Shall We Play A Game? Emergent AI Results In All-NPC Fight


“The CDIA Working Group on Emergent Threats has assessed the intercepted tactical communiques from Blood Raider Covenant field commanders, together with the material from Joint Harvesting provided by the Amarr Navy. It seems clear to us that the attack by a Blood Raider FOB patrol force on the Amarr mining operation in [REDACTED] on [REDACTED] YC119 was a relatively simple struggle for resources, initiated as so many have been due to the increasing levels of materials extraction and utilization in the cluster.

The coding of this incident as an Emergent Threat Case Red Gamma is due to the involvement of Drifter forces, drawn to the escalating conflict between Blood Raider and Amarr assets by a flight of Autothysian Lancers in ‘recon and recovery’ mode. The Working Group notes that a Drifter attack on two significant and fully-engaged combat fleets represents yet more evidence of their increasing levels of opportunism and willingness to exploit ad hoc situations. This Emergent Threat Case Red Gamma can be considered support for the hypothesis that Drifter activity is shifting towards a greater awareness and interest in the competing factions of New Eden.”

– extract from a CONCORD Directive Intelligence Agency report to the DED’s Strategic Echelon on Emergent Threats (as leaked to Ret Gloriaxx of the Scope’s Galactic Hour)


In mid-November, the Pirate Forward Operating Bases were unleashed in high-sec, resulting in the deaths of unwary capsuleers across traditionally more secure regions of space.

In the CSM minutes, another interesting snippet came to light.

Burger talks about a massive NPC fight between the NPC miners and patrolling NPC from
another faction, with drifters being involved. And no player saw it.

This piqued the interest of players, with comments in forums, on Reddit, and in Discords. It also struck our editors as something worth following up on. We reached out to CCP. CCP Burger, and CCP Guard were able to sit down with us and tell us a bit more about the story.

Shortly after the release of the FOBs, a group of Joint Harvesting miners was out minding their own business in Amarr space, diligently harvesting rocks, when they were attacked by the marauding Blood Raider rats from a nearby FOB. The Amarr were not about to stand by and let this happen, so the Amarr Navy was duly dispatched to deal with the situation. However, because this happened in high-sec, their response force was not maximum strength. It seemed the Amarrian forces were prepared to let their miners die rather than lose their combat ships. Perhaps this decision was made because the value of the highsec ore being gathered was not sufficient to warrant a large-scale commitment of forces.

Either way, the Blood Raiders looked to be winning the fight, until a group of Autothysian Lancers jumped in, and began scanning the asteroids. At this point, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” effect came into play. Blood Raiders and Amarr Navy began shooting at the Lancers. The Lancers called in backup, and two Drifter battleships arrived to defend their compatriots.

A full-scale skirmish then began between the three groups, with Blood Raiders emerging victorious after turning on the Amarrians once the Drifters were dealt with. The Drifters were unsuccessful in their assault despite unleashing their super weapons.

CCP Burger told us that CCP became aware of the fight when they came across some killmails relating to it and did not actually know the fight had occurred until that point. There are no accurate numbers of the NPC fleets involved because they do not track NPC fights in the same way as player fights. Now that this event has been discovered, there may be more tracking of NPC vs NPC conflicts across New Eden. For all we know, these fights could be happening on a daily basis, hidden in a shadow New Eden, rarely glimpsed by the player characters that inhabit it.

From a developer perspective, it is a fascinating development, as if there is a whole other side of Eve developing organically from the new AI interactions. These events are not authored by CCP at all; they are a consequence of the way the new AI has been developed to emulate player behavior. CCP has been working on making the AI as emergent as possible, and this is an example of this coming to fruition.

It remains to be seen if NPCs will develop the ability to smack talk in local, so we could yet see the day where jumping into a system sees you greeted by a wall of NPC discussions, and getting exploded by an NPC would lead to them trying to harvest your tears.

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  • Welcome to the Second Decade, lol.

    February 20, 2018 at 7:07 AM
  • Alot

    You must this this high to understand the title -.-

    February 20, 2018 at 7:28 AM
  • Caleb Ayrania

    CCP Nagual is swapping out the playerbase with AI. 🙂

    February 20, 2018 at 7:28 AM
    • chimpy Caleb Ayrania

      If they could only get the AI to purachse PLEX from CCP they would get rid of us meatsack players in an instant 🙂

      February 20, 2018 at 12:22 PM
  • Pew Pew

    This is great to see, exactly the route they should be going with the game IMO.

    February 20, 2018 at 8:40 AM
  • chimpy

    This sounds most amazing 🙂

    February 20, 2018 at 8:43 AM
    • Rhivre chimpy

      It is a quite fun development

      February 20, 2018 at 5:00 PM
  • Lrrp

    So a nascent AI is birthed and developing beyond the control of the game owners? Either fallacious ad promotion or we are the onset of a truly remarkable game that we can only wonder about as to the long term effects. Time will tell, I’m not holding my breath etc etc but will follow with keen interest.

    February 20, 2018 at 1:37 PM
    • Rhivre Lrrp

      I think its not developing beyond the control of the owners, but rather that they haven’t been paying attention to what NPCs do.
      None of this is something that should be overly unexpected, FOB rats will attack everything, NPC miners are busy hoovering belts, and Drifters are…well….Drifters.

      As someone (Hi Arrendis) said yesterday, this was unexpected, but predictable. It would be interesting to see how big the NPC fights could get, especially with Drifters now reaching into Nullsec. Could we get TiDi in an NPC fight for example.

      February 20, 2018 at 2:27 PM
      • Daito Endashi Rhivre

        Enters an empty system
        >10% TiDi

        February 20, 2018 at 2:55 PM
        • Rhivre Daito Endashi

          Oh god…that would be awful, and brilliant at the same time.

          February 20, 2018 at 2:57 PM
    • Arrendis Lrrp

      No, the ’emergent AI’ is referring to unexpected but predictable emergent behavior on the part of the NPC AI. No claims of sentience or agency have been made.

      February 20, 2018 at 4:50 PM
      • Rhivre Arrendis


        February 20, 2018 at 5:00 PM
      • Johnny Crowe Arrendis

        When the pirate npcs start batphoning other pirate npc factions to drop on their enemies we capsuleer may be fucked. Haha.

        Edit: killing some rats, hanging out, then boom last frigate lights a cyno and boom incoming npc dread bomb haha that would be great.

        February 20, 2018 at 6:02 PM
        • watch Sansha start dropping Orobourus supers on drifters in 3…2…1

          February 21, 2018 at 4:06 AM
  • The game is now playing itself.

    February 20, 2018 at 4:18 PM
    • Arrendis Sikandar Cole

      Thus the Wargames-derived header art. 😉

      February 20, 2018 at 4:48 PM
      • Yes, that was very clever of your illustrator. Unlike the movie however, the simulation was not playing against itself unbeknownst to its creators. The greater point being that EVE doesn’t need to die. It can carry on entertaining itself without any players interfering.

        February 21, 2018 at 12:39 AM
  • Freelancer117

    February 20, 2018 at 6:18 PM
  • Joe Wagner

    Only if we get NPC’s scamming other NPC’s in Jita.

    February 21, 2018 at 10:49 PM