EVE's latest expansion, Rubicon, is set to launch tomorrow November 19th. In reference to the ancient river in Italy known as "the point of no return", Rubicon refers to the fact that EVE's pilots have grown to defy the Empires which created them. Is it dissent, subversion, or merely the first steps towards the pilots of EVE online claiming the universe as their own? Read on to find out.
CCP hosted a developer tour of the upcoming expansion late last week, and in fitting fashion the breadth and scope of what the Icelandic developer is doing in its flagship universe really blew us away. EVE's been around for ten years now, with no signs of slowing down. It's truly a "world". Rubicon is the 20th expansion that EVE's put out, and CCP is shipping the the 10th Anniversary Collector's Edition which comes packed with goodies for fans and newbies alike.
Rubicon is really the first step on a new story-based arc that centers around capsuleers of New Eden getting more and more control and really the 2nd round of big politics starting to emerge. The capsuleers (you), are starting to defy the Empires that made them. They're taking power away from the Empires, and giving the players more decisions to take over the stars themselves. They'll build, get new technology, even potentially master the known universe and... even beyond the known universe.
It's a type of nuclear war situation, the Empires are fighting each other constantly still, and the capsuleers realize they have the control because the Empires need them. The ultimate design goal is for players to construct their way out of the known universe for real, and into new areas of space. But Rubicon is just the beginning of all this, and the expansion brings with it a slew of new features to the game.
One of the biggest of these are Ghost Sites. They're a brand new type of content for EVE, focused on PVE. You can find them with a scanner, and inside find structures with blueprints and technology where pirates will fight you and try to self-distruct the locations. Meanwhile other players could be trying to hack into your ghost site as well, so there is still (of course) a sense of PVP too. These ghost sites are one of the ways players will be able to get the materials necessary to produce their own implants. Implants have always been a big part of EVE, but they've always just been something you buy.
The Mobile Siphon Unit
Rubicon will also introduce several new structures that players can build and temporarily use for their own personal gain: Depots, Tractor Units, Cynosural Inhibitor and Siphon Units. Mobile depots are like they sound: personal storage. They're attackable by other players, but sturdy and will enter a 48 hour reinforcement mode if brought down to 25% shields (thus giving you time to get your crap out of there before they blow). They last for weeks before decaying, but are great for when you're traveling in regions and can't get to a station because it's too far or too risky.
The tractor units are pretty sweet: effectively a lore-appropriate way for you to loot everything around you, these little buggers rake in all the wrecks you caused and any abandoned in an area. They're attackable, too, but attackers will be flagged for their actions. The inhibitors will protect you against unwanted visitors (or at least warn you of them), and the syphon units will actually leech resources from enemy ships. Something which will greatly help smaller groups of players take part in larger warfare.
Hi-Sec Customs Offices are now also being added to EVE. What are Customs Offices? From the Rubicon site:
"Installations that regulate the flow of resources to and from the planet that they orbit. They provide a relatively secure method of exporting large quantities, and they control the flow of imports, including restrictions on who can ship goods down to the planet surface. Until now, pilot control of these offices was limited to low and null security star systems, while offices in high security space remained under CONCORD's control."
"Customs Offices also tax the goods that pass through them, making them a desirable source of revenue, especially those that orbit planets where harvesting and manufacturing operations are abundant. Player owned customs offices are commonly referred to as POCOs."
Basically, the Empires are handing over all of these resource-rich buildings to the players who are able to go out there and take them over. Just don't attack one that belongs to someone you're not at war with, because then CONCORD will respond and you'll be toast.
ISIS hard at work.
There have been changes to warp and how it handles for each ship (making smaller ships speedier, and lumbering behemoths slower out the gate). There are balance changes across the board for all ship types, a brand new ISIS (InterBus Ship Identification System) to track and research any ship in the EVE pantheon, plus two brand new ships from the Sisters of EVE design.
Rubicon lands tomorrow, November 19th. Will you be resubbing to give it a shot, or perhaps even jumping in for the first time? Let us know in the comments.
Bill Murphy / Bill is the Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, RTSGuru.com, and lover of all things gaming. He's been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002, and you can harass him and his views on Twitter @thebillmurphy.