At Fanfest, CCP Seagull trotted out one hell of a teaser – colonizable space beyond the current boundaries of New Eden. Teased as part of ‘winter 2013’s expansion, giving players the ability to build stargates to new systems would seem to imply that New Eden is about to get a bit bigger…
Which is a bit ridiculous. Already you can find dozens upon dozens of completely empty systems at any given point in time in New Eden. What exactly are more empty systems supposed to accomplish?
Well, there is another ‘problem’ in New Eden these days, or at least an issue that a lot of people label a problem. The problem of the independent alliance. Roughly 2/3rds of player owned space belongs to one of two factions within the game. These areas of space also happen to be the wealthiest (for now). More than a few people I talked to during my short lived campaign for CSM8 mentioned that they were in lowsec as a means of getting ready to push into null.
Could it be that CCP is taking the easy way out? Simply add more space and those new guys should be able to make their way out into space easier, right? No, no I don’t think so. Stargates will, in all likelihood, be in the domain of those large coalitions – and those large coalitions alone. Unless the CFC and HBC decide to abandon their current space for these unknown frontiers wholesale, I can’t imagine this new section of space doing anything but further diluting New Eden.
Perhaps there will be some gimmick to this new space, as there is with wormholes (Mass limitations, system wide effects, no sov). However, in an expansion cycle that promises to push forward the cause of ‘ownership’, I can think of a better way. A way that allows those small fries hanging about in lowsec and NPC nullsec with a better primer on how life in the sov lane works. Corporate leasing of systems in lowsec might be a better way to guarantee the successful transition to nullsec sov-holding. However that is an idea that requires a whole new post.
This is all not to say that the idea of player built stargates is a bad one. In fact they could be a great way to allow the map to get smaller. Imagine if a Stargate could be built from one side of the map to the other. Logisticians would likely weep tears of joy, but perhaps more importantly the excuse of “its too far” among certain circles (in null and low alike) would be eliminated.
That, too, is a concept deserving of more thought and deliberation. For now, however, while I admire the ambitious vision presented by CCP seagull, I think greater thought must be given before an idea so grand is floated, much less implemented.
You arrive in a high sec system in EVE – let’s say it is Vaajaita, a 0.5 system located between Aurohunen and Jan, two prominent lowsec systems. As a crossroads of sorts, it’s a naturally attractive target for the Guristas, the NPC pirate faction that plagues the Caldari State. Upon entering with your Gnosis battlecruiser, you hit the new and improved scanner. It washes over the visible universe, revealing some Ice Belts, a few standard hacking anomalies – and a huge disturbance of some kind, represented as a massive chaotic mess of pixels towards the ‘bottom’ of the system.
This is exactly what you were looking for. A CONCORD bulletin issued to all positive security status capsuleers within five jumps had summoned you here just minutes ago. Something about unauthorized FTL travel inbound to the system. Seeing as Vaajaita is the neighbor to two lowsec systems, both heavily contested by the Guristas and their capsuleer supporters, it is no surprise that the Caldari State wasn’t in the best position to investigate – but it was a big enough disturbance to warrant CONCORD alerting capsuleers in the constellation.
You whip out your probes and soon have the Local Disruption pinned down. You initiate the warp and land on a chaotic scene. About 50km away a smuggler’s gate is readily apparent, with gun towers being anchored next to it. A squad of Guristas piloted battlecruisers sit 20km off of your warp in, primed and ready to rock.
The group is too big and powerful for your Gnosis. Unlike the early ‘rats’ of New Eden, these ones actually pack a punch close to that of a player-fit ship. However, Caldari loyalists are warping in to help you out, so no worries there. You automatically find yourself entered into a gang with the loyalists. You broadcast primary and set to the dirty work of clearing out the Disruption, the gun towers, and ultimately the smuggler’s gate as well. As you send a few hundred projectiles into the face of the Guristas fleet, other capsuleers join you. As they do, the loyalists pull back – they are not rich like the capsuleers are, so any opportunity to save ISK on the cost of ammo and repairs is one they’ll take.
