What’s your favorite TV show? Your favorite comic book, or novel series, or sports team?
No matter what is is: when you first experienced a show, game, book, etc. that captured your imagination or interest, did you find yourself wanting to know what happens next? If you’ve caught up on all that’s been published, do you wait a week or more, months or years until the next installment?
Exposing someone to a well-developed ongoing story that makes them want to know more about the world they find themselves exploring - its people, factions, technology, history, wars, mysteries, or countless other subjects - creates a powerful possibility of hooking them, planting a seed of interest in the back of their mind that will motivate them to remain attached to the IP for years to come, yearning to come back and experience more.
EVE Online is a vast, single-shard gameworld in which one players actions might affect tens, hundreds, or tens of thousands of others - whether that be through shooting a spaceship, conducting skilled espionage, or affecting the extremely real game market, where players are the sole source for the ships, ammunition, and materials every other player in the game will use.
The game is advertised as a grand, boundless world of infinite possibility, where huge groups comprising tens of thousands of real people can struggle against each other in massive fights that are impossible in any other game. Many players hear of these huge achievements and decide to give the game a shot, only to spend a couple of days trying things out before losing interest - as they get the notion that they are seemingly months or years away from being able to participate in any such things.
Even if this isn’t always necessarily true (and players could quickly find themselves in these large groups if they discover the right people or resources), it’s an unavoidable problem that an uninvested player has little to nothing attaching them to the game. Without some immediate gratification or perceived victory in playing, there are many other games that will pull away a player’s attention span. At the core of everything, EVE is a slow game. This can introduce trouble in keeping players around long enough for them to find a path that suits them, and to make the kinds of friends and connections that have kept many of us playing for decades. What might be the best way to get around this problem, and keep people attached to EVE long enough to form these bonds and find their place in EVE Online?
There is no correct answer - but I personally firmly believe that an immersive and accessible story serves as an invaluable metaphorical flytape in fostering long-term investment in an IP.
EVE can still be accurately described as “the largest living work of science fiction”, as CCP Seagull used to say: a setting with a story that has continued to grow and evolve continuously for more than two decades, with players playing an inherent and vital role in its ongoing progression. Fostering the potential EVE’s story has to permanently capture the interest of players as they find their place in the stars among likeminded companions, or to fuel enormous player engagement in active game activities - for instance, the fervent Triglavian-Edencom conflict of Invasion Chapter III - can only benefit the longevity of the game and the investment of its players.
However, in recent years, this aspect of the game’s attraction has seemingly fallen by the wayside.
The last EVE Chronicle was released over three years ago - with the one before that being another two years before it; the current Fiction Portal, which remains in a limbo state of being under construction, isn’t linked to on the main page of the website at all ; and though the Invasion expansion series came with a resurgence of interest in the active story of the world EVE comprises and a seeming resuming of story importance in the active marketing of the game, while world news fueled countless players to learn more about the world and become invested in the story, there has yet to be even a single article published on the official fiction portal about the Triglavian Collective, more than three years since they were introduced - even with them having been the near-sole focus of the story for more than a year and a half in Invasion. And since the conclusion of Chapter III, even the world news has fallen nearly completely silent once again.
Whether this because of a shifting development focus, an abandonment, a delay for the sake of a hidden larger project, or simply a long-lasting lull in content, EVE is undeniably worse-off without the powerful attractor its story provides for both its current players and potentially new blood. And so:
I’m here to announce my candidacy for CSM 16, in hopes of representing all those who are invested in the story of EVE Online and wish to see it more fully represented, marketed, and integrated with gameplay.
MY EVE STORY
In late 2012, I came across an advertisement on youtube - it had a neat looking spaceship pictured, and I felt inclined to actually give the ad a click.
Reaching the EVE homepage, the game itself looked really nice, and the ship viewer that was built into the page at this time showed off some interesting designs and background info that caught my attention. I figured I might give this game a shot, but wanted to explore more.
I clicked over to the backstory page, which was still linked to on the main page at this time, and began to sink myself into the story of this neat-looking game, and rapidly found myself deeply attached to the immersive setting the game took place in.
I soon consumed everything I could find on the site, and had downloaded the game partway through this fever of interest - jumping headfirst into a game I’d find some of my best memories and friendships through in the many years I’ve been playing.
