Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Changing Nature of Wormhole Space

So a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...

EVE Online: Apocrypha Uncovers a New Version of the Universe Itself

CCP's massive free expansion slated for March Release

Reykjavik, Iceland: January 8, 2008 - CCP, one of the world's leading independent game developers, today announced the launch of the tenth free expansion for EVE Online, its popular science fiction massively multi-player online game (MMOG). EVE Online: Apocrypha is the most ambitious EVE expansion in the game's over five year history and it coincides with the March 10th, 2009 release of EVE Online as a boxed product through a partnership with Atari.

The fabric of space itself will be transformed as vast, unpredictable wormholes open to connect previously unexplored regions of the universe to the stars of New Eden. The seeds of advanced new technology await inside of these cosmic anomalies for those brave enough to explore them. This infusion of technology will enable production of the most dynamic vessels ever: Tech 3 modular ships with an astounding amount of customizability that can fill any role from skirmish muscle to industrial support.

Furthermore, NPC agents in EVE Online: Apocrypha will be authorized to assign Epic Mission Arcs to the pilots of New Eden. These branching, far-reaching mission strings are full of meaningful stories and more intelligent and deadly adversaries.

In addition, we are offering an entirely reworked New Player Experience for those joining (or rejoining) the game, giving them better insight into how to thrive in a truly limitless universe. We've already launched EVElopedia (, a great repository for information on all things EVE where our players are also building their own living history of the previous five years of Alliance warfare, political intrigue and nostalgic recollection

"Just this past week we broke our concurrent user record with 45,186 people flying unbound in the same game world at the same time, a huge percentage of our quarter of a million current subscribers and a true testament to EVE in our sixth year of operation," said EVE Online Senior Producer Torfi Frans Olafsson. "Today is an unprecedented time to start playing, as you can get ahead of the curve before Apocrypha releases in stores and our hard work hits the server cluster. It'll be easier than ever to get 'lost in the wormhole' that is EVE with what we have planned for the future of our expanding universe."

Leading up to the release of EVE Online: Apocrypha and the boxed version of EVE Online in stores, we'll be revealing more features on

--NextWeek@ Thursday, 8 Jan, 2009

And thus CCP created wormholes. And it was good. Then on the seventh day they rested. And it was good. On the eighth day they rested too. And the ninth, tenth, etc, etc, etc.

Apocrypha ushered in a new age for those pilots brave enough to undock and (to steal another catch phrase) to boldly go where no man has gone before. But then CCP rested. And forgot about it. Wormholes are perfect, they seem to be saying, move along, nothing to see here.

But are they?

Let me highlight a quote from that press release. Senior Producer Torfi Frans Olafsson says “...It'll be easier then ever to get 'lost in the wormhole' that is EVE with what we have planned for the future of our expanding universe.”

Now wait a minute. Is he referring to Incarna? No?

With Apocrypha Eve Online got wormholes. And with each expansion after that, wormholes got... nothing, save for the last patch where they fixed sleepers to actually work right after all these years. So I guess I would be remiss in not asking, Mr. Olafsson, what else do you have planned?

My complaint stems from what the nature of wormhole space IS and what CCP seems to have INTENDED it to be. Ask anyone from CCP why sites don't spawn with great regularity and they will tell you the same answer they have repeated over and over again.

“We never intended wormhole space to be consistently lived in.” is the reply you will get. The words may change but the meaning is the same. They never intended for WH operations to be permanent operations.

So what does that mean? My take seems to be that CCP meant for wormholes to be extremely nomadic. A corp would invade, spread, then move on to the next one. Rinse and repeat until all the sites are gone the move on again.

For anyone who has lived in a wormhole for longer then a week knows that this is a fool's errand. This is because moving into or out of a wormhole is a very big deal. Wormholes are not “just fly in and hang out” then fly out whenever you want. You need ships. And varied ships. A pilot well skilled to take on all that WH space has needs an Industrial or Transport ship to haul, a scan ship, a mission (sleeper shooting) ship, a salvaging ship, a hacking ship, and analyzing ship, some ships for PVP and home defense, and maybe a cap or two is nice for site escalations. For those of you keeping score at home, that's at least 6 ships with the possibility of more depending on how many ships for PVP you bring.

And you need a place to put all those ships. Can't just leave them hanging out willy-nilly in space now can we? No, people will scan them down and steal them. So we need a POS tower, a hangar array, a maintenance array, some pos shield hardeners and some guns to defend it. If you build/reverse engineer/invent shit or process ore, you need even more stuff.

Yes, moving into and out of a wormhole is a very big deal.

Does all that really sound nomadic to you? Because its not to me. Most WH corps set up the same. Get all that stuff together, fly it into a hole, set up the POS, fly all the rest of the ships in and done. Sure it sounds simple, but if you've ever set up a POS you know that to anchor and online everything takes a while. Tear down is just as atrocious for time. Its why you see abandoned POS towers everywhere.

So what is the answer here? CCP needs to do some work to make what their vision of wormhole space is a reality. If only there was a ship that could change on a whim to meet the ever changing needs of WH space. If only this “super” ship was designed with wormhole space in mind.

