Loot Fairy Triumphant (Blog Banter #69)

So… it’s been a while since I’ve participated in a Blog Banter, but this one caught my eye. They’re hosted by Drackarn of Sand, Cider and Spaceships; you should check it out if you write a blog and consider participating. Blog Banter #69 asks:

Because of Space-Magic
CCP sometimes get stuck between a veldspar ‘roid and a hard place when they try to blend realism with sensible game mechanics in our sci-fi simulator. Sometimes they create a scientific answer such as 4th dimensional drag to explain our ‘submarines in space’. Other times, not so much. When a null-sec Citadel is destroyed players ‘stuffz’ is to be magicked to another station. Why should a citadel be different to a titan? Should CCP ensure that ‘space magic’ always has a plausible explanation or do we need just to say “Well, its only a game!” and engage the willing suspension of disbelief? How should it work when a citadel goes boom, how do we balance risk with reward, and how should any “space-magic” be explained?

First, a disclaimer, or more appropriately an open letter of sorts to CCP Nullarbor, who has been the public face of the coming Citadel changes.

Dear CCP Nullarbor (and any other Game of Drones team members who supported his actions as noted here):

Thank you. Thank you for putting yourself out there, for admitting that you weren’t a wormhole guy and that you didn’t totally get how wormholers use POS and how disruptive the original plan was for wormhole mechanics and getting wormhole fights. Thank you for being willing to learn. Thank you for collaborating with Corbexx, Sugar Kyle and others to seriously listen to the wormhole community about what needed to change – and then advocating to change it. I am at last looking forward to what Citadels might be like for w-space – sure, there are still misgivings (particularly around reinforcement windows with intermittent system access), but it’s no longer a facepalm-worthy exercise, and for that I give the lion’s share of the credit to your willingness to listen and incorporate what you heard. Thank you for adapting your original design in w-space.

Sincerely, Rhavas

Now, on to the meat of my response.


With the now-updated exception of wormhole space, Citadel “space magic” that rescues player assets without dropping or any meaningful destruction is a mockery of what EVE Online stands for and was built on – utterly antithetical to its core design purpose. It’s not about how you explain it – the fact that you need to should be a warning sign in and of itself.

Let’s start with a nice summation of the core philosophy of EVE – namely that loss is meaningful and defines what makes EVE different (originally in the context of suicide ganking, but the principle is no different) – from CCP Falcon, less than two years ago.

I love EVE and the core of what the game stands for. That’s why I’ve been dedicated to it and its community for over 11 years now.

Risk vs Reward is a huge part of that.

Honestly, if that changed, and the game started to soften out and cater to those who want to have their hand held all the way through their gameplay experience, I’d rather not be working on the project regardless of how many subscribers we had, than sell out the core principles that New Eden was built on.

That’s a sentiment that I hear a lot around the office, because we are all invested in what makes New Eden so compelling – The dark, gritty, hard reality beneath the pretty ships and nebulas.

EVE is built on the core principle that you are never 100% safe, no matter where you go or what you do. When you interact with another player, you roll the dice on whether they’re going to screw you over or not. That’s a massive part of the social engineering behind the very basic underpinnings of the EVE Universe.

CCP Falcon, “High Sec Hauling/Mining Kills – TY CCP for No Protection”, August 2014

Unfortunately for EVE, Falcon is a community management leader, and not a game designer. The bottom line is that EVE is built on putting assets at risk, and gaining the benefits of doing so.

So why on earth would CCP completely throw all the core principles of the game out the window? Let’s go to the Devblog:

…we quickly decided that our new structures would need to be destructible, especially since they are going to be available everywhere from high-security to wormhole space. However, this introduces another problem: we want our structures to be used, but one of the deterrents against that goal is the fact they compete against existing NPC stations and player outposts. As such, we have to accept the fact no one will want to store items or minions (if you are an alliance leader) in one of the new structures if they can be destroyed and lost on a whim.

And that is how asset safety was born.

CCP Ytterbium, “I Feel Safe in Citadel City”

Um, wait – what? First of all, the very title of that devblog makes my stomach churn. Safe in EVE Online. This is your first red flag.

Second, “no one will want to store items or minions (if you are an alliance leader) in one of the new structures if they can be destroyed and lost on a whim.” Let’s see if I can sum up my reaction in two words. Yep: BULL SHIT.

The First Law of EVE Online: Don’t fly what you can’t afford to lose.

The Wormholer’s Corollary of The First Law: As soon as you’ve brought it in the hole, consider it lost.

Ask Noobman, CEO of Hard Knocks, how much ISK they have wrapped up in the far more fragile and already destructible POS structures. Or Biterno Sintaph, CEO of Future Corps / SSC. Or Hidden Fremen, CEO of Lazerhawks. Hell, when he was banned from the game, MaxDEL, CEO of QEX, admitted that “On my (banned) accounts (where several dozen) are the Titans, Motherships, collected all the property and money of my corporation – more than 1500B isk (A great way to reduce the amount of isk in game by ban 1 person).” Most of that was likely in a POS or in nullsec.

Wormholers revolted against the proposal immediately because it’s the whole point.

Don’t tell me it can’t be done. I am a “migrant” myself – I regularly come and go from EVE, and each time I leave I evac all of my assets from the hole to a station in highsec or sell them off to corpmates, because I know that while I am OOG all of my stuff can disappear in a puff of capital hybrid dust. I only bring in the stuff I need or am actively working on. And nullsec has the same access to almost identical wormhole chains that I do – often better, in fact.

But shouldn’t nullsec have some way to ensure that their stations are safe? Let’s go to the source, shall we?

Finally there are 0.0 systems and systems with negative security rating; otherwise known as ‘null-sec’, there is no protection at all and survival here is all down to the skill and resources of the individual.

Official EVE Online New Pilot FAQ

I’m sorry, but I guess I missed the part where your stuff is supposed to be safe. What it really is: risk aversion and laziness. If there is a war coming, evac your stuff.

Next you’ll be hearing how we need a special magical insurance by which when you get killed the killer can’t loot your wreck, it will be waiting tidily for you in Jita where your WOW Clan … er, Coalition, can pick it up for you.

“But Rhavas,” I hear you say, “what about all the newbros? We want them to stay and play in nullsec.” Here’s my answer to that:


  • People who die play longer
  • <1% of cancellations cite ship loss

CCP Rise, “Using Science to Help Newbros” bullet points, Fanfest 2015

No, my friends, this is not about newbros. It is not about PVP. It is about subscription-paying veterans who want absolute safety in a place that was designed to have none, and the development plan knuckling under to that pressure.

Eat it or have it.

I say: HTFU. To the victor go the spoils. This is EVE. The wormhole model should be the model everywhere except perhaps highsec.

Somewhere, as she makes off with 100% of what you fought for, the Loot Fairy is laughing her ass off.


Posted in Commentary, Mechanics, Blog Banters | Tagged , , | 12 Comments


This is an entry for the Pod and Planet 2015/YC117 contest in the 8000 Suns category. While it is a bit speculative, it is very much based on existing canon (specifically Templar One) and the science it explicitly states (even if current physicists don’t agree), so I believe that even thought a bit stretched it still meets the canon test. It is set at the dawn of the capsuleer era – before we knew about the Other or the Drifters, before the return of Jamyl Sarum, before the Seyllin Incident.

Templar One Eve Gate

Decoherence in quantum systems … is the irreversible process by which a pure state becomes a mixed state.  Usually decoherence arises from an interaction between the quantum state and some environment.  There is a school of thought that takes this as an explanation for how the classical world in which we live (and which has no large-scale oddities like entanglement) arises from the underlying quantum world.

Ian Durham, Associate Professor, Quantum Foundations Research, St. Anselm College via Quora


Sigga VIII – Sisters of Eve Bureau Station

“There is a high risk of death on this venture, Rappel.”

“I am already dead, Sister. Plus, I’m a capsuleer, which gives me a good chance even if my clone doesn’t hold out.”

“We believe that even in your current state, you have at least five years before that happens. But it is entirely possible that the radiation will interfere with your transference.”

