The quest to finish my to-do list

The quest to finish my to-do list
(so I could play EVE Online again, and how I then played too much EVE)

A long time ago I remember someone (I believe it was my father) saying that people who wrote down their goals are much more likely to accomplish said goals. I ended up taking that to heart, and I have had a “to-do” list on my computer ever since I was a young teenager. My to-do list has always consisted of more short term things, like doing some chore or reminding myself of appointments via a daily to-do list for the following week, and more long term things like places I want to visit or other events or goals I want to do later in life. It has always been a long list, but it has kept me on track, and helped me not forget things I want to or need to do.

normal to do

There was a study done by Dr. Gail Matthews of the Dominican University of California where he had several groups and the results showed that there was a significant correlation to writing goals and achieving more goals. You can read about it at http://www.dominican.edu/dominicannews/study-highlights-strategies-for-achieving-goals or the the more in depth research summary can be seen at:
http://www.dominican.edu/academics/ahss/undergraduate-programs/psych/faculty/assets-gail-matthews/researchsummary2.pdf. It also highlights that people who share their goals with friends achieved more goals, and even more if they sent weekly status updates. I never went that in depth into trying to accomplish things, regardless of what it was, however, simply writing down my goals and keeping an up-to-date to-do list has done wonders for me over the years.

In general, my “to-do” list contains anything for the next week like appointments or chores I need to do, as well as other things upcoming or that I want to do in the future. I also have a separate “to-do” list of media I want to consume, which is what the rest of this post will be about, since the “normal” to do list works well enough and is pretty straightforward.

media

People are always recommending games, shows, animes, books, movies, or a myriad of other things that I should look into, as well as previously mentioned mediums that I myself find and want to look into some day. Time is our most valuable resource though, and there is not enough to consume all the media in the world. Other chores and places I want to visit mostly get done some time or later, and I am not too overwhelmed with those things so much, but all the potential things to do in my limited free time is another story.

After moving to Germany I finally started to have free time again. Ever since I was a young child I was in school, just like everyone else, and I mostly had evenings free. University was another matter though, and I had increasingly less free time, to the point where my senior year consisted mostly of waking up, going to school until 5, working until midnight, and repeating the process. I also worked weekends, and would usually only have Friday night to go out and hang out in the bars with friends. The entire time, people were always recommending books/games/shows/etc. for me to watch, and I would put them in “the list” to be investigated later. After a few years, that list got quite long. Once I moved to Germany in 2013 though, I figured I could start working through the massive list of stuff. Since I recognized that I would start to have free time, I wanted to also start playing EVE Online again when I finished said list. EVE Online is an MMORPG that features thousands of people playing in a persistent universe, flying around in spaceships and fighting each other, as it is a mostly PVP based game.

2014.06.03.18.22.25

I used to play it in high school when I had more free time, but I just didn’t have the necessary time anymore when I started college, so I deactivated my accounts, but I wanted to play again someday. I knew EVE took a lot of time though, and sometimes I didn’t want to be bothered with competing with others, so I was also always on the lookout for an “EVE Offline” game, i.e. a tactical RPG operated in spaceships, much like EVE, but more of a single player version.

As such, the rest of this post is about the things I slowly worked through, and kind of a small review about each thing that I went through over the past 2.5 years, and how things unfolded on my goal of finishing my to-do list do I could play EVE Online again. I will also apologize for the lack of photos. I will try to use some when I can, but since most of these games are uninstalled, I don’t feel like reinstalling them just for a screenshot, and you can get in trouble for stealing images from Google images.

Deus Ex

One of the first things I wanted to do was play the game, Deus Ex. Almost every time I read a list of the best video games or some forum discussion about peoples’ favorite video games, it always seems that Deus Ex is among the highest ranked games, if not the highest. As such, I always wanted to give it a shot for myself, and I had previously downloaded it so I could play it later.

One of the first things I did end up doing in my free time while I was living in Mainz and looking for a job was to play Deus Ex. I think I got about halfway through the game before I just uninstalled it. Deus Ex is a bit of an older game, and it does show. That didn’t bother me though. What bothered me was that it just seemed like there was only 1 way to play the game, and that was to be sneaky (largely making the few machine guns I did find fairly useless). I started playing the game, and I kept forcing myself to go further, sometimes just looking up walkthroughs so I didn’t have to complete certain things by 20 attempts of trial and error before I got the right solution. I would get disenfranchised, bored, and I would then just turn to other games that didn’t have so much of a goal like Starmade, Minecraft, or Path of Exile (although PoE does have a goal, I was largely just messing around in the game at the time).

I would then come back and try to get further in Deus Ex, and I would then always find myself looking at walkthroughs, just grinding through the game, having to be super sneaky (otherwise I would die way too quickly), and just getting stuck and having to restart after dying. The issue is that I am not one who likes to give up on projects or goals halfway through, and like other things, if I start a game or series or book, I feel committed to getting through it to the end, even if I don’t like it.

There was a time back in 2012 when I was doing my semester abroad in Germany and I was couchsurfing with a gentleman buy the name of Lucas. Among one of our conversations that we had on his balcony, I remember him and I discussing about investing time, and I mentioned how I always try to get things through to the end, even if they don’t like it. I knew that investors need to know when to cut their losses and not have the fallacy of investing more time (or money) in a doomed project, solely because they have invested so much in it already. That completely obvious notion is not one that I ever really applied to myself and media that I wanted to consume though. It was Lucas who opened my eyes to the fact that if I am not enjoying a game, series, or book, I should just stop. That is a really hard thing for me to do though because then I always feel like I left something unfinished.

As it was though, after playing other games, and then coming back to Deus Ex, just to get frustrated again, I decided that this outdated, linear, choice-less game was not what it was hyped up to be, and I made the tough decision of leaving a game half beat and uninstalling it. For some, I am sure Deus Ex was the greatest game ever. I am sure some would even say I was “playing the game wrong”, but the fact of the matter is that you can’t please everyone, and what Deus Ex had to offer me was not what I found enjoyable, although others might find it so.

Saints row IV

Shortly after making the decision to uninstall Deus Ex, Saints Row IV went on prerelease and my friend Aaron convinced me to get it. I didn’t have a job yet, so the $50 or $60 I paid for it was a bit much, but I decided to go for it. In general, I would say this game was much more enjoyable, intuitive, and open than Deus Ex, and I had a good time playing it. I played a lot alone, but I also played online with Aaron sometimes and had a good time. I rapidly ended up beating that game, and after 60 or so hours, I decided I had enough fun and had got my money’s worth, so I uninstalled it and proceeded on to the next thing.

Moving to Cologne

I proceeded to play some other things for a few weeks, but nothing serious as I really needed to find another job before I would have to leave the country, an escapade I will post about later. As luck would have it though, I managed to get a job 1 week before I would have had to leave. I moved to Cologne to work at my new job, and since my friends and girlfriend that I had spent many evenings with were back in Mainz, it left me with much more free time in the evenings that I would have otherwise normally spent hanging out (which is why it did take me about 3 months to give up on Deus Ex and then play Saints Row 4, among playing some other games here and there).

