Unlike other EVE pilots, I am not musically inclined and my Pandora channels reflect that quite well. At work I listen to Adele, Alison Krauss and Bach when I need to concentrate or chill out, but when I need to motivate myself, its time for the Film Score channel. No better pick-me-up than the soundtrack of Indiana Jones for example.
Last week, I had a particularly complicated day and in search of stronger medicine typed “World of Warcraft” into the Pandora’s channel search. I vaguely remembered the soundtrack as pseudo-orchestral, grand and above all cheesier than any film score ever made. Just what I needed to settle into Outlook and answer flaming emails from irate customers.
What I did not count on though was just how many memories came back to me while the tracks played. I rolled my first WoW char in Oct. 2005 and played for 4 years, pretty much always with their music score as a background. So, its not surprising that it burrowed into my unconscious. What did surprised me was the selection of memories. Epic fights PvE or PvP fights? Nah. Quests? Nope. Gold, Purples, Emblems or whatever were used as pellets to keep the hamster wheel turning? No, I forgot all about it.
Instead, I remember my early days, before I knew what Dungeons were, how to use Aggro meters and what DPS stood for. When the soundtrack of Ironforge played, I remember the sheer awe and amazement that I experienced stepping out of my little starter valley and saw the massive fortress towering over the snow-capped mountain ranges for the first time. It was my first introduction to an open-world game, all I had experienced before were shooters which channel the player down a narrow corridor and really leave no room for exploration. WoW changed all of that for me and the amazement into the depth of the landscape and story lines blew me away.
But like all good things, my WoW tenure came to an end, one day, I logged off in Dalaran and never came back. Some day in the future (not any time soon), the end of my time in New Eden will come as well and I wondered what I will remember. Surely, the music will not be a trigger. It is decent enough – when played by a symphonic orchestra – but it bears no connection to the actual game. 9 years after I stepped into Ironforge for the first time, the score gives me goose bumps. Already I don’t recognize the EVE sound track as belonging to any specific game, let alone region.
But what will I remember? It won’t be fights. Sure, during the fight, the adrenaline rush makes it fun but it is fleeting, turning white pixels into red is not a big deal in hindsight. My killboard is tiny but already I can’t remember the ships I killed or was killed in. Mining? Well, weirdly enough, I just uncrated my Covetor for the first time in probably a year and went mining with the team and I enjoyed it a lot. The visual and audible landscape of the massive, rolling asteroids against the pitch-black sky, the harsh light of my lasers impacting on their surface, the gorgeous and detailed ship design of the Covetor (I never noticed that it has flames coming out of its side. And no, I am not “in hull”). That was pretty cool, to be honest. But what made it special was the banter on Teamspeak, the knowledge that we have scouts everywhere and created a small pocket of “safety” in our wormhole.
I will likely remember the first time I jumped into Wormhole – I was still in a Newb Corp but found the signature while scanning for Grav sites. I warped my Imicus close, clicked “yes” to that ominous warning message and experienced my first wormhole transit. Yes, I had read about this space but I did not really know what to expect. The solitude greeting me was at once inviting and threatening and after zooming around for a bit, I left knowing I’d be back one day. That one short trip is deeper in my memories than the hundreds, thousands of wormhole transits I have done since, often without thinking, now its all routine.
My corp and alliance, I will certainly remember. I made real friends in this game whereas in WoW, we bantered but we never got close. The huge thing that I will remember about EVE is the amazing community of bloggers, tool makers and other “meta-game” EVE players. Whereas WoW is a book you read, EVE is one you have to write yourself and long after my characters are biomassed, I will remember writing this blog, stimulated by the great minds around me. This, I believe will be the lasting memory that I will take from this game, the sheer creative and dedication of the community.
But although this post sounds like I am quitting (and no you can not have my stuff), I am not. I really like where I am, I enjoy the game as much as I can and above all, I am not “done” yet with New Eden.