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Space colonization – Quo vadis?

Colonization is all about access and control over space and resources. Both issues in the current EVE game system that are under criticism from the player base. How will the colonization project be able to address these issues? I will list some ideas at the end of this post, so please bear with me.

With the announcement of the 20th EVE Expansion Rubicon CCP wants to disembark on a “journey with no return“, giving the capsuleers more power over the EVE universe, introducing new technologies and ultimately opening the capability of interstellar travel to them. If you haven’t done so already, watch the Rubicon announcement video – especially CCP Seagull’s introduction (from 7:34).

So CCP seems to have a plan where to take the game. And they want to take several expansions to realize this plan, starting out in Rubicon. As CCP Seagull puts it:

It is really about building things, about destroying things, about taking power over the universe. […] [The capsuleers] are not interested anymore in settling with the origins they came from. They want to master the universe. Even more, master the technologies of the universe and eventually try to get their hands on the very technologies of space travel.
And that poses just this massive questions of what would happen if capsuleers would not be bound to the known universe?
And that’s really the journey we want to take players on now. Starting now, but over multiple expansions we’re going someplace, together and I don’t think neither players or capsuleers will be able to predict where this is going […].

So what is their plan? I enjoy being surprised but I also enjoy thinking about how I would do it, where I see opportunities for these grand ideas. What would the technologies be, they are talking about? Which kind of star gate? And where would it lead us? What will be ‘beyond the known universe”?

Andie’s last sentence in the quote above might just be clever marketing, but I have the feeling that they will indeed not go for the obvious solutions. If neither players nor capsulleers are able to know where the “unkown space lies” I will take this statement as meaning that (for the time being)

  • we will not build stargates to Anoikis
  • we will not go into Jove space, at least not to colonize
  • we will probably not even built stargates into new systems lying just outside the New Eden cluster.

And I think if they keep to this, it is a good thing. Players have already complained that connecting to Anoikis through stargates will destroy the unique feature of fluctuation connections in wormhole space. Jove space has the problem of managing power creep with the technologies found there. But maybe the Jove become the source of the technologies for space travel. Any thoughts about conquering new star systems is met with the criticism that there are already enough systems and especially 0.0 has large empty places. So what now?

What I would like to see is not bolting something onto the outside of the intricate machine the EVE universe is, but rather weave the new system into everything we already have. Just like wormholes appear everywhere in New Eden, new space might be “just around the corner”. I am thinking parallel dimensions, space time pockets … wait … deadspace! We already have that! But it is not player controllable. But it could be made to be…!

Are there hints that CCP is thinking in that direction? I believe there are now! Go to the announcement video at 24:40 and listen to Fozzie really closely explaining possible uses of the space yurt (the depot DMS – deployable mobile structure).

People can use it at a safe spot as their own little spot in space. You can drop it inside a fixed complex or something to make it your own little pirate asteroid base.

You have to appreciate the fundamental change that is being made here. This is very different from POSes, which can only be anchored at moons. It is this little feature that really get’s me thinking how far they will be able to push this.

PCCs: Player controlled complexes

I started this article with the statement that colonization is all about access to and control of space and resources. Here I want to drop some ideas, how the colonization project could introduce new game mechanics of how access to structures is managed and how access to space can be controlled. The concept is based on the idea of modular space settlements inside player controlled deadspace pockets.

Here are the basic features of what I would do:

  • Make space yurts the first element of modular space structures. Add modules that upgrade the yurt to do more stuff.
  • Pave the way to space cities. Make modules from different players connectable. A key game mechanic has to be how modular structures work together in a corp or alliance. Being based on individual ownership of the components, rather than corp ownership of the whole thing, the access management and sharing of resources will be completely different than what we see with POSes. It will only partly be based on standings/membership. I imagine corp members donating part of their module capabilities to the corp. For example each module contributes a bit of their capacitor to the whole structure. But control over that remains largely in the hands of individual player. He can disconnect his modules at any time. With the surplus power generated through this mechanic, communal modules can be operated. Access rights derive from the contribution players give to the whole.
  • Player controlled complexes (PCC): Make capsuleers control and eventually build acceleration gates. This offers a whole new system of controlling access. Instead of access by standings, acceleration gates work with keys (the mechanics for this is already in the game). The keys are handed out by the holding corporation and can be reissued at any time. Reissuing invalidates all old keys. Keys are physical objects that have to be carried in the cargo hold in order to access the PCC through the acceleration gate. They have a high probability of dropping when a ship is destroyed.
  • Add hacking into the design. Acceleration gates could be hacked to force access. In contrast to using a (potentially stolen key) hacking could alarm the defenders.
  • Scalability: acceleration gates have a maximum ship size they can transport. This allows balancing what a possible intruder (if he gets his hand on a key) can bring into the PCC. More valuable complexes will only be reachable through large acceleration gates. The size of the complex might also limit what kind of community operated equipment you can bring in. Larger alliances will be needed to operate a large, multi-room complex with many acceleration gates.
  • Make deadspace explorable. Through new scanning technologies players can expand their deadspace pockets. They can discover new folds in space time and build acceleration gates to get there.
  • For the further future, large PCCs might be the optimal place to start constructing real stargates for interstellar travel…

The key elements here are, that new space is intimately connected to the known universe and that it offers new game play mechanics, thereby addressing fundamental problems with the current system of access control in POSes and the control of space.

If you have comments please drop them onto the EVE forum thread.

Let me know what you think! Chira.

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About chiralityeve

A rookie capsuleer exploring the depths of New Eden

Discussion

3 thoughts on “Space colonization – Quo vadis?

  1. I like your ideas – a lot. I recently posted on my own blog about the need for CCP to introduce some substantial new content into EVE Online. What you propose would be wonderful additions. But mynnna commented on my post, giving me the impression that it may indeed be a very long time before we see such a content expansion – I’m thinking years. I hope my feelings are wrong on this, but I don’t think we’re going to see the kind of colonization ideas that you are talking about in the game in 2014 – and I worry that it might be a lot longer wait than that.

    Posted by Neville Smit | 29/09/2013, 14:47
    • Yes. That is a long time project. CCP mentioned a three or five year plan. The challenge for the company is to earn players’ trust that they are on the road towards that goal and design expansions such that there is a noticeable progress towards the goal with each expansion.

      Posted by chiralityeve | 29/09/2013, 14:54

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