Wednesday, 15 January 2014

So what should CCP do with the new continent?

Things go in cycles it seems. After the debacle of the Incarna expansion, Mittens coined the phrase "Jesus feature" as a way of ridiculing the notion that each expansion should aim to bring some amazing and fantastic new feature to Eve as opposed to carefully making many small incremental improvements. Now after 2 years of small incremental improvements the player base is crying out for a jesus feature.

What's more we know there's a jesus feature in the works. We were shown stargates under construction at Fanfest last year and we know CCP Seagull is managing a 3-5 year project that will see new space opened up via player-constructed stargates.

What do we want in that space?

Hell, what do we need in that space?

Here's my vision.

The new continent

First off it should be aspirational content rather than starter content. I do think Eve could do with a better starter experience, particularly as the New Player Experience with its emphasis on missions and the Sisters of Eve mystery and the lore bears almost no resemblance to ganking blobbing and hotdropping, the end game of Eve.

But the new area, let's call it Atlantia for now, isn't it.

Let me first outline some of the problems I want to address

- low sec should, in my opinion, be an intermediate area for pvpers. Instead it attracts many of Eve's most lethal pvpers with heads full of expensive implants, drug boosters and offgrid command ship alts. FW does achieve the goal of an intermediate area for new pvpers and CCP have done a good job there. Now I don't think players should be forced out but I do think there should be a place in the game for "lone wolves" and I don't think low sec should be it. Currently people who want to maximise personal performance are forced to play in low sec because of bubbles in null which mean you lose your pods over and over.

- null sec is too easily moved around. It was never designed for thousands of cap ship pilots. Any small entities get stamped out, any interesting fight gets swamped with people until the servers crash, second fronts don't really work as people can pvp on both fronts pretty easily.

- people looking to get into nullsec have too little choice. New alliances and corps find it particularly hard, effectively you just have to wait until whoever's at the bottom of the barrel is mass recruiting then join an outfit like EMP or Li3.

Here's the solution.

1) Atlantia will be much harder to move around in for caps although not for subcaps. We do this by making the distance between systems in light years greater. My initial thought is that a constellation gate should be around 20 LY and inside the constellation the systems are 5-7 LY apart. This would mean caps are local.

This gives an effect similar to that seen when people build caps in low end wormholes. If someone has a carrier in a class 1 w-hole good luck attacking their pos when the biggest thing you can bring in in is a battlecruiser.

In Atlantia we'd see a badger den network of small independent kingdoms that once established are very hard to dislodge.

2) New constellations may always open up. I'm thinking that a constellation potential entrance might be an ultra rare exploration result. So people could find one and perhaps even secretly construct an entrance and move in without anyone being the wiser. Within Atlantia entrances are a slightly more common exploration result and allow stargates to be constructed to link to other Atlantia constellations.

3) With no easy jump freighting from Jita local industry is really important.

4) Atlantia starts with no stations. If you want them you have to build them. Atlantia stations are destructible.

5) Atlantia needs a unique trade resource similar to the tech 3 stuff that was found when wormholes opened up. Let's call it tech 4. It doesn't need to be better than regular stuff just different. I'm thinking of degradeable modules. These are modules that have slightly better stats but wear out with use, say a gun that fires 10k shots then breaks. This could be an interesting addition to the meta while also a resources sink that might help the economy.

6) Atlantia is a great place to pioneer new variants of sov conquest systems. I'd suggest something like Faction War. DUST should certainly have a role in Atlantia and Atlantia should use unique maps with weird looking terrain.

7) The stargates themselves should be a massive resource sink. To my mind the best previous example of such a feature was the opening of the gates of Ahn Qiraj in World of Warcraft. For each server massive amounts of resources needed to be donated but each donation rewarded the player handing in stuff. As a result many players who didn't care about the gates donated their copper and herbs to get the rewards. Ideally the stargates should require resources from the greater Eve universe - games like Valkyrie and DUST should have resources that will be needed by Eve players opening up cross-game trading opportunities. That would be good for the whole franchise because the games would help sell each other.

8) The implant system needs a revamp. Not just in Atlantia but it's fundamentally flawed. People hate losing their pods so many players lose interest in a fun carefree brave pvp style and those who take risks are brutally punished for it. If I take a bunch of newbros out on a thrasher roam I stand to lose my clone worth 21m and my implants (at least 2 +4s worth 25m each). I do this because I'm rich and I like FCing but I notice that even in TEST most veterans won't join such fleets because they might get podded. Which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy as without veterans you lose fights and everyone gets podded. Good implants like Slaves pretty much force you into low sec where you're a shark in a goldfish pool. Maybe that's something Atlantia can do - player made implants that are based on time not death. Eg 30 day Slave set, persists through podding, expires after 30 days.

Conclusion: what will be the effect? Who will come - nullsec's losers, lowsec's elite, ambitious industrialists, good fight pvpers, ambitious empire builders, many new alliances. And of course the people at the top: Goons and PL but those guys also have to protect their existing empires.


  1. Some very good points here. In particular I agree with this one

    "null sec is too easily moved around."

    IMO they shouldn't just make a new area that works differently, they should fix that problem in null sec too. As you mentioned caps should be local, too expensive and too slow to move across the map quickly. A strategic, mostly defensive force, not a quick reaction force.

    Force projection is a real problem in the game. With cynos, jump bridges and hotdrops it's just too easy moving massive blobs around.

    It's a spaceship game for crying out loud, massive fleet movements should be neither easy, nor cheap.

    1. Well you more than anyone would appreciate that it's not just the combat ships it's the jump freighters too. A shopper in the back end of the universe is more likely to buy what he needs in Jita than a mission runner in Poinen.

  2. Increasing the distance between systems and constellations might be a good nerf to current power projection. Simple solutions are the best.

    An expanding universe or cataclysmic event triggering in increased expansion rate could provide some form of lore excuse.

    1. I think it's more elegant to let the CFC and N3/PL bloc to continue to rule null until someone takes it from there but to use the new continent as a null-like space for players who don't want or can't manage pangalactic supercap projection.

  3. Atlantia is already built: it's the C5-6 wormholes.

    Barely anyone lives there.

    1. The fact that they are not full is the point. A medium sized group can occupy one if they wish to, without having the full hammer of an entire alliance brought down on them almost instantly.

      Also, lets look at something else, if C5-6 WH allowed the construction of supers and titans (i.e. were conquerable space) do you think they'd still be empty ?

    2. It's a good point, Gevlon, it may be that this idea at this stage is too bleak. I do think people want to use big ships and I do think people want to use them without being in a everyone-in-the-universe is there 10% tidi 12 hour fight that ends with a server crash or downtime.

      I'd be quite glad to see your take on the new continent.

  4. I think it was Hilmar, or perhaps Trebor, who was talking about the Jesus Feature back in 2011. But yes, CCP has been hinting at something like you have mentioned.

    1. I thought it originally came from a bleary eyed Mittens in that video conference they gave after the emergency summit but I might be wrong.

      Besides it's more like Mittens to coin a clever phrase, especially one that is subtly disparaging, than the other two.

    2. PS it's more than a hint: