While I missed the kickstarter, I picked up a hardbound copy of Empires of EVE: A History of the Great War of EVE Online via preorder as soon as I saw it come across, then eagerly waited for my copy to arrive. By the time I had ordered it, I had already heard/seen Andrew Groen talk about his research a couple of times, and I was excited by the prospect of a book written by someone who wanted to research and document this history of EVE with appropriate rigor (and then did it!)
When it comes down to it, the reason I bought this book was to have a historical record of the goings on during my early days of EVE Online. Sure, I wasn’t a high-end mover-and-shaker at the time, and the closest thing to me that got a mention was the couple of sentences about the Interstellar Alcohol Conglomerate, but the discussion still revolved around events that I was aware of. What was interesting to me was finally being able to view the conflict in its full (or, at least fuller) context. At the time, I wasn’t really a forum monger, but there was a couple of EVE news outlets that I followed, and I remember really following along as the events unfolded. Here, I got a much broader picture of the events of the time with a little less propaganda and a little more context.
The other reason I was really interested in this book was to get a better understanding of what really happened. In particular, as someone at the end of a long grapevine, I heard a lot of rumors, but I didn’t necessarily know how things actually unfolded. Empires of EVE filled in a lot of those blanks for me – which parts were hyperbole and which parts were actually spot-on. The biggest part of this from my end was how Band of Brothers was actually dissolved. I had always heard that a director had defected to Goonswarm and dissolved the alliance, at which point the Goons had swept in and wiped out the disordered foe. While I knew that Band of Brothers had technically reformed under KenZoku, I was unaware of the significance of the sovereignty level, nor that BoB had actually effectively reformed under the new alliance banner and posed a serious threat still.
One thing that I didn’t expect was seeing some appearances by alliances I hear about a lot more these days than I did then. For instance, Pandemic Legion made an entrance at the tail end of the war, and are a group that I hear quite a lot about these days (between their exploits on TQ and in the alliance tournament). Also, it was interesting hearing how Solar Fleet and Legion of xXDeathXx came about near the end of the Great War. While I don’t necessarily hear a lot about these two alliances these days, I think of them when I think of bigger null-sec powers, so it’s interesting to hear their origin story.
Overall, I am very happy with this book. I got the chance to reminisce, and learned a few things about how null-sec had changed in the early days. I recommend this to anyone who is a fan of EVE, but especially anyone who played at all in the early days. It gives a lot of perspective on the events of the time, and is honestly just fun to hear about again.