And then I ran across a blog called The 0.0 Experiment.
If you’re not familiar with EVE a bit of explanation is in order. Each system in the EVE universe has a security rating from 1.0 to 0.0. Security rating 1.0 means “This sector is patrolled by NPC guard ships who swoop down on anyone who so much as target locks anyone else.” Security rating 0.0 means “You are on your own, buddy. In fact, someone is probably coming over right now to pod you, after which he will keep your frozen corpse as a trophy.” Players typically venture into the lower-rated areas only after gaining high amounts of skill and powerful ships to protect them.
So a relatively new player creates a new character named Innominate Nightmare and decides that he is just going to take his dinky little shuttle and jump out to 0.0 space as quickly as he can…and stay there forever. He forbids himself from ever traveling through a system with a security rating higher than .4. Since he’s consciously decided to throw himself into the deep end (in a very “make a mess, clean it up” fashion), he can be surprisingly laid-back about how often he dies. And since he’s actually a pretty quick-witted and funny fellow, he finds himself making friends everywhere. And since he blogs about the whole thing he finds himself becoming a minor celebrity in the EVE world.
That blog really shows off the depth of the EVE universe – and that depth is attained by creating a monstrously complex system and handing it to the players and saying “Here you go!” which is exactly what EVE’s creators have done. (For the most part. When the creators have interfered with the game the results have always been a disaster, and they have pretty much learned their lesson.)
And boy howdy does that appeal to me. There is nothing like that sort of depth in any other MMO I’ve encountered – certainly not in World of Warcraft.
I may give EVE another try real soon. If I do, I’ll blog the results.