Hey, doesn't that sound like the T3 strategic cruisers?

In fact, I think that is exactly what that is for. Right from the press release. “This infusion of technology will enable production of the most dynamic vessels ever: Tech 3 modular ships with an astounding amount of customizability that can fill any role from skirmish muscle to industrial support.”

Shenanigans. I call shenanigans.

First of all, industrial support? Where? How? I can't think of a single subsystem that makes “industrial support” possible. No mining bonus. No hauling bonus. No huge cargo hold. No science bonus. Nothing.

Second of all, for a ship that was designed to be made in wormhole space to be used in wormhole space, WE CAN'T PUT THEM TOGETHER IN SPACE. That's right. All the stuff to make them can be found in WH space. Hell, I can build them in WH space. Can't put 'em together. Have to haul them out in pieces to K-space, find a station, dock, then I can put it together.

Lame just doesn't even begin to describe it.

To add insult onto injury, subsystems that can be swapped out in a station can't be swapped out in WH space. So the “Strategic Cruiser”, the cruiser designed to be flexible and “customizable”, can't even be used to its full potential in wormhole space.

Can you imagine a true nomadic corp in the way CCP seems to think we do things in wormhole space? A corp of a guy in freighter with all the POS equipment and a few extra ships like a Noctis, scan ship, spare T3s, and some hacking/analyzing ships. Supported is the rest of the corp in T3 ships that can be fitted as cloaky/scan ships. They spread into a hole, set up the pos, refit the scan/cloak T3s into sleeper killers and get to work. When they are done, they can refit to mine, mine out the abc ore then a week later spread into the next hole. No more having to stick in one spot because that is where the POS is. Wormhole space becomes truly nomadic.

So what is holding CCP's vision of wormhole space back? A couple of things really, listed here in no particular order:

1. Make T3's usable!

CCP has been “working” on this for some time. Stop dragging your feet and get it done. This should have been fixed like a year ago. Those of us who live in WH don't give f**k about walking in stations. We want our T3s to be “customizable” like they are supposed to be.

2. Better, more usable bonuses!

Each T3 has a subsystem that increases the effect of remote armor/shield reppers (which one you have depends on race) while increasing your like resists. However, it doesn't increase the range, meaning logistic ships are still better in every way. How about a range bonus? Fitting bonus? Make us WANT to use these subs CCP, instead of us just using them for extra resists when we have nothing better to use.

And on that topic, how about other bonuses? Like an electronics sub that increases range/power of tractor beams or makes salvagers more effective. Or some kind of engineering or offensive sub that gets a bonus to mining? And what about a true strategic cruiser bonus? A decrease in overheat damage is lame. Give us something else. Like the ability to remove rigs, allowing us more flexibility.

Furthermore (while I'm asking for the impossible), boost some of the bonuses. The Legion clearly lags in damage potential when compared to the Tengu or Proteus. Balance some of that out please.

These damn T3s are expensive CCP. Justify their cost! Make them useful beyond K-space.

3. Better yet, removable rigs!

Seriously, the market isn't going to suffer if you allow us to take rigs off one ship and put them on another. Stuff is still going to get blown up and destroyed, people are still going to need rigs. T3s get pigeonholed into a particular role because they can't swap rigs, and force swapping them is just expensive as you have to replace them every time.

4. Nomadic POS towers!

Make new POS towers in small, medium and large flavors. Add Nomadic to their name. Allow them a bonus to set up and tear down time. Say they anchor and online in half the time. Balance them by not being as hardy as normal POS towers. Benefit is they set up faster but aren't quite as sturdy. They become the POS equivalent of a tent. Fast to set up and leave, but taking hits isn't really what they are designed to do. This gives the “nomadic” corp the ability to quickly set up and store their stuff before they move on.

You will never suffer by giving the players more choices CCP. We want more choices! Allow us to repackage stuff in space so we can actually haul it from one hole to the other. This is the way you wanted this to be in the first place! Make it so!

All four of these will allow us as players be able to fulfill CCP's dream of a true nomadic wormhole space. And I feel eventually this will happen. Instead of being forced to stay in one place, nomadic corps are agile and can spread thin at any moment. Instead of “loot pinatas”, Nomadic POS's become holding/refitting stations for a small number of ships since everyone would be logging out in their T3 that can reconfigure for any role they need. And when the number of sites run low, they simple spread into the next available hole.

Any one of these fixes would be a good step in the right direction, but all four would allow player corps to actually utilize wormhole space the way CCP intended.


  1. I like the rig thought. My thought would be to add a sixth subsystem for rigs on Tech 3. You could not remove them from the subsystem but you could swap the rig subsystem out as needed. You could have different rig subsystems for 2, 3 and 4 slots for rigs. Each having a different bonus % to rig effectiveness also. So the 4 slot rig would only allow for 4 Tech 1 rigs. Just a though.

  2. Damn good refinement to Shadai's idea, Kogyr. A nomadic lifestyle how you envision it here, Shadai, would be whole lot of fun. But if your corp is setup to run what is in your static then you never really run into the issue that you lack sites to run because youve depleted your home. Every day is a new adventure with a new static.