Commodore Impulse Reports For Duty


imageYou know that one girl or game or TV show or indulgence of choice that you just can’t get away from?

I know you do. You felt that twinge somewhere between your heart and your belly, where the hook is still set, when I asked. I know you did.

For me, the one that I can’t get away from is EVE. I’ve written about it to the point of eye-rolling. I’ve pillaged miners, tricked the gullible, harassed isk-farmers, destroyed Jon’s corporation, and then moved into the chaotic life of a single bee in the giant hive that is my current corporation. I’ve held the line in grand fleet actions that threatened to melt my computer and gone completely broke hurling cruisers and frigates into huge, swarming battles, and then left, a broke and bitter veteran cursing the powers that be for getting us into another damned war.

The worst part is: I know the dark secret of MMOGs. All of them. I know what’s waiting on the other end of that long grind. It’s a world that looks a lot like the one you’ve already spent months of your life in and the monsters are just bigger, palette-swapped versions of the ones you’ve spent days fighting. Spend forty years wandering in the desert, only to wind up in another desert. Thanks for playing.

imageAnd, yet, last night, I found myself staring at the account manager, arguing with myself as my hands suddenly gained their own will.

“I can’t do this.”

Reactivate Your Account? Yes

“Seriously, I’m very busy. I’m working out every night, cooking dinner, trying to do a little bit of writing …”

Please Put Your Credit Card Details Here: Okay!

“… you know, I have an hour or two of free time a night, and that’s, like, it.”

Your account has been reactivated.

“Well, shit.”

And I’ve returned. EVE is built for me like a designer drug. Short attention span evening? Set a skill to train and go read. Need to blow stuff up? It’s time to hunt. Need to kill several hours because I am feeling terrible and don’t want to move? Click a few buttons, join a fleet operation, and do what the nice man screams while watching the pretty ships move by. Instead of rerolling when I get tired of what I’m doing, I devote a week of training to a new skillset and jump back in the game. Each time I’ve finally-finally!-burnt out and unsubscribed, I celebrate.

And yet…

imageI bought a PC for this game. I was caught in the Great Bloodlines Holocaust (Troika didn’t just kill Joe’s computer, it killed mine and several other of our colleagues’ computers) and wound up swearing off PCs altogether with the purchase of a Mac Mini. I had no urge whatsoever to waste another weekend wrestling with video cards, drivers, motherboards and RAM. But when the urge hit for my last EVE bender, there I was in Best Buy, horrifying all my geek friends by buying a pre-built system, all because I am simply incapable of resisting my urges. I wanted EVE and I wanted it NOW. I think of myself as Captain Impulse, but I’m pretty sure buying a $900 PC (I needed an LCD monitor anyway, right? Right?) to play one single game gives me a bump in rank to Commodore Impulse.

Even jaded and broke, I always come crawling back. It’s absolutely ridiculous. I know it’s ridiculous. But even in acknowledging its ridiculousness, I’m still resubscribed and plotting out to obtain my latest prize: the cloaking Recon Ship, where I might disappear into the very ether of space and strike out at mine enemies from out of nowhere, delivering pyew-pyewing death from the helm of a hot-rodded cruiser.

Commodore Impulse is reporting for duty.

About the author