Friday, 17 February 2012

Mark726's EVE Lore Survival Guide: Miscellany & Conclusion

There’s just a few things left that I want to touch on, and then I PROMISE I’ll stop writing. These are things that either seemed to fit either everywhere, or nowhere at all, so I figured it would just be easiest to separate them out into their own little category.

Calendar

I realize that I swap a lot between saying years in the traditional AD system and in the newer YC system, but I’m working off of what the timeline gives me. It’s easier to keep it set that way rather than referring to YC -18,000, which just seems silly to me. In any case, I just wanted to make a brief note on the timekeeping system used in New Eden. YC refers to the Yoiul Convention, a timekeeping system established aboard the Jove ship Yoiul in 23236 AD. The new calendar, which is used to transact all space-based business, was established to simplify things when time is of the essence (since each empire had developed their own calendars based on each planet’s own length of year and length of day). Through complete accident (I’m sure), one of the few things Amarr scripture preserved from the very early days of settlement just happened to be our classic Gregorian calendar, down to what day corresponds to January 1, leap years, and when midnight happens. Those crazy Amarr.

When the time came to negotiate a universal time system, there were a number of factions advocating different calendars. Some wanted a completely physics-based calendar, based on some celestial source. Others wanted to set the clock to the human body’s natural 25 hour clock. And the last set, known as the traditionalists, wanted to align New Eden’s calendar with the ancient timekeeping systems that researchers reconstructed. Obviously, the traditionalists won out in the end, and YC 0 was celebrated throughout New Eden on January 1, 23236 AD. We continue to use the system to this day. As noted in the introduction, the real life year of 2012 corresponds to the in-game year of YC 114.

Naming Conventions / Languages

One of the things I wanted to touch on was how to set up appropriate names for the bloodlines. Most of the bloodlines developed on completely separate worlds, and as such, they developed their own languages through the Dark Ages, and they continue to use those languages today. Of course, from an in-game perspective, the use of different languages doesn’t matter thanks to the development of translation software in our ships (though why local remains untranslated remains an open question). Regardless, crafting appropriate sounding names is an important aspect to most RPers, so I’ve included a brief review of most in-game languages and names. I should mention that most of this research was done by my host Seismic Stan in the course of preparing his excellent in-character website at Tech4 News, which is dedicated to covering news from a non-capsuleer perspective, though there are other excellent player-researched sources out there.

Before I dig into these, I want to again mention that these should only be seen as very general guidelines. In modern day New Eden, cultures are mixing like never before, meaning that there is no particular reason why a Gallente couldn’t have an Amarr sounding name, or vice versa. And, of course, given that our own planet has developed hundreds of languages over the course of human existence, these rules are by no means the only ways to create names.

Amarr: Little is known about the native Amarr language, and what little we do know can seem at times contradictory (though that hasn’t stopped some intrepid players from attempting to put together a more comprehensive language). Still, it appears that True Amarr names often have a Persian or even Farsi feel to them (somewhat oddly, given their Catholic origins), while Khanid seems to have a more Mongolian background to it. I unfortunately wasn’t able to find any information on the Ni-Kunni.

Minmatar: Given the tribal background of the Minmatar, it should be unsurprising that language probably varies from tribe to tribe, though since they all developed on the same world (originally), there’s probably also a unified Matari language. That being said, there’s still some patterns apparent in the various tribal names. The Brutors tend to have a Maori feel to them, while the Sebestior (somewhat randomly) seem to be derived from Nordic names. The Vherekior seem to derive from Urdu names.

Gallente: As might be expected, the Gallente language and names seem to derive mostly from French roots, with perhaps a Gallic influence to them. The Jin-Mei, meanwhile, seem to have Chinese-derived names. The Intaki language, derived from Indian origins (though with obvious French influences), is a bit special. The language has been surprisingly well-developed by RP groups, to the extent that entire sites (this site is being redeveloped but we have been promised it will be live soon) have been dedicated to the language. To my knowledge, no other in-game language has been developed to such an extent, but if that’s incorrect, please feel free to let me know.

Caldari: We’ve only seen snippets of the Caldari language in the Prime Fiction (helpfully aggregated here). What little we’ve seen suggests a combination of Finnish and Japanese influences, however.



Seyllin Incident/Isogen-5

There’s one last topic to discuss before concluding. It’s a slightly odd topic, in that it is both integral to the overall EVE storyline these days, but also somewhat self-contained compared to the rest of the story. I’m talking, of course, about wormholes and the fateful day that they first opened to us citizens of New Eden.

March 10, YC 111 started as an ordinary day, but it certainly didn’t end like one. Before the day was out, 10 separate Class-O stars across the Cluster simultaneously suffered what astronomers have rather boringly termed “main sequence events.” In reality, these “events” were massive explosions, creating coronal mass ejections that were powerful enough to destroy the first planets in these systems. The broken husks of these shattered planets can be seen even today in these various systems (Rhavas has done an excellent and in-depth study of all known shattered planets in his Shattered Planet Datacore). Of course, anything merely man-made had little chance of surviving events that could destroy planets. While a number of systems were thankfully uninhabited, we do know that an Intaki Syndicate station was destroyed, as well as a Thukker caravan in the Great Wildlands.

These losses pale in comparison, though, to the loss of life in Seyllin. Seyllin was a small but successful Federation mining colony housing roughly 500 million people on it. Troubles first arose when the local solar monitoring satellites dropped out of contact, followed by the colony itself a few minutes later. This was due to the massive electromagnetic pulse that essentially flash-fried any inhabitants on the sunward side of Seyllin I. However, a significant number of citizens were on the dark side of the planet, protected from the pulse by the planet’s sheer bulk. It took a while for both the Federation and others to figure out precisely what was going on, wasting precious moments that could have been used to evacuate citizens from the doomed planet. Finally, the Federation Navy, assisted by the Sisters of Eve and other factions, managed to begin lifting some citizens, but not nearly enough. Only 843,000 out of a population of 500 million were ultimately saved from Seyllin I.


