Consequence (Blog Banter 46)

Heth-Mittani Storyhead

Seismic Stan of Freebooted has kicked off Blog Banter 46: The Main Event.

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

Along with Rixx Javix, I will take the side that these things are not mutually incompatible. I still look at Arek’Jaalan as a great example of what can be done if CCP truly engages the player base, crossing lore and story with in-game efforts. CCP Dropbear brought actual dev participation – sadly, without much ability to develop the story in realtime – and tied it directly to player action and recognition. This is very powerful stuff when it comes to player motivation. Players (myself included) spent countless hours and updated massive swaths of the wiki in the effort, and attempted to drive the story forward. CCP collected huge amounts of voluntarily donated materials, and in return built a new NPC site in Eram, Metropolis, featuring the research and names of all the players involved. I may be a bittervet in some respects, but I’m thrilled to this day to have Rhavas’ name as Lead Researcher on two in-game items for all eternity, the Research Abstracts for Project Tesseract and Project Catapult that you can still get in Eram.

It is only irreconcilable if the two are forced together without proper forethought. CCP could remedy this in a very straightforward manner, although it might take a bit of extra work. And honestly, if we look at the real New Eden, we are fooling ourselves if we think that the Amarr, Caldari, Gallente and Minmatar are the superpowers of New Eden. The superpowers in today’s EVE are the CFC and HBC. And it is high time that the Prime Fiction started to show it. On the flipside of this coin, Live Events should begin to take a turn toward “EVE is Real”, after a bit of negotiating and discussion with the CSM and various corps and coalitions.

What if it looked like this (please note, all of the below is written by me, not CCP)?

Chronicle: Last Chances

[I had originally made a Downfall video of this but lost it in the upload. So you get story instead. Also immediately after I posted this, Mynnna pointed out this thread in IGS. Which was way too good not to revise this to include.]

Caldari Constructions Headquarters, Piak, Lonetrek

“I am finished with your pathetic excuses, Admiral Engsten!”

The admiral stood silently, chin held high, as Tibus Heth, Executor of the Caldari State, berated her. He paced back and forth while she stood at rigid attention.

“First, you allow these abomination clone soldiers to take a pot shot at me. You deny they are motivated to kill us, despite the findings of the Amarrians. Jamyl Sarum gave us all of her data on the madness that infects these creatures, no matter how useful they are. And the Sleeper data we paid Future Corps to gather for us … it confirmed nearly all her suppositions. And then you add insult to injury by leading the War Council to stand against me – against your own leader – to keep these tainted things alive. I ought to have you executed for mutiny and treason today, Engsten.”

“Second, you allow the sovereign space of the Caldari State to be attacked … invaded by the God damn capsuleers! Goonswarm and Pandemic Legion had titans and supercarriers in Asakai! Blowing the crap out of everything and leaving a swath of space garbage that we had to clean up, terrifying the locals, and cutting production from those systems across the board!” Heth was hitting his stride now, fist shaking and visage turning purple as he raged.

He halted in his pacing just long enough to step toe to toe with the admiral and shout in her face. “Asakai, God damn you! The headquarters of the State Protectorate! And yet we were able to do nothing!” Heth spun on his boot heel and resumed his pacing, now walking around her like a circling shark.

“And then, the crowning glory. You lose the greatest ship of the fleet, Shigeru. Your dismayingly poor performance at Caldari Prime. We have lost our homeworld, which so many patriots before you took back to the honor of our people. Thanks to your incompetence and more capsuleer interference! And to add insult to injury our own people fawn over the Gallente, selling the soul of our people for an imagined peace. Ishukone and Sukuuvestaa make a mockery of what we stand for.”

Heth slowed in his orbit, and stepped forward, his nose an inch from hers. “But this…” he paused, his voice low and laced with venom. “This is intolerable. Not only does the Goon filth leave a spaceborne landfill all over Asakai, not only do they encourage the likes of these New Order and Belligerent Undesirable pirates to interdict our supply lines, but they descend on the most important trade center in the entirety of New Eden, in our own backyard, and destroy everything in sight! Thirteen thousand ships destroyed in the last 24 hours, Admiral! Thirteen thousand!” Spit flew as he shouted, the rage of rabid impotence.

