Even for those who don’t play it, Eve Online is a fascinating study in virtual empires, massive battles, and corporate espionage all conducted via one expansive MMO. The game’s player-driven history was chronicled years ago in a book penned by Andrew Groen, and now he’s got a sequel on the way with Empires of Eve: Volume II.
Check out what to expect from Eve Online's next expansion.
The standalone second volume picks up where the previous book left off, taking on the game’s history from 2009 to 2016. It went live on Kickstarter earlier today, and has already smashed the funding goal multiple times over, now sitting at over $40,000 pledged against $12,500 goal. The book’s set to chart “the rising and falling fortunes of massive and often devious alliances of thousands of players, introduce all-new iconic characters, and investigate the climactic battles that have come to define this era of EVE Online like the Supercap Slaughter at Uemon, the last stand of TEST at 6VDT-H, and the $300,000 Bloodbath at B-R5RB.”
But Eve isn’t just about its battles, and that’s something Groen acknowledged in his talk at Eve Fanfest today, and he has a creative idea about how to bring that side of the story to life. Groen says “this isn't just a military history story, it's also a modern internet story about collective imagination and a community of hundreds of thousands of people communicating with each other and telling a story together.
To that end, Groen “would love to create an art book called The History of the Great Memes of Eve Online that is about memes as an art form, as a communicative propaganda vehicle.” He feels that even within the community many don’t appreciate how important memes have been in furthering the story, becoming one of the primary means of communication in Eve.
“It's not a stretch goal because stretch goals are usually pretty dumb but I would like to include this if we get the chance to do fun things later on.” Judging by the funding success the book’s already seen, it seems there’s plenty of room for something “fun” to come along with it.
The book’s been on the way for two years, and following up the story chronicled in the first volume has been difficult because of how much the community changed in the intervening time. “With the fall of Band of Brothers you lost the last voice in the community that still believed in the old ways. The old belief that warfare should be conducted inside the game and you should take it very seriously and there's almost a roleplay element to conducting yourself in Eve at the time.
“Nowadays, the game is very different and it became very different in 2010 where, as a storyteller, it gets hard to tell this dramatic tale of spaceships when the community itself started becoming much more jokey and meme-y,” Groen says. “If you want to tell an authentic story about what it was like to be in the Eve community at the time, you have to take that into account. You can't paper over the fact that a lot of people in the community, very high up in the community really weren't taking it super seriously, or were trying to pretend they weren't taking it seriously.”
Yet that sense of engagement is what powers a book like Empires of Eve. “It's an attempt to bring you into the cloud of Eve's collective imagination and experience what it was like to be a part of it while it was happening.” Based on what players were seeing, doing, reading, and experiencing at the time, you “try to understand what the community had built together in their heads because ultimately that's what's the most special part of Eve.”
The project’s already well funded on Kickstarter, but if you want to secure yourself a copy of the book there’s plenty of time left to pledge. $10 nets you an ebook version, $25 gets you a softcover, and $50 gets you a hardcover edition. Delivery is set for May 2019.