For those of you who don’t know, EVE Online is an MMO game. What makes it unique from many other games is that it is a sandbox game, meaning that it is almost entirely player driven. There isn’t a storyline to follow, nor are there quests or some sort of competitive framework to guide the player’s actions. People are basically allowed to do what they want and because of this there are some great stories that have come out of the game, many of them involving intricate Ponzi schemes, masterful corporate espionage plots, and even all-out space battles.
However, though the action in the game is player determined, EVE is still an impressive space opera setting with well thought out technology, factions, ships, and a rich setting. While the fictional aspects of the story don’t generally interfere with the player experience, there is a lot of cool world building that went into the game and adds to its depth.
So, when EVE: True Stories was first announced I was hugely excited. I thought it was great that CCP, the game’s creator, was going to go to its player base for some storyline inspiration. I also thought it would be awesome to see more stories developing the EVE fictional universe that were derived from real player experiences that make up the backbone of the game. Sadly the finished product fell well short of my expectations.
When I heard about the project, I thought that the writers for the story would be taking the players’ stories as inspiration for their work and adapting them to better bring the EVE universe to life. Instead, they simply retold the tale as it happened (or as it was related by the player The Mittani) over the course of the comic book.
Personally I didn’t think this method was particularly effective, as it largely felt like the story was just being retold with pictures and the “authority” of being an officially published work by a known comic book publisher (and Dark Horse has some great properties that I’ve enjoyed in the past). There is very little exploration of the EVE setting, for instance how the corporations (which are the player-made groups in the game) relate to the different government factions or how this conflict affected them.
Worse still, there isn’t a lot of time spent developing any of the characters who seem to appear largely to convey their part in the plot. The writers also don’t change the names of the corporations from their in-game titles, and I found it hard to engage with the story when they were asking me to think of corporations with names like “Band Of Brothers”, “Tin Foil” and “Goonswarm” as serious entities.
Perhaps I have a harsher view of this story than it deserves because I expected more, but ultimately I was rather disappointed. Players of EVE Online might find this enjoyable, as they can easily relate to the events that took place and are likely familiar with the corporations mentioned. However, for the casual reader, I can’t recommend this book. If you want to learn about some of the crazy things that have happened in the game, I’m sure a Google search will yield you a lot of stories, and you can imagine your own visuals accompanying them.