As with everything in EVE, the main drive behind storytelling is the playerbase. While the developers create the prime fiction and release regular chronicles, players produce a wealth of their own stories and videos in the same style. Many player-written chronicles are also now considered prime fiction due to being published in EON, EVE Online's official magazine.
Perhaps more impressive are those individuals who transform EVE's core fiction into some spectacular pieces of filmography. This includes Kyoko Sadako with "The Angel Cartel (Push Eject)" and most recently Dire Lauthris with the incredible "Day of Darkness II", a video remake of one of the older chronicles. Though some writers and videographers may bend the fiction in places, they can also produce equally impressive works that bare their own unique influences. The prime example of this is Ian Chisholm's massively successful film "Clear Skies" set aboard a Minmatar Tempest class battleship.
Being a part of the epic story:
Although fiction and creative works are an important aspect of storytelling, EVE's finest stories come from real events that happened within the game. Rather than the developers deciding the storyline of the game and coercing players into following it, it's the interactions of players that form the basis for EVE's most impressive storylines. Official events and chronicles pale in comparison to the drama that unfolds in EVE each day courtesy of ordinary players, corporations and alliances. More importantly, these events become part of a living history of the game that is sorely lacking in other MMOs.
The single-server approach to EVE lends actions inside the game an inherent solidity. When you take over a solar system or dominate the market in a region, there is no second instance or shard in which that didn't happen. It's this continuity more than anything that gives EVE's history inherent worth and makes stories of real events within the game all the more tangible. It's an intoxicating notion that you could, as a single solitary player, form part of the ongoing history of EVE Online and help shape the game to come.
Some of EVE's finest stories have simply been factual accounts of battles, intense wars, political movements and massive organised heists. Many corporations will designate someone to record important events in battle reports, screenshots and even video. These sci-fi bards are important not only for producing stories to share with the EVE community but also for keeping pilots motivated and making them feel like their corp is accomplishing a great goal. The stories and films that some of these talented pilots create also draw in other players to join their corporation or alliance and be part of that epic story.
Storytelling is an essential part of any MMO. After over five years of EVE online, I have a lot of stories to tell and I'm creating new ones with every day. The drive to create new stories and be a part of something bigger than themselves is what draws a lot of people to MMOs and this is something EVE Online does extremely well. If you want to tell tales of your adventures in space, now might be a great time to give EVE a try.
Brendan "Nyphur" Drain is an early veteran of EVE Online and writer of the weekly EVE Evolved column here at massively.com. The column covers anything and everything relating to EVE Online, from in-depth guides to speculative opinion pieces. If you want to message him, send him an e-mail at brendan.drain AT weblogsinc DOT com. Someone persuade CCP to hire me. Pretty please? :D