By the end of it, about 20 minutes later, you’re awarded with LP and ISK payment from the Caldari state. They may not have the manpower, but they certainly have the money. The gang is disbanded as soon as all your fellow capsuleers depart the disruption to head for home, wherever that might be. You arrive back at your home station, contemplating hitting the sack for the day, when you notice a Level 5 emergency alert from CONCORD in your Captain’s Quarters. Hitting play reveals that the Guristas attack in Vaajaita was apparently just one of many small feints – a full on assault is being made in The Forge, with multiple systems under attack. Unlike the Sansha, the Guristas aren’t interested in raids on highsec that only take hostages and prisoners – they want control.
However, it is late. The capsuleer, thinking that surely others will fend off the Guristas, elects to sleep instead of fielding his Gnosis in battle again. As do many others. By the time forces arrive in sufficient numbers in the beleaguered constellation, it is too late – at least one 0.5 system has flipped to 0.4, under the sovereignty of the Guristas.
Imagine if missions in EVE felt more modern, like Guild Wars 2, and less ancient, like Ultima Online. Instead of shooting X number of red crosses, imagine even small missions having greater implications on the geography of New Eden. Imagine dynamically created fleets, filled with NPCs if you don’t have friends around, with dynamically scaling rewards based on effort, number of participants, and other factors. If EVE’s PVE content were built around this dynamic, it may even lift itself off from the ‘Worst PVE System’ list.
Just a thought I had.
Fanfest 2013 appears to have been an epic party, befitting EVE’s 10 year anniversary. While some Debbie Downers have, of course, taken great heaping shits on the festivities and the presentations, I have to say I’m quite excited. Seeing how far EVE has come, the trials and tribulations, and the road ahead – it’s hard not to be impressed and hopeful. Here’s a quick rundown of my impressions:
Tags4Sec and Lowsec changes – Who would’ve thought that the long-dreamed-for Tags4Sec program would be so meh. Details are, of course, somewhat lacking as of yet. A lot of the success will be tied to just how rare (and thus, how costly) security status tags will be. My gut says “very” on both counts. Combined with the change to cycle ratting, which will (conservatively) double the time it takes to get back to legal from -10 by way of ratting, this could actually end up a net negative for the criminal crowd.
Removal of icebelts from your overview – because that’s all this is. Icebelts will still be found in systems they exist in now. You’ll just have to commit to the extra step of hitting your scanner button to find them. However, even this is fraught with peril – imagine if these anomalies do not allow for bookmarks to be made in them, and you instead find yourself warping in at a predetermined point any time you get into the icebelt. This would be a very smooth way of further nerfing high sec ganking and protecting miners everywhere. Let’s hope this doesn’t happen.
Planetary Conquest – The inexorable march of Dust 514 continues, with Molden Heath being selected as the first guinea pig in the grand, experimental expansion away from Faction Warfare. Will it be worth it? Time will tell. Overall, I’m not too concerned with this. I don’t play Dust actively anymore, and it doesn’t seem to be all that impactful in EVE. The search for the meaningful link between Dust and EVE continues at CCP.
The EVE Keynote – I don’t know about you, but that new warpgate animation is astounding. I’m loving the new scanner as well. The hacking minigame – well, we’ll see about that. If it’s an entertaining enough minigame, I think I’ll like it. I’ve always wanted exploration to be more than missions that required extra modules, and this seems like a good first step towards that. However, what really tickled my jibblies was the future vision of EVE bit given by CCP Seagull. Colonizing new space? Constructing warp gates? Excuse me for a second, I have to take care of something…
Oculus Rift Game – Now, I wasn’t there, so I didn’t get to try the Oculus Rift EVR prototype. However, from all accounts, this thing is amazing. Maybe CCP will have it in tow at E3 this June, so I can try it then. Exciting stuff though!
CSM8 – A bit bittersweet. I’m very happy for those elected and remain optimistic about the future of the institution itself. If circumstances had been different, I’m sure I would’ve been listed up there – but, circumstances are not different, so no use in crying over spilt milk, or something like that. Of particular note was the victory of Ali Aras and Mike Azariah – long shots at the beginning of the election who, through hard work and effort, were well rewarded. I’ve been conducting some interviews with candidates for TMC and hope to have some kinder words at that time. However, I am very, very concerned at the lack of a lowsec rep (I thought for sure that someone would’ve stepped up in my absence), as well as the lack of a nonconsensual pvp proponent. Given the way things are developing, I think it was absolutely imperative for these two playstyles to be represented on the Council, and neither of them will be.
