Thursday, September 7, 2017

A First Look At EVE: Lifeblood's Resource Wars

Yesterday CCP published the first of the dev blogs describing the freshly announced high-sec content for the EVE: Lifeblood expansion coming on 24 October. Covering the Resource Wars feature, players received their first description of the content:
For decades, each of the four core empires have been sending Mining Expeditions into these asteroid fields to harvest the vast quantities of ore required to manufacture advanced technologies. These extremely important strategic resources have been gathered under the watchful eyes of each empire's dedicated military logistics and supply corporation. They have surveyed all existing mining expeditions and determined that they are rapidly being exhausted with pirate raiders wreaking havoc on their returns. A high priority is now being placed on extracting all remaining resources in the face of growing pirate raids. As Blood Raiders, Guristas Pirates, Serpentis and Angel Cartel attack these desperate operations, it is essential that capsuleers play their part in the resource wars between the empires and the pirates.

You and your fleet mates will form a strike team with the empire mining expedition fleet to warp to these previously secure sites and survey the environment to select the best asteroid clusters to focus on. If you choose to mine with the fleet, your role will be to gather the resources as quickly as possible and deposit the rare ore into waiting haulers. If you fit for combat, you will defend the fleet miners against the incoming pirates and their reinforcement waves. After your force enters a site, mine the asteroids and eliminate the pirates as quickly as possible before heading to the next site once the haulers are filled and warp away.  These sites will contain a new asteroid type, never seen before in New Eden.  
From reading all the available information in the dev blog, the EVE Online forum thread, and the thread on the EVE subreddit, the basic framework emerged. The sites will come in five tiers, with each tier allowing larger and larger ships, just like deadspace complexes do today. Since the sites will only appear in high sec, tier 5 sites will allow battleships, not capitals. The probable maximum ship sizes allowed in each complex are:
Tier 1: Frigates and Corvettes
Tier 2: Destroyers
Tier 3: Cruisers
Tier 4: Battlecruisers
Tier 5: Battleships
I would imagine that the tier 2 sites would allow boosts from command destroyers while mining barges would make their appearance in the content in tier 3. Tier 4 may see the introduction of the Porpoise with Orcas allowed in tier 5 sites. But those are just guesses; we should see more in future dev blogs.

Access to the sites will depend on two factors: standings and ship capacity. CCP is introducing four new NPC corporations. From what I can gather, access is dependent on the standings with the corporations only. Standings with the four major NPC factions will not count. Also, each site will only hold a limited number of ships. The number of ships is currently unknown.

At this time, we can assume the standings requirements to enter the complexes are the same as talking to mission agents. Those are:
Level 1: -10
Level 2: 1.0
Level 3: 3.0
Level 4: 5.0
Level 5: 7.0
For those wishing to race to the tier 5 content, I would suggest training the Social and Connections skills. We currently do not know if the Negotiation and Mining Connection skills will have any impact on site completion payouts.

Speaking of payouts, the sites are timed, which means players must quickly complete the site in order to receive loyalty points. Unlike regular missions, players do not have to share their rewards with others. CCP gave a description of the rewards:
While in the site, you will notice that the empire's ships have new SKINs--a unique one for each empire. These will be available to you inside reward crates available for Loyalty Points (LP) and ISK from each empire's Resource Wars corporation LP stores.

These reward crates will also contain a selection of ships with basic modules to complete a fit and a fitting plan. We want to allow players to participate in the Resource Wars, earn standings to unlock the higher tiers, and use their ISK and LP to buy the next tier reward crate from the LP store. As these ship packages feature a unique Resource Wars SKIN and will be available via the LP store through all stations in each empire’s sovereign high-sec space, they will cost more than purchasing the same hull straight from the market.
The contents of the different loot crates will appear in each corporation's LP store so players will not have to rely on the random number generator to get the loot they want.

CCP Affinity spent a few hours answering questions on the EVE Online forums. For those allergic to the official forums, below is a collection of the questions and her answers that clarified points in the dev blog.

Q. The root problem is that both CCP and the CSM have had their preconceived biases re-enforced by getting suggestions and feedback from a group of people who play in the same style that they do. Part of the problem rests in the HS player not being aggressive enough in voicing their complaints/concerns, but the biggest error is that those in power failed to realize that they had to reach out aggressively to those OUTSIDE the powerful corps and their play style.

A. We actually did speak to quite a few HS players and a lot of players who mentor/specialise in helping new players. That is why with this content, we reward everyone who enters and participates. Will other players be in the sites? yes. However, as you have a common/shared goal and everyone is rewarded equally provided they participate towards the goal - you can enter sites by yourself, do your own contribution and not have to worry about working ‘with the group’ if you don’t want to. However, we do also have a lot of completely solo content and not much aimed at new players for groups, so we wanted to make some group based activities that will let you interact as much as you feel comfortable, with other players :slight_smile:

Q. What kind of difficulty can we expect from the most difficult sites? One thing that is currently missing in high-sec is small-size PvE (~2-5) content that is worth running.

A. The sites will range from rookie/frigate to battleship difficulty. They will be aimed at smaller fleets/groups and be time limited so you can guarantee moving around and quick PvE encounters.

