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.

25 Jun 2012

OOC Entry 30 - The Thunderstorm

Normally I do not write about in-game events, and normally I do not believe much of what is written on Evenews24, but this article captured my attention because the thunderhead that is now ready to unleash it's fury has been building up noticeably. Like the delivering release after ever more opressively hot summer days, I had actually wished for it to come:  The next Great War of New Eden.

When I started playing, the fires of the last one were dwindling. Band of Brothers had just ceased to exist, and not long after that, Goonswarm vanished from the scene. Because of unpaid bills mostly, but maybe also because the then leadership did not really know what to do after they had finally vanquished their sworn enemy.

Like Steve Jobs return to Apple, the installment of the Mittani as the leader of GSF brought new life to a force that seemed a bit clueless after having squandered the fruits of their great victory. Just like Steve Jobs was never really a brilliant engineer, the Mittani is not a brilliant pilot. He is however an inspiring leader and masterful actor on the stage that he has chosen, again like Jobs. Under Mittani's leadership, Goonswarm consolidated, grew and finally founded the Cluster Fuck Coalition.

That newly formed group fought the Northern Coalition to it's knees and watched as the formerly powerful DRF collapsed. Now the CFC, with Goonswarm at it's centre, has become the mighty Empire that BoB once was, and the Goons once came to destroy.

The question that occupied my mind whenever I looked at those events in recent history was this: Who will be the next Goonswarm? The force which will rise to the challenge of trying to bring the Empire down.

For half a year now it looked like the CFC had all of New Eden as their playground to do whatever they wished with. The campaigns became ever bolder. First they cleared the north of their last opponents there and in the end the CFC together occupied a good third of nullsec space. The Ice Interdicition followed and changed the market for POS fuel drastically. Then the Burn Jita campaign came ... it's outcome is still being questioned, but it was a daring blow at the heart of New Eden's market. Permanent Hulkageddon was declared, and the Goonswarm single-handedly reinstated insurance for suicide gankers that had previously been taken out of the game. All of this culminated in the formation of OTEC, the most ambitious market control mechanism ever attempted in the game.

During all this time, old enemies of Goonswarm were trying to attack what they thought were just pets. The other members of the CFC stood their ground, though, and the enemy forces had to realize that the CFC structure was not quite as totalitarian and linear as the old empires they had known. Eventually, some of the most driven warriors of EVE joined the fray to see what they could do against this seemingly unbeatable community.

Now the moment has come. The largest force EVE has ever seen, has been called to arms to destroy those provocateurs. With language strangely reminiscent of the once boastful BoB leaders when they declared that Goonswarm will be eradicated, the Mittani is ordering all of 'his people' (yes he really used those words) to destroy AAA, Nulli Secunda and everyone else who is allied with them.

The CFC, joined by Test Alliance and Pandemic Legion, has immense numbers and a very strong sense of community. Their opponents are a fractious lot, but some of them possess a fighting spirit and skill that hardly any of the CFC corporations have. The Mittani is selling this campaign to the coalition as an easy victory, but it might turn into a New Eden version of the Greco-Persian war of ancient times. I am already wondering where the battle of Thermopylae will be fought.

The other thing is, that Goonswarm, Test Alliance and Pandemic Legion are hated by almost everyone who is not a direct ally. The rest of the CFC is usually thrown together with them by the rest of New Eden. For most people the CFC is the Goons, even if they are not.

An interesting question that plays in my mind is: Will this be an event that unifies the suffering miners and industrialists of highsec. Will they - like Rundle Allnighter has offered on Lost In Eve Episode 77- sponsor the CFC's opponents with ships and other materials?

And then there is the looming giant in the east. Numerically inferior to the CFC, and likely not as strong fighters as AAA, Solar Fleet is still sitting mostly unchallenged in a vast section of space that now has become rather worthless. With the bulk of the CFC forces deployed in the south, will they make a move to try and break into the technetium-rich regions of the north?

Also, BoB has risen from the grave. Will this revenant of a once mighty empire play a role in all of this?

