The Jovian Tightrope

CCP Guard Jovians

In tribute to the “aliens” meme, CCP Guard explains the great Deus Ex Machina of EVE Online lore. Another variant would be “Enheduanni”.

First, I have to compliment CCP on at long last reviving the Sleeper storyline in the lore. I think the hype and fervor that has risen in the player base in the last month shows that it was a shrewd marketing and retention move. I have not seen so much interest in the lore since 2010 during Arek’Jaalan. This is awesome and I am thrilled to have not just the opportunity to talk a bit more about what has been my personal little corner of interest for the last four years, but to have people actually interested in hearing about it.

The storyline is compelling simply because of the fact that people love mysteries and love conspiracy theories, and the Sleeper storyline is absolutely packed with both.

The Jovians are bad enough, falling squarely into the “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” arena. As the race who gave us the capsule and sent an Amarrian conquest fleet fleeing like whipped dogs, it’s pretty near impossible to disprove that a mystery is the fault of the Jovians. Dig a little deeper and you’ll find out that there is a weird voice in Amarrian Empress Jamyl Sarum’s head (“The Other”) that seems to want to destroy the entirety of New Eden and we’ve now seemed to step fully and completely into dark magic and fantasy. In fact, they can pretty much be used to explain anything … like “aliens”.

Then drop hints in a grand total of two places (Theodicy and Templar One) of a shadowy subgroup of anti-Jovian Jovians called The Enheduanni and everything goes right off the rails into Illuminati land. It is for this reason that a lot of the seasoned roleplay community (I consider myself a lore nerd, not a roleplay nerd) dislikes the Sleeper thread – it’s too fantastical and conspiratorial, not to mention unstable, and causes much eyerolling. They’d rather roleplay “real people“.

But CCP doesn’t stop there this time; they throw in everything but the kitchen sink (so far Earth isn’t involved yet) – not only the typical Sleeper players above but also Hilen Tukoss, the Prophecy of Macaper, Sansha Kuvakei, the Sanctuary, the Society of Conscious Thought, the known coming of Thera and the Shattered wormholes, the mysterious story of Zakari Kovalis and the Katydid) and the new Bright (“Caroline’s”) Star and the hype train gets rolling so fast that it becomes difficult to keep up with all the threads, much less tie them together.

Finally, with that hype train at full bore, it is at last fashionable for people to begin trolling the lore, adding fake threads and leads (I consider this “Anoikis Entity” to be one), etc. Of course in character the capsuleer population is entirely ignorant of all of this but players rapidly becoming aware of it and of course wanting to contribute without knowing the conventions (out of character speculation is to be done in EVE Fiction Forum, Intergalactic Summit is restricted to in character knowledge (which at this point is limited to only “Hey, the Sansha are on the move,” and “Look at that star,” and “What’s up with Hilen Tukoss?”)), a mix almost guaranteed to have an instant way to completely shit up all the lore and roleplay discussions everywhere.

In this environment, it becomes a lot more difficult than before to be a clever conspiracy theorist without coming off as out-and-out whacko, even in an out-of-character sense. It’s almost impossible to carefully walk the line between known things and reasonable stretch conclusions.

Now, that might all sound like a complaint. It’s not.

But I will ask you all to bear with me, because it’s going to get even weirder than usual in my next few posts, and in the Rhea release. There’s already enough info for me to know that we’re headed into uncharted territory (the discovery of the lost Thukker caravan in Thera should be impossible – it was last seen during the Seyllin event in SL-YBS in Great Wildlands) and what used to sound like stretch theories are going to start sounding a bit more like made up ramblings.

Some time between now and Sunday evening US, I’ll be posting my first (and maybe only) entry for the Pod & Planet YC 116 contest, based on part of my research around all this craziness. And Sunday night, join me on Twitch, along with Mark726 of EVE Travel and Morwen Lagann of the Backstage Lore/Roleplay Forums as guests of the Hydrostatic Podcast crew.

Hang on tight. Because :Jovians:. And this time it’s for real.

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5 Responses to The Jovian Tightrope

  1. TurAmarth says:

    I’m just gonna tap this point… “It is for this reason that a lot of the seasoned roleplay community (I consider myself a lore nerd, not a roleplay nerd) dislikes the Sleeper thread – it’s too fantastical and conspiratorial, not to mention unstable, and causes much eyerolling. They’d rather roleplay “real people“.”

