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.
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.
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.