Having spent 4 long years in WoW grinding not only one of each class of character to max level, but also grinding out gold for this, standings for that, and Tier gear sets. I look at EVE and the many measures in a slightly different light. You see in EVE there is no path to follow. No ultimate NPC bad guy of the month to slay for your sparklies. If you don’t have faction with a corporation the world does not end. Even if you are so hard of luck (or brain dead) that you end up with NO ISK and NO SHIP. EVE gives you both as many times as you choose to bounce your head of the bottom of the barrel.
Progression in EVE is pretty much based on self created goals. That’s right you fail at EVE because YOU decide to do something that you are not ready to do. Did the game tell you that you HAD to fly out to that gate camp in providence where you lost your ship? Was the pirate who is now ransoming your pod required to do it by EVE? Did EVE make you mine veldspar for 3945678 Hours of your life? The answer to all is a resounding NO!
What EVE does demand is patience and a might bit of imagination. The patience is so you can build skills which in this game are accrued via real life hours spent training for them realized as Skill Points. They tick away indefinitely so long as you have a skill set to train in your skill queue. Sure you can speed up the rate at which they tick, but at some point all skill training requires patience. This is not so much what we can call a grind; as well you personally are not being forced to repeat a process over and over. The imagination part comes into play when deciding what to do while you wait for the skills to tick. Sure you might want to be the next pirate or 0.0 evangelists but you cannot fly for a damn and you surly will die. Finding things to do with what you can fly that make ISK is where imagination shines.
OK now let’s talk of ISK shall we in the realm of grinds. Yes it is true that in EVE ISK is the catalyst for greater things when mixed with skills. I’d also say it takes some ISK to make some ISK and by this I mean the more ISK you have to invest into your EVE pilots. The more earning potential these pilots have. An example of this might be trading. Where with limited skills and ISK you can make money buying goods on one side of the universe and trucking them to better markets to sell them for profit. As skills and ISK increase you truck less and manipulate the market more to gain profits. The bottom line is making ISK can become passive in that you don’t need to do much more than buy and sell, or harvest and sell items to acquire ISK. I recently posted some very low level ideas on making free ISK that are just the tip of the iceberg in each area.
So really there is no grind in EVE. The game is about using ones imagination to create cause and effect with the twist of how other player’s actions impact you. SANDBOX BABY, there is no bad guy you must kill to reach the next level. You decide what the next level is…