Friday, February 21, 2014

EVE Online: Origins

“It is a common belief that, several millennia ago, humanity's ancestors traveled through [the EVE gate] and its then-stable wormhole to populate the New Eden cluster. When the wormhole later collapsed, the colonies were severed from the worlds which sustained them, bringing a dark age upon the inhabitable worlds. Millions perished on other colonies in the ensuing chaos.”

Once upon a time, according to our EVE lore, before New Eden was populated with great empires, established trade routes, and densely populated space suburbs, New Eden was comprised of small colonies, struggling to eek out the basics of survivability.

A lot of people talk about wanting ‘more’ from an expansion. And, I admit I have often thought it would be fun to design my own fantasy expansion –chalk full of new features and gameplay that would keep me entertained a few more weeks.

However, I have continuously been intrigued by the concept of colonization in EVE. And as one idea led to another, I was drawn into thinking about what it would be like if we gained access to a universe with decidedly less than what we have now—less rules, less help, less information, less safety.

Imagine a place so immersive, you never want to leave. A place so brutal and harsh, that even the most hardened and experienced of EVE players find themselves in situations where they once again feel the adrenaline rushing through them and the hair rising on the back of their necks.

Imagine a place so vast, you can get lost in the darkness. A place where you either hunt or are hunted, and must protect yourself from strange, new threats.

Imagine a place where your goal is no longer to conquer vast amounts of space, or build large empires, but simply to survive another day.

Eve Online: Origins

My expansion starts with the unconventional decision by CCP not to release all of the details of what the expansion holds. They give information regarding some of the ‘big stuff’ for marketing purposes, but there are no dev blogs where we can argue the finer points of stats, and everything discussed is pure speculation of what might be 'behind the curtain.'

We know there is new space, but how to find it and what it will contain when we reach it is completely unknown.

The first pilot to find the link, is you.



Unchartered Space

You find it while going about your business exploring in wormhole space. You come across a signature that appears to be a wormhole, but it is so weak you have some difficulty in pinpointing it.

It is indeed a wormhole, but unlike any you have ever found before. It is completely unlabeled, and there is no information whatsoever as to where it might lead. It also appears that it is already very unstable.

But, you do what any self-respecting explorer would do. You jump through it to see what’s on the other side.

You are instantly greeted by the faint light of twin stars, but are somewhat disoriented by the sudden feeling of vast emptiness. Those celestial beacons that would normally pop up on your overview when you enter a new place are strangely absent. It’s as if you have entered a completely empty solar system.

Gathering your wits, you flip open your system scanner and give it a go. And you quickly realize that this place is anything but empty. What appears to be dozens of asteroid belts, planets, and other celestials scroll down the results screen of your scan, but all attempts to get these items to show up on your overview fails. (You briefly have the thought that maybe CCP’s new space is bugged!)

You notice another result on your system scanner –a signature that your scanner isn’t quite sure how to identify. It appears to be a large ‘made’ structure but what it is, is unknown.

You carefully bookmark the wormhole behind you, and activate your warp engine--your curiosity outweighing your sudden feeling of imminent danger. It is an extremely long warp, and you realize that the structure must have been just on the inside of your ship scanner’s distance limitations.

The structure looms over you when you arrive, and you realize that it was probably quite stupid to just warp to it at 0. It is obviously a stargate, but it is unlike any other stargate you have ever seen. First, is it’s magnificent size--as if an entire fleet of capitals could pass through it. And second, is its foreign construction. It is black, and the entire area seems shrouded in shadow. It’s as if the entire thing was made out of pure ebony.

You feel a chill run up your spine, and you quickly activate your propulsion, attempting to put a little distance between your ship and this monstrosity. You briefly consider jumping through this gate as well, but something tells you that you probably won’t make it back home in one piece if you go much further in this place.

Refreshing your scan reveals a couple other such structures. More gates? Where do they go? Are there more systems like this?

It’s as if you have stepped into a completely unknown, unchartered region of space. A place where the normal rules of any civilization you have ever known, simply do not exist.

After taking a profuse amount of screen shots to prove your story to your friends, you turn your ship around and decide to make one more stop before going home and getting help. Your ship has identified the celestial as an asteroid belt, but it has no name—because this solar system has no name

As you are in warp you realize another odd thing you didn’t see before. There is no ‘local’ channel. Not like the wormhole system you just left where you must announce yourself to make your presence known.

There is simply no channel at all. It doesn’t exist.

