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innocuousremark avatar 8:43 PM on 09.05.2011  (server time)
Labor Day: Eve Online is a Job in Space

If you've played EVE Online, then you pretty much know how this story is going to go. The EVE Online community is an elite club whose only membership requirement is having done 8 hours of waiting as an ultimate end-game user experience, many times.

EVE Online is a MMO about internet spaceships. You fly around, shoot NPCs, shoot each other, shoot asteroids, and click on spreadsheets. Also you train skills. It's all very exciting. One of the "end-game" features of EVE Online is the installation of Player Owned Starbases. These are persistent structures in the EVE world which may serve as a base of operations for 2-50 players. Someone has to install and manage them, and for some reason I thought it would be fun if that person were me.

I had some time off and a lot of alcohol, so I got started. 50 hours later, I had slept for 3 hours, eaten 2 proper meals, taken 0 showers, and spent the rest of the time watching progress bars go up while I hoped no one discovered me and destroyed all of my efforts, and with them the starbase itself, which I had barely been able to purchase after liquefying all of my other assets. By the end of it, I was down to drinking gin mixed with cookie dough ice cream. I suppose no one actually forced me to do that last bit. But still!

Now, if you're thinking that this was the work part, sadly, you have underestimated EVE Online. The real work came next. Remember when I said these were persistent structures? That means they can be attacked by anyone, any time. If they take enough damage they go into a 18-48 hour period of temporary invulnerability so that you can discover the problem and try to mount a defense, but you must still go through all of your days and nights wondering if someone has decided to make you sad by blowing up your space things. They require fuel which must be constantly supplied by someone. They are often processing or building or mining things, all of which must be managed. And of course all of the different people using the base (any of whom may decide to betray you and mess up your Christmas in a variety of awful ways) will be constantly sending you messages, questions, requests, and threats. I was acutely aware of this at all times. It felt as if I were tethered to the game, an a nearly palpable way.

I had to take the tower down because my pretend internet spaceship job was so much work, I was having trouble doing real work. But seriously, it's an awesome game and you should go play it!

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