Rooks and Kings’ Eve Docudrama

By Jim Rossignol on November 19th, 2011 at 4:00 am.


It’s on nights like this one, when sleep is denied me, that I miss Eve Online most of all. I would have spent it hunting, leading fleets, and indulging in the stuff that makes the game so special. It’s funny, because I realise that those who have never played Eve’s PvP game will never know what I am missing out on, now, let alone what they have missed out on, always. For all the writing I’ve done on the subject, I’ve never been able to capture quite what it all means in terms of a cerebral, tactical, persistent challenge. There is nothing quite like it. That singular nature means that videos like the one below – a forty-minute tale of sophisticated, high-level combat through Eve’s wormhole space – are possible. You should watch this video, even if you do not believe you will ever play Eve, because it captures the drama, the control, and the mathematics that are integral to the PvP game.

And it makes me acutely aware of what I am missing out on. The guys making this video are hardcore PvPers, even by my standards, and it’s impossible not to admire their dedication. Perhaps I was found lacking. Thanks, Roburky.

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63 Comments »

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  1. BAshment says:

    sleep is the cousin of death.

  2. dsi1 says:

    Hey that’s Shattered Horizon!

    y no plug RPS? :(

  3. Kaira- says:

    Ah, the curse of the sleepless. Though I guess I have it self-imposed, being at game jam and stuff.

    Quite impressive video also, saw it some time ago.

  4. westyfield says:

    This is pretty cool. Makes me wish I’d persisted and got into Eve, instead of bouncing off the surface.

  5. Adekan says:

    R&K are amazing storytellers. Even though my EvE life is dull and drab by comparison, this kind of stuff is why I play EvE.

  6. nutterguy says:

    Thanks for making my night shift more entertaining Jim! :-D

  7. durns says:

    Think of it less that you can’t sleep, more that you get to hang out with the U.S. evening crew. Thanks for the fantastic video, it really illustrated the absolutely unique highs that Eve is able to give.

    Its unfortunate that those highs serve only to punctuate the long periods of boredom that are also an inevitable part of that game. Or maybe that’s what makes them so high, because you have to search for them and work to have them exist?

    • westyfield says:

      When he said “in just six hours – a record time – we found the wormhole” I died a little inside.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      ” Or maybe that’s what makes them so high, because you have to search for them and work to have them exist?”

      Yep.

    • Mctittles says:

      Eve has terrible punishment for mistakes made and long times working to get what you want. The devastation of loosing an expensive ship that you spent many hours earning money to buy is immense. But without that investment, and without the chance of such a horrible loss, cruising through 0.0 space would be just another boring thing. Instead I am sweating bullets, watching local, and praying my warp drive just kicks in very soon.

      Yes part of eve is like work and it may be boring compared to some other games. You can do “jobs” in eve that I suppose could be considered boring, although you are still in space doing space things. It’s a total immersion in which you are playing in another Universe. It’s not for everyone and that’s ok, because it is for me. I hope they never change.

  8. Shroom says:

    Having never played EVE and hardly had any contact with it I have very little idea about what was going on during most of that, and yet still found it fairly compelling. I’m not sure whether that says something about their ability to tell a story or the compelling nature of the thing itself. I doubt I’d ever have the dedication or commitment to a game that these guys have.

    • Lukasz says:

      try it and maybe you will like it. Even if you dont or cant pay you will understand the game more.

  9. Premium User Badge

    Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    Fools! CCP has the home contact details of every subscriber, and they have spent years amassing data and combat logs to find the finest and most aggressive tacticians EvE has ever known.

    One day they will call together the perfect army and storm the world.

