On the Formidine Rift 6

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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…

About LordZoltan

In game: CMDR Lord Zoltan / Frontier Forum: LordZoltan / Tin-pot scientist under cover of tin-foil. "Arc saved me."

Leave a comment

6 thoughts on “On the Formidine Rift

  • Heisenberg6626

    I was never sure who the driving force behind the Formidine mystery is — let’s not forget that, though all of it is built on Dew’s writings, there is the claim that /something/ is to be found in the game, and has been for a long time.

    If that is the case, then FD has put it there, not Drew. And FD has published time and again articles written by Drew, regarding the mystery. So they have/had some investment in the mystery, if only as facilitators of Drew’s story line.

    If then, at some point, FD had gone to Drew and said “Sorry, but we’re going to change everything” (if that is what really happened, I find it difficult to judge that from afar), then of course they would have been totally within their rights to do so. They own the game, not Drew. Depending on how that went down, it could still be considered a dick move, I feel.

    Now I, personally, have always felt that the “Formidine mystery” which can be found right now is nothing more than a curious POI or something similar. I believe it could not have been anything more than something to tease future content, nothing that would influence the story line dramatically right now. Remember, it could have been found on day one, and FD would have had to live with the consequences. So the consequences can’t be of finding /it/ cannot be that severe, I believe.

    My assumption is that /it/ is something like a handcrafted, totally scarred and burned planet or system, as remainder from the previous Thargoid War or something. Now, if Drew has written, in his mind, a completely extensive story around that war, and FD suddenly says “No, the Thargoid war went down potentially completely differently than what was played in FFE”, that would of course cause a lot of frustration, I understand. It would for me, too. In particular if FD have, so far, supported the mystery, at least passively. But that decision, as you correctly stated, is of course theirs.

    Cheers, CMDR Heisenberg6626

  • Zenith

    That was a lot to take in LZ!
    I should clear up a couple of misconceptions many players have about Drew, the Children of Raxxla and the Formidine Rift.

    CoR as a player group do not have a “hotline to god”.
    We are just another group just like Canonn, Adle’s Armada, Imperial Inquisition or any of a number of other player faction groups. We don’t get “insider information” or a briefing ahead of publication. When something appears on Galnet, we see it the same time as everyone else.

    Cmdr Salomé is not Drew. Whoever it is has contact with Drew, but the real identity is a guarded secret. I have my suspicions but I’m not going to speculate here. (It isn’t me)

    FD are dragging their heels on a particular Galnet. As a member of CoR, I know about the proposed message, and even where it is supposed to refer to, but I don’t know the actual content of the message. It’s supposed to be a kickstart for some sort of treasure hunt style series of postings. That’s as much as I or anyone else (who isn’t Drew or FD) know about it.

    The entire mythos of the Formidine Rift comes from 2 passages in “Elite:Reclamation” on page 166 across to 167, and the Epilogue on page 390 across to 391. THAT’S IT! NOTHING ELSE! Everything else has either been Chinese whispers, speculation, embellishment, hearsay or people following the yellow brick road. There is NOTHING in Galnet or in-game that even hints towards a Formidine Rift. That’s why I don’t take an active interest in it, because it’s all as tenuous as a breeze.

    Now we hear from Michael Brookes that what has been considered canon and lore for Elite is all up in the air. It seems that the “new canon” is based around Thargoids only having brief contact with humanity. Some have suggested that “Elite: Out Of The Darkness” by T.James is worth reading to get an idea of the lore as approved by Michael Brookes.

  • LordZoltan Post author

    Great info there Z 🙂

    And, yeah, sorry – long post: I initially started writing it on the Formidine thread and thought better of it lol

  • Bungalo

    Confirmed, Zenith is Salome.

    I’m very curious as how it will turn out but I don’t really want to have to join a group just so I get the fresh off the press news, so to speak. Sure I may not miss out on anything but I have to wait for it to peculate, I don’t like that. I’d be equally annoyed if Canonn was getting some sort of equally special hints because that would be inherently unfair. The only special “hints” we get from FD are what FD posts in the threadnought. Which, surprise, everyone can see at the same time we do.

    It isn’t a major thing but, given how tedious it is to wait for things to pan out already, I’m avoiding the rift until something actually starts happening. I felt like I had a chance of finding a barnacle (first) back in the day but with the rift I feel like I’d have better luck with winning the lottery twice in a row.

    I also agree I don’t like the fact Drew is “having” to push the story forward. Letting it organically evolve helps, I don’t really like it when Brooks pops into the threadnought and starts giving stuff away. The story SHOULD be designed to evolve on its own, as it is I feel like we get a fair portion of the solid info on them from FD outside of the game. It isn’t a good design, with the barnacle changes they’ve made recently in Engineers I’m hoping they give us some agency to figure things out.

    Prior to engineers it was mainly FD giving us something nice to look at and listening to. Now with barnacles being found elsewhere and actually changing states it feels like there may be something to actually learn. Something to learn in game that is, other then whatever we get spoon fed from twitter or the threadnought.

    There may be nocoherency in all of this, I’m late and it’s tired. Or is that vice versa? The lines are blurred now so I’ll get some sleep. Zenith you are forever Salome now… don’t try to deny it.

  • Clarion-Z

    “I’m probably going to make myself unpopular with a few people right now. Sorry in advance.”

    Dont worry, you weren’t popular at all 😛

    All I really care at the moment is that no-one is spoon feeding stories to me. There’s only one real story for me in Elite and that’s the story of CMDR Clarion-Z 🙂 Kick-ass ship collecting pilot who has a good job in Canonn Interstellar Research and a trusty sidekick.. who seems to be invisible to everyone else than me.

    But if there’s something cool to find, I do like to be part of it. If there’s some special hints about how to find stuff, it kinda ruins the fun.
    Let’s not worry and have more rum/whiskey 😀

  • Dutch Foster

    I have once referred to the Formidine Rift as my ED crack-rock. There may not be as much story line involved with it as there is with the UA’s and the Barnacles, and I think a good part of the reason for that is because fewer players were willing to make the trek out there to explore, and the area is huge. The UAs and Barnacles have become more popular in part because of access. The progression of storyline in Elite Dangerous goes hand in hand with how much the players are interested in it and participate in it.
    For me, it is particular interesting because of a lot of things… I loved the book Reclamation by Drew Wagar. I have listened to the audio version several times while exploring the black. Finding it would be like tipping the hat to Drew for writing a damn fine story. The fact that it’s a conspiracy by the Feds, Imps, and old Galcop to keep it a secret by extraordinary means just makes me want to find it even more. There is also being able to claim “I found it”, kinda like this silly K giant that I’m parked at right now. There are many K giants, but there’s only one thing to find out there in the Rift. Most of all, I want to know what it is that had an old lady scared, after having her memory of the incident wiped, which she described as worse than the Thargoids, and she claimed to be an elite pilot who fought the Thargoids.