EVE Online players make a lot of fan art related to their passion: song parodies, propaganda films, online talk shows. Now, one player is combining their passion for EVE with their passion for another kind of game — collectible card games.
Player Beebles has made about 30 cards for a fictional card game based on people and events in EVE Online.The project is just mockups of cards right now. “Everything that is published should be just considered fan art,” Beebles told Kotaku, “but that doesn’t mean that I don’t think about what the gameplay would be like personally.” The cards feature all the traditional markers of a collectible card game: resource costs, evocative card art, complicated gameplay triggers, and even a “set symbol” to show what imaginary expansion the cards are from.
All of the cards Beebles has currently released are from a fictional “WWB2” (World War Bee 2) expansion, a nod to the war that has been raging in EVE Online for the last ten months and does not currently show any signs of ending. “My cards are less about the game and more about the players and the content they create,” Beebles said when asked what inspired him to create certain cards. “It’s WWB2 edition, so everything important to the war basically.”
The first card Beebles released depicts EVE Online’s most infamous player, The Mittani. The Mittani is the leader of the Goonswarm Federation and the head of the Imperium coalition, the side under attack in the current conflict. The details on The Mittani card highlight one of the biggest rumours surrounding this polarising figure: that he doesn’t actually log in and play the game. Instead, like the player it’s fashioned after, the card draws its power from the ability to leverage propaganda in unique and powerful ways, as well as from the massive alliance of players that follow The Mittani. The card gains power as more cards from Goonswarm Federation are played alongside it, and The Mittani gains power in EVE from every player that joins his alliance and fights for his cause.
Beebles is not a game designer by trade; he says he’s currently in the process of finishing up a PhD in “physical chemistry, astrochemistry and combustion research.” When asked if that made him a literal rocket scientist, he responded, “Well… people in my field would not call themselves rocket scientists, but others have called people like us that.”
In a way, his PhD inspired the creation of the EVE card game: “I’m just finishing my PhD thesis and need a little brain break, so i just used the last week to do something fun.” Beebles says he’s been playing Magic: The Gathering since 1996, so thinking about the design and feel of collectible card game cards feels natural. “The cards take between 5 and 45 minutes to make, depending on if I have a good idea in mind when I start,” Beebles explained, making them a good quick break while working on his thesis.
Other cards Beebles has made depict in-game events that have happened during the current war. “The Second battle of M2-XFE” tries to encapsulate one of the biggest and most controversial battles ever to happen in the EVE universe. The full battle of the M2-XFE star system happened over the course of several nights, with the first night claiming hundreds of the largest, most expensive ships in EVE Online. (Including my own Erebus-class Titan, much to my dismay.) The second round of the M2-XFE fight, just a few days later, did not go as well: The game servers couldn’t hold up to the massive amount of players attempting to participate in the fight, and these issues plagued everyone involved, causing unresponsive ships, soul-crushing lag, and desync issues.
As Beebles references in the card dedicated to this event, the server conditions were highly favourable to the Imperium coalition. The second night of M2-XFE was an absolutely one-sided bloodbath, the aftermath of which affected the course of the war for the next several months. The card references the somewhat randomness of the server’s stability that affected the game by adding in a chance that the card just doesn’t function when played, based on a die roll.
Beebles releases cards for his game every few weeks, and he’s rapidly gaining a following among the EVE fan base, as well as with the game’s developers at CCP. Hopefully he will continue to expand upon his unique and intriguing addition to the EVE universe, and continue to help tell the story of EVE to the world through his fan art.