    • Azhrarn says:

      Well, that is basically what they’re saying every Fanfest. =P EVE will conquer the world, once the Totalhelldeath (their words, not mine) expansion gets a release. =D

  10. nootron says:

    Here’s the screenshot story from massively about “A Harm”s exploit: http://massively.joystiq.com/2010/09/17/new-eve-exploit-gives-wormhole-corp-incredible-advantage/

  11. Mctittles says:

    Anyone looking to start in eve or just wants ideas on a different way to play should take a look at this guys stories:
    http://00experiment.blogspot.com/2006_07_01_archive.html

    Much has happened in the world of eve since, but much is still the same. One of my favorite reads.
    (in blog style so the first post starts at the bottom of the page backwards like)

    • svge says:

      This is excellent, thanks.

    • danw13335 says:

      Am I missing something, or are large swathes of that site unaccessible? I read through the first 11 entries, under the July archive, but the August archive only contains entries 25-35. It seems like there should be previous/next page buttons, but there aren’t. How do I get to those entries?

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      Bastimoo says:

      You have to change the URL manually to see the other entrys!

  12. zenkuso says:

    That video was great, makes you miss eve like no tomorrow ^_^

  13. mkultra says:

    Never played Eve, but it sure seemed to me Agent0 deserved some good oral sex after that fight.

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    AndrewC says:

    I’m glad people are doing this out there, somewhere, very far away from me.

  15. Myles says:

    I’ve always wanted to play Eve, but it’s so big and overwhelming and… multiplayer that I know I never will. Videos like this are the next best thing, I suppose.

  16. S Jay says:

    Wow, impressive.

  17. Janek says:

    That was awesome, getting some serious nostalgia now. It’s a shame that sort of pitched, finely-balanced gang fight, with the outcome coming down to cunning rather than numbers, doesn’t happen too often.

    Certainly gained a lot of respect for that style of logistics gang, though, as I’d previously considered it something of a charmless brute-force method.

    • slight says:

      That’s only true if you fly in 0.0 blobs. If you read R&K battle reports on failheap-challenge.com you’ll see this is their bread and butter. Also there is room for cunning manouvering and tactics in general in both wormhole space and low sec. We fly solo up to 5 man gangs in sub-battleship class ships and have a great time (lowsec).

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Ha, yes, I was thinking the same, Janek. “Damn kids and their new-fangled logistics gangs.”

  18. SAM-site says:

    I’ve had several attempts to dive down the EVE rabbithole as it’s definitely my kind of game (loved Frontier, lost myself to both UO and SWG because of the persistent world elements) and yet every time I see a video like this I’m left with the profound sense of “yes, I understand the story here, but WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?”

    The overall narrative is inspiring certainly, but the game itself seems to be best viewed through a bunch of charts on the edges of your screen while variously coloured dots swirl around in the middle. Not that the aesthetic is offputting, but there does seem to be an Everest-like learning curve going on there.

  19. fearlessgoat says:

    Tried eve earlier this year and I thought it has aged very badly.
    The polly count on the ships is pretty low ( we are talking homeworld 1 low)

    I have played eve on and off over the years and it amazes me its still has so many subscribers, given its age and the lack of eye candy for this day and age.

    Still, its worth having a look at this latest content update. Well worth the use of a trial account to test her out.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      To dwell on Eve’s visuals would, I think, be missing the point.

    • mouton says:

      “Low eye candy”

      Dude, WoW

      And anyway, for any game you play longer than a dozen of hours, the eyecandy becomes less and less important.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      However for some people it is, for good or bad, a big part of their gaming choices. No arguing against that.

      Me? I couldn’t care less. The major part of my gaming experience is still centered around MUDs. While my single-player still has a good % of it being experienced through stuff like MAME, DosBox and Spectaculator.

      But for some games I buy, I do expect good graphics quality. So I can relate to fearlessgoat.

    • Jabberwocky says:

      Mario – are there many MUDs still active? I was heavily involved with them for years, both as a player and coder, but I’m out of touch. Actually the PvP on the MUD I played was far more intense than any gaming experience I’ve ever had since.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      For sure, Jabberwocky. It’s not like the golden 80s and early 90s, but all code bases still muster tenths of MUDs. Games like Aardwolf and Realms of Despair, I think, can still see close to — or in excess of — 500 hundred players at a time on weekends. Which, as you know, is a very good number, since MUDs scale differently than today’s MMOs.