Bioshock was another highly recommended game which I had also previously downloaded. I then proceeded to play through it in my free evenings after work, and if I recall, it only took me a week or 2 before it was beaten. It was quite an interesting game with a very cool setting, and while I would have loved to continue playing the sequels, the pursuit of other games that I have had even longer took priority, and I doubt I will ever get to the sequels.

There were many other games that I had picked up via the Humble Bundle, which I had only learned about once I moved to Germany. With the Humble Bundle, you can name your price for a collection of 5-10 games, and then you get the games via steam, and the proceeds go to a charity. Since you could end up getting 5-10 games for just a few bucks, I had bought a few different humble bundles on weeks where they interested me, which resulted in me having 50 or so games in Steam, many of which I would play, many more which I would never touch.

One of the games I played was Mirror’s edge. I had seen others play it, and it seemed like quite an interesting game where you ran around in a first-person view, running on rooftops and jumping around in a parkour fashion. I played through the game and also enjoyed my time. Again, due to the fact that I had most evenings free, I managed to beat that game in a few evenings. I then proceeded onto Batman: Arkham Asylum, and Batman: Arkham City, 2 other Humble Bundle games, and 2 other games I beat in a few evenings each. I also enjoyed those for the action games they were, but I don’t think I will go out of my way to play the sequels to any of them.

Up until this point, I had been living out of my suitcase as I had not obtained a dresser yet. I found a small one on the side of the road not far from my house that still seemed to be in superb condition. I took it home and was finally able to completely take everything out of my suitcase, which included all of the books that I had bought over the years and not had enough time to get to. In order to read them, I had also brought them to Germany with me. I was about halfway through the Dune Series from Frank Herbert before moving to Germany, so I decided to continue reading that series. That would be a slow, but steady process, and I would read on evenings when I really just didn’t feel like playing or when I was traveling. I also decided to start practicing speed reading again (something I was OK at in High School) in hopes of finishing books quicker. I then decided that I would rather take the time to simply enjoy the book and not miss any small details instead of trying to power through books in a couple hours like I used to be able to (while missing many minor details). I continued to read books in the same time frame as playing games when I decided to, or couldn’t, play video games, and I will simply mention them in this post as I finished them.

X3

One of the other games (actually an entire series) I got from a Humble Bundle was the X series, which has always been hailed as a testament to the sci-fi/spaceship video game genre, although it had its learning curve and quirks. I played X3: Terran Conflict a bit, which was regarded as the best in the series at the point, and I didn’t enjoy it so much. I was always looking for that “EVE Offline” game that I could play without needing to pay a subscription. X3 just didn’t cut it. The entire gameplay was different (first-person, jet-like controls), and the UI and basically everything kept putting me off, so I decided to take a break from X3 for a while and come back to it with a fresh mindset.

Similarly to giving up on Deus Ex, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed with all of the games that I did now own in Steam via Humble Bundles, so I decided to mark some as ones that I would never play because they just simply didn’t interest me that much. Even though I did pay for them, I didn’t pay much because I got them all through Humble Bundles, so each game was about $.50-$1 each, and the peace of mind it would give me to have them off my plate would be worth more than that to me. As such, I decided I wouldn’t ever be playing Deadspace, Crysis 2, F.E.A.R., Lord of the Rings: War in the North, or a few other games anytime in the near future. This severely lowered the amount of games I had to beat, which was definitely a satisfying feeling.

I then decided to play Battlefield 3 a bit (Another game I got via a Humble Bundle, and a game I had many issues with, which I will make a separate post about in the future). I really enjoyed playing Battlefield 2 a lot when I was younger, and I was hoping BF3 would be like that. I did still have fun, but it was so bug-filled and frustrating that I simply achieved my small goal of getting a red dot scope for the m249 (my favorite gun) before uninstalling it because the bugs just made the game too unenjoyable.

I later saw an advertisement for TERA, a new MMORPG, similar to World of Warcraft. I had always been a fan of MMORPGs (hence wanting to play EVE online again), and I thought I would give it a shot since the combat seemed much more fluid than any other MMORPG that I have seen or played to date. It has been quite fun, and I would continue to play it a little bit off and on in the future. I never ended up playing it much, but I will talk about that later in this post.

I then went back to X3 in hopes of really getting the hang of it and getting lost in what many called the best EVE Offline one would find. The entire UI was awkward as fuck. I couldn’t do anything without it being a nightmare. After playing for 7 hours, I was still struggling to beat the 5th mission. I had about 20k, and the cheapest gun I could find was about 300k or so, meaning I couldn’t improve 1 gun after playing for 7 hours. Trying to figure out how to uninstall/install guns was a pain (I managed to decomission one of my spare ships and take the gun from it and put it on my main ship, which took me like 30 minutes to figure out). Every time I had my other ships in my fleet attack an enemy/target as a wing, they would stop following me. I would then forget and not realize they weren’t following me anymore until I was 2 systems away so I would have to tell them to come to me. For the life of me, I also couldn’t find out how to tell my entire wing what to do unless I was telling them to attack something (e.g. there were no “go there” or “come to me” commands of any sort for my entire wing). Since I couldn’t tell my entire wing to do anything, I would have to go into the property and then tell every single individual ship in my wing to manually follow me, and then it would take forever for them to catch up with me. How stupid. Why couldn’t they just follow me again after we blew up what I told them to shoot at?! Later I was trying to trade cargo between a stationary ship of mine that was 10m away (very, very close) in space, and it just wouldn’t work. I also couldn’t figure out how to get rid of all this useless crap in my cargo since no one would buy anything I had and I couldn’t seem to just destroy or jettison it.

Some mission wanted me to transport 100 Teladianium, and since I couldn’t clear up any space from my ships, I couldn’t fit it all at once. It was ridiculous. I can’t remember if that meant I would have had to make many (many, many) trips, or if I just couldn’t do that mission at all. Either way, it was no longer fun. I then searched for a ship with a lot of storage space, but that didn’t yield any results. I searched every station in the system (after an online guide told me there was a shipyard in system, but it wasn’t there in my game). So I looked in the surrounding 3 systems or so and didn’t find a ship, and then I finally decided that this game was just too awkward to handle, it completely detracted from what could have been a great experience. I didn’t have fun playing X3 as it has just been terribly complicated do super simple things, if it was possible at all. I uninstalled that game and marked all of the X games in my Steam library as games I am not interested in playing. The search for an EVE Offline continued.

I wrote most of the last 2 paragraphs at the time of of playing X in a small rage, which is why it’s a bit more detailed than my previous anecdotes. At the time of finishing this blog post I went though and tidied up the sentences and removed the majority of the expletives, as it was riddled with curses at how unnecessarily complicated this game was.

Time to move onto the next game. Or so I thought.

Resubscribing to EVE Online

I was still getting regular Emails from CCP (the developers of EVE Online), always urging, or even offering (via a reduced month), for me to resubscribe to EVE Online. I enjoyed receiving these emails as they kept motivating me to finish all the games, books, and shows I wanted to get through in order to before I started playing EVE again. One particular Email from them that I got on February 13th, 2014 was a bit special.

email

In this email, I was informed that there was actually going to be a monument erected in Reykjavik, Iceland (where CCP is located), and all of the currently subscribed characters as of March 1st would have their in-game character’s name engraved on the monument. How could I pass that up? Even if I wasn’t to play the game forever, to have my character’s name immortalized on a monument was just too much of an interesting and cool thing to pass up. It convinced me, and I prematurely reactivated my old accounts (while I actually had 2), which would guarantee that their names would be there.

