Why I’m Looking Forward to EVE: Rubicon

Rubicon starts EVE off into a new and exciting direction, and I cannot wait to see where it ends up!
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Rubicon is practically here, and the name is apt.  EVE Online has been an entity all to itself in the worldwide digital community for years, giving players the freedom to truly do essentially whatever they wish in the galactic sandbox.  Null-sec giving player corporations the ability to genuinely form interstellar empires has given thousands of players a chance to battle for the sort of (in-game) power other MMOs can only vaguely conceive of.

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As awesome of a concept as it is, it is also limited by a few entirely human factors.  The most notable limitation is the very fact these interstellar empire-builders have been at it for years.  The star systems of New Eden have long since been claimed and the factions which fight over them today are far too powerful for any upstart to have a real chance of upsetting the balance of power in any significant way.  The days of wandering into an unclaimed system and pronouncing oneself lord and master are long since past.

Rubicon is on the way to possibly changing that

The almost-here expansion is the first leading up to CCP’s stated goal of player-built stargates leading to new, unexplored star systems.  The new ghost sites people will be able to scan down will drop the first of the new items players will need to eventually build their own stargates, encouraging players to seriously look into watching for the random sites no matter where they are or what their aspirations might be.

Bringing wormholes into the game gave a chance to those people who wanted their own domain but lacked the muscle to push an existing alliance out of the way.  Many of the protections making these wormhole systems attractive to these lesser corporations and alliances also limit their ability to actually deliver on the ambitions which drive people to conquest.  Mass limits make it easy to defend a wormhole against a larger corporation or alliance, but being unable to claim sovereignty limits the satisfaction would-be warlords can enjoy.

New star systems throw all those limitations out the window

The absence of the big empires in these new systems coupled with the difficulty of reaching them offers an appealing mix to those who have wanted to carve out their domains.  A single corporation could, if they got enough of a head start, fortify a newly discovered system well enough to make it impractical for to conquer.  There might even be new ways of limiting travel to these systems in the future.  Being able to shut down an enemy stargate, or destroy it outright, could make for some truly impressive battles between the null-sec giants and these upstart exploratory empires.

At the same time, for those very empires battling eternally for dominance of space, the potential of these new systems to expand into is similarly unlimited.  Staging areas no enemy could reach or spy on, potential shortcuts over otherwise long distances, or even entire industrial bases could shift these sovereignty wars in unpredictable ways.

It is even possible one of these smaller groups could suddenly find themselves in a strong position within one of the greater alliances if the system they discover and build up suddenly becomes of key importance, leading those alliances to make them offers of membership they might otherwise never considered to secure resources or strategic new gates.

The times, they are a-changin’

Ultimately, most everyone with the will and ambition has a reason to seek these new systems, if only for the excitement inherent in their discovery.  I live in wormhole space, and therefore am most immediately excited for the new ships coming in Rubicon, but it promises an entirely new dynamic added to the greater universe of EVE Online the likes of which has never been seen before.  It is going to be biblical.

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Writer, gamer, and generally hopeful beneath a veneer of cynicism.