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BB46 – Evanescence

April 17, 2013

“EVE Online is a unique piece of science fiction that is ‘participatory’.” – CCP Seagull, December 2012

EVE Online is heading into its Second Decade with renewed vigour and a new development strategy. At the CSM Summit in December, Executive Producer CCP Unifex and Development Director CCP Seagull explained how future development and expansions will be broader in scope than recent “collections of features” stating that CCP “want to create something more inspirational, that players aspire to play.” 

With the return of Live Events such as the Battle for Caldari Prime, clearly the prime fiction of EVE is back in favour as part of this new thematic approach to expansions. However, EVE’s story is very much a tale of two playstyles, with an entirely player-driven narrative unfolding daily in parallel to the reinvigorated backstory. Often, they do not mix well. How can these two disparate elements be united or at least comfortably co-exist in a single sandbox universe?

Thermopylae. Gettysburg. The Battle of Britain. All are famous battles in history passed down both verbally and in writing. A patch of dirt in the high cold air of Afghanistan? Or any of the other innumerable small battles that have taken place in every war to date? Not so much. Those times and places where men and women have served with gallantry and honor, saving the lives of their comrades in arms. Fighting and dieing side by side. They were extraordinary moments, in ways we who have not lived through them can never understand. They bind the survivors together in deep, complicated ways.

Not wanting to downplay or belittle real life events in any way, null sec is like this. Border skirmishes. Guerrilla wars. The redrawing of boundaries and sovereignty as mighty empires rise and fall, with nothing left to show for it but a colored outline on an old map. War stories to tell the noobs, a real sense of I was there. Transitory in nature, even with long periods of stability, Null sec suffers from the inability to leave a permanent mark.

The story of EvE, the canon or lore, differs markedly from this. It is an underpinning (despite sometimes having been written retrospectively) that gives a rationale to all that the game is based upon. Once written, these things change extremely infrequently. Stone tablets upon the mountain if you will. Even rarer still is the ability for a player to become part of the canon. Mouse Nell is the one who really springs to mind (Sansha). Once part of the canon, you’re a part of EvE history.

This is something I think could be possible if CCP were to look to introduce new technologies via direct capsuleer involvement (as an example). Locating a new resource or item. Researching it and identifying its uses. Reverse engineering an ancient Jovian drive engine from a wreck in space. Controlling the release of said technologies. Profiting from it. Creation of a cartel to control it. Forgive me for getting off the beaten path – but should they have a number of possible new technologies ready and waiting for Odyssey, it could be very cool indeed. Most especially if we’re talking two or more components to each individual thing. Your and your corporations name would could be tagged in the description. There you go. Immortalized in history.

Another potential avenue is mission running for a pirate faction – and, once you achieve a high enough status with them, CCP could invite you to take part in live events – as the bad guys… shooting capsuleers totally at will. Effectively you become a part of the EvE canon and storyline. I know that will appeal to certain people out there. In fact why not be able to create a Sansha character in NPC null as an example… there are some real possibilities.

In any event, I don’t believe that the two elements necessarily mix or even need to mix. While there may be some crossover, essentially it boils down to transitory versus permanence. Do we need a thousand memorials floating in space for every small battle? In my opinion, no. We don’t. Oft times a day is dedicated to remember the fallen ones. I’d be very surprised if there isn’t some sort of VR day planned for September. Vile Rat/Veterans Remembrance. Either/both.

CCP is wise to hold the canon closely, and to change it incrementally. We as capsuleers build our stories on the foundations laid down. We may be as transient as the markings we leave in our environments, virtual or otherwise, but we remember. Above all, we remember.

Edit: I’ll apologize if the tone of this is a wee bit uneven. The news from Boston coupled with a staff member needing emergency (bereavement) leave makes for mordant thoughts indeed.

Travel safe

H

P.S Other banterers via Freebooted

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From → Eve Online

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  1. BB 46 The four stories | A Missioneer in Eve

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