Regardless of what some capsuleers think, my post last Wednesday titled Good or Bad was not an opinion piece. It was not a propaganda piece. All I asked was how people felt about the second map, because that is a very real possibility. It may actually come to pass - or it may not. Regardless give credit where credit is due, Goonswarm deserves some praise for it. Fortunately for me there are plenty enough other people willing to heap it on them. But still, you have to admire what they have built.
And even if the second map never comes to be for whatever reason, I am certain CCP is as astounded by Goonswarm's dominance as everyone else. Who would have thought they would so resoundingly defeat the hot-drop lords at the Battle of B-R5RB? When CCP designed null-sec all those years ago, I can almost guarantee you they believed no single group of capsuleers could ever go so far as Goonswarm has done. And like some of the commentators on my Wednesday post, I am sure CCP is concerned this may break the sandbox. To be a sandbox, freedom of action must remain unconstrained, and no one can say Goonswarm lacks restraint. Looking at it that way, I have to agree with other's when they say the long term prospects for our game are not well served by Goonswarm's ambition, even if it is benevolent and they pull up short to preserve a non-homogeneous null-sec. Victorian style (i.e. polite and agreed upon) conflict in null-sec is not the sandbox CCP envisioned when they created null-sec. It goes counter to the entire EVE Online proposition.
So what's a game developer to do? It's not fair to simply yank away what Goons have labored endlessly to obtain. It is their reward for so much sacrifice. There can be no heavy hand in this. Thus it is widely believed in the community CCP will have to lure them elsewhere to remove their choke hold on sovereignty warfare. So when CCP Seagull spoke of player built star-gates that cost much, much more than a single capsuleer could ever amass, requiring dozens if not hundreds or thousands of capsuleers to cooperate in their construction, people naturally assumed these new types of gates were for Goonswarm's benefit (and others large organizations of course... wink, wink.) These new gates would lead to greener pastures for that storied organization and the rest of us would simply move in on what they vacated voluntarily.
Bullocks. That would only start the whole wretched cycle over again. Goonswarm did not create a broken null-sec, they only actualized it. Star-gates to unknown space do not solve the real issue. Many reading this believe that these gates will lead to undiscovered country, new realms of the galaxy not visited by human kind for ten thousand years. They believe the entire experience will only be an exploration mechanic to put it in the game's terms. But what if we're mistaken about the purpose of player built star-gates, and exploration is not the true reason for their introduction? I am certain that exploration weighs into it, but not just for the sake of exploration and probably not even primarily.
Part of the reason I think this is it will be hard enough to write such a mechanic as player built star-gates into EVE Online. But there is one thing that would be even harder. That is to write the mechanic into the game and then restrict it to only going from known systems to unknown systems. We all know EVE Online does not work this way. That is as much sandbox breaking as null-sec being one large gentleman's club. It is also something that CCP has never done, and I don't mean that because of capabilities. It's not how they roll. When CCP introduced player owned star-bases (POS,) they only restricted them from ultra high security space - and that was more a nod to FLOP limitations than game play. How much worse would Jita be if a POS orbited every moon? And that can be said for many of the ultra high security systems. No POS construction and no PI in hub systems for load balancing reasons. But POS are allowed around any unoccupied moon anywhere else. That is how CCP rolls. That is the nature of the sandbox.
So we need to consider these new player built star-gates in this light. Sure, these gates will span the light years between fringe systems and unexplored space just fine. But isn't it just as likely they could span the distance between already occupied systems as well? Especially since CCP isn't in the habit of restricting new mechanics in wholly artificial ways?
Now consider this: one of the reasons Goonswarm and the CFC at large can hold such large blocks of null-sec is because there are less than a handful of corridors into null-sec. If you hold these corridors like the Spartans held Thermopylae, it matters not how large a fleet your opponent brings. If your opponent has to fly half way around the cluster to get to you, you effectively have interior lines, and every book of war from Sun Tzu's time to ours says that is a very, very good way to win. But what if null-sec was assailable from any reasonably close star system. What if these new gates could form new corridors for non-jump capable ships to avoid the natural bottlenecks of null-sec?
Many of you are right now thinking the gates would take to long to build. They would be attacked and destroyed before any such invasion could ever be launched. But that too is an assumption on all our parts. I have no doubt these new gates will take an extraordinary amount of resources, including time, to build. They will probably take more resources than a Titan, or equal at best. But who says they have to be built in place; from scratch? What if the reality will be they only have to be assembled in place? That's a whole lot different than built in place. Assembly means the components are built elsewhere and then moved into position when complete. Final assembly connotes a timeline of minutes or hours, not days or months. And it also solves the issue of how the far side star-gate gets built. It is built in known space and jumped into the final system. Then capsuleers can assemble the second star-gate of the pair. And those launching such an invasion only have to defend their beachhead until the gates are fully operational... and one half was already completed in space they own.
Now take that one step further. What if the assailant in this scenario starts to build three or four gates at once, all within jump distance of CFC space. Could even Goonswarm and the CFC find and destroy all of them in a matter of hours at most? You know, it's easy to plug a dike when there is only one hole in it. It is much harder when there are many. And many holes will null-sec have when this mechanic changes forever the way war happens in null-sec. It will be as many holes as there are currently jump routes into null-sec. And with the new warp implants, I can't help but think there may be new jump implants coming too. And that could drastically increase the number of possible jump routes.
That concept fixes the null-sec problem. It will no longer be a citadel easily defended. Resources of aggression will have to be spread out to shore up the walls making battles like B-R5BR less likely, or perhaps much more dangerous to contemplate. If the CFC fleet is there, who will be guarding all those potential beachheads? It would be a prime opportunity for other capsuleers who have sovereign ambitions to make their move. That alone should make CFC veteran alliances like FA less willing to CTA everything they've got to support a Goonswarm initiative. I can see how that might increase internal stresses on the coalition. Now, does Goonswarm leadership think this is a serious possibility? I wasn't certain until I read they want every member to train Titan. That pretty much convinced my they do think it is a serious possibility. What else to you think it will take to destroy a player built star-gate if not a Doomsday?