Perhaps it is the individual in us all, the need to feel important, to be at a pivotal point in history, to be the one who makes the right call at the right time. Perhaps it is something for us to feel acknowledged, to know that somewhere at sometime, we were part of history.. even if just as a spectator. Perhaps it isn’t the fame for us, but merely the opportunity to do the right thing at the right time.. when perhaps our situation, or even our very life, won’t give us that opportunity. Live events give us that bit of game time, where we can be a part of gaming history… or at least, make the game feel more alive to us.
So a month or so back I made a post regarding what the CSM minutes talked about on Live Events. I thought that this particular post was a good one, but like all my other posts it would listed as “interesting” then promptly forgotten.
Well.. I was wrong.
First off, CSM Member Hans Jagerblitzen desired to clarify some points that hadn’t been made clear in the CSM notes. Then, something new to me happened. CCP Goliath also wanted to clarify some points, but also seemed intrigued about what I had written. And in the process of back and forth discussions an opportunity came about. I got permission to do an interview with Team Illuminati.
Now let me preface this.. I have NEVER interviewed anyone for anything before. Therefore, this interview may be a bit.. unprofessional, but I did the best I could. Btw, CCP was VERY, VERY willing to work with me on this and to be honest.. they were the ones who suggested doing the interview. So, here it is.. all ten pages of it:
The Interview with Team Illuminati
Q – Who is Team Illuminati and how would each of you describe yourself, beyond just your job title? With a team like this, certainly each of you bring something different to the table. What would be those things? Why did each of you want to be on this team? And what inspires you and what is your muse when working on projects?
Goliath: The EVE Illuminati is comprised of CCPers Abraxas, Affinity, Delegate Zero, Eterne, Falcon, Gargant, Goliath, Gnauton and Zulu. Abraxas, Gnauton and Delegate Zero handle the storyline side of things, producing content such as chronicles and news articles, and give us story direction so we can plan events in the future. Eterne, Falcon and Gargant are the main organisers of the events themselves and the amount of work they do borders on the worrying. Affinity is our content developer responsible for dungeon and NPC control and is usually “found” cloaked on grid at events. Zulu is the product owner, representing our interests to the business side of the company and ensuring that everything is running smoothly. I am a general dogsbody (I prefer workhorse), motivational speaker and lackadaisical dilettante.
I first became interested in live events before I started working at CCP. As a former WoW player, events such as the opening of the Gates of Ahn’Qiraj and the Sunwell made me want to be a part of combining great storyline with unforgettable personal experience. I also watch an obscene amount of television and exhorted to the team that we should strive to be “the HBO of Live Events” (without the swearing). The work that past CCPers such as Dropbear did in engaging the player base in events was massively inspirational too. CCP Manifest wanted to drop in a shout out to http://ihavereturned.com/website by Loktofeit as something he really enjoys. My everyday muse is the reactions we get from the players though. They always find new and interesting ways to interact with the events and we have changed so much based on their involvement.
As to why I wanted to be on the team, we have to go into the recent history of Live Events at CCP. Following Dropbear and Headfirst’s efforts with Arek’Jaalan and the live Incursions, there had been a void that a few of us thought needed filling. We had an Open Space unrelated to events that a few ideas came out of, and then Navigator, Affinity and I got the ball rolling with the Dev Caravan events of 2011, and then started collaborating with Gnauton and Abraxas to get more storyline involved in future events. We were really scared of them prior to this and thought they’d laugh us out of the room, but they were really receptive! We followed up with a Fanfest roundtable to find out what the players wanted to see from us, but then sadly fell victim to our “full time jobs” and couldn’t follow up until the company put a level of priority on the events sufficient enough for us to form the Illuminati.
Abraxas: Personally, I bring to the table years’ worth of fiction writing for EVE, in various shapes, styles and media, and I think it’s tremendously exciting to be part of a team that’s capable of bringing EVE’s fiction to the players in such a living, interactive way.
As for what inspires me, I could take page after page to mention all the different sources I draw from – they range from reading the news on various aggregators (plus the Economist), to reading both inside and outside the genre (I’m especially partial to good horror fiction).
