Freaky Wormholes Expand Eve Online By 46%

By Jim Rossignol on January 27th, 2009 at 8:31 am.


In what will probably be the biggest change to Eve Online in the past three years, developer “CCP Whisper” has announced some details about how the new wormhole system will work. The wormholes will be added in the upcoming March expansion, which is timed to coincide with Atari’s boxed release. Whisper says: “These wormholes are unstable and will spawn and vanish randomly throughout the known universe. A pilot who stumbles across one of these stellar phenomena can fly through it and travel to unknown space, where there are no stargates or stations, just the unexplored void of a new solar system. And when I say “new solar system” that is exactly what I mean. It will not be moving you to instanced space but rather to one of the thousands of new solar systems we will be adding to the EVE universe.” Lots more after the jump.

Whisper continues: “Wormholes will shift all the time. They will open and close and reopen at random locations throughout New Eden and thus present you with an ever-changing area of space that no-one can control all the choke-points to. While it is theoretically possible to move a control tower into wormhole space, set it up and maintain it, the logistical challenge and risks of fueling and defending a tower in a system with no permanent links to known space would be considerable. But then again the potential rewards are equally great.”

This is hugely exciting because it essentially addresses the disappoint we faced over the original exploration mechanism, which did little more than spawn new missions. This will be “real” exploration, that offers something like the venture into the unknown that we want from such exploits, quite unlike the those that are possible in the teeming Eve universe at present. The idea of getting a gang together not simply to rove about looking for targets, or to run a mission, but to actually go into unknown space, is thrilling. And if that new space is 46% the size of Eve’s current galaxy then we face no shortage of places to head off to. If the wormholes do shift this radically it could mean that players get trapped for a time, or find themselves coming back out in some hostile part of space. I should think people will try to deploy towers out there, too, which will be a massive new challenge. Without the super-easy logisitcal support of capital jump-drive ships getting back and forth to these wormhole system becomes a fresh puzzle. It shouldn’t, Whisper thinks, be supportable to expand Empires into these new regions, but folks will try.

“One important point needs to be made: Wormhole space will not be able to be claimed as sovereign space. This is partly due to current implementation restrictions regarding how we added 46% more solar systems to EVE but mainly because we wanted to design an area of space which, while risky to travel through, is open to all players all the time. We have not forgotten about the desirability of space for colonisation, and will be looking at ways to implement that gameplay feature in the future.”

All this is clearly great news for people who wanted Eve to have some other dimension of exploration and PvE, but it also suggests some strange possibilities for PvP: will wormhole roaming to pick off explorers and industrial corps become the new frontier for PvPers? What kind of gang would you have to taken into the wormhole? It’s clear that if this is a popular system then certain wormhole systems will rapidly become well-trafficked, with multiple gangs entering the systems and probably fighting over the resources. So this announcement clearly raises more questions that it answers, but it suddenly makes the coming expansion all the more interesting, and threatening to revitalise Eve’s low-end of solo or small-group play. I can’t wait to see it in more detail.

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69 Comments »

  1. Kua says:

    “but it suddenly makes the coming expansion all the more interesting, and threatening to revitalise Eve’s low-end of solo or small-group play.”

    Hip the flip hooray!

  2. noexes says:

    So they added dungeons? That’s cool I guess.

  3. Jim Rossignol says:

    No, they already have “dungeons”, the deadspace complexes. This is new space.

  4. Nuyan says:

    It’s a relatively simple addition, but oh-so brilliant and huge. Since reading it yesterday I constantly have all these potential hilarious and/or epic scenarios going through my head which could occur.

  5. Ian says:

    I’m not and have no intention of being an Eve player but this genuinely sounds it could be pretty exciting for those who play the game.

  6. Bobsy says:

    So, er. What exactly is OUT there? Just empty space for wandering round? Or something more substantial?

    Oh, and can you do the whole wander-round-stations thing yet?