The problem with that was that I was now subscribed to EVE, which was to be the “prize” at the end of completing this list, way before I was even close to finishing said list. To further complicate issues, EVE Online is a game that requires a hell of a lot of time, and playing EVE was going to take up so much time that I would have otherwise used to finish goals. I would need to find some balance between playing EVE, which I had been wanting to do and working towards, and playing other games so I actually make progress on my to-do list.

EVE, Books, EVE, Anime, EVE

The first note I made after resubscribing was about a week later, and it basically amounts to that I haven’t done much other than play EVE in my free time. That’s OK though; I just resubscribed and would like to see how the game has evolved since I stopped playing about 5 years prior. It also turns out that I would need to go to New Orleans for work for a few days, so I figured I would bring some books with me and try and make some serious progress on the Dune series while flying and during downtime I had when I wasn’t busy at the convention.

I read a bit while there, and continued to read more when I got back, all the while playing EVE. I did manage to finish the last few books in the Dune series over the next couple weeks though, so some progress was still happening towards my to-do list. The Dune series was great, and I would highly recommend it. I will confess that I was only interested in reading the first 6 books in the series as they were written by the original writer. I have nothing against Frank’s son, but I just wasn’t too interested in reading their take on the story, and I just wanted to read what was originally done by the original creator. As such, I finished reading Chapterhouse: Dune, which had a very cool ending to the series (for me at least), and I would soon start reading other books.

Otherwise, I had played EVE a bit, getting my bearings on playing again. I experimented with exploration (I liked the idea, but I didn’t like actually doing it at first), and I played around in the faction warfare zone (a PVP focused area) a bit, which was OK up to that point. At first I wasn’t seeing much participation and it was a little lackluster. I also started doing station trading with my second character, meaning that I would have her in a trade hub, buying stuff for cheap from people who want to easily sell their wares, and then relisting them at a higher price to people who needed to buy it. Station trading was actually pretty fun, in a slow, looking-at-graphs/excel, but slowly-watching-your-ISK(money)-increase sort of way. I was not sure about station trading for the first couple of weeks, but it definitely got me a few million ISK a day (not that much, but it was consistent). I was aiming to work my way up to 2 billion ISK (from my initial 100 million starting capital), and then I would start sending additional profit over to my main character for buying ships. The goal was to get enough ISK invested in the market that I would make about 50 million or so a day, which would let me buy a nice ship every day or 2 (since losing ships in EVE means it’s actually lost and you need to replace it).

On the side, I was watching an episode or so of anime every day or two, trying to get through other series I was wanting to watch for a long time. I watch all of Gundam Wing, an anime I had seen episodes of, but never had enough time to fully watch. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I still prefer the Universal Century with Mobile Suit Gundam (The 08th MS Team even more so) the most.

After finishing the Dune series, I started reading all of the Magic: the Gathering books that I owned. When I was younger, I had 4 M:tG books, that actually happened to be the first Magic books ever written, and they were released early on in Magic’s history. Mind you, the books aren’t valuable, but I wanted to have them again (I lent them out to someone who never returned them), and I had bought the rest of the individual books that weren’t tied to a block a few years ago. Those 11 books had remained unread for many years, and I also brought them with me to Germany, and I finally got around to starting them after finishing the Dune series.

I also started playing Anno 1404 a bit since I liked playing Anno 1602 so much when I was younger. I also planned to continue watching Gundam 00, which had been good so far up to that point. Since I was living in Cologne, I would regularly go to Mainz in order to visit my Girlfriend and other friends, and on the weekends where I wouldn’t go to Mainz, my girlfriend would typically visit me. I noted down how it was tricky trying to do everything only on the evenings from Monday-Thursday, as I would be busy on weekends. Progress was still slowly being made, but playing EVE and only having time on weeknights definitely made progress slow. During this time I managed to finish the first 4 Magic books (the ones that I previously owned), and the rest of the 7 books lay before me.

I continued playing 1404, but it just wasn’t the same as 1602, and 1602 was only cool from a nostalgia point of view. I played 1602 a few years ago after downloading it, and it is just too old. But 1404 was just becoming tedious. I have realized that I no longer really care for real time strategy games as there is so much micromanagement, and 1404 has an incredible amount of that. There is also the problem that my (admittedly pirated and cracked) copy of 1404 kept crashing. It was pretty normal to crash after a few hours or so, and if I had failed to regularly save, I would lose an hour or two of work. After putting several hours into a free play map, it crashed again and I just had enough of it. The RTS elements were getting to me, and the fact that I just lost more than an hour of work pushed my decision to be done with that game, and I haven’t really played any RTSs since since I just can’t seem to find them entertaining anymore. I was at a point where I was on a path to win as I had a lot of money, and given enough time, I would have eliminated the other NPCs and controlled the map, but I just had no desire to actually get to that point. There was still an entire campaign, but 1404, while fun at first, overstayed its welcome in my heart, if you will, and I uninstalled that game as well.

Things continue, and between doing other things, hanging out and playing EVE, I finished another Magic book, started playing Antichamber (which is a cool puzzle game similar to Portal), and then played even more EVE.

I played EVE for a few weeks pretty heavily, joining fleets and engaging in interstellar battles, much like how I had previously envisioned faction warfare to be. Up until that point, it had been a lot of gate camping (which is the boring task of sitting at a travel-bottleneck in order to attack helpless passerbyers), and unimpressive PVP, but those few weeks contained many “good fights” and I had a blast.

2014.07.10.01.08.20

I then went back to Antichamber, giving it some more effort in hopes of getting past where I previously got stuck. I found it hard because I simply didn’t know what was going on most of the time, but I finally figured out all of the puzzles and riddles, and I beat that game. For those looking for a puzzle game similar to Portal, I would highly recommend it.

Too much EVE, not enough time

As I previously mentioned, time is one’s most important resource, and the question of how to spend my free time was becoming more pertinent. Do I want to play more EVE Online, or do I want to pursue other things like learning more German and finally getting around to learning to play the piano well? That would be nice. Do I want to play the next game on my to-do list, Divinity II, all the way through (which I looked up online and told me would take about 30 hours to beat)? No, not really.

So about half an hour into Divinity II, I decided I didn’t enjoy it enough to continue (which was OK, because it was also a cheap game I got via the Humble Bundle, so at least that wasted money went to a charity). I had also been playing Path of Exile a bit more, and the “end game” content in that game is called “maps”, and it was going to take me forever to get to that point. I would have to play through the entire game again twice, in increasing difficulties, and that just didn’t appeal to me at the time. I managed to beat Path of Exile’s main story on normal, and I kind of considered myself done with that game and uninstalled it for the time being.

I had also gotten a few of the Civilization games in a Humble Bundle, and I had started one game with a friend. We got a few hours into it, but I then had to leave and we never made any more progress on it. I kind of just removed that game as well due to the slight RTS nature of it (i.e. lots of micromanagement), and I didn’t even bat an eye.

Removing many games from my to-do list, and beating a couple others made a huge dent in the remaining games in my to-do list which was again, a nice and liberating feeling. I had also been making slow progress on the Magic books, so there was progress, but the previous few paragraphs all happened over several months.