Covering Fanfest – As Editor of TMC, with Mittens off getting drunk in the land of Ice and Fire, it has been an interesting last couple of days. Alarm clocking for Fanfest presentations is something I never thought I’d have to do, and yet I did. Little sleep and many words edited made for a cranky Scaurus on Friday. However, TMC will soon be back on a regular publishing schedule, which looks like an absolute holiday when compared with the frantic pace of Fanfest coverage.
Now, I’m still as time-strapped as I ever was. Somedays I have to schedule a block of time in just to breathe for a bit. However, I’ve transitioned to telecommuting from home and hope that this will result in a tiny bit more flexibility. I’ve also completed my Bachelor’s degree in IT Management (in 2 years) and have about 5 months before beginning my Masters in Cyber Security (which should only take me about a year and some change), so there is that. On the medical front, things are somewhat stabilized with the family. There’s a long road ahead, but a manageable one, for which I’m thankful.
All in all, things are looking up and I’ve got a hankering to play EVE like you wouldn’t believe. Hopefully I can translate all of this into actual actions, and not just words. But for now, I’ll end this post with a hearty ‘Congratulations!’ to the new CSM, and a Fly Smart for the rest of you scumbags.
The best-laid schemes o’ mice an ’men
Gang aft agley,
An’lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!
Half the time I couldn’t understand a Scotsman if you offered a million bucks to me to do so. Other times, I understand the bastards far too well. It would seem that my tumultuous entry into internet spaceships politics is at a close, my friends. Due to family medical issues (those of you who I know will know what this means, those that don’t probably shouldn’t), I am withdrawing from the campaign for CSM8. Before I say another word, I want to apologize to those who put their time and faith in me as the lowsec candidate, as well as those who gave me a platform to speak from. Kirk, Xander, Jaxley, Rixx and many more have all earned my gratitude and appreciation – and most important, my apologies. However, a couple of days ago I got a bit of a wake up call in a none-too-pleasant manner involving the medical industry (why are they always near bad news but never tainted by it?) and my family.
In these types of situations, you immediately have to triage your life. What goes and what stays. Obviously this is a pretty hard series of decisions to make, in particular when your time is already stretched to the max, to the point that life resembles a bit of a plate spinning act. Unfortunately, the plates must come down, and the CSM run is one of those. There are other hard choices in the days ahead, but I’m trying to take these things one at a time. Essentially, I was faced with a choice in regards to the CSM: sacrifice time with my family to pursue this thing, or coast along and become a do-nothing CSM member. Neither one of those was acceptable, so I’m taking the third way, which isn’t fun for anyone but is the best for all.
Of course, such an abrupt withdrawal is sure to have consequences, the first of which is already on the horizon. Upon being informed that I was withdrawing from the race, QCATS leadership let me know I should pack up my things and gtfo. I am assured that this has nothing to do with the effort of at least one director to give me the boot on my second day in corp, during which I went on a roam into Providence with other members of TheMittani.com staff, while waiting for the bulk of my assets to get Black Frog’ed to Nisuwa. Ultimately it was discovered that said director (I was never given a name) simply had a hard-on for anyone with Goons in their corp history. Some people really need some therapy. At any rate, I am assured that this was simply because my ‘utilization’ was too low for QCATS standards. I can respect that, though it seems that while being busy running for CSM is an okay excuse not to be out and about very often, being busy with family is not.
In short, the reason I applied to QCATS was not for CSM purposes, but rather because I genuinely believed them to be a good fit for my limited play time. Faction warfare really excels at undock and shoot playstyles – quickies, if you will. However, from day 2 of my time in the organization, I’ve been left with nothing but a bitter taste for them. It may all be legit, these assurances I have received, but the timing of things strikes me as a little too coincidental. Unfortunately I have bigger concerns these days, so I don’t have much time to think on the issue.
Where does this leave me? Well, in a bit of purgatory for the time being. I have no home in EVE, but perhaps that is a good thing. As Rixx noted on his blog awhile back, EVE often plays the inverse to life – when things are tumultuous in EVE, real life tends to be smooth sailing. When real life kicks up a storm, you often find yourself on autopilot in EVE. Maybe this means my priorities are straight for once. At any rate, stay tuned to this space for more bad news (regarding EVE) in the near future.
Having been waylaid by RL events and a killer cold shortly after making my first couple of posts, I’m now back in good health! I now have a forum post up on the Jita Park Speakers Corner forum, which you can view here.
