I’m probably going to make myself unpopular with a few people right now. Sorry in advance.
According to the murmurings on the Formidine Rift thread it seems that whatever big plans there were to have a coordinated expedition supposedly involving any and all commanders has stalled. Again.
I know we have a lot of enthusiastic ‘rifters’ here, and I had enthusiasm for it once – until I started to get the feeling that this was not as inclusive as it was being sold, and also taking a hint from FD’s apparent lack of enthusiasm to get behind it, that perhaps it wasn’t nearly as interesting as everyone thinks or hopes it is, or that it wasn’t the right time for it to be discovered.
FD effectively shut down Drew’s last attempts to lead people out there last year (or he just ragequit because they wouldn’t let him do things the way he wanted, I never could tell) and now it seems they’re dragging their heels over some Galnets or something that are planned to try and bring the Formidine Rift ‘mystery’ to the fore.
Now FD are taking a load of flack from people on the thread saying that they’re leading people up the garden path, expecting people to go searching vast areas of empty space to find something important.
The irony being: FD has said literally nothing about the Rift, nor hinted that there’s anything there! The only people that have said anything about the rift are Drew, the people who have read his book, and whose imaginations were rightly stoked by his (very good) writing.
Newsflash: it’s Drew leading everyone up the garden path, not FD. It’s FD’s game, not Drew’s – as he has said so himself in his recent post in which he announces that he’s taken down his famous lore pages – and if they’re not prioritising whatever story he wants to tell, then that’s because there are more important things going on, or because they’ve decided they don’t like the story he wants to tell.
Of course, if you are a rifter – and especially a hardcore CoR member – then you’ll no doubt feel that FD have ‘neglected’ you. We felt like that in the early days: The Canonn was the single most important thing to us and any time FD didn’t answer an email or immediately respond to a threadnought post when demanded, the salt started flying.
I, and we, have been accused of ‘getting it easy’ from FD in terms of promotion of the Canonn, Dr A, and getting the UA mystery to a wider audience. It just so happened that we as a group accidentally formed out of a bunch of people who’d coagulated around the mystery that FD really want to push – and for which they were producing story elements in-game. But there was definitely no free ride. We as a group made our niche by forming organically around that.
It’s only worked, though, because we managed to find a way to add to FDs own narrative – to enrich it and make it more alive: and, guess what: they responded and encouraged it. This whole rift thing feels like someone trying to dictate a narrative to FD – and I can’t see how that’ll ever work.
FD have not done any story elements for the Rift. And I have to ask why, if it’s so damn fricking cool that it warrants ‘monitoring stations’ why put it in a place that makes it almost impossible to stumble across?
The nay-sayers right now will say ‘because they don’t know what they’re doing’. To that I say: what’s your game-time? If it’s measured in days then you are proof that they do know what they are doing. Of course – most of us are measuring it in weeks, right ;)? And yeah – so perhaps you’ll concede that they’ve made a game you like to sink days/weeks into – but it’s the story-telling that they suck at.
That might be – but they’re getting better IMHO – and with the recent massive surge in high-quality player-submitted Galnets, their creation of a space in which players and player groups can enrich the story-base with their own writings is really starting to pay dividends: but only for those players that get it – who realise that they have to create something worthy before FD will entertain it.
Back to the question: why put something all the way ‘out there’, then not tell anyone about it?
To me – it says two things:
- Whatever it is, it’s either not important or it’s important to them that it was ‘discovered’ at random, not breadcrumb-trailed – at least before they were ready to reveal it themselves.
- When it was discovered was not important to them (let’s face it, it could have been found in 1.0; it could be found now) or, again, they wanted a chance that it could be discovered at any time, with the option to force the issue themselves at any point they chose.
Either way – if it’s important then we’ll end up being ‘given it’ at some point. People said that Barnacles were impossible to find: but they were found. A whole area of space is obviously a different proposition – and perhaps that’s the point.
There’s another possibility for why FD did this too, and one which many people reading this will, I’m sure, will have hoped at one time or another. It might also explain why they’re stalling on the much-anticipated Galnets (the content of which I’m sure is not secret to some within the rift ‘organising committee’):
What if what Drew has been talking about all this time is something that is related directly to the UA/Barnacle story?
