Citadels in Wormhole Space

For years, CCP had pushed back on overhauling the Player-owned starbase (POS) system since it was seen as big fuzzball of unstable and unsupported code.  The pressure from the community to fix it was great but apparently not great enough, until now, we got a few cosmetic and lifestyle enhancements but the fundamental functionality remained in place.  I think, I was the only resident who genuinely liked the blue-bubble POS with all its pain-in-the-rear mechanics.  There is something magical about the ethereal soap bubble, so fragile and yet so protective.

But despite CCP’s inertia and my nostalgia, the Devs have finally taken this topic on and in typical Nordic fashion launching head-first into the development of a brand new system.  I do believe that CCP Seagull impressed on her team that POSes are not simply items in the game like guns or missiles but allow tactical and strategic moves as well as an emotional attachment to the space they control.  In that, they are not just the means to invade, conquer or expand, they are the reason.

And with this, CCP Ytterbium released two Dev Blogs, one in March, one this week that outline how the new POS system will look like.  As usual with CCP, much is left to tweaking and balancing but the blogosphere is cautiously optimistic

I am personally very excited about this all. Not just the design (which is amazing) but the whole vision of the project.  CCP now “gets it”, they understand what it means to be out there in space, carving out your niche, fighting off invaders, claiming your corner in the universe.

 

 

And while the Dev Blogs are quite informative on the design philosophy and even some of the technical detail, they are pretty focused on Empire Space, not much is said about their role Wormhole space. Its understandable, while we may be “The Proud”, we are clearly “The Few” and we had a lot of good mixed changes the last few expansions.  I am happy to take the backseat for a bit and watch the Nullsec overhaul.  But POSes are extremely important to us of course, we are the only region in New Eden who has to live out of POSes – we have no stations or outposts.  For us, its either daytripping or POS life.

So, while I am very relaxed about the direction that CCP is going, here are some suggestions to take into consideration about the new structures when it comes to Wormhole Space:

Scaling.  CCP models different size POSes based on their planned facility and occupancy, medium, large and extra large.  We assume that extra large Citadels are limited to Nullsec since they need alliance-wide efforts to build, maintain and destroy them.  They may also allow Supercarriers to dock – something that we have no need for in Wormhole space.  Medium and Large Citadels should be anchorable in Wormhole space however.  I do not see the reason to put further limits on the structure installed in e.g. C1 versus a C6.  C1 corporations put as much – if not more – effort into maintaining their hole and are already hampered by lower income and more daytrippers (like ourselves) than the massive C5 and C6 fortresses that are serving hundreds of pilots.  But I do advocate that some of their defensive stats change based on the wormhole class and effect they are anchored in – see below

Defensibility (is that a word?).  I am not quite sure how CCP plans to allow POS Defense. From one of the comments, it looked like that one guy can assume control over all defenses during a siege, maybe augmented by an improved AI.  This would clearly help smaller groups who may not have a fully staffed defense team online but it opens the risk of Awoxing (one Spai simply occupying all the guns) and also limits participation. I have never shot a POS gun in Anger but I could see true defensive fights as very exciting and more players should be able to participate.  Maybe this is something one can control with the modules – worth looking into.

Environmental Impact  -1 .  Territorial control units (or their successors), mobile scan inhibitors and ESS structures already change the system they are anchored in, so there is a precedence (lore and coding) for doing so.  I would think that anchoring a Large Citadel could affect the spawn rate of anomalies or signatures in a hole, i.e. in order to really exploit a system, one has to put some money and effort down.  Their mods could also affect mining rates, or change the effect that the Wormhole has.  I don’t advocate any of those without more analysis but I just list that this would be a) possible and b) allow players to control their environment by active occupancy – a stated goal of CCP.

Environmental Impact – 2.  This could also run reverse.  The Wormhole Class could impact the structure hitpoints, the number of guns that can be mounted or the ability to anchor them off-moon.  This would allow a C6 crew to anchor a Citadel that can withstand a full force of capitals (for a while, at least) while tuning this down to the sub-cap fights in a C1-C4. Additionally, the Wormhole Environmental Effect could translate into the effect of the Citadel itself. For example, a Pulsar C6 would have a much stronger shield but a much weaker armor – if that mechanic still matters with Entosis modules, I don’t know.  But many other factors could be considered – bottom line, this would allow defensive and offensive scaling of structures without having to build multiple versions.

Drones.  Oh my god, CCP Ytterbium said that these structures could use drones in defense.  This would so awesome, I could squeal. Even better would be some crazy, one time super weapon that summons all (!) remaining NPC sleeper drones to the POS and recruits them into a temporary cloud of death.  Imaging a smug C6 crew camping in a Citadel and all of a sudden hundreds of sleeper battleships descend on them.  Of course, nobody guarantee that they stay loyal – this would be a measure of scorched earth.

