Monday, August 5, 2013

BB48 - In The Future, In a Star Cluster Far, Far Away.....

Welcome to the continuing monthly EVE Blog Banters and our 48th edition! For more details about what the blog banters are visit the Blog Banter page.

This month's topic is a request from CCP Sisyphus who wants to know how important is Lore in EVE Online?

"How important is “fluff” in Eve online? Would Eve Online be the same if it were purely numbers and mechanics, or are the fictional elements important to the enjoyment of the game? Would a pure text, no reference to sci-fi or fancy names still be an engaging game? Should CCP put more or less emphasis on immersion?"


I'm a sci-fi fan. I love the setting of Eve, its back-story and its lore. I've always been into this sci fi gaming genre from Warhammer 40k (when you had a rule book so thick you could beat whales to death with it) to the tabletop Star Wars RPG before PC's started to come of age in the mid-90s.

I have read every CCP chronicle, all the scientific articles, all three novels as well as a lot of player created lore. Mark726's lore guide is a great example. I think that the setting and the lore have kept me in this game for so long.

Last week I celebrated my 5th year of Eve Online. No breaks, no gaps, five years straight. No game has ever sucked me in that badly before. I've been a PC gamer since the early 90's. Wolfenstien 3D FTW! I played by first proper MMOG in the very late 90's with Everquest. Then there was Star Wars: Galaxies before WoW (sorry) and then Age of Conan and Warhammer Online. I enjoyed all those games, but not one have gotten close to Eve Online.

A big part of the draw of Eve for me is the lore. I am sure there are large numbers of people out there who play Eve who have zero interest in the lore. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if these people outnumber us lore buffs. But I've said this many times before, Eve Online is not a single game. Therefore it doesn't attract a single type of players. From market traders who never undock, through hi-sec mission runners and miners, down to low-sec pirates and null-sec sov holders, each gets something different out of the game. There will be some that are interested that the Chimera class carrier was originally a water freighter. Some couldn't give a toss!

For me the lore is essential for immersion. I need to know why I'm sat in this spaceship, 20,000 years in the future in a unknown part of the universe. How does warp drive work? How do stargates work? How did Old Man Star get its name? Has Empress Jamyl ever had a drug-fuelled lesbo orgy?*

Knowing this enhances the game for me. People who have seen this blog before will probably already know this. I love the story telling in New Eden as you can see on my own fiction page here. Yes I am a geek, and its worse, I am a sci-fi geek!

So far CCP has done a great job in giving us the backstory and fleshing out life in New Eden. There was a disappointing lull after the summer of rage when I believe the team that did a lot of the lore got hit badly, but it has picked up lately. However, most of the recent lore has been directed at the main storylines. It is picking up but it is still a shadow of the past, back in the good old days, before the summer of rage.

But I am also scared for the future of lore and story telling in New Eden.

At Fanfest CCP Seagull seemed to imply that they want the players to take the lead as the main characters in New Eden and not the fictional characters. Lately we're seeing the groundwork laid out for that, in my opinion anyway. The Heth, Roden, Jamyl et al story-lines appear to be heading in a direction where they can all die quietly. So what will happen then? Are we going to see the tyrant Heth replaced by the Mittani? Will President Roden step down so the Gallente Federation can be run by President Rixx Javix, after all why not replace an ex-pirate president with a current pirate president? Will Empress Jamyl's throne soon be occupied by Empress Sindel Pellion holding court with her legs on display? Will Roc Wieler become the Matari Prime Minister? Will Chribba take 3rd party negotiations to a new level by becoming the head of CONCORD? Will......... erm....... what was I saying? Got thinking about what the Amarr might be like in 2014 if all this came true..... sorry readers I've gone and distracted myself.....

It has potential to work well, but it also has potential for tits to be upwardly inclined. This is going to be much harder than simply writing stories about fictional characters. Letting players run the story? We will see.

I hope CCP will continue naming ships, modules and items giving context in the Lore. I would see planetary information expanded and developed. I want to know more about New Eden and the people there and the technology! I want to see more Eve art like the header pictures we used to get in the chronicles. Yes I am greedy!

For me, if I could guide CCP into just one thing in this area I would push to return to the 2009 hay-day of the Eve Online Chronicles. Back then we would get regular stories about New Eden and not just about the high-level story-lines. They would cover normal people living, working and dying in the brutal cluster of stars that is called New Eden.

