Question: Are the UEE Military ranks found in the Writer’s Guide still accurate or have they changed?
Answer: We've slightly updated the UEE Military hierarchies since publishing the Writer's Guide. Current rankings for each military branch are below. We'll also update the Writer's Guide ranking accordingly.
- Legatus Navium (High Command)
- Grand Admiral
- Vice Admiral
- Rear Admiral
- Lt. Commander
- Lieutenant Junior Grade
- Master Chief Petty Officer
- Chief Petty Officer
- Petty Officer
- Jr. Petty Officer
- Leading Starman
- Starman Recruit
- Legatus Exercitus (High Command)
- Brigadier General
- Lieutenant Colonel
- 2nd Lieutenant
- Officer Cadet
- Sergeant Major
- Master Sergeant
- Private First Class
- Legatus Marinuum (High Command)
- Captain General
- Lieutenant General
- Major General
- Brigadier General
- Lieutenant Colonel
- 2nd Lieutenant
- Sergeant Major
- Gunnery Sergeant
- Lance Corporal
- Trooper First Class
Question: The pronunciation of the name of Crusader's main landing zone is the subject of endless debates between my (French speaking) friends. Some people pronounce it like the word "horizon" and others pronounce it like the real word "orison". Have you ever discussed this topic internally, and if so, what was the decision regarding the "officially correct" pronunciation of Orison?
Answer: Crusader's flagship location was named after the word "orison," which is pronounced ôrəsən orˈôrəzən with the accent on the 'o.' The Welcome to Orison vid found in-game pronounces it the way we intended. Meaning "a prayer," we chose orison to tie into Crusader's benevolent corporate image and their headquarters' almost heavenly location. Still, the UEE is big and diverse enough that some words would be pronounced differently depending on where you are. So, we'd expect its pronunciation to differ around the UEE too.
Question: The Fair Chance Act (FCA) was adopted in 2795 to protect planets with developing life. The Stanton system Galactic Guide states that Hurston's "indigenous life (was) killed by mining and manufacturing processes." Since the intention is to include some indigenous alien life forms on planets in the system (stormwal, etc.), I have a few questions.
What is the current canonical implication of the FCA? Why did the UEE sell the system to corporations, given the presence of complex indigenous life forms like the stormwal? Was due process under the FCA performed when the Stanton system was terraformed? How did the general public react to the despoiling of Hurston's indigenous ecosystem?
Answer: Let’s tackle the canonical implications of the Fair Chance Act (FCA) first. The law created a new type of system classification known as developing, which is defined as containing "sentient or potentially sentient life." The FCA empowers the UEE to act as stewards and protectors of these developing species so they can continue their evolution without our interference. Terraforming and mining are strictly prohibited on worlds with developing life, but the systems aren't on complete lockdown. For instance, Kellog system contains both the developing orm species on Xis (Kellog II) and some of UEE's most hardened criminals locked up on the prison planet QuarterDeck (Kellog VI). The UEE knows it can't stop people from entering these developing systems. So they police the protected planets and punish anyone caught violating the FCA.
Regarding Stanton, upon its discovery in 2851 the system would've been subjected to the Fair Chance Act prior to any development occurring. The UEE officially controlled the system until 2865 before selling them to the mega-corps. During those 14 years, the UEE government did minimal terraforming to Stanton I (Hurston), III (ArcCorp), and IV (microTech). That indicates none of the indigenous life on the planets were deemed "sentient or potentially sentient life" under the FCA. Meanwhile, the stormwals on Stanton II (Crusader) were classified as animal intelligence and didn’t qualify for protection under the FCA. Since none of the planets in Stanton fell under the FCA, the mega-corps that purchased them could do as they please and Hurston took full advantage of the situation.
As far as the general public, some definitely disagreed with the UEE handling of the situation in Stanton, and saw the inherent flaws in the law, like the precise definition of "sentient or potentially sentient life." While the intention of the law might be righteous, its execution is still subject to the whims of people with a wide variety of interests and allegiances. Meanwhile, there are others who believe the UEE is too restrictive in some developing systems. Failed Imperator candidate Paul LeSalle campaigned specifically on loosening the FCA to allow for more resource extraction from protected planets. It's this push and pull around the law that we find interesting and full of narrative potential, and it will be fascinating to see how much players respect the FCA when a developing world and its indigenous species appear in-game." :show-emphasis="true">
Question: Do they primarily see and hear like a human, or are there some oddities out there? Are there any obvious perception differences between alien races that could impact storylines?
Answer: Banu can comfortably breath in a variety of atmospheres and can adapt to a wide range of environments not suitable for Humans. While Banu ears aren’t as sharp as Human ones, their sense of smell is much, much better. They pick up details that we can’t; stuff like the interesting scent profile of a tortoise shell, the depth of character of well-used leather, the history of a grease patina, or the qualities of various types of dust. While sensitive, Banu do not typically find certain smells offensive. This is one of the reasons they appreciate flavors that Humans (or even Xi’an) would find distasteful. Complexity, to Banu, is the cornerstone of a good meal.
