Show Info is a weekly column in which I attempt to 1) educate myself and then 2) educate you regarding a particular topic. This week, I examine the Amarr, one of four playable empires in Eve Online.
Dour, stern, some might say constipated – the faces of the Amarr Empire reflect the conservative and sometimes archaic traditions of New Eden’s oldest super power. Amarrian culture reveres age as a symbol of wisdom and experience, to the point that younger Amarrian elite modify their facial features to appear older than they are. The Amarr are one of New Eden’s five empires, along with the Gallente (covered last week), Caldari (coming next week), Minmatar, and Jove. Amarrians ply the spacelanes of the galaxy in ships of gold and intricate detail work, fitted with lasers and a burning cultural desire to own the rest of humanity. Though the Amarr have suffered more than their share of setbacks in the last decade and more, the EVElopedia states that they “still view themselves as the most powerful race in New Eden, if only because of their sheer numbers and, of course, the support of their Holy God.”
In New Eden, the Amarr Empire is the largest sov holding entity in the galaxy – a whopping 40% of inhabited solar systems ultimately bends the knee to the Amarrian Empress. That Empress, Jamyl Sarum, in theory holds absolute power over the Empire, making her without a doubt the single most powerful individual in New Eden. A theocractic, ritualistic, and authoritarian state, the Empire to this day tolerates the practice of slavery, and is run from the top down by the Empress, the Heirs, and the Holder class of noble elite.
The Heirs are the five (traditionally – now it appears to be six) leaders of the royal families. When the Emperor or Empress dies (usually at the well-ripened age of about 500, thanks to cybernetic implants), the Heirs are put through an event known as the Succession Trials, a competition designed to select the new Emperor/Empress and secure a peaceful succession. The peaceful bit comes, though, at a cost – the losers of the competition participate in the ritual of Shathol’Syn – essentially, they are forced to commit suicide. Thus, whenever an Emperor dies, all the royal families get new leaders. Currently the royal families are the Kador, Sarum, Kor-Azor, Tash-Murkon, Ardishapur, and Khanid.
Each Heir is responsible for running their own slice of the Empire. They are allowed to maintain their own fleets, carry out justice within their domains, and enforce laws to the extent that they desire. Below the Heirs is the Holder class – nobles of varying importance that control planets and constellations, while the Heirs control entire regions of space, and the Emperor sits high atop the food chain in control of it all.
Amarr’s history begins around 8000 AD, making it the oldest of New Eden’s five empires. It was not until 20536 AD that Amarr learned to fly among the stars, though. After they did, they swiftly colonized two other habitable planets in their home system and, in 21290 AD, successfully built a stargate connection with the relatively nearby Hedion system. For over a century following this event, the Amarr spread throughout the stars finding nothing but ruins – the remnants of old mankind’s failed colonization efforts – but in 21423 AD they discovered a living human population in the Ealur system. Slavery had been on the decline up until this moment, with the Amarr thinking that their crusades (called The Reclaiming) had come to an end when they successfully converted their entire home planet. Now, though, there were new ears to hear the faith, and so both the Reclaiming and slavery got a nice little boost.
In 22355 AD the Amarr discovered the Minmatar, who were themselves interstellar travellers but of a significantly lower technological level than the Amarr. The Amarr took their time but enslaved the Minmatar eventually. In 23180 AD the Amarr met the Gallente and shortly afterwards the Caldari, who were of course embroiled in their own brand of internal politics. Later, the Amarr learned of the Jove, but found them to be a curious entry into the super power league of New Eden – they were quiet, didn’t seem to have much of a navy, and didn’t care to engage in diplomacy with the Empire.
The Amarr are always spoiling for war and conquest, so of course they figured the Jove would be a good target. However, when they declared war and invaded the system of Vak’Atioth, the Jove pulled out a Mothership and blew the invaders to pieces. Shortly afterwards, the Minmatar rose up in revolt, and the Amarr soon found themselves in a really bad spot. They sued for peace with the Jove and then settled their disputes with the Minmatar.
The Empire is the hardest of the nations of New Eden to really summarize without writing a book, but we’ll leave it here for now. Future installments of Show Info will probably dive into groups like the Sansha and Ammatar, as well as individuals like the current Empress Jamyl Sarum, but not today.
Inside Eve Online, characters of the Amarr Empire are represented by either the Amarr, Ni-Kunni, or Khanid races. There are 47 corporations represented in the Amarr Empire within the game client, though as with the Gallente, some of these ‘corporations’ are really just organizations (such as the Imperial Chancellory). The Empire holds sovereignty in The Bleak Lands, Kor-Azor, Domain, Kador, Tash-Murkon, Devoid, and Derelik regions.
Amarrian combat vessels tend to favor lasers and energy neutralizers in general, with some notable examples of drone weapon systems being employed as well (though nowhere near the extent to which the Gallente rely on such systems). For electronic warfare, the Amarr tend towards the use of Tracking Disruptors. Notable entries in the Amarrian lineup include the: Punisher; Amarr Navy Slicer; Crusader; Sentinel; Omen Navy Issue; Zealot; Pilgrim; Legion; Harbinger; Armageddon; and Redeemer. On the capital ship scale, the Amarrian Archon (carrier), Revelation (dreadnought), Aeon (super), and Avatar (titan) are similar to the Gallente in that they have almost always been solid picks on the battlefield, and common sights.
In faction warfare, the Amarr find themselves contesting lowsec space against (naturally) the Minmatar. The warzone has been a fiercely contested affair from the get go, resulting in just one total control of the zone by the Amarr since faction warfare’s inception. The win took place just last month (December 2014) and the Amarr are riding high to this day, though total control has slipped from their grasp.
Amarrian ships tend to be of the slower variety (with some notable exceptions), relying on heavy armor to see them through a fight and the highly flexible laser weapon systems to engage with enemies at all ranges. Energy neutralizers also feature prominently, with the Sentinel Electronic Warfare Frigate and Pilgrim Recon Cruiser being excellent examples of the terrifying nature of capacitor warfare.
Next week, we’ll take a look at the Caldari – the face of Eve PVE.