BB46: Actions Have Consequences

April 25, 2013

With the return of Live Events such as the Battle for Caldari Prime, clearly the prime fiction of EVE is back in favour as part of this new thematic approach to expansions. However, EVE's story is very much a tale of two playstyles, with an entirely player-driven narrative unfolding daily in parallel to the reinvigorated backstory. Often, they do not mix well. How can these two disparate elements be united or at least comfortably co-exist in a single sandbox universe?

I think there's probably a temptation to overthink this issue; as far as I can see, the biggest thing that divides the player-driven narratives and the backstory-driven narratives is that neither really reacts to the other. I personally think that's stupid, honestly. The Empires might not care what goes on in nullsec as long as it stays in nullsec, but it strains suspension of disbelief that they wouldn't react to a capsuleer nullsec empire launching terror attacks on their space, like orchestrating a coordinated terror campaign across multiple systems to deny access to vital fuel and construction materials, for example, or periodically turning up to rampage en masse through the beating economic heart of New Eden, slaughtering thousands and causing billions of isk worth of damage in property damaged and lost. At the very least, one would expect the offending capsuleer organization to be banned from entering that Empire's space or docking in their stations. Declarations of war probably wouldn't be out of line either.(1)

So, in essence, my idea for integrating the two storylines is simple: just integrate them. When player organizations do things that would logically draw the attention of NPC organizations, whether for good or ill, write their reactions into the story and into the game. CCP seems to have the part where NPCs have their own goals that players can help or hinder more or less down (at least in concept); there just needs to be some flow the other way. Let there be diplomats that can be contacted, either NPC accounts like Sansha Kuvakei, or tie it into Faction Warfare somehow, to deputize the players who've made common cause with the Empires.

(1) Not to pick on Goonswarm in particular; they're just a very visible example of players doing something that should get a reaction out of NPC.

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