This is interesting. CCP are making changes to long-distance travel in EVE Online, "with the aim of significantly increasing minimum travel times between two arbitrary distant points." They feel that the current ease of movement around the space MMO's galaxy has "shrunk the practical dimensions of New Eden considerably, to the detriment of the experience."
Even small changes to EVE Online can have a huge impact on the game, because of its focus on player-driven experiences. The blog post explaining the incoming changes is therefore appropriately tentative, laying out the specifics of and thinking behind the changes in careful detail.
CCP explain why they think the current setup needs to change:
- Nullsec is stagnant and needs a change. This is the first of many steps in our plan.
- Big fights are cool, but they’re crowding out more accessible and more frequent smaller ones.
- These changes have positive implications for people not involved in sovereignty warfare, for example making use of capitals in lowsec less risky.
- We expect the impact of these changes to be emergent, and as a consequence are unpredictable and will take a while to develop on TQ. This plays into our longer-term plans, as you’ll see in a second!
Before explaining how they're going to do it:
We are going to allow capital ships to use gates in lowsec/nullsec, and we are aiming to make gate-to-gate travel take less time than jump travel over distances of more than ~20 LY. We've run simulations for capital ships travelling between arbitrary pairs of systems, and settled on the target movement speed of no less than 3 minutes per lightyear for travel over 20 LY. This should allow us to bring about the main change we want to see – less sustained use of jump travel – while still preserving its value for short bursts of movement.
The full post goes into a lot more detail of how jump travel is being slowed down with a new system of "jump fatigue", which causes successive jumps to each take longer than the last.
CCP have learned the hard way that they can't make these changes lightly, so aside from writing this post and running simulations, they're also consulting with the Council of Stellar Management about the changes to make sure that any player feedback is heard and considered before implementation.
Rich Stanton covered some of the particulars of how jump travel works in his article about EVE Online's Big Game Hunters. All his articles from this year's EVE Fanfest are worth reading, on EVE's spies, its China server, its future and more.