Tevarin physiology made them very vulnerable to attack from larger predators on their homeworld. Venturing out alone was extremely dangerous, so the species had to work together to outsmart predators and other threats. This drove them to focus on defensive technologies and tactics to increase their chance of survival. The shield technology found on ships in the modern UEE originally came from the Tevarin.
Xi'an eyes are quite large and are able to see further into the infrared spectrum than Human eyesight, providing them a natural way to visually track heat. The species also has a less developed sense of taste and smell compared to Humans. Xi'an love decomposing food, so adventurous Human eaters would first have to get past the smell before potentially having all their taste buds numbed by the intense spices flavoring it.
Finally, the Vanduul can survive in a vacuum for a bit. One other very important thing to know about how the Vanduul perceive the world around them is (REDACTED)(REDACTED)(REDACTED), so definitely be aware of that!
Question: Are they all awarded by nomination and confirmed by the Senate? What about Admirals, Generals, and other positions of note in the government?
Answer: We’ve thought through the broad strokes for how it works and are happy to share some specifics. Let’s start with the most important non-elected positions, the members of an Imperator’s Tribunal, High-Secretary, High-Command, and High-Advocate. Each one faces a slightly different confirmation process, which then extends to other high level positions within that respective branch.
Candidates for High-Secretary, who oversees matters pertaining to UEE infrastructure, are nominated by the Imperator and appear before the full Senate for confirmation. 2/3rds of the Senate must vote against the candidate for the nomination to fail, helping ensure that the Imperator can staff the position with someone who supports the policies they were elected to accomplish. Nominees for high level positions under the High-Secretary’s purview, like Ambassadors and government department heads, would appear for a confirmation hearing before the Senate committee overseeing their department. If approved by the committee, their nomination moves to the full Senate for a vote with a simple majority needed to be approved. If the Imperator wants to retain the person currently in a position, the nomination would skip the committee step and be put directly before the full Senate for a vote.
Nominees for High-Command, consisting of a representative from each military branch (Legatus Navium, Legatus Exercitus, and Legatus Marinuum), must first be approved by a military council comprised of current and former members of each branch of the military. Once approved, the nominees go before the Senate and must receive a simple majority to be confirmed. Active duty officers, like Admirals or Generals, do not to be reconfirmed to their position and may be promoted or replaced at the will of High-Command. If the actions of a High-Command officer displeases the military, the council can reconvene for a vote of no confidence, which if passed must then be approved by the Senate.
Finally, the High-Advocate nominee must be approved by the Directors Council, a committee composed of the heads of the various law enforcement and judicial departments that fall under the High-Advocate’s control. Nominees for high level positions under the High-Advocate must also be approved by the Directors Council. Since the Senate creates laws and the High-Advocate is responsible for enforcing and interpreting them, neither the Imperator or Senate is involved in their confirmation process. This was a change meant to make this branch of government more independent and occurred after the fall of the Messers, who had used the Advocacy as their personal enforcement bureau. Though free from Imperator or Senatorial control, they do have the power to censure a High-Advocate, or other appointee within that branch, and potentially remove them via a vote of no confidence. A process that must be approved by 2/3rds of the Senate and supported by the current High-Secretary and High-Command.
Question: Is any Stegman's lore floating around? I am trying to make a Stegman's commercial and am interested in the basics, like when and where it was founded and by whom.
Answer: We're due for a deeper dive into Stegman's lore, so keep an eye open for that. In the meantime, here are a few company specifics we have kicking around internally. Founded in 2643 by Greg Stegman in Locke, Idris system, Stegman's makes industrial clothing and gear that's been popular for centuries thanks to its comfort, reliability, and durability. They got their start focusing on protective gear, which is now a staple around construction sites and factories. Eventually they expanded into clothing that leans into the company’s blue collars roots and is comfortable enough for everyday casual wear. Can't wait to see your commercial!
Question: From a real-life perspective, many scientists are starting to think that Venus may be the "easier" candidate for terraforming than, say, Mars, and it's hypothesized that Venus may very well have been earth-like in the distant past. So is there a lore/science reason why Humanity hasn't terraformed Venus?
Answer: With the current state of terraforming technology in the 30th century, scientists still haven’t been able to crack the problem of dealing with smog planets. All attempts at making those worlds habitable have so far met with failure as they quickly revert back to their original atmospheric conditions. For now, it seems easier to build up a new atmosphere than to have to convert such a densely inhospitable one. Neither Venus nor any of the other smog planets found across the UEE have been terraformed.
