Nostalgia for a Virtual Spaceship

lt is interesting how certain images from old video games can cause a swell of emotion.  Just the other day Bhagpuss opened a post with a screen shot from EverQuest showing the bridge in North Karana that connets the zone to South Karana that launched within me a nostalgic reverie.

I spent a lot of time back in the day… and more recently during the early Fippy Darkpaw progression server era… in and around that bridge and its big block building.

There is, no doubt, some imagery from any game that I spent a lot of time playing that would bring on a nostalgic reaction.  When it comes to EVE Online, there is a ship… and some images… which do that for me.  The ship in question is the Caldari Cormorant.

Cormorant Classic

I even wrote a post… more than five years back now… about how I think of my early days in New Eden, when everything was fresh and new and I was figuring out the basics… at least things more basic than the basic things I am still trying to figure out now… and just undocking and flying about in space was a marvel, as the Age of the Cormorant.  It was my first real successful mission running ship.

Guns Blazing! Missile on the way!

One of the benefits of it were that destroyers were a later addition to the game, so their models looked pretty good.  At the time there were some original ships that looked awkward and shiny and positively low resolution.

What the Megathron looked like back then

And since it was one of the newer models at the time, it has soldiered on as is for years without update.  Its look has changed a bit with various graphic engine updates, the textures on it have changed a bit, and you can apply SKINs to it now, but for the most part the Cormorant I flew back in 2006 looks pretty much like the Cormorant I was still flying now and again up into last year.

Guristas Cormorant Skin

Meanwhile, the graphics of the game around the Cormorant have changed drastically.  Space has been transformed, nebulae are bright and colorful, stations have been updated, and asteroids no longer look like space potatoes.  You can run through screen shots in the Classic Graphics category on my other blog for a taste of what space was like way back when I started playing.

Over the years a lot of ships have been updated.  Some of them for the better.  I think the Caldari Scorpion and Moa, both victims of the asymmetry gone wild school of ship design ended up much better for the effort.  (Yes, the Cormorant is asymmetrical too, that was ever the theme of the Caldari school of design until the Drake showed up, but it a somewhat understated way.)

Others I am not sure were worth the effort.  I like the new Slasher/Claw models, but the old ones were still good, while the Dominix went from being a space potato to being a slightly squared off space potato.

And some of the changes were not improvements at all to my eye.  The Oneiros went from a light, asymmetrical feel to a ponderous bulk while the Griffon, once such a slender, graceful design, was turned into a flying space pig.

The old Griffin, as I will always remember it

I know it is all a matter of taste and perspective, but I have to call them how I see them.

So it is with some trepidation that I see the Cormorant is up for a revision.  CCP has a video out about the upcoming change to the model.

It isn’t awful update like the Griffon change, but it is a departure from the essence of the old design, something that hits at a long held memory of the game.  You can’t stop progress, and every ship ugly or not has its fans and they are all going to get a face list some day, so I have to take it in stride. (Except the Drake. Never the Drake, which ranks right after the Cormorant with me for nostalgia.  Change that and I am shooting the monument!)

There is also a video about the redesign process and considerations as well.  Antennas and fins and a wing-like nature are apparently the Caldari motif.

There is something comforting about something remaining unchanged, like that bridge in North Karana.  I haven’t flown a Cormorant on a fleet in nearly a year, but I still have one in my hangar, so I could fly it if I wanted to.  I suspect that I will undock now and fly around a bit to get a few final screen shots before the big change.

10 thoughts on “Nostalgia for a Virtual Spaceship

  1. Krumm

    I understand your feelings on this the desire for updates up not nastala busting changes…the megathron image that you show is a great example of an graphical improvement that preserve the integrity of what it was suppose to be,

    ….one of the things that I hated about Ultima Online was their introduction of neon colored items. I broke the immersion for me and was one of the final straws that drove me away.

    On the EVE stage I fly Amarrian ships and love their mostly beautiful ships. There are only a few hulls that I think are ugly, and some T2 hulls that I think they added small parts two just to make them different that I think should be fixed (For example the Punisher is a nice design but they add weird little struts onto the T2 versions). But what I really really want is to love the Minmatar ships more but cannot stand the solar panels. I love the Typhoon, The rupture, and some of the designs that are panal heavy…I.e. the slasher is a good little tiefighter xwing hybrid… but others leave me wanting.

    I think the largest change that I have seen as an noob industrialist was the change in my Procurer which I liked the old design versus the new…even though the new sits fire ewww firey gimmick in space… ok im done rambling.


  2. evehermit

    I actually liked the Griffon change, and got one for my hanger for no other real reason but to admire it.

    I hope I like the new Cormorant in the flesh. I didn’t mind the old one, and like you, have key memories of the ship. It was my first ever ship upgrade purchase early in the game. It seemed like I had to mine for a long time in a Frigate to earn the ISK. I undocked in it – half fit, and warped to a belt. I just wanted to look at it in space. A few seconds later an old character locked me up in a Caracal and suicide ganked me. There was no reason for it – the wreck wasn’t looted. He was just out to grief new players. Left me wondering just what sort of game EVE was. I think I played on in part just to spite the Caracal pilot.


  3. Shirrath Gao (@Shirrath)

    For me, it was the Prowler. The old design had engine wings in a cross-shaped pattern and a section in the middle that shined with beams of light. The current model does have some light effects, but the disco engine is gone and the engines were moved a bit forward, leaving an ugly rear.

    The Chimera is about to get a redesign:
    I have been in love with the design since the Day of Darkness 2 trailer (, but sadly the new design lacks the aggressive nose and the compact engine section. Plus it’s way too thin. It’s an odd complement to the Wyvern model used in Eve Valkyrie that is actually wider than the one in Eve Online.

    Finally, a ship that I wouldn’t mind if it got a redesign: The Mammoth. That nose with 90-degree angles and random spikes is vintage 2004. Just keep the quad engines; They remind me of the corvettes in Starship Troopers.


  4. mcjomar

    The cormorant and catalyst were my earliest “big ships” as a newbie. So versatile.
    But, looking at the redesign, it does not currently look like as much of a departure from the original cormorant as I might have worried.
    It maintains the engines, wings, and bridge at the back, while the front is a sloped prow. Then you have the bits on the sides which jut out, but now they rotate and hold the guns better. I’ll miss the old hull, just like I miss the old tempest hull, but I think the new one has some mileage in it, just like the new tempest hull does. It’s just a pity we can’t get “classic” hull designs from some sort of second-hand spaceship dealer.


  5. Krumm

    Sharrath Gao, I have to agree with the Mammoths very Star Ship Trooper esk ship design. I think that is one that I like…again lacking solar panels.


  6. SynCaine

    I’m hoping I like the Chimera design in-game, in video it looks good. I also hope carrier ratting in general isn’t as terrible as it potentially sounds with the fighter agro changes…


  7. dachengsgravatar

    Wouldn’t it be great if ships made before the introduction of the new model still used the old model? That would create be a great market in vintage spaceships. Hangars would fill with ships that the owner would rarely fly in case they were damaged. Old-time rallies, complete with monocle-wearing pilots.


  8. Krumm

    I think there are a number of ships of the like that people don’t fly already that fit into the to rare to fly category. Although, like EQ 2 has the Option to do alternate appearance…that would be an interesting option. Wilhelm do you have any photos of old graphic ship sin the new graphics background…or did when they overhauled space and everything is that when the new ship graphics came along with it?


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