I have to start by admitting that the storyline behind EvE is something that I am not completely familiar with. So that level of immersion is somewhat alien to me. For a long time I've been playing the game as a game, and not paying attention to the backstory. I have annoyed myself by doing this, really, as it does bottom out the whole experience at a shallow depth. After getting involved in the EvE community over these last couple of years, playing and talking in-character, as many pilots do, has become very appealing to me. One reason is to sculpt a model of, if we're honest, an aspect of our personality that we perhaps could not exploit in real-life. EvE gives us the opportunity to focus this aspect on our character and develop him/her into a fantasy portrait of ourselves in a place with very little consequence. To some, this may seem a bit geeky or even strange. But to others, myself included now, it can be a lot of fun.
Although I was aware that some pilots played in-character in and out of game, I was reluctant to try it myself. Mainly because I had been flying with my Corp members for a couple of years, and to suddenly switch from being me into someone I thought Akinesis should be seems a bit ridiculous. However, the clincher for me trying to 'act' was following a War-Dec on our Corp a while ago. The WT's we were fighting were tough, and many times we would engage in conversation with our enemy characters (be it smack talk, etc). But at the end of the war we discovered that these characters were all played by one individual, who turned out to be a rather top bloke. This showed me a side of EvE that I hadn't come across before, and it seemed a lot of fun. So, shortly after, I started a new account so I could trial this experience. So far I have, and continue, to trick a lot of people. And it proves to be a lot of fun to see the reactions and behaviors of others in response to this false identity I have created. Whether this is shallow, pointless, or whatever people might think, it is a break from the norm (albeit innocent deception at the moment). Although not a back-story character, I have created a personality that I believe suits the character, which I continue to develop.
RocWeiler has delved deep into his character and kept the backstory of his Minmatar origins very close. He has designed an upbringing with which Roc's personality responds from and I enjoy reading his stories. This has very much inspired me to do something similiar to Akinesis and Chrieghten. Although I am too far gone with these characters to employ this into the Corp (therefore, the game), I frequently mull over the thought of starting a series of mini-stories in my Blog to explore them. I would enjoy such a venture, but if I do it I want to get it right. This involves learning the history of Caldari and the other races to a good depth to ensure my characters slot in accuratly. I am looking forward to designing a history for them and how they met, etc, but it will involve time which I need to spend playing the game at the moment due to some drastic changes happening in the Corp. However, it won't be long before I begin putting some life into these guys.
So immersion in EvE can come on many levels, and all seem very interesting. It allows you to play the same game in many different ways, and can even make you challenge yourself without even realising it. A couple of times I've had to be careful not to 'break out of character' by saying something that I don't believe my in-character Alt would say. Adopting phrases and tones that are fitting are tricky as these are often things I would say normally. Placing a limit on sharing information is also something I have found hard to do, as a lot of the members of the Corp my Alt is in are quite junior to me. Several times I have watched them make mistakes that I could have perhaps prevented, or listened to them spit-ball ideas that I myself know would or wouldn't have worked. In a way I feel cruel to sit back and let them waste ISK or ships on things I could have helped them on, but to do so would break my cover and ruin the very experience I am very much enjoying. At the end of the day, they don't know any different and I am having a good time putting myself through the challenge of ensuring that it stays that way.
Although I'm only just getting into the deeper immersion side of EvE, I'm enjoying what I'm experiencing.