  7. roBurky says:

    There are going to be new kinds of NPC spaceships, but there haven’t been any details released about them. They’ve just said they’re not going to behave anything like the previous NPCs, and that you should face them with your ship fitted for pvp.

    Also, somehow you’re going to gain the materials for building the lego-block tech 3 ships from wormhole space. In other words, enormous riches.

  8. TooNu says:

    Oooooookay. First off I am writing this in my Swedish class. Secondly WTFAWESOME?

    Seriously is this what is about to happen? I can sense my militia activities dwindling at the thought of this. How is this going to make any sense?
    I ask because if there is no gates or stations in these random space areas, what do you warp to in these systems? If they are random and unexplored, then the planets surely won’t be mapped, nor the roid belts or even the star.

    I just see it as a chance to explore teh unknown but then what? you get into an empty system with nothing anywhere, hit the MWD for 3 to 4 days AFKing to get to somewhere random, get probed out and lose your POS.

    Is it perhaps not quite that complex? Moons and planets come up on the rightclick menu automatically upon entering system or something?

    And finally, if the possibility of becoming trapped exists, like, you gotta be quick to take the wormhole outta there before you get locked in to an unknown region of space. So you should only explore with a Charon full of blueprints and POS parts “just incase”.

    The possibilities sound thrilling, yet, an equally maddening time consumption nightmare.

  9. malarky says:

    I’m going to have to fire up my account again… BUT WHERE WILL I FIND THE TIME?

  10. Diogo Ribeiro says:

    What Ian said, basically. While I have no intention of playing it, it’s an incredibly detailed universe that keeps on expanding and throwing something at players’ direction to bolster its longevity without looking like it’s just filler. I think very few, if any, MMOGs provide such a playing field. And even more amazing is that it’s been going on for years now.

  11. Seniath says:

    Great, now the whispers at the base of my spine have started again. THANKS JIM.

  12. dalig varg says:

    one of the guys in my corp has a massive plan to colonize a wormhole system this is it.

    Wormhole Space, Ghetto Sov.

    1) Your corp locates a suitable wormhole system. A suitable wormhole system has, at a minimum, an ice belt and some method of getting minerals, as well as a wormhole that can admit your Rorqual in step 2.

    2) You load up a Rorqual with the following:

    * 6 clones of people with strong mining and combat skills, as well as one good manufacturer
    * Some macks / hulks / haulers
    * A good selection of T1 BPOs
    ** A large tower
    ** A corp hanger
    ** A ship maint. array
    ** A refining array
    ** A large ship assembly array
    ** A medium ship assembly array
    ** A small ship assembly array
    ** An ammunition assembly array
    ** A drone assembly array
    ** An equipment assembly array

    By my calculations all those POS parts use up 84,750m3 of space, which leaves a little over 50K for fuel and equipment.

    3) You take your Rorqual into the system (as CCP has already said caps can use wormholes). Bring in additional supplies via industrial ships (whose pilots are NOT cloned on the Rorqual) until the wormhole collapses.

    4) Set up your POS

    5) Clone jump your pilots in

    6) Start mining fuel, minerals, and building up your fleet. Your explorer pilot looks for wormholes going back to Empire while this is going on.

    7) When your explorer finds a suitable wormhole, bring out more of your forces. And some POS guns. Continue doing this until you’re moved out completely.

    8) You now own a wormhole system. Feel free to gank any exploring noobs mercilessly Pfft. Use medical clones and your Rorqual’s clone bay to get pods in and out of Empire easily. Move T3 materials and surplus minerals when suitable wormholes to empire are available.

    *Bring in more Rorquals and Orcas.
    *Continue Exploring, as you find new systems, deploy PoS.
    *Check that every system you take over, is whithin correct LY range from your other systems.
    *Build a systems network, map it
    *Keep a supply network, let the corps keep a eye out for suitable connections to empire, for resupply, trade goods, etc.
    *Build a vast shadow empire

    Or Just go on a Orca Safari with loaded with a good mix of Industrial and Combat Ships and get “Lost in Space” It could make for Exciting Times!

