Yesterday, CCP Paradox posted a notice for an interesting test on EVE Online's Singularity test server:
I will be hosting a playtest on Singularity on Tuesday, August 11th @ 17:00 EVE time.
It will be smaller than normal masstests, as we do not need so many.
What exactly is being tested?
Defense of the Throne Worlds
How to connect to Singularity for this test:
Read the Instructions at http://wiki.eveonline.com/en/wiki/Singularity and read general instructions about mass tests at http://wiki.eveonline.com/en/wiki/Mass_testing.
Join the in-game channel "MassTesting"
Meet in Kor-Azor Prime.
Fleet up into small fleets.
We will attempt several PvE sites together, instructions given by CCP Paradox.
What else should I know?
We will be moving players to the test system - join the channel massmoveme
2M Skill points will be awarded on Singularity for this play-test
Please bring your best PvE ship, or ship you feel is equipped enough to take on Drifters.
Note that these sites will not give access to Capital ships, so Carriers or larger will not be used.
The 'Incursion' will be left to run its cause after the test.
I (CCP Paradox) will answer some, but not all details about the Incursion during the test.
You may want to move your clone to the system Kor-Azor Prime for this test, due to our podding friends the Drifters.
Will be updated on the day, stay tuned.
What is "Defense of the Throne Worlds"? Sounds like some sort of Drifter incursion to me. The Drifters don't seem to like the false Empress Jamyl I very much. Or they just find the Amarr easy pickings. Whatever the reason, the Drifters have targeted the Amarr Empire for special attention. On 27 June, a fleet of approximately 100 Drifter battleships dropped on CVA's 12th anniversary celebration in Sarum Prime. Less than two weeks ago, a Drifter battleship fleet battled and defeated an Amarr Navy fleet consisting primarily of Omen Navy Issues in Safizon on 31 July. Hot NPC on NPC action. Oh my!
The other portion of the test concerns those behavioral NPCs. I don't blame CCP for wanting to test the new artificial intelligence out before releasing them on Tranquility. Before the Circadian Seekers made their first appearance, they showed an alarming taste for capsuleer flesh, podding players on Singularity. The scary part was that the devs didn't know why. Yikes!
A lot of players have asked for improved PvE play for years. Since CCP introduced Sansha incursions in November 2010, the feature has just lain underutilized except for the randomly spawning constellation invasions. Now CCP looks like they will use the system to advance the storyline? And at the same time the Amarr Navy is apparently getting an upgraded AI that will do who knows what? I may need to get a program like FRAPS or even start streaming content in Amarr space just to document the strange new activities of EVE's NPCs.
I have one last crazy thought. The Drifter incursions are called Defense of the Throne Worlds. Would CCP allow the Drifters to attack and destroy NPC stations? If the Drifters destroyed the stations, then the Amarr would need to rebuild them, wouldn't they? Perhaps with the new citadel structures? What better way to introduce the structures into the game? Of course, if the Drifters can destroy stations in high sec, what's to keep them from attacking stations in null? Wouldn't that give the null sec powers an incentive to not ignore the Drifters? Something to think about, anyway.