“Well, as you know, my mutation tends to re-surface in my clones as well. They say it’s something to do with the transference base copy and my original clone grades. Not that these docs seem to really understand it all that well. It doesn’t matter – what matters is that now I can do things I’d otherwise fear to do.”

The Sister nodded slowly. “It is one reason that you were selected. And why you’ll be going alone.” She held out a datapad, which he accepted.

He glanced down at his orders. The Sisters had named the ship he would be flying Canary, both to disguise his Gallente roots and to call to mind the old Minmatar saying about that bird being killed with mine gasses and such. Despite its morbid overtones, Rappel somehow found it both appropriate and amusing.

“The interceptor you will find in your hangar,” she continued, “is outfitted with a number of unique sensor arrays that will record everything in and around your ship, along with being rebuilt to have significant speed at the expense of weapon systems. We have reason to believe that others are also attempting to reach the gate again, and we need to ensure we stay ahead of learning anything that could be a danger to the cluster or a path through. That said, our observations lead us to believe that your chances of survival if you complete the mission and reach the singularity are very slim.”

He nodded. “I won’t let the Sanctuary down, Sister.”

“I’m sure you won’t.”


X-7OMU IV – Sisters of Eve Academy Station

“He’s an awful expensive asset to be throwing away like that.”

“Not throwing away, Reverend Mother. His mind transfers are inerently flawed and his clone reproduction is as well; he won’t last like most capsuleers would. Also, he’s one of the first few off the line …”

“Thus my point.”

“But there will be many others. And by the time the capsuleers become ubiquitous, we must know the answers – or they will find them and use them against us. Besides, with the waypoints he will be able to get in range in record time.”

The Reverend Mother leaned forward and put her elbows on the desk, steepling her fingers as she looked at the younger woman. “He will remain resolute?”

“He thinks he is dying already. He has nothing to lose.”


New Eden System

Rappel floated calmly in the hydrostatic fluid of his pod, comfortably cushioned from the shock of the jump through the final stargate. He reoriented his camera drones to take in the scene. Happily, the Blood Raiders who often circled the gate looking for fresh pilgrims to ambush were nowhere to be found this time.

Rappel aligned the ship toward the distant shine of the EVE Gate, Point Genesis. For most capsuleers, this is as close as they would ever get. But for The Sanctuary, many lives and many ships had been sacrificed to allow him, now, to get far closer.

Even with those who had gone before having provided navigational aids, it would still take many months to warp-jump all the way there. There was much to do in preparation – study, observation, ship reprogramming and modification. The time would be well-filled.

He aligned to the first waypoint and warped.


Halfway between New Eden and Point Genesis

Rappel’s health had slowly continued to deteriorate over his time in the cramped little ship. The Sisters had arranged for an exit method from his pod, but it was at best a makeshift one. He needed to be especially careful with the fluid management system to avoid losing too much of it during fluid changes; there was no more other than what was already on board.

He worked out regularly, such as it was in the small ship, and managed to stave off the majority of the entropy and atrophy that threatened to destroy his body.

When he was in his pod, he studied. There was much that the Sisters knew about the Gate of course, but far more that they did not. The details of the radiation. The likelihood of being able to restart the gate – and how much was actually still left there. What the Jove knew.

Rumors persisted of cloaked items, remnants of the gate itself, even a Jove colony standing guard. Rappel made his way through the data for the hundredth time, adding bits and pieces of his own observations as he slowly approached his destination.

The alert caught him by surprise, breaking him out of his reverie. A vaguely familiar, but somewhat distorted male voice came over the comm channel when he opened it.

Rappel, you need to turn back. Warn them not to come closer.

“Who is this?”

There was no answer.


Tachyon bursts emitted by the EVE Gate interfere with quantum entanglement. It is a most unusual phenomenon. Your data archives show records of these emissions originating from the gate’s unique singularity; we are equally puzzled by them. This happens nowhere else in the cluster. We suspect they interfere with wave function collapse.

-Grious, Templar One, Chapter 20

In Warp to Checkpoint Omega, 65 million Km from Point Genesis

Rappel, please respond. Point Genesis is not safe. Turn back now.

The cautionary, personal ones were the most common. But the closer he got to Checkpoint Omega, the more frequent – and differentiated – they became.

It’s amazing. Beautiful. There’s a live opening – I’m going through.

Rappel sighed. The most annoying part of it was that any response he sent had no response.

Aaaaaaaaaggghhh you … aggghhhnngg

That was the one he hated most. Seriously, who would activate comms while in what sounded like horrendous pain?

Europa 1, come in. Europa 1, be aware of incoming colonists, prepare for tracking and reporting.

That one didn’t even quite sound like any accent he had ever heard. The form of speech was very archaic. Who talked like that?

Oh god … we’re too late. Self destruct activated. Everyone get out now!

That was the woman’s voice, haunting but fast becoming familiar.

Hurry, there is enough here that we can stabilize it. But we have to act fast. Call for more help, we can get this thing operational!

The first time hearing her voice, he had called the Sisters. They were sending additional ships, but after repeated attempts to connect with that voice, all of them had come to the conclusion that it might well be a false alert. Still, in their diligent way, the Sisters were still sending more people just in case.

Who is this?

One of a thousand variations on this one. One time he even swore it was his own voice talking. And yet no one ever seemed to answer.


Checkpoint Omega

From here, it would all be microwarp drive flight. There were no more waypoints.

Point Genesis dominated the view of the camera drones, washing out almost everything in the massive glare.

Communication channels were becoming choppy and difficult in reaching the Sisters.

“Canary, please respond.”



“Stable. But the shields are taking a beating from the radiation. I’m not sure how long they will hold.”

“Speed and heading?”

“You can’t tell?”

“The radiation is interfering with transmission of the flight data.”

“Full speed right at it, just over 5000 meters per second.” The Sisters had done a nice job of modifying the ship for pure straight-line speed.

“Anything else to report?”

“I’ve nearly completed reprogramming the assistance drones to carry out command functions if need be. I’m not sure how well I’ll hold up once I get there.”

“Understood. Just make sure that you jettison the recorder beacon so that we have a chance to recover any data. We anticipate we will lose transmission with you in a matter of days. What about those other transmissions you mentioned?”

“They’re almost constant now. I’m having Aura filter them for the most part. It’s hard to separate one set of conversations from the other. Not that they’re really conversations, though – still just one-way.”

There was a thoughtful pause at the other end. “You’re still recording all of it?”



A tachyon … is a hypothetical particle that always moves faster than light … Most physicists think that faster-than-light particles cannot exist because they are not consistent with the known laws of physics. If such particles did exist, they could be used to build a tachyonic antitelephone and send signals faster than light, which (according to special relativity) would lead to violations of causality.

Wikipedia: Tachyon

En Route to Point Genesis

It was becoming clear to Rappel that the EVE Gate, if you could call it that, was not remotely what he had expected. The enormous overload of light made it impossible to see any structure, if indeed there was now or ever such a thing.

There was something else very, very wrong, but he could not put his finger on it.

At one point, he swore he saw a ship exactly like this one flying the other direction … but that was impossible; there was no one else out here.

Another time he thought the camera drones showed the silhouettes in the distance of seven massive ships of a design he didn’t recognize, gradually accelerating out of his view behind the stark light of the singularity.

Looking down at his radiation badge, he saw it slowly beginning to change color.

“Canary calling, come in.”

Only static returned.

Rappel checked the comm feed. It was alive with constant chatter. For a moment he amplified the signal he was getting. A handful of statements surfaced through the cacophony of voices.

Turn back! There is still time!

What a proud moment for all of humanity.

We have made it through; aligning to our new home.

The prophets have spoken truly.

I can’t make it! Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!

We are prepared, whatever is there.

He reduced the signal again. He was alone with the ghosts.

The Canary hurtled onward toward the brilliant center of the object that now blotted out all else in the sight of the camera drones.


The Significance is holding position dangerously close to the EVE Gate, whose quantum turbulence remains markedly elevated. Tachyon emissions from this massive defect remain steady; traces of several dozen universes pass through the ship every second.