Eterne: I’m the guy who brings the most experience with the Live Events process to the team. I’m a former Aurora member, I’ve got a very deep knowledge of the backstory, and I tend to be someone who proposes a fairly moderate response to most things. I’ve written most of the news and much of the non-Chronicle related material surrounding these Live Events. I tend to have an endless swell of creativity and the ability to vomit out words at a prodigious rate.
I wanted to be on the team because I’ve always loved Live Events, role playing, and the backstory. I love narrative and storytelling. Pretty much everything can inspire me from time to time, but usually random ideas come into my head and I go “That would be cool!” and the larvae of ideas worm out from my brain apple and emerge into a beautiful butterfly of writing.
Falcon: I’ve been with CCP since October 2012, and immediately became part of the EVE Illuminati when I joined CCP. I’ll be celebrating my 10th anniversary with EVE on May 14th, 2013 and have been a roleplayer since I first subscribed. I’ve got a strong background in project management from previous jobs, so I’m quite happy to assist with keeping up a strong, well organized structure within Team Illuminati. Given almost a decade of exposure to EVE’s backstory, I also serve as a sanity check for events and fiction when needed.
Before coming to CCP I was also a part of ISD Mercury (http://wiki.eveonline.com/en/wiki/ISD_Mercury) for some time, the team which works on fiction, backstory, and news for EVE.
Gnauton: Fundamentally I’m a writer, but throughout my decade working on EVE I’ve been everything from a customer support rep to a content designer to a copyeditor. For the last six years I’ve been working on deepening, developing and expanding the EVE IP, both in terms of the backdrop and the ongoing storyline.
Q – Are there aspects of Incarna be used for Live Events. For example, can they make video of speeches given by major characters, than can be routed in game for live events?
Goliath: Right now the technology isn’t quite in a place where this is possible without a team of animators and other technical people we don’t have at our disposal. While making videos and such is absolutely possible, doing it ourselves “machinima-style” isn’t at this time.
Q – In the CSM Minutes, it was mentioned that Team Illuminati is working towards a technical solution to announce Live Events, in addition to in game mails, Twitter, and the Live Events forum. Could you tell us what you have in mind, and how far it is in development? Ideally, what would you like to see be developed?
Goliath: I’m afraid this is strictly under wraps right now. Sorry to be a tease!
Q – Part of playing video games and getting involved in the “story” is having the ability to dress up like your character. Since we have such a wide variety of peoples in Eve, do any of you have some shops/websites that you think would be ideal for getting cosplay for Amarr, for Caldari, for Gallente, for Minmatar players?
Goliath: Interesting question! We don’t have any official merchandise or partners for this kind of thing, but we always aim to have hair and make-up people on site at Fanfest for people who want to “EVE up”. I am not too familiar with the cosplay scene, but of the people I know that are into it, I think they like to make everything from scratch. Check out http://djhangedman.com/2012/09/19/hangedmans-guide-to-capsuleer-cosplay-intro/ for a good player-made guide. There are some great avatars that I would love to see people try to cosplay (Large Collidable Object, anyone?)
Q – When working on the context of individuals and stories, what games/movies/books/etc. have you gained inspiration from for certain characters or certain environments?
Abraxas: Again, pages and pages … but the case that stands out is a short story by Brian Hodge called “With Acknowledgments to Sun Tzu”. Hodge is a little-known writer, which is completely unfair because he’s absolutely amazing when it comes to unsettling horror stories; I’ve written several chronicles by now in an attempt to replicate the effect I felt when reading that particular story.
Eterne: A whole lot of them! The novels of Gene Wolfe are my favorites, particularly the Wizard Knight, though his stuff doesn’t fit great into the themes of EVE. William Gibson and Neal Stephenson are big influences from literature as well. Neil Gaiman is a huge influence as well, though more on writing style than content. The Romance of the Three Kingdoms has been a big influence as well, though in more subtle ways. Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine are favorite sci-fi series (generic, I know). Planescape: Torment and Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines are two of my favorite games. There’s other stuff I’m probably forgetting as well.
Falcon: I’ve always been a huge fan of dark, gritty sci-fi. Old cult classic movies such as Bladerunner, Total Recall, 1984, Robocop, AI, Scanners, The Abyss, Starship Troopers, Event Horizon, and the Alien franchise are some of my favorites. EVE is set in a very bleak dystopian future, where often people are placed in the position of choosing the lesser of two evils rather than good or bad.
