It's time for me -- once again -- to support two incompatible positions simultaneously.
And just to show that I'm really pro at this skill, I'm going to do it twice in less than 24 hours. ;-) Watch for the other instance of this later today or tomorrow.
In a day seemingly full of EVE devblogs, Torfi put out one of them showing off the three new racial CQs. This isn't new work: the CSM was shown the designs all the way back in late June, and based on their descriptions (Trebor said he liked the Gallente one, Mittens expressed a preference for the Caldari one), we can surmise that the designs haven't changed all that much since then.
First and before I say anything else, all four CQs are overly dark. The current Minmatar one is barely lit at all (apparently this is going to be improved somewhat when the others are released), but even the Gallente one would have Captain Picard saying "Computer, increase light levels by 50%." Torfi jokes that repeated viewings of Blade Runner are required for a job in the CCP art department... except that that doesn't appear to be a joke from where I'm sitting. ;-) In the pictures for the Caldari and Amarr CQs, unfocus your eyes and you can't make out where the pilot is standing in those rooms. Dark clothes in dark CQs in a dark universe, blah blah blah.
Yeah, got the message, CCP, thanks.
So, the new CQs are very pretty, but dark. I like all three of the new ones in their own ways. I'm not sure which is my favorite, but I already know which one is my least favorite: the Minmatar one. Moving on...
Remember, the CQs (and Incarna in general) are about two things: immersion, and increased identification with your character.
Here comes the part where I believe two incompatible things simultaneously. ;-)
I immediately asked CCP Fallout the question: "Will we be able to select one of the CQs as our home CQ, or will we be forced into a CQ based on the race of the station?" I was told that the latter is going to be the case: if you only ever dock in Minmatar stations, the Minmatar CQ will be the only one you ever see. You'll only see the Gallente CQ if you dock in a Gallente-owned or -produced station.
I could argue that either option would increase, or decrease immersion and character identification.
The "the CQ matches the station" argument goes like this: as a capsuleer, you're not living in this room. You're only renting it from the station owner. The station has sixteen hundred CQs, and all of them look like this one. You can't bring your own CQ along wherever you go because that breaks immersion. Besides (LtColLaurentius provided this argument), it makes no sense for the Amarr to have Minmatar CQs or the Caldari to allow Gallente CQs within their stations.
I simultaneously believe this argument and reject it. I believe it because it makes logical sense.
I reject it because the argument is silly. If the Gallente aren't going to allow Caldari CQs, then why will they allow me to dock my Caldari Navy Scorpion with all Caldari Navy fittings, piloted by a Caldari? Hell, not letting me feel like I'm at home is bad business, and the Gallente don't believe in bad business. ;-) When I travel to India, I assure you that I don't stay in an Indian-style hotel. I seek out and stay in a westernized one. To those that say that this is immersion-breaking, I would argue that the vast individual dock where your frigate slowly spins where you can watch it from the balcony already does that, as does the Obelisk that can pop out of the tiny, tiny, tiny Minmatar station undock. Or is every station a Planck generator that's the size of a Titan on the outside, but the size of a Dyson sphere inside? And if it is, why can't it have a few hundred of each CQ type?
On the point of character identification, I can also support both positions. If you can carry around your own CQ model from station to station, that creates the distinct possibility that a future development of EVE might include character-created CQs, NeX-purchased "premium" CQs, or even sub-modules that can be used to decorate your CQ. Which are you going to identify with more: the blank slate CQ that looks no different from those of the other thousand people docked in the station? Or the one where you've graffiti-painted the walls and replaced the couch with bean-bags? Put another way, when you unlocked your house in Fallout 3, did you leave it undecorated for the rest of the game? I'll bet you didn't. But that's what CCP is asking you to do.
On the other hand, it's also easier to identify with your character if the environment he or she lands in changes as you fly around the galaxy. Back in the old ship-spinning days, it was very easy to identify with your character's location when you docked in an Amarr station, or a Minmatar station. The environmental sounds of those stations made it clear where you were, and lent a real weight to the fact that your character had flown half-way across the galaxy to end up in a new place. And enforced racial CQs bring that back now that the ship-spinning environment and its associated sounds have been expunged.
So yeah, I can believe two simultaneous incompatible things here with no trouble. ;-) Still, I favor the incompatible position to the left on this one. CCP, let me choose where I live.