CCP Live Event: CONCORD Universal Timebase Expedition


YULAI, Jan 6, YC 120 – CONCORD and Project Discovery have launched a new research initiative. Its purpose is to “compare the accuracy of the current universal timebase” with newly-developed instruments for measuring time. The research team, headed up by Dr. Holnar Reniret, intends to conducts its research in multiple locations around New Eden. Today’s foray saw them travel to Luminaire, “to collaborate with a team of Gallente scientists.”

The event also marked a new chapter in EVE Online’s Live Event program after last  year’s staffing shake-up. Coming in the wake of EVE Vegas, the layoffs left the Community Team bare. As a result, some players have worried about the future of Live Events in EVE. This event is set to help to ease those fears.

The Expedition

This event started off routine, but amusing. After greeting the capsuleers of Yulai, the team set out for Luminaire in a pair of Enforcer-class force recon cruisers. Along the way, they discussed… public relations, of a sort.

[ 2018.01.06 20:50:24 ] EVE System > Channel changed to Local : Ourapheh
Holnar Reniret > We are headed to celebrate the new year with a very important experiment in Luminaire. All are welcome to assist.
EVE System > Channel changed to Local : Botane
Holnar Reniret > ahem, hello capsuleers of Botane
Naava Edios > Another fine day for arresting Criminals Kill: Samantha Nierdu (Megathron)
Lorienne Nesif > Our Project Discovery is en route to Luminaire for some experiments. Anyone interested in science may join us!
Holnar Reniret > oh, yes, and happy YC120 to all, of course
EVE System > Channel changed to Local : Erme
Holnar Reniret > uff… do I have to say it all the way through?
Lorienne Nesif > Yes, doctor, you do.
Lorienne Nesif > We wish to celebrate!
Holnar Reniret > right. Ahem, greetings capsuleers! Happy YC120! We are headed to Luminaire for some experiments and to celebrate the new year!
Holnar Reniret > please, join us!
Holnar Reniret > greetings, miss Nissa Redding
EVE System > Channel changed to Local : Du Annes
Holnar Reniret > ok, they are the same ones from a minute ago, this is silly…
Lorienne Nesif > Hello capsuleers of Du Annes. A Project Discovery research team is heading to Luminaire for science. Any interested are welcome to join us!
Holnar Reniret > uff… Yes capsuleers! Happy YC120! Please join us in Luminaire!
EVE System > Channel changed to Local : Pettinck
Lorienne Nesif > Just this last one, doctor, you’re doing great!
Holnar Reniret > alright…
Holnar Reniret > Capsuleers of New Eden, happy YC120! Please, join us in our celebratory experiments in Luminaire!
Holnar Reniret > was that good?
Lorienne Nesif > That was fine, doctor.

Once in Luminaire, the team moved on to Gallente Prime, where they planned to conduct experiments into… well. I’ll let Officer Nesif and Dr. Reniret explain (because I still have some questions, myself).

[ 2018.01.06 21:03:24 ] Lorienne Nesif > Hello capsuleers. My name is Lorienne Nesif. It is good to meet you all! Thank you for joining us in this event. Today is more than just a science experiment, it is also a celebration of the Yoiul Conference.
Lyken Des > Wooo
Lorienne Nesif > This year marks the 120th since CONCORD’s standard calendar was established at the Yoiul Conference. As some of you might know, the Yoiul Conference itself has its anniversary on June 26.
Lorienne Nesif > Even though that conference established the interstellar calendar we use today, that date doesn’t mark the change of the year. Would anyone like to say why this is?
Lorienne Nesif > Every planet has its own conception of time, and these are still practiced by planet-dwelling citizens to this day. But in this interstellar age, we needed a standardized time that everyone, no matter where you are from, could follow.
Lorienne Nesif > In every corner of New Eden, we were finding records of a spacefaring civilization before ours. They used a calendar that established a year as 365 24-hour days, divided into 12 months.
Lorienne Nesif > It didn’t matter where you were from, or what language the records were in. One calendar, one time. Well, if it worked for them, it would work for us!
Lorienne Nesif > So, you can thank our ancestors for giving us this month of January, and February, and March, and all the rest.

