This is a collection of short in-character fiction pieces about Awakened Industries, a group of capsuleers and their crews living in the enigmatic and dangerous regions of Wormhole Space in EVE Online. None of the protagonists are actual characters or corporations in-game. All similarities with persons fictional or real are possibly coincidental and only sometimes intentional. - Emergent Patroller

For an introduction to this blog refer to this link. You may also want to check out the guide for new readers

: The stories on this blog contain mature themes involving sexuality and violence and are not suitable for minors or sensitive people.

13 Aug 2013

OOC Entry 94 - doesn't like me

I was never a "forum warrior". I think my total comments on EVE-O in the three years I have played the game can be counted on one hand. I hardly ever engaged in commenting on EN24 or TheMittani either. I think I might have written a handful of comments here or there.

Today I read a rather interesting article on TheMittani, and I wanted to ask there how the author got their nice maps together. To my surprise I got the message "You are not allowed to post in this thread."

Now, it is no secret that I am not a friend of the GSF, although I do have a certain grudging respect for them. Still, there are other people out there who have been much more offensive in their blogging and posting against the Goons. Are they all banned too?

I am operating a web-proxy through my IP, and I know of one person who plays EVE who makes use of it, but he actually likes the Goons and he's generally a rather nice guy who doesn't post very aggressively, so I doubt he would have posted anything on TheMittani which they could find offensive enough to ban this IP.

I know there are people out there who have all kinds of conspiracy theories about Goons and how they have a "secret police" and all that. While I am of the opinion that they are engaged in systematic internal brainwashing of eachother, I really doubt that they actually trace IP adresses of posters and bloggers who are agitating against them and then ban them from posting on TheMittani.

So, the whole thing is a great mystery to me.

I was considering to write an email to TheMittani staff to ask how that ban came to be, but some sort of (probably false) sense of dignity prevents me from doing that. The last thing I want to come across as is some person begging at TheMittani to be allowed to post at their site.

Maybe curiosity will win out eventually. Or maybe I just will stop caring (I did find out that everything works fine if I use my neighbour's open WiFi).

What I mostly would like to know is what it all means, and I don't know if anybody who reads the emails sent to TheMittani would even know, and if they do, maybe the reason really does have  something to do with an actual worldwide Goon conspiracy.

If that were the case, I doubt they would tell me the truth :)

Then again, maybe someone has managed to go through my proxy and leave no traces while offending the moderators of TheMittani (actually the scariest thought of them all).

In any case, it's a conundrum, and I like those.

It also provided me with a reason for a rather random blog post.

Things could be worse :)

9 Aug 2013

OOC Entry 93 - Past Nightmares

I just published the next chapter of my newest story and the plot thickens.

I have deliberated quite a bit here. How extreme I should get with this episode which features part of Sandrielle's nightmarish past? I already had ideas of cannibalism and quite horrible sexual torture involving minors.

I must have been channelling Hiroaki Samura's Bradherley's Coach

In the end I decided to make it significantly less gruesome. After all, I don't want my blog to get banned!

It did occur to me, that I should probably put some sort of age warning on the whole thing. Not that I expect anyone who doesn't play EVE to find it, but you never know, Google indexes everything.

I guess it would not really serve the purpose of keeping minors away - after all, which 13 year old will be deterred by a warning that basically says "attention really gross and scary stuff inside?"

I reckon the whole thing is just for the purpose of protection against anyone who would find this blog and have some issue with it. Then I could point at the warning and say "But look, it says that it's not suitable for minors. It's not my fault that your child is now a nervous wreck after reading that."

I'll put that age warning there now, just in case.

For those of you who are mature enough to deal with scary stories, and who don't mind having your imagination taken to dark places. I hope you enjoy how the story goes on.

The episode ends with a really beautiful and emotional scene BTW, so it's not all dark and horrible.

5 Aug 2013

Blog Banter 48 - Our fictional cultural heritage

After Kirith Kodachi has generously taken on the Blog Banter mantle, he presents me with a subject I simply can not let pass (courtesy of CCP Sisyphus) :

How important is “fluff” in Eve online? Would eve online be the same if it were purely numbers and mechanics, or are the fictional elements important to the enjoyment of the game? Would a pure text, no reference to sci-fi or fancy names still be an engaging game? Should CCP put more or less emphasis on immersion?

For me there were two things that brought me to EVE: The recommendation of a friend, and reading the in-game lore after that. 

