My main EVE character turns 9 today. The anniversary has been on my mind of late, and that has been reflected in a number of my recent posts. Just how have I managed to play this one computer game about spaceships for 9 years straight? It seems quite a feat, in a geeky sort of way.

I think the game looks great. I like collecting “stuff”. I like setting goals, planning, adapting, working things out, and testing different ideas and approaches. I have however done most of what a solo risk-averse carebear can do in game, and admit I can go periods of time where I am basically waiting for CCP to give me something new to try, or a new ship to fly, or a rule change to adjust too. So it is not really the mechanics of the game which have kept me here for so long.

Almost everyone I’ve befriended in game over the years has now departed. The channels I’ve used to keep in touch are now empty and silent. Real life limits my ability to contribute to a corporation, so I fly solo. If I ignore this blog, it is not really the social draw card which keeps me here.

I do love the sandpit aspect of the game. I like that despite all the opinions and advice, I can work out ways to play the game as I want to. But amusing myself in my anti-establishment ways still doesn’t account for the longevity.

One of the underlying reasons I am still here is that I love the complexity in even simple tasks. I mentioned I recently sold off 3B ISK worth of stuff in game. That involved identifying gear you don’t really need to be stockpiling. Working out what market you take it to. What do you haul it in, how many trips do you make; how much value do you move in each trip? When do you sell to buy orders, when do you place a sell order and what price do you set? I appreciate the immersive distraction it provides from real life.

It was however something DireNecessity said in a recent comment which really hit the nail on the head in explaining why I have continued to play for so long. EVE is not a natural fit to my personality – it takes me out of my comfort zone and challenges me. I like the fact the game makes me question my instinctive reactions, and dares me to improve on them. It exposes me to a wide range of personalities, from the obnoxious to the most decent. It gives practice in dealing with conflict. It obliges me to be more resilient.

This hasn’t changed me into some sort of bloodthirsty PVP seeker, but I like undocking and testing my mettle against the environment and other players. I like how it could go pear-shaped at any moment. I like avoiding the loss EVE always threatens. I guess I like the challenge of making my game of EVE as relatively boring as possible.

And on that bombshell… here’s to reaching 10 years.