It’s safe to say that Operation: Epiphany was a hit. It rarely takes EVE players long to solve puzzles, but CCP’s latest were cracked in record time. The encrypted fragments have been decoded, and the mysterious stargates have now all been found.
But just because the puzzles have been solved doesn’t mean the mystery has. We’re still left wondering where these encrypted data fragments came from, and how they’re related to the enigmatic ‘Deathless’ and their promise of a brighter future. I for one know an offer that looks too good to be true when I see one.
That’s why we went to the experts for their theories. We set a bounty asking the Just About EVE community to speculate on the identity and intentions of The Deathless and the origins of the data fragments, and another about what may lie beyond the stargates. Their theories covered ancient civilisations, hybrid pirate factions, familiar faces, and the secrets of eternal life. Let’s get into it.
What are the data fragments?
@BrotherGrimoire speculates that the fragments may form part of a larger token which contacts the Deathless when united. If that’s right, it could encourage cooperation between the Angels and Guristas, providing a practical means to receive orders and rewards.
@AlexGra suspects that the fragments originate from a technologically advanced civilisation that existed aeons ago:
“These fragments might represent remnants of their vast data banks, containing knowledge, history, and possibly even blueprints for technologies that surpass our current understanding. The civilisation could have been capable of harnessing the power of stargates, enabling them to disseminate these fragments across the cosmos.” Original post
Who is the Deathless?
The nature of such a civilisation is very much tied up with the identity of the Deathless and the augmented companions seen alongside them in the Epiphany trailer.
@ANTIJHINN has a gut instinct that the Deathless is a representative of the Triglavians’ Modifier-equivalent, whereas @funinc suspects they’re a whole new race, or perhaps a hybrid between the Blood Raiders and the Minmatar.
@AlexGra returns to his theory of an ancient, advanced civilisation, for which the Deathless is an ambassador of sorts. He makes the case for ‘Deathless’ being more than just a moniker, suggesting that these ancient beings may have mastered mortality and now guard that secret knowledge.
“These entities might have achieved a form of technological or biological immortality, granting them the ability to endure across ages. They could have been leaders, scientists, or explorers who unlocked the secrets of transcending mortality.”
AlexGra proposes that the Deathless has a symbiotic relationship with the fragments, whereby the fragments act as vessels of the Deathless’ wisdom, allowing them to subtly influence the course of the universe despite few knowing of their existence.
By Jove, I think they’ve got it
Building on AlexGra’s hypothesis, a clear frontrunner for the possible identity of this ancient civilisation emerged on our community. After the Drifters accidentally triggered a Supernova at Caroline’s Star, the gates to Jove space were lost, isolating the mysterious empire from the rest of New Eden. Our members picked up on several indications of a link between the Jovians and the Deathless, not least of which is the level of augmentation they and their companions are rocking. even before the stargates were identified as being Jovian in origin, @swagger0licar was “100% convinced” that the Jovians are involved:
“I’m hoping that the trailer’s characters are either the Jovians or their descendants. I remember there was a Jovian race obsessed with maximising self-augmentation […]. It wouldn’t be impossible for some Jovians to have survived the Caroline’s Star incident. One of them is said to form part of Concord’s inner council. Another is said to have founded the Society of Conscious Thought.” Original post
Swagger goes on to posit that after becoming separated, desperation may have driven some surviving Jovians to piracy, creating a more insidious incarnation of Jovians who have strayed from their traditional protocols.
After seeing these Jovian-style gates for himself, @BrotherGrimoire shares Swagger’s certainty that the Jove are involved. “The Entosis linking of the Jovian Observatory to find clues to Jovian Stargates makes that pretty obvious.”
Like Swagger, BrotherGrimoire points to Deathless and pals’ high levels of augmentation as indications that they belong to the Jovian ‘Modifier’ bloodline. He points out that Jovian interference to date has been gentle and guiding, “releasing capsuleer technology to the major factions and promoting the establishment of CONCORD,” but notes that this raises the question, “why should they wish to contact pirate factions?”
BrotherGrimoire provides two possible answers:
“First, that this ‘brighter future’ will conflict with the interests of the major factions, so support from other channels is required. Secondly, that this is not sanctioned by the Jove Empire and may instead be an independent action taken by a villainous figure. Should this be the work of an independent Jovian villain, it would make sense for them to contact established criminal entities and lure them over with advanced technology and a grand cause.” Original post
What lies beyond the stargates?
We ran a separate bounty asking you to speculate on what’s beyond the gates. Most of you agreed that it’s most likely a new area of space to explore, building on the successes of Pochven.
“I think that behind these stargates will be a small amount of Jovian space for players to explore, much like Pochven. In this new environment, there may be new sites, new NPC groups, and hopefully new ships. With the addition of a new pirate faction, new ships seem very likely.” Original post
Player dilution is always a concern when CCP moves to expand space with new regions. For that reason, @funinc hopes that it keeps the new region small to create proximity and greater chances for engagement.
@EVEILOnline, who believes the gates will take players to a previously undiscovered region controlled by the Deathless, also recognises the issue of player dilution. However, they have faith that CCP has thought that through:
“It could be done in such a way as to make the new region a hotbed of PvP. CCP has shown its desire to force players into closer areas to bring increased interactions.” Original post
As evidence, EVEILOnline gives the examples of Observatory Flashpoints and the changes to Faction Warfare condensing players into a handful of systems. “It would showcase CCP’s latest iteration of conflict-driving high-risk, high-reward content.”
Just as Pochven allowed for the building of Triglavian ships, @macgybo thinks players will discover a new wormhole-accessible region of Jove space complete with unique NPCs, agents, and resources with which to build new types of ship. They suspect that there will be a Jovian standings feature affecting players’ ability to interact with the region’s gates and stations, and that it’s unlikely to feature local chat.
Gameplay consequences and new ship speculation
To further catalyse high-risk, high-reward gameplay, @funinc hopes that bonuses will be introduced for being present but undocked in the region, suggesting that CCP could provide double Skill Points, multipliers for boosters, or extra rewards for ratting. Following their theory of a hybrid Blood Raider-Minmatar race, they posit the introduction of new “fast and punchy” ships which could combat the kiting meta with bonuses to webs and electronic warfare.
@EVEILOnline has a similar hope. They want the Deathless to bring a new line of Minmatar-Caldari crossover pirate ships which reintroduce pre-nerf ECM bonuses allowing players to lock onto multiple ships.
@BrotherGrimoire hopes for Jovian faction ships such as the Spectre, Wraith, and Phantom. Considering that these ships already exist in-game but are only accessible to the devs, this seems likely if we’re right about the Jovians taking centre stage.
The Jove theory is the clear frontrunner, and the discovery of the Jovian stargates would fit neatly by offering a way to rediscover Jove space. While much remains unclear, the excitement over what comes next is anything but.
“I absolutely love the feel of the video teaser. I love the storyline and its potential. I am really excited and looking forward to these very exciting times!” @funinc
“I’m excited to see what they come up with!” @swagger0licar
“It needs something else. It can’t just be a new Pochven. I can’t wait to find out what that is.” @macgybo
“Ultimately, the mysteries of the data fragments and the identity of the Deathless would form a complex and captivating narrative, weaving together elements of ancient history, advanced technology, and the enigma of eternal life." @AlexGra
Do you have a theory that isn’t covered here? Perhaps you’ve discovered something new to add to the conversation? Add it as a reply below; perhaps we’ll have some epiphanies of our own.