Tuesday, 26 June 2012


I played World of Warcraft for years and for the most part I found it hugely enjoyable. By the end of the Cataclysm expansion however, I was becoming burned out. This is a regular occurrence for a lot of WoW players. You take some downtime, you don't log in for a few weeks or restrict yourself to light content. Generally you get over it.

Something was different this time. I'd been raiding with my guild and feeling more and more jaded. Guild members were the only thing keeping me logging in. I'd massive amounts of respect for the guild leader had achieved in setting the guild up, he is a friend in real life, and I didn't want to let anyone else down as we pushed to complete the current raid content. I was one of the healers. Not an awe inspiring healer but better than average (I think), even if I only raided once or twice a week.

Once that raid content was done and we started Heroics it was clear I didn't even want to raid. The only reason I'd log in was to talk to people I knew. On top of this the news about the next expansion indicated it was orientated around Pandas and contained a battle system for the vanity pets. Kung Fu Panda Pokemon expansion wasn't grabbing my imagination. Time to move on.

Narrowly avoiding Skyrim, I tried out Star Wars: The Old Republic. At first this was an amazing experience. I'm a Star Wars fan. I still have my cinema ticket from 1978. The game had done a great job with the feel of the world. It was Star Wars. Everything from the music and sound effects to the look of Tatooine, to the  lightsabre graphics. They even had some cool offline crafting missions. I liked the feeling that my characters were doing something while I wasn't logged in. There was a sense of planning beyond what I'd seen in WoW

Unfortunately the servers were empty. Hardly  anyone was doing the same missions as I was, and once people moved on to the next world there wasn't much reason to go back. There are also loading screens and  intermediate areas between the trade hubs and the planets. These break up the feeling of immersion I had in WoW where you can ride the entire length of a continent without a loading screen. Underneath Star Wars The Old Republic was Warcraft. A Warcraft that provided less of a sense of place.

I'd hoped that the server merges bringing higher populations would fix the lack of this sense of place, this lack of immersion in a living world but they were a little late. I'd already begun to stop logging in as much, watching more TV and films from my Love Film account.

Around this time I read something on the internet about the nature of EVE Online and its real economy. Apparently the world, a slice of space big enough for hundreds of stars, was a "sandbox". The developers made the basic rules, game systems, the items you could eventually make and trade, and then they just threw the players in at the deep end. You were supposed to make of it what you could. There was a mission system of sorts and you could run these like quests and raids in other MMOs but the real focus was Player vs Player whether ship to ship or in the market. This sounded like a world (or worlds) I should take a look at one day. I promptly did nothing about it all.

A month or so later someone pointed out You Tube footage of the "Burn Jita" event where a player run organisation had blockaded the games major trade hub. Blown away by the concept of this and subsequently reading around it I noticed a mention of the skills system where, instead of experience and levelling as in other MMOs, you planned your own career path picking skills and learning them over time, even when logged off, and tracking their purpose through some kind of certification mapping. EVE Online was once again at on my mind. I have a cousin who played it in the past. I wondered about asking him about the game. Once again I did nothing about it. This time however it was constantly on my mind. It had the kind of world I'd been looking for. I was constantly reminded about Elite, a space trading and combat game from the 1980's, that thousands of people are still fond of. EVE sounded like a Elite players dream.

Something was going to give.

Above: footage of the "Burn Jita" incident.

Above: even more "Burn Jita" footage. This time with a cool soundtrack.


  1. Hey there, just found your blog. Pretty much my back story in a nutshell! The difference is I joined EVE in 2008 but couldn't kick the WoW habit and cuoldn't get over the learning curve. Was too plugged into raiding. Think I subbed EVE 3 times over a 4 year period with my latest stint back in the summer. Tiny bit of missioning, tiny bit of trading and a whole lot of skilling up! Finally kicked WoW with this latest expansion and gearing myself up to give EVE a proper go now the new expansion is out. I have an 11m SP character crying out to be used! Going to read through your blog in work this week and take the plunge next week!

    1. Good luck and fly crazy! Let me know how you get on.