Thursday, February 4, 2010

Persistent Worlds

I had an interesting conversation at our weekly D&D session. One of my friends recetly got STO and was telling us about the game. I'm still not really sold. From what I heard, and what he described, I could see it getting old very fast - much like Champions Online. In fact, I liked the hero genre more than Star Trek, so I would probably quit STO faster than I did Champions.

As an aside, I thank Champions for the fact that it got me started in blogging, and even then I spent more time on my blog posts then I spent in the game.

Anyways, the conversation went like this (paraphrased, because I'm not a stenographer).

Me: After all the hype about STO, I went straight to my computer... and downloaded EVE Online.
Him: EVE isn't worth it. You do just as much playing the game as when you're not. You can't skill up faster.
Me: It's not about skills, it's about money [ISK]. It can be about money because the world is persistent.
Him: Yeah, good luck trying to pilot a Titan with money.

I understand his point - a lot of the cutting edge stuff in EVE requires ridiculous amounts of skills. If you're not familiar with EVE, you can (now) queue up skills to learn, and it takes a certain amount of time to learn them. Your skills train whether you're playing or not, assuming they're queued up.  That translates to the fact that I will never ever have as many skillpoints as players who have been playing for 4 years. This ruins the game for some people - specifically completionists. More on them in another post.

The reason I decided to start playing EVE is not only that it's a genre I would like to play. It's that it is a persistent world. In EVE, between the politics and intrigue, the story is written by the players. This is a mechanic that doesn't exist in games like World of Warcraft, STO, or Warhammer Online.

I know, having an actual impact on the game is very difficult. But the opportunity exists. Find a niche for yourself and do it well, and your fame (or infamy) can grow.

I once played a game called Pardus with a limited player base (probably 500-1000 when I quit). Skills in this game were only really used for fighting and experience was what limited you from getting new ships. The game was small, but I was able to make a pretty significant name for myself. The big pirate in the game was ruthless and would attack anyone and kill them if he found them alone. My solution? I paid him off to give my entire alliance safety.  Apparently no one had done that before.

I had the opportunity to make moves shaping the game world, and it felt great. Eventually I quit that game due to dev interaction (they actually cheated for some players to do things), but it was amazing while it lasted. The game design wasn't amazing, but the persistence made it fun.

Sure, EVE is a much larger game and therefore it's hard to make a name for yourself. But I'm definitely going to try.

If you play EVE, give me some pointers!  And then stop by at S&S and give Syrana and give some pointers as well - even though she plays a dirty warlock.

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