Just like Star Wars never needed the whole in-depth lore that was constructed around it to be a successful space opera, EVE doesn't need the lore to be a successful game, but in both cases it just makes the whole thing that much more captivating. (With the prequels, George Lucas has also shown quite effectively how you should not treat your body of lore)

To this day - while I am off "active duty" as far as the game is concerned - I am still actively engaged with it's lore by writing stories which I always strive to keep as faithful to the source material as possible.
The massive amounts of historical background, chronicles, fan-fiction and other contributions to the body of EVE-Lore is almost impossible to ignore. It is just always there like a dim reflection in a transparent surface.

Of course there will be the extreme camps who either go for full-on roleplaying and keep everything as much in-character as possible (even though, not even CVA flies exclusively Amarr ships AFAIK), and there will be those who are just min-maxing and metagaming in complete disregard of anything that has to do with the fictional universe they play in.

Most of us will probably occupy some middle ground between those two extremes. 

Anyone who chose a player race at the beginning for other reasons than "The Rifter is the best beginner PVP ship" or "Caldari have the best PVE ships" has made a more-or-less conscious decision to pick a side for other reasons than pure metagaming. 

It might have been the plucky image of the Minmatar as the successful rebels; the impressive Amarr ships which just radiate a sense of righteousness; the political idealism of the Gallente Federation or the no-nonsense military industrial complex of the Caldari.

Even if people are not actively engaged in factual roleplay they do stumble upon bits and pieces of the background material every so often. Fellow players will tell them stories, they might click on a link to a chronicle or they may wonder what those Angel Cartel guys they are shooting all day are actually all about.

Like children growing up in a world they are thrust into, many of us gain a sense of identity based on a fictional cultural heritage. It may not be strong, but you will sometimes read cries of "Amarr Victor!" or "For the State." in local. Some of us will feel drawn to that, and even those who don't tend to banter in the long hours of an EVE playing session about how Caldari have no sense for aesthetics or how Amarr are religious nuts.

Even Goonswarm - the ultimate metagamers with their own out-of-game community - couldn't resist and came out with a lore-influenced statement for the Caldari Prime live event (and complained a lot about the fact that they were not able to influence the outcome).

I myself had imagined a character background for the game when I started. In good old RP fashion. I didn't really become a roleplayer in EVE, but during my career as wormhole pilot and my brief excursion into the world of mercenary PVP, I always had a sense that I sort of stuck to the path this young woman could have taken if she were an actual citizen of New Eden. Especially wormhole space captivated me with it's dark romanticism and frontier mentality. 

That is also the reason why I keep writing stories about wormhole space capsuleers.

I am sure many players feel a similar undercurrent of influence from the lore that makes EVE the unique setting that it is.

So, the question remains whether I think CCP should do more to immerse people into all that lore.

My answer would be a definitive YES!

However, that has proved to be difficult in it's own way. 

Because there are large entities who can basically project their power everywhere, such events will always suffer from OOC (out of character) interference by those who just want to stick it to "those filthy roleplayers" or simply want to wreck a live event because they can.

It might seem that the only way to prevent this is to create pre-determined outcomes like giving the Minmatar tribal elders super overpowered modules, or by destroying the Shiigeru anyway.

It does not have to be like that though. 

It could easily be argued, that - based on lore - even a large Alliance like Goonswarm or TEST or Solar Fleet could never match the military power of an NPC empire. They may have thousands of capsuleers, with their amassed crews that might be dozens of millions of human beings, but the four large empires have populations numbering in the hundreds if not thousands of billions each.

If the Gallente wanted to destroy the Shiigeru and they would know (of course they have spies) that an empire of nullsec capsuleers were on their way to support the Caldari, then they would gatecamp each and every system in the vicinity with so may Moros Thanatos and Nyx (super)caps that even PL would swoon.

If the Minmatar tribes would go on a trek to bring their elders together for a big meeting, they would send so many fleet boosting Lokis to support their sympathisers that even a newbie in a Rifter could perform like a pilot flying a Dramiel with max skills.

So what if PL does successfully kill one or two of the Tribal Elders by hotdropping them in lowsec? What if Goonswarm does wipe out half the Gallente navy?

They would have their impact on the game but the outcome could still be more or less the same. However, unlike it happened before, the events would be consistent with the lore.

That consistency would be crucial.

If people then complain, their argument could easily be turned against them: Did you really think you are the only ones in this universe who can build Titans or blob with capfleets? 

No, I didn't think so either.

Would that require more manpower and more resources from CCP?

Definitely, but it would also make the live events more satisfactory and more "realistic", and that would enrich our fictional cultural heritage much more than some overpowered deus ex machina CONCORD module.

