Empires of EVE Andrew Groen

Apr 15, 2016 review (read between Mar 24, 2016 – Mar 28, 2016)

1st reading read review on Goodreads

I should state that while my time with EVE Online has been incredibly limited, I had an incredibly positive time playing the game when I did, so I may be slightly biased. The only reason I did not dedicate more time into the game was because it was clear that it would consume my life if I did. Even when I wasn’t playing the game, I had many nights where I would stay up late trying to catch up on the happenings of the game’s virtual world: the alliances and wars, the politics and subterfuge, game mechanics and strategies that came and went. EVE Online is the only MMORPG I ever played, so needless to say that it has a very special place in my heart.

While I am no expert on the history of EVE, I believe that Groen did a fantastic job of compiling the major events of the first six or so years of the game. The book begins by briefly covering the in-game fictional world, but quickly moves on to what makes EVE truly tick: the players and the mechanics that govern their interaction with each other. From there begins a grand retelling of the player-created corporations, their leaders, and the wars they waged. Interviews with important figures during the period, along with informative graphics describing fleet movements and shifts in power help recount the epic struggles.

I have to admit that the most fascinating part of it was reading about the player SirMolle and his exploits. I had met SirMolle online many years ago, before EVE Online even existed, as we hung out in the same IRC channel. The first time I played EVE Online during open beta, him and other members of that IRC channel helped me get a quick start in the game. In subsequent years, I stopped visiting that IRC channel and fell out of touch with its residents, but had read of SirMolle’s loss of titans. I had a feeling that he had become a powerful player in the game, but had no idea that the TAOSP corporation they started in beta became the Evolution corporation, which would come to lead the Band of Brothers alliance, arguably the most powerful alliance in the timespan covered by Empires of EVE.

The contents of Empires of EVE stops at the fall of the Band of Brothers in 2009, but EVE Online has continued to exist and evolve. Since then, the Battle of B-R5RB, the Battle of Asakai, in-game bank/corporation heists, and in-game assassinations have all made the news even outside the game’s circle. Thankfully the record keeping has vastly improved as well, whether it’s in the form of news articles on Eve News24 or video documentaries made by Rooks and Kings. I can only hope that one day there will be a sequel to Empires of EVE to continue the record keeping in physical form.