EVE Online is fifteen years old today. It launched on May 6, 2003.
It feels kind of strange, thinking about that.
I thought of myself at the time as having arrived late to the party when I first logged in back in 2006. MMOs were still kind of new then. WoW and EQII were coming up on two years old while EverQuest seemed positively ancient at seven years. I played all three of those early on, the Norrath pair at launch and WoW a few months after, but still during the initial population surge when everybody was still new.
I know from experience that there is clearly a fresh happy fun time when a game is new and everybody is just discovering the world and the social dynamics are still in flux and groups and organizations were still coalescing and, aside from those who were in beta, there wasn’t a generation of old hands to look down on you. Everybody is equal when they’re all standing out in front of Qeynos or Freeport at level 1.
EVE Online was already three years old when I decided to go take a look. I think we were pretty sure even back then that after a few years MMOs hit a state of decline. EverQuest seemed to be some sort of unlikely outsider, having peaked four years in. And even the hugely popular WoW seemed like it might taper off. So EVE Online… in that moment I could have easily been convinced I was going in to take a peek before if faded away.
Still, I created my character in August of 2006, not much past the three year anniversary of the launch. That pre-dates the start of this blog by a couple of weeks, and the blog will be twelve years old come September. So things turned out, but it wasn’t clear to me that it would go this way.
Arriving in the game I found that starting late came with a big penalty. Due to the way skill points accrue I would be forever behind anybody who started ahead of me. Also, advancement via skill points was simply a waiting game. I had to buy and train skills, some of which took days and weeks to complete, before I could use a given ship or module.
And the game itself seemed to want to do me in. The tutorial was a good example of what happens when somebody who knows how to do everything tries to write a document to teach somebody who knows nothing. There were a lot of assumptions and unexplained terminology.
And, through the tutorial and sent off to my first agent… located at Jita 4-4, which is where all Caldari pilots were sent after the tutorial, which is my theory as to why Jita 4-4 became the trade hub of New Eden… I was handed the mission Worlds Collide which I attempted to do in my civilian module fit Ibis.
That did not end well. I logged off after I was obliterated and it was questionable if I would ever log back in at that moment.
But I did. And I trained up a bit and mined for some ore to make some ISK. I also tried courier delivery, leading to my first ever null sec loss as I auto-piloted my way into Pure Blind. That kill mail is lost now, no longer visible as neither zKillboard nor my in-game profile go back that far. But it was another set back. (Though auto pilot wasn’t so bad back then, since there was no warp to zero yet.)
Still, I found something compelling about the game. I managed to finish Worlds Collide by doing it in a destroyer. Missions after that were less difficult.
I ran Avenge a Fallen Comrade dozens of times. It seemed to be in heavy rotation. When missions got tedious I left the game, but came back a few months later.
I got on track to master mining and rolled up my first alt account within a year of starting the game. I went from mining in an Osprey to a Hulk.
I kept running missions as well. I kept training up. I did manufacturing. I did tech II invention. I gave up on all of that and played the market to make my first billion, and then my second.
All the while the game expanded. New things were added, old things refined, mistakes were made and left to linger for ages before being corrected.
I came and went, playing for stretches then taking breaks. I read the news about things going on in other parts of the game. Null sec was a mystery to me. And then in late 2011 I finally moved out there and saw a whole different aspect of the game.
And now I sit here and the game is fifteen years old and I am coming up on my twelfth anniversary. As it turns out MMOs can last a long time. EverQuest is 19 now at is still set to get another expansion this fall.
A dozen years into EVE Online I still have moments of awe just looking out into space and the scale of things, our tiny ships and stations in a huge universe.
CCP has some gifts for players on capsuleer day. Today seemed like the right day for that, but I guess we get to redeem them tomorrow.
Things also seem a bit more subdued when compare to the 10 year party.
Anyway, we shall see how things shape up. The twenty year mark is now just five years off. That would be quite a milestone, but a lot of things can happen between now and then.