Come on CCP, tell us a story!

*The answers to those four questions in tl;dr style are....

  1. Warp drive works by creating a 'depleted vacuum' which is a field devoid of all matter and energy that allows for anti-friction and FTL speeds. 
  2. Stargates work in pairs by opening and maintaining an artificial wormhole. Just don't ask about binary star systems!
  3. A factory ship with the crew in cryogenic stasis was sent to build a stargate in that system and it got hit by an asteroid as it entered the system. Only one man survived and he over the course of a few decades he managed to create an army of drones and build the gate himself to return home.
  4. Yes. She was rebelling immediately before her coronation, then Falak Grange 'joined in'' and spiked her "party poppers" with Vitoc, the big spoil-sport, and brought the fun to an end!


  1. "Only one man survived and he over the course of a few decades he managed to create an army of drones and build the gate himself to return home."

    ... and incidfentally that same man also founded CreoDron - known manufacturer of drones and T2 Gallente ships - after his return at the age of 80.

    1. Oh, and us scifi geeks should stick together. I love your stories too - despite your recurring motive of oversexed girls.

    2. Have you read Richard Laymon or Edward Lee? I am but an amateur.... plus I'm married so need some form of outlet :p

    3. I'm afraid I am not familiar with those authors.

      One of my favorite SciFi authors is Peter Watts, though, who has quite some sex in his stories (and at times sexual torture).

      I don't mind the theme as such, and if you want sexy girls in most of your stories it's definitely up to you. I'm sure quite some of your readers enjoy that too.

      I do admit that one of my personal favorite support character is a tall, muscular Brutor guy who also gets naked a lot which I enjoy imagining :P

      It's just when all the girls are always super hot it can become a bit one-dimensional and - admittedly - tickles some sort of feminist sensitivity in me.

    4. They are horror writers, pretty graphic gore-splatter generally set in the modern age. If you click the Fan Fiction link at the top of the page I have linked their Wiki pages.

      Yes, I completely understand your view as a lady, however you'll not be getting tall, muscular, oiled naked Brutors very often in my bad fiction ;)

      I've been reading a lot of Edward Lee recently and that obviously have rubbed off in the recent pieces. This Fridays story, 'Shadows of the Past' has no sex, no hot women.... but also no tall, muscular, oiled naked Brutors I'm afraid.

      Actually, I wonder if I can squeeze one in especially for you ;)

    5. Lol, please don't go out of your way for my sake.

      Also, I never mentioned oil, that must have been your imagination there ;)

      Looking forward to Friday :)

  2. I always enjoy the little tidbits that make up the collection of lore. Without those Eve would be a lot less interesting to me.

    I too have misgivings if CCP allows control of the entire story to be run by players. Because...let's face it, players don't always have the best interests of the universe at heart. Can you imagine if one of the factions leaders was introduced as HeNrIi37sOL {Insert vulgar word of choice}?

    1. I hope CCP will keep tight riens on these characters, but I'll miss the background story and think it could negatively impact on the game. Is what we do as interesting as the CCP content creators can write?

  3. I like the story behind eve, the origin trailer is nice and having the lore to explain the curious player why something works is nice.
    If you teach new players maybe one out of ten is asking about the "how does stargates work?" thing and instead of just talking database tech you can tell the wormhole story.

    Lore might not interest everyone, some really don't care but it provides additional stuff to talk about or making sight seeing tours. And adding stuff is always good isn't it?

    Giving Story telling completely out of hands to us isn't a good idea IMO. Some pilots have really good skills in fan fiction but there are too many people who would make story just for the lulz and try to destroy the game. People already complain if a high delegate is not killable while traveling in live event. That those people trying it could simply get there p-license stripped from CONCORD don't think about that.
    They just think as far as "how funny would it be to kill everyone?" leaving dead universe.

    We may be immortal but there are station workers who could easily sabotage our clones, billions of people who aren't fond of us. To keep that voice in the story CCP needs to stay in control of the story. They can increase influence of players by certain trigger conditions but to keep the game alive, they are needed to keep an eye on the overall plot.

    1. Cannot really add anything but, yes I agree! :)