Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Lore. What is it good for?

This month's topic is a request from CCP Sisyphus who wants to know how important is Lore in EVE Online?
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 more entries, see here.

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Lore is extremely important to some people.

I even used to be one of those people. Curious about the mysteries behind the motivations of the various factions, the intrigues and machinations of empires clashing, the epic battles and nefarious deeds, the well known figures and hidden shadows.

But ultimately, you realize it is simply stage backdrops. A backlot on a Hollywood studio. Intricate facades with empty rooms. There are no secret agents moving on stations to thwart you; there are no military buildups preparing for invasion; there are no masterminds plotting to rip an empire in two with a manufactured civil war.

Instead there are AIs and subroutines and the same missions in randomly picked spots. Inactive fleets that are simply decorations. Stations you can't even walk around except for a small captain's quarters. Smoke and mirrors at best, cardboard cutouts at worst.

I love the potential backdrop of the EVE universe and I use it as setting for writing my fiction, but when I'm in game flying in my ship I don't get two craps about what the in game lore says.

I care about the in game realities.

The alliance and coalition wars that spill over regions, the machinations of spymasters and dramas on forums. Histories that go back eons in gaming terms; vendettas, grudges and revenge. Eve is so rich in player lore that the in game lore pales in comparison. Who cares about the pretend history of the Dominix when you can map the development of the fleet doctrines over time as powers rise and fall? What's more compelling, the pretend assassination of a pretend character leader of the pretend Minmatar empire, or the actual assassination of a Revenant super carrier of one of the most powerful alliances in game by a coalition of plucky underdogs? Which do you care more about: the staged attack of Sansha's Nation forces on Yulai or the real attack on 6VDT-H by the CFC which resulted in the largest battle in Eve's history, and perhaps one of the largest battles in internet history?

Lore has its place, but player made Lore is far superior.


  1. Chanina9:19 am

    "Which do you care more about: the staged attack of Sansha's Nation forces on Yulai or the real attack on 6VDT-H by the CFC which resulted in the largest battle in Eve's history, and perhaps one of the largest battles in internet history?"

    In this case I have to choose the former before the latter. The beating between CFC and TEST was nice and I find it really amazing that the technology is there to make such a battle "work". But if you aren't involved in politics, why should you care who dominates 0.0 or who is controlling the T2 Material market?

    It surely shapes the universe in its own way but viewed from the distance there is no difference between those battle accept that someone else was beating each others. I wasn't there tho it is almost the same.

    Would it be entertaining to have the universe shaped by the players alone? Well, maybe, for a short time. But in current constellation someone would try to ruin the game for someone else leaving us with less choices and fewer variations.

    Can you try to write one of your fan fiction where someone else is always popping in and killing your just announced main character? They would ROFL a lot but the story would be very very boring and monotone for any viewer.

    1. Anonymous11:25 am

      +1 for me personally. The "largest battle in internet history" is not game lore. Its player politics (at best..at worst its meta-game and not related at all), and those are two very different things.

    2. I would respectfully disagree. The Goons are some of the most dedicated roleplayers EVE has. They don't really play some faction based in the EVE lore, but they just play Goonswarm. Just read any post by The Mittani addressing the coalition. Nobody really talks like that if they're not following a script.

      I would say that 6VDT sure is part of the player created lore. Burn Jita for example isn't, because if there actually were an active Caldari State rather than a passive AI and aggression mechanics, then Burn Jita would not last longer than a few hours before the Caldari Navy appears there and blobs everyone.

  2. Emergent Patroller is getting at something, which is that the reason that lore is not significant to most people, day to day, is that until very recently, CCP has made the decision to use the factions as wallpaper. They're not interesting because they're not intended to be. The howling from VFK if Burn Jita had been shut down by a blob of NPC faction police would be tremendous--the implausibility of the Caldari Navy's lack of response to an assault on their flagship station is completely irrelevant to them. They only respect the metagame, and in the metagame NPCs are--and must be--irrelevant.

    The danger of overemphasizing lore is that your game turns into a DragonLance module, with the players tagging along as events unfold. The danger of underemphasizing lore is that your vast persistent universe turns into a small town with a couple thousand rooms, because the trillions of people nominally sharing the universe with you have no impact at all on play, except perhaps as a convenient ISK fountain.

    As an immersive player, I would much rather have the empires act like living, powerful things--even if it "interferes with the sandbox," and yes, those are scare quotes--because no empire in history has been wallpaper and it is ridiculous that trillions of people should have no impact on the course of events. If CCP is planning to have them collapse, then I hope something replaces them, or EVE will feel even smaller and even emptier than it currently does, especially relative to the lore.

  3. Targh D'yer5:33 am


  4. Grim Dredtog8:15 pm