Improving WH space – Wormhole Generators

Oreb and I had a little exchange of comments on these hallowed pages.  They pertain to my assertion that no CSM member has brought anything valuable to Wormhole space over the last 2 or three years and that the changes we have indeed seen were the collateral damage of what CCP did in empire space.

I could now substantiate my claims with a tedious list of warp-stabbed PI haulers, the nonsensical scanning method and making grav sites true death traps for miners.  But I won’t, this is boring.  Rather, I’d like to focus on new features, new mechanics that actually add value to our little corner of the universe.  And while I am not a professional game designer, I imagine it is just like any product design (which I do professionally).  It starts with a vision what the feature needs to do based on the expected use of it.

Alright, lets start.  And by the way: I don’t read forums.  My time is too short, my nerves are too frail and my eyes are too sensitive to steep into the mucus that is EVE forum or other public venues.  So if my ideas have been discussed, it would be parallel evolution but I am very happy to cross-reference if there is one.

 

W-space is defined as a star system that connects to neighbors using wormholes.  These wormholes are temporary, spawn with random exits and have specific mass limitations.  They therefore generate a new route every day which needs to be scanned down.  These holes are badly named “static” holes, the only thing static about them is that they exist.  A C1 system will always have a wormhole to empire space.  It will be at a different location tomorrow and it will lead to a different place but there will be one.  C1,2,3 systems always have a K-space exit.  C2,4,5,6 holes always have an exit to another wormhole, yes, C2s always have 2 holes.

So far so good.

A C4 for example may come with a C3 “static”.  Which means that this specific system always connects to a C3 hole.  Not the same one, oh no.  Every day a new one.  But only one is guaranteed.  On top of that are “wandering” holes that can randomly spawn and go from anywhere to (nearly) everywhere.  You find lots of null and low sec holes connecting C5 and C6 systems which of course allows them to bring in capital ships.  You even find some weird holes like Highsec-Highsec holes that allow massive shortcuts in bringing things to market or exploring far away regions or Nullsec-Nullsec which allow insertion of spies or scouts far behind enemy lines.

The genius is that the holes connect systems with a high degree of unpredictability and -of course – instability.  The amazing route I have just found is guaranteed not to exist tomorrow. It may not exist in 20 minutes from now.  The downside is that routes are pretty hard to find and that player interaction (read “PvP”) is far from assured.  You can scan all night and not find a single soul to shoot at and for PvE players a night with a hostile neighbor can box them in and ruin their fun.  More fluidity in the connection would enhance the system. C2 systems with their 2 connections for example are fantastic, always a route somewhere, always someone to shoot or watch, always a place to go and explore.  Compare that to the quiet backwater of a single-hole C4 and yes, C2 life is a lot more exciting.

So, it would be easy to improve this system by any one of the following methods:

  1. Add static wormholes to those systems which currently only have one.  Basically, copy and paste the method from C2 systems into e.g. C4.  One k-space exit, one WH exit.
  2. Increase the total number of randomly occurring wormholes that connect, e.g. C4 with C2 or C1 or whatever.  The effect is the same as listed above with the added uncertainty.
  3. Make hole rolling easier.  I will likely write about that later.  Park the thought

 

Is this it?  Well, not quite.  How about this:

Introduce a deployable module that generates a wormhole anywhere in the star system.  The module could look like the maligned ESS, be a single use item, use fuel, be attached to a ship, be a POS mod.  I don’t really care how it works as long as players acquire the ability to generate a hole and create a new route.

By the way, this isn’t all that novel. Cynos work just like that, of course with the exception that there is no random factor in it.  Whereas a Cyno is point-to-point transport, a WH generator would literally add new signature (wormhole) to system.  The hole then would have to be scanned down and bookmarked just like an ordinary one.

Still with me?  Ok, lets continue.

Where shall the hole go?  Well, the simplest way is to make it entirely random.  I.e. destination class, mass, lifetime shall all be totally up to chance.  I don’t really like that.  I think each generator (or the fuel it uses…) should generate a specific hole.