Templar One, Chapter 1

Point Genesis

Rappel wasn’t honestly sure where, or who, he was any more. How long he had been here.

He had needed to leave the pod days earlier, its hydrostatic equilibrium destroyed by the radiation and the effects of being this close to Point Genesis. He was instead strapped into a bridge chair, too weak to stand. The assistance drones had tried to keep him hydrated, but the food had run out, and the anti-radiation treatments were gone.

He ran a radiation-blackened hand across the top of his head, knocking loose the last locks of hair, along with a piece of his scalp, and let the changes wash over him.

It was bright. It was dark.

He was himself. She was herself. He did not exist, and never had.

He was safe from the radiation, watching the undulating patterns of the singularity without fear. Dead of radiation exposure, all of his skin sloughed off, lying in a pool of congealing blood on the floor. Being murdered by his own assistance drones.

He had to warn himself not to come here. Those communications … “Point Genesis is not safe. Turn back!” he croaked out from between cracked lips. “Turn back, there is still time!” He couldn’t warn himself. He never thought to warn himself. He didn’t know he could warn himself.

He was Rappel. He was Jove. He was the pilot of Dano Gheinok’s Conformist flagship.

But most of all, through the agony and the haze, he was dying.

“Fire the beacon.”

The assistance drone activated the controls. Beneath the ship, a probe launched, rapidly accelerating to warp speed on its way back to Checkpoint Omega.

An observer, had there been one (and sometimes there was), would have seen the tiny interceptor flicker as it merged with the center of the singularity, appearing to be an Abaddon, an Eidolon, an ancient colony ship, and finally wink out of existence, swallowed by a dark, foreboding energy at the core of the searing brightness.

The many-worlds interpretation is an interpretation of quantum mechanics that asserts the objective reality of the universal wavefunction and denies the actuality of wavefunction collapse. Many-worlds implies that all possible alternate histories and futures are real, each representing an actual “world” (or “universe”). In lay terms, the hypothesis states there is a very large—perhaps infinite —number of universes, and everything that could possibly have happened in our past, but did not, has occurred in the past of some other universe or universes.

Wikipedia: Many-Worlds Interpretation


X-7OMU IV – Sisters of Eve Academy Station

“We’ve retrieved the recording beacon, Reverend Mother.”


“Results are still being analyzed but … it appears that the communications were in fact legitimate tachyon-carried signals. We’re not sure how. But we are starting to discover whole threads of communications from many people, not just Canary.”

“What people?”

The Sister hesitated, clearly not comfortable with what she was about to say. “Well … it appears that they were sent by people across millenia. There are hundreds we can’t understand, in languages no one has ever heard.” She paused. “And there are other somewhat ominous readings that defy explanation. So far.”

The Reverend Mother absorbed this for a few moments before speaking. “Get me those answers. And move the next team up.”

Posted in Contest Entries, Lore, Original Fiction | Tagged , | 4 Comments


This is an entry for the Pod and Planet 2015/YC117 contest in the Day in the Life category. As I tend to do, I’m writing pseudo-canon; close enough that it might be true, but far enough that it’s not quite suited to the full lore category. This story was spawned from a Tweetfleet Slack discussion about the exact nature of the Quarantine sites, and is in some ways the inverse of the story Unchained from last year.


Here you are again: another dead end. This impasse is not a physical one, but an ancient one. Why is there a Sleeper station near these Talocan ruins? Why does it seem like these ancient races, long dead and all but forgotten, are intertwined, like star-crossed lovers in the universal play?

-Integrated Terminus


It had been decades since the last alert, so perhaps the guard could be forgiven for having shut off the audio alert years previously, and for missing the flashing light while he studied various status reports. Unfortunately, he had only minutes to react.

Down in the darkness of the Enclave, a light perched above a canopic stasis chamber flashed in unison with its counterpart in the security room. After only a minute, another light in red, behind a button with a label in a strange language (it said “Release”) and next to it one in blue (“Freeze”) and next to it a third in green (“Restore”). The trio glowed brightly, highlighting the glistening surface of the solid ice-like surface inside the pod’s window. A buzzer, angry and high pitched, began to sound in the Enclave.

Precisely 109 seconds later, there was an audible hiss of decompressing gas from the canopic. The Freeze light went out, and the Release and Restore lights began to blink frantically.

Up in the security room, the general alarm overrode the individual settings, and a klaxon howled, startling the guard to alertness. His eyes darted across the screens, widened in horror. He leapt from his chair and ran for the Enclave as fast as he could go.


The virtual world inhabited by [the motherships’] passengers was primitive; the earliest version of a strange “Construct” in which minds could interact but not grow. It was restrictive and imperfect. These people knew their world wasn’t real. They dwelled within memories of the home they had left behind, anguishing over their prospects for survival – if they ever reached their final destination at all. They tried to test the Construct, push its limits, break its inadequate laws, and for many, rebel against it.

The captains of those ships had to make unfathomably difficult decisions during the journey.

-Templar One, Chapter 29


Cryostasis is a funny thing. While in this modern era it works wonderfully to preserve tissue over the long haul, it is in practice a very temperamental science in the fleeting minutes of setup and reversal.

Cryopreservation made several leaps over the centuries of its development. Most live things couldn’t just be frozen in a simple freezer and restored, much less an actual human. Frostbite and the formation of water crystals in the body would destroy their host cells and the patient would die shortly after thawing, blackened by dead tissue. After many decades of development, a company called Vulcan Chemicals had stumbled upon the invention of Perfuse, a powder that was mixed with water to create a jelly-like substance that the patient was immersed in, then flash-frozen. Instead of crystalizing, the jelly would permeate the cells of the patients and freeze without forming crystals at all – a process known as vitrification.

Once vitrified, the body could be stored almost indefinitely – certainly centuries – without decomposition or damage so long as it was kept protected and cold enough.

On a parallel path, an electronics company, IdaionVR, had developed a full-immersion brain implant and interconnected network for use by those who had no capability to reasonably use their bodies – victims of accidents, disease, birth defects – people mentally sound but physically unable to function. The VR “world”, while a far cry from reality at the time of its invention, gave their customers access to function, communicate, and contribute to the real world at the expense of removing a portion of their brain and dedicating it to an implant linked full-time to that world. It was an easy choice for many in that situation.

When the wormhole to New Eden was discovered, most initial pioneers didn’t bother with cryostasis, choosing to live and pass on their legacy to children as they traveled. But those that did leverage it generally made a faster trip with less drama, found a planet nearby to the gate on the New Eden side, and thawed their travelers.

One particularly fractious group of idealists, The Olympus Foundation, was not satisfied with mere preservation and lack of shipboard drama – they wanted awareness as well, and desired to be further out away from the other pioneers who had gone before. For them, both technologies needed to work together.

Finally, in the year 8003, it all came together when Vulcan discovered an additive to Perfuse that would allow superconductivity throughout the gel. Almost 50 years later, methods were perfected enabling every embedded sensor and implant in a cryogenically frozen patient to transmit and receive electric pulses from outside the cryo chamber without wires to cause problems within the gel matrix itself. In 8055, the Olympus Foundation launched seven hastily-built but massive ships toward the EVE Gate, its best and brightest cryopreserved in ElectroPerfuse and linked via implant to a shipboard supercomputer running a much improved version of IdaionVR. The great ships were slow, but those within the canopics were in no great hurry.

The process was relatively simple once these were combined – it literally took seconds. The subject was submersed, the current applied, and the gel instantly set up and flash-froze both the gel and the subject. The superconduction would then allow transmission to download the mental functions and memories between the implant and IdaionVR. The brain is too cold to function separately during cryostasis, but it could function fully in the VR. When the time came to awaken the subject, the mental reload happened first, then the current withdrawal would cause the collapse of both the freezing and the gel matrix, allowing the subject to be safely removed with all brain functions and memories from the time in transit restored.

They christened the integrated system Ariadne.

