CZ Minutes: The Age of EmpiresNiden
The war is over. It has been for some time now. Already, historians ply their trade in the telling of it, and will undoubtedly do so for some time. As we attempt to take a step back and look at the grander picture, one has to wonder: Was this the last great empire? Are we at the end of an age that was made possible by the sovereignty systems of the past, but no more?
In your mind, will we see the formation of another CFC, BOB, or their like in the future, or is that now a part of history?
Apothne: For now at least, we have no empire as solid in the firmament of New Eden as Clusterperium was, and we are unlikely to see this for some time. Perhaps the great eastern Russian empire counts. EVE has found itself rid of an old power, but that power is yet to complete its transfer to other groups. The mass reset of the MBC may be well underway, but we are yet to see how the sides fall when everyone is settled into their new homes, which new alliances will be forged, which new wars and skirmishes will be fought. We are continuing to see a rise in the lowsec powerhouses, Snuff Box vs Shadow Cartel, who have both absorbed many members from null sec as well as low sec groups to continue their arms race with each other. The final domino is yet to fall, and thus the picture is yet to reveal itself.
I think there’s a lot happening that doesn’t make it to the front page of EVE’s websites
Danikov: The core ingredient of what can make up an Empire isn’t gone from EVE. Back when I was on the editorial team at TMC, we weren’t as deluded as to think that the entirely of New Eden revolved around goons and their actions, but even now I think there’s a lot happening that doesn’t make it to the front page of EVE’s websites. Maybe being in the limelight does paint a big target on you and the other powers of EVE have been right to avoid it, but I’m hoping that, in the vacuum left by the Imperium’s fall, more of those stories will come to light and be told.
Ultimately, CCP shall always be the deciding factor here. An empire cannot be built without bodies and EVE does not have the strongest history nor outlook in terms of player attraction and retention. Eking out on current subscribers is doing enough to kickstart their other VR projects, but great wars will require greater numbers.
The Age of Nations, the Age of Enlightenment, the Age of Empires, and the Age of Nomads
Cosmo: I love Eve Online for how much of a petri dish and a microcosm of humanity it can be. In that scope i like to think of Eve’s formation of player groups as a progression in social structures. If we’re to take aside the initial groupings of players that came as ready-made-units like Evolution and other already-formed gaming communities, i think we can squarely cut down ‘ages’ as progression structures for groups within Eve. In my opinion, these can be: The Age of Nations, the Age of Enlightenment, the Age of Empires, and the Age of Nomads.
The first one was the grouping of players by their nationalities and usually limited by language barriers and just culture-comfort. A lot of those mostly splintered and began forming around ideology and greater concepts, the Age of Enlightenment, be them roleplay or a creed like BoB, the Northern plan or CVA. The Age of Empires dealt with coalitions like the CFC, the renter empire of old PL and the dying breath of BL taking Fountain, groups formed around mutual self-interest, be it capitalism or mutually-assured-strength. The last one, the Age of Nomads is what we’ve come to seen from a lot of groups today, and not only the big ones, armies without a nation like new-PL and TEST. Either way, groups still form and can exist within any of those ages today, but that’s like having a classic monarchy in 2016. It may work, but you’ll be behind the times and limiting the growth and efficiency of that group.
I think one of the weirdest grouping of players that somehow embodies traits from all the ages are the russians. While some may say that they’re not as solidified and a homogeneous mass as they may appear, like we’ve seen with the Drone Walkers recently and their internal strifes, they’re still one of the single largest nationality-based groups that follow a strong pro-russian-vibe with a unique culture that holds domain for multiple alliances in a mutual self-interest that is still capable of splintering and deploying a large force without losing core cohesiveness and failcascading. I actually find them fascinating.
So in that context of the very round-about way of answering the question; the question which is whether we’ll see another group exist in the Age of Empires, i think we still have the russians as one of the last surviving large coalitions and very arguably the ‘WH CFC’. Still, if we’re to dismiss the russians as an anomaly and the ‘WH CFC’ as just a stretch of some people’s imagination, can another such group form again in this age?
I really doubt it.
I agree gameplay mechanics have shaped and forced some of these societal group progressions to happen, and at this moment i find it hard to imagine what unique, strong, long-lasting, mutual interest can still exist in Eve Online that can form up people in the structure needed to claim a large swath of the map because they /need/ to,.
But never say never, and i look forward to see, or look forward to recognize patterns already existent in today’s groups, that will define a new Age for players past the agile and mobile roving groups supremacy of the Nomads of today.
Tarek: To begin with, I would dispute that “The Russians” are so coherent and have not failcascaded. Several different “Russian” groups have been purged from their space, broken apart, fought each-other and emerged again in one form or another. When we speak of Empires, they certainly play a big role, but like everything else, their in-game nations are not eternal. Neither was BoB or The Northern Coalition or whatever the marketing gurus of another website want to call their great coalition today.
I also do not think that sovereignty and large groups of allied players will be a thing of the past for too long. CCP have introduced a massive new ISK sink into the game – the Citadels – and capital ships have changed a lot too. Sure, the dust on the first invasion of a major bastion of player sovereignty has settled, but it still way too soon to tell what will emerge from the rubble. The nullsec endgame has changed in profound ways, and more changes lie ahead. The supercapital rebalance still has to happen, and the other structures, the complete removal of POSes and Outposts are somewhere in the not too distant future, but before all of that has manifested, chances are low that we will see a new status-quo in nation building emerge.
When the last sovereignty system was replaced with the Dominion expansion, the changes were not that profound. One form of extended grind was changed for another. Now sovereignty is much more like a tug-of-war but the old philosophy of staging systems, strategic fleets and mass battles is still very deeply ingrained with some. The time it will take to adapt and become proficient with the new system is not over yet. Players claiming space and declaring it their own will not stop, however. Even in the very beginning of EVE, when there wasn’t any sovereignty mechanic at all, player groups emerged who called constellations and whole regions their own and were developing their own ways to establish and defend that claim. Players will find a way to do so, and I am looking forward to watching it happen. Hopefully it won’t result in something as mind-numbingly boring this time.
Timoxa Zero: Short answer, no. I think post-WWB people are realizing that with the amount of blues some of these empires held may have been detrimental to the development of the game. I think we will see much more independents and new alliances springing up more consistently.