CCP Games have been using this development strategy for years and coupled with player-based development in the community, EVE Online is truly a game that evolves over time. Player-managed political states shift allegiances, entire empires can rise, span the galaxy and fall within a year and the emergent gameplay that typifies EVE's sandbox style is constantly being expanding on by players. The game we know now is very different to the one we had a year ago and if recent devblogs are any indication, EVE is about to undergo a major evolutionary leap. The entire sovereignty system and the state of capital warfare is about to undergo a complete revamp.
In this article, I take a more in-depth look ahead at the changes that are coming to 0.0, capital ships and the sovereignty system and how I think they could turn out, given my experiences in EVE.
Capital ship revamp:
When they were released, capital ships were a thing to behold. Just seeing one on the battlefield was cause for everyone in the fleet to panic and run screaming. The skill requirements and build costs placed them far beyond the reach of most players for a long time. Alliances now routinely play games of interstellar poker with fleets of over a hundred capitals and even the mighty titan is becoming commonplace. Alliances soon learned that several titans letting off their doomsday blasts at the same time was enough to kill anything smaller than a capital ship. Titans became mobile fleet-destroying facilities, staying on the battlefield just long enough to kill everything in sight and then disappearing. One huge group of titans doing this even managed to kill a Thanatos, the Gallente carrier. As a result, 0.0 warfare has become focused very heavily on capital ship warfare and the presence of a titan's doomsday weapon has made sub-capital ships of limited use on the main battlefields.
The titan is being given some changes to force it to be fielded as part of a more diverse fleet. A hitpoint boost makes it more survivable on the front lines and its new doomsday device is a single-target but higher damage weapon. Concept art and dev blogs suggest it may be able to kill capital ships in a single shot with a re-fire rate of as little as five minutes. This switches titans from support killers to capital killers, a welcome change in a battlefield where sub-capital ships have become increasingly useless. Since firing the doomsday makes the ship immobile for 5 minutes, the titan is also forced to stay on the battlefield to use its super-weapon. Unfortunately, we won't know how successful this plan is until it goes live as players will always find the lowest possible risk way to use their titans. Before multi-doomsdays, it was nano-titans and before nano-titans, we had cap recharge titans recharging fast enough to jump out immediately after firing.
Previously, the mothership's main ability was being immune to electronic warfare and warp scrambling. With the introduction of heavy interdictors that can warp scramble a mothership even in low security space where normal interdiction spheres aren't allowed, this became much less powerful. After that, the main use of a mothership was to provide fighters and remote repair support in a fleet while being immune to electronic warfare. With the changes, standard carriers remain the kings of remote repair assistance with their triage mode but motherships, or supercarriers as they're being renamed, are being refocused into an anti-capital ship role. In addition to losing its triage mode and clone vat abilities, its fighters are being replaced with fighter bombers, which launch torpedoes that deal a lot of damage to capital sized targets. This is an interesting change that gives the Supercarrier its own place on the battlefield.
Read on to part 2, where I look at the sovereignty and 0.0 system revamps, why they're needed and how the proposed systems could turn out based on details disclosed so far.