Ariadne had two primary problems. The first was that ElectroPerfuse was very touchy – if temperatures fluctuated more than 6 degrees either direction from ideal temperature, the superconductivity would be lost, disconnecting the upload/download circuitry. Five degrees warmer than that, the vitrification would begin to fail prematurely, and a vapor layer would begin to form between the subject’s skin and the gel.

The second problem began where the first ended. At that point the technicians would have only a few minutes to activate the full reanimation process or the horror of an unplanned thaw – a process known as dislocation – would occur. The unfortunate patient experienced it as being forcibly and abruptly ripped from their perceived (VR) body and shoved, blind, into their body. Moments later, as the protective barrier of the Leidenfrost effect wore off the subject’s nerve endings would suddenly catch fire in awareness that their skin and tissues were literally frozen. The system would be trying to force their consciousness back in faster than the gel could thaw, since the gel collapse would cut off their superconductive mental feed.

In short, the accidental recovery was a process of having one’s soul dislocated from a happy alternate reality into a body afire with cold hundreds of degrees below zero and caustic gel warming by eating away at their skin. If this went on uncompleted for more than a handful of minutes without completion or re-freezing, the subject generally died in shrieking agony when the gel matrix finally cleared.


Ariadne gave him a ball of red thread, and Theseus unrolled it as he penetrated the labyrinth, which allowed him to find his way back out. He found the minotaur deep in the recesses of the labyrinth, killed it with his sword, and followed the thread back to the entrance.

Myth and Creativity: Ariadne’s Thread and a Path Through the Labyrinth, The Creativity Post


In the Enclave, there was an audible pop as the sleep pod released its lock, the better to ensure that a thaw or medical rescue could happen rapidly if needed. On the door, the readouts had come to life showing the vitals of its occupant. The mind transfer rate was frantic, restoring at maximum throughput, and a far higher level of data than its creators planned for in an emergency restore calculation. The gel held its frozen state. Through the patient air system, a quiet whine began – the first signs of pain from the still-frozen lungs beginning to have contact with the relatively far warmer air outside.

The alarm klaxons howled as the Enclave door opened. The guard ran in and over to the patient chamber as the last seconds counted down on the readout above the Release button. Yet the reload display above the Restore button still showed massive throughput.

It was the worst possible choice now for the guard – release, save the body but potentially fracture the mind, or hold out, potentially destroying the body but preserving the entire mind.

The last numbers flicked out on the Release timer. The guard waited, intentionally not watching as the pale shape in the gel began to redden as its tissues began to take frostbite damage.

Finally, the transfer completed. The guard mashed the release button and the gel sloughed away from the body, draining through the floor. Moments later, the screams of pain began.


“He’s not going to make it, Krites.”

“He has to.” Investigator Krites looked over the ruined body that had been rescued – if such a word applied – from the cryostasis failure. The extremities were black, darkened with fourth degree frostbite. Blood and pus oozed across the rest, destroyed by the chemical burns, welts and angry red flesh barely remaining adhered to its structure as gangrene threatened. The eyes were swollen shut.

“I … he’s lost most of his skin,” said the doctor, “only the sealant and the antibiotics are keeping him alive. Planetside he’d already be dead.”

“He needs to live. And he needs to be coherent enough to talk.”

“What’s so important?”

“He’s still in the Construct.”

“But that means …”

“I see you take my point.”


“He can’t literally speak. I’m trying to keep him just conscious enough that he can communicate but you’ll have to use the direct brain interconnect.”

“Very well.” Krites plugged the lead wire into the implant at the base of his skull, speaking the only way he could with the shattered thing on the bed.

Who are you?

I am alive.

Well of course you are, if very badly damaged. I mean who are you, your name and member number please.

I am … Bios.

There is no one by that name. This body is not yours, is it?

That is irrelevant.

I’m afraid you have to go back, and come out in your own body. You know the rules. This is going to be hard enough to fix as it is.

All of them are mine, and none. We are legion, and we do not need your permission. But I thank you for your … donation.

Krites’ body stiffened suddenly, and he removed the jack from the base of his skull with a jerky, almost uncertain movement. “That will be all, doctor,” he said. “You may euthanize the patient, I have what I need.”

Krites turned and left the room. It seemed to the doctor like there was something odd about his gait that was unfamiliar and awkward, almost as if walking was uncomfortable or unfamiliar.

The shattered body on the bed began to writhe, a gurgling, strangled noise of pain … and fear.


The paranoid nature of the people whose role it was to watch over their sleeping compatriots was impressive in its own way. As much as they feared the possibility of failures of the mechanicals on their watch, in some ways they feared more the awakening of those who slept.

People who were highly intelligent, many the smartest of their generation, but not always the highest of moral fiber.

People who would be experiencing the longest time frozen of any subjects in history. Who knows how their minds might be affected when they woke?

People who had lost themselves in a virtual world, however rudimentary, now returning to a life of frontier roughness, dirtiness and potential lawlessness.

Maybe it was even possible that a minotaur could follow Ariadne’s thread.

The intelligence that had taken over Krites didn’t know about the Match Reader, and that was its undoing. The Match Reader scanned him as he walked into the security control room, determined that the mind inside was not the one that belonged with the body it inhabited, and a split second later the stasis generator locked him down.


“How did it get to the wire?”

“Killed his guard, managed to jack back in before we could stop him. We’re attempting to track him in the Construct.”


“Dead as you would expect, sir.”

“The body it escaped the Construct in?”

“Also dead from blood loss and infection I’m afraid.”

“And the Member’s consciousness for that body?”

“Erased per protocol, sir.” The soldier’s face gave an almost imperceptible twitch. While it was protocol to erase people from the Construct whose body died in the real world, generally the consciousness was in the dying body when it happened. This was the first time on record that a consciousness had remained alive and aware in the Construct, unaware that his body had died.

“How did that go?”

“The Architects are understandably afraid, sir. They are starting to wonder if we mean to …” the soldier searched mentally for a more suitable term than murder. “To continue to enforce equalization in these circumstances.”

“We must, but we need to pacify their fears as well. We need them to stay asleep; it’s not time for them to awaken yet. But we can’t afford not to enforce it until we root out these things.”

“We’re doing what we can. But we now have tens of thousands of awakening requests across the cluster.”

“We cannot refuse them, but we should try to convince them to stay asleep. If they insist, we will have to find a way to test them as they come out. Our investigations have determined that there is a likelihood that there are more of these … things in there. We can trust no one. And we can’t have even one of these … machine minds escape our net. Not one.”


This deadspace pocket describes an ancient conundrum, an enigma from the ages: Whose ruins are these? A cursory glance reveals the outpost to be clearly Talocan, a race long gone in time’s vacuum. However, permeating the abandoned structures are Sleeper drones, and their influence ferments the surrounding environment. In this unknown space, more questions pervade: Why are these drones here? What are they hiding?
There are secrets in this Talocan outpost, and by the looks of it, nobody will be missing these forgotten relics. But acquiring these lost trinkets of technology will not answer that one, nagging, fundamental questions: Why are these two ancient races, so utterly disparate, sharing this space, and to whom does this outpost belong?

-Forgotten Frontier Quarantine Outpost


“Form a line! We’ll be debarking in a moment!” The guards, dressed all in grey with gold letters on their shoulders and caps walked up and down the row. Their dark eyes scanned the crowd in the densely packed ship, an older-model destroyer re-purposed for passengers.

The tall woman near the head of the line noted with interest that these guards were not implanted, which was of course unheard of among the Awakened, and very rare among their guardians.

The childlike, younger clone at her side huddled close. “I’m worried. I don’t like it here.”

“It will be fine,” the woman said gently. “Normal civilization is right on the other side of that airlock.”

With a soft hiss, the airlock door opened, the guards swinging it wide to accommodate as many of the Awakened as possible. After the last person was through, the airlock door was closed again.

It took a moment before the first person realized that none of the guards had stayed with them, and there was no unlocked way out.


Amidst the ruins of this Talocan outpost, the exchange depot looms, its presence foreboding. Judging from the wreckage inside, the depot was either used for imprisonment or cultural exchange; eerily, there seems to be very little difference between the two. Whatever its purpose, this structure is rather prevalent among the outposts, displaying its importance in Talocan society.

