I have a confession to make—despite being a lorehound of the highest order, I don’t really consider myself a role player. What do I mean by that? Essentially, although I devour/inhale/read up on all the lore I can, and try to advance the game’s storyline however I can (let’s just get the not-so-subtle advert for my recently released Project Compass 2.5 report out of the way now), I really don’t step into my character very often to join other role players in reacting to the game’s events. I will when necessary, but frankly, that’s just not my cup of tea. So I thought it might be useful for others if I gave a brief rundown of how to keep up-to-date in the game’s storyline, or even dip your toe into creating your own content if you’re like me and don’t really have time to go round-for-round in the Intergalactic Summit (or IGS for short).
The most obvious place to start is CCP-certified content (and I don’t mean this website). CCP posts their own content in a few places if you’re looking for the most up-to-date news. First, you have the game world news section of Eve’s community page. This section of the page will have a variety of stories from the (seemingly) mundane to breaking news when CCP needs to pick up the storyline pace. Adding that to your RSS reader or daily update list is usually a good idea if you’re looking for broader ideas of what’s going on.
After that, we have Eve’s official youtube channel. CCP’s been hitting it out of the park recently with their in-game SCOPE news broadcasts (and not just because they have a few cameos from yours truly!). They’re well produced, and often bring a new perspective on happenings in-game. The news ticker will also often give hints on upcoming in-game mechanics or storylines; it’s usually worth rewatching the updates at least once just to see what the ticker is saying. Rumor has it that CCP wants to take this a bit farther and start having updates from rival news services to see different perspectives on the same events. If they follow through on that, it’d be an awesome new way to see the world develop.
Finally, the last source I want to mention is Eve Online Now, a Tumblr-type blog that CCP will occasionally release unique content on. It’s been a bit quieter in recent weeks, but earlier in the year it was dropping a LOT of hints on the then-upcoming Drifter and Sleeper storylines, giving us all kinds of things on which to speculate.
I was originally going to leave this out, but it looks like live events may be starting up again with the one we saw last week in Yulai. For those who may not be aware, CONCORD had invited prominent medical researchers to their home station in Yulai to discuss the autopsy of a Drifter corpse. The live press conference was interrupted when Drifter ships appeared outside of the Yulai station to jam the broadcast (apparently, the Drifters are a bit camera-shy, even in death). It took a concerted capsuleer effort to drive them off again.
Live events, unfortunately, have a bit of a mixed history. They can be a fun and great way to let people participate in the game’s storyline, but CCP has sometimes had trouble with either railroading an ending to the live event (meaning that they only have one outcome regardless of what the players do) or being caught by surprise when capsuleers get mischievous and try to mess with CCP’s plans. Also, the live events tend to be limited to EUTZ only, meaning that I haven’t participated much (though I can’t blame the lore team much for wanting to, you know, actually sleep). That being said, it’s usually worth at least poking your nose in at a live event to see what’s going on. CCP will often have event actors, colored-text people in local controlled by CCP employees, who either drop storyline hints or generally interact with the players and say what’s happening for those without the benefit of a direct view.
Now we get to the less official areas, which, while not always canon, are good places to head to if you want the best tinfoil for your buck.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t start with the rising star of lore collaboration: the Lore channel in the tweetfleet slack chat. For those of you who may not be familiar with this, Slack is essentially a giant chatroom from your browser (or mobile device), like the IRC days of old. Most of the best lore minds out there will often hang out in the lore channel to discuss the latest updates, rumors, and general speculation. Some of the lore people at CCP will often poke their heads in as well. Hilariously, it’s usually even more active than the general discussion chat, which shows just how much interest the recent storylines has piqued with the players. It’s free to join but I’m pretty sure the tweetfleet Slack has broken Slack, so you’ll need to sign up for it here.
If you’re looking for something a little more casual, there’s always Twitter. The #tweetfleet is more popular than ever, going on six years at this point with no signs of stopping. Breaking lore news will often be tweeted and retweeted, and it’s a great place to see what some of the more well-known lorehounds are up to. Following Rhavas, Uriel Anteovneucci, and Morwen Lagann (and me if you’re so inclined) is a good way to get fairly breaking news. Ashterothi, along with Phyridean and Lockefox, run the excellent Hydrostatic Podcast, which keeps up-to-date on lore as well. If you’re looking for sneak peeks of what may drop in the next release, Sarmatiko has become very proficient at digging through the static data exports for upcoming new game assets.
But let’s say you want to do more than just read about the news. What if you want to try for that greatest of honors: getting a five second cameo in a Scope video or a shoutout in a news article? Unfortunately for the RP-averse among you, this probably means you’ll have to at least try to go in-character, but I promise you we can keep the :lolrp: to a minimum.
The biggest thing you can get involved in right now is either research or speculation. CCP has been giving a lot of credit to people who are willing to put the work in to come up with a comprehensive theory explaining recent in-game events (or a segment thereof), or research aspects of the game. For example, they have been giving a lot of love to the Hydrostatic lore panels, where the panelists talk for about two hours on recent in-game events (disclaimer: I’m a panelist). But CCP likes it because it shows an understanding of the game’s storyline and educated guesses about what is coming next or what the end game is. Hanging out in the aforementioned lore Slack is a good place to see these theories take shape, and add your own before making it more public (usually in the IGS or a blog).
If you have more of a research inclination, there are quite a few mysteries out there to solve. To use my own example (shockingly, NOT the Children of Light), I’ve long been interested in establishing exactly where wormhole space is in relation to the New Eden cluster. Anyone who has spent time with the game’s static data export knows that wormhole systems have their own set of in-space coordinates roughly 1,300 light-years away from New Eden, but in character, w-space’s location is a complete mystery (indeed, it’s not even clear from the storyline if CCP actually wants w-space located where it is, or if that was just an arbitrarily chosen location for practical purposes). So a lot of my in-game work has been focused on methodologies that use in-game mechanics to estimate the game’s location (and don’t worry, I won’t bother you with the math, but if you’re interested, you can see my Project Compass reports here).
Another recent example is the newly-released autopsy of a Drifter corpse, which I mentioned previously. The remarkable thing about this is that the autopsy report started with a purely visual inspection of Drifters as we saw them in various game trailers. From there, the authors worked with CCP to come up with fully-fleshed out autopsy and analysis of Drifter bodies (CZ’s Mizhir was involved in that project, you can read about it here. -Ed.) This in particular highlights how working with CCP can help you further your own research projects.
The thing that these two examples have in common is that it takes what can already be found in-game and uses real world knowledge to extrapolate conclusions. We’re not dealing with hand waving, nor purely making things up. We’re making medical conclusions based on what we can see in trailers, or using results from reproducible experiments that anyone in-game could play around with if they had their druthers (and a calculator), then combining it with our knowledge of the game’s backstory, which sounds an AWFUL lot like Actual Science if you ask me (applying the scientific method in-game? THE HORROR). Others out there have done thorough experiments on Drifter battleships to see what they do or do not respond to, or carried out careful observations of Sleeper activities. These are the ways to get CCP’s attention—find something you’re interested in and using your own logic and observations to help solve the problem. There are plenty of mysteries out there still to explore.
I hope this has been helpful as an introduction to the resources available to budding lorehounds and role players. I know I’ve touched on the big sources that I keep an eye on, but if I missed anything, please let me know in the comments!
Tags: lore, Mark726