EDITORIAL: FRONTIER, COLONISATION AND CCN

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Image courtesy of Qohen Leth

Thoughts on the proposed plan for colonisation of the Colonia Nebula

The Gazette team has insisted so far that this newspaper be about, by, and for real colonists. When you read it, you should be reading about yourselves – what you’ve been up to, your adventures, exploits and events, as well as unbiased interest pieces we hope will appeal to explorers and colonists.

It’s not a mouthpiece for community leaders or editors to broadcast their opinions, so it’s anomalous that this article is being published.

However, how the space around Jaques is colonised is absolutely about all of you. It is about what we’ve all been doing, so it merits this departure from our normal policy.

Factions and player groups are the lifeblood of Elite. They create an enormous amount of content for their members as well as lore for the galaxy as a whole. They are enormously important to the game.

Player Factions also create gameplay. Doing missions for a faction you’re invested in is hugely more rewarding than just grinding credits or rank. They provide a colourful backdrop to the galaxy – and, like it or not, currently provide the most tangible way in which players can see their actions manifest in the game world and put their stamp on the galaxy. So it is appropriate that the vast majority of human space is arranged in this way.

However, the exploration community is evidence that not everyone wants to interact with the game this way. They may not be a majority, but they are a significant minority. This is the community that one aspect of CCN represents.

Jaques makes up a fraction of a percent of inhabited space. It does not seem a huge ask that this tiny slice of the game world be arranged in a different way – a way that respects the wishes of large numbers of independent players cooperating to create content, rather than more of what we already have in spades.

CCN has taken several hundred hours of work by many, many people at this point, who have actually demonstrated their commitment by their in-game actions. You’ve shipped slaves and computer components across the galaxy in roleplay events, organised giant expeditions, organised canyon races and SRV rallies, exhaustively catalogued hundreds of Nebula systems, set up radio stations and Twitch streams. Nobody else has done this, so your wishes should be respected. This is the argument that Dr Kaii is making on our behalf.

But CCN does not own Colonia. We have no right to decide who can or can’t move to the colony, or to dictate policy to FD.

So how should that be decided?

Well, ultimately, surely the only fair way is to prioritise those who have demonstrated a willingness to create a community for players already. GalCop, for example, pledged to protect colonists as soon as there were colonists to protect. They moved large numbers of players out to Colonia, and since CCN’s inception have demonstrated a selfless willingness to involve and support the Colonia community. They’ve organised multiple events which have overwhelmingly been attended by pilots who aren’t even members of their group, and have proven committed to keeping players safe who have nothing to do with GalCop. They’ve improved CCN enormously.

On the other hand, a group that are likely to be amongst the first to put themselves forward for a colonisation Community Goal are Adle’s Armada. Their contribution to colonial life has so far been this GalNet submission, in which they announced that they’d moved four ships to Jaques and grandly renamed the Nebula ‘New Sol’. They’ve slapped their names on as much of it as they can and completely ignored the 800-odd community based around it. For me, this isn’t creating anything for players to engage in.

This is the key for the Custodians, community and project leaders. Undeniably, Colonia will be the better for the colour and interest that factions bring. But surely, the priority for choosing those factions should be those that have actually helped create a community already. Who should have the first chance – groups that have already created content for and built the community through hours of work and in-game actions, or leviathan groups in the Bubble who have shown no interest in Jaques so far?

This is the other side of CCN – the broad, neutral umbrella for all those groups who actually help build a society. Those groups have already contributed a lot to FD’s players out here, and should be given the first opportunity. This is the difference between a safe, peaceful Colony made up of factions that have already cooperated and built something, and a Colony made up of more of the same land-grabbing powerhouses that the game already caters for admirably.

There is a future for CCN in the event that this mechanic is implemented; as a sort of United Nations for groups, acting as a peacekeeping force and a rallying-point for independent pilots. But the potential is there for so much more.

Colonisation according to who can mobilise the most votes is not the way to respect the work already done by and for players.

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