Every time I feel like I've drilled to bedrock in EVE, someone comes up to me and says "No, there's this whole other layer. Let me show you."(1)
Once a week or so, someone sends me an EVE mail or a Twitter message asking for my help with something. "How do I promote my blog?" or "What corp should I join?" or "What ships should I train for?" Stuff like that. Still, every once in a while, the request is "Will you read this and make suggestions on how to improve it?" And if I'm not too terribly busy, I'm happy to help.
I got such a request in December... and what I was asked to read was the written equivalent of a case full of explosives. In a minute, you get to read it, too.
First thing: I didn't write the document that follows. It was sent to me. I'm just the publisher.
Second thing: the document might be a massive (and successful) troll. You have been warned. Still, I have permission to publish this, and I have the name of an EVE player's account who will answer questions about it. Initially, I was going to work with an EVE news site on this, but the author doesn't have a high opinion of EN24, and over the last month, I decided to run with it myself. It might be a troll, but it's one of those things that even if it's not true... it feels true. And whether it's true or not, it's not "news" as such.
Third thing: the document goes over some pretty ancient EVE history. If you're not familiar with the names, you'll probably find the (now defunct) EVE History Wiki extremely useful. In particular, CA is Curse Alliance and LV is Lotka Volterra, alliances from what I think of as the first age (2003-2005) and second age (2005-2007) of EVE Online, respectively.(2) From my perspective, the second age of EVE Online ended when Shrike's first Titan died in the summer of 2007. A solid majority of you reading this probably started playing EVE after that happened. But the most interesting parts of the document end about the same time that Titan explodes.
Ready to read the document? Here it is (download the original RTF):
Is what's in this document true? I refer to periods lasting only two years as "ages" in the life of EVE Online because they may as well be centuries long. Stuff that happened that far back disappears into the mists of people's memories, even assuming the people involved are still around. Very few people have documented proof of anything. Still, I spent some time digging and I couldn't find anything that directly contradicts anything in this document. If it's a troll, it's a very well-executed one and maybe I just haven't been playing EVE long enough to see where it's obviously wrong.
Still, it corroborates a lot of the feeling that I'm getting about the number of layers in this game. I'll have more to say on this topic in another day or three, but there are EVE players out there with quite literally more ISK than they will ever be able to spend if EVE is still being played 50 years from now. Dr. EyjoG might believe that he has ultimate control over the levers in the EVE economy, and the average EVE player might believe incursion-runners are at fault for the price of PLEXes, but I don't believe those things.
Conspiracy theorists are looked at like they're nuts when they say that only a few people control the real-world economy. But in EVE, I'm coming increasingly to the belief that's pretty much the truth.
I personally know an EVE player whose long-term goal in the game isn't to steal a trillion ISK or to own a Titan or to lead an alliance. His ultimate end-game goal is to crash the tritanium market. The entire tritanium market. Across all of New Eden. At the same time. The last time I talked to him, his personal EVE finances ran to 15 digits... that's hundreds of trillions of ISK. And this week, I talked to someone who claims 16 digits. And based on what he told me, I have no reason to doubt him. He says there's a small cabal of people who ultimately control PLEX prices, and I have no reason to doubt that, either. In the real world, there are laws and governments to prevent this kind of thing happening, but New Eden doesn't have any of that.
So the idea that there is (or was) a small group of people sharing back-end top-level information about EVE's largest alliances is, by contrast, pretty easy for me to believe.
It's turtles all the way down.
Have a question for the author of this document? Post it in comments. I'll compile them and send them along. Have some way of proving this document a troll or a falsehood? I'd love to hear it. In the meantime, failing that, I'll have more to say on this topic (plus some of the questions I asked him) in a day or three.
(1) When I tweeted this sentence last month, Duncan Feldane joked in return "You think that's bedrock you're breathing?" Bravo!
(2) As far as I'm concerned, we're currently in the fifth age of EVE Online. It began last spring when The Mittani became Chair of CSM6 and the Haven/Sanctum nerf led directly to the fall of the NC.