"I Was A Schizophrenic, But We're Alright Now"

My avatar, Mr NOXx is an extension of my psyche, but for some unknown reason my avatar represents the nemesis of my real personality. This is an interesting phenomenon and one which I have searched my own soul to try and explain.

One can argue that the avatar allows us to live a life opposite to ones reality to create balance in ones life. My real career has always been one of helping others selflessly but online within EvE I enjoy ruining my fellow POD pilots life by depriving them of everything. Before EvE Online I can't recall or did not feel a need to do this so there must be something about EvE Online, or indeed any MMORPG which encourages this behaviour to surface.

My original character I played for six months. He was very similar to what I thought was my actual personality. His features were modelled on me as much as possible and his career followed what I asumed I would’ve done had I been born within New Eden. After a few months of play I became restless with my role in EvE. The termination of said character was executed without remorse or reproach. In fact I was rather looking forward to it.

Mr NOXx was born overnight and appeared to represent everything opposite my real personality. Three years later we are still together and enjoying our time together immensely.

Perhaps the nature of an RPG is at the crux of the effect goading us to become something opposite, even negative. Escapism is key here and although games such as Halo allow us to live out the fantasy of an elite cyborg; saviour of earth, these avatars are already packaged, stamped and have their roles mapped out according to the designers whim. Only in an RPG like EvE Online can one truly live any life, and one which has no rules or definitive ending.

Perhaps ones own subconscious plays a role as this is, as popular belief has it, opposite to our consciousness. Now I have never dreamed of murdering PODs or ganking cruisers but this is what I do best, and what I feel compelled to do. Perhaps I did dream of it, but being so deep in REM the conscious mind has no ability to remember. To be honest if this were the case I would be a little disturbed at this knowledge.

There’s another explanation; I get great pleasure from helping my fellow human being and the rewards are a feeling of achievement and well being, of making a real difference.

I also get great pleasure from murdering my fellow POD pilot. The feeling I get is almost identical just more so. My first kill was such a rush that I was literally shaking from head to toe. An adrenalin addiction is a likely cause because every time I kill the feeling is less pronounced, just like an addiction.

Whatever the reasons I find it fascinating that avatars become extensions of our psyches' nemesis and that playing a MMORPG seems to promote this effect. Perhaps they should have mental health warnings?

The Old Hermit

Ambulation and the meandering it enables may breed a new type of EvE player. With all the entertainment consoles, bars, shops and all else it’s quite possible that there will be players who become so attached to their limbs (beyond the physical) that they’ll rarely venture further than the ship hanger and gaze at the business outside. A new phobia may be needed to shoehorn such occupants to rationalise their choice to remain inside the embrace of the station walls.

The slang will come, and I’m sure it will evolve quickly based on a single comment, delivered with sincerity and dispersed around the entire community. Perhaps there will be different descriptive words dependant on the type of station inhabited. Clank, Tin Can Man or a Dweller come to mind, or maybe just a plain old Hermit.

There is a name for everything, Pirates and Care-bears, Industrialists and Ratters, whatever the slang it will become second nature and we’ll all know who they are, what they do and to some degree, why they do it. This isn’t to say that ones play style is rigid, once upon a time even I was a Ratter and a Mission Runner but the smell of blood was too much to ignore and so I sought out combat deep in null sec.

There are many weird and wonderful characters out there in the cosmos, I should know I am one, we all are. In fact we represent a population that is incredibly diverse. If we look deeper into the community we can find players that have their own niche and stick to it. With the addition of Dust 514 this community will become even more varied and widespread. EvE players that don’t own a single space craft? What a strange notion.

Whatever your pleasure, EvE Online is here to indulge your senses and we can all find contentment in our chosen profession. Having tinkered with most aspects of life in New Eden, Piracy is the most fun for me but some of you are so weird you consider mining enjoyable. What a strange bunch we are.

Messages (Bjorn Lynne & Tobias Richter)

This video is a bit of a nostalgia trip for me as I was a huge fan of Tobias' animation work when I was a wee lad. The music by Bjorn Lynne is also very eighties, early nineties it reminds me of how fantastical our perception of spaceships were in those days. How the future was enveloped in artificial light and the heavens were full of huge, slow moving cities of glass and steel.

After playing EvE Online I now realise that the future is actually bleak. That it is dark, cold and full of insurmountable suffering and pain.

Related Links

Terra Firma

EvE Online is a beautiful game. Picking through screenshots I am amazed at how subtle the lighting effects have become, the glare, the shadows, even the way the metal hulls reflect on our beloved ships. Stations and stargates are also incredibly detailed and are a marvel to look at. But there is one problem with the recent graphics enhancements. They have neglected to improve the most massive of objects in the game world - the planets.

Before the Trinity upgrade, ships, stations, star gates and planets had the same graphical resolution. Since Trinity almost everything has seen steady improvement, but with every upgrade the planetary bodies look even more out of place against crisply detailed heavenly objects.

Dominion, the next release from CCP due this winter is to address this issue by introducing remapped planetary surfaces complete with clouds, oceans, mountains and atmospheres. It will be a welcome addition and will help solidify the game world into consistency. It would also be nice to see some variation beyond a standard 8 models, so certain planets can be identified from appearance alone.

The upgrade is sure to make EvE Online the best looking MMORPG on the market today. I'm getting my camera drones ready as we speak. If you can't wait until the next expansion you can observe some work-in-progress on Singularity.

Related Links
Dominion (expansion)
Test Server (singularity installation guide)
Test Server (singularity patches)