Lorienne Nesif > Anyway. We are joined today by Dr. Holnar Reniret of Project Discovery. Say hello, Dr. Reniret!
Holnar Reniret > Oh, right, yes. Ahem… hello.
Lorienne Nesif > Dr. Reniret, would you please let us know what exactly you will be doing today? What is the nature of these tests, and what impact do you think your research will have on New Eden?
Holnar Reniret > Well, sure.
Holnar Reniret > Ahem, so, as you may know, all timekeeping devices and networks need a measurement of reference that can be easily replicated and is always consistent no matter the place or the time.
Holnar Reniret > The systems that CONCORD and all empires use today work quite finely, but it has been noticed in the last few decades that the sheer dimensions of the space colonized by humanity may cause issues with the measurments of reference.
Holnar Reniret > For example, in the Amarr and Minmatar space the presence of massive nebulas can produce distortions in gravity-based, or even electromagnetic-based measurements.
Holnar Reniret > Also, it appears that infinitesimal differences in the timespace lattice in different regions of space can also produce very small deviations in almost every kind of precise measurements.
Holnar Reniret > While this is almost unnoticeable for all other intense[sic] and purposes, timekeeping references need to be as precise as possible. What we are trying to do today is to test a technology that will allow to have a consistent measurement of reference with
Holnar Reniret > the highest precision ever attempted across not only all New Eden… but hopefully well beyond.

And of course, Dr. Reniret did his best to endear himself to the audience with his charm and wit:

Alen Asques > Does the time swirl the other way on the other side of the planet?
Holnar Reniret > So… yes, that’s what we are going to do.
Lorienne Nesif > We’ve already got one question for you, doctor. What would you say to Mr. Asques?
Holnar Reniret > Alen Asques no
Lorienne Nesif > Don’t be rude, doctor. You can give more than a single word answer.
Holnar Reniret > Ahem, right. It’s an interesting question mr Alen Asques . To which the answer is no.

I won’t lie: I laughed.

Interesting Developments

No live event is really complete without conflict, though. In fact, it’s something many felt was missing from the Coronation of Empress Catiz (which went off smoothly).  This time, though, we got a couple of different layers of activity. And in both cases, they raise questions within the lore.

Thing One

The first disruption came at the hands of a trio of capsuleers named The Astromancer, Nheil Kharan, and Therik Mot. They warped in, locked up the CONCORD NPCs, and started to attack.  Of course, the CONCORD pilots called for help, and the assembled players responded. All three kills can be found on zkill. What can’t be found on zkill (or on evewho) is the first really interesting thing:

CCP is getting back into Live Events with an interesting twist.

Has anyone told these guys EVE came out in 2003?

According to their in-game history, these three characters have been rattling around for as much as 47 years. It hints at something deeper going on, as do these lines from The Astromancer as the attack run began:

[ 2018.01.06 21:13:16 ] The Astromancer > Well well, CONCORD finally made it with their ancient trinkets. Are you really going through with your useless efforts, doc?
The Astromancer > I guess we’ll just have to show how broken this system you so desperately cling to is.

But that’s not all The Astromancer gave us to think about.

Thing Two

Six minutes after the attack began, and five minutes after it ended, came the second quirk: Lancers.

Lancers (the NPCs formerly known as Circadian Seekers) can appear anywhere, at any time. There’s no real shock when they do. This is especially true when there are corpses on-field, and The Astromancer did end up podded. He was, however, carrying a unit of Corrupted Trinary Relics in his hold. The relics were a drop in an Agency event a few months back. They come…from Drifter wrecks.

And then a Drifter arrived. At that point, the CONCORD NPCs withdrew.

