Anomalous Materials: The Research Race of YC 116
Duncan Ringill

CCP Fozzie announced a contest of sorts yesterday:

Out of character, I can reveal that this storyline and the associated donation drive will lead directly to new technology falling into the hands of players in the near future. The relative success of each empire’s donation drive will determine in what order each faction will get access to this new technology.

Each faction navy will also express their gratitude through a special ingame item representing an honorary commission to their forces. The commissions will be given to the character that donates the highest value of Neural Network Analyzers and Sleeper Data Libraries (combined and weighted) to each faction over the course of the event.

Each commission will be a unique item that will forever contain the name of the winning character in the description.

Sounds like fun for those who do that sort of wormholery.  Rhavas at Interstellar Privateer is clearly interested, but thinks the offer doesn’t go far enough.  In a provocatively-titled post, he says that they’re lying to you.  He’s right, of course, at least in character.

The new tech falling into our hands can only be connected with the promised player construction of stargates leading to a new space, I think (Drackarn lists other, perhaps more likely answers).  CCP says that the new tech is going to trickle down to us through the empire factions.  Rhavas–if he’s not scamming us for gate construction materials–proposes that we force CCP into setting another place at that table by donating to Gillome Renard.  How cool is that?

The contest is a great idea, and doesn’t seem like a lie on its face.  Capsuleers, however, shouldn’t take the word of the empires.  The player base has proven in the past that it can steer CCP in new directions.  Let’s tweak that lore!

Kings, Not Emperors
Duncan Ringill

rome1We were overdue for a threadnaught, and CCP Greyscale delivers in the form of the proposed jump drive changes.

Null-security space is stagnant, he tells us, as though we didn’t already know that, and he is beginning with a giant step (or the opposite of one, really).  The addition of jump fatigue and cooldown timers will seriously slow force projection.  The goal is to make the enormous, headline-making battles less feasible and less well-attended, the theory concluding that EVE will be more interesting.  Surely this will be the case.

Imagine a Roman Empire suddenly lacking in those fantastic tools of conquest, the roads.  Legions less able to cover ground rapidly are less able to enforce Imperial law in the provinces.  Imperial might and the myth of its divine origin lose the ability to awe the citizenry, conquered peoples and rival empires.  An empire built on military might–as they all are–weakens and eventually crumbles.

Other CCP plans will affect sovereignty in many ways, but even a hisec bear such as I can foresee a nigh-inevitable end to the era of the Space Emperor.  At the very least, additional Doughnut resources (time and ISK) will be taken up in logistical planning, strategy and diplomacy.  I don’t know whether the jump-drive nerf must necessarily spell the demise of CFC, but it’s going to make for hella interesting behind-the-scenes sov struggles.  CCP is tuning our EVE experience.

What if the moods, health and welfare of your neighboring friends and enemies suddenly became more important than the edicts handed down from a distant Doughnut Throne?  What happens when the Gauls begin to feel more Gallic than Roman?

War.  That’s what happens.

The result?  Maps redrawn.  The destabilization of nullsec through some sort of nerf to force projection is the sort of thing I’ve predicted and hoped for (without having had a clue as to how to accomplish it), for the sake of GrrGoons as well as for the rest of us.  Their wars will be less CPU-throttlingly spectacular, less exercises in Teamspeak endurance than grand strategy and rapidly-evolving tactics.  The Art of War more than War Gratia War.  Null governors, de facto kings owing less fealty to an Emperor, will be seizing, trading and squabbling over renters, capital ships and moons they once shared.

NBSI will evolve into NRDS. Alliances will split from coalitions and corps from alliances.  Toons will leave null to be replaced by others drawn by the new face of war in New Eden.  The wily old Space Emperor will clutch at power, alienating some alliances to gain or retain others.  Dogs and cats living together! Turnover is what we’re talking about, turnover and interesting war.  More battles and more FCs.

Hope the Space Emperor is up to the challenge.  He’ll be playing a new game, as will everyone else.  I don’t want to see CFC destroyed, mind you; I want to see them earn their legend, and earn it again every goddamned day–or make way for those who will.  Their forum swagger will become more than empty bluster, as will that of their new rivals.  More who-the-hell-are-these-guys will be seen in Local.

There will be battle reports I’ll actually read.  Thanks, CCP.  I believe you’ve figured out how to think big by thinking small.  Great idea.