Friday, September 30, 2016

Alpha Clones: A Capsuleer's Perspective

In November, CCP rolls out its Alpha and Omega clone state mechanic that will allow people to play EVE with a clone with limited abilities forever. Everyone has opinions and they share them constantly. The forums, Reddit, podcasts, news sites, and bloggers. But the one group we never think of is the characters in the game itself? What would one have to say about the current situation?

What follows are the thoughts of Rosewalker, a mystic from the Vherokior tribe residing in the Minmatar Republic. Rosewalker is a graduate of the Republic Military School in YC111 (2009), who then did advanced coursework in EVE University. After serving a short stint in factional warfare, he joined the family business run by his sister. In YC117 he joined Signal Cartel, where he spent 17 months before returning to the family business.

Control. Everyone wants control. The only problem is, most of the people who want control should never have it. Sometimes, those people watch the control slip from their hands.

I don't know what the Jovians intended when they allowed the empires access to cloning technology. Genolution is only a memory now, but the now departed puppetmasters used that corporation to dispense technology throughout New Eden. Perhaps the Battle of Vak'Atioth led to the decision to ensure none of the other human empires could ever gain enough power over the other empires to then turn their attention to the numerically inferior Jove. I can't complain; the defeat gave my people the opening to rebel and forge a republic that a quarter of Matari now call home.

I wonder if the rulers of the great empires thought they could control the empyreans. If so, they were sadly mistaken. Large numbers of us may live within their boundaries, but they control us about as much as the Amarr now control Heimatar, Metropolis, and Molden Heath.

The Amarr, however, seek to control the universe under their religious doctrine called the Reclaiming. If the Amarr want to fulfill God's plan, they must keep all people perpetually beneath them. The empyreans, by their mere existence, made a mockery of their God. The capsuleers, as empyreans are commonly called, are only kept in check by the Jovian technology granted to CONCORD and the capsuleers' willingness to put up with the rules of the four empires. Sometimes, the empires are reminded of the chaos capsuleers can cause.

Never underestimate the bloody-minded determination of the religious fanatics that run the Amarr Empire, though. Just as their scientists developed vitoc to control the slave population within the Empire, they continue to seek new clone technology. In YC113, the Amarr developed technology that allowed for clones to transfer their consciousness upon death without capsule technology. Their quest for immortal slave soldiers who would die thousands of deaths, however, became known and then copied. While such a result kept the Jovian goal of a balance of power among the empires intact, that just meant an increase in the number of super soldiers. Perhaps New Eden is fortunate that the concept of the clone soldiers didn't prove more popular.

In a bit of poetic justice, the Drifters gained vengeance on the Amarr Empire for developing the new technology from their bodies by alpha'ing the Avatar of Empress Jamyl I and then podding her in the system of Safizon in YC117. I can't say I shed a tear over the loss of the empress.

That leads us to the current time. On Tuesday, Empress Catiz I took the throne and announced a huge military buildup focused on producing tens of thousands of new capsuleers. From her speech:
"Today, together, we stand firm at the beginning of a new path. A path that takes us on a journey paved with prosperity for loyal subjects of the faith.

"A journey, the first fleeting steps of which we take today, that marks a turning point for this great Empire and sets us on a course to stability, security and opportunity.

"To ensure an end to the atrocities we have borne witness to and experienced at the hands of those who would defy the word of God.

"However, with great military power comes great responsibility. The might and the honor of the Imperial Armed Forces will be restored, and with it we will usher in a new generation of capsuleers to support the Golden Fleet.

"Tens of thousands more capsuleers will graduate from the Imperial Academy to join our already established and prized loyalist forces, in the largest expansion to our pod pilot training program ever conceived."
An expansionist Amarr Empire is never a good thing for the Minmatar. Rumors coming out of the Empire suggest these new capsuleers are somehow different. Given the history of Amarrian efforts combined with their religion, I expect that these new recruits will not have the full power available to the normal empyrean. Also given the history of Amarrian scientific efforts, I expect the other empires to quickly copy the technology and create capsuleer forces loyal to themselves.

I find the idea of a crippled form of capsuleer repugnant in the extreme. If the empires' scientists can create a crippled form of capsuleer, can they also modify existing capsuleers to make them more controllable? Are all of us capsuleers at risk of succumbing to the desires of the empires? If so, does that mean we can rescue these new capsuleers and turn them into true empyreans? If for no other purpose than to thwart the will of the new empress, I sincerely hope so.

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