It took many months because I was just playing so much EVE. The issue with EVE is that there isn’t really an “end of the game”. You just keep playing, and without a goal, you would essentially keep playing forever, or until you got bored, and that was going to really slow down other media consumption, if not stop me from playing other game or reading books, etc. completely.

I decided that it was time to make a to-do list for EVE itself, in order for me to to have goals to work towards in EVE, and to then finish EVE and either play it very casually or stop altogether.

I decided I would like to start FCing (being the leader of a group of pvpers in combat) and to carry the Minmatar faction (the side of the war I was on) to tier 5 (the highest tier). I would then do lots of missions to make LP (which would get me in-game money). I then wanted to join a wormhole corporation for a while (meaning I would live in a really dangerous section of space). I then thought that would be a good point to stop and to take a break (since March 1st had already come by and my character’s name was guaranteed to be on the monument), and then come back to EVE once I finished my normal to-do list. After that, I would play eve again and join a 0.0 corp again (meaning I would live in a different area of space where fighting could happen much more freely). They were longer, far out goals, but they were something to work towards.

In other news, Steam was having another sale on games. I had been eyeing a few games and had them on my wishlist, so I bought The Wonderful End of the World, Rock of Ages, and Master Reboot. That does mean that I added more games to my to-do list, meaning that I now needed even longer to finish said list. They all looked like they were shorter games though, so I was hoping it wouldn’t set me back too much.

The fact that I was playing so much EVE was really limiting me from doing other things. I would play it pretty regularly every evening. Since I was doing station trading on another character, I also needed to log in multiple times a day in order to update my buy/sell orders: once in the morning before work, once right as I got home from work, and sometimes right before I went to bed. It was a bit much, and it left me with very little time to read, watch shows, or play other games. I decided I needed to limit myself, so I figured I would spend Monday and Wednesday on EVE, and devote Tuesday and Thursday to other activities. Friday night through Saturday evening were usually booked with my girlfriend, so I needed to try and make the most out of the evenings I did have to myself. I figured I would start doing that…the following week, which then promptly dissolved and I sometimes wouldn’t play EVE in the evenings in favor of something else.

I did manage to finish another book, but my 3rd EVE character was about done training (EVE has a passive experience system, so it literally just requires time to get experience), which meant that I had even less reason not to play EVE (as I would typically do something else other than EVE only if my corp that my main character was a part of wasn’t doing anything that night), but now I had another chance in another corp to do other things. EVE kept getting played, faction warfare was a blast, and my abilities at flying ships in EVE (which is easy to learn, hard to master) were noticeably getting better, which encouraged me to start experimenting more with flying solo (which is incredibly difficult in EVE because people just gang up on you most of the time).

EVE: The addiction

I was playing EVE a lot, and it was time for “Burn Huola”. Huola is one of the systems in EVE that was controlled my the Minmatar (my side) for the longest time, and the Amarr (the enemies) tried to organize a huge offensive that would assault it nonstop (burn) in order to overthrow us and kick us out of the system. I got really excited, and I spent a couple evenings playing till late in the morning (to there point where it was almost a better idea to not sleep), before going to work. For an example of what it was like, you can see a video that someone else recorded below.

The first night was like that almost nonstop, and while the next couple nights weren’t as intense, they were still much more action-packed than the normal amount of action we saw in EVE. I played into the deep hours the first night, and my girlfriend was at my house as she sometimes would so we could sleep together. The second night I also resumed playing with my corp mates, having a fun and exciting time in EVE while chatting with them on comms, and I again resumed playing until late in the night. It was that night, crawling into bed at a much-too-late hour, that my girlfriend had a short talk with me about how I was addicted to EVE, and I needed to reevaluate how much I played that game.

Girlfriends, right?

An addiction is defined as “a state characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli, despite adverse consequences. It can be thought of as a disease or biological process leading to such behaviors.” As one might expect, I was more or less in a state of denial, brushing of her concerns, and going to bed extremely annoyed with her since she was talking about taking away something I enjoyed.

Despite how much I would hate to admit it though, she was right, and sometimes an outside perspective is necessary. I like beer, and I enjoy my beer. Some people have claimed I drink too much, and I told them they were wrong and that I could stop if I wanted to. I also can, and sometimes do actually follow through with that. If I drink a lot, I will sometimes not drink for a week or two. While I may drink a bit, I can and do make breaks.

EVE was a little different though, and I just really needed to get on every day. I enjoyed flying with my corp mates, and station trading dictated that I would need to log in multiple times a day in order to keep my orders at the front of the line (so I could keep making money). I would sometimes get a little anxious on vacations or days when I couldn’t log on, getting antsy about how my orders were getting outbid by others and how I was not getting money that I “should have” been getting. When I visited New Orleans for work (which I previously mentioned), I had to bring my Chrome laptop for the convention. I also brought my normal laptop, solely so I could keep updating my orders, which just added unnecessary stress to the entire equation of what should be an enjoyable game that one revels in in their free time, not a second job that causes gray hairs (which I thankfully didn’t get, but I wouldn’t have been surprised if I did). The Idea of a role playing game is that you take on their role, immerse yourself in the story, and become part of the world. In a way though, EVE is more than an RPG video game, it’s an alternate reality. Corporations are serious business with thousands of people in some. Alliances have IT departments to keep up with websites, Teamspeak servers, other infrastrucutre. They need to maintain finances in order to make sure everything gets paid. They need recruiters and people to cross check them to make sure they’re not spies for an enemy. They need people to fight, they need people to make modules, people to administer moon-mining starbases, people to ship products in and out of stations, and so on. The player run, and (relative to other games) complex economy and real losses upon death make the game truly unique, but so… intense. It’s one of the few, if not only games that would make my hand shake with adrenaline because some PVP (particularly solo) engagements can get so intense. It’s almost a high.

I kept telling myself that once I finished my EVE to-do list, I would stop playing EVE, but the issue was I wasn’t really working towards those goals. I had added some goals to my EVE list over time, and I think the biggest goal I had at the time was to get a bunch of solo kills (not easy in this game), but I was usually logging in and working my market orders on my alt instead of actually flying around trying to find solo fights. The station trading was requiring a lot of times. Despite the claim that station trading was “easy, passive ISK (money)”, the amount of time it required in order to ensure your “passive” income would work, you needed to invest so much time updating orders that it hardly made it passive in the end. I would also sometimes spend time trying and find more optimal items to trade. Other times I would “EFT warrior”, meaning that I would make setups for ships that I would one day like to fly (similar to how one would outfit their character with armor and weapons in a more typical RPG), but never got around too because I wasn’t actually flying them that often. I had developed a pretty good list of fits (setups) for ships I wanted to try, so I tried to cut down on “EFT warrioring”, and actually start flying some of the ships instead of continuously making theoretical ships. In order to try fits and get solo kills, I tried seeing how a plan of logging in, checking if my alliance was doing anything, and if they weren’t, then I would go for a solo roam and try to get at least one kill, which worked out alright for a while.