Same goes for gas planets, as none within the game have been terraformed. Even the Xi’an, who have been using terraforming technology for millenia longer than Humanity, haven’t figured out how to terraform gas or smog planets. Though they have actively been trying in an effort to undo what happened to their homeworld." :show-emphasis="false">
Question: Are there any in-depth tactical analyses and breakdowns of the bigger fleet battles that the UEE has been involved in? I’m interested in how the military approaches fleet battle military tactics/formations/etc? Also, how did the military record military battles and campaigns? Were they under extensive censorship, or were they properly and impartially recorded for posterity?
Answer: Outside of the game world, we haven't spent too much brain power breaking down the specifics of famous in-lore battles. We often compare what we do to sculpting in that we first give something a general form then return to it later when needed to provide great detail. We've recently done this by delving deeper into the details around the fight to dislodge criminals from Nexus, the Siege of Tiber, and the specifics of the Bremen Beltway, but getting into specific ship or troop movements from famous battles hasn't been needed quite yet.
Within the game world, this type of information would be available to scholars and other interested parties at the Ark. Eye witness accounts, flight recorders, and other pieces of advanced tech would be used to track specific ship movements during the battle. Modern battles against the Vanduul would probably still be classified, since it's an ongoing conflict, but the Historical Truth Act of 2941 declassified a ton of military records from the Messer era. So anything from that era or earlier, including both the First and Second Tevarin, would probably be available to the public.
Question: There is a lot unknown about the cause of the "Definitive" AI ban. Besides the widespread public rejection, what other reasons might there be that are not discussed? Did alien civilizations have something to do with it? Was it a Messer mandate that ended up becoming part of human culture and political structure? Perhaps there are more disturbing causes that remain hidden somewhere far away in the verse? And how much is it estimated that the absence of AI has affected humanity's social and technological evolution?
Answer: First, here's the established backstory on Humanity's deep-seated aversion to AI. It began in 2044 with the infamous "Lemming Car" incident in Tokyo. Next, though not blamed specifically on AI, the government did admit that an AI malfunction might've played a part in the terraforming accident known as the Mars Tragedy of 2125. Most famously, following its launch in 2232, the Artemis colony ship disappeared while under the control of an AI named Janus. Three consecutive centuries with massive AI failures soured Humanity on the tech and there's been no significant research into it since the 23rd century.
There were probably a number of lesser known AI-related accidents and incidents during those earlier centuries, but none that we're currently keeping secret. Yet, if it's determined we need one to justify something in-game then we'll have fun creating it. But just based on the timeline, it wouldn't involve either aliens (who we first encountered in 2438) or the Messers (who came to power in 2546).
Now, how the AI ban has affected Humanity's evolution is a super interesting and highly debatable topic. It definitely led to a more tactile and chaotic universe. One where stuff is less standardized and more prone to Human error. During the last Imperator election, candidate Addison openly argued that we're less technologically advanced because of it. Whether that’s a good thing or not might be in the eye of the beholder. It's also interesting to think about how it’s affected Human culture. Could definitely see an argument that Humanity would be more culturally vibrant if people had more time to create art while AI focused on menial and labor intensive tasks.
That’s the Lore explanation behind the justification, but the reasoning behind no AI was a stylistic choice based on early conversations with Chris. When talking over the type of world/experience he wanted to build for players, there was a general acknowledgement that while AI would most likely be a large part of Humanity’s development in the real world, Chris wanted players to be the ones to get out there, explore the universe, and dogfight among the stars, not rely on their AI supercomputers to do it. He was looking to create a more visceral, tactile kind of Sci-Fi, so we started building up all these missteps throughout our fictional history where every foray into AI development would end in catastrophe to explain why people soured on the idea of it.
Question: Many of us are hoping to see the Tevarin language. From a lore perspective, we know that the Tevarin completely relinquished their culture and ideals at the end of the second Tevarin War. This got me thinking, why not make this an in-game mission, and as more missions are completed, the more about the Tevarin can be unlocked, not only in terms of their language, but also in terms of their culture, history, and technology?
Answer: This could be a fun idea but would probably have to focus more on uncovering aspects of their culture and history. While the Tevarin's abandoned their language, it was never completely forgotten. The UEE government definitely learned it for strategic purposes during the First and Second Tevarin, and along with the Tevarin’s best tech (like defensive shields), preserved it after the Purge. It’s also spoken among the Tevarin diaspora on Branaugh II.
Narratively, we’ve already laid some breadcrumbs for how players might be able to rediscover aspects of Tevarin culture and history. Abandoned Tevarin settlements were discovered in the Kabal system. There’s ongoing work to uncover its secrets and search for more settlements that might be in-system. Also, this installment of DataCache showed that Tevarin shrines and artifacts are still hiding within the Empire. Seems like some Tevarins didn’t agree with the Purge and went to great lengths to preserve the past for future generations to find. Finally, who knows what secrets members of the Tevarin diaspora in Branaugh might be willing to share if they trust you enough.
As to getting more stuff in game, we’re definitely eager to start representing the Tevarin throughout the universe, but that is subject to other disciplines outside of the lore to build the assets." :show-emphasis="false">