We want people to have to think consciously about their decisions, and we want people to be conflicted about the choices they make. A lot of the movies listed above reflect this, where the choice made is not always the best when viewed from certain perspectives.
Gnauton: There is a wide variety of inspirations for the storylines and characters we come up with. For the fictional backdrop as a whole, some of the more obvious ones are the Babylon 5 series, the Alien films and Blade Runner – basically dark, gritty science fiction where justice is not always served and questions are asked about what it means to be human. Thematically speaking and in terms of storytelling, there are also non-science fiction properties we draw inspiration from, The Wire and Breaking Bad being two prime examples. We strive for those kinds of narratives: something dictated by a realistic view on human motivations and something that pulls no punches towards its characters – if someone makes a bad choice, they actually need to face whatever horrific consequences are in store for them.
Q – When developing Live Events, it was mentioned in the Minutes that you don’t yet have the control over NPCs that would be ideal. So, what level of control do you have, and how creative have you had to be to make something work?
Goliath: Right now we can make NPCs do basic commands – appear, shoot something, orbit, etc. Unfortunately they are just as happy to shoot at us, their supposed brethren, as they are to shoot the capsuleers attacking us! Basically the commands we have for them are very old and a lot of work has been done on many connecting systems since then, so they need some love. We also need to be there all the time to babysit them. There haven’t been too many loopholes that we’ve gone through to have them do our bidding, though we need to keep an eye on range when we spawn them and initially aggress them onto players.
Q – How involved are the non-writing members when it comes to developing storylines, context, canon, or Chronicles?
Abraxas: They’re getting more and more involved as time goes by. The final say still rests with a couple of people, but the more experience that the company accrues with our ongoing storyline, the easier it becomes to work everyone’s input into the final product.
Goliath: The writers are really open to ideas. I personally wouldn’t get too involved in, for instance, the creation of a Chronicle, but I know other team members are keen to take a stab at it.
Eterne: While I don’t write any Chronicles (yet!), I have written a lot of news and have put in a bunch of stuff from when I was a Mercury volunteer. We all tend to toss around ideas and Gnauton and Abraxas are very receptive to them. But because there are a lot of us, there are a lot of people to say “No, that idea is crap. But it does give me an idea…”
Falcon: Generally, members of the Illuminati tend to get pretty involved in discussions regarding direction of storyline. We’re often looped in on discussion as a sounding board and for sanity checks when it comes to high level storyline direction.
In the same respect though, the decision regarding direction is always made by the storyline writers, and then it falls to me to create a live events plan that reflects the direction in which they wish to take EVE’s storyline. From there we have a lot of discussion going on to sanity check the events schedule and make sure that everything fits into place.
It’s very much a team effort, and we have a really solid group of people together who have an endless love and enthusiasm for EVE’s ongoing storyline.
Gnauton: Traditionally they’ve been involved in writing news articles but not Chronicles, though that may stand to change in the future. Who knows? Our CEO is fond of saying “CCP is what you make it,” and it’s not just talk – CCP is exceptionally effective at noticing when people gravitate toward areas of particular aptitude and then maximizing that potential by placing them in the relevant positions.
Q – When writing a new Chronicle or Event, what is the creative process you go through? Do you have an idea that you make a story around, or do you see either holes or places where it would be good to make a clarification?
Abraxas: Both, really. We have certain themes that we try to maintain and continue to explore, so those often serve as guiding lights for where we want to go. Beyond that, it’s a mix of having little idea kernels we want to work into the story, and of having certain areas of the lore that we think are due for a time in the spotlight. The ongoing events with Tibus Heth, for instance, are one example where we had wanted to do something with him for a while but hadn’t yet had the framework set up to do so; whereas, say, the recent “Speaks and Walks” (http://wiki.eveonline.com/en/wiki/Speaks_and_Walks_%28Chronicle%29) chronicle that I wrote (which is about how a DUST soldier slowly gets corrupted) is an example of an idea I had – a story told in repetitious language, iterated on as it progresses – that then ended up being a perfect fit for the material.
