Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Tell us a Story CCP!

Eve Online is set in an amazing universe. It is any sci-fi geeks ideal game. A massive persistent world set in the distant future where there are no character classes or professions and you have freedom to do what you want. We have spaceships, starbases, warp drivers, tractor beams and lasers.... lots and lots of lasers! The graphics are beautiful, the ships well designed (well, except for the new Vagabond) and the whole game just oozes sci-fi.

Before Incarna, before the summer of unrest, before "the 20%", before 2012, we were treated to regular Eve Chronicles. These short-short-stories expanded the Eve universe and gave us glimpses into the lives of others who lived and died in this cluster of stars we call New Eden. Surprisingly, they were rarely about the capsuleers, preferring to focus on the more, erm, mortal(?) people of New Eden. They were great reads and much loved. You can find them here along with the short stories (generally longer than Chronicles) and scientific articles.

Since the end of 2011 we've not had regular Chronicles, we only see them when CCP has something to promote. I did like the one just before player owned customs offices came into the game, that was a great way of explaining the change. But compared to what we used to get, they are a rarity these days.

Some within the #tweetfleet have been trying to address this and get CCP to start expanding the background story again. The view many of us have is that CCP now leave this to the players. We don't want this. We want CCP canon, something that we know means something. Yes we players can write the fiction, but, and saying this from a geeky fan-boy who does write fan fiction, it really means nothing as it is not from CCP.

I am sure these stories are not as easy to create as they look within CCP. First you need someone who is excellent at fictional writing and knows the game and universe inside out. Then you have to be sure the facts are right. Geeks are notorious for spotting continuity errors and the like. Everything needs to tie into what has been written before. You cannot just say the capsuleer controls the ship in silence during an epic space battle as we know from "The Jovian Wet-Grave" that the Jove put sound synthesisers into the pods to create computer generated sound-effects as the first capsuleers didn't like the silence. You need to double check all the facts otherwise you'll get people like the nerd from Galaxy Quest piping up!

Eve Online has some truely amazingly creative fans and players. I enjoy reading others Fan Fiction. But, we cannot rely on player fiction to expand the Eve Universe. Look here, let's be a bit silly and take it to the extreme:-

The shuttle docked at the Caldari Providence Directorate headquarters station. The armed guards rushed to the docking bay wondering how an unarmed shuttle had destroyed the huge fleet guarding the most defended station in the cluster. The pilot was already out of the ship and walking towards them when they reached the hanger doors and took up defensive positions. They realised they were doomed as soon as they saw him, for it was none other than the Chuck Norris of New Eden, Loren Gallen. In that moment they realised how the fleet had been destroyed and they too were doomed. They raised their plasma rifles in a futile effort to slow him. Loren pulled a large kipper from his belt and batted the incoming plasma bolts away harmlessly as he advanced towards them, whistling the theme tune of Walker:Texas Ranger.

Tibus Heth sat in his office staring at the massive blast-doors that protected him. He was afraid. He heard two thuds on the other side of the door, no doubt his elite bodyguards being taken down. He held his breath. Suddenly the doors flew into the room with a crash as Loren roundhouse kicked them in. There would be no state funeral for Heth. An open coffin is not an option after you have been sliced in two from scalp to groin by Loren wielding a large kipper.

Following Heth's fishy death, the dismantlement of the Caldari State was fast with the Federation giving large portions away to the Capsuleers who had fought for the Federation. Drackarn got particularly lucky and received the station at Jita 4-4 where he decreed that the SCC could "sod off" and he kept all sales taxes and contract broker fee's for himself. He took the CEO's apartment on the top deck of Jita 4-4 and gave it his personal touch!

OK, OK, I took it to the real extreme there, but I think I made my point. Fiction on a personal level about your own character, friends and corp is less likely to have issues similar to that above, but many of us want New Eden scale stories.

I'm in Faction War. The Chronicles gave plenty of back story to them. The Chronicles didn't drive the player actions, the player actions drove the Chronicles. A great Chronicle could have been been wrote about the Amarr being on the brink last month with only having control of two systems before they pushed the Matari back. A mahoosively missed opportunity. That would have been an epic chronicle!

How is Tibus Heth these days? He's still got "Miners Disease" right? What's Roden, the Empress and Maleautu Shakor up to? Yes I could write on these subjects but I won't as these NPC's need their story telling by CCP. Anyone who's read my fiction will know that I'd not be able to resist having the Empress in stockings, suspenders and high heels before you can say "girl-on-girlEmpress".

So come on CCP, bring back the Chronicles (and no, not just one before the winter expansion and then another just before the DUST514 launch). Expand the story, expand the Eve Universe, expand the game!



  1. In the EVE universe there is a major problem when it comes to fiction: Immortal capsuleers.

    There is no possible drama when you take mortality of the table. Fiction is about trauma, loss, desperation. None of this things can be applied to a immortal being.

    I like some of the chronicles, the ones about "common people" and their relationship with the capsuleers tho.

  2. You do realize CCP let go of most of their staff you'd describe as "Fiction Writers" last year? All those CCP employees who had previously been Pen&Paper RPG types, and have now been let go...subsequently forming a new company and licensing the writes to publish the P&P Intellectual Property from CCP. This let them no longer have to be CCP employees, which frees up CCP payroll and looks good on the books, but it does mean they're not around to write fiction content for EVE Online.

    1. Yes, hence my "before the 20%" comment near the start. BRING BACK CCP TONY_G :)