Epic is as epic does
Since the release of Apocrypha, the Content team has been developing and producing more arcs of the epic variety. As a result, four new epic arcs have been added, one for each of the major empire factions. I'll cut right to the chase and give you their descriptions.
Caldari arc: "Penumbra"
In the heartland of State space, inter-corporate tensions come to the fore as Nugoeihuvi makes a move for some quick ISK, and you must choose who to trust and who to betray. The moral ambiguity continues through to the end, as the player begins to unravel an even darker side to corporate self-interest and the ongoing conflict in Black Rise.
Amarr arc: "Right to Rule"
For over a century the mighty Amarr Empire has been at an uneasy peace with the enigmatic Sansha's Nation. But the Sansha are pushing further into Amarr space without warning or explanation. Ministry of Internal Order agent Kandus Sandar enlists you to be his primary investigator, to uncover plots and annihilate threats as only a capsuleer can.
Gallente arc: "Syndication"
In the outer reaches of Gallente space, you are enlisted on a mission to escort a Federation Senator's son on his way to a holoreel shoot. En route, the boy is kidnapped by pirates. The chase is on, and you must enter the seedier parts of free-wheeling Gallente society in order to find him. Along the way, you'll encounter embedded Scope reporters, upstart Minmatar gangs, retired flesh merchants, and dubious Black Eagle chicanery as you search for the missing boy.
Minmatar arc: "Wildfire"
The Brutor tribe stands in to support an historical research effort being undertaken by the Republic University, a move bolstered by the presence of a powerful and capable capsuleer - that is, you. Repeatedly denied access to an important historical artifact, the academics are pitted in a constant struggle to uncover ancient truths, and it will be your mission to help them. The histories of conquered civilizations are seldom told in full by the victors, and many organizations will do their best to keep things that way.
Epic arcs are a different breed, a different style of mission altogether, and as such require the player to approach them from new angles and perspectives. Fundamentally, these current epic arcs we're releasing are equivalent to level 4 missions in difficulty, possibly a bit harder than most level 4s. However, you should not approach them as if you were grinding "Worlds Collide" or "Damsel in Distress" from your agent's base in Dodixie. You are not playing disparate scenes chosen from a random list by a chatty robot in a space station. No, sir.
Instead, you are playing an immersive story, with dramatic arcs, unique characters, and an ebb and flow of dramatic events (including that fan favorite, story branching). You, as a player, are engaging in a persistent story handed to you by characters with motivations, desires, and personalities unique to them. The missions are scenes of a longer narrative, and the drama unfolds not only in the agent window, but through the action you experience in deadspace.
Thus, while diving into these epic arcs, keep a couple things in mind:
1. Pack your bags. Be expected to travel through different regions, constellations, and systems. New Eden is a big place: This is your chance to explore part of the universe and to poke at EVE's hidden corners, the nooks and crannies of deep space. Does this mean that you will have to travel 8 jumps every mission just to get to that deadspace complex? No, of course not. We don't want you to spend all your time on autopilot. But the agents will not always be in the same system as you, nor even the same region. It's okay to explore and discover what the universe has to offer. You'll be surprised what you might find.
2. Check your standings. Each of the four major factions is getting an epic arc in this batch, so if you couldn't complete "The Blood-Stained Stars" because your Amarr standing was in the negatives, not to worry. You can still run the Minmatar arc, or the Gallente arc. Should you try to attempt the Amarr arc? Well, you can try, but if the Imperial Navy attacks you, don't say I didn't warn you. If you have good standing (or at least, non-negative standing) with a particular faction, try the arc. That will not be an obstacle for you.
3. Ebb and flow. We have designed these missions to be the equivalent difficulty of level 4 missions. However, this will not just be wave after wave of battleships and elite cruisers waiting for you after each gate. Some missions will be more difficult than others. Some deadspace pockets may not have any combat at all (but getting there might be the real effort). We have designed these arcs to including dramatic pacing and story flow.
4. Into the void. Branching provides us an opportunity to offer different play styles within each story without forcing any one upon the player. At certain points in these arcs, we can offer multiple routes to completion based on what the player is ready and/or willing to do. The story forks: Do you want to risk your ship for the greater rewards of lowsec? Or will you play it safe and stick to your hisec roots for the lower rewards? Are we going to force you into that possible gate camp where you'll lose all your beloved faction mods? No, you don't have to if you don't want to. But will we offer you carrots to break that liminal boundary between hisec and lowsec? You bet we will. Epic players are not afraid of lowsec.
5. Not just words, but actions. Much of the storytelling of these arcs will not come from those few paragraphs spouted at you by your agent. Instead, you will play the story, experience it, and watch events unfold through deadspace complexes, encounter sites, and NPC interaction. We are creating scenes here, not just dialogue. You are witness to, and participant of, the universal play: Go and experience the story, be a part of it, and help determine its outcome.
6. Chew the scenery. Flavor is everywhere, tucked away in bits and pieces strewn throughout EVE. Thus, we encourage you to take in the story and find the flavor wherever you can: NPC descriptions, character bios, item descriptions, storyline items, the works. We placed bits of story everywhere you could think of, and everywhere we could. Don't be afraid to look for those little pieces that could enhance the world you've entered. Sometimes they might just be for show - other times, they could have a deeper purpose.
7. EVE is a dark place. Yes, these epic arcs may be about larger-than-life stories in which you play the part of the protagonist. You are doing Important Things because you are the protagonist of your gaming life. But are you the hero? Maybe. Just because we call them "epic arcs" does not mean you'll be slaying the dragon and saving the day. Sure, you can do that. Be the hero, if you want. But New Eden isn't a black-and-white world. A hero to one group is a villain to another. Sometimes, you'll have to make tough choices. New Eden has just as many anti-heroes as heroes. Remember that, as you destroy that fleet of battleships or plant that bomb to destroy a station full of civilians.
8. Just desserts. You will be rewarded for your actions. We'll make sure of that. Lots of ISK? You betcha. Cool modules and equipment to use and play with? Yep. We didn't forget about those. I won't tell you exactly what we have in store, but I can tell you that each of the four arcs has at least one unique reward. Some may have more, based on the ending you choose or the path you take. You may have to do some nefarious things in order to get the sweet loot, but that's all a part of the epic arcs experience.
9. Don't panic. We're here to offer you stories to play with, not to ruin your game experience. We have put a lot of time and effort into these arcs, to ensure that we would not put the player in a situation that would have detrimental effects on their character without providing alternatives or giving them a substantial or mechanical reason for doing questionable things. That Minmatar gang you face off against will not destroy your standings with the Minmatar faction (even the Republic has its pirates, you know). Is there risk involved? Of course. You will face some very difficult missions (and you might want to bring a friend along at certain times). But we will make sure that you are always rewarded well for whatever you do.
We hope you enjoy this latest batch of epic arcs and the stories we have to offer. We promise we have more to come.
- CCP Jasonitas