I've felt exceptionally listless about EVE Online over the last couple of months, and have fallen into a standard daily routine. I log in, glance at my mail, review my invention and manufacturing jobs, fuel the POS, collect and store any newly-constructed Tech II items in my hangar, start a new round of industry jobs, update my planetary interaction processes, and log off. As needed, I also log into my trading alt in Jita to buy raw materials and arrange with Red Frog to courier those items to my manufacturing operations.
As a result, I've been actively logging into EVE Online for only a paltry 15 minutes per day, more or less.
Even at this low level of engagement, over the last seven weeks, I've amassed nearly 5 billion ISK in inventory of Tech II modules for sale, or so the crude in-game value estimator tells me whenever I peek into that container. Each day, I gaze at that figure for a moment or two, and ponder hauling everything to market, but I never seem to gather enough energy or enthusiasm for actually doing so. And so, my hoard of modules continues to amass, tucked away in a dark station corner.
When the daily reward for killing a solitary NPC was available, I would sometimes undock a Gnosis, fly to a local anomaly, kill a rat, and promptly dock up again. But that soon began to feel like yet another tedious chore, and I gave it up after a while. When CCP Rise announced that daily rewards were being discontinued, because they were not increasing the level of player participation as hoped, I was not surprised, and I didn't really care when they vanished.
This morning, while mechanically performing my now familiar list of in-game tasks, I asked myself: am I really having any fun, doing this same routine in EVE Online, day after day?
Oddly, yes - I must admit that despite the humdrum nature of my current style of play, I am still enjoying myself. There's something comforting and rewarding in doing a job well, even if it is a repetitive one, and in seeing the fruits of one's labors grow. That's why I don't really want to sell my manufactured items in the market. I like seeing their estimated value get a little larger each day.
My inventory of POS fuel is sufficient to keep my medium tower operating for at least another six weeks, so I made a resolution to myself to let things go on as they have been, until my stocks run dry. At that point, I'll be forced to embark on some new project in New Eden - or make more POS fuel to continue my dull routine.
What that new project might be, I have not yet decided. But I've considered several alternatives.
Why not just quit?
The idea of giving up EVE Online altogether and putting my characters in cold storage passed through my mind, but I quickly discarded it. After all, I am still enjoying the game, even though I'm at an all-time low for active engagement in it. I still feel like I'm getting decent value out of my subscription fees.
Perhaps this is because I'm still semi-active in the EVE Online community, even though I may not be pursuing new goals in the game itself at the moment. I check the #tweetfleet posts on Twitter. I examine at the Total EVE listings every day, to see what people are posting. I'm reading the latest dev blogs and forum posts as avidly as ever. I tuned in to watch the latest o7 show, curious to hear what news it may bring. I continue to download and listen to my favorite EVE podcasts during my business travels.
I even bought a ticket to EVE Vegas, and arranged for a nice room at the Cosmopolitan, across the street from Planet Hollywood, the venue for the event. I'm anticipating that by the end of October, my enthusiasm for the game should be revived. Or, at the very least, going to a big EVE community event should reinvigorate my interest once again - or so I hope.
My listlessness stems mostly from a feeling of disillusionment. I was hoping that Fanfest 2016 would reveal some new in-game projects worth pursuing, but instead, there wasn't much news of interest for my preferred industrial-focused and PvE-centric playstyle. For me, Fanfest 2016 felt like realizing your supposed girlfriend is ignoring you, and deciding to tolerate it in hopes that eventually it will all work out. This may be wishful thinking on my part, but for now, I'm content to simply wait, and drift along on inertia, until something interesting happens.
How about a Citadel?
Someone put up a new Astrahus citadel in my sleepy backwater high-sec system. I flew nearby to take a gander, and enjoyed the beautiful visuals - the new citadels are indeed impressive-looking structures. I tried to dock, but was refused, so I went back to my standard routine.
I've considered replacing my simple POS tower with a shiny new citadel, just to check it out and become more familiar with the operating mechanics, but my initial analysis shows that to run a citadel safely and profitably, one should do so with a team in a dedicated corporation. Citadels aren't especially well-suited for independent, solo players, which is my default playstyle these days.
Besides, I'm much more interested in the forthcoming industrial arrays, which I suspect will be better tuned to my industry focus. I'm hoping that these might be the spark that rekindles a more active interest in EVE Online once again.
What about the Signal Cartel?
I became an official peace-mongering space hippie way back in February, but I have not yet done much with my new corp. This is entirely my own fault, as I've not completely tuned into everything going on, and I'm still not sure how to best get involved.
I did make my way to Thera, and logged off at a nice safe spot, but since then, I've not taken advantage of any of my new corp's resources or activities. I need to get into the corp's subreddit (though I loathe reddit, as a general rule) and poke around. Perhaps my corpmates can give me a few ideas. I certainly want to get more active before I meet our CEO, Mynxee, at EVE Vegas.
How about the Shadow of the Serpent?
As I said, when the "Thrill of the Hunt" recurring "kill-an-NPC-a-day" opportunity got dropped, I didn't really care. But I have been intrigued by the replacement set of opportunities that have appeared, as part of the "Shadow of the Serpent" event. If this represents the direction of how PvE options will be served up to players, I think I like it. I've not yet been motivated enough to start pursuing some of these options, but seeing them listed on the log-in screen has gotten my attention, and I plan to try a few over the weekend.
I've long lamented the state of PvE in EVE Online, and have written at length about ways it could be improved in this blog. While this simple listing of PvE options is far from the more comprehensive revamp I hope for, it at least is a firm step in the right direction.
I've seen some players complain about the levels of rewards for doing these special missions, but I don't understand their perspective. Shouldn't the successful completion of the mission be reward enough? After all, this is a game - if the missions aren't sufficiently engaging and interesting to warrant pursuing them, regardless of the potential rewards, then doing them solely for in-game pay is simply a chore. Personally, I'm looking forward to trying them, and seeing if they are a challenge.
Waiting for What's Next
So, I'm in a bit of a holding pattern, at the moment, in EVE Online. I'm not heavily engaged, but I've not given up altogether either. I'm just sort of drifting along, checking off my daily duties, and continuing to generate a modest amount of ISK.
Mostly, I'm waiting for something new in the game to reinvigorate my interest. And that is just fine, for now. Perhaps by EVE Vegas, I'll become more passionate about flying internet spaceships again.
Fly safe! o7