Without going to much into the historical details or timeline: I can proudly announce that DOTLAN EveMaps has reached a major milestone and is providing a well known and respected service to all players of New Eden for 10 years now!
Wollari, 10 Years of EVE Maps
I suppose the big question ask on the tenth anniversary of DOTLAN is why CCP doesn’t have an official map that is even a tenth as useful.
I wrote a piece a couple years back about the top five problems with the game, and I limited myself to five and a bonus item, but believe me the in-game map was in the running for a spot on that list.
I mean, the in-game map is beautiful. I highly recommend that you show that your friends who don’t play the game. It is impressive as hell. I mean, it really looks like something important. I like to show off the systems I’ve visited.
But as a utility that transmit information to the user it is sub-par. I basically use the view that shows the location of your fleet members and maybe the recent kills view, but the latter generally just so I can take a screen shot of a huge red ball in The Forge when Burn Jita is going. Mostly though I just use the star system view to check bookmarks and bounce points when I travel through null.
Maps are so useful in games like EVE Online. And there has been a healthy tradition in the community of creating maps for the game, from Ombeve’s 2d maps, to the maps EON Magazine used to sell, to the null sec influence maps (and a summary site), to GARPA Topographical Survey (highlighted here), to the various utilities that map wormhole connections.
But my go-to site is DOTLAN and I visit almost every single day. Links to it and screen shots from it pepper my posts about null sec. I cannot imagine the game without it.
I first became aware of the site when Meclin/Rarik/Gaff (we all have so many handles) went off to null sec with Skyforger in TNT. That was around the middle of 2009. He started sending me information about what things were like out in null sec, including DOTLAN EVEMaps, which he said was essential.
Still wandering the ways of high sec empire space, I thought the site looked interesting, but could not see it as essential to my ventures. I had already memorized the routes through my little corner of space, and when I didn’t know the way I knew the destination and could simply plot a route there in the game.
But in late 2011, when I was back in the game but almost immediately bored of life in high sec again, Meclin got me to make the jump to null sec and my world changed. I was suddenly in a part of the game where systems had crazy alphanumeric designations rather than unpronounceable names, I had no idea how to get places, and my overview was suddenly vitally important at all times because random strangers could show up at any time to shoot me.
At that point I had DOTLAN up pretty much constantly when I was logged into the game. The intel channels would call out hostiles in systems and, at that time the system info didn’t give you the route/jumps from your location, so I kept having to check to see who was distant and who was close and needed minding. That was back when I lived in 0P-F3K and fleets moved out from VFK-IV.
Wars and operations and fleet movements expanded my need to keep track of where the hell I was. And even as I started to get used to flying to and fro, using the jump bridge network and recognizing systems that were choke points on the routes across space, I still kept DOTLAN up and going.
And I still use it nearly every day now. Sure, if I need to move some place around Delve I will bring up GARPA because it has the jump bridges in it, so can give me the shortest route with those included. But we’re deployed up north and running off to the east and going all sorts of places where I need to at least refresh my memory as to the layout of the land.
And even when I don’t need to know where I am or where I am going, and when I don’t need a visual aid for a blog post to show routes or proximity of locations or whatever, I still go bring up the front page to take a look. It is a source of information as to what is going on in New Eden. There on the front page you can see alliance movements, recent data on the most violent systems in the game, and sovereignty changes. I go there and see the numbers and often wonder what is going on, why did that alliance gain or lose so many members in the last week, was there a big battle in that system at the top of the list.
Even today I look at the front page and wonder what is going on with Dream Fleet and Red Alliance, our neighbors down in Period Basis.
EVE Online is a game full of stories, and DOTLAN is one of the places that helps you find those stories and, quite literally, put them on the map.
Anyway, DOTLAN is a huge resource for the EVE Online community. Wollari is asking in his blog post for people to comment on their memories of the site here on its birthday. But that is a tough thing to do, because so many changes have been highlighted there over the years. Grand conquests have been show as well as humiliating defeats.
One I do remember is from back at the end of 2016 when CCP turned off the ability to deploy outposts… stations… in null sec space as part of the last update for YC118. The alliance Fraternity got out and deployed the final null sec outpost just hours before the deadline.
Of course, outposts are gone now, converted to citadels last month. But as Ascendant Frontier will always be the first alliance to drop an outpost, Fraternity will always be the last, and we likely know this because it was right up there on the front page at DOTLAN.
I honestly can’t say enough good about the site. It is a shining beacon both for the community and as to how much the efforts of the community matter to this game.
Thanks so much Wollari!