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.