When my girlfriend had a little talk with me that night after I spent a couple evenings (and nights) playing too much, I knew she was right, but that still doesn’t mean that I wasn’t a little sour at her for a couple of days, but I guess it was more that I realized that i was going to have to un-immerse myself in this other world I had become a little too immersed in. I decided to stop station trading. It was making me ISK (the in-game currency), but it was also requiring 1-1.5 hours of my time every day. That would be about 30-40 hours a month. Doing that, I was making about 1.5 or 2 billion a month in ISK. If I were to just buy PLEXs (something you can buy with real money and can sell for in-game currency) and sell them, I would need to buy 2 or 3 PLEXs, which is about $50 or so, which is like 3 hours of work instead of the 30-40 I was putting into it. I planned to still do some other things to make ISK, but since I needed to value my real time more than EVE. I could just buy 2 or so PLEX a month and make plenty of ISK doing that, which I could afford, and that would save me 30 hours a month and having to log in twice a day. Besides, I had made more than 7 bil already, and while that’s not much compared to some other successful EVE players, I wasn’t losing that much money losing my ships, so that should have held me over for a while (and it still is like a half year later). I would need to find another ISK source, and planetary interaction was a possibility, but it just means I would have to log in daily for a different reason. I decided I didn’t want a “passive” source of income, since that still means I would have to actively update it, maybe even more than I would have to If I actively did something. I found missions boring, and after more experience, I did like scanning, so I thought I would work towards a solo low sec DED exploration ship.

I still had my goals in EVE, but I had shortened them a bit. I was no longer going to “lead the Minmatar militia to tier 5”, as I would have had to devote so much time in order to organize everyone, and trying to rally everyone would have been more than an uphill battle. I wanted to get some more FW LP, get at least 50 solo kills (halved from 100), and then I thought I would join a wormhole corp. I thought it would be best to put a time limit on it, like no more than 2 months, and then I would do something else, and probably take some breaks from EVE in between. I then wanted to join a mercenary corp, again for about 2 months maximum.

I also wanted to limit how much I played EVE during the week (again). I thought that it would make things more balanced, and if I did it right, I would actually progress in my goals quicker. Instead of station trading for a while every day, and then being an EFT warrior (making hypothetical ships), and then station spinning (just sitting in a safe area, not doing anything), I would instead log on a maximum of 2 days on Monday through Thursday night, instead of the current 4. I barely ever play weekends anyways, so I didn’t really have to worry about that. But I just wasn’t getting much else done in my free time other than EVE.

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Some people are very “leet” (elite) and have tons of ISK, or tons of kills. Either one takes a lot of time and effort, which I increasingly just don’t want to do anymore in one single game. Would that mean that I wouldn’t ever be elite, and I wouldn’t be super rich, or control the market, or lead the Minmatar to tier 5? Yes. Does it mean I would have a life and not spend an unbalanced amount of time in EVE? Also yes. I don’t mean to offend anyone who is super powerful, or leads an alliance or is a master station trader, or any other supreme position in EVE, but I feel that in order to do that, you need to focus a lot, to the point that you really can’t have a life outside of EVE. They would also have alts, which is something I decided I didn’t want to do (I deactivated my 2nd account the month after reactivating it since I didn’t want to deal with it). I was OK with that in the end. I was OK with not having a real life outside of visiting my girlfriend on the weekends when I first moved to Cologne, but I needed to bring my real life back in to focus.

Less EVE

I had gone from one extreme of barely ever playing video games in college even though I wanted to, but I just didn’t have time for it, to becoming so hooked on one video game that I needed to log in multiple times a day. I still love the game, but it was time to tone it down a bit. When I started recording this journey of trying to finish my to-do list in order to play EVE again, I wouldn’t have thought that it would take a turn to me writing about how it was slowly taking over my life and essentially preventing me from doing other things (like completing the to-do list in the first place). I think the biggest factor was the station trading, which was innocent at first, but slowly led me needing to log in multiple times a day and upsetting me if I didn’t get the chance to log in. I decided I would only make money actively, and not “passively” (because the “passive” streams required so much active time setting up for the “passive” part to work). It would mean I wouldn’t make as much ISK, but I wasn’t having a problem covering my losses anyways. I also wouldn’t feel compelled to log in daily, so if I didn’t log in for a couple days, it’s wouldn’t be a big deal anymore. I also wouldn’t even have to worry about making ISK for a while, since I already had a decent stockpile of money that I could just live off of for a while.

I went on a short vacation and finished another Magic book in that time, leaving me only 2 left in the series before I will start working on the German books that I have owned for a while and haven’t got around to reading yet. I then went on another short vacation and finished most of the next book. Upon coming home, I also decided to remove TERA from my to-do list, which had managed to sneak in there. TERA is another MMORPG that I gave a shot at because the combat was quite fun. I always wanted to get to “end game content” in an MMORPG, because although I have played many different MMORPGs, I usually only get halfway through before just stopping. At some point I had decided to get to the end game content in TERA so it got inducted into my to-do list, but I decided that it just wasn’t worth it in the end either. It would have been another grind, and I was struggling with EVE alone, let alone playing TERA from time to time. And regardless, I had spent enough time in EVE, that I kind of figure I didn’t have much more more tricky things to get to, and I don’t need to get to level 60 in some other MMORPG. The next day after deciding I was done with TERA, I also finished the next book, leaving only 1 Magic book left.

One of my best friends loves the game Borderlands 2. He convinced me to buy it so we could play it together. Since I am in Germany and he is in America, it was tricky trying to find the hours to play with each other. Luckily though, he started work later in the evenings, meaning I could play with him on some evenings when I got home, as it would still only be about noon for him. Every now and then we would play on a Sunday together as well. My friend was very adamant about doing all the side quests (and kind of spoiling some surprises as well because he got so excited about playing the game), but it was fun. It was taking a while though, and I remember my friend mentioning how we were about 2/3 of the way through the game, and I was starting to really look forward to finishing, as trying to regularly meet up and exclusively play 1 long RPG was starting to get a little old for me.

On the days when I didn’t play Borderlands 2 with my friend, my girlfriend and I played some of The Wonderful End of the World. That was a cool game, and while it was an obvious ripoff of Katamari (a game I loved playing on the PS2), there was no PC equivalent other than The Wonderful End of the World, which I did enjoy playing. It wasn’t as good as Katamari Damacy, but it was the best clone that I have found on the PC.

By this point, it was getting later in the year, and I was going to go to an anime convention with my friends. I had to finish my costume, which was a suit of samurai armor made out of beer cans

armor

While I was busy cutting the cans and making the armor, I watched the rest of Gundam 00. In theory, I do like anime, and I quite enjoyed Gundam 00, but watching anime takes so much time. Last time I really managed to watch lots of anime was when I had my gameboy and would half watch anime, half play Pokemon on my Gameboy. I do try to watch anime when playing games, but it’s hard when you’re playing a game like EVE where you really just need to be concentrating on the game. When possible, I would usually try to play games on my laptop while streaming anime on my work chromebook. The idea was that I was trying to be efficient: playing a game while simultaneously watching anime. It’s 2 in 1! It was efficient. It was also hard to concentrate on an involved game and pay attention to a show as well, so I could only really do that with easier games and/or anime that I wasn’t too involved with (and they had to be dubbed, as there was no way I could read subs while playing a game). My girlfriend even commented on that at one point, how I was making my free time like a job in my attempt to maximize content consumed per hour. I was (and still am sometimes) just too goal-orientated and focused on finishing things I guess. I finished that anime though, so I just needed to watch the Gundam 00 movie, and then I would move onto the next anime.

