Recent EVE updates first brought us the Circadian Seekers and now the Drifter Battleship. Lore fans all over the player community speculate wildly about the nature and background of these new NPCs, but their arrival goes much further than putting enigmatic stuff for RP-nerds into the game. The new additions to K-space use a new AI, work in concert, chase down and pod fleeing players and even attack POSes and can detect cloaked ships.
What do you think are the most interesting aspects of these new additions to the NPC fauna? Are you hoping for PVE content that yields expensive loot? Could they be a means to an end for enforcing “occupancy sov” by attacking player structures? Is it the mystery that surrounds them, or are you looking forward to read the forum tears of nullbears who lose their AFK ratting ships to those NPCs?
Hendrick: EVE lore is rubbish. There, I said it. We can end these minutes now.
Dunk Dinkle: Personally, I’m a bit confused. I try to keep up but it’s hard for a mere mortal to keep up with the Lore Gods on this. From what I can tell, we’ve been killing Sleepers in wormholes for years now and those folks have gotten filthy, decadently rich. The heads of state met and had an all serious bizness chat that shooting the Sleepers was Bad with a capital B. Now the Sleeper drones show up in known space and someone found a giant station. Who knows where this is going?
We will probably end up with something new to shoot that is smarter than the existing NPCs. Who knows, it may pull the wormholers out of the unspeakable debauchery they get into regularly in search of more filthy lucre. Hopefully there will be some interesting blueprints added to the loot tables. (BTW, we’re good on Target Spectrum Breakers, no one needs any more…)
I do like the lore aspect of Eve, but honestly prefer to hear the chonicles read to me by Zendane at http://www.evereader.org/. Feels much more accessible to hear the story performed well instead of reading something on the web site. Where’s our secret recording of the 514 meeting (https://wiki.eveonline.com/en/wiki/514_%28Chronicle%29) ? That would be made of awesome sauce. Or even a short video. Imagine CCP Gargant dressed as Jamyl Sarum. Now that would be fun to watch!
Lastly, Tibus Heth was framed.
Neville Smit: I think that the lore adds a lot of color and depth to EVE Online, and you are missing something if you don’t have at least a casual understanding of it. The lore tells us why new features appear, and therefore gives us some insight on how to exploit them. Further, CCP Seagull has said in a recent Hydrostatic Podcast interview that lore is going to play a significant role in game developments as we move closer to her vision of player-made stargates. With the more rapid six-week release cycle, it is going to become more difficult to keep up with the backstory as new elements are going to be revealed more frequently, but I’m finding myself looking forward to the next page of the story with each update. I find it raises my feeling of immersion in the game.
As for the most interesting aspect of the new lore, I think the possibility of seeing more intense interaction with NPCs in every part of space is going to be very engaging, and will stimulate a lot of new player-made content too. Before, we players had to seek out NPCs to shoot, but now they may be coming after us as well. And based on the discussion revealed in the latest CSM summit minutes, they may very well pod players too, even in high sec space! Using automated NPCs to scan down and make AFK cloakers’ lives difficult is a brilliant idea—and imagine if they were used to clear out offline POS towers too? Yes, I’m looking forward to many nullbear tears indeed; that should make some forum posts quite entertaining, all by itself.
Mynxee: One thing I love is that CCP is being mysterious about the relationship between new events, features, and lore—for example, Caroline’s Star and its relationship to Thera and/or the Circadian Sleepers, SOE activities, and possibly The Other’s influence on Jamyl Sarum. I hadn’t paid a bit of attention to lore until now; many of the Chronicles are hard to read (agree with Dunk, they are much easier to consume via Zendane’s podcast readings). But the mystery of Caroline’s Star drew me in, and then the good writing from a few notable EVE lore-hounds such as Mark726 and Rhavas plus the Hydrostatic Podcast’s lore topics made it all very accessible. My focus on exploration in-game has a lot to do with all this. I seem to have the time now to consider the lore while I’m wandering and wormhole-hopping. It has made the game all the more interesting and made New Eden feel like a more complex place with layers that have yet to be revealed. It certainly did not feel like this when my focus was entirely on a PvP playstyle to the exclusion of all else.
I can’t describe how happy it made me to see that first Tweet about Circadian Seekers podding aggressive players on Singularity and that they were shooting at POSs too. OH. HAPPY. DAY. Why should NPCs not have motivations and agendas that would cause them to do so? It makes the game a LOT more interesting to know that you can’t always just ignore those red crosses 😛 I suspect that’s all just a little piece of a much bigger thing and after listening to CCP Seagull’s fantastic interview on Hydrostatic Podcast, i can’t wait to see what she’s got in the works for New Eden’s future.
Tarek: After three articles and one lore panel behind me, I will go for the game-mechanics approach instead of any backstory speculation. In the past I have written an article for this very site where I am pleading for a more challenging, dynamic and—most importantly—emergent PVE experience. The Incursions were a small step into the right direction, the burner missions (while I never flew one) are at least tough on paper and some other recent additions to the PVE stable like the Mordus Legion Special Forces or the Clone Soldiers make a welcome addition to the rather trivial belt rats and completely predictable missions.
The absolute death of all PVE immersion is if you can farm the content, and EVE has seen way too much of this. Whether it be highsec players who level up their Raven, wormhole residents who know every step along the way of a capital escalation or nullsec PVE that is only about ISK/hr in AFK ships, those things have to become a thing of the past to keep EVE interesting in areas that exist apart from the rare GoodFights. NPCs should be dangerous and not a push-button-receive-bacon mechanism that does nothing but lead players into increasing their wallet balance through min-maxing.
