Forgive me for my cynicism, but I just can't take the name of the new Eve expansion seriously. I feel I can also say that a reasonable majority of British Eve players feel the same way - circumstantial evidence being the handful of people I spoke to about this at the VetoMeet in London at the weekend.
Because Rubicon is a mango soft drink (it's actually the company, and they make other flavour drinks but mango is the most well known)
The word "Rubicon" doesn't lend itself to images of a final frontier, the point of no return or the crossing of a river at the start of a civil war (yes, I do my research with wikipedia). It makes me thirsty.
I thought I'd just go over my thoughts about the new expansion, and make my predictions as to where it's headed. A word of warning, my accuracy in predicting new meta's is not a proven science and results may vary.
High Sec Customs Offices - I'm one of those people who like PI. I think PI is a good thing; I encourage people who ask me how to make money to do PI. I've lived with POCOs since I started playing Eve; I've never properly lived in high sec, and so have never had to deal with the Interbus POCOs and their tax rates. I've been responsible for controlling POCOs, for shooting them as well as deploying them. It's like mini-sov, and that part of it isn't very fun. They're pretty expensive to produce and the demand right now isn't that great (well, it wasn't before this feature was announced). You can probably make a reasonable amount of money by making P4 products, and then either turning them in the POCO gantry, or just by selling them as P4. My expectation is that in the weeks following the expansion, they'll be a bit of a land grab and people will go round shooting all the POCOs they can find. Interbus POCOs have no reinforcement timer, so you can literally go find one, shoot it for a few hours and plonk your own down, fuck around with the standings and in theory it pays itself off within a couple of months. If it's a non-Interbus one, then you have to be at war with them, as well as it having a reinforcement timer. The rush for POCOs will last for about 2 months, until the majority of them have been replaced at which point people will realise that shooting structures isn't very fun, and will go back to doing what they were doing before. This means that in general, the lower end of the PI market will be flooded with cheap product, whilst the higher end will remain at a high demand/high price, because turning P0 into P4 isn't particularly easy.
Mobile Structures - Hailed by many as the start of the new POS code, this is a pretty new game mechanic, and from the mutterings I've heard, no-one is quite sure how it's going to play out. CCP have made noises about a modular POS system before, and that by attempting to fix the current POS code, they might break everything ever invented. A lot of people are twirling their facial hair thinking this might be a particularly clever way CCP are avoiding that problem. They can slowly introduce new code, which will build on itself until we have the total parts of the currently existing POS sum, at which point they can just turn off the current POS system totally, slap a new expansion name on it and strut out onto the balcony as the masses cheer and roar. My suggestion, Eve Online: Mountain Dew.
There are four structures they've announced: Siphons, Cyno Jammers, Tractor Beams and the Depot.
Cyno Jammers: A deployable structure that blocks a cyno being lit within 100km. Doesn't stop covert cynos being lit. My interpretation of this is that it makes capital fleets incredibly hard to catch. Sure, you can drop some covert stuff in with points, but that won't work against supers, and have you ever tackled a smart bombing carrier in a Hound? It's not very pretty. You can no longer just cyno with a stupidly tanked T3 and drop some HICs into the middle of the capital blob, tackling them all with a bubble. Now you have to do it in a safe somewhere, and then warp to them, by which time, the capitals will have seen the cyno, and will have either refit to combat, or are about to jump out. It won't have much effect on the bigger fights, other than you can no longer bring in your triage carriers when you start to lose. OK, maybe it will have an effect on the larger fights. I don't think it will affect dread blobs too much, so dumb people are still going to die. Dread blobs are mostly reactionary, or are baited so unless the prey is very prepared - and depending on the time it takes to deploy these modules - and has one ready to drop as soon as he is tackled, he still dead. What would be super interesting would be if this module, if deployed, with say a 60 second online time, could disable any cynos that are currently lit. That would be interesting. And hilarious.
