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Telling more engaging stories in EVE Online

James Egan

One of the greatest strengths of EVE Online is its lore, which chronicles generations of struggle between New Eden's races and their continual political and ideological upheavals. Not everyone will agree with that opinion, of course, just as not all players seek out immersion in New Eden. For those who do, EVE has been building up short stories to flesh out the lore over the past six years -- all nicely collected on their site -- gritty tales of New Eden's technological heights and moral depths. It's already led to a novel titled Empyrean Age authored by Tony Gonzales, which will hopefully lead to a follow-up work.

Given all the attention CCP Games has given to adding these dimensions and layers to the game's backstory, the truth is that EVE is as much a virtual setting as it is a game; as such, there's always a need to expand and refine that setting. A solid backstory is important but it's equally important to EVE's players to be able to interact with it, feel like they're really a part of New Eden in some way. Live events and storyline missions (quests) have been used in the past to this end. However, in the case of missions, a player's role in New Eden's story hasn't quite matched up with what many feel it could be. CCP's efforts to make EVE Online's storylines more engaging is the focus of their latest dev blog, titled "Telling Stories: Evolution of the Atlanta Content Team".

It explains that CCP's content team is focused on improving how they craft and convey stories; the aim is to make sure the look and game mechanics of these deadspace encounters is more closely aligned with player expectations. EVE developer CCP Technobabble writes about the Atlanta team's experience with beginning the mission revamp, namely through the game's Epic Mission Arcs which debuted with the Apocrypha expansion.

"We wanted to make this first story accessible to everyone, particularly with wormholes already being geared at more experienced players," he says. "We wanted to give new players an idea of the complicated back-story of our little universe, so we set up a framework that weaves through all four factions, where everyone has hidden agendas, and where the player has a chance to interact with some characters we hope are memorable."

Is CCP Games delivering on this? For that matter, to what extent is it even possible to weave player experiences into the fabric of a game? That's up to you to decide; players have been expressing their views on where interaction with EVE's story is now, and where they think it's headed.

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