  13. Kelron says:

    It sounds interesting, but I can see a number of potential gameplay issues as yet unexplained. E.g. the chances of getting trapped, the difficulty of getting to a specific system in the new space (either too easy or too hard/unpredictable), where the wormholes lead and whether you can see where it’s going. I’m an outlaw, so I’m not going to be exploring wormholes if there’s a chance I’ll end up in high security space and get blown apart in seconds.

  14. Kelduum says:

    Well, you shouldn’t be able to get stuck there, as you can always self-destruct your ship and pod, and wake up back wherever your medical clone is.

    They are making changes to the scan-robe mechanics too, making the process more logical, and the probes themselves re-usable, so you wont need a massive stock of them when you head out into the unknown.

  15. Heliocentric says:

    Quite awesome. Eve finally approaching the ideal space game. Shame about the time based skills putting me off. Instead of enjoying the game i need to ocd a skill path to perfection.

    God forbid i get podded and lose progress!

  16. Fede says:

    “* 6 clones of people with strong mining and combat skills, as well as one good manufacturer”

    This reminded me of Dwarf Fortress :D

  17. MacBeth says:

    If I didn’t avoid all MMO’s for my own safety/sanity/social life/ability to do other things, I’d totally play EVE, and this would make me play it even more, if I did play it (which I don’t).

  18. Jim Rossignol says:

    The chances of getting podded and losing progress in Eve are slim. The time-based thing makes life a lot easier for people with less time for actual grinding, like me.

  19. Kelron says:

    Heliocentric – I’m not sure what you’re saying there. Are you complaining that you can’t “OCD a skill path to perfection”, or that you have to? Because that’s the point of the skill system, it’s independant from playing time. You can play casually for a couple of hours a day and still improve your character as much as someone who plays 12 hours. And getting podded almost never results in loss of progress, even if you forget to update your clone you only lose a small amount of skillpoints.

  20. Bobsy says:

    Hm. Normally threads on Eve make me wish I played it. But this one has made me glad that I don’t, somehow.

  21. cliffski says:

    I love ccp. They are truly the masters of MMO design and implementation. I take my hat off to them in a big way. I don’t get how WOW sells more copies than EVE does, they are doing EVERYTHING right.

  22. wallace says:

    The implications of this are fairly staggering, and we still don’t know a massive amount about what else is coming in the expansion. I can’t wait until this stuff hits Singularity.

    If anything it’s going to be interesting to see hundreds of players, who normally wouldn’t brave the dangers of low sec or 0.0, throwing themselves into unknown space through the high sec wormholes.

  23. Heliocentric says:

    The ocd is about me. Not eve. I’d love to play a game of eve with no skills and access to anything you can buy and find.

    Issue is, player who has subbed since the start, or even a year ago, won’t simply be more experienced. But will actually mine faster than me, move faster than me and do more damage than me.

    All this in the same ship as me, and they will doubtlessly be more wealthy.

    So, not only is 0.0 space the most appealing for wealth but i can’t compete there. So it all feels like a positive feedback loop of empowerment.

    All i was saying about skills is that they empower long time players, which to me feels a few steps short of paying for xp. Better than grinding sure, but grinding already empowers money,

  24. Kelron says:

    For me, all MMOs have that issue, but it doesn’t really bother me so much once I get into them. Take any game based around character progression, and of course older players are going to have an advantage. I have no drive to power level in experience based games, so I rarely play them for long enough to catch up to old players, but it’s about game experience too. An older player is going to have a much better idea of how the game works, and in EVE that’s far more important than skillpoints. It’s just that EVE has more to learn than most other MMOs. I know some people are put off by the idea that they can never “catch up” to older players, but you really don’t need to.