Gnauton: It differs quite a bit. Most Chronicles are written with a definite purpose in mind, either to elaborate on a specific part of the game world that’s relevant to current events, or to give a behind-the-scenes explanation of said current events, or to reconcile new game features with the fiction. There are precious few Chronicles nowadays that come from a “Hey, why don’t we write about THIS” angle – it’s always part of the storyline development schedule and each piece generally plays a part in the greater whole.
Q – For each Faction, who would you say are the major players, both ones from the books as well as those we may not have heard from yet, but will?
Abraxas: The major players are the heads of state and the leaders of the pirate empires. We haven’t yet put a lot of focus on the latter, but some day that’ll change.
Of course there are other people of importance in New Eden, and anyone interested would be well off heading over to the Fiction Portal on our EVElopedia and checking out the lists of NPCs we have there.
Q – Can we expect to see “live-action” content, perhaps in the form of short skits and movies to give the player a bit more feel about the characters?
Goliath: Producing video or live action content such as a weekly news roundup is very high on my wishlist. I don’t so much see that featuring appearances from characters in the game at this time, but who knows! I think we’re unlikely to go for “An ‘EVE’-ning with Jamyl Sarum” though.
Gnauton: We’ve floated the idea of having a weekly narrated video digest detailing the passing week’s major goings-on in New Eden, and if we find a way to produce this kind of thing consistently and have it meet our standards while not cribbing too much developer time from other things, it might well happen.
Q – With the Short Stories, the Chronicles, and the books particularly the Burning Life I have always desired to get more of an understanding of the cultures and such involved in Eve Online, particularly since… well, since there is the potential for millions of divergent cultures to be delved into. Which cultures would each of you personally like to see get more “air time” as it were?
Goliath: More pirates!!!
Abraxas: Personally? The pirates. I think there are great depths to them that we haven’t yet begun to explore. One of the reasons I made the protagonist of The Burning Life be a Blood Raider was to have an excuse to write a little bit about that society and their traditions.
Eterne: Have you read the Wiki article on the Ni-Kunni? I wrote that! I would like to really explore them more to some degree, but I think I might have given them as much air time as they can reasonably ask for. The Jin-Mei seem like they’d be very awesome to explore.
Falcon: We have a few forgotten bloodlines that are hanging around in backstory. One thing I’d love to see is more development of Mannar backstory, these are a bloodline within the Federation that gets next to no air time at all due to the fact they’re so small in terms of storyline.
Coupled with that, I share a bit of a love for the Minmatar with CCP Delegate Zero, and I’d love to see further development of the Starkmanir, Nefantar and Krusual tribes over the coming years. I’ve also just realized that this is a horribly difficult question to answer, because really I’d love to see development and more fleshing out of everything.
I’m also a very big fan of the pirate factions, and would love to see the emergence of more stories surrounding the early days of the formation of some of the largest criminal cartels and gangs in the cluster.
Gnauton: Traditionally I’ve given the most time and thought to the Minmatar, because I’m just an underdog kind of guy and their whole design aesthetic and history always fascinated me. In terms of what you’re asking about though, divergent cultures and such, the Gallente are probably the most fascinating to me – I love the idea of a melting pot brought to its absolute extreme, with every idea, technology and social custom in the known universe clashing and bouncing off and melding with each other. There’s a beautiful chaos in that.
Q – Do you think that we will ever see the myriads of chronicles and short stories organized in a timeline fashion?
Goliath: I think that would be a very cool thing to see, and the perfect way to showcase these lore pieces.
Q – Will current events be more deeply wound into future Chronicles, perhaps even being more specific with corporations and alliances brought into the story?
Eterne: I’d like to see this, but you of course have to be careful about bringing player-driven stuff into the Prime Fiction proper because of IP concerns.
Falcon: We’re very much trying to make the experience seamless, where players will be able to relate to the content of chronicles through live events. While they may not be directly involved with the events of a chronicle, the live event may serve as either a prelude or epilogue to a released chronicle so that players can gain additional knowledge.
Q – One of the more interesting community efforts to fill in the context gaps in the Eve Online story is Project Athena (http://www.ninveah.com/p/project-athena.html). Will there be an effort to incorporate and organize efforts like these to make them part of the “True Eve Story”? In addition to this, do you think that CCP, namely your team, will try to organize the better fiction writers of Eve to produce more historical/technical context for the game?
