Eve is maybe a new kind of hardcore. Gordon Walton said at the AGC, and probably years ago elsewhere, “MMO’s don’t reward skill, they reward devotion.” Meaning, time-at-keyboard. That’s how we used to think about it. Eve rewards building and activity, meaning time-accruing-assets. Decisions made in the game with other players. It’s for that reason a lot of people don’t care about the micromanagement of the game, it’s the large scale corp wars (like BoB vs. ASCN these days) that keeps them juiced and their asset base that keeps them hooked.
The only thing I do wonder about is that 1) the game is still pretty hard on new entrants (economically, skills wise and socially) and 2) long term balance. Will every top corp eventually have a Titan? Maybe like the economy things will balance themselves out. There are no economies of scale in Eve (things don’t get easier as you grow) because it costs just as much to reproduce any losses you suffered, and the costs do increase as you grow. The game is not quite “Risk-in-Space” yet, and there’s no doom on the horizon. But CCP needs to add some more features and territory (enter, Kali) to allow some of the mid-sized corps and Alliances to grow I think.
Some interesting thoughts on Eve Online from blogger Adam MacDonald. He argues that Eve is hard to leave, due to the way we accrue assets and the way decisions (and not just dedication of time) hook us into the game.
He’s right. This kind of attachment is a remarkable and rather disturbing experience. My own Eve corporation is struggling with its own existence at the moment, worrying that we just don’t have the time to play at the level we’ve worked ourselves up to. ‘A new kind of hardcore’ indeed.
Is there space for the small solo corporation? MacDonald thinks not, but I’m less convinced. In fact I envy some of the small groups who roam around free of the enormous thousand-player structures of the alliances. Nevertheless this does seem to be the first massively multiplayer game that has really any kind of grasp on the ‘massive’. And massive is scary. And thrilling.