  25. CreativeShadows says:

    Heliocentric, the point you put across is purely based on a one on one encounter, the point of a massively multiplayer game is you play with others. I mean look at goonswarm when they started they were a bunch of noobs but there were alot of them, and now they are one of the most powerful groups in the game.

    My suggestion to any new eve player find a group you can play and get along with and play together eve is all about the social interaction baby!

  26. Xantheus says:

    Haven’t played Eve for a long time, but this new wormhole system could give them a new idea for an easter egg: our solar system. Some poor guy who has not played the game that long comes across a wormhole that noone else has found, which leads to the original solar system from which the eve universe lost its link a long tie ago to. But then noone would believe he has found earth again, and the SECRET IS LOST FOREVER THE END>

  27. qrter says:

    I don’t get how WOW sells more copies than EVE does, they are doing EVERYTHING right.

    It’s situated in space. Lots of people are turned away by that.

  28. Meat Circus says:

    @dalig varg:

    I’d be surprised if you can clone jump your pilots into a wormhole system. Thus, your entire plan falls apart.

  29. Meat Circus says:

    @qrter:

    EVE is unforgiving. The WEAK and PATHETIC shall not survive in the cold dark of EVE.

  30. Lilliput King says:

    I’d be terrified of leaving a wormhole in high-sec in a fancy ship.

    CONCORD hate me so.

  31. Ian says:

    I think the reason people can feel turned off by Eve without even having given it a fair chance is that unless they’re instantly drawn in by spaceships and such then even the lower level gameplay can sound complex and unforgiving.

    In WoW you can at least do the basic 5-man group stuff (can’t talk for PvP or instances) with fairly average gear provided you’re not a halfwit or a sociopath.

  32. Azhrarn says:

    TooNu: Your navigation computer will in all likelyhood recognise large features in a solar system. So it’s pretty safe to assume Planets, Moons, Stars and Belts will be available to warp too.

    You’d need to MWD for weeks in the fastest interceptors in EVE to cover a decent distance otherwise. :P
    (as an example, to fly 1 AU (~150 million kilometres) you’d need to travel at 4.5 km/s for 386 days))

    As for the expansion itself, I’m looking forward to it very much.

    And I get the sneaky feeling that CCP designed the Marauder class battleships specifically for what they’re doing here. (lots of spare high-slots for probe launchers, cloak, etc., massive cargoholds, low ammo consumption)

  33. TooNu says:

    Azhran: That is a good point about the disntace and time required, and I would like to think your scanner works that way also. Just normally a system would need to be scouted out first before all planetary bodies are charted.
    Just because you warp in, your scanner should not pick up a moon 45AU away…that is insane. I guess for sheer game mechanics it would make sense though.

    It is going to be alot emptier in the normal areas now I fear, great news for JITA.

  34. Dominic White says:

    While I have neither the time nor the money to really get my teeth into EVE, I love reading how CCP are constantly expanding it. They really do seem to be one of the few MMO studios that have managed to adhere to my ideal of the genre. That monthly fee gets you a constantly evolving game, rather than the right to pony another £20-25 every six months for the content that your subscription paid for.

    That, and having a single, constantly expanding and changing universe.

  35. egg says:

    I have started playing EVE a week ago. Is this expansion targeted only at the veteran players or will I be able to enjoy it too? I mean, I still have a long way to go in this game. Just been doing some missions here and there. Almost got myself enough money for my first cruiser. \o/

    Still, I am quite optimistic with this ‘expansion’. While I joined EVE because I want to interact with other players and stuff, I always enjoyed exploring so very much. I’ll never forget the nights I spent exploring hostile islands in Risk Your Life. It was oh so mediocre to nowadays standards but so very much cool for me. <3

  36. Kelron says:

    They do generally include content for everyone in expansions. Grab a cheap frigate, and maybe spend a day doing some basic probe training and you should be good to go exploring. But at this stage, we don’t know if you’ll be able to profit much from what you find or if the NPCs (and players, of course) will be too much for a new player.

