Ship Crews: What Have We Learned?


Do Capsuleers fly their ships alone suspended in their pods? Do they employ small skeleton human crews to man their ships? Do robots, or clones, or some combination of highly advanced technological solutions aid them in their flights? Is the death toll from 30,000 ship losses a day too much for the population of the universe to handle? What is the deal with ship crews in Eve?

The truth is, no one really knows. The evidence among the lore is contradictory and often vague in my humble opinion. We know for a fact that NPC ships in New Eden have crews and that the survival rate depends greatly on how those ships are destroyed. We know that ships contain Escape Pods for the crew to use. And we know that Capsuleer ships have to contain room for a Pod for us to use. After those "facts" the rest is open to some interpretation. It seems rather likely, based on what information is available, that larger ships do have crew even with one of us immortals driving.

The way each of us chooses to deal with the rest of this knowledge seems to break down into clearly defined ways in which we personally choose to deal with Eve itself. There are those that see Eve has a harsh, dark and unforgiving place who choose to believe that their crew dies each time a ship explodes. And the other end of the spectrum chooses to believe that most have a way of surviving the loss of their ship. And then an entire spectrum of faith that lies in-between. Including a wide group that chooses to believe that technology should provide a way to avoid the entire issue.

This reminds me of a debate my friends and I had back when Star Trek TNG premiered, and introduced the idea of the Enterprise crew consisting of entire families. What the heck do so many people actually DO on a Starship? A sufficiently advanced culture with AI, holodecks, instant food machines, teleporters, and every thing else - shouldn't need much in the way of crew. So why lug around so many people who are simply going to be put into harms way every episode? For anyone even remotely knowledgeable about science-fiction it isn't difficult to imagine a starship that doesn't even need humans in the first place. Much less hundreds if not thousands of them.

So it isn't a huge stretch to imagine a single Capsuleer piloting a Battleship alone floating in their pod goo. It could work. It could be as simple as clouds of nanobots flying around fixing, cleaning, and dealing with the ships needs. Heck, nanobots could just create anything needed from material on-board. Simple and clean, and no need for humans to die. Of course the lore itself seems to indicate humans are involved in some capacity, so these extra-tech concepts are not based on established knowledge.

It may be entirely possible that humans NEED work in the world of Eve. With trillions of mouths to feed, perhaps the universe is simply teeming with desperate technicians, mechanics, and astro-navigators hungry for any kind of work. No matter how dangerous it might be. That can also be true.

I suggest that the way we imagine the answer to the question of ship crews has more to do with us individually than it does with Eve. I choose to imagine a more romantic version of space travel, one popularized in science-fiction through the ages - of a ship's Captain and his loyal crew. I do so not based on any evidence, but simply because I like that version. It helps to pass the time and I also find it gives Eve more life than the alternatives. When my alt is flying her Providence across 47 jumps, it helps to imagine the passengers and crew and their adventures inside the city-sized behemoth that is that amazing transport ship. It adds and doesn't detract from my experience. I've been enjoying such flights of fancy since I first started playing Eve.

You might choose another way. And you may very well enjoy your version of the "truth" just as much as I enjoy mine. We are all correct. Our version of faith, for lack of a better term, is just as valid as any other. Because we take it all on faith when it comes right down to it. Faith in the mechanics of game-play, faith in the history of Eve, and faith in our own imaginations to fill in the cracks and explore this wondrous universe that CCP has gifted us with.

In the final analysis I choose to believe that we all have a bit of the truth within us. And, in many ways, I hope that this question never gets answered. The answers I find in my imagination, and in those of my fellow players, are a much more powerful and engaging truth - than any facts could be.

Flights of fancy. Isn't that really the heart of Eve?



12 comments:

  1. Pattern recognition, intuition, plain old back of the neck hair raisin', primitive back brained and witchcraftian combination of experience, black magic and good old best guessery.

    Machines ain't got nuthin compared to that... :)

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    1. True enough. I'd much rather rely on my bio-reptile brain.

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    2. The other little tidbit: if ships don't need crew, why do they have so many windows into lighted rooms? (Or if they're just lights, why are they even there?)

      The ones that don't--shuttles, many frigates--more likely have few to no crew. But your Providence isn't just the size of a city, it looks like one, too.

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    3. I know. And yet the Stations have windows but I can't see out of them!!

