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I focus almost exclusively on PvP, whether solo, small gang, or large bloc warfare. In the past, I've been a miner, mission runner, and faction warfare jockey. I'm particularly interested in helping high-sec players get into 0.0 combat.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Data and Lore

One of my favorite Eve-related images is the “Two Kinds of Eve Players” picture that adorned the Rote Kapelle killboard of the two kids playing on the beach – one building a sandcastle and one inbound with a shovel to smash it apart.  It captures the two spirits that sit in balance in Eve: creation and destruction.  In Eve, it’s undeniable that players are able to engage in whichever kind of wish fulfillment they desire; do you have a repressed urge to create without the RL means, or do you want to destroy, either as catharsis or to find a purity in combat?  In Eve, you get to decide.

But there’s another dichotomy that seems particularly appropriate: data and lore.  Some players live for “spreadsheets in space” and quantify everything – profit per hour; optimal tactics for specific goals; perfect fits based on dps, tank, tracking, cap usage; value of their time, and “win” conditions.  The others, well they thrive on narrative, the experience, emotional satisfaction, and the dopamine rush of an engaging moment.  Put another way, you have people who love the data of Eve, and others who love the lore of Eve.

And my friends, I am totally a lore guy.

I'm part of a dichotomy! Sounds dirty.
Granted, this shouldn’t be a surprise to many people.  I’m always talking about the experiences, narrative, and player engagement.  More often than not, I don’t cite specific numbers; in my view of the world, numbers are a means of quantifying to others, not to myself.  For me, gravitas, dignitas, and will-to-power are more meaningful and influential than the number of soldiers or the quantity of salient points you make.  Hearts and minds, not dollars and units.

Yet, I’ve never been a real fan of the lore behind Eve’s story, the fiction that supported it.  Sure, I’ve read some of the summaries of “what happened” in those stories, but I’m naturally skeptical about the quality of science fiction writing after having read so much god-awful apologetic “people are terrible” writing in the past twenty years.  (Then again, this is just a really bad period for fiction in general… just awful).

But I’m really into all of the backstory behind the Drifers.  I’m loving and eagerly looking forward to the next Scope broadcasts, and I’m even breaking my rule of not watching video “articles” to enjoy them.  CCP is doing something really special by incorporating an in-game rationale for some of the new technology and content they’re putting out.

They’ve managed to give this new content an epic feel… “The Jove are gone; the sleepers have awoken!”  It all sounds so ominous. 

I suspect that part of the reason I’m so succeptible to the lore right now is the lack of real narrative content in null-sec.  Sure, things are changing mightily as a response to FozzieSov (or, EntosiSov, if you will), but the feel isn’t the same.  Empires are shrinking and collapsing, which is one of those negative feedback loops (more about that in a couple posts) that leaves you feeling smaller and less engaged.

But in its absence, I’m all about the lore CCP is putting out.  Keep it up!

What about you? Are you typically interested in the role-play lore CCP puts out?  If not, have you found yourself paying more attention to it like me?


  1. I recently busted down and purchased the three Eve books (Empyrean Age, Templar One and Burning Life) because Lore is all the rage these days. I'm one and a half books into Tony Gonzales's efforts and it's not a bad way to catch up on the Eve back story but good god he's an awful writer. Everybody growls, even during sex. For those of you who haven't read him yet, you have my sincere apologies since now, should you read him, the growls will leap of the page, grab you by the throat and never release.

    I'm told Danielsson is an even worse author but I'll suffer through just the same. I made this bed, it's time I lie in it.

  2. I am into the drifter story that is coming out and all these scope videos are interesting, apart from that, the general lore, i dont care about.

  3. Honestly, the drifters worry me a bit and I don't know why... They just feel a bit too powerful and out of place...

  4. I'm a bit of both. I use spreadsheets when I need to keep track of large sets of data, like when I was trading and wanted to keep track of my progress, or blitzing missions in low sec for LP. I use the numbers as a tool to see how well I'm measuring up to my own goals. OTOH, I couldn't care less about killboards.

    But, one of the major things that got me to join this game 9 years ago was the Lore. I loved the Minmatar story and made up my own lore for my main main that coincides with that. I even made up a storyboard for it when I was in a storyboarding class a few years later.

    The thing about the Drifters, and the thing that gets me excited in general are narratives. That is the piece of the lore that this game was missing. You can have all the chronicles and all the data and all the stories, but without the narrative they all fade into the black without ever passing their value along. I hope CCP keeps up with the narrative even after the culmination of the Drifter storyline.

    - Baljos Arnjak