Today’s Blog Banter:

“EVE Online is renowned for it’s depth. Its back story, gameplay and social aspects are all qualities that draw players in. What does immersion in EVE Online mean to you?”

Immersion.  To me, Immersion essentially means that “I” am in the story and that “I” have a place.  It means that “I affect the world.  It means that “I” get into the play by play of how the world/universe operates.  But, it also means that I have the “who”, “what”, “when”, “where”, and “why”s figured out.  For a Minmatar pilot, it should be difficult to join an Amarr based corp.  For an Amarr pilot, there should be serious consequences if they run Blood Raider missions.

Eve Online has a great and expansive backstory.  It has left plenty of room for just about anything to be added into the game, be that supertechnology, aliens, etc.. CCP has done a great job leaving just about every possibility open for the future.  CCP has also done a great job in giving voice to all sorts of minor aspects of “the little guy”.

But, while CCP has done that, many of stories.. while interesting.. had little to do with the typical EVE online player.  Often many of the stories had little to do with Capsuleers at all.. many of which were just adjunct characters if even mentioned.  Hard to be deeply involved with a game when I cannot experience any of the situations mentioned in their stories. 

In some respects, because CCP has taken such a hands-off approach in respect to the game’s fiction, that it has been counterproductive.  For example, ISD will report of say food supplies being wiped out on a certain planet… however, the price of food products or whatever they were missing doesn’t increase in that system.  There are no new “mission agents” specifically charged with handling that emergency. 

The one seriously impressive immersive situation was the wars between CVA and Ursha’khan.  A fight between the arrogant Amarr versus the scrappy Minmatar, just like how CCP’s fiction portrayed each side.  And yet, CCP never took advantage of this in any serious way.  CCP didn’t send the Empress of Amarr or the Tribal Elders to their space and give them a pep talk, it didn’t build fiction and storyline based on their constant struggle.  CCP did attempt to recapture this through Faction Warfare.. but they have pretty much left that half (or less) finished.

Now the topic of gameplay.. aside from Faction Warfare and Incursions.. there really isn’t any immersion.. and even those features aren’t very immersive.  Being part of the Drone Russians, or Mercs, or whoever means nothing to the great factions.  The Jovian Nation is supposed to be bad-ass because it has, count them, THREE titans.  There are corporations, and now probably individuals, in Eve that have more than three Titans.  Not very immersive.

Finally, we touch on the social aspects.  This is a strange one in the regards to immersion.  Because RP really isn’t taken serious.. and that there are no consequences to a Caldari pilot joining a Gallente based corp, or doing Sansha missions, it really doesn’t make me feel like I am “in” the Eve Universe.  However, the flipside is that people, because they tend to stay longer, and that there are not as many limiting factors.. tend to be more “real” because they can be and because there are real consequences in the player arena.  If you are a corp theft, eventually you won’t be able to get into a corp.  If you are an excellent PVP pilot, eventually you will be recognized as such and opportunities will abound.

So.. am I immersed in Eve Online?  I would say no.  To me, be “in” or “immersed” Eve Online right now is like saying that being on my computer and painting stars and stuff on the walls means I’m in space.

Immersion in the end means that I TASTE my hatred for the Amarr, that I spend extra hours gaming trying to fight back Sansha because it really does mean that someone real is going to get hurt if I don’t, that I am motivated to act through my personal morals rather than mathmatically calculating the action that will achieve a goal that has no impact.