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EVE Online's colossal player-built stations are starting to decay

Industrial decay at the edge of space

Since their introduction in 2016, citadels have defined the cut-throat politics of EVE Online. Wars are now centred on slugfests like the Battle for X47L-Q, as Keepstar citadels provide insurmountable defences against all but the most determined force. But developers CCP now reckon there are too many of these unassailable bastions floating about unguarded. With this week's Forsaken Fortress update, it's time to let these structures rot.

Arriving on Tuesday 26th, Forsaken Fortress makes neglecting a station a costly proposition by adding new abandonment states. If a citadel hasn't been fuelled in over 7 days, it'll transition from "Low Power" to "Abandoned", removing its invulnerable reinforcement states and friendly tethering for allied fleets in orbit. Worst of all, all the goodies stored inside will have their asset safety removed.

Right now, citadels are the only way to secure ships, blueprints and expensive kit outside of NPC-owned stations. But if an abandoned citadel goes boom, there's a 50:50 chance any items inside will be lost entirely - or else drift into space, ready to be snapped up by thieving raiders.

It's an update intended to make owning one of EVE's mini Death Stars a riskier proposition - and to keep folks from disengaging from the system once they'd popped a station into place. Lead game designer Steve Clark told Kotaku that, prior to the update, there were "around 40,000" citadels in New Eden - roughly half of which were sitting in low-power mode as glorified storage units. These would go unpowered in Forsaken Fortress, their goodies ripe for the taking.

Those structures might not be at risk of decay 'til next week - the clock for abandonment didn't start until the patch went live last Tuesday - but it's already put the fear into idle landlords (spacelords?). Following the update, capsuleers have scrambled to make sure their stations are well-maintained, or else started hauling valuable goods out of those they don't feel are worth the investment.

"Since announcement of the update, almost a third of those low-power structures have been fuelled," Clark revealed.

Citadels gave corporations a chance to secure a home in the deepest, darkest depths of space. But nothing in EVE should ever feel secure - and if players can't keep fuel rolling in, the rusted scent of industrial decay may soon sweep right across New Eden.

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