  37. Tei says:

    @Meat Circus: I suppose you can enter a mining guild in empire, and make PVE missions till your eyes bleed. This will give you enough money and friends.

  38. teo says:

    now give back my ghost training

  39. egg says:

    @Kelron

    Yeah, I’m afraid that might be the case. Doesn’t matter. One day I will be oldbie enough to enjoy it.

    And by then CCP will release another expansion which will again exclude me. Which is gonna be a bummer. But that’s just how life in space goes, I figure.

  40. teo says:

    @ Heliocentric

    Play the game and you’ll see that it doesn’t matter that much. There are limits to how good you can become in one area so even if someone has maxed out mining skills you can catch up to them reasonably fast

    If you’ve played long enough you aren’t making as meaningful progress, skill wise, anymore. It really doesn’t matter that someone has played 5 years

  41. Azhrarn says:

    @teo: it does matter, but rather than the player having an insurmountable advantage he’s good at for instance 2 or 3 races’ starships rather than the 1 you have trained up sofar.

  42. DJ says:

    This is the best game ever and te summary makes it sound awsome cant wait

  43. Kelron says:

    @ egg

    Yeah, that’s the way it goes. Expansions are generally aimed at long-term players. If you’ve only been playing a week you’ve hardly seen any of what EVE has to offer in its current state. At least in EVE you aren’t actually prevented from trying out new content by level restrictions etc, and CCP are constantly working on improving the game for new players as well as old.

  44. roBurky says:

    egg:
    Nothing in Eve excludes the new player from participating. It only excludes the unconnected or solo player. Get into a corp doing the activities you want to do, and you’re sorted.

    But you might be pleased to know that I’ve seen CCP Whisper say that wormholes you find in highsec space will generally link to wormhole systems of similar difficulty/richness to highsec.

    He said that was only going to be a general rule of thumb, though. There’s going to be a lot of randomness to muck that up.

  45. cyrenic says:

    “It shouldn’t, Whisper thinks, be supportable to expand Empires into these new regions, but folks will try.”

    MMO developers chronically underestimate their players. I’m interested to see if he’s right :).

  46. A Delicate Balance says:

    As Roburky says:
    Nothing in Eve excludes the new player from participating. It only excludes the unconnected or solo player. Get into a corp doing the activities you want to do, and you’re sorted.

    So if you’re a new Eve player or considering playing and would like some friends, try posting in the public folder on http://statecorp.net/forum As long as you’re just visiting we’ll be happy to give you advice on getting started in Eve and potentially take you into the fold – it is essential to be in a corporation (clan) that cares about it’s members. Statecorp does!

  47. Bobsy says:

    Can I disagree? I was in the bestest, most friendly corp evereverever (Statecorp), one totally suited to “small” ops that a relative newbie could get involved in… and I still felt excluded by the game. It’s not that I wasn’t invited into operations – indeed, I felt extremely welcome. But I was tagging along, rather than taking an active role.

    Because Eve’s grind is passive and relies on offline time the simple virtue of having played for longer counts for a lot.

    That said, I haven’t played in years. Maybe it’s now made of puppies?

  48. El_MUERkO says:

    my orca flying alt account just got a lot more interesting :)

    i’m definitely considering some orca safari :D

  49. fodigg says:

    I love everything about EVE except for playing it. I find myself following EVE-related news and wishing the gameplay were more like Freelancer or Crimson Skies.

    This sounds fun, and once again I’m saddened that the “core toy”, the gameplay, of EVE isn’t something that appeals to me more.

  50. egg says:

    You guys are probably right. As soon as I’m a little more used to the game, I’ll be sure to join a corp. That’s where EVE shines, I was told.

    And even if I’m not able to enjoy this expansion, I still have the whole ‘normal’ game to discover. :D

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