‘Yay!’ you might say.
I thought the same when he first popped up on the threadnought before the infamous ragequit. Now?
First – it’s not a crazy thought: It would explain why they’ve not been keen to let Drew do his thing – because the first the rule of any Galnet, is that if it might encroach/contradict/foretell any part of their official story, then it’ll be rejected. I think there’s been an attempt made here by him to try to link up with an as yet unknown UA/Barnacle story arc over a period of time. If correct, then I think the original plan by FD might have been to have ‘things’ appearing from out in that direction which would naturally cause players to start heading that way. Instead, Drew is trying to have people head out there (remember: Salomé has said for people to go armed) in advance to try to ramp up the tension. It might also explain why he appeared on the Threadnought in the first place – he wasn’t hijacking the thread, he saw a link to this secret he knows, and tried to sow the seeds to get people to link the two.
If any of this is even close to the truth then I’ll be very… disappointed.
The Formidine Rift mystery only makes sense right now if Drew Wagar drives it, because without him, it doesn’t exist. It is not owned by the players – it’s owned by Drew Wagar and, by extension, his player group – the CoR (whose leader is Salomé). That will not change until FD themselves decide to bring this thing into the running story without telling Drew what they’re doing.
By contrast – the Unknown Artefacts and Barnacles mystery is owned by FD and all the players who’ve read about it on the threadnought, in PCG, here, and elsewhere. The Canonn membership has grown around the UA mystery but never have you ever needed to become a member of the Canonn to be a core part of the community, or to be acknowledged by it. The perception that the Canonn ‘owns’ the UA mystery is just that: a perception. When your name gets associated with 70k+ forum posts and numerous Galnets that people worked very hard to produce, it just kinda happens.
There are other player groups who also have a big focus on the UAs, and we all co-exist quite happily safe in the knowledge none of us owns any part of it, and none of us knows any more than another. Indeed, the last two major discoveries were by a pilot of no allegiance and another from a French group.
When the Canonn organises an expedition to Merope (or, sorry, when Nicholas Powell did 😉 ) or a bunch of Canonn players work together to produce status updates on the Barnacles – it’s all done in the knowledge that nothing could come of it because none of us knows what’s going on – but we all share in the hope that something might be discovered or that, if not, then another possibility has been crossed off the list for everyone.
With this Formidine expedition, however – everybody pretty much knows it’ll lead to finding something. If it didn’t, then Drew would be opening himself up to a massive backlash from the community. With his player group on the ‘inner circle’ of that (because his protagonist is their leader), it basically means there is literally no point in any community or player group trying to get involved in the Rift mystery because instead of operating on a level playing field, you will always be playing inside Drew’s and CoR’s story.
But that’s probably fine: if the story is unique and what’s at the end of it is entirely new and has no impact on anything else people are already involved in – that’s absolutely cool.
But if – if it turns out that what’s at the end of this particular rainbow is something that has any material impact or link on or with the UA/Barnacle story – then I’m sorry Drew, but you should have kept your mouth shut.
Better that the link back to the book and the character be discovered organically (and therefore reap the rewards of the inevitable increase in sales) after leaving FD to lead people there in their way, in their own time.
Instead, if it goes as I fear he wishes, there’ll be this on-a-whim advanced party of ‘in the know’ people who all just happen to be in exactly the right place when that part of space, which FD have never even hinted at remember, suddenly becomes important for an entirely different reason – all because they were following some sarcastic Imperial skirt.
I’ve criticised others for being overly salty in the past. Well, as you can see, if it goes down like this, then the boots will be on the other foot 🙂
Some of this is hypothetical, some might even say conspiracy theory – but I have reasons for thinking what I do (and no, I’m not governed by an NDA).
The core point of this post remains that FD should stop taking the flak for something they never even asked Drew to publicise in the first place. If it’s important: let them manage it, and perhaps have Drew do some of the writing under their direction (his passion for the game is of course beyond reproach). Don’t tell people you’re putting a Galnet up at all. JFDI – and wait for FD to publish it, instead of hinting that Galnets are going up, creating the situation where FD then have no choice but to let everyone down when they understandably need to re-prioritise things because it’s their game and their livelihood, not his.
Well, apart from the (very good) book of course…
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