“The die is cast.” - Julius Caesar at the Rubicon
So CCP has announced the winter expansion. They’ve chosen a very singular and non-New-Eden name: Rubicon. This name has no meaning whatsoever in the lore.
If you don’t know what Rubicon is, watch this video. It’s awesome and so is the rest of the series. Start at 3:50 if you don’t want to watch the whole thing.
If you can’t even be bothered to watch an entertaining history video, then you can just look at the wikipedia entry. Even more TLDR: Julius Caesar became Emperor of Rome by coming back from leading a field army in Gaul. When he crossed the River Rubicon, he committed to either overthrowing the ruling bureaucracy or dying for having the audacity to do so. Obviously, Caesar won and became emperor.
I read it as a challenge to themselves and a statement to the playerbase. I suspect that it is their notification that they are going to start moving toward a vision rather than just fixing things. CCP is casting their dice – as their own tagline says, “There’s no turning back”. On what? A major shift to the game, in play, direction and probably even lore. They’ve been talking for some time about the waning of the empires, and have continued the discussion of colonization started by CCP Seagull at Fanfest and repeated again in the EVE: Rubicon announcement. CCP sees this as not only a notification that the empires are in trouble, but that CCP is starting on their Next Big Thing officially. We’ll see whether Pompey flees in this case – ask me in three releases or so.
So enough history. Here are my thoughts on the announcements today:
What I’m Excited For
- New Ships. The Sisters of EVE ships look great and their features sound awesome.
These ships should have launched with Odyssey in my opinion. Well-armed, drone-throwing, armor-tanked, CovOps cloaking cruiser? Yes please! I also think (hope) that this is a bit of a sop to the poor missioners who got royally screwed by CCP’s decision in Odyssey to make probes “un-loseable”, which likely killed the business of making Sisters Probes for all of these people who had spent uncountable awful hours grinding niche standings.
- Interceptor Rebalancing. Back in my EVE University days, my favorite ship was the Stiletto interceptor. Interceptors are unfortunately unable to survive gate guns, so I quit flying them during my pirate days, but have taken it up as a fast-locker occasionally in wormhole life. They get the awesome new power to be unaffected by bubbles. And if that wasn’t enough, they now get UBER WARP SPEED (see below). This ship class is going to be a ton of fun to fly again.
- Warp Acceleration Changes. Of everything announced so far, I think this will be the biggest game-shifter right after launch. In short, I think battleships are going to be in trouble. Frigates will warp faster than before, able to get out in front of larger targets attempting to flee. I’ll also be interested to see how hard the Industrials (already soft targets) get screwed, however – since they are in many cases battleship-sized or bigger. And will Freighters be even slower than the horrorshow warpers they already are? CCP will need to very carefully balance the speeds, but as someone who flies mostly cruisers with the occasional battlecruiser or frigate, I say OM NOM NOM.
- Deployable: Siphon Unit. This is a cool idea. I think it will be fun to mess with sov null bears we drop into. I might make this a Thing if it’s easy enough and can net me worthwhile income in the short periods I’m on (2-3 hours in, siphon and out).
- Deployable: Grid Cyno Jammer. This will be phenomenal, especially for Lowsec fleets. One of the most aggravating things about Lowsec is that most people are flying around in subcap fleets looking for the proverbial “good fights”. But there’s always got to be that one group of putzes who think it’s more entertaining to drop a supercap fleet on a lone Tengu (looking at you here, PL). I think that this item alone will drive more, and better, fights in Lowsec. I think limiting it to the grid also makes it well-balanced, especially since Black Ops fleets are immune.
What I’m Watching Optimistically
- Marauder Rebalancing. I don’t fly them today, so I don’t know if they’re good or bad, or this change is good or bad. I will say that the concept of a battleship that both bunny-hops like a Team Fortress Scout and sieges like a Terran Tank is … interesting. If I hear enough good I may actually bother to skill for it. And I will call it Siege Mode.
- Interbus Ship ID System. This looks cool. I like the look and the skill tree/ship pilot mixture. In fact, it’s a bit like I had a moment of unexpected prophecy last week. Resume achievements anyone? I hope it has utility beyond just being a pretty picture.
- Deployable: Auto-Tractor & Looter. This will be useful in the hole, and probably for missioners and ratters of all sorts. I also think it gives a nice target for ninjas, which is good content. But I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop (see also: Salvage Drones don’t salvage Sleeper battleships).
What I’m Concerned About
- Highsec POCOs. I’ve said on this blog before that I am not a fan of POCOs – and I do a lot of PI. I’ve also said that they are mis-named … they are actually COCOs (Corporation-Owned Customs Offices). While EVE is largely a social game, solo PIers get royally screwed by this system. I did that as my main source of income for a long time and it still irritates me, even though now I have 0% tax PI from our wormhole system. This is a great way to start with EVE ISK-making that can keep newbies in the game early. Making it harder and less profitable is not, in my opinion, a good idea. The yields in Highsec are already terrible.
- Certificates Redesign. I’ve said before that I think the current certificate system sucks. So I’m glad they’re redoing it. On the other hand, it looks from the limited screenshots like it’s basically the same thing, just prettier. The whole thing needs to be tossed in my opinion and rebuilt with recruiters, not players, in mind. The Interbus Ship ID System can be the player eye candy. I hope CCP proves me wrong and the new certs are awesome and received well by ROs as well as players.
- Deployable: Depot. I am not a fan of the idea of having deadspace personal POSes. People hide in stations enough in this game. If these are going to be used for personal storage, they need to not have the problems that stations and POSes have today. They should not be dockable. They should not be mini-SMAs (ship containers), they should be mini-CHAs (stuff containers) – with less space than a low-end hauler. I’m a bit optimistic that this will be the case based on CSM member Ali Aras’ assertion that “It’s a small structure for refitting and storing some amount of cargo.” Refitting ability is cool and I’m supportive of that. Make it probeable, visible on D-Scan, destructable (and able to drop loot), unachorable by anyone when unfueled (or similar) and then I’ll be in favor. Don’t give us more permanently-anchored abandoned mini POS towers that we have to grind down and then never get anything for the effort except the ammo bill.
What I Don’t Have An Opinion On
- Interdictor Rebalancing. Not only is there not much detail, I don’t fly DICs today. And I don’t have a lot of interest in learning them at the moment. I much prefer my trusty Phobos.
- Electronic Attack Ship Rebalancing. Again, more detail to come, and a ship I don’t fly. They sound interesting enough that I might start, but I’m looking for a lot more info.
- Rapid Heavy Missile Launcher. I don’t speak missile. I speak Autocannon, Artillery, Blaster and Drone. I’ll defer to Caldari pilots on this one.
- Twitch Streaming Embedded. I don’t mind a little Twitch stream now and then. But I don’t give it enough thought that I’ll use it much in the client. Can we get YouTube to work please, CCP? People link it all the time but the IGB doesn’t support it so it’s always a flip out to an external browser.
All in all, very thin on details, but the signs are good overall. Time to ford the river, Caesar.