Daily Archives: September 2, 2011

EVE Online and the Age of the Cormorant…

Here I am, just about five years after first jumping into EVE Online.  As I said previously, I feel in my gut that when my subscription lapses in a few day, it will be a long time before I return to New Eden.  My capsuleer will be headed for a long sleep.

And the reason is that nothing about the game really inspires me at this time.

EVE requires inspiration.  Being a sandbox, you have to set your own goals and pursue them.  I have managed to create my own modest goals at various times.  Some were simple, like aspirations to fly certain ships.  Others were more complicated, like delving into manufacturing and tech II blueprint production.

Most came to fruition, some quite profitably.  My days as a minor tycoon, buying and selling in EVE’s dynamic market, made me about double the ISK that all my other activities combined.

A few failed or came to no real net benefit.  Tech II turned out to be a money sink, at least the way I went about it.  The cost of getting into a freighter never really benefited me that much.  And the W-space station plan failed, ironically in the huge volume of space, for lack of a place to raise our control tower.

But there was a point, early on, when just playing the game, just being in space and flying around, was inspiration enough.  I tend to think of that time as the age of the Cormorant.

The Cormorant, the Caldari destroyer, was the first ship I really flew on a regular basis.  This was primarily prompted by the fact that the very first mission I drew post-tutorial was “Worlds Collide.”

That mission and I have a history.

After losing my Ibis frigate, I decided to work my way towards the biggest ship I could potentially afford.  For me, that was the Cormorant.

I managed to scrape together the ISK to get the skills and buy the ship and fittings.  For the tier 1 version of “Worlds Collide,” this proved to just about adequate for a complete noob.  And so began the run with the first ship I really considered to be mine.

And today I can bring back a glimmer of that feeling, that sense of sheer joy for the hell of it, that sensation I got when playing EVE Online early on in my career, but just looking at some of the screen shots I took at the time.

This is why I take so many screen shots.

And so I give you images from the age of the Cormorant, with a little commentary after each.

Cormorant Docking

That was what EVE seemed like to me early one.  I was a tiny ship in a land of giant objects, my tiny little trails marking my path across space.

Cormorant Classic

The classic graphics version of the Cormorant.  Back then, this was the only ship model.

Asteroid Pass

Again, a small ship in the giant sea of space.

Guns Blazing!

My Cormorant cutting loose.  This has to be the mission “Avenge a Fallen Comrade.”  I was probably at the part where you must destroy the station, which allowed me to go into an orbit, turn on weapons, and then work on getting a screen shot.  The dust discharge from the rail guns in the wake of the ship is a nice touch.  I cannot recall if that effect is still in.

Scratch one frigate!

Explosions were both more and less dramatic back then.  I am pretty sure that this was a missile kill, just given the range.  The six rail guns would chew up a target over time, but a standard missile was close to a one shot kill and could reach out a long ways.  I would target the missile launcher separately at more distant targets while I would close for the guns.

Swooping Cormorant

Again, back in the mission “Avenge a Fallen Comrade.”  That odd-shaped asteroid is always the key.  Here are trails, a feature long since removed from the game, describing the arcing flight of the ship.  Of course, I probably have some screen shots buried some place that show the flaws in trails.  You could get very odd kinks in your trails and once in a while your ship would appear to be about 15 degrees off center from the trails.

But when trails were behaving, they were quite pretty.  I miss them.

Those are my Cormorant screen shots.  They represent a simpler time for me in the game.

Those pictures, and many more, are available at my “other” site, EVE Online Pictures.

It Is September and My Subscriptions Will Soon Lapse, Should I Care?

Due to a quirk of timing, my three current, active, recurring online gaming subscriptions will all lapse in the next ten days.

Those subscriptions are:

I have a habit of subscribing in 3 month increments and then quitting a game just after the billing date passes, leading to a long lag time between cancellation and the actual end date for access.  I always start a game with an optimistic point of view.

Certainly, subscribing to EVE for 3 months based on Incarna was an act of the purist optimism.  I could have saved my money and gotten about 95% of the entertainment just watching the fireworks that ensued.  But I felt I had to be there.

SOE was the combination of getting back into EverQuest II and running around in EverQuest on the Fippy Darkpaw server.  EQII lead to quick burn-out with our guild leveling effort.  The EQ adventures were fun, and I keep thinking I want to go back, but somehow it always ends up being the 4th item on a list where I can only manage the first three.  Even now I am tempted to keep the subscription on the off chance I *might* find some time to play EQ.  But the rational part of my brain knows that there is really little chance of that happening.

And then there is World of Warcraft, which I could of sworn I cancelled back in April, but which billed me again in June and, well, there you are.  Here I was telling people I was part of the 600,000 departing players and I wasn’t.  Well I will be soon.  I saved that cancellation confirmation email just in case.

And so all of my recurring subscriptions will be gone.  Even my daughter became bored with WoW, Animal Jam, and her brief fling with Free Realms on the Mac.  Instead she now seems intent on devouring every bit of Warriors literature.  So her subscriptions as well have all lapsed.

If I had achieved that state say, five years ago, it pretty much would have meant NOT playing any MMOs.

But today?

Well, Lord of the Rings Online is an oddity, in that I have a lifetime subscription, so technically that has not lapsed, what with the game still being up and me still being alive. (Lifetime meaning their lifetime or mine.)

But the free to play options are pretty broad at this point.  Even if I did not have a lifetime subscription to LOTRO, I could still be playing it.  Likewise, because we focused on the EQII Extended server for our Norrath experience, I can still go back and play there as well.

And the options available now that do not required a credit card are wide and varied.  I have spent a good chunk of time with World of Tanks and Need for Speed World, neither of which require anything beyond account creation and a client download.

I think back to the early days of EverQuest, when there was some anxiety about thing like whether your characters would be saved if you unsubscribed from the game.  There were, if I recall right, a couple of subscription MMOs that did just that.  But now you would have to be insane to consider deleting characters, given how many players return to a game at various intervals.

In a way, EverQuest and EVE Online are hold-outs from a different time, each being available only as part of a recurring subscription plan.  Even World of Warcraft has an unlimited trial these days.  I wonder when Rift will go that route?

The world has changed, as it has a habit of doing.

Where once if I had said my subscriptions had all lapsed, I would be playing no MMOs, now it just narrows the field of choice a bit.