Here’s the full text:
I would like to take a moment here on the forums to announce that it is my intention to run for a seat on CSM8 as a lowsec representative. For those that may not know me, here is a brief history:
I have been playing EVE Online since early 2008, primarily as a lowsec resident and pirate, with interludes as a high sec war deccer, ninja, suicide ganker, wormhole resident and nullsec line member. I have blogged about EVE since 2010 and over the years have maintained ownership and management of Evebloggers.com as well as the EVE Blog Pack. In 2012 I joined the staff of TheMittani.com as a lowsec writer and within a month was made an Editor, a post I still hold today.
I am a solo and small gang PVP enthusiast who, for a time, got lost in the reaches of nullsec with Goonswarm Federation. Prior to that I was a member of The Tuskers, one of lowsec’s most prominent and long standing pirate organizations. I have been both a Director and a CEO of smaller pirate corporations and was proud to start my time in EVE Online as a member of The Guristas Associates alliance, a name that will always be remembered in the annals of pirating history. Currently I’m getting situated in my new digs with Quantum Cats, in the Gallente Militia.
Love them or hate them, the CSM has been growing ever more influential. Recently, CCP announced their intention to focus more clearly on the big picture. To develop a roadmap for the next 3, 5, and 10 years – and to include the CSM in that development process. While it has become somewhat of a cliche to state that the CSM has ‘laid the groundwork for great things to come’, I believe that to be a particularly true statement coming at the end of CSM7.
I intend to provide a strong, passionate and clear voice for lowsec as a whole – not just pirates, not just faction warfare, but for all the players who have come to know and love the gray area between CONCORD’s vigilance and nullsec’s political machinery. With CCP’s new conceptual/thematic approach to expansion planning, it will be possible for every expansion to contain at least a little lowsec love. Things I will push for include:
For Pirates: A new method of gaining security status for those that chose to do so. Right now, the most effective method of recouping security status lost in lowsec or highsec is to go to nullsec, which makes no sense. The implementation of either a ‘Tags for Sec’ program or more inventive methods is a priority.
The extension of faction warfare mechanics to the pirate factions is a change that is both long coming and well deserved. For years pirates have wished they could actually be a ‘pirate’, joining up with the Guristas or Sansha. This expansion of the faction warfare model would bring renewed focus to lowsec as well as more gameplay opportunities for the PVPer and PVEr alike.
However, new feature implementations in lowsec must also be balanced against the very strong desire for many of lowsec’s existing residents to be divorced from anything remotely resembling ‘sov’. The protection of the current way of life for the pirating profession is also a huge part of my campaign.
For Faction Warfare: While facwar can fairly be described as in a ‘stable’ state, there is still work to be done. Providing a means through which Faction Warfare can be a unique source for items (be it faction mods or ships) will go a long way towards ensuring the long term stability and impact of the feature.
Also allowing the war in lowsec to have a meaningful impact on the empires and the game as a whole is a goal I would like to see achieved. Recently the Gallente Federation conquered all of Caldari facwar space in lowsec – and they got a medal. While cool, it’s not really something to get the engines going. Making your mark on the map is something that excites many players of EVE Online – allowing FW to do so would be a great next step in its evolution.
For Industrialists: While the capital production market is alive and well in lowsec, other areas are virtually nonexistant. Bringing a renewed focus to industry in lowsec, be it through the introduction of unique resources in the area or providing the best profit margins, is something that has long been needed.
While not a lowsec-exclusive item, a POS revamp would also be a boon to lowsec. Making it easier for players to enter the POS arena, as well as making it more worthwhile in lowsec, will provide valuable gains to the lowsec industrialist’s cause, as well as drive more conflict (which is always good for business!)
For PVE: While static DED complexes and Level 5 missions provide an option in lowsec, they are often seen as ‘not worth the risk’ to the run of the mill PVEr. I would like to see a more robust and healthy PVE system implemented in lowsec, be it through an expansion on exploration gameplay, the inclusion of lowsec-unique (and very lucrative) PVE activities, or both.
For PVP: I also intend to push forward for improvements to the war dec system, bounty hunting, as well as to help improve the sad state of affairs with such time honored (but swiftly diminishing) gameplay options as the ninjas of high sec.
I’d be grateful if you could voice your support, ask your questions, or contribute your comments to the forum post or on this blog.