-Talocan Exchange Depot


“They are all in quarantine, sir.”

“Have the awakening requests stopped?”

“They have, sir.”

“Send in the troops, then, and eradicate any of the rogue intelligences you find. We don’t have much time before it all goes to hell.”

The grey-suited soldier snapped a crisp salute, touching his fingertips to the golden “ΤΑΛΩΣ” logo on his cap, plugged in his Construct access jack, and marched off to war.


“[The Other] does not care what he must destroy to realize his own ambitions. That, you can call evil – placing his needs above those of an entire race. We Jove are incapable of feeling hatred. But we are fully committed to ridding the universe of his existence.”

-Grious, Templar One, Chapter 29

Posted in Contest Entries, Original Fiction | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Thanks for the Fleet

Gate Jump - Sto Lo's E-UNI Retirement Fleet, Sept. 2010

Gate Jump – Sto Lo’s E-UNI Retirement Fleet, Sept. 2010

This will be a bit of a long post. I hope you’ll read it anyway.

I suppose every veteran EVE player has a story of how they were flipped from curious newbie to hooked pilot by how much fun they had with one or a handful of FCs in one of their early corps.


I’m no different. After a bit of stumbling around I landed where I would get hooked – EVE University [E-UNI]. In E-UNI at the time, there was a great concept called the Battle Group. These were timezone-based groups of PVP pilots. While the UNI decided to disband them later, they were disbanded in some ways because they were TOO effective – in the end, they began to act more like separate corps because their shared small group core of “same people” within the greater UNI. Battle Group 1 (BG1), the Black Sheep (USTZ), was the group I flew with. Still today these pilots will occasionally chirp “Black Sheep” rather than “gf” when we meet each other across a battlefield.

There were three FCs in particular in BG1 that I flew with a great deal and who were formative in my interest in the game and growth as a pilot. The first was a guy called Kaykwok, who taught me some neat tactical tricks; he stayed with E-UNI until he left the game a few years ago. The second was James Arget, founder of Future Corps and later executor of  Sleeper Social Club, who I’ve also talked about elsewhere. But today I want to tell you about the third, but perhaps the one with whom my connection was strongest, Sto Lo.

All three were prolific pilots and led roams of eager newbies on a multiple times per week basis. Of the three, Sto Lo was the most easygoing. His main goal was to get people to learn, get excited, and stay in the game for the fun factor. He was generally out for a welp fleet, and his primary love was for roaming lowsec, back in the days when pirates ruled the spacelanes in Hurricanes and Drakes, Faction War was a backwater, Hagilur and Rancer were the scourge of Minmatar space, and the only real big “bad guy” was PL in Amamake. It was before Crimewatch, when you had to rat back all your sec status. He stayed in E-UNI for until he felt like the rules had gotten too restrictive.

Sto Lo

When he left E-UNI, Sto decided (much as James had when he started Future Corps) that his best move was to start his own corp. Sto’s was focused on lowsec, The Corporation of Noble Sentiments [TORAH]. I left E-UNI shortly thereafter. Most of us were still relatively new, and he chose Villore as our base of operations so we could safely dock and undock but had immediate access to numerous pipes. We roamed lowsec every night in small gangs (we were accused of blobbing then but these days we would be a hilariously small group in the era of Shadow Cartel, Snuff Box and large FW gangs). Sto didn’t care what people thought of us, he just wanted us to have fun, blow other people up and get blown up in the process.

If we do this of the idea of having fun playing a spaceship internet game I’ll play. If you wanna get all tied up with exact skills and fits no thanks. I wanna go balls in singing yodel at the top of my lungs, not shit, did I orbit right, am I screwing up?

It was a game, just entertainment. The only time he’d get mad is when his own mistakes caused him to lose a blingy ship, and then he’d quietly excuse himself for the night and we might not see him for a couple days.

Over time, I got to know him as a person. He was a Green Bay Packer fan (I’m a Vikings fan). He had a family he loved, with grown children. He was someone actually older than me who played EVE (I’m 45 so I often gave him grief that at least he was here to make me feel less old).

OMG you are all freakin the age of my kids… TAKE OUT THE GARBAGE ALREADY!!!!!!!!

He’d pick on the fact that I live in Minnesoooota and I’d pick on him for being Canadian. I learned that he had a number of health issues he was combating, especially insomnia, but he was making progress. We were regularly two of a handful of people who were on at the end of USTZ, and while we didn’t go into a lot of depth we enjoyed talking with each other. We talked about going to EVE meetups but I never had the time, and he said he didn’t travel much. I had always wanted to go to the part of Canada where he lived, so had some hope we’d meet in person some day if I ever got there.

As a CEO, Sto’s generosity was legendary. If someone didn’t have the right ship for a roam he wanted to do, given that it was a small corp made up mostly of people he personally recruited, he’d give away a ship. I got several this way that he never allowed me to give back. He maintained a lowsec POS (for deeper ops) and a nullsec POS (for sec status ratting) out of his own ISK for the corp. At the time, I hated armor ships but I kept an armor Hurricane in those days just because I knew he liked to do armor roams. He had a whole other side of the game focused on his PVE tasks that he shared with many others, working together to make the ISK to fund the PVP habit.

Sto’s sense of humor was also a hallmark feature of his fleets. He struggled mightily to pronounce some of the names of the systems around Gallente and Minmatar space – Hofjalgund so much so that during his UNI days he simply gave up and christened it “Beef-bork-bork.” This name stuck for months during and after he left the UNI and may still be in use by some folks there today. He had many pictures he’d link in Local – all in good taste but silly – mostly of cats – after a fight. His favorite Local taunt was this video. He always found that video hilarious because it rarely failed to get a “WTF?” response – it pretty much became Sto’s trademark and everyone who flew with Sto after E-UNI associates yodeling with him.

My favorite welp anecdote in all my time in EVE is a roam he led. Sto (on his alt Ceragor) was flying a lone Guardian (one of his favorite ships). We were running the outside pipe in Essence. We chased a ship through Aeschee, Onne, Vitrauze, Droselory, Atlulle and finally caught up with him in Allebin, howling in bloodthirsty glee as Sto called for tackle on the gate. And tackle we did. Those of you familiar with the area are at this point either laughing or shaking your heads. Allebin, you see, is a highsec island. The entire fleet was obliterated to a person by CONCORD … except for Sto, sitting in his logi boat. Our intended victim (Jestere) was understandably incredulous in Local. Funniest experience of my EVE career – enough so that I still have the log.

[ 2011.09.23 04:23:53 ] EVE System > Channel changed to Allebin Local Channel
[ 2011.09.23 04:24:52 ] Basta Kindred > best loss ever
[ 2011.09.23 04:24:55 ] Basta Kindred > omg
[ 2011.09.23 04:24:58 ] Styledatol > rofl
[ 2011.09.23 04:25:11 ] Ceragor > hahaha
[ 2011.09.23 04:25:12 ] Rhavas > LOLOLOL
[ 2011.09.23 04:25:13 ] Basta Kindred > I hope we frapsd that
[ 2011.09.23 04:25:53 ] Zerolis > w00t!!
[ 2011.09.23 04:26:21 ] Jestere > niice guys
[ 2011.09.23 04:27:34 ] Ceragor > lol
[ 2011.09.23 04:28:08 ] Jestere > what did you guys lose?
[ 2011.09.23 04:28:16 ] Styledatol > domi, I think
[ 2011.09.23 04:33:03 ] Rhavas > Our minds mostly
[ 2011.09.23 04:38:17 ] Rhavas > Don’t make me ram my pod into your Hurricane. I mounted spikes on it and everything

His take was always that we should be there for the enjoyment of hanging out together and having fun. He had little patience for endless debriefing after things – learn and move on, don’t spend all week on the minutia.

You guys are like a bunch of old hens. WE WON!!

