May 2003 was a fun time for those fortunate enough to have heard about a little-known MMO called EVE Online. Released across North America and Europe, it introduced us to a galaxy of spaceships, scamming, thievery and fun that had been sorely missing from the MMO market. Gone were the days when you could cry to a GM and have your stuff returned simply because you said that they lied to you. EVE Online introduced us to the harsh reality of humanity; don’t believe everything you’re told. Coined as the ‘the sandbox’, CCP set us free to do as we wished as long as we didn’t mess with the system itself or exploit our way to fame and fortune. Who would have guessed that it would be nearly ten years later, we’re still here and CCP is still building our universe and so much has happened.
I started playing EVE back in 2008. I had come across an article in the gaming press that spoke of a great heist by Guiding Hand Social Club. They had spent a year on a contract preparing the demise of Ubiqua Seraph, a well-known corporation and by all accounts a rather disliked one. This heist culminated in Guiding Hand Social Club stealing all of their assets and ISK, which totalled over 30bn, as well as podding the CEO and completing their contract. Reading this made me salivate. I had been an avid gamer for years but the idea of being given free reign to cheat, lie, scam and steal your way to the top without the fear of incarceration or convictions. How could I resist? I’ve been in EVE ever since, starting in high sec, moving to low sec for a while and tussling with Pandemic Legion on numerous occasions to ending up in null.
EVE Online itself has changed in the last ten years as well, mot so much in ways that would have made the game entirely unrecognisable to someone from 2003 but more so as tremors that have shaken things up and changed the way we play. Some of the things that have changed and matter most to me have been the change to sovereignty in null sec so that it isn’t tower based, as well as the beginning of wormhole space. Nullsec used to be an exercise in annoyance and would send many logistics directors grey with stress trying to keep so many towers fueled and healthy. Thought, even with all of these changes, Apocrypha was the last significant expansion that sought to push the envelope and showcased CCP at their best. In between we’ve had logistics cruisers flying backwards, long bouts of downtime and the debacle that was ‘walking in stations’. Retribution has sought to redress the balance and has introduced many nice little changes but no expansion since Apocrypha has made me want to log in just to play around with the changes or made me excited that patch day was upon us.
Who can forget the scandals that have embroiled CCP such as ‘The t20 scandal’ where a GM had deliberately assisted BoB with BPO’s that they sorely needed as well as the ‘Summer of Discontent’ where the player base had finally had enough. The protests showed that the real world wasn’t the only place to complain and eventually forced CCP to listen to those that had kept them in business for so long. Eventually, players got what they wanted in the form of a more receptive, attentive and reactive CCP, although the road to compromise has been paved with ill-conceived CCP memos and lots of antagonising from both sides.
There have been many highlights from the last ten years such as the PLEX Aid scheme that has seen the player community raise untold amounts of money for charity and help those in need. DUST 514 will join up console gamers who fight on planets with assistance from capsuleers and the beta has been promising and gripping stuff. CCP itself has sought to cut off some of the deadwood in the company and make it more able to respond to the players. There’s still a way to go but it’s probably the best it has been in all of EVE’s existence.
Then there is the epic history of New Eden itself, shaped by us, the community. Nobody can deny though that one of the biggest events of the last ten years was the demise of Band of Brothers and the GBC and the rise of Goonswarm and the CFC. There were, have been and are polarising opinions on both sides of the conflict but it cannot be denied that the obliteration of BoB was a coup de grâce that even Goonswarm couldn’t have imagined. The absolute shitstorm that followed was of epic proportions and one of the defining moments that bitter vets everywhere will likely never forget. After the fall of BoB, there were many tears for some yet for others it was a day of jubilant celebration but for the rest of us that watched from afar, we couldn’t help but clap at the audacity of it.
Fast forward a few years it was the turn of the Northern Coalition. Not to be confused with NC., the alliance that sprung up in their place, but the stalwarts of EVE Online consisting of a group of alliances from Morsus Mihi to RAZOR and numerous others. Morsus Mihi had been on the map for so long that players could have been mistaken for thinking that they’d had a pact going with CCP to have the north as their permanent residence. All of that was shot to pieces, though, when they traded their position of power for ISK and were shot at by the Drone Russian Forces with the very ships they’d sold them-them to become rich in the first place. Their fall from grace reverberated around EVE and led to alliances all over New Eden expressly forbidding the sale of Super Capitals to anyone outside of their respective alliance for fear of being set red and summarily removed.
Today, the entire map of EVE is different. Goonswarm and the CFC combined with Test Alliance Please Ignore (then divorced), and the HBC make up the largest combined number of players in the game. Alliances have come and gone in between and will likely continue to do so. But null sec is a very different place to what it was before. In empire space, carebears have been empowered with new ways to punish their enemies, which has also given pirating and mercenary corporations a new lease of life. No longer can you simply gank a miner in a belt and laugh at their tears in local. They can then sell the kill rights on you and laugh themselves silly getting kill reports on you in return.
I have enjoyed the last ten years minus the walking in stations debacle and the leaked memos from CCP. I look forward to another ten years of EVE Online and the addition of DUST 514. Let’s just hope we’re all still here for me to write an article celebrating the next big anniversary of EVE Online and everyone that plays it.
This article was originally posted on EVE News 24 on Dec 13th, 2012 7:11PM by myself.