Engaging : very attractive or pleasing in a way that holds your attentionOften Eve is defined as immersive. That is a staple of any successful MMO. Time is lost as the player sinks into the game world. That is part of the draw. The daily world is shed for one of difference. But is that world also engaging? Does it capture the mind and wrap it up in a tight cocoon of interest and focus? Eve seems to do that quite well.
While Eve is immersive it may be the engagement factor that draws people back. There are times when I lean back, watching my ship spin about the screen and wonder what catches me so. But then, I will read stories of day to day life or write my own and I am reminded of what draws the players in. For players without stories often become bored because they never captured the engagement of Eve.
I was reading a forum post as someone discussed cloaking up to capture someone that was going to a Faction Warfare complex. As he explained what he was doing, which was cloaking beside the gate, he describes it as hiding behind the bushes. While amusing, that little phrase also captured me. In a few words he defined the engagement of the game. Instead of "my spaceship had a module that cloaks its from other players and I waited" it was a small discussion into hiding, guerrilla warfare, and crafted the image of pounce and grab.
If Eve was not engaging, those visualizations would not happen. While moment to moment, step by step, aspects of the game may be dull it is the conclusion that brings satisfaction. When one steps back and looks upon what happens. It can bring so much joy and it can bring so much rage. The twirling fingers of the meta game as EFT fits are posted and discussed as the future situational uses are envisioned behind the eyes of the player. There is a lot of the game that exists outside of the game. It exists in our interpretation. Memories are left behind. They are the rich, textured type that can be told around campfires or while lounging with friends.
On patch day, everyone talks about the patch. On the days leading up to the patch the anticipation roams high. After the patch there will be a pause and then rage will burn across the surface of things as those who do not pay attention are forced into a state of unwelcome knowledge. It will be exhausting by the end of the day.
But even those players are engaged in the game. Stories are not limited to great wars and heroic frigates that drive into battle. They cover the full range and all aspects of the game. From the triumphant joy of a new players first handful of ISK to the most brittle, bitter veteran as he scornfully slips through a camp each player experiences their own little story. They have a moment when they are caught in the game, enthralled by the events that play out around them. It may be passing through the shattered mists of gank fleet or a successful run through low sec with an accidental mission.
I find Eve to be an engaging game. I suspect that much of the player base feels the same way. Often, I hear people say that they have nothing to write about and no story to tell. I ask them to look around themselves at their day and tell me that they have no story. While the words may not fall from the fingertips of each person, the stories are caught by the individual. What happened? Where? Why? How did it go? We all have our stories from this game. We've been engaged and captured by it. It is one of those things that make it a good game, no matter how terrible some may find it to be.