Thursday, September 22, 2011

More Space: The Debate

I think my opponent is not just wrong, he's also an ass.

Yesterday in my "7 Ideas to make a lot of blog traffic and comments" post the 7th item on the list generated the most comments (both here and on twitter):
7. More Space - Either new systems accessed by wormholes, or opening up the Jove space, or adding new regions, anything to change up the status quo.
I struggled with whether or not to add this one and the feedback was almost universally condeming the idea:

#7 I would prefer they fixed low-sec before adding more space.
We don't need more space at the moment.
I like these, other than the new space. Fix the space they have.
There is so much area of low sec and areas of Null that are vast stretches of nothing.
The risk/reward for low sec is simply not there.
The risk/reward for Null is only there in some areas.
A lot of those ideas address symptoms. More space, for instance, won't help until CCP rebalances existing space think we need more space? I fly around and every system is empty. Scratch #7 
There were a couple voices that agreed with me, albeit conditionally:

#7 would go a long way towards helping imho, but the space would need to be huge to allow "real" expansion to it instead of immediate annexation by the current large power blocks.
7. More Space - additional space would be nice, but i think you'd run into the same exact issues presently in nullsec, there would have to be something radically different about the new space like whs to make it actually work.
Basically, more than any other item on the list it drew the most attention so I'm going to talk about it here right now. Brace yourselves.

I can see where the people are coming from that say, essentially, "we need to make better use of the space we already have since there is a lot of empty systems". Fundamentally from the point of view of most efficiency I can agree with that.

However, from an aesthetic point of view, I must disagree.

Ah peace and quiet!

Space is large.

But if there is 3-5 pilots in the local of each system for a stretch of five systems, it feels crowded and depleted in terms of resources.

So space feels small.

I like when I am going through null sec and low sec and I see nary a soul for five jumps. It makes the interaction all that more interesting and exciting instead of mundane. I want there to be civilization (high sec) and outposts of civilization surrounded by sparsely populated wilderness that can be explored and investigated. I don't want my space to be cheek to jowl urbanized sprawl.
Anyone seen my car keys?

(Even wormhole space is losing its lustre of unknown and unexplored. So much of it has been colonized and is claimed that its rare to find a wormhole that no one lives in.)

Part of the overall problem with regular space is that local condenses a system to a single view. It doesn't matter how big an actual system is and how many sites and belts it has to exploit, a pilot gets a view of all other pilots at a glance. Its like trying to hide from a person in a city where all they have to do to narrow you down is step into each quarter of the city to get a hit on your presence.

If local were less useful as an intel / location tool, i.e. operated on constellation level instead of system level, it might be that space would regain some of its vastness and emptiness.

Of course, the other option is to add more space to hide in. More wormhole systems would be cool, or another class of wormhole accessible systems that are internally connected by weird ancient gates and can have sov and outposts built, essentially a null sec starting from scratch without the easy facilities of high sec nearby.

As for fears that any new space would be quickly annexed by existing power blocs, I answer that we face that issue with any new feature introduced that is worth exploiting. We guard against this as best as we can and try things anyways.

Another point I wanted to make but forgot until re-reading is that prior to the Sanctum nerf null sec space was considered equally good for the most part all over the regions. Part of the reason for nerfing the sanctums that CCP gave was that they wanted to create less homogenous space, having some desirable space and less desirable space. This of course has the impact of the populations that can be supported in these systems. In other words, don't expect CCP to make all space universally useful as they feel that makes for a boring stale game; they like variety and thus empty systems are a result of this philosophy.

It may be that adding more space is a more palatable course of action to the developers over making all space more "useful".

 * * * * *

In the end, I suggested more space to simply change the equations of the current status and to mix things up. Done right, like wormhole space was, it can add a large portion of new game play to the universe.


  1. I probably should've added more context to my comment (I was the "We don't need more space at the moment" guy). If you did it right, you could make existing space feel like the frontier, unexplored, simply by removing local or as you suggested, making it a Constellation local as opposed to system. You know someone's within x jumps of you but you won't know if they're in your system until you mash dscan.

    Wormhole space connected to each other by gates would be scooped up a LOT faster than you think.

  2. I'm ok with gate-connected space that is only accessible from empire space via wormholes being scooped up quickly. It would be a different kind of frontier land for player empires :)

  3. It sounds like the problem you're struggling with is not so much the lack of space but more the excessive colonisation of space. Several regions in Eve are so densely packed with stations that they might as well be high sec. What has gone is that frontier feeling. Too much infrastructure has had an adverse effect. Removing that infrastructure and those safe havens would make space feel dark and dangerous again.

  4. I would like to see (although I have WH holdings) the sleepers fight back

    raids on our POS's, random spawns at wh's etc. make the space less safe, to bring back that "its their place and we're stealing stuff" feeling.

  5. For me the issues are as follows:

    Not enough space
    No local for null (intel tools?), delayed for lo sec
    Travel is currently too quick/easy
    No intermediate drive system to get to "deep" space
    No cyno boundary to prevent insta-fleet support

    Was talking to an old corp mate the other day... they'd just used a titan to hot drop a 9/10 and ran it in 6 minutes or so... do we really want this capability everywhere?

    Agree with Wensley too about the destructibility of stations (or the lack of it).

    My 2 cents worth.

  6. I was playing with the idea of "fringe space" in my head. Space beyond 0.0 too far away for capitals to jump to.

  7. Destroying stations instead of flipping them would be A. hilarious and B. awesome in terms of everchanging infrastructure

  8. hmm destructible stations would probably have to go hand in hand with the pos rewrite that i know we ALL hope is coming.


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