Abraxas: There are no plans for an organized effort to synthesize CCP and player writings. It’d be a massive undertaking with a lot of logistical challenges; plus, we like to keep control of the lore in-house, at least for the time being. However, what we have been doing, and continue to do, is flesh out the world – including its historical and technical contexts – through the Fiction Portal and all the articles therein. If anyone wants to contribute, all they need to do is apply for the Mercury volunteer team (http://community.eveonline.com/isd.asp).
Eterne: See above for incorporating the player history into “official backstory.” But I really think that the living, breathing player-driven stuff is a narrative that can stand on its own two feet even without our official backing.
Falcon: This is a difficult one to call, and really this lies with the guys from storyline as to how we want to progress in future. Given how wide reaching EVE’s storyline and IP is, it’s very tough to keep tabs on everything going on, so if it was decided to do something like this we’d have to spend a lot of time proof reading and making sure things line up with what we expect for prime fiction.
Gnauton: For the time being we are keeping a pretty tight lid on canonizing anything that doesn’t come from in-house. It’s wonderful to see players engaging with the game universe in a hands-on fashion with as much passion and dedication as they have, and it’s not impossible that we’ll open the doors for something like this at a later date, but for the short term the answer is no.
Q – As far as “live events” go, how deep in the Eve Canon are they conceived? What aspects from the Eve context do you try to pull from?
Eterne: We try to tie them as deeply into EVE Canon as possible. I’ve brought up obscure characters from years ago in meetings that we can use for events. We try to pull from all corners of the EVE IP when thinking them up and incorporating them into the game, though different events call for different elements.
Falcon: We sanity check everything, and the vast majority of us are OCD to the point where we rip our hair out if things don’t fit or we can’t justify them in terms of backstory. We try to interweave every live event as deeply as possible with backstory, and right now most of the live events going on are put together to represent extremely high level and world shaping political changes that are happening.
Q – As compared to “live events” in other MMOs, when you hear about what they did or what they involve, which ones do you think have something to contribute to Eve live events, and which ones do you think should be heartily avoided?
Goliath: As I mentioned earlier, Ahn’Qiraj and Sunwell were fantastic events from my POV and I would love to do something that gets the entire Universe involved, even in a small way. Worldshaping is a complex matter but not something we should be afraid of getting involved in, and I think events are a great way to roll out new content. I think Guild Wars 2 does a great job of staging events in such a manner that they seem spontaneous and organic to players passing through the region. I also think that player driven events are amazing – look up the death of the Sleeper in Everquest in 2003, or the kiting of Kazzak to Stormwind that happened on a few WoW servers. I do think the best examples of player driven events are in EVE though – the Jita riots, the Guiding Hand Social Club heist, the Flight of a Thousand Rifters, and so many more.
Eterne: To be perfectly honest, I don’t follow live events in other MMOs much. Most of what I hear is stuff that’s automated with only brief drop-ins from characters to get pounded on. That’s not very interesting to me and I think our single sharded world doesn’t really cater to those types of events.
Falcon: I don’t really think you can compare live events in EVE to any other MMO. We’re in a unique position where we’re all on one shard, in one environment, playing alongside each other. This means that potentially, we could have anywhere in the region of several hundred, to several thousand people turn up for a live event wanting to get involved.
We have to plan appropriately and as such it can end up getting pretty crazy when an event kicks off and suddenly we have several hundred people on field. It’s great to know that we’re developing a following though, and it’s nice to see that people are enjoying the content that we’re making available.
Q – When it comes to “roleplaying” a particular character or setting, who do you pick, or what makes you use that person? Is there someone in the company who makes the perfect Heth, or Jamyl? What about other, less well known character types?
Eterne: I like to think I can play a wide variety of types, no matter what the situation calls for. But when we get blank templates, I tend to play people who are slightly sarcastic and quick with a dumb remark. I tend to try to interject different personalities into all my characters, usually thinking up some quirks for them, whether it is an Amarr Admiral who’s a bit of a creep, a party girl Intaki cop, a straight laced Caldari Navy vet, or an ass-kicking Mordu’s merc. I know CCP Gnatuon considers Maleatu Shakor his baby. I’ve never played any of the big names, but if I ever get a crack at RPing as one of the Amarr Heirs (particularly Yonis Ardishapur, my favorite by far), I’d love to.