Since then, I’ve fallen in with a great number of enthusiastic and invaluable friends, and have played in many areas of the game - most of all, however, I’ve worked with others (namely, my dear friends in ARC) to help expose the story of EVE to other players, and guide people to immerse themselves in the story that’s kept me attached to EVE through every development or change its had, in hopes of seeing the story through as it continues to be written and evolve in front of our eyes - as we experience it firsthand.
I’ve travelled quite literally around the world to enjoy the companionship of fellow players and the developers of EVE, making friends and creating friendships that will last a lifetime. This game has become a profoundly meaningful part of my life, and I’d like to do all I can to maintain it and help it continue to grow, so that it might continue to provide others the same enjoyment it’s given me~
IN WHICH AREAS OF THE GAME DO YOU FEEL YOU ARE MOST KNOWLEDGEABLE?
Since my first days in EVE, the story of the precursors that came and went before the modern Empires. The rising and falling empires of the Jove, the Sleepers, Drifters, and Triglavians extending from their past, and the other mysterious absent yet once unimaginably capable factions that once sailed EVE’s stars have continuously held my firm interest.
Today, I often have people pointed my way in hopes of talking or learning about these groups - and I’d consider this my most knowledgeable area in a story I’ve become intimately familiar with, devouring every piece I can discover in order to paint as full a picture as possible of the grand story of EVE.
In the years I’ve played, I’ve amassed a wealth of information and understanding of these precursor groups in addition to many other components of the story, and have worked to share whatever I can of it with anyone who cares to listen.
Over the years, I’ve appeared on all manners of podcasts and streams to discuss the lore of the game - including the old Hydrostatic Podcast (which had our voices appear in an actual trailer, one of the most fun little moments I’ve had), as well as many official CCP streams and presentations at both IRL meetups and online.
I’ve compiled a number of large-scale resources for these topics, all of which have been posted here on the forums - whether they be simple libraries of info, or long-winded hypotheticals for directions I personally feel would be fulfilling developments - all in the service of providing resources for those interested in the game’s story a place to learn about it. I’ll link a few of these below (though one is now outdated), and you can find many more posts in my profile here on the forums:
I’ve also gained a considerable understanding of many different creative disciplines, simply by virtue of having used them to have fun and create things for a community I love to be a part of; you might also recognize the below chart and accompanying font, which I constructed during the first days of the Triglavians in EVE following my collaborative work with a great many dear friends in excitedly decoding their language, along with many other works I’ve created for my posts and sometimes simply for fun - 2D, 3D, video, and other writing, among other things. (Going along with these is a very weird and specific knowledge of how models and other assets are put together, stored, and used in the EVE client, which has always been fun to figure out~)
WHY ARE YOU APPLYING FOR THE CSM?
I’m here in EVE today because of a decades-running story that has kept me attached all this time, through its immense depth, its continuous progression, and because of the dear friends I’ve made both online and in real life because of our shared investment in this singularly unique game.
My goal is to represent the countless players I’ve encountered who joined EVE, play it now, or who continue to come back because of the lasting intrigue its story inspired in them, and to voice their collective thoughts to CCP’s production and development teams - maintaining an awareness and discussion of a vital part of the game that tends to be underrepresented and underestimated in production, visible most of all recently in the unexpectedly gargantuan participation of players on either side of the Triglavian-Edencom conflict in Invasion Chapter III.
Others have run with a similar platform to mine before, but that’s hardly any reason for me to not press into this myself in hopes of being an effective voice for story and for players who engage with this core component of EVE.
WHAT CAN PLAYERS EXPECT FROM YOU?
All I can ask others to expect from me is the continued upholding of the elements of EVE that have kept me invested for these many happy years, and more and more work to show it off to people - as well as more writing and artwork projects revolving around the game’s contents, continued appearances on as many streams and videos in these areas as I can manage, and a slowly developing potential series of blog posts and/or video episodes delving into the story of the game~
As a CSM member, I hope to uphold everything I put forward in my earlier sections, and continue to communicate and participate in the wide-flung and extremely invested groups of players who enjoy the story of the game and hope to see it more effectively integrated with its actual gameworld and gameplay, as well as be there to speak to anyone who has any interest at all in the community as a whole - helping to foster enthusiasm for the world we all enjoy.
As for more specific information on where I stand in regards to the developments and changes the CSM acts directly as a focus group for: I cannot claim to be an expert on industry, faction warfare, the landscapes of Low, Null, WHs, the deeper intricacies of PVP, or many other things - but in the many years I’ve been playing, I’ve taken steps to understand the fabric of each of these areas of EVE. Playing a part on the CSM, I’ll be doing my due diligence and researching all aspects of anything relevant to topics or developments put forward by CCP, responding as best I can while listening to the opinions of those who are closer to each specific area.