I then managed to finish the last magic book in the series I had, and it was actually one of my more favorite books in the series. It depicted Yawgmoth and his rise to power. It was actually interesting with how he came to the place he got to, and how he became evil. In a a way, you could almost sympathize with him, even though what he did was twisted. The other Magic books were …OK. But I digress. I finally finished the 11 Magic: the Gathering books that I bought many years previously, and it was then time to start reading other books that I had been dragging around with me.

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At this point, I took the opportunity to finish the Gundam 00 movie, meaning it was time to move onto the next series. I had always wanted to watch Fullmetal Alchemist, but I had never had the time for it. Now was the time, although it was 50 episodes long, meaning it would take me a long time to watch it since I maybe average 1 episode a day. There is also an alternate version of the story, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, but I decided right then and there that I wouldn’t be watching it do to the additional length that would bring since that would be an extra 60+ episodes.

In between sessions of EVE, anime and books, I also beat Rock of Ages, another game I recently bought on steam. It was actually quite a fun game, and a very unique concept. I would try to play this while watching Fullmetal Alchemist, but this game just required too much attention for that because you really need to pay attention as you roll your rock down the hill.

All the time I was playing other stuff, I was also playing more Borderlands 2 with my friend, and we managed to beat it. It was definitely fun, but it was somehow exhausting trying to beat it with a friend halfway around the world. After beating it, I planned to not play through many other RPGs like I did with that game for a while after spending the amount of time I did in Borderlands 2. I did buy 1 DLC for Borderlands 2, so that was still pending at the time, and I wasn’t sure when I would get around to it. As it goes though, my friend wanted to play with me again a few days later, so we did that in an evening. We spent more than 50 hours on that game, and while it was fun, I was relieved to be done with it, and I haven’t seriously played it since.

I also finally managed to finish one of the German books that I have had for the longest time. It takes considerably longer to read a German book due to the fact that there are is still so many words that I need to look up. A lot of words can be skimmed over because the context still makes sense, but I usually try to write those down anyways so I can study them later, although that makes it take even longer. Reading books therefore isn’t quite as enjoyable as English books since it is still more akin to studying than leisurely reading. At least this was a Calvin and Hobbes book, so it was more comic than novel, but it still took quite a while.

When I wasn’t reading, I was trying to watch multiple episodes of Fullmetal Alchemist in bed before falling asleep, and I did finish it quicker than I expected, including the movie. The Venture Bros was a show I watched a few episodes of a long time ago, and since multiple seasons were not out, I figured I would watch that next.

A Steam sale blessing

And then of course Steam would have another one of those darn sales. As the Godfather would put it, Steam made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. I had always been looking for that right EVE Offline game, and there was very good contender on sale on Steam, so I purchased Starpoint Gemini 2, as well as Zigfrak, which was another spaceship game I saw when I was looking through the sale. This made my to-do list yet even longer, but oh well. It looked like Starpoint Gemini 2 was more what I was looking for, so I actually decided to put that last and kind of keep-the-best-for-last. I played Zigfrak for a few hours, and while it was fun, it acted more like a 3rd person shooter, which isn’t quite what I was looking for in a spaceship game. I wanted something that handled more like EVE Online, and I hoped that Starpoint Gemini 2 would be more like it, but I really wanted to get through some other games I owned, like The Stanley Parable and Zigfrak, before I played Starpoint Gemini 2.

While playing some games in between EVE, I did manage to watch 5 seasons of The Venture Bros. It was a truly hilarious show, and while a couple people I have recommended it to didn’t like it, I thoroughly enjoyed it and plan to watch season 6 when it’s released. The next series I wanted to watch was Archer, which I had already seen the 1st season of, and I now wanted to watch the rest of it.

I beat Zigfrak, which was a fun game, and some of the jokes were definitely funny. I particularly liked one mission where you went through a wormhole, found a copy of yourself with a broken ship, and then after fixing the ship, your copy attacks you so you had to kill him. During that battle though, your ship sustained damage and you were immobile. It was then that a copy of yourself came from the wormhole you just previously entered, creating a loop. He repairs your ship, and then, in order to not die like your copy did last time, you make a battle cry, hoping it would change events, which it did, so you come out victorious instead of repeating the loop and getting killed by your copy. Anyways, the game was fun, but I didn’t quite care for the 3rd person shooter-esque controls, so my hunt for the right EVE Offline continued.

I then proceeded to “beat” The Stanley Parable. I put “beat” in quotation marks because the game is more or less an exploration game without a clear end, but there are various endings that one can experience, and after looking online to find the last few ones I missed, I had seen every ending. The Stanley Parable was definitely a fun and interesting game, which was more or less a parody of modern video games, in a very tongue-in-cheek way.

Eine Deutsche Buch

I then finished my next German book: Star Wars Episode 1 Die Dunkle Bedrohung. This was definitely a step-up from the Calvin and Hobbes book in difficulty, as this was just a novel without any pictures or visual cues. On the other hand, I have watched Star Wars so much that I still could piece together everything. I really struggled at the beginning because there was so many sci-fi words that one doesn’t use in normal conversations, like Hyperantrieb System (warp drive), that I needed to learn. It was also annoying that some words, such as Hyperantrieb System, would be useless to learn, because I can’t think of a situation where I would need to use that when ordering food in a restaurant. I would still occasionally write down foreign words to learn, but that makes the arduous task of reading a German book even more tedious, so I only did that about half of the time. There was, and still are, words that I don’t understand, but I could usually piece together the meaning of the sentence due to the context.

While reading, I played, and beat, Mass Effect. I got it quite a while ago for just a couple bucks on a Steam sale, so I decided to play through it. It was much better than I expected, as I more just bought it our of curiosity. I might get the 2nd and 3rd one some day in the future, but I am not necessarily planning on it. I also finished Archer. At the time, I didn’t immediately have any other series in mind, so this signaled the end of the series I wanted to watch, so I actually started watching the last few episodes quite sparingly so I wouldn’t finish it too quickly. I am definitely looking forward to season 7 when it comes out as that show was hilarious.

After finishing Archer, I took the time to beat Master Reboot. It was an alright game. It was a cyber-horror themed puzzle game that reminded me of Portal, but nothing too great. It was an OK game that had its jumps and puzzles, but nothing too spectacular. Regardless, I did have fun playing it, but I was relieved that the game only lasted a few hours.

Another game that I bought a long time ago in hopes of it being an EVE Offline candidate was Nexus: The Jupiter Incident. I picked it up on sale a long time ago, and I figured I would give it a shot now as I was starting to clear up the shorter looking games in my list. I played it for a few hours, which ended up frustrating me. In theory, it sounds cool. More of a tactical space RPG than first person shooter (which is what EVE is and what I was looking for). The problem is that Nexus just didn’t seem to do what I wanted it to do. If I launched everything and told my ships to shoot an enemy, the enemy wouldn’t get hurt at all. I got stuck on a mission where I just couldn’t kill anything, so I looked up walkthroughs online, and they would all say something like “simply kill all 4 enemy ships or scan them and find the 1 with the jammer and kill that one”, but no matter what I tried, I couldn’t deal ANY damage to the enemy ships.

