Duncan Explains It All: The Prophecy Trailer
Duncan Ringill

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A few thoughts crystallized today on the heels of Kirith Kodachi’s excellent tea-leaf analysis (go read it now) of everyone’s favorite new trailer, and I am ready to tell you what it all means.

I’d been looking at the trailer in the wrong light, so to speak.  No doubt it is a vision of the future; how could it be anything else, with EVE, DUST and Valkyrie toons working together?  That’s the usual rah-rah, as Kirith notes, and its realization is coming Real Soon Now, along with WiS.

What it isn’t is a story waiting to be told.  This isn’t a picture of those new stargates everyone’s going to be constructing next year.  Oh, no–commence primary illumination!  This is an event which has already happened.  That new space we as players know we’re going to get access to?  What we see in the trailer was the first large-scale attempt to access that space, over a year ago.  The action tells us that that first gate experiment was a failure.  Or, as the engineering world has it, a qualified success.

The professional robe-wearer and utterer of gnomic prophecies wasn’t just repeating sonorous nonsense.  Let’s posit that the prophecy is more or less on the money, in that vague way that the best foretellings have of being.  What is “more primordial than the elements themselves” that could also be described as a storm?  The Primordial Soup, that’s what.  The ultimate chaos in which everything and nothing existed.

The Theology Council and the old Empire were manifestations of order, and this superduperprimordial chaos is exactly the sort of thing that mature, bearded and robed men who utter prophecies professionally would despise and fear.  It would be the ultimate heresy, and the immortal people who tried to activate this gate were therefore the ultimate heretics.  The Amarrian fleet didn’t hot-drop in to seize control of the gate, but to destroy it.  A key to new worlds, and therefore riches?  Power blocs everywhere would want to own it…except for those tied to dogma forbidding it.

Fast-forward one year.  Records have been analyzed.  Survivors of the gate fiasco, or its architects, have determined what went wrong.  This new space can be accessed safely if the theories hold up, but new tech is needed to do it, tech capable of withstanding the most powerful force ever thought to exist.  That means new research conducted in secret.  That’s right; I’m talking about the ghost sites.  Not only are they training us in how to crack relics and explore space.  They are our means of getting there, or will be when those scientific and engineering projects conclude.  By then, the knowledge will be too widespread for any one fleet of Amarrian fundamentalists to stop.  No wonder we capsuleers were warned away.

Other capsuleers have opined or implied that the new space is a way back to Terra.  I don’t know about that, but if other prophecy can be believed, the journey will be costly (“the appetite of nothing expands over the world”).  Perhaps this Prophecy trailer showed us that fourth event.  If Terra is in our future, we won’t like what we find (“the little brother makes the final sorrowful steps home; he is not welcome”).

The possibility of Terra interests me less, I think, than the space we would traverse to get there.  I like to think that CCP will take the opportunity to introduce a multi-shard architecture that doesn’t require the Band-Aid of Tidi.  A mass player emigration (or Diaspora, maybe, if the new gates are as ultimately destructive as prophesied) would be the time to rebuild the game.

The “entity” of the prophecy?  I think it’s the Soup, but I also think that it’s only a barrier to our entering the space, and one which we are going to breach next year.  You veterans of Odyssey who took seriously that expansion’s call to learn the art of exploration are almost ready.  You will map the new space that the battle-fleets, diplomats and industrialists will tame.

Citizenship
Duncan Ringill

avenger002No, no minus-one-year-old game can seriously present itself as an EVE-killer, but Star Citizen is already making a lot of the right sorts of noise.  CCP’s eleven years of development are simply going to have it all over any new digital offering, no matter how well funded or hotly anticipated.

I never played Wing Commander or Privateer, or I might have recognized Chris Roberts’ name before his history was pointed out to me yesterday.  Computer games bore me, you see, and until I was ushered into EVE, none had held my interest much more than two weeks, let alone two years.  New Eden has kept me engaged through my friends who play, and through the production of pretty, pretty hulls for me to spin.  Mordu, take my money!

Way to bork our Googling, by the way, CCP, by naming your expansions after existing hulls. :-/

The beautiful ship designs of Star Citizen, then, were a deep pit covered with leaves and moss.  They are the oil, and I am the Cheney.  They are the hunny, and I’m Pooh.  Tempt me with the lovely Avenger pictured here, and my head will pivot an alarming number of radians.

Mabrick set the stage in this post about SC‘s server architecture.  Those little silos mean that not everyone in the damned game is going to be trying to dock in the same station I am.  They can’t camp all the gates.  No one will be able to own everything, or even to try, and it might be helpful right from the giddy-up to start thinking of Star Citizen as a multiverse with more contradictory canon than a DC-Marvel nerd fight.  Oh; you’re going to burn Jita?  That’s nice.  Which one?

Reading Mabrick had me suddenly considering playing the game…eventually.  Though Roberts & Co. are not short of cash, this effort looks like one I’d like to support.  I talked it over with co-workers the next day, one of whom names Privateer as his favorite game ever (and whom EVE’s lack of a first-person pilot perspective therefore kept away).  I mentioned my thoughts to Suzariel…and it turned out she had already paid her way in after I left for the office.  Those stars aligned faster than a shield covops carrying PLEX.

Playing on one or a few public servers will buffer you against a lot of the HTFU posturing endemic to online gaming.  The asteroid belts and cities you’ve lovingly placed on your private server won’t be encountered by most other players who visit the same systems in other iterations.  And when you’re ready–perhaps only when you’re ready–you’ll step out among the Infinite Worlds seeking PvP.  The concepts sound right; I’m not made of wood, folks.  An ye prick me, yes, I’m going to bleed like the proverbial motherfucker, and the crime scene will be spattered with green.

beahero01CCP proudly proclaims, “Be the villain,” Suz reminded me on our way home from work today.  Star Citizen will sell you, right this minute, a “Be A Hero” poster for your hangar.  The dichotomy’s amusing, and could it have been anything other than intentional?  Whatever these two games become, let’s hope for a lot of such in-jokes, gentle digs and cross-pollination.  I’ve enlisted, and in the spirit of the US Army, am hurrying up and waiting.

The Avenger portrait above, by the way, is from last night’s glorious first walk-through of my hangar module.  Here’s one experience already that EVE doesn’t provide.  Oh, we’ve all clocked hours in our hangars–those of us who ever enable CQ, that is–staring from the balcony onto one hull at a time that (no matter how bad-ass my video card) seems somehow out of reach, spinning tantalizingly at arm’s length.  In Star Citizen I may own only one ship that doesn’t fly or even move, and I may not have a toon yet, but I can walk around this ship and through it, grooving on its rich textures and here-and-nowness.  I can practically smell the oil, and it reeks of promise.

If nothing ultimately comes of the new game, at least it gives EVE something else to have to be better than.

I Was There
Duncan Ringill

Duncan051For those of you still trying to find yourselves, there’s an app for that–if you have an active EVE Online account, that is.  You’ve been immortalized on the EVE Monument just unveiled in Reykjavik.  The name finder is here, so go check it out.  It’s like Googling yourself, but without the chance of finding anything more embarrassing than the fact that you’re an MMO player.  And you knew that.

Some players who probably would have made it onto the monument the easy way are no longer with us, and CCP went out of its way to get those names.  They were here, too.