I know: I'm not on the official list. Well, >:p I'm a pirate, I can get in on the action if I want to!
What drew us into EVE, what keeps us playing the game and what brought us back if we've ever left?
What drew me into Eve is a tough question to answer, simply because there were a lot of factors involved. I grew up with a father who disapproved of computer games unless they were the educational sort, but mum brought me into loving sci-fi early on. I didn't play out sordid romantic scenarios with those Barbie dolls the grandparents gave me -- I re-enacted Star Wars with them, and I was prone to swiping my brother's Ice Planet Lego sets (well, he never used them, anyway...) I was always intrigued by the Star Wars games and Wing Commander, but dad's disapproval and our lack of a suitable gaming PC -- we were an Apple-Mac family for 17 years -- stopped me from buying the games. Then my brother started playing Diablo and dad lost the clout he had against non-educational gaming; I got into tabletop rpgs like Shadowrun and Spycraft, then into HalfLife: Counterstrike and other multiplayer fps games at LAN parties. I remember seeing the first advertisements for Eve Online on some of the webcomics I read, and I remember being interested until I saw it was an MMO.
My only issue with MMOs was really that I preferred LAN situations where we could shout insults at each other across the room; playing a computer game alone seemed strange and did invoke those stereotype images of the basement trolls which survive on cold pizza and Mountain Dew (it didn't help that much of my acquaintance matched that image point for point).
But Eve had everything I was already interested in: the sci-fi, the shiny ships and amazing space vistas. The covert operations, sneaking around and frontal attacks of pvp. The depth of an interactive world to find your place in -- because as fun as it was to imagine being another face in the Star Wars and Star Trek universes, they're so much the creation of others that they keep you at arm's length despite your desire to get closer. I had known Eve players for a few years, but it wasn't til I met Cerys Magente, another of the women players, that I really started thinking that I should give the free trial a go.
I nearly quit in the middle of the newbie 10-part storyline mission. The logistics drove me nuts, and I have to admit that I ragelogged once. But my head is a stubborn thing, and Eve was providing a challenge I had to tackle. I kept at it, despite the frustration and my own nervousness at confronting the universe outside the station walls. I met some other players who encouraged me, offered help and suggestions, and whom I quickly came to consider friends. Halfway through the second week, I paid for my subscription, and I haven't looked back.
Over a year later, I'm still playing. What keeps me going are the same reasons I started in the first place: a virtual world I never get tired of looking at and can immerse myself in as much as I choose to (why stop at the surface, anyway?), a chance to get in on some awesome fights which involve real tactics and strategy rather than button-mashing, and the community I've become a part of. It's so much more rewarding to be able to help build the world everyone else experiences, and to experience what others have created, whether it's a virtual empire or just a role they've created for theirself in the game. Unlike the other games I was intrigued by, there's no lame scripting and no linear plotline to follow, no toy-soldier-stiff characters to 'interact' with. Everyone writes their own script here, and makes the world that much more full just by being there.
I've not left yet, though I did consider taking a break when I found myself not having as much fun. All I had to do was take initiative and the fun returned.
See you in space.
Just a bit ago I was chatting with Abbel Nightroad, one of those first close friends, the recovering pirate who first took me into lowsec at a fragile 5 days old, and who served as teacher and corp director for me until I left Under the Wings of Fury and Atrocitas back in May. We were discussing Thorax setups, and when I said I'd already tried something he was suggesting, he responded, 'Arr no fun any more! Nothing left to teach to Shae'. I'll take this to be a good measure of how far I've progressed as a player ^_^ Felt good to have him suggest we go for a roam together again, sometime; nice rewards for sticking to my guns ;)