influence maps (the Verite Rendition map), the automated maps we are all familiar with, start in the last third of 2007. System sovereignty was introduced into EVE Online in July 2005. So there's nearly a slightly more than two year gap that has to be reconstructed. This reconstruction was going to have to be done using old forum archives on eve-search.com.
This was not a task I was looking forward too. It would never be a complete picture, and would require extensive note taking. Not too mention reading thousands and thousands of archived forum posts.
I wanted to get something started on this project tonight, so to begin, I was going to check out the earliest of the Verite influence maps. See what I could find with respect to anyone writing about those early maps. Old battle reports. General shitposting between opposing forces. Whatever could begin to draw a picture of the relationships during that time, maybe even linking to earlier conflicts.
What I did find was a reference to an EVE Manual Influence Map. Something that apparently stopped being created in 2008, just as the Verite Rendition influence maps were becoming popular.
What? I needed to find these. I started googling harder.
And then find them I did. All archived on Chribba's eve-files.com. These files begin in July 2005, the introduction of system sovereignty, and continue to March 2008.
Unfortunately, quite a few of the files are missing on eve-files, sometimes for a couple months at a time. That's not a game breaker though. If I look at this from the perspective of a historian, it's not uncommon to find gaps in the historical record, so it'll actually be fun investigating and filling in those gaps. At least I have names, dates and places to start a search at.
There was more, though. In that link where I first found mention of the 2005 (and later) maps, there was mention of these maps drawing upon the work of other territorial maps.
What? Had I not found the best I could find?
Thus, I start googling territorial maps. I then find this more complete list of territorial maps. Holy shit. Jackpot. This next image is the earliest known influence map, dating from Oct 02 2003. Yeah, I know, you'd think I just found the Rosetta Stone, but as it relates to EVE Online, it's a pretty big rediscovery. Considering nobody has even mentioned these old maps to me, I had to luck upon them myself, I'm guessing a lot of people didn't know about them either, or had forgotten about them. (To those old-timers that come across this blog post, enjoy your blast from the past.)
Now I have a wealth of resource material around which to base some very specific research. I have complete lists of alliances dating all that way back to late 2003, just half a year after the launch of EVE Online. I can't describe how excited I am about these finds. This is exactly the sort of information I thought I'd never have available to me, and in such a concise format that gives grounding and direction on where to direct research.