As the latest revision of EVE Online‘s labyrinthine game mechanics sees the complexities of industry and production given a facelift in the latest release, Crius, PR guy Ned ‘CCP Manifest’ Coker flexes his social media arm on Reddit to provide a selection of industry-flavoured fiction from the pen of Hjalti ‘CCP Abraxus’ Danielsson and his fellow scribes.

Unsurprisingly, the response to his Facebook link prompted a predictable challenge to the relevance of EVE‘s lore, with claims that it is unnecessary to EVE because ‘the players are the plot’. The official EVE Online response (presumably also CCP Manifest) was as amusing as it was cryptic:

Whether those of us who enjoy EVE‘s lore have just been officially labeled as the vegetarians to the carnivorous PvPers, I’m not sure, but I’d like to think of myself as more of an omnivore with the hunting instincts of an angry daffodil.

Besides, if EVE stripped out all the fiction, you couldn’t even have spaceships, warp drives, clones and so on. So like it or not, everyone has to accept the lore to some degree. It certainly doesn’t do any harm to flesh out the universe with inspiring and thought-provoking stories for those who enjoy that sort of thing. The recent Dark Horse comic series proved that the player-driven stuff doesn’t necessarily make for an engaging or coherent narrative anyway (although I think that was just a matter of presentation). The idea of weaving player actions into the background story is certainly a good one and New Eden has the best possible platform to do it.

In any case, the industrial overhaul is live and I’m very tempted to see if the manufacturing experience has been made any more accessible to mathematically-challenged casual players like me. That may or may not be the case after spending an evening reading the discussions on the EVE-O forums. It has certainly been an education (at least those parts I understood), with a lot of veteran (vegetarian?) industrialists raging about the loss of ‘BPO plumage’ (bragging rights derived from the negligible benefit of researching blueprints to a ridiculously high level, a process which takes months).

I note that EVE‘s cleverest blogger, Noizygamer, plans to defiantly hold his industrial ground in low-sec despite his claims that all evidence says that’s a silly idea. What’s he not telling us, eh? Maybe he’s sitting on a secret recipe for Caesar salad down there? Is that what Rubicon was all about?

I suppose I’d better go mine some croutons.