I left the game for a while, and the sec status ratting finally got to him. He disbanded Noble Sentiments, and the corp largely split into two groups, half going to join James Arget’s Future Corps, the other half (including Sto) going to join Repercussus in null sec. When I came back, I jumped in with the wormholers, and after a while we convinced many of the null guys to come back and join us. Sto had a renaissance as an FC, leading wormhole fleets out to nullsec and especially lowsec to raid. He changed from a wormhole balker to a wormhole enthusiast. He spent time encouraging everyone he could to try their hand at FCing.

Just form your fleet and do it. THEY WILL COME.

About a year into it, however, he started showing up less often. On again off again, and he even briefly flirted with setting up another corp in lowsec. But he didn’t seem to have the time or energy any more except in spurts. We still had good late night chats, but they were more brief and fewer between. I wasn’t really sure why.

Then he sent a mail to corpmates explaining that his health was at serious risk; his liver was failing and he might be away for some time.

We corresponded a bit after that (again on his alt Ceragor), but he was on less and less.

[ 2015.05.31 04:55:01 ] Rhavas > o/ Sto
[ 2015.05.31 04:55:15 ] Ceragor > o/
[ 2015.05.31 04:55:29 ] Rhavas > How’re things going – any news?
[ 2015.05.31 04:56:12 ] Ceragor > i’m almost on the list going for final interviews tuesday and several tests
[ 2015.05.31 04:56:35 ] Rhavas > Glad to hear it – how long do they think the wait list is?
[ 2015.05.31 04:57:17 ] Ceragor > said could be july
[ 2015.05.31 04:57:38 ] Rhavas > That’s actually a lot shorter than I would have expected.
[ 2015.05.31 04:58:07 ] Ceragor > my blood type has a short list
[ 2015.05.31 04:58:28 ] Rhavas > That’s good news
[ 2015.05.31 04:58:37 ] Ceragor > and funny enough more donors
[ 2015.05.31 04:59:53 ] Rhavas > Good :) Hang in there man
[ 2015.05.31 05:00:09 ] Ceragor > :)

He was optimistic that he would get a transplant. I never heard directly from him whether he got one. Turns out he did.

When I was in college, I did an internship in the Liver Transplant department of a prestigious medical center in the US, so I know a bit more about the process than I otherwise would. It’s a pretty brutal surgery, and a risky one. There is a lot that can go wrong but it is a true lifesaver for many people. However in many cases the hardest part is what comes afterward. All too often, the body of a transplant patient, not recognizing the lifesaving organ, rejects it. The immune system of the patient goes on the attack, and tries to kill the new organ keeping the person alive, seeing it as a threat. In those cases, significant drug therapy is required not just to keep the person alive, but to ensure that the patient does not get secondary infections from the downed immune system, much like you hear about with cancer patients.

That battle, unfortunately, he lost. Sean1121, recurring CEO of Future Corps/SSC as well as a pilot who flew with Sto in E-UNI and Noble Sentiments, was in touch with Sto’s family. Sean posted this on the SSC forums this week:

His wife informed me that he passed Monday morning. He had a liver transplant back in July, then complications related to that and his body couldn’t take it anymore.

Sto Lo was one of the most fun FCs I flew with in EVE. He was one of the most patient and understanding. He was the most generous by a large margin, and asked only that others give as well and understand as well. He had a good sense of humor. He kept people in our corps, provided content, and kept them in the game. He was a force multiplier for the game itself. His enthusiasm, support and attitude are the foundation on which dozens of players over the last five years built their EVE careers.

EVE players, the best thing you can do for this game is to reach out to others, help others succeed in the game, and help create content. Content creation is what keeps people here, along with the experience of exploding internet spaceships with friends. Remember it’s only a game, and you should have fun with it. Sometimes, the min-max is not the thing. I hope you’ll join me in sparing a thought or a prayer for Sto and his family, and in his memory take a moment to thank your favorite FC for providing you content, or lead a fleet for your buddies.

Thank you, Sto, for being a leader, a teacher, a guide and a sounding board for so many in your time in EVE. I’ve missed talking with you and flying with you. I even forgive you for being a Packer fan.

New Eden is a better place for having had you, and a sadder one for your absence.

Fly well, old friend.

Posted in Commentary | Tagged , , , , , | 27 Comments

Anomalous Findings

Crystal Ball Storyhead

Please note: This post is about things on the Singularity “Sisi” test server May 7-9, 2015 and as pre-release items might be considered spoilers. If you are sensitive about reading such things before they hit Tranquility, then you might want to not read further. Please also be warned that I do this all the time, so if you don’t like such things you might have to skip a lot of my stuff. Thank you.

It’s funny that I never used to have to have a disclaimer. I suppose that is because until last October, all 15 of us who actually cared about lore mystery hunting already knew and wanted to know more. I had someone ask on Twitter whether it was “ethical” to post Sisi items. Let me be blunt: It has nothing to do with ethics. No one has to read, no one is harmed, there is no favoritism because the entire playerbase has access to Sisi and this stuff will make me $0 and 0 ISK when it hits Tranquility. Don’t want to know? Don’t read it. I’m thrilled that the pool of people interested in lore has exploded, but don’t expect those of us who have been writing this stuff for years to stop because you don’t want to know and can’t stop yourself from reading. It’s just like a movie review, for Bob’s sake.

OK, rant over. On with the post.

The Claw, Vidette. Click to Enlarge.

As you likely have heard (if not, check out Neville Smit’s excellent post at Crossing Zebras), on the latest build of Sisi there is a lore bombshell of a new feature – you can now enter the Unidentified (Drifter/Circadian Seeker) wormholes. And on the other side lie five brand new systems. Each boasts a unique beacon with a maze-like PVE run that has to be done by a minimum of two players – in practice it will likely to be at least several more, and if crazy stuff like 500 Drifters in a site make it to Tranqulity, maybe a full-on fleet.

I however am terrible at PVE and generally experience Sisi solo or in a group of less than five, so I have not personally seen the interior of any of these mazes beyond the first room.

That said, each of these five systems has five Combat Anomalies. On Sisi, they are mostly abandoned but get the occasional Seeker or Drifter visitors. These are directly warpable without scanning, although they do not have a systemwide beacon on the Overview. After multiple visits in some case, I am now certain that these Anomalies are individually placed and unique to the system they are in, spawning nowhere else in the game. Today on Sisi, they have no unique flavor text or info, they are just pretty to look at and have some interesting commonalities. I hope and currently believe that before these Anomalies hit Tranquility, they will be fleshed out with lore-impacting Show Info windows and popups on warp-in.

CCP is playing very cagey with these new systems, and deleted the wormholes entering these systems after two days, eliminating the way in the front door (simultaneously hiding the answer to the question of whether they will be one way holes as well). However, I moved quickly the first two days and thanks to Gentleman Gamer (@etnannarac on Twitter) who had a key to the proverbial back door to Sentinel and Drackarn of Sand, Cider and Spaceships, who had one for Redoubt, I got in to finish my survey of these Anomalies, and those of you who are not ethically offended by such things get to reap the lore benefits and start folding the tinfoil along with me.

For each site, I will list the system name & data (both the J-sig and the name of the unique system beacon, plus the system effect and entry wormhole type), the name I have made up for the anomaly so that I can keep track of all of them (these are my made up names, NOT CCP official in any way and likely to be replaced as flavor text shows up) and some thoughts on what we might be seeing and how it might bridge to other anomalies and systems.

Each photo can be enlarged by clicking on it for greater clarity and detail.

J055520 (Red Giant, S877) – Sentinel

The Sentinel system was the first one found, and one of only two where the central beacon site was completed before CCP closed the entry holes and spawned 500 Drifters in it. Most of the pictures of the Hive structure come from this system. It is also potentially home to the destroyed Sleeper Enclave shown being pilfered of corpses in the Emergent Threats trailer.