The sites will give standings, LP and ISK so they can run the lower sites to get the standings. It’s new corporations, so no one will have the standings to begin with.

Q. The description states that a “strike fleet” is first formed and then everyone warps to the sites. Is this correct or can an individual just show up at a beacon and, barring a fully filled site, use the gate to join the currently running site?

A. They absolutely can just warp to the site :slight_smile: they will be joined in the site by an AI Empire fleet and other capsuleers

CCP Affinity responding to concerns that the sites are too safe: These sites are aimed at content that is accessible to anyone. They will be readily available in high sec systems only and the gates will restrict entry based on standings and max participation. Does that mean you won’t come up with ganking opportunities? I very much doubt that. It does mean though that new players coming out of Inception will have places to go either alone, with other new players or with older players to learn and progress so they feel ready to take on the rest of EVE. This is a more engaging, exciting way to learn aspects of the game than through career agents and it helps to more easily form fleets for activities with newer players.

Q. It’s not just ganking. If a corp can monopolize control of a site, they have a 100% safe place to operate with impunity during a wardec.

Content gated behind gates only accessible by standings and that can be monopolized pretty much creates a perfectly safe space. I guess players are vulnerable en route to the gate, but just to be clear this comes very close if not crosses the line where there is no safe space in New Eden.

A. The sites have timers that are triggered on warp in. They would have a very, very small window of time to do any of this before the site explodes and redistributes elsewhere.

These timers also mean players will be entering and leaving the sites (and out in space) a lot. They won’t be stuck inside 1 site for ages.

Q. We need the details but I was envisioning a corp locking down a site by acquiring all the keys and running the sites as intended for hours earning LP while completely immune from a corporation that declared war on them.

If the sites aren’t easily locked down or last a short time this isn’t really a concern. But if you can hole up in one with your corp and farm in complete safety for hours, that kinda undermines a core idea of the game

A. They are short content - think minutes :slight_smile: The sites explode after that time

Q. This reference to “capacity” refers to payout or participation right? This isn’t some sort of instanced PvE content locked away from the greater universe?

A. There will be a max capacity in the site to maintain performance within the sites and also have balanced rewards and not just complete chaos. It’s the same as sites that have keys currently though so this isn’t new. You can always bypass the gates in other creative ways like you currently do if you so wish :slight_smile:

Q. Can these sites be run solely in combat ships or does it require a player to be mining as well?

A. The sites will require a player to also be mining, or a hybrid miner/combat.

Q. Can I use a full combat ship with mining drones?

A. As for the mining/combat… you can do it any way you want, the site listens for haulers filled with ORE and NPCs killed.

Q. So warp with combat hull, deploy mining drones - kill incoming rats? Sites have to be clear mined?

A. The goal isn’t to mine the sites out, it’s to fill the haulers to their max capacity :slight_smile:

Q. What if only combat ships show up to a site for whatever reason. I kill every single rat waves and the the site expire even if nothing get mined? Do I get any reward? Bounties? Loot/salvage if I though to BM the site? Nothing because only one objective was fulfilled?

A. You must complete the objectives to get a reward and that includes filling the haulers in the allocated time.

Q. Can you remote repair the NPC Haulers?

A. Yes :slight_smile:

Q. Any way to assist the pirate factions? In an actual measurable way, not simply ganking site runners.

A. Not with the initial release :slight_smile:

Q. So I take it these sites won’t appear in low sec?

A. They will be in high sec only

Q. Could these perhaps be expanded into NPC Nullsec? The Pirate Factions only have missions for rewards currently and adding something similar to NPC Null would most likely add alot of content in the regions.

A. We have no plans for that currently

Q. Is this new ore solely used for the LP and ISK reward from the Resource Wars corporations, or can it be refined into minerals as well?

A. The ORE won’t be refinable.

Q. Will these LP stores have the standard array of LP rewards in addition to the reward crates?

A. The LP stores will not have the same rewards as other stores, they will have a selection of reward crates. You will know what is in the crate before purchase though.

Q. Are the ISK costs in the LP store going to be tied to the market in some way, or is there potential for inflation to push ship prices up past the price these crates cost and then we’re back to refining shuttles and insurance frauding Rokhs on the Jita undock?

A. Yes, they will be higher than market prices and will be adjusted as the price rises.

Comment: They [the loot crates] aren't RNG. It's just a container with multiple items.

CCP Affinity: Yeh. It’s a container with a set list of items and we will tell you what is in the crate :slight_smile:It’s exactly the same as having a list of items… only they are presented in a more aesthetically pleasing way

Q. Can you explain this part? "These reward crates will also contain a selection of ships with basic modules to complete a fit and a fitting plan. As these ship packages feature a unique Resource Wars SKIN and will be available via the LP store through all stations in each empire’s sovereign high-sec space, they will cost more than purchasing the same hull straight from the market."

A. It’s a new way to deliver multiple rewards at once for 1 price in the LP store. Reward crates aren’t new. We’re just packaging up items.

Q. Will these LP stores have any unique rewards other than the reward crates?

A. More info on the rewards to follow in a later blog.

Q. Will these new corporations have missions or will these new secure sites be the only way to acquire their LP?

A. Currently this will be the only way to acquire the LP.

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