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.

Never the Twain Shall Meet
Duncan Ringill

trains01A bridge between Tranquility and Serentity?  Chinese players able to interact with those in other countries?  That a theme Art has touched on, and he hits it again this week.

It’s an idea to fire the imagination, and perhaps the coolest notion of all is that of new (to us) players chattering in an alien language in some of the same comm channels.  Yeah, I can see why this is desirable; cross-pollination has to be a good thing, right?

‘Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished, all right.  World gamers getting to know their Chinese counterparts couldn’t help but defuse the international tensions willfully (or otherwise) deepened and prolonged by the current segregation.

Well, if it happens, it’s not going to be accomplished by CCP.  Standing between us Tranquilitarians and the Chinese is The Great Firewall, a technological and political barrier that we barbarians are not going to be allowed to scale anytime soon.  It’s unfortunate, but Chinese authorities are not going to permit ISK transactions and uncensored chat.  Heck, we’d be lucky to be able to pass EVEmail back and forth; forum wars and ISK trading aren’t about to happen, either.

The barrier’s not insurmountable, but CCP isn’t going to tear down this wall.  Even if they had the permission from the People’s Republic, there would remain a last hurdle: sharding.

Chinese players on Serenity aren’t playing in different space; they’re on a clone of the universe we inhabit.  Serenity, like Singularity, is filled with the same star systems we see on Tranquility, with (presumably) the same divisions among hi-sec, losec, null and w-space.  As amusing as it would be to watch an attempted merger of CFC sov with its Chinese counterparts, that’s not a task CCP is going to undertake.

Did I say that was the final hurdle?  Strike that.  The ultimate concern is budgetary.  The desirability of international brotherhood aside, there ain’t no money for trying to merge what was sharded by design.  The new space to which our player-owned stargates will bridge us is not going to be on Serenity–not until the government of China changes.  Or changes its mind.

The Bloodbath of B-R5RB, Gaming’s Most Destructive Battle Ever
Duncan Ringill

Analysis by CCP Dolan:

In the early hours of January 27th, 2014 CONCORD (the NPC “police force”) came to collect the sovereignty bill for a dead-end system in the Immensea region called B-R5RB. One of over 7,500 in game, this particular system with its 9 planets, 66 moons and 12 asteroid belts had recently been transferred to a player corporation called H A V O C, a corp used by the alliance Pandemic Legion to handle sovereignty transfers between Alliances (which are collections of Corporations). Unfortunately, when CONCORD tried to extract the ISK (EVE’s currency) that would maintain sovereignty in the system for another month, they found that H A V O C had left their automatic payment unchecked. Without the necessary payment, sovereignty in the system immediately dropped leaving the system up for grabs….

Sensing this moment of unexpected weakness in a strategically critical location, the opposing Coalition comprised of the CFC Alliance and Russian-heavy coalition forces scrambled to get a foothold in the system. The message went out. Thousands logged in and fleeted up. If the CFC and Russian fleets could capture the station in system, they would trap Pandemic Legion assets inside, including hundreds of capital and sub-capital fleet hulls, rendering them unavailable for the wider conflict….

Unlike nearly every other large scale super-capital engagement up till this point, both sides thought they could win. They continued trying to get every single pilot into system with the most powerful warships they could bring to bear. After a few hours, the field was being lit up by doomsdays and the glittering hulls of hundreds of Titans and Supercarriers and thousands of Dreadnaughts and Carriers and smaller ships….

Much more at the link.