I wonder what plays in the minds of the Mittani and his inner circle. Are they really so confident (or megalomanic) that they are sure they will win this, or are they actually planning to make this a historic example of emergent gameplay during which the "Evil Empire" finally falls?

Considering his penchant for dramatic gestures, I would actually not even be suprised if this were what Alexander Gianturco has scripted as the Mittani's moment of glorious demise.

Whatever the outcome, alliances will be shattered, massive battles will be fought and the map will be redrawn. I hope it will be a map without the CFC. Not because I hate them so much, but because they have become a stultifying force.

More than a year ago, people thought that you soon wont be able to set a foot into nullsec without a Russian language course. These days, it looks like you need to play the CFC's game if you want to have some chance to build up a nullsec presence.

I wish for a new era where new Alliances can be formed and new beginnings can be made.

As for myself, I will watch the thunderstorm bring it's deluge from the snug safety of my rabbithole, and I hope, that every once in a while I can find my way out to cross the paths of some disorganized stragglers from a large battle and shorten their trip home to their clone bays.

I have friends on both sides of this war. I wish them well and hope that the New Eden which will rise from the ashes of this conflict will offer great new perspectives for all of them.

OOC Entry 29 - The software ate my story

Ok, I know, I was hopelessly late with my next episode. And you, my readers, have punished me with reduced visits to my blog.

Fair enough.

Well, to be honest, I was taking too long. I had started this story, and then rewrote the beginning several times. Eventually I had it almost finished in one whole session of two hours. It just flowed out of me.

And then I somehow forgot to save it, or reverted to an old version or whatever I did. One thing is certain, I did something wrong and lost all that work. So I had to basically start over after I had dealt with the loss.

But here it is, finally, after two weeks time. The next episode.

I recently watched the new Sherlock Holmes TV series, and then I watched the newest Dr. Who series which ran last year. I also wanted to bring Alira back as a focal point for an episode. So there we have a great mix: Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Who and my favorite Minmatar tomboy. So she gets to have her great moment in this episode which could save Awakened Industries from yet another threat.

However, it is not quite as straightforward as that. I have foreshadowed a role for my involuntary plot-driver Sylera in the beginning, and I have to make good on that, so she will be stepping up too.

As it turns out this story will become a five-parter (I need to get my stories shorter) and the 'to be continued' moment is assured to happen.

In the meantime, in non-fictional EVE, the Goons reveal that they have done a massive scheme on Faction Warfare and then cry when they get a backlash from it, Pandemic Legion suffered a theft of several hundred billion, and I have infiltrated myself into the wormhole of a corp in our alliance to attack them at any possible opportunity for educational purposes.

Also, I want to give a shoutout to the author of Tiger Ears because I just love her blog and she is my only female idol in the game right now. As for the boys: Kovorix last video is just amazing. I love what you and Kil2 are doing with the podcast even if you don't really know how wormhole PVP works :D I still have such respect for your skill and one day I want to be that good.

And of course love and appreciation to all members of my alliance. You are all great.

Also, for the record: Jade's nullsec corp are not Goon pets.

But I want Exohmim back! 


12 Jun 2012

OOC Entry 28 - Not the destination but the journey is what matters.

I spent some time dozing in bed and listening to the Podside #4 conversation. Somewhere halfway they start talking about new player experience and why there are not more people coming to nullsec.

While I really appreciate that large nullsec alliances take in new players from their various out-of-game communities, that is of little value to someone who is not, or does not want to be, a member of said community. What if you heard of EVE and join the game and then you hear about the great campaigns of Goonswarm and you want to join. Well, either you find out that you first have to get a paid for forum account, or you will be scammed and podded.

Or if you do get into another famous alliance. You will probably be subjected to all kinds of adolescent hazing rituals usually involving disgusting visual material of the gory or pornographic kind (or both at the same time) and then deal with a bunch of immature borderline sociopaths who can actually still laugh about jokes involving farts and penises.

