Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Incursion Storyline Interview

I had a chance to send some questions to CCP's storyline masters CCP Dropbear and CCP Headfirst back in January and totally missed the email response with the answers I received on January 19th. I suck. I blame the excitement of BMTHOKK around that time.

Anyways, here is the interview now, sadly almost two months late.

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1. Is there going to be more information (or misinformation) released about the inner workings of the current Sansha nation? I.e. how the structure of the True Slaves is organized, is there any True Citizens left, what are the new mysterious pod pilots made from ordinary citizens, etc?

As we move forward with the Sansha Incursion plot line, you can expect to see at least some of your storyline questions answered during the finale, which will take place shortly before the final phase of the expansion launches. Players who have made an effort to show up to as many events as possible are already piecing the story together from the clues we’ve dropped.

1a. Will we get a chance to 'meet' some True Slaves through fiction and explore their motivations (or lack thereof)?

While the chronicle system of publishing has come to an end, we’re exploring other options for presenting narrative fiction to the player base. For now, the best way to find out about what’s going on is by staying current on the forums, following fan sites, and showing up to events as they occur in game.

2. Are we going to get a chance to explore what has transpired with Master Kuvakei in the 70+ years since the four empires crushed his original Nation in YC 37? I.e. any confirmation whether or not this is Sansha Kuvakei or a clone or an imposter?

Some of these details have been revealed already, usually during events. The most recent Incursion cinematic trailer also revealed a couple of good hints… Also, keep your eyes on for even more information.

3. Will there be any technical articles released describing how True Slaves and other Sansha slaves actually operate, or how their modifications are implanted in their bodies and function?

Between the existing chronicles, Hjalti Danielsson/CCP Abraxus’s recent novel The Burning Life, and the official forums, a lot of this has already been expressed. But it would be great to have a unified source of information on all things Sansha, wouldn’t it?

4. Will GM/Dev live events still occasionally occur once the automated Sansha Incursions are released on after Jan 18th?
We’re confident that, given the kind of attention they’ve received from our players, live events will continue even after the final release of Incursion. While they were an inspiration for the design of the Incursion system itself, live events will still be used to convey other important parts of the storyline. Beyond that, we’re hoping to explore particular factions, individuals, themes, and events.
5. Is there a definite long term storyline arc for the course of the incursions or is it being left open ended? I realize this might be a hard question to answer without giving too much away, so I follow this up with a related question that might be more answerable:

As much as possible, we’ve enjoyed leaving the major twists in the Sansha plot up to the players, with the outcomes of major battles deciding what happens next. That said, we have some interesting ideas for different directions we could go. As far as the Incursion feature itself, with new NPCs, etc., the gameplay there is designed to be open-ended so that we can advance or discontinue it once we feel the story has run its course.
5a. Are there plans to possibly allow the other pirate empires (Guristas, Blood Raiders, Angel Cartel, and Serpentis) to launch their own incursions (or similar pve events) in future expansions? Or are they too 'civilized' to disrupt the empires the same way?

We’ve definitely considered the idea, but whether or not it makes it into the game anytime soon depends on where it fits into our current priorities, especially with Incarna on the horizon.

6. Will more light be shed upon the supposed collaboration between the Jove and the Sansha?

There was never any collaboration between the Sansha and Jove.

7. Will more light be shed upon the Sansha ability to control wormholes at will?

Inquisitive and creative members of the Sansha opposition have already compiled an immense amount of field research into how they’re able to control wormholes, and those people have come to some interesting conclusions… probably the most profound of which is that it seems the Sansha are generating these portals from a single source device, a fact discovered by clever players “backhacking” the invading forces during the Antem uplink series of events.

8. The four main empires and the other four pirate empires have considerable military might and much to lose to Sansha. How will their lack of action on the issue be explained?

Some of this was explained in the chronicle “Uplifted,” while the rest has been covered by the times when representatives from each nation show up during live events. The basic premise is that the Sansha, who are masters of cybernetics and hive mind computing are, not surprisingly, also quite adept at electronic attacks. Their viral broadcast easily disables the bulk of typical national and factional fleets. Capsuleer vessels, on the other hand, are modern marvels of Jove technology enhanced by other major scientific advancements barely a decade old; hence, they’re the only ones with the ability to respond consistently to the Sansha threat.

9. I swear to Jove I will pay you isk if you get Master Kuvakei to show up local when an incursion happens in Ushra'Khan's current space and says "We come for your people."

If Master Kuvakei ever shows up in your system, you had better hope you’ve got a few hundred of your best friends with you…
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A huge thanks to CCP Dropbear and CCP headfirst for answering my questions back in January, and thanks to CCP Adida for making it happen.


  1. Nice! Here's hoping we continue to get details on what is happening "behind the scenes" with the Sansha...

  2. I'd felt bad during the Dropbear interview when I realized how much of a duo he and Headfirst are. This is some good stuff, man. You planning to take part in the Sansha Epilog stuff Headfirst is referring to?

  3. I have no personal plans, but if opportunities arise, who knows?