Exploration has long been a profession in EVE Online that really held a niche appeal to players. The exploration system has been a complex one, where one had to bookmark locations in space midwarp at specific points in a solar system, and burn through various types of probes (and time) to find something hidden. The game's Apocrypha expansion is very much focused on improving exploration. While we've heard a great deal about wormholes and 'true exploration' what's been less spoken of is that Apocrypha is an across-the-board revamp of exploration in EVE Online. These changes will, CCP hopes, revive the ailing booster trade in EVE. Boosters are drugs that enhance a pilot's performance. Despite the numerous benefits boosters can impart, they're also highly illegal and being caught with them in high security space can lead to hefty fines.

The arcane complexity of creating boosters and then smuggling them into high security space have made drug production and smuggling activities that comparatively few of EVE's capsuleers get involved with. This also means that boosters, the higher-grade stuff, can be hard to get your hands on. Boosters are a dimension to the game that CCP Games is looking to improve, which should come as good news to the game's would-be drug dealers.
EVE developer CCP Dropbear announced the company's stance on revitalizing this darker aspect of New Eden: "Scanning down gas clouds, harvesting them, acquiring reactions and blueprints, reacting the raw material into a more advanced versions, and ultimately producing and delivering a final product - it is a complex and involving process that truly demands something of the player. This is how it should be, of course. Being a booster manufacturer, a narco-smuggler, an expert explorer who can sniff out Cytoserocin clouds in the depths of space - these should be careers that mean something. The choices you make should help you carve out your own style, identity and market amongst New Eden's many shades of grey."

Dropbear explains the direction CCP is taking boosters, from the backstory of the pirate factions making a push into high security space to new exploration content that will allow players to find gangs of booster traffickers who will drop blueprints and reactions needed to produce the drugs, provided players can defeat them. Facing these particular NPCs won't necessarily require a 0.0 presence, as some content that could only be found in lawless space will now be discoverable in low security space. (Although the dev blog doesn't specifically address this, this change could provide more incentive to get high sec players out into the darker regions of space, providing more rewards for those risks inherent to low sec.)

Beyond boosters, the exploration profession itself is being enhanced through a total of 320 new types of exploration sites, ensuring that EVE's explorers will have plenty to keep them busy. CCP Dropbear's dev blog "Getting high on your own supply" has all the info on how exploration will change this week in the Apocrypha expansion.

This article was originally published on Massively.