We played EVE to be someone special; to be pod-pilots, capsuleers, whose mythos rivaled that of an older lawlessness, of cannons now rusted and galleons now sunken. We were an elite cadre among the imperially enslaved masses; we were rich and powerful, and we took life and limb as we pleased. But we each answered to a corporation, that answered to an alliance, that answered to a power bloc, that answered to political forces - and tendencies towards war-greater than itself. If any of us rejected the system and flew solo, we often found ourselves subjugated and marginalized by the strength of numbers.
I so rarely had any sort of plan that my competitive edge had dulled long ago. As the Joker says of himself, I am not a schemer. The overwhelming majority of my career as a fleet grunt had been spent in 0.0 belts shooting at a variety of red crosses for ISK, and while I'd been party to almost all of the Interstellar Alcohol Conglomerate's history and had strong opinions about galactic politics, I was just a pawn. Why play a game where I'd just be part of someone else's feint or offensive thrust in a chess game between incomprehensible forces I couldn't control? I already felt that way in real life. Disillusioned, I left that life behind.
Journaling my experiences - no matter how trivial or pedestrian - became the only thing that set me apart from the anonymous masses. As long as I wrote about it, EVE was a game I wanted to play. But I could not wander forever, and as the curtains closed over my adventure, I saw I could not go back to being another one of the Hoi Polloi. I left again, but this time I departed the game entirely.
Frequently I would realize in an idle moment that I was whiling away my time with things I was sure weren't as much fun as playing EVE, but those minor epiphanies brought me no closer to the log-in screen. I missed the game, but not so much to bring me back to it. Perhaps with time I will see with the same clarity why I have returned to the game as why I left it, though the reason will probably be less nuanced; it may simply be that I was offered the chance to write about EVE again.
Now a born-again capsuleer, I have housekeeping to address - specifically, what has become of my avatar in the meantime. I am still a member of Mercurialis Incorporated, the oldest corporation on the Tranquility server. After the collapse of the Interstellar Alcohol Conglomerate, Mercurialis Inc. took a brief detour into Factional Warfare, but has since thrown in its lot with Wildly Inappropriate, an alliance wedged in between RAZOR Alliance and the Tau Ceti Federation in the far north. Mercurialis Inc. has a penchant for alliances with oddball names, and their choice has again made me a soldier in the service of yet another alliance. But before I rediscover my identity, I must rectify my outlaw status and strip the flashing red "kill me now" label from the overview.