Friday, January 09, 2009

Eve Online: Apocrypha

If you have a pulse and an Eve Online account, then you've heard by now that March 10 will see the next (completely free) expansion of the game. Wormhole exploration, Tech III modular ships, epic mission arcs... if promises to be big and varied.

There are little in the way of hard facts on the ground so I'm not going to bore you by regurgitating what a hundred other internet sources have already reported which amounts to a lot of "we don't know the details yet" in some form or another. But I will impart my thoughts on the big three items listed above and what I think they should be like. Because, I'm like, soooooo special or something.

Wormhole Exploration
There are a hundred different ways to implement these "unexplored pockets of space accessible only by wormholes" but I suspect based on the crumbs of evidence we do have that some sort of exploration will be required to find wormholes that can change position from time to time that are gates to static pockets like dead end systems. This allows players to set up anchored structures within those pockets and possibly even defend them if empire security rules to not apply like in 0.0 space.

I can see some special anchored structure being put in a found pocket that will then broadcast a signal to allow other corp members to find the wormhole entrance without exploration skills, this would allow dynamic wormholes while still allowing an organization to easily claim the space inside. The downside of course is that if there is a limited number of these pockets and their resources inside are lucrative by any measure than there is the risk of large alliances claiming vast swathes of them and leaving the smaller groups and solo players out of the loop.

And I have questions on how to find the wormholes. The implication is that the exploration career will be the jumping point, but will special equipment like a new probe launcher or specialized probes be used, or even new skills, and if so how are they acquired? I will be severely pissed if its some mission drop or loyalty store purchase but unfortunately not surprised. I would prefer it to be such that finding a wormhole is not changed from finding any other exploration content (maybe use the same signature as gas clouds) but to enter a wormhole requires a new easily acquired skill.

Tech III Modular Ships
One of the first things I hear about the new level of ships is "it better not be just like Tech II but better" followed almost as frequently as I hear "Tech III is going to make Tech II obsolete!". To which I reply with two words: Raven, Golem.

To expand on that response, allow me to direct your attention to the recent tech II ships, Marauders, Black Ops, and Jump Freighters. What they all have in common is that they do not obsolete their tech I counterparts because they are vastly more expensive AND they have weaker capabilities in some important aspect: Jump Freighters have less than 50% capacity on normal freighters, Marauders have the sensor strength weakness, and Black Ops lack the Tech II improved defenses and offenses compared to their much cheaper ancestors. In other words, I think CCP gets it: more specialized or improved in some aspects but seriously gimped in others (and not just in price because ISK is cheap).

So I expect Tech III ships will follow the same pattern except more so. Amazing weapon abilities combined with tissue tank. Or serious tank with no firepower. Or elite scanning with little firepower and tank. Ad naseum.

And I also think Tech III ships can exploit the current drawbacks of overheating and booster usage, perhaps making their disadvantages less... disadvantageous. You know what I mean.

I expect Tech III to be wildly expensive for a long time. Since we know the secrets to their development lie in the wormhole-accessed pockets of space, it could be that the supply of parts and blueprints is so limited that only the richest pilots/corporations will afford them for the first long while. Or it could be that the skills are merely out there or blueprint originals so that the price will fall rapidly once the population has acquired enough non-consumables to make production more efficient.

Epic Mission Arcs
Finally! Some of the most enjoyable missions in Eve are the multipart ones. Even though they are often more of the same "go and kill" at least the context is such that you feel like you are part of something other than an automated reflex.

Adding actual mission arcs that progress a story as you accomplish them can only be a good thing. No idea how complex it will be or how branching, but I do know CCP has a dedicated team for this area so I have high hopes.

Also hinted at is more intelligent rats (i.e. NPCs). Please GOD yes! I'd rather face three rats that have the capabilties of noobish human pilots rather than 100 current rats that have no brains. (Of course the money is better in the latter case but you can only take so much before your mind begins to melt).

Well, that's all for now.


  1. Special wormhole structures would be interesting, but the monopolizing dangers will always be there in any aspect of EVE. CCP knows how to balance that.

    T3 ships will be horribly expensive for quite a few months, but I doubt by next winter that they'll be prohibitively so. BattleClinic is going to have to revamp their systems soon.

    Epic missions will be made of EPIC WIN, one missioner to another.

  2. Since the words "cosmic anomaly" were used in describing unstable wormholes in that last CCP blurb about the expansion, I'm wondering if they will be findable with the onboard scanner. I certainly hope not...I didn't invest in my exploration alt's nearly perfect skills just so some pilot 10 days out of school could one-up me in the finding of such a potentially valuable thing. I hope they introduce a new type of scan probe that requires Astrometrics IV at a minimum, and that probing for such "sites" works the same way it does now for Unknowns, Radars, Mags, and Gravs. I wouldn't even mind having to train an extra skill...if it was similar time-wise to Hacking. If it was more involved (such as my alt's practically useless Archeology skill), that would be annoying. Maybe in fact, it WILL require Archeology...that would suit me fine. We'll see.

    I'm very much looking forward to this expansion and I have to admit, curious to see how the story arc missions are implemented. It's possible my good girl alt may be enticed to do those if they are sufficiently compelling.

  3. As I understand it, CCP intends to REVAMP THE ENTIRE scanner system with this expansion. Pretty sure they mentioned this as well.

    This is suppose to allow things like these new wormholes but also make it more logical to scan systems for pilots so that they can remove the local chat from null-sec space properly. I imagine most of the current skills will just be changed slightly, but new ones are almost guaranteed at this point.