Wormhole Overhaul Part 1

In my last post, I threatened to take the brakes off and suggest wild ideas that bring life back (?) to wormhole life.  I even started a long, rambling post that quoted scientific papers.  Just in case this blog ever gets popular, I shall post it and basements all over the world will resound with the thumps of neckbeards hitting the floor, asleep.

Instead, let me give you the tl/dr (that means, “too long, don’t read” in internet parlance) right away.

Renewing Wormhole Space

Ok, so Wormhole Space has received a few small cosmetic changes in the recent Hyperion patch.  Considering that Wormholes had seen virtually no attention for years it was hailed as a major change.  But the recent announcements showed that CCP devs are not afraid anymore of making sweeping changes.  Lets have some for us, please.

But why?  Wormhole is fine?  Right?  My friend TurAmarth had commented here, begging that CCP please leave Wormhole space alone.  Its good as it is.  Its a fair point, Wormhole mechanics and the fight styles they force are still the best mechanic that EVE has.  Wormholes were a stroke of genius.  Don’t break it.

I don’t intend to.  But wormhole space is not in good space.  My corp can attest to hundreds of routes scanned without finding anyone, dozens of C3s with more holes in them than a Chicago politician’s income statement.   The sheer number of wormholes has already burned out some of our scanners who log in, look at something like the route below and log into their high-sec industry characters.

CCP assumed that making more holes creates more player interaction.  This was mistake.  To get more player interactions we need more players.

 

A normal day in New Eden

A normal day in New Eden

Its not doom & gloom.  We have fun, we shoot things and are being shot at.  But life in Wormhole space has been made a lot more complicated without giving more incentives.  For us permanent residents its fine, we just adapt and soldier on.  But for newbros to come in, its a bit different.  Wormholes need to compete with the various empire spaces for the limited number pilots of new Eden and the pathetic trickle of truly new players.

So, how do we compete?  What could lure a player into our space?

Firstly, what do people actually want to do in New Eden?  The simple answer would be “good fights” or “ISK” or something along those lines.  Not very satisfying.  The motivation for players to overcome the logistical challenges it takes to move into Wormhole space, we need to offer something much more exciting than the Team Fortress-style of PvP that RvB, Brave or low sec pirates have.  I am going on a limb here and postulate that pilots want more than ISK or Kills. Most of us want to experience achievements of figuring out a puzzle, overcoming odds and contributing to our chosen peer group. Those are not necessarily PvP or PvE goals, they can be applied to either and both are equally valid.

Industry and Resource Gathering

Lets start with Industry of which I know nothing at all.  In fact, I know less about it than about PvP which is hard to believe.  True, I assure you.  But I do know that it is engaging, profitable and entertaining to a large player base as a full time profession.  Many of our guys manufacture things in wormhole space as a hobby but there isn’t really anything they are doing they could not be doing easier in high security or nullbear space.  There is nothing compelling about Wormhole space that would make an industrial player move in.  How to fix that?

First of all mining is considered suicidal nowadays.  The ore sites are anomalies – means they do not have be scanned down, the K162 spawns when the hostile fleet jumps through and the mining is as boring in Wormhole space as it is in empire space.  If the risk is up but the reward is the same, the system is out of balance.  I like risk, so lets keep that.  Lets increase reward.  Lets make Ore in Wormhole space compressed, lets make the cycle time of the mining lasers faster, lets make the amount mined / cycle higher.  Those seem to be reasonably easy tweaks that could attract proper mining fleets back into wormhole space, adding friends, fleets and targets.  Other resources could be tweaked also.  I can’t see a reason to disallow Ice mining  – make it an ice that is not used for POS fuel if you want.  Moon mining, why not?  Moons could have a resource layer – just like planets – that eventually depletes.  When it is depleted it does not necessarily re-spawn in the same system. Same constellation, maybe.  Means, there are real reasons to scout in Wormhole space and invade, take over or negotiate for access.  There are also real reasons to defend, recruit mercenaries and to form roaming gangs that threaten or extort those that have moons.

Back to industry.  There is nothing you can build in wormhole space that you can not build anywhere else.  Lets change that.  The easiest way is of course to add a new item that can not be manufactured at all and make its manufacture exclusive for wormhole space.  Examples?  How about implants?  Wormhole players are by nature sociopaths.  I would propose a manufacturing array that reprocesses BioMass (=corpses) and harvests the components for implants.  The manufacture of implants then happens with the existing blueprint system – also limited to Wormhole space.  Ghoulish?  Disgusting?  Exactly.  If the empire pilots are too squeamish, wormhole pilots will take care of  it.  I can see transport ships full of frozen corpses silently making their way across the universe.  Oh man, the RP you could do with this…

Another industry is of course skill book copying.  Skillbooks exist in the game, seemingly an endless supply.  While not as sexy as fermenting corpses, it could be a nice, safe cottage industry to make skillbooks from e.g. gas and PI material and export them back to empire space.

I am sure there are more examples of manufacturing and harvesting that could be exclusive to Wormhole space.  The point here is to draw people into our realm, not just as helpless targets but as players who enjoy living in our space and become permanent residents.

