At it's peak yesterday, from what I saw, the Twitch T.V. announcement of the next Eve Online expansion, Rubicon, drew 13,000 plus viewers. I got distracted by the broadcast so didn't get the exact number LOL. What I found interesting is we hit that number during prime business hours in North America. I guess I wasn't the only one using their lunch hour for that broadcast.
This post is yet another "here's what I think of Rubicon" post. It's probably not much different than the one's I've already seen hit the blogosphere, though I've not read any of those. Yesterday was, overall, one of those days I just wanted to pour myself a stiff drink after and forget. The only two bright spots in it were the broadcast and the Full Sail Brewery Imperial Stout Bourbon Barrel Aged "malt beverage" sitting on my desk when I got home. Have I mentioned how wonderful my girl friend is? This beer is so strong they can't label it as beer. It's just what the psychiatrist ordered.
But today is a new day and you probably want to read something about Rubicon. Okay, here you go. It sounds cool. How's that? Not very exciting is it? Well, to be honest I'm not all that excited about it. I'm more excited about Eve Vegas coming up in a little less than a month. Rubicon is about what I expected. CCP is in a building season and that's what this expansion is about. I'm cool with that. It means awesomeness is waiting in the wings right? Maybe.
So how's that awesomeness going to look? In my opinion, it will look a lot like null-sec today in some ways. Here's what I'm on about. This is the beginning of the end of NPC space. Oh, it'll still exist as a place where new bros get their feet wet and where neutral alts can haul goods without fear of war declarations. But the days of it being a relatively safe haven for ISK earning are gone. Already if you look at the New Eden map, there is far more activity going on in NPC space than in null-sec. Last night I went looking for other capsuleers in Stain. Other than my own alliance mates, there was no one in local for five jumps - no one. It wasn't until I was ready to log for the evening that neutrals showed up.
From what I've seen in a week of actually living in NPC null-sec, it's just a resource gathering and ISK making farm. Remember when Jester wrote about Rote Kapelle getting upset because they couldn't get a GF out of the carebears that'd taken over their region? Yeah, like that. I know that's not really all null-sec is about. Hell, we just saw a huge war waged in null-sec - for moon resources albeit - but huge nonetheless. Now we're back to people going about their daily grind while most ship vs ship action actually happens in Empire space. My alliance has lost more ISK in ships to high-sec war decs in the past month than any other sort of action. That is currently the nature of Eve Online.
CCP of course wants that to continue. That's part of the point of allowing POCOs in high-sec. BTW, I said something in August about winter being long. I stand by that prediction. There are a lot of planets in high-sec and the group that makes the largest effort to replace the orbiting stations around them and get that income wins. We know the one group that has consistently proven they can pull off that sort of planning. I'm certain they will not let this opportunity for more passive income pass them by. It may turn out to be nothing more than a glorious structure bash. But if anyone in high-sec opposes the move, there will be more than a little trouble in high-sec. The driver for the conflict will be the billions in taxes that are on the table. I'll try and put some numbers together later. For now let's get back to Rubicon as a whole.
CCP also wants to see more than just mega wars in player null-sec. That's the point of the new structures: Siphons, Depots, Mobile Cyno Jammers and Automatic Tractor Platforms. What was that comment that made me laugh out loud? Oh yeah, "Poke you in the eye things." At least that's an accurate paraphrase. I was chuckling too hard to get it written down verbatim. But if you really think about it, these structures will have a far larger effect on regions that aren't player null-sec than they will affect player null-sec. Aren't most player null-sec systems already protected from cynos? And judging by the quick response we got to setting up a silo on a Stain moon, I doubt any alliance worth their salt will allow a siphon in system for more than an hour, if that long. Depots are fascinating, but they'll have a far larger impact on wormhole play I think than player null.
Another play style that might return with the Depot is the low-sec mobile pirate. There was a time when pirates could effectively live out of an Orca and some did. That playstyle was nerfed out of existence when they changed how ship holds on Orcas worked. Now it may just have a chance to return. It might also enable the Ninja miner to become a reality. We'll need more details on mechanics though before we know for certain. One thing I'll be interested find out is if this will be the replacement for current POS mechanics players have clamoured for years to get. There was a comment made about that possibility during the broadcast and my interest is piqued.
As for the other things mentioned in the broadcast, the new ships (A W E S O M E BTW, but hey, don't they look just a little bit Vulcan?) and the further balancing, they are all part of the realignment that's been ongoing for years. They are most welcome, and the fixing of the warp mechanic is stupendous beyond my ability to relate in words. And even new bros got some love in the revamped certificate system. It looks like it'll be more helpful to them choosing what they should train. But all in all the remaining changes are not revolutionary. So IMO Rubicon will be an improvement to Eve Online, but it's an infield double - not a home run. Still, it shows more about how Eve Online is going to evolve over the next three years (that's the rolling plan time frame, right?) than any expansion we've had since Incarna, with the possible exception of Crucible. I think that's significant. The die is most certainly cast. There is no going back.