WHAT CHANGES WOULD YOU MOST STRONGLY ADVOCATE FOR?
It’s important to understand that no CSM member has any power to change anything about the game - only to provide feedback and communicate with the developers and CCP as a whole, voicing concerns and opinions. That said, there are a few key points I’d focus on, in the hypothetical case that I had the ability to change anything - and which I’d like to maintain as topics in the potential future development of EVE Online.
*(Click each of these lines to expand a section with thoughts and plausible solutions.)
Make the lore of EVE Online ACCESSIBLE
My foremost complaint about EVE as a whole right now, given my place in it and the areas I’m active in, is the sheer inaccessibility of EVE’s lore and story. As I’ve mentioned earlier, there are NO LINKS to any fiction resources anywhere on the official EVE website - not a single thing to inform a player that of more depth in the setting of the game beyond “there are a couple different factions of ships in this game”.
My utmost goal here, something that baffles me for not having been done already, is to simply provide a link the the already-existing official EVE Fiction site, regardless of the fact that it may not yet be perfect; anything is better than nothing at all, especially in this case.
Push for more regular world news content and/or Chronicle releases
As mentioned earlier, it’s been more than three years since the last Chronicle release, with the one before that being another 2 years prior - additionally, though world news was buzzing during Invasion (especially chapter 3), it’s fallen nearly totally silent since.
Though I understand development bandwidth may be limited, I’d still (in some ideal world where the CSM could decide things like this) wish to push for at least a short article every couple of weeks or so; EVE’s more recent story content has been heavily carried forward by players who base their actions ingame and out around info given in this way, and having semi-regular drops with teasing headlines of information, or small acknowledgements of the occasional player activities in-world, help to energize the community.
Ideally, I’d love more chronicles to be published, as they have in the past provided wonderful peeks into the world of EVE and its non-player inhabitants’ lives in it - but larger works likely have many hurdles to pass before being published, so at they very least I would keep them a topic of conversation.
Work to make "unknowable" story info available in-character
A significant disconnect between the in-character and out-of-character areas of the EVE lore community comes in the form of unknowable information. Certain story elements, most significantly in the story of the Jove & Sleepers, the late Amarr Empress Jamyl and her AI headmate, and a group called the “Enheduanni” in the only sources they appear in, are completely unknowable to any player’s character, precluding it from being able to be shown or written anywhere in in-game accessible places. The example I’ve written above is particularly hard to ignore, as it informs nearly the entire discussion of the Drifters and the Triglavian Collective in regards to their histories, goals, and true natures.
Creating a route for certain parts of this type of information - those rationally able to be shown - to become “knowable” in the public, in-character story of EVE, for example through SCOPE news, world news, announcements by parties privy to the knowledge or “leaks” of information from developers through in-world entities could all provide pathways.
The result of such efforts would be a less firewalled lore community, more ease-of-access for those who currently have to learn what they can and cannot “know”, and a larger opportunity to provide sources for story content in the game client. Speaking of that:
Integrate the idea that player actions shape the story of EVE into the game itself
It’s often said that players “write the story of EVE”. While this is a very nice sentiment, and it is indeed true in the sense of the game’s ever-unfolding player politics, there are also concerns that this line also serves as a way to accept any lacking in production of written worldbuilding - as a sort of throwaway line.
A world as broad as EVE has many factions, NPC or Player, each with their own ideas about the others. Player actions, wars, betrayals, and politics are all “seen” by the others in this world - and in an ideal situation, they’d react to it. And in some situations, they have. Some of the best examples of this include:
The Jove Directorate choosing to recognize the fledgling alliances of nullsec as nations in their own right - despite alliances not yet existing as a game mechanic. The Empires voiced their annoyance at this, but the Jove spoke of the need to accept and nurture the future of these capsuleer nations.
The mysterious supernova seen in the inaccessible northeast regions in late 2014 being named “Caroline’s Star”, after the first capsuleer to bring attention to the important phenomenon.
The DED threatening the pilots and organizations involved in the recovery of samples from the deceased Dr. Hilen Tukoss’s body in Drifter space, after they refused to hand it over - including bounties on Makoto Priano and Expert Pilot Lucas Raholan for PLEX equal to 25,000 in today’s currency, similar bounties for two others, and setting the pilots and their organizations to -10 sec status, as well as -10 with CONCORD itself.
