The state of play

26th November 2008 – 10.18 am

I joined a corporation fleet and headed in to low-sec again, roaming for viable targets. My skills at flying safely through low-sec are improving even more as I gain more experience heading from gate to gate, scanning from afar to ensure there are no serious threats waiting for us, and keeping on the move as much as possible. But even though I have spent many hours in low-sec in a fleet my small ships have yet to be used in anger.

There have certainly been a few moments of excitement, needing to warp out of areas with haste before more powerful ships turn up from the other side of a gate, or before they can con us and get a lock, and it is definitely interesting to be navigating low-sec space in a fleet. Not entering battle has also probably saved me a few ships, and perhaps a clone or two, but I know the risks as much as I understand that EVE Online is about not picking a fight unless you are sure you can win. It is still disappointing to have spent so much time without seeing a single PvP combat. And the longer I spend without encountering PvP the more shy I become about the time it will happen.

When I consider what I would like to do with my evening, spending a few hours in safe spots whilst gingerly jumping to an active low-sec system doesn't grab my attention. It would be different if there was a high chance of a PvP engagement, but even then I have the problem of becoming too nervous about finally engaging an opponent because of the wait having been too long. Instead I am much more likely to enter World of Warcraft. With Wrath of the Lich King released there is a whole new continent to explore and a new class of character to develop, both of which I am slowly but surely playing my way through and enjoying, and both of which allow for a quick entry in to the content I am there to play.

I could get a similar experience with PvE mission running in EVE Online. Whilst mission running is nowhere near as glamorous as the PvP side of the game it only takes a couple of clicks to get involved in some assured action. But being half-way across the galaxy from my roots makes it difficult to find suitable agents to work with, particularly when I am trying to stay close to my corporation's base of operations. It also doesn't help that the Minmatar faction apparently didn't much like that I am Caldari when I first turned up. Running level one missions is not a terrible position to be in, but not being able to move up in agent quality easily is making it more of a chore than it was when I first started, and I know I am capable of running the much more challenging level three missions.

At the moment, World of Warcraft is easy, EVE Online is difficult. World of Warcraft is comfortable, EVE Online is harsh. This should come as no surprise, as they are probably top-level bullet points on the design requirements for each game, but with my time being limited and a need to split my attention between the two games I find that I more often than not head to World of Warcraft. I realise that I am letting my EVE Online corporation down a little and I also realise, in writing the above, what fun it can be to play EVE Online, despite its demands.

I think I am getting too comfortable in World of Warcraft, having adventured for quite a while without much of a real challenge or threat. It would be beneficial for me to arrange or involve myself in an environment that offers opportunity for learning and adaptation, to push myself in to performing at my peak. I don't need to be pushed constantly, as sometimes it is good to relax and enjoy the scenery, but I certainly should be looking for a challenge that requires more attention than being able to rely on auto-attacks.

On reflection, I now feel a little motivated. It is perhaps time to shake things up a bit, to get back to EVE Online in some capacity on a regular basis and involve myself in the corporation as much as I can, with the understanding that I will only commit to what I can reasonably offer. I can only hope it will be enough. As for World of Warcraft, I will simply have to trust that I can keep pace with my friends as they all explore the new content and gain levels and, if needs be, choose which characters to focus on and accept that I cannot currently do everything at once.

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