Falcon: I don’t think it’s a case of anyone being the perfect Heth, or perfect Sarum. One of the hallmarks of an awesome roleplayer is to be able to switch roles and slip into the skin of a character smoothly with ease. We have a very solid team that we’ve pulled together, the core members of which have a solid roleplaying background and are tried and tested for a number of years in EVE.
We’re all very enthusiastic about EVE’s backstory too, and as such we’re in a position where we have a lot of people who can fill roles very easily. Personally I prefer playing the pirate types, and naturally gravitate toward roles that have a little humor injected into them.
In the same respect, I recently got to play Maleatu Shakor, Sanmatar of the Minmatar Republic at a live event that introduced the Tribal Assembly, which was very rewarding. At the same time it was also quite petrifying considering the eyes of the whole of New Eden were on me, roleplaying as the leader of an entire nation. It was very rewarding to be a part of that.
Q – What would you like to see from the player community in regard to “Live Events”, beyond just helping bring attention to specific events? What about the news sites?
Goliath: We tried out a way of working with player run blogs to disseminate information for one of our first events. It worked really well and is something I would like to do again. I would love to see the community continue to springboard off of events that we run, running their own like T.R.I.A.D organizing the relief event for Oddelulf after it was raided by pirates.
Eterne: More conflict between players over them! If we can start some wars over one of the factions as a result of a Live Event, I’d be a happy person. I’d love to see news sites asking the actors for quotes and stuff.
Falcon: This is going to be the shortest answer of them all. Personally, I think the EVE community is doing an awesome job. Keep embracing events. Keep enjoying events. Keep having fun with events. Keep showing up for events. Start producing your own content (Goliath: The videos by delonewolf are a great example! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eHyObf4Csfc). Get involved. We just want everyone to enjoy and be part of something awesome and rewarding.
Q – Now that various books and videos are out, we have some idea of who the faction leaders are, both for pirate and for the major nations. However, for those who haven’t had the chance or the time to read the books or go through all the chronicles, can you give us a synopsis of each nation as they stand “today”, as well as some personal understanding of their current leaders?
Gnauton: We’ve done this kind of thing before and may well do it again. Keep ’em peeled.
Q – Are there plans to correlate “live events” with the releases of modules and future ship changes/upgrades?
Goliath: We are definitely looking at this. It’s too good an opportunity to pass up. Why stop at modules and ships though?
Q – In your opinion, how would you rate the “live events” that you do?
Goliath: Given how short a time the team has been together, I think that our achievements have been marvelous so far. Professionally it’s massively rewarding and I am extremely proud of us working so well with such a scoped project. I think we’ll go from strength to strength in the coming months. Some big stuff is in the pipeline.
Eterne: I tend to think we’re at a 7 or 8 out of 10 right now. I would love to get some of our tools working better and allow us the ability to run truly memorable events that include hundreds of people having fun and doing lots of different stuff.
Falcon: I’d say we’re doing pretty well; we have a very dedicated team together. In the same respect though, there’s always room for improvement. We’ve been listening to a lot of player feedback and have taken a lot on board.
It’s now just a matter of translating that into actions when we’re putting together events in future. We’re learning a lot as we move forward, and hopefully as we do so we’ll further refine the procedures we go through to create events and things will be even more awesome in future.
Q – As far as “live events” go, there certainly have been some growing pains in trying to actually run them. What were the most memorable? How about the funniest, or the most disappointing?
Goliath: In a moment of excess exuberance I managed to type “FOR THE FEDERATION!” in fleet chat while RPing a loudmouth Caldari soldier. In a split second his character changed from dashing veteran a la Flashheart from Blackadder, to an ‘all talk and no trousers’ gadabout. I think I just got away with it.
The most memorable for me was our first Dev Caravan. In a serious ranged standoff I was running around trying to help some colleagues at their desks, all the while unaware that I was slowboating towards the enemy. I got back to see myself in structure, and our logi pilots pulled me back from what must have been single digits. In a player made video of the event their reaction to this on voice chat will stay with me forever. Lore event-wise, the Minmatar Tribal Assembly was pretty special, just because it was so different and attracted a lot of different types of people.
