Dying in EVE Online is intense. Unlike most other MMOs, where you can simply respawn with all your stuff and carry on with your quest, a destroyed ship is gone forever. That loss stings if you don’t have the ISK to immediately purchase a replacement. But while I raged in the moment, those memories are some of the strongest I’ve had playing any PC game. It meant something to lose that ship. There were stakes beyond good and bad endings or plot twists triggered by dialogue choices. EVE Online was the first time I felt the consequences of my actions in a game. The emotional highs and lows that came as a result have defined not just how I think about PC games, but also my career.
I’ll never forget my first real fight against another player in EVE Online—it had taken me, a fresh-faced noobie at the time, almost a month to scrounge up the ISK to buy a beloved Catalyst destroyer, and now I was about to lose it fighting a player in a vastly more deadly assault frigate. As my shields evaporated in a single volley, I began shaking so severely from the adrenaline rush that I couldn’t accurately use my mouse anymore.