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EVE Online designer: “People like boring”

Friday, 30th March 2012 00:08 GMT By Brenna Hillier

EVE Online lead producer Kristoffer Touborg has said part of the MMO’s appeal is that it’s so boring. No, seriously.

Speaking to PC Gamer, Touborg said that he likes to take “mundane” activities and put them in games, where they somehow become interesting.

“Like hauling minerals across EVE: it’s viciously boring, but people still spend eight hours a day doing something [in real life] and then they go haul minerals in EVE,” he said.

“I met a truck driver who did this. He drove a truck in real life, and when he got home he drove a space truck. There’s so many real things that we think of as mundane, but they become great game features.”

As an example of something every day that becomes really interesting in light of EVE’s mechanics – and which will probably never happen – Touborg mentioned marriage.

“They’d have shared inventory and shared bank accounts and all that stuff. There’s all these dynamics that come out of sharing,” he noted.

“Something as mundane as having shared credit cards, in EVE, becomes a feature. It doesn’t have to be like the biggest dragon you could ever find. Just take something from real life that might be slightly boring and put it in a different environment, and just watch what happens.”

The designer said that “people like boring” – or at least, performing dull, low risk actions for a guaranteed reward, as opposed to exciting but deadly.

“I think that not every game was meant to be Counter-Strike. Not everything has to be twitch action-based, super-intense, in-the-zone, adrenaline rush 24/7,” he concluded.

“Everybody complains about mining, but I think it’s the finest hangover feature you could ever do. I’d just switch the miner on, I’d watch sports on Sunday and be hungover and eat pizza. I think that’s great. Not everything has to be super wild.”

EVE Online isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but tie-in shooter DUST 514 offers a more high octane approach for those keen to have some stake in the rapidly evolving MMO; it releases for PlayStation 3 this year.

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4 Comments

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  1. TheWulf

    I think it’s more honestly that boring people like boring.

    You have very analytical people who find spreadsheets entertaining and I can’t relate to that. If you have a more artistic, creatively minded person whose head is always filled with all manner of crazy, then boring is a plague.

    Why do I want to engage myself in this when it’s so exceedingly dull when I could be writing about my own stuff which is so much more compelling, not least of which because it’s mine.

    You have different things for different people.

    So to say ‘people like boring’ just isn’t right. I’d rather be a flamethrower-wielding post-industrial Roman Empire-fetishising catbeast than a faceless miner in a ship. But that’s what escapism is about. Reality can sometimes be boring, so you look to games for escapism.

    If the game is as boring as reality though… can that entertain you? Sure. It’s just that you’re a very analytical person in that case and not at all an imaginative person.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Telepathic.Geometry

    I think this really depends on what your notion of boring is. I personally like a slow and deliberate game that plays out like a game of chess, which is why I love Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls so much, whereas a straight-up balls to the wall FPS could be very boring for me.

    Likewise, a beautiful game like El Shaddai that I desparately wanted to love just fragged on too long before allowing me to do anything, and bored me silly.

    I think Olly Welsh from EG put it well that grinding in an MMO could be enjoyable in the same way that knitting could be. There is a certain amount of that in collecting things in games too I think, which I personally enjoy.

    This is a bit of a semantics problem as I see it, but I certainly love games and movies and books that my friends think are woefully boring, whereas their favourites seem incredibly boring to me.

    I guess what the original guy is saying is that in an MMO, you get a large number of people who like that grind, and stat tracking and whatnot. In which case I’d be inclined to agree.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. endgame

    What you guys said.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. NiceFellow

    @1 You’re saying truck drivers are analytic?

    I get what you mean but I think you’re getting your semantics mixed up too.

    Analytic people I’d say in general – being one myself – actually often find repetative stuff boring. Once you’ve worked out the pattern you’re finished with it.

    There are always exceptions but I think you’re assuming people who find comfort in repetative tasks they know they are good at, whether in a game like an MMO or knitting (as mentioned earlier) are analytic.

    I’m doubt that’s the case – not as I’d generally take the term analytic to mean.

    Clearly given how much time people spend doing the same thing in MMOs he’s clearly right it appeals to a fair chunk of people.

    Never really got it myself – I always get bored of MMOs – and even online MP – pretty quickly due to how repetative it is.

    #4 2 years ago