When I was first introduced to EVE Online
in 2004, it was an empty shell of a game. There were only three classes of ship, no alliances or starbases, and neither exploration complexes nor level 4 missions existed yet. EVE
consisted of 5,000 systems of almost completely empty space
populated by less than 50,000 players. The user interface was an order of magnitude worse than it is today (if you can imagine that), and the tutorial just dropped you in the middle of space with the ship equivalent of a pea shooter and a less-than-enthusiastic "good luck!"
Though much of the game was empty, it sat before players like a blank galactic canvas. Not only could players paint their own stories into the game world, but EVE
's highly active development team was updating the game at lightning speed. Players instinctively filled the voids in the game with their hopes and dreams, projecting all the things that EVE
could be into the gaps. People shared ideas on the forum directly with the developers, and practically anything was possible. Things aren't quite the same today, as new ideas have to be compatible with over nine years' worth of updates, and developer CCP Games
really can't afford to rock the boat and potentially lose subscriptions.
In this week's EVE Evolved
, I consider whether the past nine years of development has boxed EVE
in, forcing the gameplay down an ever-narrowing branch of choices.