I gave the game a little break, and came back to it, but again, no matter what ships or weapons I started the mission with, I couldn’t kill anything, and then I would continuously just lose the mission for some mysterious reason (I assume too much time had elapsed). It was an older game, so a clunky UI wasn’t unexpected, but the frustration was. Regardless, it wasn’t quite as open world as I would have hoped since there was just a set amount of missions and then the game was over, and the game felt more like an RTS in the end than a tactical RPG. The frustration won out, and I uninstalled the game, but since I did get it on sale for only $3, it wasn’t that much of a loss.

I then continued reading books, and then I finally started playing Starpoint Gemini 2, another game that looked like it had a similar feel to EVE. I was still playing EVE pretty regularly, so I didn’t get to play too much SPG2, but over a couple months I made decent progress while playing on the side, but I still had a ways to go before beating the campaign.

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More German Books

I then went on a vacation in Norway where I finished the next German book I was reading. The German translations of the Shannara series is a peculiar thing. I read a lot of the Shannara series when I was younger, so I thought that reading some of them again in German would be good since I had read them previously in English, although that was a while ago. So, a few years ago, when I was in a German book store, I saw some books, and I bought “Der Druide von Shannara” which I assumed to be the German translation of The Druid of Shannara. Nope. When you translate English to German, the text usually gets longer since German just has longer words. I assume that in the case of translating the Shannara books, the translators took it upon themselves to split each 1 of the English novels into 2 or 3 German novels. Did they simply just take the Druid of Shannara and translate it as Der Druide von Shannara teil 1 von 3 (part 1 of 3), etc? No, they played musical chairs with the names and moved them all around and implemented new names. Case being Der Druide Von Shannara, which is actually part 2 of 3 from The Elfstones of Shannara, and The Druid of Shannara was instead translated to Die Schatten von Shannara (The shade of Shannara). If you take the time, you can see how they mixed around the names at https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terry_Brooks. This really threw me off when I first started reading it since it was just the middle part of the original book, and since the story simply started off 1/3 of the way through the original book, I was totally lost. Reading the plot for The Druid of Shannara online showed there was nothing about that book in Der Druide Von Shannara. It wasn’t until I really did some research and found that Wikipedia link that things were made clear to me. I then read the plot to The Elfstones of Shannara until the point the German book started. Upon finishing that book, I then had to read the rest of the plot online again, since I had not purchased Die Dämonen von Shannara.

I originally wanted to then read the next Shannara book, but I figured I would finish Der Druide Von Shannara while in Norway and I didn’t want to bring the next Shannara book (which would have had the same issue of me needing to read the first part online), so I opted instead to bring Wyrm, another German book a Couchsurfer gave me when I visited his house. I started that book in Norway and finished it shortly after coming back, so the actual progress with those 2 books was weird as I read the first part of the Shannara book online, then read the book itself. I then started reading Wyrm while I was still in Norway and then finished reading the plot for the Shannara book once I got back, and then shortly afterwards finished reading Wyrm itself, all due to the fact that they split the books up like that in German. Wyrm itself was OK. It was a horror book about a man who needs to evict a landowner because they want to build a road through the canyon, but some weird creature (hint: it might be a wyrm…) was hindering things. It was OK, but I just don’t know about horror as a genre of books. Granted, I haven’t read too many horror books, but most of the time it just felt corny to read, and not truly creepy or anything like that.

In my book reading frenzy, I also started the next Shannara book, Die Verfolgten von Shannara, which is the second (out of 2 books) from The Elf Queen of Shannara. I had to read the first part online again, before I could commence with starting the book halfway through the English original.

I continues playing EVE and Starpoint Gemini 2, at which point I beat the main campaign for SPG2. That marked the end of my current to-do list, but the thing was that in that time since I bought it, there was 2 new DLCs for it which I wanted to play as well, so I wasn’t quite done with SPG2 yet. I wanted to finish this blog post before playing EVE, and actually I wanted this to be the first blog post I made, but there I was, still drowning in games, anime, books, and shows that could last me a lifetime. I got a little upset at this point, because it felt like I would just never have enough time for everything, and if things continued like they would, I would never get to the point I even wanted to before starting my blog or playing EVE, both of which I had obviously already started doing a long time ago. Not to mention my old to-do list, which was archived on my external hard drive. That was an older list of books, anime, and movies that I wanted to read or watch that I accumulated before college. I haven’t really ever done much with it since I had solely been working on things that I had noted down since starting college, but it was always there in the back of my head, reminding me that I still had more work to do. There was also plenty more games that I had wishlisted on Steam, and so on. It just never ends.

It was about this time in this journey that I actually started this blog. I wanted to finish this post first so it could be my first post on my blog, signifying an end to my to-do list (as you now understand, just one of my 2), and when I could start playing EVE (although that ship set sail a long time ago). There was a writing contest about an EVE Online inspired story, and despite my limited writing experience, I decided I would go for it, so I ended up writing Vitoc, Liberation and Revenge. Since I needed to post it somewhere publicly visible, I figured it was a good of time as any to start my blog and post it at http://bridgersmusings.com/vitoc-liberation-and-revenge-unabridged/. I didn’t win, but at least my blog was started now, and I could try and make somewhat regular posts.

Almost Done

I had beat the main campaign for Starpoint Gemini 2, and I actually really liked it. I think it was the best EVE Offline solution that I have found so far, and it is actually one of my favorite games now. I thought I would take a crack at finishing some of the Steam achievements even though I never really care for them in other games. It reminded me why I don’t care for achievements: they are usually totally asinine achievements to get and I jut don’t care for them. I rapidly got annoyed with the game, and I still had the DLCs to beat anyways, so I figured I might get some of them while playing through the DLCs so there wasn’t much sense in trying to get them all now.

It was then time to go to North Korea, where I had a blast, but that’s another story. It was an exhausting trip, and when I got back, I didn’t feel like doing much else other than watching things, so I finished off Stein’s Gate, which was another anime that I had started watching a while ago, and it turned out much more amazing than I had anticipated. I am not a huge fan of time travel related stories, but this anime really had a different spin on things and they way he messes with time and how it kept coming back to bite him in the ass was interesting to watch. Otherwise, I had been playing a lot of Path of Exile lately instead of the DLCs in Starpoint Gemini 2, so I wasn’t making any progress in the video game dept., but at least some anime was getting watched. I also ended up finishing the next Shannara book, and I was glad that I had only ever bought 2 German Shannara books since the division of books into multiple ones made following the story quite frustrating (unless you bought the other books as well, which made me also suspect being able to sell multiples volumes for 1 actual novel played a factor in the translators’ decision).