You land on grid, and you almost pee yourself as your ship nearly collides with an asteroid that completely dwarfs your little covert ops ship.

You scroll back a bit, and your mouth gapes open just a little. It is as if you have stepped into the universe of giants. There are asteroids the size of capital ships, and if you had to guess –bigger.

My mining buddies are going to throw up when they see this… You think in glee. This is the JACKPOT.

As you fumble to get a screen shot, you jump at a sudden flashing light and the sound of metal screeching on metal. A strange, black ‘X’ appears on your overview denoting an unknown kind of NPC.

There is another flash of light as your ship bursts into flames –almost immediately entering structure. All thoughts of screenshots leave you as you scramble to warp.

Warp. Warp. Warp anywhere!

What the hell was THAT?

You decide that now would be a good time to make your exit from this place. If something merely looks at you wrong, you will explode, and the only thing separating you from what ever dangers lurk here will be the thin shell of your capsule.

You warp back to the wormhole which is blinking faintly, and sigh in relief as you jump home. You take a moment to breath first, and then scroll out so you can bookmark this site. This bookmark could be very, very lucrative if offered to the right people.

To your dismay, the wormhole has collapsed behind you, only strong enough to handle the two way trip of a small covert ops ship.

Before you warp off, you notice your map icon is blinking at you. You open up the once familiar interface, and the entire expanse of New Eden greets you. But there’s something new.

“Would you like to create a new map?” Aura is asking you.

A new map? Yes please!

You click ‘yes’ and your new ‘map’ denotes one, tiny, seemingly insignificant solar system –the place you just exited. You are able to name the system whatever you like, as well as the map itself. Information regarding everything you scanned is automatically updated into the record –asteroid belts, moons, and the strange structures that you can now identify as a stargate.

But there is so much you have to leave blank. Like, what resources the planets held…and where the stargets led…and who the strange inhabitants were that nearly blew up your ship.

Things to discover another day.

To be continued….


  1. It would be amazing - for the first people through.

    How long before all WH were identified, down to which planets were where ?

    How long before guides proliferated, documenting the hows and whys to defeat these new sleepers.

    How long before EvE players were simply milking ISK ?

    Now, to be honest, if you had to name each system as you saw fit AND that information was particular to yourself. i.e. anyone else flying to that system would name it differently.

    That would be cool except it would become general knowledge rather quickly to all players what identifier the game uses to track that system and, by default, all players would know those names so as to build a database quickly.

    In such new information searches, the collective brain of the EvE player community is VASTLY greater than the collective brain of CCP.

  2. I love all of that, start to finish


  3. Love it. Great idea, great writing. CCP take note. Thats what we need

  4. I agree with Knug...Your vision reminds me of my first few months in New Eden and I have to admit that I miss those experiences. But opening new unexplored systems (even 2000 of them) would only provide a temporary exploration opportunities. Very quickly after the release of the expansion, all of the new unknown space would be charted and named. Presumably, we'd have to build the infrastructure (stargates, stations, beacons, etc...) and that would take the resources of only the largest corps (most of the 'explorers' that I know don't belong to such corps and would be shut out). Soon after the release, with all of the new systems mapped and named and basic infrastructure in place, the blue donut's influence would gradually envelop the previously blank patches, and then we're back to where we started.

    This expansion would bring a year or two of new opportunities, and hopefully CCP will have something else up their sleeves to keep our attention (beyond rebalancing the new minerals and tweaking the new sleeper AI), but it seems like a stop-gap measure to me.

    CSM take note: Colonization sounds like a fun idea, but its appeal will be limited in scope and duration.

    - Crash

  5. Poetic Discourse
    Moved to New Venue and Address
    4 months ago

    You should remove me from your blog roll ... since it does not exist anymore.

  6. Sounds great but I rather suspect it'd pan out more as "encounter strange new wormhole, refer to the new 'strange new space' section on eve-survival, know everything there is to know".. :(

    I do love the idea though the only way I can see it working is through some procedurally generated space such that it was infinite in scope, always having unexplored borders. The trouble with this approach is that you have to track that space once it starts being interacted with, leaving CCP with the headache of an unbounded set of systems to keep track of... :(

  7. THIS post made me add you to my blog roll. I'm less for finding it so late. Imagination. Eve Universe is ripe with imagination. Such potential!

    Oh, yes, the popular FW post was excellent, too. Still haven't gotten around to trying FW ... so much to do, so little time.