      Search the web for Top Mud Sites (posting the link here for some reason classes me as spammer). I don’t like game ranking sites like that one. But ever since they began, we could never get rid of them. Still, you may want to go by the ranks in there. Your choice. Regardless the point is that site has a very good Advanced Search page.

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      Harlander says:

      Is Mud Connector still going? That’s always been my go-to site for trying to find new MU* amusements.

      (It is: http://mudconnect.com/)

      A lot of those sorts of games have the same problem as the big graphical MMOs: eventually, you run out of cool things to do, or it starts feeling too much like work.

  20. Jabberwocky says:

    Cool video.
    Fantastic job of narrating and editing.

    It’s interesting to note how cerebral the combat is. If you were to mute the sound so you couldn’t hear the strategy being discussed over voice chat, the big battle against “A Harm” would have looked mind numbingly boring, at least to the non-Eve initiated. But with the voice chat audible, it was a tense, engaging battle, listening to the evolving combat reports and tactical discussions.

    It’s definitely the multi-player interaction that makes this all interesting – both the cooperative elements in battle and intrigue between different corporations. Thanks for posting, gives a nice view into Eve for those who lack the time or patience to play it.

  21. IRev says:

    This makes me want to play eve again… I had played for 2 years and put endless hours into the game, fought endless battles and made many friends along the way. I had recently given it up due to RL issues and lack of interest over time….. Eve has a feeling… to it…. unlike any other MMO or game i’ve ever played… things actually have feeling, the people you meet, the battles you fight and the places you go…… all have an impact and a meaning… somebody said ‘eve isnt very forgiving’ and they are right, Eve makes you feel like your decisions cant be reversed you must make the right one at the right time and everything counts on it. Kinda scary but its a great sandbox and a very immerse experience for anybody who has never felt a game like this <3 you Eve. (Btw it sounds almost like a made up story but everything you see is REAL and it happened) thats what makes eve so interesting.

  22. fearlessgoat says:

    Let me clarify something before more eve fan boys jump all over me.
    Core gameplay is still eve, but graphically it should be doing a lot more than it is. It just looks like they have neglected the graphics for so long, it now does show it age. (look at the starter ship and tell me how many pollys it has, I will give you a hint, a probe in hw1 has more pollys)
    Yes graphics are not everything but for me it goes a long way and in a game like eve, wher eyou are looking at space a lot I think you need the eye candy.

    Still it is pretty funny to see people go all crazy over an observation.
    Its even funnier to see people saying wow I am subscribing for the next year based of a video……
    Back on topic, eve has good core gameplay if you invest in it.
    Personally I liked eve up to a point.
    One tip for new players is: dont trust anyone, your cannon fadder in the other players eyes.
    I would personally try out a trial before subscribing again, its stupid to just resubscribe before trying it out first ( Eve fanboys will attack me over that one)

    • Theory says:

      The game had a massive graphical overhaul not too long ago. It looks amazing.

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      Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      They replaced the client graphics code and built new high res models. They are building a major change in light model. They are replacing the backdrop. The look of your (and other) ships’ weapons has been beefed up. Turrets now pop out of hatches to fire.

      I have issues with CCP and eve, but how many MMOs do you know of that look so radically different from launch to now?

  23. GHudston says:

    Watching this video feels like revisiting a playground from my youth, but knowing that I’ll never again get to play there. There are far too many of those feelings in my life now.

    I miss EVE dearly, but I simply don’t have the time to enjoy it properly anymore. That’s a massive shame and it speaks volumes about the game that it still has such an impact on me.

    • P4p3Rc1iP says:

      This is exactly how I feel, I’d love to have the time to play this and 10 hours a day in this, but alas, I have a life now.

      Great times were had in the (then new) Drone regions. My first 0.0 experience in the biggest (counting numbers of pilots) alliance at the time, only to turn against it, destroying everything they had for wealth, power and fame.

