Writer tackles 'EVE Online's' 10-year history in crowdfunded book

(Photo courtesy CCP Games) (Photo courtesy CCP Games)

Andrew Groen is a freelance writer who is taking on the monumental task of telling EVE Online’s 10-year history in one book thanks to an incredibly successful Kickstarter campaign. “EVE Online” is a sci-fi massively multiplayer online game that is as well known for its epic space battles as it is for its political intrigue and incredibly deep player-driven economy.

Out of all of the MMOs that have been released over the years, few have such an interesting background worth chronicling. EVE might be one of the few games to have subscriber numbers increase year after year with the exception of a slight dip in subscriptions in 2011. As of 2013, “EVE Online” boasts over 500,000 subscribers, a fraction of the roughly 7.8 million subscribed to “World of Warcraft.” Like many MMOs, the game revolves around social interactivity and progression. Players can form alliances or join corporations. Player versus player combat is normal, but few games have earned the reputation that EVE has earned with its hardcore PvP mechanics. Players can build a ship worth thousands of real world dollars, literally, and lose it in combat forever.

Recent events like the Battle of B-R5RB further evolve EVE’s history and mythology. Two alliances vying for galactic supremacy fought over a distant but vital space station. According to Wired, “It was the biggest in Eve‘s history, involving 7,548 players belonging to 717 corporations and 55 alliances. More than 20 million soldiers were killed aboard the 600 or so Capital-class ships that were destroyed. Of those, 75 were Titans —16 from Murph’s forces and 59 from N3/PL. The previous record for most Titans lost in a single battle was 12.” The total cost of the battle was 11 trillion Interstellar Kredits, EVE’s in-game currency. To put that into real world perspective, that amounts to $300,000 in real-world cash based on the game’s economic conversion rate. “EVE Online’s” economy is so deep CCP hired EyjólfurGuðmundsson, an economist and former dean of the faculty of business and science at the University of Akureyri in Akureyri, Iceland, to oversee the game’s economy.This is the kind of information that would likely end up in Groen's project.



Who knew there would be a demand for the history of a sci-fi MMO? It took Groen'sKickstarter campaign a scant seven hours in the first day to sell his idea to potential backers. He initially sought $12,500 to print an estimated 1,000 copies of the book. He had over twice that in the first full day. After five days, the campaign was at 1,561 backers who had pledged a total of $35,374. The campaign will continue accepting contributions on Kickstarter's Web site through May 25, 2014. Groen has worked as a freelance reporter for WIRED and the Penny Arcade Report and considers himself a casual “EVE Online” player who wants to preserve EVE’s history in what might be the first documentation of a true virtual world.A History of the Great Empires of EVE Online will serve as time capsule for future generations to understand what life was like in one of the first virtual worlds,” said Groen on his Kickstarter page. “In EVE, as in the real world, history is written by the winner, and winners make terrible historians.”

Reach the reporter at Michael.Jerome.Martin@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter at @NefariousMike

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