I wasn’t getting much of anywhere with Starpoint Gemini 2. I really liked (and still do) the game, but I just couldn’t bring myself to play it because I was having too much fun with Path of Exile. I was also a bit overwhelmed with the pending achievements and DLCs in SPG2 (of which there was now 3 of, meaning it would take even longer). I haven’t even been playing EVE so much lately as the whole MMO aspect was starting to annoy me a bit: you had to always do things with people (or die quickly attempting to solo), and EVE itself requires so much attention (so that you don’t die). More importantly was the fact that EVE was a slow game, and sometimes you just sit or roam in space, hoping an enemy attacks or you find one to attack, sometimes literally for hours, without finding anyone to fight. It’s not always so bad, but when I could get in PoE and start fighting NPCs with big cool explosions almost immediately, I was starting to find PoE a bit more fun to play as it didn’t take so much time just to get 1 fight (which you might not even win). The problem with Path of Exile is that there isn’t really an end goal I have, and it’s a game made to be able to spend countless hours in. At the time of writing this, I have a bit more than 200 hours in Path of Exile, which is among the most amount of hours I have ever put into a game, but it pales in comparison to some other players which have thousands of hours in the game, like the photo below, who reviewed PoE and has more than 5000 hours.

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I looked through the API data for my EVE account out of curiosity, and I have about 3135 hours clocked in EVE, which is a hell of a lot as well. In my defense though, a LOT of that time was spent AFK, as we used to camp in enemy systems and use cloaking devices so they couldn’t find us if they looked for us, but they would still see us in local chat so they would always be paranoid, not knowing when we would attack. I used to also leave my station trading alt logged in for many hours at a time, only to actually bring up EVE and update her orders for few minutes every hour or so. That is also spread across the 4 or so years that I have actually played EVE.

Some Reorganization

As I already mentioned, I have always had an older to-do list on my external hard drive from a while ago. I always knew in the back of head that once I even finished my current to-do list, there would be another huge list, so I decided to just take the initiative and add everything to my current to-do list. For the most part, all the books, games, anime, shows, and movies I want to look into are saved as bookmarks in Chrome, so I added them in the appropriate sections. On one hand, this was daunting because it meant that my bookmarks got even more numerous. Do note that I didn’t necessarily add all of these new bookmarks to my current to-do list though, as my current to-do list was more of a specific set of media I wanted to consume before playing EVE, but even then I had tons of other movies, books and shows that I wanted to get to but that weren’t part of my “list”. On the other hand, this mysterious to-do list that had been sitting on my external hard drive was no longer a mystery (as I had forgotten what most of the things in that old list were), so it was kind of nice to have 1 more all-inclusive set of bookmarks of everything that I was interested in getting to some day, Regardless, the bookmarks became more numerous: 107 books (10 of them being German), 26 animes/shows, 30+ movies, plus a few bookmarked games, and another few in Steam’s wishlist. 2 steps forward, 1 step back I suppose, but it was nice because I did feel more organized (I organized my external hard drive while I was at it).

books
(that just shows some of the books I want to buy, the other folders aren’t even shown)

The End

It was now about Christmas time, and I had a few days off of work. I decided that I would really like to finish off Starpoint Gemini 2 when I could. The DLCs let you know that you can create a new X level character in the DLC (X depending on which DLC), but I was under the impression that I would HAVE to do this, which also fueled my apprehension with playing more SPG2 after finishing the main campaign. Regardless, I sat down and made a Secrets of Aethera DLC characters and beat it after maybe 5 or so hours, which was a pleasant length for a $5 DLC, although I did have to grind levels at some point for a while. I did eventually realize that I could use my previous save in Secretes of Aethera and Titans (the newest DLC), so that lifted my spirits a bit, although I still beat Secrets of Aethera with my new character since I was so close at that point. After Secrets of Aethera, I played Origins, which was the 2nd DLC they made. Origins is a free DLC, and it’s the entire campaign from the first game, so I wanted to play that and get the background on the 2nd game. That took about 35 or so hours, but I finally managed to beat that as well, although it was well into January at this point as it takes many, many evenings in order for me to find that kind of time. After beating Origins though, I played through Titans with my strong character from the base game. You could say that my love of SPG2 started off at OK, then dipped down into “meh” while being overwhelmed with the achievements and pending DLCs, but after figuring out how the whole DLC deal worked and playing with them, I really enjoy the game, and it’s just simply fun flying around and engaging in capital ship fights with other factions. The bad news is my 540m graphics card is old, and SPG2 kept crashing when using the Titans themselves (which you get at the end of the 3rd DLC), so that was a little annoying, but I seemed to be the only one with that problem. I still play a little bit, but I have to be careful because it can crash at any point. But that was it. I did it. I managed to beat Starpoint Gemini 2, which now has a place in my heart as one of my favorite games, and a great alternative to EVE when I ultimately decide to stop playing it. And with that, my to-do list, which has waxed and waned over the past couple years, has come to an end.

2015-12-29_00003

That means that this diary of a sort is finally over, and I will now just play EVE as I want, while playing other games as I please. The thing is though, I have played EVE for almost 2 years now, and I actually don’t feel like playing so much anymore, which is great as that will give me more time for other things, writing being one of them. I had an EVE to-do list as well, which I have reduced, and I will make a post about later, but my current goal is to get a couple more solo kills in faction warfare before joining a wormhole corp. I then hope to join MOA before fanfest in April, as I had bought tickets to fanfest for this year at the height of my EVE high, and it will be interesting going to the fanfest for a game while I plan to stop playing almost directly afterwards. Going out with a bang I suppose. I also plan to get a tier 4 talisman in Path of Exile during this season (you would only understand what that means if you played the game), so my plan for the next few months is EVE, Path of Exile, books, an odd show or movie, and then the EVE fanfest. Afterwords, I plan to stop playing EVE, which means that my progress towards reading all the backlogged books, beating other games, and watching other shows can finally make more progress. I plan to also write more, and I hope my writing will improve with it. I don’t plan to make another diary of my experience like this though, as it was kind of exhausting trying to manage a to-do list, and I actually doubt many people, if any, actually even read all of this anyways. From now on I will simply just work through my bookmarks, without any self imposed pressure to finish certain ones in any time frame, and with EVE out of the picture, I am sure things will progress just fine.

expected progress

In the end, I feel like keeping a to-do list on my computer really helps me get stuff done like chores and appointments. A to-do list for media is more of a double-edged sword. On one hand, it helps me not forget anything that I was interested, but with the prevalence of entertainment in today’s age, that can create a really long, if not impossible list, which is why I am super selective about bookmarking things anymore. I need to be really interested in something for it to make the cut. I am curious how others do it. What do you do when someone mentions a cool book/game/show to you? Do you add it to some list, or do you try and remember, but ultimately forget the majority of recommendations you hear?

One day I will manage to finish everything, and honestly, I am not sure what I will do in my free time at that point. We will see when we get to that day. Maybe I could be like some of my friends growing up who always complained about not having anything to do. Maybe I will just find even more stuff to read, watch, or play. For the last few years, my problem has been that I have too much to do, and I am sure that will remain so for quite a while. I think I will ultimately give up on the piano as well. The question of how I want to spend my time is always important, and I always wanted to play the piano. The issue is that I hurt my shoulder many years ago which actually causes my left elbow to hurt sometimes when playing. Other than that excuse though, I was never really musically inclined anyways, but I always thought it would be cool to play, but I just don’t have the drive for it. I would like to spend my free time in the future writing more, as that’s something I would really like to get better at, and I find that my writing is much better than any musical prowess I could hope to attain. From now on (more after the EVE fanfest), I will be trying to focus on getting through these other things I have bookmarked and writing much more.

If you read to the end, I thank you and commend your ability to read such an admittedly boring manifesto.

Posted on January 23, 2016, in games. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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