As a history buff, the phrase "crossing the Rubicon" very much invokes in me a feeling of passing a point of no return. Had Gaius Julius Caesar not been victorious during his civil war, he would have been executed and the history of the world would have been very different. And of course his victory changed the very tenor of a successful, slowly advancing and conservative Roman Republic into a vibrant, fast-growing, but chaotic Roman Empire. So while I recognize that the name of the next EVE expansion is mostly an in-game lore conceit, it's hard not to see the subtle out-of-game message.
...if there is one. I might be seeing something that isn't there, of course.
EVE Online: Rubicon was supposed to be a bit of a victory lap. This is an expansion that CCP Seagull has quite literally signed her name to, the first expansion in a series of expansions to launch her long-term vision of space colonization and player ownership of space. I felt rather bad to see it disrupted by the furor over the SOMER Blink.
Some wag even joked a little meanly that CCP would be announcing the expansion to be called EVE Online: Blink. Whoops.
Anyway, this video stream came about partially because both at a meeting with Seagull a few weeks before the summit and at the summit itself, I and the rest of the CSM made a case for Seagull to get out in public a bit more. This is something that CCP Unifex did to great success a few times as Executive Producer: he was at the center of a video dev-blog introducing the next expansion, talking about the overall sorts of things the expansion would include... that sort of thing. It was always short, not much more than a quick appetizer, really. But it did a great job of putting all of the follow-on dev-blogs into context and start to get players excited about the new expansion before it was released. This was something that I and the rest of CSM8 urged Seagull to do and she agreed that it was a good idea.
Something to keep in mind which isn't NDA: in none of the past video dev-blogs was the whole story of the next expansion told. They were just intended to let you know some of the things you'd be seeing, not all of them. With the background stuff done, I wanted to chat a bit about the Rubicon features from what was presented. In a couple of cases, I'll be writing full posts about these once the relevant dev-blogs are written.
New Anchorables: Siphon Array, Tractor Beam Platform, Depot, Cyno Jammer. I love this one and a couple of them -- notably the Depot -- have the potential to be quite literal game-changers. I was making arguments for the ability to push combat refitting down to the small-gang level back in 2012. The Depot addresses the same problem but with a completely different and really clever mechanic. Needless to say, I'm going to be carrying around one of these quite a bit and have been spending some time coming up with interesting use cases for them. It's also tempting to think of the tractor platform as strictly a PvE conceit... until you remember that some of those PvP wreck fields are pretty big. ;-)
Those of you who think of the new anchorables as the first step toward modular POSes are forgiven for doing so.
Ship Balance: interceptor, marauder, interdictors, EAFs. The march continues. I for one have been using CSM influence to make sure the re-balance train moves through the ship classes pretty rapidly because we still have a lot of really important classes to go... Of the four classes, I'm most excited about the EAF changes so far. It's been so long since I could reasonably fly my Kitsune or my Sentinel. I'm personally least-excited about the marauder but that's because I was hoping for a real fast-attack PvP battleship and I don't think the marauders fit the bill.
Warp Acceleration Change. I love love love this one. And I might even get to take a certain small amount of credit for it. There's a funny story about how I think this one got rolling: one of my first days in the CCP/CSM Skype stream, I offered a bottle of brandy to the dev that could make this change happen. I've been thinking about it since all the way back in January, long before I knew I was gonna be on CSM8...
If I am elected to CSM8, know what the very first thing I'm going to mention to CCP Soundwave and/or CCP Fozzie and/or whomever will listen to me? It's silly. But it's just the first thing I'm going to mention: why do all ships accelerate to warp at the same rate? 17 times out of 20, this means that two ships that align and warp away from one gate to another gate will arrive within one or two seconds of each other. Doesn't matter if one is a battleship and the other is an interceptor. If the distance between gates is under 20AU or so, they'll arrive at the next gate at the same time, forcing the interceptor to keep up the chase in the next system. This is silly to me, and easily fixable.And so it was one of the first thing I mentioned. ;-) I'll wait to tell the rest of the story until after the dev in question gets to take credit in a dev-blog for his hard and awesome work. And yes, I will absolutely be paying off during my winter trip to Iceland.
But leave it to an EVE player to see an unexpected downside:
CCP is killing bio breaks on long warps! This is outrageous!gg, Sarmatiko, gg. I laughed.
High-sec POCOs under player control. I'm going to be watching this one closely in the coming months. I'm a tiny bit concerned about certain large null-sec griefing alliances coming in and taking over all of the POCOs within a few jumps of the market systems, then "defending" them by hiding behind the enormous cost to war-dec their alliances. I've raised this concern with CCP. A representative from a certain large null-sec alliance who was sitting next to me at the time said that I was over-reacting. We'll see. ;-)
The SoE exploration frigate and cruiser. I'll have more to say about these ships when stats are released. For now though, you can rest assured that their resemblance to ships in certain other sci-fi properties was noted by the CSM during the Art team session in Iceland. That said, they're not the first ships to resemble or flat-out copy great-looking ships from other properties, nor are they likely to be the last.
Certificate system revamp. I think this one is important but it again will get its own post when the dev-blog is released. At that point, I'll have lots and lots to say about it.
That's all for now, I think. As the devs in question get their dev-blogs out, I'll write about each in turn and of course after the expansion is released I'll be giving my favorite and least favorite features for Rubicon from all of its features...