Or let's say you end up with none of the above, but with some outfit that treats playing the game like a military operation or at least the proverbial "serious business". People who kick you from their corp if you don't risk your job, your social life or your relationship by setting your alarm at insane times, to make it to enough CTAs so you are allowed the privilege to stay with them.

If it's not that, then it's probably a language community (Germans, Russians, Polish etc.) So what if you are not one of those either?

Most of the time, if neither of the previously mentioned things apply, then it's often an unorganized group which gets completely devastated or dominated and exploited by any of the other powerful groups. Like Jade has said in his own comments about his way to nullsec in Lost in Eve Episode 75, it is nigh impossible to move to nullsec and establish something there if you don't play the game of the existing powerblocks in one way or the other.

There is one place in EVE where you can do that, and that is wormhole space. However, that is probably one of the most elitist communities in the whole game. Not because they are all self righteous bastards, but because wormholes don't allow you the mass movement approach of nullsec, neither do they offer you any security at all like highsec or lowsec. That means, if you don't have enough skills and the right skills you simply wont be able to survive in wormhole space.

However, at least wormhole corporations are usually very honest about that, while all those nullsec people on Podside do not admit one crucial thing: The very existence of their oppressively large powerstructures and the necessity to become part of them is what keeps people out of nullsec. At least for me that is the case.

Incursions have the same problem actually. In the beginning that was great fun. It was pretty dangerous for PVE content, and people tried their best to come up with meaningful fleet compositions. If you could fly a halfway decent ship fulfilling a meaningful fleet rule, you could join. Nothing for the very new players, but well I flew Incursions when I was in game for less than a year. These days, if you can't bring a faction fit Machariel you are excluded from all but the most amateurish fleets, and those with their super shiny ships will farm the whole Incursion system, or else wardec you because you interfered with their established systems of farming them.

My personal sense of achievement is not triggered by getting on a titan killmail with 250 other people, or killing the Tengu of Rundle Allnigther together with 130 of my alliance mates. Neither do I want to be given ISK and ships because I am a cute mascot from a youtube 'news' video or because I am a newbie, Not to mention that such 'gifts' - if they are not given out of real friendship or love - usually contain the hidden implication that you are supposed to give something in return eventually, and I don't like the idea of being in debt in ways that exist only in someone else's head.

No, what I like is the feeling that I contributed or achieved something meaningful. Not alone (it's a communal game after all) but also not as part of some massive anthill. What I also like is the idea of fighting - and winning - against the odds like Kil2 and Covorix do or groups like Noir Mercenaries and Rooks&Kings on a larger scale: By superiour strategy, tactics, creativity and skill.

What one needs to understand about this is, that such levels are not reached without a long path of learning. Not only because you need to wait for your skillqueue to finish, but also because you need to learn how your ships work, how they behave in different scenarioes, how you can fit them and how you shouldn't. That is not something which you get by being swallowed up by your Somethingawful/Reddit/4chan friends and having a load of ships and skillbooks dropped on you and told by an FC to work your way through a list of primaries that never had a chance against the alpha strike of your 300 ship fleet.

What one needs to understand to play EVE is, that the learning is part of the game. I myself was never really bored when playing EVE (ok admittedly I got bored a bit by solo mining, but then I just do some fitness training while keeping an eye on things, or listen to the news or a podcast).

The thing I find most interesting about the seeming lack of new players who want to understand this, is the fact that this model actually lies at the basis of some of the most successful solo games available these days. Games like Skyrim or Fallout (Mass Effect to a lesser degree) are a lot about exploring and finding every little thing there is to find out about a somewhat open-ended world. Sure, there is a storyline and at the end you get to have the big fateful battle that wraps it all up, but that is often the most disappointing part of the game.

I myself have actually become part of that small minority of wormhole dwellers with their crazy skill requirements. The reason I could was, that I spent my time in-game learning about things while I was still at the point where I needed to run level 3 missions so I could get the ISK to buy a ship which would allow me to do more, or afford a handful of frigates I could fly to lowsec and lose in unequal engagements. I did that despite the fact that I had an extremely risk-averse CEO in the beginning who told us to never go into wormholes or nullsec and avoid lowsec if at all possible.

