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On Thera and Lore

December 10, 2014

Thera system, the Mos Eisley of EVE, has arrived and it didn’t take long for capsuleers to find it and share it with their peers. The first Capsuleer, Peter Moonlight of Shadow Cartel, to find Thera did so just 35 minutes after the new patch went out. CCP Fozzie and CCP Rise were encouraging pilots through chat channels and congratulated the pilots that entered the system early in the day.

Of the three stations that are in working order, the player offices were immediately snatched up, by the likes of corporations from Pandemic Legion, NCdot.and many wormhole corporations. Naturally the large alliances and wormhole corps were amongst the first in.

But the pioneers generously opened the doors for the players behind them.

  • EVE Scout – features the current entrances from known space
  • Thera Local Chat (in game chat channel) – chat channel for Thera bound, also features entrances. Even offering to guide you in, keeping you safe from gate camps. However if you do not use a recognized scout from this channel, or once they have scouted you in and you have warped away, you will be fair game for thier PVP wings.

The chat channel is run by Furtherance, a corporations dedicated to opening up Thera to others.

“Furtherance was formed in an attempt to directly impact Thera. We plan to live there. We plan to fight there. And we plan to help others make use of the system as well.” – Matthew Geary, CEO Furtherance whose blog, White Talon, can be found here. Recruitment is open.

Furtherance and other fair play entities have their work cut out for them. Those same doors that opened for other players let in hooligans of all sorts. The stations were immediately bubbled up, and coordinated bombing runs were targeted to the undocking areas of stations. The place is a zoo and will continue to be some time.


Thera and Lore

To start with Thera is the largest system in EVE and there is a lot more to it. (More on this dev blog.) You can only get there through wormholes. That means you have to use probes and scanning skills to get to it. Not difficult, not free of effort either. Even knowing what systems are connected to Thera won’t be enough. You either probe it out, or ask someone from the other side to fleet with you, and have them pop out so you can warp to them.

To lore hounds and role-players this is a gold mine. CCP has ramped up their fiction efforts to include the newly “discovered” Thera and it promises to unlock a lot of mysteries.

“There are big and small secrets to be found in the new systems. One is huge and obvious once you see it. Bets on how long until it’s found?” – CCP Fozzie, Twitter

Some of the suspected lore that will be revealed centers around the sleepers (wormholes NPC’s) and their relationship to Sansha incursions. Not long ago players spotted a bright star in the East. Players from all over began to plot courses to investigate it. That led them to the OASA region which had a peculiar event, an incursion that was abruptly interrupted and Sansha ships travelling by stargates to Cobalt Edge: the only region further northwest.  Beyond that is nothing except the mysterious Jove space, which is sealed off from players. It is known that incursions happen when Sansha forces open wormholes and raid known space. It is not known how they got the technology to do so and why it stopped working, sending Sansha rats’ home on foot, so to speak.

Hydrostatic podcast had a 2-hour episode that covers some of the theory of Thera lore.

If you are playing EVE just for the PVP, you are eating fast food. For fine dining you need to savor the rich lore that EVE is steeped in. The history of EVE’s players is lore. That’s why it is extra meaningful when a storied corporations folds. Recently, respected player, Kirith Kodachi, wrote about the importance of lore in his blog, Inner Sanctum of the Ninveah, which was published on EN24.

In the past CCP wove the players into the lore directly by using the Caldari Gaming Commission as a vehicle to conduct player events. In one case, players represented the Houses of Amarr in the trials of succession. In other words, a player PVP tournament determined the next Amarrian Emperor. That was when EVE had a small population.

Additionally, chronicles were written periodically to flavor the universe, but little attempt was made to build a dominant narrative. They used an NPC corporation, The Scope, to deliver in-game news in character. CCP understood the players made the narratives, and CCP could not control it without stifling the options in the sandbox. The best use of lore is to set up the universe with a story but not to direct it after that, letting the players grow the story organically and based on their experiences.

Later in EVE’s timeline, there were great events wrapped around the Empyrean Age expansion, in which events seem to be unfolding in realtime. Some of EVE’s best trailers were a part of that.

Later Incursion expansion had the first Sansha incursions come through wormholes and fight it out with players. Then Incarna and “the summer of rage” that followed lead to CCP having to course correct with layoffs. The lore and events team were hit and lore was a distant last priority compared to the “spaceship game” fixing that went on. Eventually found its footing and introduced Dust 514 with a joint player event: Battle for Caldari Prime. But lore stalled again.

CCP have now ramped up the lore team and posted a lot of in game news. All leading to a race to collect items for the different empires, which led to Amarr getting the first T3 Destroyer. Thera promises to reveal some of the story behind the complex of the Jove nation, sleepers and wormholes and it may feature links to Sansha Kuvakei.

At a time when players talk about the end of EVE and the declining VPV and players, the RP players are very optimistic and as active as ever. It looks like the beginning of a golden age for the story.


A Fictional Reality

CCP knows the important lore, both for the players and for its own future prospects. Developing a proper intellectual property (IP) allows them to spin it off into 2 more games: Valkyrie and Dust514/Legion. Then of course CCP will use the EVE IP for a TV series.

Why make a two hour feature film when you can have 12 episodes of a story – like fan favorite, Firefly (Although hopefully without the scheduling issues which killed it after just one series). Streaming media has allowed us to consume TV like a book, one chapter at a time and late into the night.  EVE itself is spread across many large and small stories, through chronicles. This is a perfect fit for streaming media.

CCP understands the importance of story. They hired a well-known LARPER and promoted her to Executive Producer: Andie Nordgren, aka CCP Seagull. Her RP sensibilities and expertise in technology and management placed her in the perfect position to carry EVE forward into a vibrant “Fictional Reality” as she calls it. The stage is set, all the players have to do is log in and destroy each other.


update: A portion of the CCP timeline was rewritten for accuracy and clarity.