Take DaOpa’s list, it contains all wormhole classes.  A D382 for example always leads to a C2 system with specific mass limits and lifetime.  Lets say I lived in C4 and desired this hole.  I would fire up my Generator, feed it “D382 Fuel” and – voila – somewhere in my C4 a new signature would spawn that I would know it to be a C2 with juicy prey or convenient route.  My existing static hole would persist so, I would now have (at least) 2 holes to chose my adventures from.  If I was anywhere in K-space with the (inexplicable) urge to go to nullsec, I’d fire up one just like that.  Or vice versa.

Player-generated wormholes to anywhere, from anywhere.

In product design, this would be the vision.  Now the engineers and product managers come and set boundary conditions

  • Mass limits are maintained.  So, no spawning of holes in e.g. C1 that allows a capital ship to move through it.  We can debate that point later but lets park it for now
  • One WH generator / system.  This is to prevent systems like Jita being riddled with wormholes.
  • …. (please help with more)

Other boundary conditions need to be thought through depending on whether this is a mobile device (like a Cyno Generator) or a fixed installations.  But why box ourselves in at this point?

Make them both possible.  Mobile WH-generators make a single, extremely short-lived hole (10minutes) with very limited mass.  Stationary make a normal hole as described above.  Therefore, a roaming gang with with a WH generator can plough their path as they go along, looking for prey or routes.

A stationary generator would hugely aid in defending a hole under siege as it can generate an additional path to bring in the relief fleet.  Many WH sieges are anticlimactic if the entire defending crew had been podded out and can watch the action only from the killboard.  This way, a real chance is given to bring in more defenders to spawn bigger and longer fights.  Same goes for the attacker of course.

Well, this is where I leave it now.  I have three or four more ideas that I will drop here on my two remaining readers and hope for comments and ideas.

Fly dangerously!

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12 responses to “Improving WH space – Wormhole Generators

  1. Hello again, my friend. Been trying to wrap my head around the twists and turns – the chaos – that player generated holes would create.

    I remember really appreciating the scenery and the silence of WH life, when you’re one of those that logs in to begin the session already in a WH and logging out in one. You really do only have the pilot next to you, it seems. I think the sudden intrusive WH generator would change this, especially the specifically generated holes. ISK per generator aside, being able to choose your dish of C3 or C4, I think, strips the greatest quality WH life has: the nomadic nature.

    Strange as it may sound, it would hurt pvp in many areas OUTSIDE of WH space as well. If anyone finds their pvp group in a tight situation and cornered, they could slip one of these out and take that cruiser fleet across the galaxy to who knows where, or having pilots fuel a specific destination.

    I’m already confusing myself again. The changes it would bring are huge and I’m not sure all good.

    The added static to 4’s. That would be something I can’t touch. I have no experience as ti that being a buff to those living within or an opportunity to harass to those outside. That by itself would make much more holes available in k space. The downside or upside I’ll leave to the pro’s.

    • Hm. there are very good points in your comment. The ability “bug out” through a hole if a PvP situation goes sour was not intended. But how is that different from a Cyno?

      The “Nomadic nature” of WH space stays, the routes are temporary and random. But of course the predictability goes up and maybe that will upset the balance more than can be tolerated. I would not throw the baby out with the bathwater. This is where boundary conditions can be discussed.

      Overall, agreed there are many holes in the idea and issues that need to be addressed but so far, I have not seen anything to really kill it…

      Keep going 🙂

      • Cyno’s function way too different for me to make a comparison, but if I can strike a parallel, in the way I think that you mean, it would be that they require capital jumpdrive capable ships to do it. A titan.

        Now, if the fairness of throwing a bunch of people in with a Titan is jn dispute, I would just say: remove the ability for a titan to jump a fleet without also commiting the Titan to the warp as well. Sub-cap gang cyno’s would die and proper escallations would begin.

