I have news about my EVE playing, a good one and a bad one. The good one is that I joined a medium-sized corporation, after being invited by one of my readers. The bad news is that me playing EVE caused an unexpected amount of angry rage among some bloggers. Basically I'm being accused to play EVE only to be more convincingly able to badmouth it. Yeah, sure, as if I hadn't anything better to do than to explicitely try not to have fun in a game, just to spite the people who like that game.
Fact is that I do have fun, which is why I still keep playing. Learning how a game works is often fun, and there is a lot to learn in EVE Online. But that doesn't turn me into a mindless drone fanboi. Every game has good sides and bad sides, and sometimes things are neither good nor bad, but just different. I observe, I analyze, and I write about my experiences. If I make some statement about EVE like "mining is boring", you need to read that as "I tried mining and found it to be boring for me personally". Now I tend to have rather middle-of-the-road tastes in gaming, so you could also read it as "some new players trying mining in EVE find it boring". What you should definitely not read it as is "MMORPG guru Tobold made a final judgement about EVE and declared it is a bad game". I'm simply not as authorative as that, and never wanted to be. Even subscriptions numbers, flawed as they are as a measure of how good a game is, are a better indicator of whether a game is good or bad than any single blogger's opinion, reviews, and other posts, mine included.
I sometimes wonder whether video games are the new religion of our secular age. Some people really behave just like religious nutters about their favorite game, treating any open discussion about it as "blasphemy".
I do believe that by playing very different games and writing about them, I can give a larger view of the MMORPG genre and all its possible features in general. Not just a narrow question of whether game X is good or bad. But for example the discussion of whether a real time based advancement system is a good idea or a bad idea for any MMORPG, the disconnect some people feel when their advancement is independant of their actions vs. the freedom that not having to do anything specific to advance grants you. Or the question why for some people buying in-game currency with game time cards is acceptable, while buying a sparkly pony is evil. There has been some excellent discussion about questions like these on this blog this week, for which I want to thank all participants.
Nevertheless, as some rabid EVE players are out there, I had to decide not to make my character name nor the name of the corporation I joined public. The last thing I want is thanking the friendly people that invited me by getting them war dec'd by somebody who didn't like me writing anything else but glowing praise about EVE Online. It is worrying how much hate some people can produce over a completely unimportant issue like some feature in some video game.