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Knowledge is a Weapon

EVE is a world of lost and rediscovered sciences and technologies, still recovering from a cataclysm that destroyed entire civilizations and plunged New Eden into a dark age. Today, many technologies have been recovered, and spaceships warp across star systems and jump between the stars. The means to exploit the resources of entire planets and wage war on a scale terrifying to imagine, let alone behold, are under the control of both empires and individuals.

The liberating science of cloning and the capsule allow the independent pilot a degree of freedom and power unimagined a scant few hundred years before. Not all science or technology has been recovered however, and many mysteries await the intrepid explorer in the darkness between the stars, in the strange zones of deadspace and in the weird realms of wormhole space. Science and technology were once lofty goals in themselves, now they are simply means to the ends of the ever-warring capsuleers.

Capsuleers in the Laboratory

Capsuleers use some of the most advanced technology in New Eden, their very existence relying on the powerful combination of cloning and capsule technology. As such, many capsuleers take a keen interest in research and development of new technology. Using laboratories on stations, outposts or even starbases, research-minded pilots improve their blueprints, reverse engineer ancient technologies and even invent more advanced designs. Many research corporations exist and often work with manufacturing and exploration concerns in mutually-beneficial arrangements.

Capsuleers are also able to perform minor research tasks on behalf of the various R&D corporations aligned with the core empires. In return for undertaking such work, pilots receive datacores that can be used in their own research or sold on the market. Fully exploiting the fruits of wormhole exploration also requires specialized researchers able to reverse-engineer the strange technologies that can be recovered from the wrecks of the Sleeper drones standing guard over the ruins of their mysterious civilization.

The Fundamental Designs

Capsuleer ship technology is largely based on designs that have long served in the navies of the core empires, and the basic equipment used by capsuleers reflects similar origins. The standard ship and module designs are often referred to as "Tech I", derived from "Technology Level I". While some of these vessels are typically the province of those pilots starting a career, many Tech I designs are used by veteran combat pilots and are among the most dangerous ships that can be encountered. The ships and equipment available at Tech I can be considered foundational designs and there are many variations.

The navies of the empires have a number of modified designs that can be acquired by capsuleers who are regarded as sufficiently loyal. Even such ships make their way onto the markets, however, and capsuleers of less certain loyalty, who are simply rich enough, are commonly seen in ships the empires might prefer to remain more exclusive. The various outlaw and pirate factions also have a number of designs based on foundational ships, together with some original designs that are entirely unique. These too are often acquired by pod pilots and used in the service of capsuleer interests.

The basic Tech I modules and equipment also have many variations ranging from fairly common "named" versions, to the far more exclusive "officer" and "deadspace" variants. Some of this equipment can fetch a planet's ransom on the capsuleer market. Ultimately, for the less wealthy and the beginning pilots, there is reliable old Tech I and the minor variants that can readily be acquired.

The Morphite Revolution

Not long after the rise of the independent capsuleers, the properties of a rare mineral derived from Mercoxit ore were fully explored and a technological revolution began. It was realized that the mineral - now dubbed "Morphite" - had the remarkable property of altering and enhancing every other mineral, compound or alloy with which it was joined or combined. The applications were particularly exciting in the space industries and rapid development of a class of high-performance frigates called "interceptors" followed the discovery. Advances in ship technology were accompanied by parallel advances in ship equipment and other systems.

The applicability of Morphite was so widespread that it required a new category for the technologies developed using the remarkable mineral. Technology Level II or "Tech II" was born and new ships and equipment continued to be developed by applying Morphite and advanced materials sourced from moon-mining to the foundational Tech I designs. Capsuleers adopted Tech II ships and equipment with alacrity, their appetite for advanced technology fuelling the research and development of new designs by empire R&D corporations able to call on the services of the immortal pilots. The interceptors were followed by many other advanced designs.

Capsuleers were soon using heavily-armed assault vessels, sophisticated command ships, highly-advanced reconnaissance cruisers and many other specialized ships. Standard equipment designs were also substantially improved and Tech I workhorse ships could be transformed into formidable engines of destruction using Tech II modules. Moreover, the impact of the Tech II revolution on the capsuleers went beyond ships and equipment. The need for advanced materials spurred industrial expansion, as capsuleers established moon-mining starbases in orbit around thousands of moons across New Eden. These starbases would become the foundation of the first wave of territorial control by capsuleer powers.

An Ancient and Powerful Science

In early YC111, a terrible disaster destroyed the inhabited world of Seyllin I, leaving it a shattered husk of a planet. This cataclysm was but a symptom of a profound space-time event that caused large numbers of unstable wormholes to emerge in the New Eden cluster. While unstable, and prone to collapse after a certain period of time or if destabilized by excessive masses passing through them, the wormholes could be entered safely by most spaceships. The capsuleers lost no time in exploring these new gateways in space and found that many of them led to completely unknown star systems.

The systems of wormhole space, or "W-space", were found to be highly varied and often washed by strange radiations and other effects from cosmic phenomena. While these effects could often affect ship systems they were not the most interesting discovery to be found beyond the wormholes. W-space also contained the apparently abandoned and ruined remains of an ancient civilization, with technology that seemed to correspond to artifacts of the so-called "Sleepers" found by archaeologists in the New Eden cluster. Unfortunately for some early explorers much of the Sleeper technology in W-space remained active, particularly the legions of immensely powerful drone guardians that would attack on sight intruders disturbing their sleeping domains.

After some skirmishes, many capsuleers got the measure of these deadly wardens and were able to destroy them. It was soon discovered that the Sleeper's drone guardians were constructed using advanced technologies unknown to the science of New Eden. Salvaging from the wrecks of the Sleeper drones yielded much useful material for investigation. Explorers soon found that the sites of their structures could also be hacked to gain access to datacores and special tools used with the ancient technology. When archaeologists also found that many relics from the Sleeper ruins could be reverse-engineered, the blueprints for a whole new technology lay before the capsuleers.

One problem might have been sourcing the highly-advanced fullerene-based polymers used in the ancient technology. But W-space met even that need, as gas clouds rich in the necessary chemicals were discovered. It was clear the Sleeper civilization had taken advantage of the abundant resources of these strange systems and capsuleer explorers were able to follow suit. When all the elements of the ancient science were pieced together it was found that a remarkable new class of adaptable spaceships could be developed. Using a combination of subsystems that could be easily swapped in and out, "Strategic Cruisers" represented the newest, third level of technology and ushered in "Tech III".