        • Hm. In my 4 years in EVE, I have never used or even seen a Cyno. I have also never seen a Cap ship in fight, PvE or PvP. Thus is the world of the small WH carebear…

          So, my apologies if I did not know how a Cyno works. If indeed you need a Titan, then sure, its not a good comparison. If however the mechanics works like a covert cyno, it may well be overpowered

  2. Interesting thought exercise. I don’t agree with everything, but I do approve of wormhole space getting some attention. It’s hands down my favorite area of the game.

    I’ve lived in a C4 and two C5s, with both a small and large corporation, and also done quite a bit of solo diving from high sec. I think especially from the solo roams I’ve really come to appreciate the different “feel” of each system class. I picture it like a house. C2s are the downstairs hallway leading from the door to the stairs. C1s and C3s are rooms branching off from there. C4s are the upstairs bathroom which can be easily locked. And C5s and C6s are the upstairs bedrooms with only one way out – unless you ex-girlfriend bashes through your wall.

    To me, adding a wormhole generator would homogenize this content. You wouldn’t need to find a C2 to get deeper into wormhole space anymore. C4s wouldn’t be the quiet backwaters they are now (which makes them perfect for solo roamers looking for targets). Large corporations in C5 space would send a few scouts down their chain and put a new wormhole in each, instantly changing the way the system classes connect.

    Yes, wandering holes and K162s already do this to some extent. But they are still random and something you can’t “count” on having.

    If the main concern is getting more pvp action, I believe encouraging more people to move to J-space is the best answer. How to accomplish that? Beats me. Balancing wormhole space is a difficult thing because of the vast difference in corporation sizes, and typically the larger entities are more vocal about their interests. But I really like the diversity you find in wormhole space (which in my opinion, stems from the basic differences between wormhole classes) and I would like to preserve it, or enhance it, with any changes moving forward.

    Just my 0.02 ISK. 🙂

    • Hi Yooch, thanks for your comments. I think we are on the same page wrt problems can can occur. I do not believe however that they can’t be addressed or positively change the way we live. For example, if a large WH corporation wants to fan out and generate a huge chain, what would be the problem with that? It would have to be balanced with risk / reward but it certainly would give WH life a shot in the arm.

      The argument that C5s and C6 are the upstairs of a house, I dont let that stand easily. I have spoken to C6 guys whose entire logistics was to take one of the many, many null or lowsec holes they encountered and jump one or more freighters through it. Logistics for a C5 was seen as a joke, far less problematic than fueling the same towers for e.g. C2 or C4. Sure, to settle and defend a C5 needs a crew of 5-10 people but to be honest, it does that also for a C2 or C4. Hence there is really no “up” in Wormhole space.

      Overall, I want something new to play with, the old stuff got – err – old. What would you like to see?

      • To be honest, I struggled a bit to place C5 and C6 in my analogy. :p

        I think the main point I was trying to get at is the way wormholes are structured now people living in C1-C3 space have a bit of buffer between their home and the upper class wormholes. It allows small and large corps to live in relative proximity because it requires a lot more effort for a large corp to drop on a small corp when the chain is something like C5>C5>C5>C4>C2. You have to worry about mass limitations and other residents, etc. I’m afraid if you give large corps easier access to lower class holes a lot of smaller corps will be pushed out as it just won’t be worth the hassle.

        I think most members of large WH corps see these smaller corps as carebears and aren’t concerned whether they stay or go. But I’ve had plenty of fun fights with these groups, solo and with a small gang. Of course they POS-up when Sky Syndicate rolls in with a 30 man fleet. Who wouldn’t? But I think it’s important to encourage these groups. Who wants thousands of empty systems with 4 large alliances and a handful of “carebears” scraping out a living. I’d rather see a vibrant community of smaller corporations.

        What do I want to see? I’ve seen a bit of talk about risk v reward. I’m of the opinion that the lower class holes require more risk than upper classes on a daily basis. PVE in a large C5 corp is pretty darn safe. Crit all the holes, watch for new sigs, have a large reserve fleet on standby. It’s a lot like deep null sec which many consider the safest place to PVE in EVE, surrounded by blues. Whereas running sites in lower class holes is a lot like trying to mine in lowsec.