    I may not be a “real” Lore Expert or one of the esteemed “Seasoned” (whatever TF that means) in some eyes as I have only been living in and reading everything I can lay eyes on about Anoikis for almost 4 years… but I did miss out on Arek’Jaalan as I was a noob then… (guess you had to join EVE before then to get the ‘seasoned’ lapel pin)(too bad for us late comers…) But you know, I LOVE the Sleeper Lore… It smacks of what EVE, the only real SPACE virtuality is really missing… ALIENS. And you know what… according to the Lore, of which granted I am NO Seasoned Expert, but weren’t Sleepers and Jovians et all originally of human stock from the first Diaspora from old Earth? IE not alien at all except in divergent evolution and though human design and by genetic manipulation?

    Now I don’t know about you… or you, or him, or that guys over there, but ANYONE who believes Human Beings are the be all and end all of nature’s never ending quest and drive for variety in LIFE (or God’s Design if that be your bent and need)… well, then you probably still believe the Earth is flat, was made in 7 days and is but 6000 years old too… =\

    Now, that might all sound like a complaint. It’s not…
    OK, yea, it is. I really love your stuff man, but damn.

    • Rhavas says:

      OK, let me take these one at a time.
      1) The point of the passage you quote is that there are in fact a number of people, particularly a number of people I’ve seen post various places that have been doing lore and RP FAR longer than me (4-5 years) that are not fans of the Sleeper storyline. In particular, they really don’t like the stuff that Tony Gonzales wrote – which is to say the Empyrean Age and Sleeper (Templar One) storyline.
      2) I am not one of those people. I think there is ample evidence on this blog that the Sleeper storyline is my favorite one – less because of the actual story than because I love trying to unravel a good mystery. Even when I’m pulling my hair out.
      3) At no point did I call anyone “real” or “not real” relative to expertise. I chose the word “seasoned” very deliberately. definition #11 specifically: “to mature, ripen, or condition by exposure to suitable conditions or treatment: a writer seasoned by experience.” This means someone who has spent a long time (let’s say at least a few months, ideally a year or more) with the lore of the game. Being in AJ or not is pretty immaterial – it actually reads better on the wiki than it played. Clearly you qualify.
      4) The “aliens” reference I am talking about is the linked meme under the pic above. It is not actually about aliens in EVE – you are of course correct that the Jove and Sleepers are in fact an evolutionary branch of humans. Rather it is a reference to the Ancient Aliens TV show, or in a more meta sense (which was my primary intent) having a built-in get-out-of-jail-free answer for anything weird. In the case of the original meme, he seems to use aliens as that answer. In EVE, there is the danger of doing the same with the Jovians – it is very easy to use them to explain almost anything. Because of the Jove’s (and Sleepers’ and Enheduanni’s) potential to be a deus ex machina, I have to make sure I put extra work into building a case or be accused of just handwaving things. That’s the “tightrope”.
      5) Aliens in EVE is a whole different topic; my apologies if that was not clear. And Aliens in RL is not even something I intend to answer on this blog beyond this personal POV: Math suggests life outside Earth is likely. I am highly doubtful, however, of Erich von Daniken’s theories on what that life might be like.

  2. TurAmarth says:

    OK ok ok… I was soo taken aback because I love the Sleeper lore so much.
    (a) ALL of this is GOOD, OK? =]
    (1) I concern myself only with the stands others take on this when it has the ability to ‘affect’ CCP’s decisions about the Lore and the directions it may take… and I feel it is obvious, that people under Label #1 need to accept that the world is round, older than 6000 years and CCP aint droppin the Sleepers. Grant you all people have the right to like or dislike etc. etc. … but Empyrean Age and Templar One are OFFICIAL, CCP approved, EVE Lore. I say (1) I LIKE em! and (b) get over it or a least keep quite about yer flat earth inclinations… =] (…and not you, THEM is who I meant and mean, OK?)
    (2) Absolutely glad to hear that… as I’d HATE to have to stop reading yer stuff on account of “Really??”
    (3) Glad I qualify though it is sorry I am that I missed out on the first Arek’Jaalan… sigh… Though, EVE Lore aside I am quite well ‘seasoned’ having been matured, ripened and conditioned by exposure to 54 years of life here on Earth… (Hm, wonder if that has anything to do with why I prefer New Eden?)
    (4) But there always is a ‘deus ex machina’… whether it’s your pagan pantheon of Extremely Childish, Jealous, Oversexed Gods Raising Hell on Earth, or your more recent monotheist Father Figure With a Weird Plan For Us All God, or the modern humanist God Created Man, Man Created Science, Science Proved God dunt Exist ‘Thing’… There is ALWAYS Something Out There we can’t control or grok that makes the saying, “There aint no atheists in foxholes.” a truism… We just have the Jove… and at least we know where they live… We have tournaments there… =]
    (5) ZOMG! =P

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