PvE

Its complete nonsense to assume that Wormhole space is all about shooting other players.  PvE is important, to make ISK of course but also to practice flying as a fleet.  Maybe  this is not the case today, but it should be.

CCP already addresses this in the next few patches.  Data and Relic Sites are being balanced and C1-3 holes are buffed by getting hacking sites from nullsec added. Those are do not have rats and therefore are easy to solo.  They add much-needed income to permanent residents in these holes and also add incentive for empire dwellers to fly in these holes.  This is an excellent start.  Lets add a few obvious items, for example escalations for C1-4 holes – instead of capitals, lets choose Battleships and for C1, Battlecruisers.  The idea is that the sites should be more valuable than they are currently but that the team running them should also have to put more ISK on the grid and increase its risk.  While there, I have never been comfortable with the sleeper (rats in general) mechanic. They are way too predictable.  I would like to see some sites with great potential reward but with entirely unknowable trigger mechanic.  Running these sites should be a hair-raising activity for a well-prepared fleet of expensive (relative to the hole class, of course) ships.  PvE should mimic PvP as much as possible  and I am encouraged that CCP already started this process by adding Burner missions. Apparently, they are hard and their reward is equally in ISK and in bragging rights – exactly how it should be.  Similar PvE experiences exclusive to Wormhole Space should be relatively easy to design.

 

End of Part 1

Well, I guess I could keep going and add Exploration and PvP.  But I think I have vented enough crazyiness for now and I reload over the week and deal with that in a separate post.

 

PS. I love the new T3 Destroyers.

 

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5 responses to “Wormhole Overhaul Part 1

  1. Hi. I just would like to add my point of view to your article. First I will introduce myself so you can u derstand where my point of view comes from.

    My corp started in december 2013, with a handful of highsec players, most very new, with a CEO and founder who has been a line member in a nullsec corp for a few month previously. They grew to ~15 chars/10 guys, mining and missioning in highsec, staying docked for a week every now and then when a wardec happened, as they did not know anything about pvp, and did not really “get Eve” as they were all french and not following any english speaking sites or anything. Then, their CEO met a friend of mine and asked him to help bring the corporation into nullsec or wormhole space. As I had the project to create a wormhole corp for a while, my friend asked me to join him in this corp so we could help the guys together. My friend is an old player who was a member of old and powerful nullsec group, and had a lot of 0.0 experience, but most of it being in logistics, corp management, capital warfare and big fleets. I was a 2 years players with a 3 month experience in the eve uni wormhole campus (c2 with C3/hs static) one month in TRECI’s C5/C5, 2 month alone in a C4/C4, and three month in lowsec/nullsec in BNI.

    So we joind the corp in march qnd proceeded to make plans to move the corporation in a C4/C4 and teach our new corpmates how to pvp and help them understand the game better. We recruited a lot, organized frigate FFAs, frigate and cruiser roams, lessons, wrote guides, created doctrines, built an IT infrastructure to manage everything etc.

    4/5 of our member were not able to fit an atron or a missioning drake properly before our arrival. They did not know how to join a fleet, broadcast, Dscan…

    2month after me and my friend joined the corporation, we moved into our C4/C4, evicted a corp there, and so we earned our first home. We stayed 4 month there, learned more, and then moved into a C5/C5 were we live now, still learning. We can not take a lot of them, but we can recruit players with 2 weeks of guided training in our corp and always have something for them to do be it in pvp or pve activities. (Note that our organisation is very group oriented: we almost never do anything solo)

    My point is: you can have newbros to discover and enjoy wspace currently. You just have to be patient and organized, and find someone knowledgeable and/or willing to learn and lead.

    Gather a group of newbros, train to vexor navies and t1 logi, and you can farm a static c3 or c4 easily. You will not get super rich there as a group, but enough to build a strong core of players. Spend a few month perfecting your skillsets, learning the ropes of everything, and voilà! You have a new stable wormhole group that is here to stay. Most of us could have join a bigger group, and miss an incredible adventure.

    As for direct wormhole content, with a C5 or C6 static you will find groups willing to fight very regularly. We do maybe 4-5 times a week. And when you dont, you can roll. Or go roam nullsec.

    I feel like C5+ are perfect right now. But I agree that C4- (especially C4) could get upgrades to income or other stuff. But note that the new T3 destroyers should help increase sleeper salvage price, as well a wspace gas. And for the industry part of this I expect it to be a little bit easier to manage than t3 cruisers for relatively new players. The addition of data/relic nullsec sites to C3- will also greatly help small groups or solo players finding a great source of income. Lastly, the new rig that just has been anounced which double the mass of ships will also greatly help small groups to roll statics, effectively dividing by 2 the number of ships needed to roll.

    So here is my opinion: lowclass wormholes may already been fixed. They are not suitable to host big groups of old players, but they are (esp. C2 and C4) very good homes for new groups willing to learn and grow. They are also well suited for small groups or even solo player who want to farm and explore. And with the right organization, even newbros can join.

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