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    4. Ahh… here we go again…

      You say…

      ”What is the deal with ship crews in Eve?

      The truth is, no one really knows. The evidence among the lore is contradictory and often vague in my humble opinion. We know for a fact that NPC ships in New Eden have crews and that the survival rate depends greatly on how those ships are destroyed. We know that ships contain Escape Pods for the crew to use. And we know that Capsuleer ships have to contain room for a Pod for us to use. After those "facts" the rest is open to some interpretation. It seems rather likely, based on what information is available, that larger ships do have crew even with one of us immortals driving.”


      Really? ” The evidence among the lore is contradictory and often vague in my humble opinion.” Uh. No. It isn’t. If I may, yet once again… I still have yet to understand every time this erroneous statement is made as if it were fact.

      Back when I started in EVE (Nov of 2010, so 5 years for me this comin' Turkeyday) this, "Am I alone on my ship?" question was on my mind wayyy back then and I researched and easily found this, New Eden Crew Guidelines. This is an official Evelopedia page, CCP created and maintained, and it has not changed once in the last 5 years.

      May I ask… what part of the NECG above is vague to you? I thought English was your first language? What part is open to interpretation? Interpreted how? THERE IS A CHART FFS!

      This is official CCP/EVE Lore and Cannon. Our ships are crewed by more than just us, I repeat… This is official CCP/EVE Lore and Cannon. Our ships are crewed by more than just us.

      If at any point you accept the ingame lore statement of historical fact that Jamyl Sarum was the Empress of Amarr, or any of the thousands of other “lore facts” in ond of Ned Eden… then you have to accept as readily the official Lore as defined so clearly in the New Eden Crew Guidelines… that we do have onboard our ships, live, mortal, baseline crewmembers. CCP wrote the Lore in all these cases and no matter how much one may want to or choose to disbelieve or argue with it… history is history and facts are facts.

      Oh and we (IRL) also actually did land on the moon and the Holocaust actually did happen… and yeah, there are them as disagree and argue about those little facts of our RW lore and history too… and they sound just as silly as those who argue that we don’t have crews on our ships as plainly and clearly stated by the creators of EVE, CCP.

      IE Believe what you want... but you are STILL not alone on your ship and this has never been in doubt. Period.

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    5. You really need to relax my friend. I am very familiar with that chart you linked and yes, it is established lore. However, there are other instances of "established" lore that contradict that chart, not the least of which is that new Comet cut-away drawing that started this most recent debate - which lists the crew at ONE. Your precious chart mentions TWO or more as minimum crew for a Frigate. And that is not the only instance of Pod Only mentions in lore.

      So yeah, it isn't as clear cut as you'd like it to be. However, even I said "It seems rather likely, based on what information is available, that larger ships do have crew even with one of us immortals driving."

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  2. I've often thought that the casualties sustained by capsuleer battles would be impossible to endure.

    Then again, how many planets are in the known universe? 5,000 systems, right, with billions on each planet. Even if a hundred million die a day, does it make a dent?

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    1. 5,000 systems with Star Gate connections, who knows how many countless others without them. But to your point, who really knows for sure. We can all do math in our heads to justify the numbers, but really (to me at least) it comes down to common sense. If the death rates are too high it would be the biggest story in the universe and no one would fly in a spaceship.

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  3. I can't imagine a large ship does not have a crew, even with the most advanced technology out there. Then again, look at the reduction of crew size of attack subs in just the last 50 years, and extrapolate that out 1000 or 5000 years.

    But to me, the largest "lore fact" indicating to me that crews are tiny, at best, is because a crew member would have to be utterly suicidal to climb into the ships of some pilots. Imagine you are an 18 year old kid finishing high school. You are trying to decide to do with your life. This kid reads that, as you pointed, there are 30,000 ship losses / day, with about a 50% mortality rate per ship destroyed. He does some quick math, and figures that if he signs up for some pilot that flies in low sec FW, or for any pilot in CODE, he won't make it to his 19th birthday.

    I can't fathom there are that many suicidal non-capsuleers in the 5000 systems of Eve.

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    1. It is difficult to imagine anyone signing up with death rates that high, no matter what the reward.

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  4. No idea where the data comes from, but I've always worked off of this: https://wiki.eveonline.com/en/wiki/New_Eden_crew_guidelines

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    1. Yeah I've linked that in the previous posts and it is certainly the standard bearer for this debate.

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