After such an event, of course, governments and scientists alike were eager to determine just what caused these “events.” Eventually, the signature of a rare substance known as Isogen-5 was found at the site of each explosion. Isogen-5, a rare isotope of the somewhat more common Isogen, is an extremely unstable substance (if that wasn’t obvious from the, you know, massive explosions it caused). We’re not entirely sure who or what placed the Isogen-5 near the stars, but there’s at least one proven case (though not one that’s known publicly, to my knowledge) where rogue drones were hoarding the substance for unknown reasons. In that case, however, rogue drones were hoarding the Isogen-5 apparently under the command of Empress Jamyl (who had yet to make her return to Cluster politics following her apparent death), to power the Terran superweapon that she used to devastating effect in the Battle of Mekhios against the Elder Fleet. Prior to her return, she tested her superweapon once on a Blood Raider fleet, with a similar result. There is at least some evidence that the March 10 detonations were, in fact, an accident. Under this theory, one of the Isogen-5 caches made by the drones under Jamyl’s command accidentally detonated, which set off a chain reaction amongst the other Isogen-5 caches. However, that theory doesn’t quite explain why some shattered planets are found in wormhole space (where New Eden rogue drones couldn’t possibly have traveled to before the wormholes opened), so the question of who created the caches in the first place is still very much up for debate (as is the question of rogue drone motives for creating their caches).

In any event, the Isogen-5 detonations did more than just kill a few hundred million people. The explosions were so severe that they ripped holes in the fabric of space-time. Apparently random wormholes soon appeared throughout the cluster. Intriguingly, out of the trillions upon trillions of stars in the universe that the wormholes could lead to, they all lead to about 2,500 that are inhabited in some capacity by the Sleepers (the reasons for why wormholes only lead to these select systems is unknown). These systems, known as Anoikis, (Anoikis and w-space are equivalent terms, but I believe there’s a slight preference in RP circles to call it Anoikis) are located in an unknown area of space (though Templar One does mention that the only identifiable objects in Anoikis are quasars, which would make Anoikis incredibly distant from New Eden). However, within hours of the first wormhole opening in Vitrauze, the Gallente were sending ships through. Soon, the empires and CONCORD all agreed to buy certain items taken from Sleeper salvage at a standardized rate. Sleeper salvage led to a number of technological advances, including Tech 3 strategic cruisers and the technology needed to create the immortal soldiers in the soon-to-be-released game Dust 514. Needless to say, research on Isogen-5, Anoikis, and related areas is still ongoing (including a project by yours truly!). How all these pieces truly fit together may never entirely be known, unfortunately.

Conclusion


Well, that about wraps it up. I confess that after writing all of this, I’m ironically not entirely sure of the best way to conclude. Some grandiose statement on the interconnectedness and depth of New Eden’s story seems appropriate, but it turns out that Seismic Stan already said everything I could on the subject and more in his excellent foreword. But one of the things this project has taught me is that the best way to learn the lore is to really dig into it yourself. I took pains while writing this to cross-reference to the bigger articles on the lore, but there’s still so much out there that I just didn’t have time or room to talk about. Dig into it, and you can see the kind of story CCP has built for Eve. At the risk of sounding cliche, there’s a universe worth of stories out there to discover.

I will say that EVE has a fantastic backstory though, and the best part is that it’s still being written. Whether it be the political intrigues of New Eden’s null security alliances, discovering more about our past history, or the next scandal or crisis to hit the empires, the story of EVE lives and grows every day. It’s one of many great things about a great game, and I had a blast putting this guide together and digging back into the lore again.

I’d like to thank Seismic Stan for letting me take over his blog for a few days to post the blogpost version, as well as instigating this guide in the first place. He acted as a constant sounding board whenever I needed it (much to the detriment to his sleeping schedule), and his suggestions and editing proved invaluable. And all of that says nothing of the promotional help he gave or how he dealt with me making hundreds of updates to the Guide. I can’t possibly thank him enough. And I must thank Morwen Lagann for acting as my second set of lore-familiar eyes on this, making sure I didn’t commit some grievous RP faux pas. I’d also like to thank the EVE Content Teams, past and present, that really made this possible. Without dedicated lore people such as CCP TonyG, Abraxus, Dropbear, and the others on the Lore team, this kind of project never would have been possible (nor, for that matter,would a 13,000 entry wiki). This Guide was as much a way to showcase their painstaking work on this as it was to summarize it, and I can’t give them enough credit for the fantastic universe that they’ve created.

If you guys have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to contact me in game or out of game. My contact info can be found on my website, and I check twitter constantly. Thanks again, and I hope it you had as much fun reading it as I did writing it!





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6 comments:

  1. I really loved reading it! Two thumps up! Thanks for your effort.

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  2. Glad you enjoyed it, and thanks for the kind words :-)

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  3. I don't really know what all of this is about? :| It just feels a bit like a information-shotgun blast?

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  4. Julianus, a shotgun blast is as good a description as any. This particular post is part of a larger document that is aimed at giving the uninitiated a broad understanding of some of New Eden's lore. This particular page contains the elements that didn't really find a home elsewhere.

    If you've stumbled across this post alone it makes less sense than if you take it in the context of the EVE Lore Survival Guide as a whole.

    Or, given that you are one of the EVE Lore luminaries referred to somewhere in this document's pages, it may be that this is just stuff you think about before breakfast. ;)

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  5. Great guide!!!!

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Lay it on me.