Others have written more extensively on that particular subject, so I leave it at that.

Of course there are also other sorts of immersion events. The whole Arek'Jaalan project was just amazing as was the beginning of the Sansha Incursions. (That being said, let some other faction invade highsec already. Sansha Kuvakei must have gotten the message.)

The problem is, CCP tend to drop those things and not iterate on them much, like they did on game mechanics in the past.

Now they are in game mechanics iteration overdrive, which is not bad, but I do feel that the lore needs it's iterations as well.

It wont bring more people from SomethingAwful, reddit, 4chan, Russia or other out-of-game community. Those people will just come anyway as long as they have friends in-game to play with.

I am sure it would attract more of those who do not have an established out-of-game bond with an in-game community. The more fictional cultural heritage CCP can create for such players to build on and to identify with, the better it will be for the game overall I dare say..

1 Aug 2013

OOC Entry 92 - Reflecting on Caldari Culture

I am back from travelling. Apart from the weather being way too warm it was great, and I am very much enjoying the regained use of my body. I still have quite a way to go before I am back where I was, but at least I don't feel like an infirm person anymore - I can actually walk for extended periods of time.

Anyway, since I am back from being mostly offline, I have picked story writing back up. In this chapter I bring back the abrasive Deteis bounty hunter Kassina Vikkonen. You may still remember - if you read the story - that she had been assigned to pick up the trail of that young corporate CEO who was hell-bent on punishing Keram for his past deeds.

After catching her quarry and her own personal Odyssey she happened to find the home system of Awakened Industries just when the big battle started.

That was where she was last featured in the story.

In this chapter I use her as a vehicle to transport some Caldari ideology.

I have often thought about the Caldari and how their society actually works.

With all the others it seems pretty intuitive: An Empire held together by faith, tradition and ancient culture. A democracy built on pluralism, idealism and diversity. A tribal republic that was forged in a rebellion against a powerful enemy.

How do the Caldari hold their society together though. What motivates them to remain citizens of the Caldari state? Of course, corporations can be very powerful foundations to build a personal identity on, but many of them holding together a society while they are engaged in competition.

Would that work?

Why would a Caldari citizen keep playing along with this Darwinian hypercapitalism even if they lost their material wealth or their job?

What I came up with in my mind is an ideology that borrows as much from Ayn Rand as it does from the most radical modern neo-liberal thinkers.

Mind you, I have never read anything by Ayn Rand or any modern neoliberals, but I have a man who is a social scientist, and while he is much more social-democratic in his own worldview, he has studied those philosophies extensively.

We had a lot of time to talk while I was occupying his convenient ground-floor workspace during the time when I couldn't climb the steps to my own second floor home ;)

So what makes the Caldari stick together, what made them secede and fight against the Gallente must be something like that: No other society offers the individual a greater possibility to manifest their own destiny. Freedom of choice is the highest ideal there is, but it can not be created by the benevolent guidance of a state authority like the Gallente might tell you. The only way to make sure that every individual can develop to their highest potential is to establish a framework where they can do everything within their abilities to succeed.

In a way, EVE Online itself - as a game - is very much how the Caldari state would work. You either make it or you don't. You make it by taking risks, by being smart, by using every trick in the book and every advantage you can get. If you are not able to make it as a leader, you find the best place you can fulfil as a follower.

The Caldari are also a very militaristic people. That ties in quite well with this uncompromising way of thinking, and there are historical examples like Sparta, early Imperial Rome, the Vikings and feudal Japan and the way it developed in modern times.

For a Caldari, it is very clear that each and every one of them can and will find their ideal place in society if only they try hard enough, and to achieve something must be exhilarating. It will also result in a society which can be very effective at self-regulating. Bureaucracy and law enforcement could be reduced to a minimum, and that is how it should be in their view. After all, anything else would restrict their freedom of choice, and the only thing that should really restrict that freedom is personal failure.

A Caldari who fails at manifesting their own destiny, would accept that they have lost their way. They would resort to the ultimate admittance: That their choices were wrong and someone else should better be in charge until they can get back on their feet.

Would they want social programs? Of course not, because that would stunt their ability to choose for themselves even further.

Would they accept the idea of slavery? No way! After all - in the end - the individual needs to get back on their feet and make their own choices again eventually.

I could write more on all of that, but the above is the essence of my reflections on Caldari society.

I have no idea whether a society like that would actually work, but even today - in our world - there are people who believe it would.

Well, I hope enjoy the story chapter. In the next one I will get back to Sandrielle and her predicament.