Empires of EVE: A History of the Great Wars of EVE Online by Andrew Groen is a must-read for any MMO fan, even those who have never played EVE Online. I say this because the book does a masterful job of not just detailing the major null-sec events of EVE from 2003 to 2007 in a way everyone can understand, but also putting them in the correct context of historical scope. It explains why the actions of certain players and groups shaped the future of the game, which is something that we all wish could be possible in an MMO (whether we wish to be that agent of change or to simple be around when it happens).
What struck me the most after reading the book is how much of EVE’s history is based on just a few key figures, and that the actions and decisions of those key figures influenced what tens of thousands of people would be doing for years to come. In a videogame or not, that’s impressive and says as much about the game as it does about those who have shaped it. Without Molle or Mittens, EVE today would not be even remotely the same game. And it’s not just those two, as the book goes into great details about the actions of other leaders as well, and how their decisions intertwine into the greater picture.
I also appreciate the effort put in to get the true story around so many events, and the honesty presented when accounts could not be verified. One has to remember that the source material is EVE, and as the book explains so well, much of the power in EVE comes from convincing others that your version is the truth, so digging up the ACTUAL truth must have required some serious work.
Finally, for an EVE player, it was interesting to read about the events happening (specifically the Great War) during a time when I and others players under the Inquisition banner. When we were in high-sec and later in Wspace, we knew major events were happening, but they always felt so distant (especially once we were living out of our C3 wormhole). This book helped provide context for me during that time, and its interesting to think that, perhaps on a certain day, we popped our heads from Wspace into null in proximity to a major event, or of a fleet passing us by on the way to something major. That’s one of the many beauties of EVE; we existed in our own little world, and still via indirect contact, we were all part of major historical events. That’s pretty cool.