Thursday, May 6, 2021

Andrew Groen On Writing Empires Of EVE: Volume 2

Yesterday Andrew Groen announced the launch of public sales of his new book, Empires of EVE: Volume 2 on Twitter. The hardcover version of the book, along with the 2nd edition of Volume 1, will be available on his website on 25 May. The Kindle version is currently available for pre-order on Amazon.

But he didn't just send out a tweet. Andrew composed a 14 tweet thread summing up his thoughts about writing the book. I rolled up the thread and you can find the roll-up here. Given that today is the 18th anniversary of the launch of EVE Online, I thought I'd record his thoughts someplace other than Twitter. So with Andrew's permission, enjoy!

Hi friends, I’m pleased to announce that after three years of work Empires of EVE: Volume 2 will be launching May 25! Hardcovers will be through and ebooks on Kindle (pre-order: Bit of a thread to sum up the journey... 1/14

First off, I can’t thank @CCPGames enough for its patience in giving me the space and time to put together a book and a story I’m incredibly proud of. This story means the world to me, and I’m excited for it to be available at last to a wider audience.

In an age of opaque gaming/social media companies, @CCPGames deserves great credit for not only allowing a journalistic documentation of its community’s history, but actively aiding my work, giving me rights permissions, speaking opportunities, and assistance contacting players.

At times I'm critical of the company's choices, and at others the story remembers things that might preferably be forgotten, but in 7 yrs CCP has never tried to influence my writing, edit information, or control the story. It's a unique company with a history to be proud of.

It's inspiring to think of what could be achieved if our arrangement was used as a model for using investigative reporting to study the histories of other online spaces and social platforms.

My heartfelt thanks as well to the EVE community for allowing me the privilege of writing their story. None of it would've been possible w/out hundreds of people talking to me abt their experiences. The game is fundamentally interconnected. Every person has a unique perspective.

Sometimes it was an hours-long interview and others it was a chat by the hotdog stand in Reykjavik, a beer in Berlin, a stroopwaffle in Amsterdam, a layover in Toronto, but every person formed my understanding of who the community is and the forces that have shaped it over time.

The question that EVE players ask me most often is "how does EVE compare with other game communities?" I used to write about many different games before starting the EOE project in 2014, and people are often curious to get my perspective on what makes EVE distinct/typical.

I usually answer that EVE is a community of extremes. In its history you'll find the best in humanity, and you'll find the darkness in us too. In the stories that really mattered to players I heard about the friends they genuinely loved and the enemies they genuinely hated.

In large part, what I tried to do with Volume 2 was explain that paradox for myself. If EVE is designed to be a “cold, dark, and harsh world” then why were so many of the people I was meeting warm, bright, and kind? Why do the connections they make mean so much to them?

At the end of two books my conclusion can only be that they are inextricably linked. The darkness of EVE exerts sociological pressure on the core of its communities to come together and tighten their bond. The bleaker the darkness, the brighter the stars shine.

Volume 2 is a story about starships and interstellar internet politics, but to me, it's about a community and a developer that tried - and is still trying - to find balance between those deeply human forces.

Thank you for the most amazing adventure of my life. I started writing this because I believed it was the greatest story in video gaming. Today I believe that more than ever. I can only imagine what it was like for those who lived it.

My love forever to the EVE Online community who taught me not to fear the darkness, and neither to embrace it too closely. Fly safe, my friends. I hope you enjoy the story. (May 25!) 14/14

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