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Slave emancipation a major change in EVE Online's lore

James Egan
James Egan|December 28, 2008 10:00 AM

A significant twist in EVE Online's lore was announced on Christmas day: emancipation for much of the subjugated Minmatar race. EVE's far-future galactic setting of New Eden is characterized by struggles between the four (playable) races. Of those races, the dynamic between the theocratic but cruel Amarr and the tribal Minmatar is often one of master and servant. The Amarr enslaved the Minmatar race centuries ago; this is a prevalent aspect of the backstory (lore), the game's missions (quests) and factional warfare, as well as a focal point of the roleplaying that some players opt to engage in. Even some player alliances have taken a stance for or against slavery in the game. (Those who don't play EVE might be surprised to learn that slaves can be bought and sold on the open market as a low-cost commodity. Note, however, that the players themselves cannot be forced into slavery. It's just an aspect of the setting... one which is intended to evoke response from the players.)

CCP Games has decided this change in the Amarr-Minmatar dynamic was warranted in terms of New Eden's backstory, with the freed slaves numbering in the hundreds of millions, although the existence of slavery in EVE is still far from being abolished.

The announcement of this shift in the lore was written as one of the in-world 'news reports' that sheds light on events taking place within EVE's setting. The emancipation proclamation was made by Empress Jamyl Sarum I, ruler of the Amarr Empire, and one of the most powerful individuals in New Eden.

She decreed: "Out there on the event horizon, a new age races toward us, and it is approaching fast. The Lord in his infinite grace has instructed me that the chains that fetter us will no longer be necessary in this new age of light and reason, neither the chains of hatred that restrain our minds nor the chains of indenture that restrain those less fortunate than ourselves."

It's unclear at this point whether this will have an impact on the game itself and its factional warfare sparked in the Empyrean Age, or if it's just a change in the direction of EVE Online's lore that roleplayers will be able to use as the storyline advances.