        I won’t make blanket statements about what these rewards should be, as despite my pretty face I’m not narcissistic enough to believe that I have a clue what the repercussions would be on market forces. I would like to see it evaluated though. And yes, talking about PVE makes me squeamish. I’m mainly focused on finding other people to shoot. But if people can’t replace their ships they aren’t very likely to use them for anything fun.

        And none of that really answers your question about new content, and what it should be. I have no idea. I’m about as creative as a space slug. 😦

        • Well, we just found something we agree on. On the day-to-day schedule, C5 and C6 a LOT safer than C1-3. C4 are a bit of an exception due to their isolation. They share the safety of C5, C6 but the ISK / hour can be quite good.

          The big difference is not the short time (tactical) risk of getting ganked or drawn into a PvP fight. That is true for C1-4. C5s have the real risk (strategic) of getting evicted. With exceptions, corps that fight, don’t get evicted (unless you really piss someone off).

          Whether WH generators are a good idea in the balance of small or large WH corporations, I do not know. Your point are valid but change is always difficult. I can also see smaller corporations use them extensively to generate better routes to empire and therefore making WH industry (whats left of it) more valuable. Hard to predict.

  3. I’m gonna spend a lot more time thinking on this and give you a better response then, but my off-the-cuff feel is…

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO…!!!!

    OK, now that’s outta my system…
    I have ALWAYS been completely against ANY messsin’ ’bout with the mechanics of holes… I swear to the gods I think CCP got it exactly right the first time with Anoikis…As you said, its been at least 3 years since anything has been done to W-Space and yet… ask any full time wormholer what he wants and the MOST you will get is, “Can CCP PLEASE fukkin fix POSes?!?!”

    The mechanics, randomish nature, mass limits & timers of holes is something ONLY people OUTSIDE of holes wants really fukked with and that so they can, screw with mass limits to bring fleets IN easier or screw with timers s they can keep the hole open to bring moar fleets IN easier… and either would be a negative change.

    Anoikis is an extremely niche part of an extremely niche game… you gotta be either dedicated to this lifestyle, or plumb crazy… probably both, to love it, but them as do love it, LOVE it the way it is.

    As for your idea… as I said,I will let it simmer in my mind and get back to you but…

    We need I think, to take a look back at CCPs record here… before asking them to make changes do we feel,

    1. their record, success v fail, of changes is a positive one, or not so much?
    2. With what SEEMS to be a deeply disturbed Nullsec Empires centric focus coming from CCP lately… do we want CCP (former Goon) fukkin with OUR space?? at all?

    For me, I feel we should keep our heads down, fly our space, fuel our homes, make our ISKies and hope they forget we’re even here… and pray that when the day comes when EVE is renamed, with great ceremony (and the unveiling of a statue of Mittens pissin on the EVE Monument) to “Goons Online”… Just hope that they keep right on fergettin we’re out here…

    Huh…. little bitter aint I?

    • Ha, I laughed. Your response to this idea is exactly what I received in alliance chat. My guys were absolutely against it because nobody trusts CCP to genuinely improve on WHs.

      I am not that cynical. CCP has done nice work in FW land, thats universally accepted. The crime system is not perfect but its better, bounties are interesting, killrights are good. CCP can – if guided properly – iterate on systems and make good progress. Ship balancing for example really worked.

      My real problem is that I do not see the big strategy. Sure, CCP Seagull dropped a slide with badgers building a gate but that cant be it. At the moment, all hints that nullsec is the single, defining region in all of New Eden. All other regions are seen as meaningless at best or to be nerfed so that that nullsec gets the big battles that the marketing department needs. That could indeed kill WH space.

      My approach is to dream up stuff that can acquire, convert and retain people to be in WH space. Making it easier to live here is not inherently bad….

  4. better suggestion IMHO make Black holes super highways 10 ways in 10 ways out.
    then make your generator create a short life link to a random black hole.
    Job done.

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