Intel.  I am not sure CCP understands just how much intel we get from a POS that we silently watch.  We get the corp name (and subsequently killstats, time zones, active members, languages…), we see floating ships in the bubble from which we get names of pilots, attitudes (the Bio is the greatest intel tool.) and ship names.  From the anchored modules we understand how well defended this place is but even more importantly, what is going on.  A number of reaction arrays?  Gas miners. Lots of CHAs, no SMA?  Indy corp, few ships available.  Hardeners exists but are anchored, not online? Likely indy corp with needs to run their manufacturing.  Bottom line, after 4 years, I now look at a POS and from the placement of the guns and modules I can tell what kind of opponent they are.  While I am happy to change, I would urge that Citadels retain some of that ability.

Off-moon anchoring.  Currently all POS es are anchored near a moon.  This makes cloaky intel pretty easy, they do not have to be scanned down like Mobile Structures for example.  However, other than Moon Mining, there really is no reason to limit them to a specific place.  I would prefer if they stayed close to a celestial but I could understand if they moved off them to force intel dudes like myself to expose themselves.  I would love if I could anchor them near a Planet – I’d take a Lava Planet just for the backdrop – they are gorgeous.

Movement.  Who said they are stationary? I can see a new ship class, a tugboat that tows these massive defensive forts around. Make it slow, make it painfully slow.  But the thought of an invading navy slowly towing a train of fully loaded battlestars into hostile territory makes my hair stand up.  That would be so awesome. Gamebreaking, but awesome.

Hacking.  WH space has too many “dead sticks” wasting space.  Lets fix that.  A Citadel that runs out of fuel can be hacked (Entosis, whatever) and scooped.  Let the cleaners into our space.

Well, time will tell. I don’t know about y’all but I am super excited about these changes.  CCP gets it right, this time.

Skill Queue Online

Like pretty much everything else in EVE, skill queues work differently than in any other MMOG.  Whereas World of Warcraft requires you the player to be logged on and do the action you want to skill, EVE Online’s skill system runs in the background whether or not the player is online.  I can happily skill my missiles while shooting nothing but bullets.

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Boosting Boosters

Drugs are amazing things, few products on the planet have a built in duality of being able to cure, enhance or debilitate depending on circumstances way out of control of so called medical professionals.  The legitimate drug industry is an estimated 1.3 Trillion (yes “T”) global market which has conquered diseases that deemed to be incurable a generation ago but has been entirely helpless against the common cold.  Oh, and name one more industry of this scale where even the experts publicly state that the products simply don’t work in the majority of the cases.  Honestly, the medical drug industry is fascinating.

But of course its not just the legitimate, medically sanctioned drug industry.  The illegal drug industry is a behemoth that funds entire countries, armies and mercenaries at the same time. The economic collateral damage of these drugs is staggering and impossible to fully tabulate.  The US Dept. of Justice for example estimates that illegal drugs resulted a direct and indirect cost of US$ 192 billion in 2007 alone.

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Blog Banter 63 – Customization

Kirith Kodachi posted the next Blogbanter – 63 – Customization.

Super Kerr Induced Nanocoating, new structures that can be fit like ships with modules, the promise of player built stargates… the ability to shape your space and change the look of your ships is finally coming to EVE. What other customization options of EVE would you like to have? What would you like to do to be able to shape space and environments? What would you like to change just for you in the client or in any 3rd party tools?

 

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Intermission

Funny how this year shapes itself as a repeat of last year.  First 2 months were pretty quiet and then in March all hell breaks loose in my real life.  In 2014, I nearly threw the towel on EVE and almost to the day a year later, I am at the exact same point.  Worn out, with too many flights and conferences under my belt, I am just too wiped for spaceships.

There is a difference though, last year, my RL crunch coincided with me having lost faith into CCP, I didn’t think I’d come back.  This year its different, I am actually curious what the future holds and how the game will change.  So, you can’t have my stuff yet.

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Unfaithful – Day 10

I have been meaning to follow up on my experiment with World of Warcraft.

So, just quickly backing up, I left a decent WoW Raiding Guild after Wrath of Lich King and skipped over Cataclysm and Pandaria without even thinking about the game.  I was just “done”.  Blizzard’s marketing department sent me invites and reminders and when “Warlords” came out, I thought, why not, get the 10 day free offer and try it out again.

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Fanfest 2015 – Remote Recap

As dumb luck would have it, RL prevented me from “working from home” last week which in turn meant that I could only catch fanfest in short bursts when:

  • On the john.  “Yes.  I have digestive issues, thats why it takes me 30 min to take a dump. Got a problem with that, want to discriminate?  I’ll call HR”
  • Driving.  This is actually pretty good, the video portion is overrated of the stream.  Why would I stare at pale and sickly looking male neckbeards standing on a stage for hours.  Most of the information is voice.
  • At work on cell phone (work blocks all game-related websites).  We have a lot of conference calls at work and nobody bats an eye when I am on yet another one. That doesn’t work all the time. I have colleagues who can see my calendar.  I have not invented meetings yet to cover up – my plan for next year.

So, with this disjointed viewing, I don’t get much detail but I do get a decent cross section of the program.  I get Fozzy talking about Sov, I get someone talking about new structures and I get the art panel talking about, well, Art.  I missed the keynote and the trailer (both, Valkyrie and the other one) but neither was rated really highly anyway.  So, those clips and the sporadic tweets gave me a pretty good picture what was going on in Iceland.

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