Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Whatever Happened To Rogue Drones?

When I started EVE back in the dawn of time (2006 to be precise) I looked around the universe and thought to myself, "those rogue drones are sure going to be trouble down the road". When the Drone regions suddenly had stargates become active to make them open to capsuleers in the Revelations expansion a couple months later, I felt my suspicions were confirmed. "They," I thought, "are the Big bad of the future."

After all, with sites and structures like this floating around in space:
From Aeon's EVE blog.
And this:
From Interstellar Privateer blog
Not to mention the missions you come across in PvE, it certainly seemed at the time in 2006-2007 that Rogue Drones were going to grow in importance as a threat to all of New Eden.

And its a perfect trope for dytopian sci-fi space opera as well, a Frankenstine's Monster tale writ large across the stars, technology run amok and out of control of the power-mad scientists who dared to play god and try to create life, etc. They also would have made a perfect foil to players, a mirror of sorts, both capsuleers and rogue drones presenting a growing threat to the established empires, examples of technology that the empires sought and nurtured but that spun out of their control and threaten their very existence, the only threat to the growing power blocs being their dark mirror twin, and only one can survive in New Eden. One a conglomeration of soulless and heartless monsters that consume all resources and squeeze out all competition in their path for domination, the other an advanced drone AI that wants independence.

Read this for an example of the horror. *Shudder*

However, things did not go that way.

The Apocrypha expansion took the focus of the lore off New Eden and exposed us to the beginning of a larger and deeper world. Empyrean Age broke the stasis that the game had kept the empires in and started to lurch them shambling into the forefront. And the Rogue Drones took a step back as a result, the last meaningful part they played in the unfolding drama was a 5th business role in the chronicle "We Humans" where they are shown enslaved to unknown but definitely human masters. They manage to free themselves in that story (or at least be freed through destruction), but that is their send off note as they have retreated into stasis, their regions and missions and complexes and NPCs mere echos of a different game that EVE was in 2003-2008.

With Drifters taking centre stage in the lore as the unknowable and possibly inhuman menace to the empires and direct competition for capsuleers, there seems to be no need for our old foes with binary thoughts and electronic senses. I only hope that they are biding their time and waiting for the spotlight to come around to them again in the future.

Machines, after all, are nothing if not patient.


  1. Pretty much the dronelands turned out to be so terrible that even the drones are repressed by them. Sad ending but we never know what will happen in the universe.

  2. Good, thought provoking post! I, too, always wondered what became of rogue drones within the lore. They seem to have been forgotten, in general - perhaps we might see them make a resurgence someday. I would welcome a new storyline there.

  3. Anonymous12:06 am

    The view in the video where the capsuleer body was being picked up by a (then) unknown entity, the close up really reminded me of an Alvus Matriarch/Patriarch. The colour was different, but that circular glowing shape... and I had a small shiver thinking about the kind of enemy we would face if the sleepers and rogue drone had combined forces....

  4. I always read 'We Humans' as the Drones being enslaved to *their own* programming, if that makes sense. The 'wheel of order' resides within them, I thought. They were calmed/compelled by the Blood Raiders to not fight back, but I didn't think it was a permanent shackling. It is some time since I've read that story arc in entirety. God knows, CCP does love hiding things from us :D

    Rob K,