Just over a week ago, thousands of NPC ships descended on Eve Online in an unprecedented invasion, forcing warring players to call off scuffles and defend their territory from the AI hordes. It's exciting, unless you're one of the understandably grumpy players who suddenly has to guard their faction's citadel from an enemy that doesn't sleep.
As reported by Eve's in-fiction news show, The Scope, not only are the "Drifters" gearing up for another wave of attacks, they're about to blinker an important reconnaissance tool - the local chat. Players will no longer automatically appear in this default chat channel when they warp into nullsec space, which opens the wormhole door for a new brand of Eve skullduggery. I'm enjoying thinking about the implications.
Basically, the Drifters are disrupting the supply of quantum-doo-das Eve's space telephones need to work. They're not actually doing this somewhere in-game, to be clear, it's just a neat way of folding the invasion into a change certain players have been after for a long time. Developers CCP have posted the details in non-game speak, as well as ensuring players they'll get a 48 hour warning before the blackout.
This video is much more fun though.
Here's Reddit user "u/wingspantt" explaining why this is a big deal:
"Because players automatically show up in the local chat list, powerful null sec alliances have been able to create automated scripts that scrape chat channels and alert their members when enemies have encroached on their territory. This means even stealth ships are detected semi-automatically, making it impossible to catch aware players or well scripted bots before they warp to the safety of the nearest Starbase.
"Now, for the first time ever in k-space (excluding wormhole space), this protection will not exist. Nobody knows how long this event will last, or if it's a permanent change. While it has been lobbied by some groups, including mine, for years, few thought it would ever happen, and nobody thought it would happen with so little warning."
Eve's spreadsheets and time-expectations scared me away after a few hours of play, but I've been reading about it for years (if you haven't, you really should start.) I'm fascinated by how battleworn players are responding to the invasion, and what the state of the galaxy might be once CCP have unleashed all they've got in store.
If this makes sneak attacks a possibility, surely at least one of Eve's major player factions will take advantage of it, even with these fresh warnings of escalating NPC aggression. CCP have demonstrated they're willing to cause a splash of chaos, and I'm hoping the attacks will only get spicier. They've introduced a new threat, and players could benefit from jointly rallying against it, but crafty players could benefit even more if they try to turn the situation to their advantage. It's very Game Of Thrones, and what's Eve if not Game Of Thrones but with real people dicking each over in space?