Heth turned, walked back around his desk, and sat. He took a moment to compose himself before continuing. “Thirteen thousand dead in Jita, Admiral, killed by Goonswarm and their allies and collaborators. Another two thousand in Perimeter – the laughable headquarters of your slumbering navy, unable to muster a defense. Eight hundred more in New Caldari. Thank God it’s happening by the gates and not over the planet; the space trash cascading through our atmosphere would wipe out the entire core of our civilization.” He waved dismissively at the comm channel holoscreen. “And their bastard leader won’t even take my call. His minion Mynnna calls for my resignation and he sends this Kaleb Rysode to spew platitudes about positive communication and working toward a brighter future as they slaughter my people like cattle.”

Admiral Engsten remained silent, at rigid attention.

Heth leaned forward, elbows on his desk and finger steepled under his chin. “This is your last chance, Admiral. You will assemble a fleet. You will take the entirety of the militia, and half the supercapitals at the empire’s disposal.” He paused, eyes boring into her. “And you will take sovereignty in VFK-IV and the rest of the VW7 constellation. You will bring me at least one corpse of The Mittani.”

“If you can’t get that done, all of your clones will be euthanized and I will pay as many capsuleers as necessary to find and exterminate you as a traitor. Do I make myself clear?”

Admiral Engsten gave a curt nod.

“Dismissed.”

***

Devblog: The Invasion of VFK-IV

22.04.2013 10:10 | by CCP Goliath* | Comments

In conjunction with the 10th anniversary of EVE Online and Fanfest week, along with the forthcoming launch of EVE Online: Odyssey, CCP Games has given Team Illuminati a bold new charter and tools to do the job. We have hired additional staff in the Atlanta and San Francisco offices, and our new charter is to spur player-driven content in a storyline-appropriate manner.

In light of the carnage wrought on the State due to the Battle of Asakai and Burn Jita 2, our first Event will be the Invasion of VFK, the home system of Goonswarm. This Live Event will feature CCP team members at the helm of a small fleet of Caldari State actors in capital ships, but the core of the event will feature members of the Caldari and Amarr militias, who will be jump bridged in by the Caldari Navy. Executor Tibus Heth of the Caldari State has announced his intent to take over the constellation (in game terms, turning it into an NPC nullsec pocket), and has offered a prize of 5 billion ISK for the first podding of a Director of Goonswarm by a militia member. We also anticipate that the smell of blood in the water will bring the Gallente, Minmatar, and assorted pirates opportunities to join in the fun – all four militias will have special one-time objectives for additional LP in Deklein. The new Discovery Scanner capability will be leveraged highly to provide additional points of entry to Deklein via wormholes and connected beacon sites.

In order to give everyone adequate time to prepare, the invasion is scheduled for Saturday, June 29, 2013 – a few weeks after the launch of EVE Online: Odyssey. We have ordered a massively powerful new server cluster for the event, which should be online and ready for mass testing in mid-May, with the goal of smoothly handling as many as 4000 players at less than 10% TiDi.

As a showcase to the level of involvement and influence players can have, we believe this event will be unparalleled – showing both player ingenuity and consequences to player action. With over two months to prepare, we expect the CFC and their HBC allies to muster an awe-inspiring defense, and the mass of the militia and independents involved to put forward an asymmetric effort never before seen in EVE Online.

We promised you a new reinvigoration of story. These events have all been building towards something.

That something is happening now.

*Note: Portions of this fake devblog blatantly stolen from CCP Zulu’s Battle for Caldari Prime devblog.

***

No, they don’t need to be separate. In EVE Online, actions have consequences. Don’t be afraid to put player actions in the mouths of NPC actors. And don’t be afraid to have NPC consequences for player actions.

It would take work. But let’s not pretend it couldn’t be done.

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3 Responses to Consequence (Blog Banter 46)

  1. Rixx Javix says:

    WoOt! I love it, but you probably already knew that

  2. mynnna says:

    Frankly, there are decent odds that the HBC would aide the Caldari against us, rather than aide us against the Caldari. Still, I’d welcome the idea. If CCP wanted to take a bunch of employees and try to engage in a legitimate sovereignty invasion, constrained by the existing mechanics, well… we might just get sovereignty looked at as a result! 😉

    • Rhavas says:

      True – great way to teach an object lesson! I also of course assume that part of the heavy lifting here would be the Live Events team talking with the (likely conveniently CFC-heavy) CSM and the leaders of any corp pulled in to an event like this to get agreement on “the rules”.

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