The sci-fi MMO EVE Online has a rich backstory that now spans 6 years. That backstory is coupled with the many contributions of (volunteer) in-game journalists who report both on the actions and machinations of EVE's players and alliances, and who also write news-style fiction that helps drive the game's storylines forward.
EVE Online's Lead Writer CCP t0nyG (aka Tony Gonzales, author of Empyrean Age) has made some major announcements this week regarding changes to EVE's storyline and lore, in a dev blog titled "The Rediscovered Scrolls". The dev blog focuses on how CCP plans to address some of the issues players have noted in terms of the backstory and how it relates to them as 'capsuleers' in the setting of New Eden, given that official fiction and lore are now being released quite frequently. Gonzales says, "Unfortunately, we haven't been perfect in the execution of this effort. A balance had to be maintained between keeping the storyline fresh and dynamic while also holding fast to the core attributes of foundation material. That led to mistakes, contradictions, and general inconsistencies in the canon. We took that personally, and decided to do something about it."
He outlines what CCP hopes to accomplish by both revamping and re-organizing the game's story content, saying, "Our goal is to combine every tool -- chronicles, short stories, novels, videos, mission content, and epic storyline arcs -- in such a way that the full scope of any one major story thread is covered in part by each of these mediums."
Gonzales adds that players who choose to get immersed in the game's lore may be able to gain additional benefits during (PvE) gameplay as time goes on. "For example, some information that you read about in a chronicle just might prove handy during a mission encounter," he says. "Clues about the history and technology of Sleepers might be unveiled in an epic arc."
But how do you change an established setting built up over 6 years? "Purge" is perhaps too strong a word, but CCP Games will be making changes to the game's published canon, beginning on Monday, May 11th. These changes will be accompanied by a detailed changelist that will be found in the EVE Fiction section of the game's forums -- not unlike how changes to game mechanics are typically detailed with patch notes. So moving forward, EVE will actually release patch notes for its updated lore that will explain what is changing, in what ways, and why said changes are being made.
Gonzales points out that EVElopedia (EVE Online's wiki) is now a repository for all of the game's backstory content. For those long-time players who remember the ISD Aurora events, the game's official wiki now has accounts of these events, linked to the 'news' stories that originally accompanied them. In this respect, and despite whatever lore changes are in the pipeline, these events will remain a documented part of New Eden's history. Gonzales says, "This infusion of content is part of our own efforts to help give EVElopedia 'critical mass', which essentially means empowering you -- the community -- to tend to its well-being. Although it's still a work in progress, we encourage you to use this powerful tool to establish the legacy of your own alliance or corporation, and help us to keep the canon accurate as the story of EVE continues."
He also announced a new effort from CCP Games: "CORPS" bi-monthly reports. Short for CONCORD Outer Region Political Summary, CORPS will be CCP's way of informing the game community as a whole about the major political/alliance events between groups of players that transpire in the game, hopefully better informing the playerbase about the rise and fall of the major player organizations in the game. The CORPS bi-monthly reports will begin in June.
While the initial lore changes will begin on May 11th, overall the backstory revamp is expected to come together slowly. Tony Gonzales outlines substantial changes in his dev blog "The Rediscovered Scrolls", and players are responding to the news on the EVE forums.