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Ludite Sam @LuditeSam
, 16 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
Okay, been thinking about the "MMOs in a museum" thing for awhile now. I present this song as an alternative museum exhibit for EVE Online.

(tagging @raphkoster )
This is a song composed and performed by an EVE player, and requires a little bit of game context to understand.

Firstly, Providence is null-security region in EVE Online. That means that it has above-grade valuable resources, but has no player protections. PvP is very go.
Because players like to blow each other up and even get to loot each other when they do, players are forced to circle their wagons and frequently don't trust anyone outside their ranks. If even an unknown person shows up, the assumption is "hostile."
This is a philosophy known in-game as "NBSI," or "Not Blue, Shoot It." Players or alliances outside the immediate clan can still declare friendly and be assigned a blue tag to identify them as "known friendlies." Violating these "treaties" causes bad blood and invokes diplomats.
So don't shoot the Blues. But if it's anyone else we don't know, assume hostile and kick them out. It's a paranoid philosophy, but quite practical at keeping your members safe and alert.

Thus NBSI is the standard philosophy for the vast majority of the lawless regions of EVE.
But once in awhile, a group of players have a dream - a dream where even a lawless region can enforce its own standard of civility on its denizens, and even relative strangers can coexist without resorting to violence just for existing.

That dream is NRDS.
NRDS is "Not Red, Don't Shoot." Much like friendly groups can request "blue" status to mark them friendly, you can also mark players "red" to flag them as hostile, untrustworthy, and the like. Under NRDS, no one shoots you unless you've proven hostile in the past.
NRDS null-sec space basically means "We are a civilized people. We will welcome you to share our lands, but we will vigorously defend ourselves if you betray our trust." It makes you MUCH more vulnerable than NBSI, but it has a captivating appeal on an emotional level.
And thus we finally return to Providence Skies.

This song is a literal battle hymn of a proud hold-out of NRDS, trying to survive in an NBSI world. It captures their resolve, their ideological passion, in a very raw human form. They went to war with this anthem on their lips.
The whole point of this is that you could *never* capture that by playing on a dead EVE cluster in a museum. It's a human story, facilitated by the game, that you can't even experience NOW - sadly, the NRDS dream did die. It's now one more piece of EVE history.
That one song does more as an art exhibit to relate the EVE experience than even the "real thing," because it's missing its most critical component - the people. You can't even do archaeology to what they left behind because a dead, parallel shard wouldn't have those remnants.
Don't get me wrong, having the server running and playable is a significant part of game preservation. But we definitely shouldn't make the mistake that just because we got the software running, our job is done. Art exhibits need to be as complete a history lesson as we can make.
Presenting an EVE server with no context would be like showing someone Van Gogh's Bedroom in Arles without any of his life story. Without knowing what it meant to him, you're left with "Oh, it's a bed with some chairs. Kinda blah, really."…
In short, I don't mean to say preservation is unimportant. It's more to say that our job isn't *nearly* done. We need stories, ludological documentation, application of design theory, things to tell us what the human experience was and why it was that way.
It's not enough to preserve the static, fictional world under a glass case. We need to know how humans interacted with it, and what that says about us. Without that, it's hardly worth an exhibit at all.

Thanks for reading!
Incidentally, to those readers of my blog who want to see shorter, mini-tweet-storm-type articles spaced between my long-form ones, you should follow me on Twitt-

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