The world itself reacting to the actions of its players makes for a landscape that acknowledges them. Making this a visible and sometimes acted-upon thing in the game itself would help to solidify capsuleer nations in the world. Things like the an NPC faction reinforcing systems in their space near a large fight, sending devs in ships or simply roaming NPCs to their own space or out into capsuleer space, voicing an opinion in support of or against an involved capsuleer in world news or a SCOPE broadcast, or any other number of interactions or world-integrated activities like the above-mentioned events.
Provide resources or links to online story content in the game client itself
Though there are countless bits of EVE’s story that can be glimpsed in the game itself, whether in the descriptions of ships or factions, or in the showinfo windows intimately detailed for nearly every identifiable asset you can encounter in the game, there is no way to see the full picture. Essentially, all you can see is whatever is currently in front of you. A player who joins the game and feels interested in the story involved in the game they’re playing has no way to find information ingame. There are, however, solutions which could effectively remedy this.
In recent years, the Agency has provided a fantastic diving board for players to look into all sorts of activities in the game; this window, or another very similar one, could very easily serve as a solution for the discouraging lack of story information players can come across.
Creating a “Lore”, “Story”, “New Eden Library” (etc) section of the Agency, styled as a database for information on the world of EVE, would provide a perfect place for a player to be exposed to the setting of the game, and to delve deeper if they should desire. Put together a general overview and introduction with succinct but informative subpages for certain parts of EVE’s history, its major Empire factions, Pirates, other non-empire entities, and Precursors, along with some technology articles, say, the nature of the Capsule and the Capsuleer, its origins and its functions, an article about FTL tech, stargates, the opening of wormhole space, the abyss, and (newly) Pochven, and you’ve already got an extremely strong foundation for story content, accessible right there in the client.
A hypothetical window like this could also easily provide out of game links to pages on the official fiction portal.
An aspect of this kind is also directly relevant to the next change I’d speak up for:
Provide backstory-related points of interaction or visible elements to players
Despite all I’ve said above, with that alone, the story of EVE still remains somewhat sectioned off from the actual gameplay in many ways - though it would already be infinitely closer than it is now. Many players yearn for more connections (or at least proof or evidence of) story elements in their active gameplay.
As basic as it might be, one option that could easily link these is cosmetics.
For instance: SKINS as they are now have reached a good place, where creative designs far beyond simple palette swaps are being applied to ships of every type. One place that more simple color scheme swaps can work, however, is with the corporations or members of the factions that design the ships all players fly.
Say a player reaches very high standings with the Kor-Azor family of the Amarr Empire, and a new item is introduced to their Loyalty Point store: a special SKIN which, when bought, is instantly applied to their character and adds the option for that NPC corp’s color scheme for every Amarr hull, this being a simple palette swap - which already exists for Kor-Azor, among countless other NPC corporations.
This could even extend to structures; suppose you could buy a “skin” for a structure from an LP store (or even the NES), which can be fitted to any Upwell structure in some new slot, or a Volatile SKIN that can only be applied once and disappears upon the ship/structure’s death. This would circumvent CCP’s ongoing difficulty in determining a workable ownership system for cosmetics for assets owned by corps rather than players.
And relating back to the last topic, having a fillable “library” of story pieces, logged in a hypothetical story window or Agency section after visiting a landmark, being podded for the first time, encountering NPCs of a specific faction, or even simply pressing showinfo on an interesting scenery object (or having a “log” option added for specific objects shown when mousing over them or selecting them), while certainly a more development-intensive thing to implement, would also allow a player to discover things as they travel through the world of EVE - creating a drive to explore and discover its secrets. This too could be incentivized with cosmetics, SKINS, character apparel or portrait backgrounds, or any other thing.
There are many routes that might provide more hooks for a player to stick with EVE long enough to find their place. Any one of these personally ideal changes or developments would at the very least encourage and attract a player who otherwise has found no goals in the game.
WHERE CAN I REACH YOU?
I’m all over the place - but you can easily reach me via ingame mail, as well as my twitter I near-exclusively use for EVE (https://twitter.com/anteovnuecci), and if you have any questions at all I’d be more than happy to discuss and answer them.
I look forward to running in the election this year, and hope to do all I can to satisfactorily represent a core part of the EVE Community. Thanks for reading~