Returning to Eve Online (EO) has entered into my mind countless times in the past year but never so much as when I started playing the Pirates of the Burning Sea (PotBS) BETA. In terms of tone and setting these games are as different as night and day. However, I expect they are compared more often than Flying Lab would like because of the “you are your ship” type of combat and the truer player driven economy. So if I’ve rated the game based on my play-style preferences a six and I’m tired of what I’m either playing or not playing, why wouldn’t I just buy PotBS?
I’ve had a similar problem with EQ2 – adore the settings, love the crafting and give kudos to the player community Sony establishes for it’s games, yet I can’t play it for more than a couple of weeks at a time. Having recently re-subscribed, played a few weeks pretty steady and then bailed again, I think I can nail it down to two differences:
1. I’m clearly an adrenaline and hype junkie when playing MMORPGs. I need the over the top experience. I need those god-like moments when the ground trembles in my wake, the sky roars with thunderous clouds and I part the seas. I suppose I could try to dissect my inner psyche to determine why I need that in a game. Nah, it’s easier to just go with it and accept that as a base requirement for the games I’ll play.
2. I grind to level, although to me it’s not grinding. I’m not a big fan of quests and pretty much detest long quest chains. I prefer to make my own leveling adventures by finding mobs that are interesting to me, whose animations or combat styles are fun, who are surrounded by interesting scenery, who drop secondary items I might need for crafting or even better, mobs I dislike and think that they all need to just DIE. The inability for a game to readily support this leveling style means it’s a game I won’t play it for very long. I’m not big on being an errand girl shuffling between NPCs for petty requests or killing googobs of animals that for whatever strange reason, they don’t all have skins, innards or whatever dumb ass bone-fragment the silly person standing in the midst of them needs but is unable to obtain. I can only take questing in limited doses.
These two requirements among other things are the reasons I've never stayed long in EverQuest 2 or why I didn’t linger past the first couple of weeks in Lord of the Rings Online. No more and no less – all else being equal, I can’t sustain interest in a game if the base mechanics run contrary to those requirements. As I compare EO to PotBS, a third requirement presented itself.
I downloaded the updated client for EO just to check things out for a while. I know how absence can make the memory grow fonder, so I thought I’d jog it into a more factual state by taking a free 14-day trial visit. The update was painless and within first minute I knew the identity of the missing third requirement I have for gaming. It was staring me in the face the second the EO interface was loaded. I instantly I felt more at home. The revelation was so simplistic and obvious I shouldn’t have had to think about it. EO is sci-fi and PotBS is…is…is what? Whatever it is, it isn’t high fantasy or sci-fi which is all that I’ve played thus far, all that I’ve had a desire to play and all that I read. It’s what I write, when I take the time to write. EO is dark, mysterious, other worldly and dangerous.
Well duh, that need is so obvious I hadn’t even considered it. If EO and PotBS were exactly the same game save for the fact that one is on sea and the other in space, I’d choose EO. The only point to this is that my impressions of PotBS are colored by a gaming genre preference and are likely part of the reason I can’t make a decision about whether or not to buy this game. There are definitely some shortcomings and mechanics that irk me about PotBS and when combined with the fact that it’s not my preferred setting, it might be too long a bridge for me to cross.
I’m going to put the PotBS BETA to rest now. Unlike other games I’ve played, regardless of your nation, your starter quests are identical, leaving little replay value in my opinion. So I don’t want to do much more in the BETA (already done the lower level quests on 4 characters) knowing that I’ll have to repeat the same content again if I play the live version. I’m going to take the next couple of days to just bump around EO for a while.