      I was never a fleet commander myself. I’m not the person able to make the quick, important decisions that could mean the survival or death of a fleet, or more. I preferred to scout, relaying information to the fleet a few jumps ahead, or be part of a wolf pack, back when bombers still used cruise missiles.

      This video brings back such great memories!

    • Emeraude says:

      This Game, I’ve been reading about it for so long, I know people who play… I want to play… but it would just destroy my life.

    • Premium User Badge

      Bastimoo says:

      answered to the wrong post, even if i dont know why :(

    • Doctor Nil says:

      @ GHudston — Totally with you, man. I still sometimes fool myself into thinking that I might be able to go back but the truth is that it’s useless without massive, nearly round the clock. I still miss the hayday for me which was around 2006-2008, rolling through low-sec with my pirate corp and tearing up Amamake every night — baiting people into traps, running down to 0.0 to see what was up. I don’t know that there will ever be a game that comes close to what this one had.

      I tried to go back in a limited capacity a year ago but the game changed some and with my old corp dissolved it just wasn’t the same. And to think that there are tens of thousands of people who had similar experiences… Wow, really looking forward to this video!

      EDIT: Oh and for all the people bitching about graphics — this is just the typical carebear attitude. You have to keep those guys happy so that the pirates have someone to extort but they’re not to be taken too seriously. Man, I wish I could open a ransom channel with some of them right now!

  24. kyrieee says:

    For anyone who doesn’t know:
    When your ship goes boom in EVE you don’t get it back and the ships flown here are all on the expensive end of the spectrum (most of them are over a billion ISK, about 40-50$ if you wanted to RMT them). That’s part of what makes PvP so tense because you have a lot on the line.

  25. mickygor says:

    Ugh, I want to resub so bad, but… my life…

  26. Nallen says:

    The Clarion Call videos are the favourite of my life with EVE. It’s like watching pro Starcraft, you know these people are playing the same game as you but they’re NOT playing the same game as you.

  27. Ezhar says:

    That was pretty entertaining. More than playing EVE.

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    amishmonster says:

    Every time I come across something like this, I want to go give EVE another try (just like everyone else, it seems!) Every time I’ve tried, though, I just kind of bounce off. I think I may not be social enough online to make EVE work for me. Which is a shame, given the stories that come out of it.

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      “There is no RL, there is just extended AFK.”
      There, fixed ;)

  29. The Infamous Woodchuck says:

    well, the spam bots are getting really,really annoying

  30. Stephen Roberts says:

    This was a stellar video, with a battle that was so finely gripping as to be moving. Perhaps if I came into a large amount of money I could ‘holiday in EVE’ and just play it 24/7 for two or so solid years, with lots of extra pilots and an exercise routine so I don’t get fat and so on.

    But until such a fortuitous thing happens I don’t see it being a viable life path to take. And even if I were to come into a large amount of money, there are other things I’d do first.

    It’s a pity I’m not an old geezer that’s poking around a retirement home waiting for death. It seems like this would be a nice way to touch the stars before you die.

  31. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Great video (delayed watching it quite a bit). While I’ve tried EVE twice and was found wanting (or found it wanting), I still get that feeling that I want to delve deeper and fully experience and understand EVE truly. Perhaps by making goals for myself. Or by just persevering. It is very well possible that the harshness and obliqueness of EVE hit me extra because a lot of games make it so easy.

    EVE makes you work for it. And that yields its own rewards.

  32. Crazy Hippo says:

    i both love and hate these videos, i love them because it reminds me of the brilliant times i had in eve over 6 years, and i hate them because it makes me want to return.
    love the fleet commander order of “no, you will stay there and fight”

    as someone mentioned, without the commentary any non eve players wouldnt have a clue what was going on, and even for those that do play it provides a great insight into how a well organised, dedicated group of players actually achieve what they do (for those that havent necasarilly played eve to that level)

    .