TripTik’s and Preserving the Rich History of EVE

Editor’s Note: You’ve likely heard of our two main services that we offer, EvE-Scout Thera Connections and EvE-Scout Rescue, but you’ve probably not heard about another service we offer and that would be our Expedition TripTik’s. Our former CEO, Mynxee, started this effort that follows in the footsteps of our friend and fellow explorer Mark726 as a complement to EvE Travel, but it’s certainly not meant to be a replacement. Sadly, over the years we’ve not kept it going, but in her honor and in the spirit of our motto of “Be the content you wish to see”, I set about to fix that by rebooting the service with an in corp event over the last couple of months called TripTik’s 2.0.

I had one goal and two hopes. First, it was my goal and hope we would double the size of our library, which I’m happy to report we did! Second, it was my hope that someone would be a “star”, rising to the occasion, and embracing the spirit of our Expeditions. I’m thrilled to report that we did indeed have someone step up. Please welcome Yankee Sullivan as our newly appointed TripTik Historian, who in real life is a Public Historian. I’m excited to see where he takes this new service. – Katia Sae

Following is his post on TripTik’s and Preserving the Rich History of EVE


The Set Up

Yankee Sullivan

Recently, like so many other players, I returned to EVE online. This time before jumping in I decided I wanted to find a Corporation to join first. Already half knowing in my mind what I wanted, I found my way to the Signal Cartel website. I wanted to brave J-Space and rescue other capsuleers. Partially because I’m a nice guy, but more so because I wanted a service-based approach to the sandbox, a focus… a duty.

Well it’s been almost two months and I haven’t rescued a single person or tended a single cache. Why? Because I’ve been acting as a historian for EVE Online along with several other members of the Signal Cartel. You see, just a week or two after I joined, while I was getting myself sorted out and figuring out why I had left assets randomly scattered across the galaxy, the famous Katia Sae announced a new program to revitalize SC’s “TripTik” program.

TripTiks are lore- and player history-based guided tours throughout New Eden. Offered by the lesser known Expeditionary Division of the Signal Cartel. When I was initially snooping around the website, I saw them and noticed that they were a nice idea that were unevenly and non-uniformly done and had a feeling of having been abandoned. At the time I thought to myself, “Aw neat, maybe at some point I’ll put one or two of those together”. Well, Katia aimed to change that by providing an ISK incentive for Signaleers to create new, more fleshed-out TripTiks to coincide with the launch of “TripTik 2.0”.

I gave it a bit of thought and realized that this wasn’t just something I wanted to do. In a way, it was something I was ideally suited to do.

A Brief Bit About Me

Once upon time, freshly returned from 8 years of military service, I determined I wanted to become a Historian. So, I went to college and earned my degree and then took on a specialized certificate program to become a Public Historian. While in the process of earning that degree, I helped create an educational program about maritime history that included a kids and young adult program for Library settings, several lectures, and a walking tour. Later I took on a job at a local Living History Farm Museum and quickly found myself in the role of Program Director. It was then that I pivoted into working in Human services in general and truly I have never been happier.

But I’ve never lost my love of history, and even now I study it avidly and systematically and try often to find time to volunteer at historic sites. Then suddenly, I was being offered a chance to make ISK at something I used to love to do, researching and organizing a history into easily digestible tours…

EVE’s Two Histories and Why they are a Treasure

EVE is just recently seventeen years old and at its core it is a game from a different era that still fundamentally has a different design philosophy. Harder, unforgiving, and often inscrutable. Though, as the Bitter Vets and Doom Sayers will often point out: perhaps not as hard as it once was. But EVE is also a game from an era when games were just bigger. Don’t get me wrong, many modern games are certainly grander. But few are “game worlds” quite the same way that the early first and second generation MMOs were. Even those MMOs that remain no longer focus on the world as much.

But EVE is still a game world (technically a Galaxy) not only filled with planets, jump-gates, stations, and Jita scammers. But also a game with sites of cultural significance, forgotten and remembered battle fields, strange artifacts, and so much more. All of these things lovingly placed there by CCP. These things are in support of the EVE Universe and its rich lore, which has been the subject of countless web articles written by CCP, a bunch of novels, at least one magnificent source book, and of course a handful of other games aside from EVE. It’s eons of lore made manifest in the current game world and the weight and scars of its violent history can be found throughout the galaxy.

Then there’s the player history, the emergent history. More battlefields (naturally). Monuments to the player based efforts to aid real life science. There was a monument created to celebrate a group of players solving a galaxy spanning riddle, and then that monument had its model updated to a “destroyed state” after the player base spent a few weeks shooting it one summer in reaction to a change in direction to the game. There’s a cemetery maintained by a player that’s a monument to the corpses of dead in game characters, but has also become a place for players to memorialize other players who have passed on in real life and sometimes their loved ones or friends who didn’t play their game at all. There’s even been a history book written by a historian about the titanic player wars that have taken place in Null Sec. And a really big statue of Katia Sae.

EVE lore goes back before the game began, and since it launched 17 years ago, both the players have created history, as have the non-player characters controlled by CCP. EVE has changed a lot since it launched. Not only is this an incredibly unique thing in gaming, but it’s a powerful thing as well.

Most players get lured into EVE, typically by a friend talking up the game’s deep complexity, merciless player base, brilliant player driven complexity, or giant record-breaking battles. But I know many players stay or keep coming back because of the sense of history and lore the EVE universe has. That and the way that the players can have a very real impact on that history. It was players who destroyed the Caldari titan over Caldari Prime and right now it is players determining how many systems in Empire space the Triglavians will control. It is that sense of history that helps to mark EVE players for life and, even if they do eventually “win EVE” and never come back, the game will always have a deep place in their heart.

The Problem that TripTiks Help Solve

The greatest issue EVE faces has long been accessibility, and while CCP have made strides to fix the new player experience, this remains true of the Lore and History. There are disparate and unevenly written articles across the internet, there is a source book that is a bit expensive (and I think out of print). There are player blogs and almost two decades of Reddit and other forum posts. But most of these things require you to know where you look or to possess a patience and investment that not necessarily everybody has.

Nor should they have to. EVE can do better at revealing its secrets. As is so often the case, the solution to this (at least for now) is left to the players. So here at the Signal Cartel we have decided to try and help.

TripTiks help to fix this, in one of the best formats possible. The 2.0 TripTik system takes players to the most important and unique locations in the game and then provides carefully written summaries of their importance. Then, they offer links to further information and reading. TripTiks offer a guided way in which players can learn the lore and history of the game by flying their spaceships instead of trudging through google searches and wiki stubs.

TripTik 2.0 includes in-game lore, such as the ancient races of EVE, tours of at least two wars between the Empires, and the aftermath of the Seyllin incident. On the player-created side, you’ll find out where the Capsuleer cemetery is, monuments to player accomplishments, a tour recording the state of Null Sec in YC122, and the location of one of the largest players battles ever. All TripTiks include publicly available bookmarks to help players find the critical locations, travel tips, and other helpful notes.

TripTik 2.0 certainly doesn’t include everything in EVE. In fact, it’s just a drop in the ocean. But hopefully it can inspire other projects, or perhaps even help CCP realize that the player base does care passionately about its lore and shared history, just as much as we do about sweet new zappyboi ships (Well, maybe not as much as new ships, but a close second or third).

It’s my genuine hope as a historian of the EVE sandbox that these TripTiks help preserve this lore and history and that you’ll enjoy experiencing them as much as I enjoyed researching them.

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