Siphons: A module you deploy next to a POS with a moon miner, and instead of the goo filling up the silo in the POS, it fills up in your siphon, which you then scoop and laugh all the way to Jita where you sell you’re ill gotten gains. My first thought about this when I read it was: "THANK FUCK I'M NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR MOON GOO ANYMORE". My second thought was me laughing at those that were still responsible. I looked at this two ways. Firstly, for entities like BL and PL, who are nomadic and hold valuable moons all over, the place, this is going to be a logistical nightmare. Solvable but annoying. Secondly, for entities like the CFC, this is going to be a logistical nightmare. Solvable for expensive. What this new structure essentially boils down to is that owners of moons are going to have to log in every single day and check every single POS to ensure that no cheeky urchin has stuck a siphon down to steal all the goo. Now, in the first instance, with the nomadic people, this means they will have to have 0SP alts logged off in every valuable POS, and someone will have to log them all in every day. For the second instance, with the people that own a large majority of conquerable space, do you know how many moons that is? I have no doubts that a good proportion of the high value ones are personal moons, but I've seen the list of CFC moons and it's massive. Go take a quick look at the influence map, count how many regions the CFC controls, and then think that there are between the region of 20-40 moons in each region that are worth something. For everyone that isn't Goons, this is a pretty good feature. You take a Blockade Runner, you find the R64s, you drop a BR and log out. 8 hours later, you log in and scoop it. Yes, yes I will be giving out the list of R64, R32, and R16 moons for the following regions: Fountain, Querious, Delve, Period Basis, Aridia, Deklein, Tenal, Venal, Cloud Ring, Outer Ring and Pure Blind. No, no I won't charge you for it (donations always welcome). The first five of those regions has the data for the new moons and the old moon, the rest only has the old moons, but I think I know a way to get the new moon data AND piss Endie off at the same time. We'll see. One last point I've seen is people saying that it's OK; any POS with guns will automatically shoot these siphons. Those people are idiots. Next time you're flying a cloaky ship or something fast, go drop a can next to a hostile POS. POS guns only shoot ships, and they aren't very good at it. Do they shoot cans or bubbles? No, they don't.
Tractor Beams: A deployable thing you plop down and all the wrecks magically come to it, so you don't have to fly all over the fucking place to loot things. Sounds hilarious, and whenever big battles happen, I'm going to warp a blockade runner to the fight grid and plop one down, and watch all the loot come to me. It's going to make me a rich man. I'm not sure exactly what's going to happen if more than one person drops one, does the loot go to the closest? Or do both tractors grab the loot and it ends up somewhere in the middle? It makes me a little sad that the poor Noctis is a little defunct, but on the other hand, you can just fit 8 salvagers. I think this module is mostly aimed at high sec mission runners, as seeing one on DScan in nullsec is a big bright target for hostiles, as well as being scannable with probes.
Depot: Affectionately termed "The Yurt", this is another one of the new modules. It's basically a smaller, more mobile POS, but without the shields. You plonk it down somewhere, can store stuff in it and refit from it. It's going to be good for solo explorers, as you can take it with you in your nullified cloaky travel tengu, refit to your exploration fit, find all the sites, refit to DPS mode, run them all and then drop your loot off. At the end of the day, you refit back to uncatchable mode, scoop your depot and trundle off back to high sec. It'll be interesting to see how long it lasts, and how easy it is to destroy, and most importantly, whether it drops loot or not. The other use is by taking one with you when you roam, or on strat ops when you don't know what the baddies are flying. You can take your other set of weapon systems and refit when you get there if the baddies have long range ships and you have short range guns. I can foresee a hilarious situation where both sides sit huddled around their depot, refitting constantly to react to the opposition, and never actually engaging. Until they all get bombed because they're sat next to a warpable structure that is...