Drifters aren’t known for their friendliness. This Drifter, though, didn’t attack anyone. In fact, it warped off to the Caldari Monument in-system, and most of the assembled capsuleers followed. Over the next half hour, the capsuleers poked and prodded at it in various ways. Other than destroying a Reaper that fired first, the Drifter remained passive. Half an hour later, a second Drifter arrived, and was also passive, despite capsuleers crawling all over them like fleas.

Eventually, a fleet from Arataka Research Consortium arrived to destroy both. Both battleships had their overshields, but neither one fired the Doomsday. This is not normal behavior.

It’s still unclear exactly what all this means. Did the Drifters show up because of the Relics? Or were they just a random result? For that matter, why were they so passive? It’s too early to tell.

The Return of Live Events

One thing is certain, though: This brings CCP back into the storytelling game in a way they haven’t been for most of the past year. A follow-up news post indicates that the plotline will be continuing. So there’s a reasonable expectation of appearances by the same actors in other parts of space. Could CONCORD and Project Discovery even come out to null-sec? Only time will tell.

The run-up to this event was low-key, with only a single posting to the World News channel. As a result, the crowd was also relatively small. In Yulai, the system averaged between 12 and 24 players during the run-up. Still, the signs are good that as CCP eases back into Live Events, they’ll be more visible throughout the community.

All together, it’s a good sign that CCP is committed to keeping their end of EVE’s story in motion. That’s important for more than just the roleplayers. All of the major mechanical and ‘technical’ developments in recent years, from citadels to force auxiliaries, have been tied into the lore. When EVE’s story completely bogs down, CCP’s implementation of new toys slows down with it. This scenario went off pretty well, and it’s given us a lot to think about and look forward to. So welcome back Live Events! We’re looking forward to what’s still to come.

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  • Johnny Crowe

    Superfuckingtight. That is all.

    January 7, 2018 at 7:26 AM
    • Nicola Arman Johnny Crowe


      January 7, 2018 at 5:43 PM
  • Alot

    Could someone explain to me what would be lost if these “Live events” were instead scripted into triggerable quests that featured NPCs instead of players? I feel that in the vastness of space, no one can hear you narrative.

    January 8, 2018 at 10:08 AM
    • Arrendis Alot

      Maybe appropriately, I think ‘a lot’ would be lost that way, in the vein of interactivity, spontaneity, and direct player involvement in the shape of the story.

      In the event this weekend, the two CONCORD ships were saved by player actions. They could also have been *killed* by player actions (or inactions). Part of the lore storyline has been that even as groups like Upwell design massively powerful new structures to cater to the unfathomably-wealthy capsuleer crowd*, CONCORD’s operational leadership (the upper-echelon officer corps, not the civilian bureaucrats from the Empires who have ultimate power) have been getting more and more hostile toward us.

      They see us, and our increasing capabilities, as a growing threat that they’d like to head off, but really can’t without approval from higher-up. We see that even in the videos with ‘Angry CONCORD Guy’ (it’s why he’s angry!), you know? There’s a prevailing viewpoint within CONCORD, and presumably within the empires’ Navies, that we’re the barbarian hordes, kept mostly ‘passive’ in high-sec and rampaging about like locusts in null. That’s actually one of the things Faction Warfare is designed to do: keep us contained and ‘manageable’.

      That actually even came up during this event, in the reaction of Dr. Reniret to having been defended by capsuleers:

      Holnar Reniret > oh geez, I always thought you were all a bunch of murderous monsters… but… but you saved my life!

      and later, this exchange (where I do my best to make sure they don’t like us TOO much):

      [ 2018.01.06 21:23:04 ] Holnar Reniret > And also I would like to apologise for calling you murderous monsters. That was… Rude of me.
      [ 2018.01.06 21:23:35 ] Arrendis > Holnar Reniret no it wasn’t. We are monsters. We’re murderous, amoral bastards. But we can be friendly monsters.
      [ 2018.01.06 21:24:02 ] Holnar Reniret > Arrendis ahem, thanks. I’ll… Keep that in mind.
      Player interaction with the NPCs during these events can influence the storyline. CCP’s shown in the past that they’re willing to incorporate what we do into their plots, that the decision trees aren’t closed… that they want us to be a part of the process of crafting the story. That’s what the Amarr Trials were all about.