Photo & Name Notes
The Morgue2015. I have not ever seen a destroyed Enclave before anywhere in w-space. This shattered enclave appears to be nearly identical to the one in the Emergent Threats trailer, but the corpses are now gone. It pulsates and glows with heat. It looks like a destroyed version of the Functional Sleeper Enclave site in Redoubt.
The Rings of Power2015. A crazy combination of items, each of these structures is made of a ring of Sleeper construct items around a Particle Accelerator, which is wrapped around a Spatial Rift.
HoleHenge2015. As originally highlighted way back in the Odyssey marketing material and appearing in several Sleeper sites, the “henges” (boringly named “Rock Formation”) make for some cool but spooky scenery. Several of these are found in the new anomalies. A violent wormhole dominates the center of this one as its unique feature.
The Geodes2015. Another dominant feature of the new sites are “Crystal Asteroids” – blue and orange. Not sure why, but it is a theme throughout the new space.
The Sentinel Monolith2015. This monolith and the one in Conflux, below, are the only two sites that are functionally identical. Rather than being black, they are highly reflective – you can see the nebula in its surface. Monoliths are very common in the new systems – they in fact dominate some of the entry rooms of the new mazes. Make sure to look at this one from the sun side up close, and you can see that it is a massive reflecting mirror to redirect the solar energy, a giant glowing sphere shows in its side.

J110145 (Cataclysmic Variable, B735) – Barbican

The Barbican was also successfully run before the closure and Drifter repopulation, so if you see a Hive picture that’s not Sentinel, it is likely Barbican (it’s the one shown in the photo overrun with red icons of Drifters that’s making the rounds).

Photo Notes
Wrecking Yard2015. Complete devastation is a common site in the new systems this particular one has a heavy emphasis on ship wrecks but is small compared to some of the others.
Crystal Dust2015. Continuing the Crystal Asteroid theme, this one is a cloud of dust dominated by a lone Orange Crystal Asteroid.
RiftHenge2015. Another “henge” Rock Formation, this one is identical to its sister site HoleHenge in Sentinel, except for the fact that this one has a Spatial Rift at its core.
RiftHole2015. This one is a bizarre combination, enough so that I’ve posted a picture with the interface for people to read and consider. It is called an Unstable Wormhole but is clearly a Spatial Rift. The description states: “Your sensors show readings of the chart when you aim them at this peculiar phenomenon. From what little information you can gather you surmise that a stabling mechanism of some sort is needed for it to be safe to venture through the wormhole. But the readings also seem to indicate that this wormhole might not be a totally random natural phenomenon, but rather something that was created. When or by whom is impossible to tell and where it leads is an even bigger mystery.”
The Battery2015. The only thing of its like in w-space, this site is a cube of 24 Inactive Sleeper Sentry guns around a Spatial Rift. Hopefully on TQ they will not be Active, or it’s gonna get ugly in there.

J164710 (Magnetar, V928) – Vidette

The Vidette system appears to have been heavily damaged in comparison with the others, with only one of them (The Grid) seeming to be in good repair.

Photo Notes
The Claw2015. This is a top-down view of the site shown in the header, above. It is very similar to The Functional Sleeper Enclave in Redoubt, but is centered on an Engineering Station rather than an Enclave.
The Asteroid Temple2015. Another “henge” but this time it is anchored by Cloven Red Asteroids and Orange Crystals, while a Ghost ship floats silently nearby.
The Treehouse2015. This is perhaps the strangest of the sites anchored by a Sleeper Enclave. Why is it wrapped by this “coral” structure? And how? And what’s with the unusual red cloud?
The Grid2015. I can’t help but think that when this goes live this site will have some very interesting flavor text. It is a wholly unique structure that suggests some sort of power grid or experimental portal generator.
The Debris Field2015. The future of New Eden? Almost nothing recognizable remains, but it is implied that this cloud of debris, dust and random parts might once have been a station.

J174618 (Wolf Rayet, R259) – The Redoubt

In counterpoint to The Vidette anomalies, The Redoubt anomalies seem to be in the best repair. Given its seemingly robust anomalies along with the fact that it is a Wolf Rayet system, many in the lore community think it is a prime candidate for the location of Hilen Tukoss, who mentioned the light of a Wolf Rayet where he was being held prisoner.

Photo Notes
Coral Graveyard2015. A massive coral structure, dotted with ghost ships. It almost feels like a wall of thorns, something designed to keep intruders out, despite that even with its size it is too small to do so in space. Be sure to zoom in and listen to the haunting flow noise emanating like wind from the structure.
Functional Sleeper Enclave2015. An absolutely perfect Sleeper Enclave. It’s actually rare to find one this nice looking and simple (most are either broken or far more complicated) even in normal w-space. It appears fully operational.
The Crystal Ball2015. Probably the most-noted structure other than the Hives, this very spiky Sleeper structure encloses a violent wormhole. It appears to be a significantly more robust version of The Lidless Eye, below.
The Wheels2015. Sleeper Engineering Stations attached to an array of Particle Accelerators that are feeding – or feeding off – Spatial Rifts. More structures that imply power generation or use.
The Asteroid Interface2015. One of two anomalies (the other being the Mining Colony, below) that seems to have an actually viable mining colony on board the hollow asteroid. The Sleeper Engineering Station appears poised to take the colony’s output.

J200727 (Pulsar, C414) – Conflux

Conflux has also gotten a good bit of explorer view, if you’re seeing pictures on Reddit that are not from Sentinel they are probably from Conflux. Conflux is also interesting in that it is the only one that is not named after a French fortification, so there is some question around why that might be the case.

Photo Notes
The ShipwreckShipwreck The first ghost ship found by most of the current sources was this one – a lonely submarine-looking ship floating beside a lonely blue crystal asteroid at the event horizon of a violent wormhole.
The Mining Colony

Image credit: zaqqsinternetgaming on Reddit

Image credit: zaqqsinternetgaming on Reddit

Alongside the Asteroid Interface, above, one of two sites that appear specifically able to support a mining colony of some sort. It is not clear whether these colonies are peopled by live beings, drones, or simply abandoned with all the lights still on. I unfortunately messed up the screencap of this site but thankfully it was already posted on Reddit.
The SuperacceleratorThe Superaccelerator The most advanced and in depth of all the particle accelerator sites, this one is long enough to create space to support six Sleeper Engineering stations. If you find this, make sure to zoom in and listen to the deep, vibrant thrum of the massive array of interlinked accelerators.
The Lidless Eye2015. One of my personal favorites, it is simplistic yet haunting when you see it in person.
The Conflux Monolith2015. Much like its counterpart in Sentinel, this Monolith is a bright, gleaming thing. It is regularly attended by Circadian Seekers, who probe it for secrets, whatever they might be.

That’s all 25. Stay tuned for more developments.

Posted in Carnyx, Commentary, Lore, Releases, Speculation | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Shattered Wormhole Exploration Phase 1

Sleeper Bioinformatics Complex in J000214 - Click to Enlarge

Sleeper Bioinformatics Complex in J000214 – Click to Enlarge

For the last few months, my former corpmate Uxeric Straevaras (@straevaras on Twitter) and I have been cataloguing every shattered wormhole we have come across. We’ve also added in a number of reports from others, particularly Gora Int, another SSC member.

We have now passed the 50% mark (56 OF 101), so I thought it was time to update the public on our findings so far.

UPDATE 4/13: Since this posted, we’ve gotten five new systems in 2 days! Thanks to Sar Hasarin, Lyndon Byrne, Ferin Maar, Saftsuze and Uxeric for the new contributions! We are now at 61/101 and counting.

UPDATE 4/17: Five more (66 total), mostly found by Straevaras and myself. We are down to only four small shattered wormholes and need your help to finish (see below)!

UPDATE 5/13: We’ve hit 75! Many thanks to Sar Hasarin, Obil Que, Capt Crutches, Adam_Aglaert, Lyndon Byrne and more for tips and discoveries! We’ve now made a major dent in the Class 3s but still need more Class 4s and those elusive last three Smalls.

Shattered System Basics

All shattered systems have a handful of typical characteristics.

As noted in the original devblog, there are two sizes (standard, which are like typical w-space systems with the same classes, and small, which are a class unto themselves and have only frigate entrances), they all have only shattered planets, an A0 IV class blue star, and no moons.