Eterne: On a Guristas event we ran, I made the call that we should Suspect Flag the fleet before warping in. This wound up being a mistake, as one of our actors got targeted and shot back before he was aggressed and got killed by CONCORD, then the players realized they could shoot us one by one without anyone who wasn’t being shot being able to fight back. That was a bit of a facepalm moment.
Falcon: His only excuse was “I’m roleplaying a pirate, god damn it!”
Q – At this time, what is the most difficult thing when developing a Chronicle? A live event?
Abraxas: (Chronicle) Putting one word after the other. That’s not a glib answer – ideas are easy to come by, especially when everyone on the team is creative and in tune with ongoing events, but in the end, it always comes down to you sitting front of a blank page, trying to get that cloud of characters, connections, themes, emotions and magic down into paragraph form. Writing is always the hardest part.
Eterne: (Event) Figuring out how to utilize our resources to create a believable, immersive, and interesting event that is open to a wide number of people. I want to have at least 100 people in each event, but we don’t always have the manpower to continually get those without the event basically being a case of “blap the actor in 30 seconds.” It’s a tricky balancing act.
Falcon: (Event) Judging and accounting for player reaction, without a doubt. Our players are an unpredictable bunch, that’s for sure. There’s been a few of our arcs that have been cut slightly short, or have spawned completely unexpected sub arcs that we’ve been more than happy to run with. We’re in a position now where we’ve got a good idea of what those crazy capsuleers are going to do next, but in the same respect we’re probably going to be surprised again come the next event.
That’s the beauty of it though, it keeps us on our toes, and keeps our minds sharp and thinking when we’re going toe to toe with the most creative and innovative game community out there.
Gnauton:(Chronicle) The actual act of writing is always the hardest part of it. There are a great number of things to keep in mind while doing so, but for my money the most important aspect lies in the gymnastics of perspective required of the conscientious author. If you want to write a readable piece of text, whether prose or copy, the most indispensable thing for you to do is to read it repeatedly and regularly from the viewpoint of an outside observer who’s never seen it before, taking care to put yourself in the mind of that person as completely as possible. This might sound elementary, but there are a remarkable number of authors who don’t seem to grasp the fundamental necessity of this exercise. So read your work in progress, over and over and over again, and then again. It takes a good deal of effort and energy but it pays off manifold in the end.
Q – While I have read all the books and many of the Chronicles, I think it would be nice to find out what drives each nation as it stands today, what policies they are pursuing that may not be so obvious.
Abraxas: Some of that can be found on the Fiction Portal(http://wiki.eveonline.com/en/wiki/Portal:EVE_Fiction). Other policies, especially covert ones, will emerge in time. We’ve got plans…
Gnauton: Many of the Chronicles we have slated for publication in the near future do exactly that. Like I said earlier: keep ’em peeled.
Q – The CSM Minutes also mention a “wish list” of sorts, and that a server side tool developer is on that list. What else is on that list?
Goliath: I’m afraid this is also veiled in secrecy as it would give away things about the events we want to run in the future. We’re getting good feedback from the teams though, so some of our tools should go into development in this release cycle.
End of Interview
I want to thank CCP for setting up this interview and for taking the time to answer all these questions and it was rather cool to see some of their influences.. and I’ll admit, some of them weren’t what I was expecting, but I have to look into them. It is clear to see that CCP is taking Live Events seriously and doing a much better job getting the Lore more organized. I know when I was an earlier player it was rather difficult to get “into” the game because the Lore seemed to be a bunch of mish-mashed stories of various individuals doing something or having something done to them. This had left some rather huge holes in the canon, holes that are now being filled.
And I am rather intrigued about the latest Chronicle too: Cover Stories, because I there has always been a question in my mind about how the Minmatar ever got to space. You see, you can point to examples of religious governments like the Amarr making technological progress, same with democracies like the Gallente, or even governments run by Mega entities like the Caldari. But you’d be hard pressed to find a tribal-type government that has done the same thing. Usually, tribal governments tend to base their survivability on working with their environments.. not so much on trying to build beyond their confines. So, seeing how the Minmatar Tribes did so will be a very interesting storyline indeed.