Monday, August 22, 2011

Playing In The Sandbox - The Ani Campaign

On Friday I decided I could have fun running COSMOS missions.  But I definitely needed to know more about COSMOS missions.  I'm glad I checked, because these missions are a bit different than the normal ones found in stations.  First off, the agents are found in space.  That's actually part of the reason I want to do the missions; agents in space is different.  Next, COSMOS missions come in two flavors, mini-profession and storyline.  Given CCP's record of not iterating on features, I'm hoping this information I found on Grismar's EVE Wiki (last updated during the Empyrean Age expansion) still holds true:

Mini-Profession Missions
Mini-Profession missions require you to obtain items which can be obtained through the use of one of two special skills, Archeology and Hacking. In each case, the skill needed will be mentioned in the mission briefing. Mini-Profession missions will always appear as single missions, never as part of a storyline. If you decline a Mini-Profession mission, you will not lose standing with the agent, and you may continue to talk to the agent.

  • If a mission requires Hacking, you will need to fit a codebreaker module to your ship.
  • If a mission requires Archeology, you will need to fit an analyzer module to your ship.

In each case, the general flow of a Mini-Profession mission is that your agent will tell you to go to a specific historic site. Once there, you will encounter a number of NPCs, which guard special loot-containers, which may only be opened through the use of the appropriate module. After dispatching as many NPCs as is necessary to reach the loot cans, lock the can, activate the module, and scan for the components inside.

Alternatively, it is possible to obtain the components through other means. Often, they may be found on the market, or on Escrow. It is also possible to contact other pilots in space and arrange to trade or buy these special components. So if you do not have the Archeology or Hacking skills, it is possible to complete these missions, though it may cost you additional money to obtain the necessary components.

Storyline Missions
Storyline cosmos missions, like traditional storyline missions, will always come in a sequence, which will be shown as part of the title, for example: "(1 of 4)". Storyline missions will always end in a mission which will affect your faction standings, based on your success or failure. Storyline Cosmos missions are also unique in that you always get only one shot at them. If you fail or decline any mission in the sequence, the storyline will terminate and the agent will no longer talk to you. Once you have completed the storyline, you are done with the agent, and they will no longer talk to you. Storyline missions come in three basic types.
  • Courier missions, which require you to transport items from one place to another.
  • Acquire missions, which require you to find items and bring them to the agent.
  • Kill missions, which require you to destroy a group of NPCs as specified by the agent.

Basically I can only run through the COSMOS missions once on each character, so I really needed to put some thought on how to approach doing the missions. 

Speaking of putting thought into running the missions, I decided to spice up the experience a bit by making up my own story.  Why not?  Eve is a sandbox game in which players create their own content.  Why couldn't I come up with my own storyline?  I've done some light roleplay with the way I play Rosewalker and Wandering Rose so I just needed to expand on the concept.  So I came up with the concept of "The Ani Campaign."

The story is simple.  Wandering Rose, the CEO of a small corporation operating in the Minmatar Republic, is looking to expand her business.  Her research has indicated that the Ani constellation in Metropolis is a promising place to do business.  Not too far from her planetary interests and adjacent to the Hek trade hub, rumor has it that business is not just conducted in stations but out in space as well.

In addition, this effort marks Wandering Rose's first major effort to lead both the business and military activities of her corporation, the Khumaak Flying Circus.  Throughout the first year of the corporation's history, Wandering Rose has handled the business aspects while Rosewalker led military operations.  Now Wandering Rose is feeling confident enough in her abilities to lead in all aspects of the corporation.  But is that confidence justified?

Out of character, I have 3 main goals in The Ani Campaign.  The first is a bit of character development.  I think the whole campaign will provide interesting events to spice up the character histories of both Rosewalker and Wandering Rose.  In addition, the faction and corporation gains should be very nice.  Currently Wandering Rose's standing with the Minmatar Republic is 3.36 modified and I would really like to get that up to 5 by the time that all ends.  If at the same time I can raise faction with The Servant Sisters of EVE up to 5 (currently 3.19), that would be a bonus.  Raising Rosewalker's standings is also important, as he has an unmodified standing with the Minmatar Republic of 4.28.  If I can get that over 5, I can start anchoring structures in high-sec.

The second goal is economic.  The COSMOS storyline missions give out blueprint copies and faction ammunition.  Sure, the blueprint copies are for meta-level 3 items, but until CCP gets around to their revamp of high/low/null sec, this is the only way I know of to make named items.  And I do want to make them.  In addition, getting my faction up will allow access to better R&D agents.  I'm really looking to find agents a bit closer to home, although there really aren't many.  And if I run into any business opportunities (like courier contracts) I'll snap them up too.

And the third goal?  To have fun.   I know that internet spaceships is serious business, but I guess I never did play this game right.  Then again, Eve is a sandbox, so I'll play the way I want.  And if that causes anyone to QQ, well, that means I'm actually playing the game right.

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