Andrew Groen's Empires of Eve

Empires of Eve: A History of the Great Wars of Eve Online was a book published in 2015, written by Andrew Groen, that laid out a narrative history of the internecine inter-player warfare of EVE Online, a science-fiction MMORPG game developed by CCP Interactive, over the first decade of its existence. For the unfamiliar, EVE is a notoriously competitive and metagame-heavy game, with factional warfare, corporate formation and sabotage, and roleplay as fundamental parts of the experience. Perhaps consequently, the kinds of people who are attracted to EVE are, as Waypoint has covered, hugely diverse in their background.

More recently, Groen has spun-off his book into a podcast series called Empires of Eve: The History Lectures, based off talks he has given at panels following the book’s release. The episodes so far cover events discussed within Empires of Eve, but there’s no reason why he might not cover material cut from the book or where new sources have emerged.

Personally, I devoured Empires shortly after it came out and, after waiting for the intro podcasts to drift by, have eagerly started devouring The History Lectures with the same pace. I’ve never been an EVE-head (my one attempt to play it petered out after the free trial ended), but I find accounts of it really interesting, and feel that Groen’s work, particularly Empires, punches about its weight with an account that takes into consideration the real-life elements of the game, from communications media to generalised xenophobia against certain communities of players.

Have you had a chance to read the book or dig into the fledgling podcast? What do you make of them? Do you feel they offer a good view into the EVE world as an outsider? If you’re a dedicated EVE player yourself, do you feel they show an accurate and helpful depiction of the EVE world? As always, I’m curious to hear your thoughts, comments, and criticisms.

(P.S. This is flagged under the general Pop Culture & Media category because it covers both books and podcasts. Congrats on your multimedia venture, Groen!)

(P.P.S. Is it EVE or Eve?)

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I saw Patrick tweet about this and immediately subscribed. I played Eve for about a year, back around '05 I think. Though I enjoyed it I never really felt part of the bigger picture but I have loved the various stories that have come out about the game ever since. I have only heard the very brief intro podcasts on this so far, but have the first proper episode ready to go and hope to listen to it on my drive home tonight.

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I’ve also played the game a bit and really loved the world and the stories that come out of the game. I definitely want to dig into that podcast and see how it is.

Loved the first proper episode. Had forgotten some of the terminology and I felt the presenter did a good job of giving a decent outline to everything. Also, as a Brit, a very good piece of history that I was aware of but never really knew if it was true.

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Recent news has put this back in my mind, as EVE Online does as EVE Online does, so:

Today is not a good day if you’re a member of Circle-of-Two (CO2). This alliance is one of the largest and most popular in EVE Online—or it was until late last night when its senior diplomat, The Judge, robbed the entire alliance blind and handed its space stations over to its worst enemies.

The dust hasn’t settled, but reports indicate that The Judge personally stole over a trillion ISK (EVE’s in-game currency) worth of alliance ships, modules, and more. But the real kicker is that he’s left CO2’s players with nowhere to call home, handing their space stations over to CO2’s rivals, TEST and Goonswarm. Right now, thousands of CO2 pilots are stranded in space and attempting to evacuate with whatever they can. Meanwhile, CO2’s pride and joy, a Keepstar citadel that’s best thought of like EVE’s version of a Death Star, is under siege.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, CO2’s leader, a legendary player by the name of ‘gigX’ was just permanently banned from the game. The reason? He threatened to chop off The Judge’s hands. I’m not kidding.

EVE is just so extra. Can’t wait for Groen to catch up and get closer to the present (if he can convince people to let slip the details).


I started reading the book, spurred on by my enjoyment of any of the times the Giant Bombcast got a peek at the world of Eve with Patrick or Drew’s reporting.

I was really put off by how dry it was–I guess I hadn’t seen any of Groen’s previous writing and didn’t know how HE wrote about Eve, but I expected something more like the fun, flavorful descriptions from Eve outsiders and I got a super serious history text. Impressive as it is, it just wasn’t what I expected. That said, now that I know what it is, I do want to tackle it again soon.

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I read Empires of EVE shortly after it came out, at the same time I was reading the Oxford History of the French Revolution. It made for an interesting pair. The political machinations were surpringly similar (slightly fewer beheadings in EVE, though.)

Oh man that gigX stuff sounds amazing!

Interesting comments from @2Mello about the book, as I saw it advertised the other day and wondered about sticking it on my Christmas list. I can’t handle anything heavy currently though (a newborn in the house, so my brain just can’t cope with anything complex) so I might give it a miss for a while.

The new episode wrapping up the Venal Alliance Civil War just landed and I’ve already listened to it. Really great stuff and it’s definitely easier to recommend now that there’s a full story out there.

@HermanBloom For what it’s worth, if you’re a podcast listener, The History Lectures (or the ebook) are great jumping-on points to see if you like Groen’s style, although I’m not sure if it’d be much help with the newborn taking up your brain!

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I didn’t expect to love this podcast as much as I have so far. I thought Andrew was pretty fun to listen to when he was doing esports today with Rob, but he’s really knocking these podcasts out of the park. It turns out he’s a more entertaining storyteller than esports commentator. I’d been considering the book for a while but I don’t think I really believed it’d be an entertaining read until now.

Man I really enjoyed part two. Whole thing plays out like some crazy whodunnit. You think it is all figured out and then Andrew is “but wait, if you think about it and go back to one specific comment, maybe it’s all because of THIS”. Great stuff.

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