      You can’t do that with triggered, replicatible quests… with what amounts to expansions of the Missions system. In theory, you could manage it if they were for a limited period, but then you’d need to aggregate all of the responses and come up with ‘what did the players overall decide?’ But that comes with its own issues.

      First, it takes longer. Second, and more importantly, who’s going to recognize their actions in the results? The people who chose differently won’t, even if they only chose minor differences. Remember this trailer?

      Sure, we joke about ‘I was there’, but we’ve got those stories. We’ve all got those moments out here in null.. and you know what? The RP community does, too. The last two paragraphs of that news post is about player activities, about CCP saying ‘yes, this thing you did? That’s part of EVE’s official lore. Your actions are part of what we’re taking into account’.

      And, you know… I was there. 😉 That wasn’t even a ‘live event’. That was a bunch of players going and doing something notable and then letting CCP know they’d done it. It’s not the only time they’ve done it.

      CCP wants to know what we’re up to. When we do something lore-significant, they want to incorporate it. And the best way to do that is to interact with us directly, and let us get our input into what’s going on… by being part of these major events in a singular, cohesive way.

      It doesn’t just let us interact with their event, it lets us interact with each other. And that’s the third problem with the ‘triggered quests’: If group A wants to save the CONCORD NPCs, and group B wants to kill them… they both do it. Doing it the way they do it now, group A is actively opposing group B. Players are interacting with other players in the story-lore.

      You just can’t do that with triggered quests.

      * – ISK is purely a currency used in the spacefaring markets. The empires have their own currencies. 1 ISK has, at times, been described as roughly 1 year’s income for a family of reasonable means on most developed worlds in high-sec.

      January 8, 2018 at 7:04 PM
      • Alot Arrendis

        The interaction you’ve had is definitely better then anything which could be given in an NPC quest but that is the whole point. Its just you. I have no idea what the attendance numbers are, and I’m sure you’ll correct me if necessary, but you dealing with an engaged group of what, 700 present for small instances like this one and 2000 present for big instances like the Amarr ones?

        You seem to to enjoy saying you were there, I’m just wondering what % of the player base didn’t even know this event was happening. Id assume high 80s.

        My comment is to quality vs quantity and in a game where no permanent NPC driven story arcs have been added in 3-5 years, the idea of running once off events for such a small group of players, for the odd chance one or two may win the lottery and have a dev give an off hand (in character) comment to them seems quite silly.

        I really like the Eve story but I can’t remember an instance in the last few years where the story impacted the game play in any way whatsoever. Concord is at heads with Upwell consortium and Capsuleers? Great to hear, so when is this development going to have any impact on gameplay at any level? The feeling I’ve always had is that while I may have been there, in Eve, the story was not inhabiting the same universe that me and all the other players were occupying.

        January 8, 2018 at 8:18 PM
        • Arrendis Alot

          You’re not wrong. I agree that more people could’ve been aware of it, and more people generally should get the opportunity to be aware of it… but that’s not a problem with the mechanisms of live events, it’s a problem with the mechanisms of information management.

          And that’s something CCP’s gonna be working on. They need to get the word out better on these things, and more in advance. In this case, they were intentionally keeping it low-key while they eased back into doing Live Events… but they really don’t promote enough awareness of the World News channel. One of the most ironic things about EVE’s news setup is that the only place you can’t get it… is in-game.

          January 10, 2018 at 8:09 AM
  • 9T9 Red Ballons

    Very cool report.
    I have never fully understood why CCP often doesn’t go to the “end of the story-line” when introducing lore or “storytelling” in Eve. Drifters are as mysterious as ever, Caroline star remains a mystery, the Kyonoke Inquest just fell flat. They introduce potentially interesting stories but there is never a “ending act” to the stories they made.

    January 12, 2018 at 12:40 PM