually. There is more important task I have to commit myself. It is to raise my children who will stay and keep going when I die. They will inherit my genes and mentality and will give me a chance to pass a part of me through time…

    March 6, 2018 at 9:17 PM
    • I have a child too – and I make sure to spend lots of time with him, but I can’t help but think that only he and his kids will remember me – talk about my stories or what I did. I think about this a lot.

      Your genes have no memory, but (digital) recordings can remember everything. Now that we are seeing the birth of digital virtual worlds, what memory will they have? Sure, servers can be wiped. All evidence of thousands of players can vanish in an instant. But all the “Witness me!” that happens – all the writing, streaming, video making and general recording of players in virtual worlds can live far beyond generations of family.

      Especially if future generations want to know where the virtual worlds began. Someday, long after humans are gone, nachines will reconstruct their “creators” from the scraps of memory we left behind, digitally.

      And if you think “Well that was a character, not the real me,” – consider, what is the REAL you?

      March 6, 2018 at 11:40 PM
  • Can't Let It Go

    I have to wonder how much concern trolling is involved in holding the Bonus Room up in the company of white supremacy – especially given the association permabans which were by any standard unjust. Others who have had their own brush with “falling and becoming worse as people” – and I’m sure you know to whom I’m referring – were given a one month ban and a chance to self-correct, weren’t they?

    Besides that, it’s an excellent post, one of the best on the topic.

    March 7, 2018 at 8:39 AM
  • Izi Ningishzidda

    One of my fellow INTJ directors sent me here. I loved this! So good to see you exercising your creative side.That’s very important for greasing the dominations and plotting machinery of the brain as well.

    March 28, 2018 at 5:34 AM
  • Great piece. Very astute observations.

    With regards to writing and writer’s block, you could try giving each paragraph / chapter / section a synopsis “in this bit I want to say something about this topic, I was thinking about something something”.

    I use Scrivener to do just that and I’m slowly crawling through an idea I’ve had when talking to… someone. Scrivener is a great piece of software.

    EVE deserves many more thought pieces because it really surpasses the concept of a mere game. CCP made something that has come to life in ways it never expected.

    April 20, 2018 at 7:33 PM
  • Terenbas

    I’ve never played Eve, and probably never will because of time constraints. But if I did, The Mittani and the Imperium would have my instant loyalty.

    May 26, 2018 at 8:34 AM
  • phillipabatzsimulacrarepairman

    Okay, I’m not impressed with grabbing Newbros before they know a damn thing about the game, but I AM impressed by this article, and I’m DAMNED impressed by the art work. Fly Safe, Pilot! o7

    December 2, 2021 at 2:27 PM