For me that game is not about getting somewhere, it is about undertaking the journey and experiencing ever new things, whether that is a mission you never ran, a system you have never been to, a story you never heard or a ship you never flew or a battle you never won before.

People who can not or will not see it this way, will probably eventually realize that EVE is simply not a game they like, or otherwise be kept going by their alliance masters until they burn out.

That is where I have found - and still find - a feeling of achievement. So I will close this loooong piece with a shoutout to the people who have accepted me into their corp, and to the ones who have made it, and still make it, the great place it is for me and all of us ... and yes, we are now helping new players to get a lower threshold entrance into wormhole life as well.

8 Jun 2012

OOC Entry 27 - Almost one week too late

Well, the weather has become less stable, so I had more free times in the evenings. I actually ended up playing EVE as well, yay. Well, most of the time yesterday was spent in our recruitment channel where I supposedly flirted with someone (which I do not remember), and in my corp channel having ... interesting ... conversations (which I do remember to my embarrassment).

Anyway, the whole purpose of this post was to announce that I finally got round to finishing part 3 of my latest story. In this chapter the circumstances of the Minmatar captain's sudden death in the last chapter are explained. The story's main adversaries get some 'screen time' too and the storm is brewing.


5 Jun 2012

OOC Entry 26 - Credit where it is due

Dear readers.

I know, I know, I promised one chapter per week and it is tuesday and I have not delivered yet. I am working on it, but due to great weather which draws me outside in the evenings I simply didn't make it. One thing about this country is, that as soon as the evenings turn lush everybody falls over themselves to organize a barbequeue. I guess it's the fact that lush evenings without rain are such a precious commodity here where I live.

Anyway, I didn't want to lose too much words on justifications for my inexcusable break of promise, but take this opportunity to give thanks to all the people who have worked on great resources that I keep coming back to as references for my stories.

Of course there are the various EVE Chronicles. Some of them are quite good, quite a few are not. All of them are worth looking to as references in one way or the other. People who read my stories tell me they are better than the chronicles. While I am very wary of the temptation to feel flattered, I do find that I have written better material than some of the pieces in that collection. I also know that I have written worse than some others.

A great intro guide to EVE lore is Mark726 Lore Primer. This man has devoted a lot of work to compile a concise yet short collection of facts about all that is New Eden. Everybody who cares at least a bit what world they play in should read it. If you read any piece of EVE related lore, it should be this one.

Speaking of devoting great amounts of work: For someone like me who is writing about life in Wormhole Space, there is nothing greater than the compilation of fictional knowledge represented by the Arek'Jalaan Project.
This must be the largest player-generated body of lore for any game ever. I myself have probably not read half of it, and they keep adding content. Some of the work approaches the level of actual astronomical research, I mean, take a look at this! Other people build nullsec alliances, those people do scientific research in EVE.

Despite being a rogueish wormhole pilot, my heart is still Gallente, and as such I can only thank Seriphyn, the writer of The Fully Factual Guide to the Federation. What Mark726 has done in breadth, Seriphyn has done in depth. This is the authoritative lore compilation about the Gallente. I wish someone would do the same for the other races. I am afraid I would not have the time and/or patience ... well who knows? Maybe one day when I am a metagaming bitter old vet, and writing EVE lore is my last remaining real pleasure related to the game.

Last but not least I would like to mention another Gallente related resource which I used. Not as much, because my stories do not take place in Empire Space very often, but still, it was very nice for some background. This being the guide to Populous Temperate Worlds in the Gallente Federation. Ever wonder what goes on down there on the worlds you warp past (or through)? This guide will give you an impression.

So without further ado, I would like to thank all the people who put in so much work to create sources of inspiration, information and entertainment which have made it possible for me to give my own stories more depth.

I love your work.

P.S. And to all those who I did not find yet on my search for background material. I love your work too, even if I don't know it (yet). I just love that you are doing it. If you read this and you have something lore related somewhere online, please let me know.