Warp Speeds: They are changing the way ships warp, with bigger ships getting into warp proportionally slower than smaller ships. I feel that this is a mechanic that will probably be broken and some clever spark will quickly find a way to exploit it hilariously. The change is a pretty big buff to the already over powered bombers, as now they can bomb battleship fleets who can't warp off before the bombs land. This has pretty big implications for chasing people as well, as they smaller ship (the one who is normally fit with the tackle) is now almost guaranteed to catch the bigger ship as it tries to flee. I haven't read or heard much more information on this one, so the jury is still out.
Ship Changes: As with every recent patch, they're balancing some of the ships - some of them rather dramatically.
Interceptors: This is the most contentious change, as interceptors will no longer be affected by bubbles. Goodbye dead end systems with 30 bubbles protecting that mining fleet, hello the new faster warping, bubble immune tackle ceptor. This is going to make moving around 0.0 space hilariously easy, as interceptors are normally fast enough to gate crash if there are instalocking tacklers waiting on the other side.
Interdictors: Bubbles are going to look different (no idea why) and they will warp faster. Great, that sabre is now DEFINITELY going to get ahead and catch me. But at least it'll look pretty as I die. The other dictors are also being balanced (or the sabre will get nerfed, or both) so the other three might actually be useful.
I was once involved in a supercap fight. It was after -A- welped 16 supers onto the Test staging undock, but before Asakai, but other than that I can't remember many details. I took a DPS ship with me, and died pretty much as soon as we arrived on grid. As happens in every super fight, everybody and their mother was screaming at people to get in dictors and hictors and tackle the supers (who were obviously trying their utmost to kill said dictors and hictors). There were friendly supers there ejecting dictors from their cargo holds for people to reship into. The first one I jumped in was fine. I got in it, MWD on, approach super at the edge of the bubble field. Before I get there, around 10km away, I die again. No problem. I turn around in slow boat in my pod. It's 10% TiDi, the nearest empty dictor is like 50km+ away. I burn about 10 before I realise I'm probably going to get smart bombed or something. So I start burning towards the edge of the bubbles, which takes forever. I eventually reach the edge and warp off to the nearest celestial and warp back to Beffah, who is in her super. I PM her, and tell her to gib dic. She does, I jump in and start burning back towards the enemy supers. I get there and go to launch a bubble. No bubbles. WHO THE FUCK HAS A DICTOR IN THEIR SMA WITH NO FUCKING BUBBLES. I've never forgiven Beffah for that night.
Marauders: Basically the step above a faction battleship, with a pretty high SP requirement to be able to even sit in, let alone fly properly. CCP keep turning around and stepping backwards with this one, as there is a fair amount of dissent as to the new shiny function. The new shiny function has been dubbed mini-siege. Its proper name is "Bastion Mode" but is in all ways, the sub cap version of the Dreadnaught siege cycle. You hit butan, you can't move or receive external actions and you get a big buff to how much you can rep and how much damage you do. Oh, and there's a cool new animation. This was the first change to be announced, and as is always the case, everyone went OMG WTF BBQ. Some people love it, some people hate it. I'm one of those in the middle and on the fence. I think it's going to be a fairly god mode ship for high sec missioners, as they can just enter the mission, sit the fuck down and kill everything, drop a tractor deployable and feel smug with themselves. The cycle (in its current iteration) only lasts a minute, which is enough time to kill loads of rats, but not enough time to put you into any actual danger. PVP wise, it's going to be one of those niche things that small rich groups bring along to large battles. Fit with an MJD, these things can warp in, bastion, alpha, MJD, bastion, alpha, MJD, bastion, alpha all over the grid. It's like a sniper wing but more expensive and that doesn't have to ever leave the grid. The other use I can see for them is in incursions. I've only experienced low sec incursions, but I assume the principle applies to all incursions. You warp in a load of shiny faction battleships, kill everything and warp to the next site. Each site takes between 5-10 minutes. Doesn't that sound like something the Marauders would be good at? As long as they are tanked enough to survive the Bastion cycle, they kill everything and are then repped up back to full armor/shield. As I mentioned, CCP keeps changing their mind, and I think there hope is that we will be distracted from the imbalance by the other stuff in the expansion. Which to be fair is probably true.