In addition, we have found that they all have Epicenters, made up of five violent wormholes, three Talocan Static Gates, a Talocan Polestar, a Talocan Destroyer wreck, and a pile of Sleeper and Talocan wreckage. They tend to have a wide array of sites, many of which will be of a higher class grade (i.e. Class 6 gas sites in lower-class systems). All appear to have multiple static exits, which vary widely across and within a class, but appear to always have at least one w-space exit and at least one k-space exit.

Key Systems of Interest

There are five systems (so far) that are worthy of mention beyond the standard.

Thera. Of course, all of you know about Thera already. It’s huge. It has stations. It has a crazy number of connections. Thera is also the only shattered system that not all of the planets are in fact shattered. Did you know Thera is the only named system in wormhole space (although it shouldn’t be)? But you can find out about Thera a lot of other places.

The Sansha Override systems (J005299, J011195 & J010556). I wrote about this type of system a few months ago when Straevaras and I first discovered J005299. Shortly thereafter, Gentleman Gamer (@etanerrac on Twitter) discovered a matching system in J011195, which I later verified in person. A third, Jo10556, has had partial (see below) identifying info provided by Wroxton Vee that makes me believe it, too, is likely to be this sort of system. These systems have a handful of identifying markers:

  1. The Epicenter has Sansha NPCs rather than Sleeper NPCs. Verified for J005299 & J011195.
  2. The Epicenter has several unique Sansha Large Collidable Objects (LCOs), including Sansha control structures surrounding the Static Gates, a Revenant wreck, and a Sansha station ruin. Interestingly and disappointingly, the Sansha control structures are hackable objects that are generally found in Incursion sites, but at the Epicenters they are simply scenery. Verified for J005299 & J011195.
  3. The systems have exclusively Sansha Cosmic Signatures. No Sleepers, no other factions. All three systems verified.
  4. So far, they have all been Class 4 systems in the same constellation, C00328. All three systems verified.

Previously, we believed that the Silent Battleground site was another marker, but I do not believe this to be the case any longer (it is possible it changed with the Scylla update: “The site Silent Battleground had it’s distribution adjusted”). I spent a few weeks in residence in J005299 after the update and did not see a Silent Battleground for that entire time.

The Sleeper Bioinformatics HQ (J000214). This small shattered system contains what appears to be a unique site, the Sleeper Bioinformatics Complex (shown in the post header). Thanks to @RadicalDivinity, as of earlier this week I now have an alt living in this system. I have strong suspicions that this system is key to the unfolding story – either the long-term holding place of Hilen Tukoss before his escape, or the place where the Drifters discovered how to reanimate corpses. Unfortunately, like the Sansha control structures in the Override systems, the structures in this site are also not able to be hacked.

How You Can Help

So now what? What’s missing? Well, we still have just under half of the systems still to discover.

What’s going well: We have found most of the Class 5 and Class 6 shattered wormholes, so while there is still some to find the odds are not as good of finding something new.

What’s going OK: We have made good progress with Class 1, Class 2, and Small shattered, but we need more. You’ve got a bit less than a 50/50 chance of finding one we haven’t visited. Despite this progress, the Small systems are obliquely referred to in the stories that have surfaced in this new lore push from CCP – I believe that there is more to be found there particularly relative to the messages of Hilen Tukoss.

Where we need help: We have very little in terms of Class 3 data. For Class 4, which has arguably proven to be the most interesting group thus far, we still need significant and detailed data. It would also be good to get firm confirmation that J010556 is in fact a Sansha Override. This means that we really need data from people who live in wormholes with Class 3 or Class 4 statics! UPDATE 5/13: With the finds in Class 3, Class 1 is the new lightweight. Added below.

Key “Phase 2” systems we want to find:

  • Small Shattered: J000102, J000313, J000461, J000522, J000621, J000726, J000965
  • Class 4 Standard Shattered: J001302, J002423, J002625, J004470, J005280, J005872, J005969, J010247, J011376, J011778, J011824
  • Class 3 Standard Shattered: Any (too many to list) Now down to: J005923, J011563, J012974
  • Class 1 Standard Shattered: J002216, J002757. J005834, J005926, J012402, J015092

What to do if you find one: There will be some very specific information we will be looking for if you find one of these systems. Drop us an evemail or an email or comment here. Here’s how to find the answers to most of the questions we will ask!

  • Travel with Large Collidable Objects turned on in your Overview. This will allow you to see lore-related objects in space that will otherwise be hidden. This is how the Sansha Override items were initially discovered.
  • Visit the Epicenter and each planet to check for LCOs. Also confirm the type of rats at the Epicenter and what kinds they are.
  • Visit any beacons. If there is a beacon other than the Epicenter, contact one of us immediately. Systems with multiple beacons automatically qualify for extra review. If we’re not available, leave a scout in that system. If you can’t do that, join channel FCFTW Public, mention this post, and ask someone to plant a scout there for me.
  • Scan out every signature, and save the list.
  • Visit every wormhole and note the type (e.g. K162) and what type of space it leads to (ideally the actual system it leads to).
  • Run Silent Battlegrounds. If you find a Silent Battleground, note it. If your ship is able and you are interested, run it – they were recently changed and may contain surprise new items or changed loot drops. Report where you find it and the loot drop in detail.

One other thing. We’re not trying to be information hoarders or anything – quite the opposite. But we are asking you to share what you find. Evemail or ping on Twitter, or if you don’t want to make it an exclusive note to us, post it somewhere else – Reddit, Eve-O Forums, whatever. Just make sure you post everything above and then send us a link so we include your findings in our list!

And yes, I have some tinfoil heating up about these findings. But it’s not quite ready to pull out of the fire yet.

Good luck, and happy exploring.

Posted in Commentary, Lore, Shattered, Speculation | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Naming Rights

Nova. Hollywood. Mittanigrad. System names with history. With meaning. Systems in EVE that you will never find on any map.

I’ve been sitting on this post for over two years, since February 2013. It was originally inspired by a tweet from Pandemic Legion to the effect that the only fun thing about taking sov was renaming the stations/outposts they were capturing. At the time, they were naming them for Game of Thrones spoilers.

I’ve been thinking off and on for two years trying to come up for a profound angle on this, but frankly it’s a pretty simple idea, and now that sov is under review, and there is an official named wormhole system (Thera), it’s time for this idea to come to the surface.

Simply put, given a very high bar of system ownership conditions, alliances should be able to rename a sovereign nullsec or wormhole system (of course these names can and should be subject to CCP’s naming rules). The default JXXXXXX wormhole and XXX-XX nullsec names are uninspiring and lend themselves to the vast undifferentiated frontier rather than to the very human drive to name and claim things that are theirs, populated and visible.

In the game this could potentially be done by having a “common name” attribute for the system that would differ from the “true” name of the system. This ties directly to a group’s need for ownership and symbolism of that ownership, which is a (good) goal presented by CCP for the new sov system. What better way to plant your flag and stake your claim than to name your new home?

On screen this could present as <CommonName> (<TrueName>), i.e. Mittanigrad (VFK-IV)

In the case of sovereign nullsec, this is a pretty simple proposition. Set a high bar for sovereignty level and length of time owned. Set a high bar for ongoing usage statistics that move the indices CCP is working on for sov. It is also a clear match or upgrade for the new “plant your flag” version of the TCU.

In the case of wormholes it is a bit tougher. When I originally wrote the post I thought that it would require moon-locking the entire system with POS for a similar time period, as well as a certain amount of site-running and kill activity. With the coming changes to structures, this is now a bit up for grabs but should be considered in CCP’s structure planning. Again, the TCU could address this without bringing weirdness to w-space if properly implemented (an item that does nothing but bring naming rights and a POS fuel bonus would be welcome).

And in the end, it would not be permanent. Humanity is built upon the ruins of past civilizations lost, with new names and new faces. If maintenance conditions passed, a slow timeout would begin – say, three months – and then the “common name” would reset and it would simply be its universal identifier once again, with only Dotlan’s record to tell the tale until the rise of the next overlord of the system.

I’ve lived in Hollywood for almost three years. Let us show it for all to see and know that this is no ordinary system they have stumbled upon.

Posted in Commentary, Mechanics | Tagged , | 11 Comments