Will such changes upset the established balance and annoy a lot of people who make ISK on their alt while waiting for a fleet to form? I very much hope they do! I already know that many people will hate the idea that they might be “forced to PVE” for keeping sov if the new NPCs become part of the challenge, but they are deluding themselves if they think they don’t have to already. You need to kill rats for certain system upgrades, you need to do so for working your standings back up after a week of highsec ganking and you definitely need to PVE for a number of crucial production materials; there would be no Tengu fleets without wormhole PVE for example.
I for one welcome our new Sleeper/Jovian overlords.
Bagehi: The Jove are coming! Honestly, lore aside, it looks like CCP is stepping up their efforts to toss a wrench in AFK and botting with the significantly more intelligent and more aggressive AI they are sticking on these ships that are beginning to be released. This is, hopefully, a beginning to a more spiced up PVE experience. One that requires some problem solving due to more emergent gameplay. In short, CCP is taking aim at botting from a different direction. They’re throwing down the gauntlet and saying “our AI can defeat your AI” and that’s good, in my book.
That said, I love the Eve lore. I always have. I’m not as devoted to learning all the ins and outs as others, but I have read all the fiction CCP has released. I’ve also been involved in some of the in-game lore events. So, when CCP start rolling out more lore, I get a bit excited. So, whatever all of this ends up being, I’m excited for it.
Hendrick: *CZ Slack Channel Leak*
Mark 726: “Hendrick is trying to push my buttons, I see”
Hendrick: I am not pushing buttons, I just have nothing to contribute.
Georgik: Confirming that Hendrick has nothing to contribute.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s look at a few things that have been released recently on the now.eveonline.com. We all remember when the seekers first started appearing, it was on this same website, with a few subtle hints at the new NPC, the seekers. These same NPC critters are the ones that are currently causing all the problems with POSes, and AFK-ratters, and especially the botters. On Reddit the other day someone leaked a complaint from one of the popular botting forums where someone was complaining that because of the seekers hovering around, and due to the “adaptability” of the seekers to damage type, the botting characters would get stuck on a rat for hours. This significantly disrupts the usefulness of said AFK ratting.
Now, we have the drifter battleship being rolled out. You can find these ships floating around SiSi and while they’re not working with the seekers, they seem to follow them around and do their own things. Other things of note that can be seen in the design photos are the scratch marks and flaking of the Drifter’s paint job, hinting at the possibility of future battle damage being a thing. The Drifter also has an animation where the front opens into a sort of particle beam cannon, in similar fashion to the ships from Macross (One of the classic sci-fi animoos). We can only hope that the main cannon of the supposed jove ship is just as deadly.
I was going to write more, but after seeing that gif again.. I found far more interesting things to do. I’ll be back! Man.. I really hope the Jove cannon works like that…
Ok, back. And now I have the most interesting theory. What if CCP continues to “up the ratting game” leading to Supers and Titans being needed to defeat some of the largest NPCs in the game? It certainly would curb the capital escalation to some degree, especially if there was some sort of unique reward that came from it. When incursions started, CCP devs were at the helm of the feared Revenant motherships. Perhaps Jove, a fearsome technological powerhouse, will roll out something even greater, and in more numbers. That certainly would be a good “lore” reason for the Sansha to run from the epicenter.
Tarek: The Sansha sort-of got their ass kicked during the Caroline’s Star event. That prompts that CCP may come up with an in-game explanation to phase out Incursions. That is of course pure speculation.
Lillik: I think I’m the average EVE player, haven’t paid much attention to the lore aspect of the game in the past. But after editing a few articles recently published here, I’ve gained a new perspective of the virtual world I spend so much time in.
Georgik: Going along with Tarek’s idea of phasing out incursions, one of the biggest complaints recently has been the fact that there are too many ISK faucets and not enough ISK drains. One of the big ISK faucet is the farming of incursion sites for weeks, something that wasn’t really intended when they were introduced. The original CCP idea being people did the sites, they closed and a new incursion was started somewhere new. Instead Incursion hunters will kill off almost everything, let everything respawn and continue the cycle, keeping vanguard sites, and other profitable sites alive longer. As part of CCP’s continuation of keeping the lore alive, the Scope News Service recently released a piece on “Caroline’s Star.” One of the theories that was mentioned was a Jovian super weapon used to chase out the Sansha. Perhaps the new drifter battleships aren’t hunting the sleepers, but will focus primarily on hunting down these weakened incursions sites.
Mark726: I kid because I <3, Hendrick :-p
It will surprise absolutely no one who knows me to say that I am kind of in love with the mystery surrounding it. I was having a chat with someone about this the other day: Eve’s storyline is a bit of a curious mixture of the deep storyline you see in some of the bigger AAA games with none of the your-character-is-the-one-who-saves-us-all. A ton of depth and lots of room to work with, and that leaves a LOT of room for mysteries like this. The fact that after all these years, we still have little idea on the Talocan/Sleeper connection, or what these quarantines were all about, is pretty spectacular. And I don’t know of any other major game where the devs purposely lead us on this kind of easter egg hunt to figure out what is going on (if there is one out there, please let me know so I can dive in).
I’m also excited to see just how involved people have gotten with the new NPCs. It’s made the storyline a LOT more real for a lot of people. People who had never shown much interest in the lore before have been asking a lot of questions, trying to get into the storyline, and figure out where things are going. It’s no longer this abstract universe that is shown mostly through chronicles and news articles that you can skip: all of a sudden, these sleeper seekers and what they want are VERY relevant to your interests. What these potentially-podding NPCs do have a real impact on everyone’s game play. I’ve seen people show up in the lore slack asking questions, and it’s almost always humming with activity (to the point where I often can’t keep up with it and not get, ummm, fired at work, heh). Lore is back, and it’s back in a wonderful way.
So tl;dr, what do I think is the most interesting part of the new NPCs? All the lore, heh.