ECM Frigates: Have you ever seen a Hyena? How often do you fight against Kitsunes? EAFs are not very commonly seen. Mostly because their cruiser counterparts do a much better job. The problem with the EAF is twofold. Firstly, the will explode if you look at them. They have an insanely small tank. I tried to tank fit one the other day even without any utility or damage, they still tend to come out with less EHP than a normal frigate. The second, related, problem is that there bonused role (i.e. the web, ECM, damp etc) isn't bonused enough so that in order to utilize it properly, you have to be quite close. Quite close and no tank is not a good combination. They are giving EAFs a thorough overhaul, which excited me because the Hyena is a mother fucking beast of a ship. And maybe people will stop hating on my Falcon, and start hating on my Kitsune.
New Ships: For the first time in a while, we're seeing two new ships which don't require vast amounts of PLEX and some good luck in the Alliance Tournament. There will be a new faction frigate, and a new faction cruiser. They also aren't grey, which is a change. The faction is Sisters of Eve and they'll be basically bonused towards exploration. Because exploration definitely needed more people doing it since the last expansion, which was based on exploration.
Weapons: Firstly they are introducing the Rapid Heavy Missile Launcher, a battleship sized equivalent of the Rapid Light Missile Launcher. Basically a short range missile that is good at killing small things. Which is exactly what battleships need right?
Secondly, they are changing the way large gun skills work. In the current iteration, you train small guns, then the specialisation, the medium guns, then the specialisation, then the large guns and finally the large gun specialisation. Then you do it again for the other two weapon types (the three types being Projectile, Hybrid and Energy). They are changing this, and from what I understand, to train the large gun specialisation, you will no longer need the specialisation for the medium and small guns. Which makes sense. Which makes me angry. As I've just finished training all these bastard skills on two of my characters.
Certificates: For a long time, there was a much underused section of the character sheet than people only went to because EveMon would complain incessantly if you ignored it. This was Certificates. In its current state, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense, and was definitely due an overhaul. However. I don't like parts of how CCP is changing it. Firstly, I personally find it rather satisfying when I claim a certificate. It's me saying "look the fuck at me and how much time I've spent training skills, I'm Core Capacitor Elite *click*". They are taking this away, and now I don't get to click anything. I can get over that. Probably. The bit that I don't like is that it now tells you essentially what you can do and what you can't, and what ships you'd be good at flying. It takes a way a little bit of the learning curve, but a useful bit that helps people understand how ships are meant to work and is a little bit spoon feeding. Instead of somebody saying "hmm, a Curse. That looks fun and something I'd enjoy, what skills would help me fly that?” it'll be "The skill checker says I can fly a Curse pretty well, I'm going to go buy one even though I don't know what it does". Subtle but important to me. On the other hand, it means more people will fly Faction Battleships that I can kill. Swings and roundabouts.
Other Random Things: There are a couple of other additions, and I'm sure they'll be a few more before the expansion is released (and some more they forgot to tell us about, or breakages they hadn't noticed).
They are integrating Twitch into the Eve client, because we definitely needed more distractions from actually playing the game and definitely didn't need that extra screen space in the overview. I'm assuming that means I can watch Twitch through my client, rather than it just being on the launcher like the LoL one is. If I'm right, then it's also one step closer to integrating other video such as YouTube, which in turn means more people getting banned for linking porn in fleet.
The facebook page has images in higher resolution. The change we've all been waiting for.
They are doing something to the character selection thing. If this change means that I don't have to log out to switch between characters on my account then this is totally under publicized, and is something I'd be un-proportionally excited about. If not, then I don't really care about it.
I think that's everything, although I've probably forgotten something. If you're reading this and there isn't a picture of a mango at the top, it's because IE6 won't let me do it. If there is, I'm at home and using a real browser. Does it make you thirsty?