Until now, backstory has been just that for most players, a character and faction background that never truly guided the actions of capsuleers. Things are changing in the world of EVE Online, though, and it seems the playerbase will now need to change with it. CCP has finally listed the details of the Empyrean Age expansion which players have been clamoring for:
- Factional Militias: Governments on every side of the war are eager to recruit pod pilots, and have set up factional militias as a means of bolstering their standing navies. Each faction has a corporation open to all pilots with the appropriate factional standing minimums. CEOs and directors are also encouraged to bring their entire corporations under the aegis of the militias, to better fund and coordinate the war effort. Regardless of corporation membership, all militia members will share a chat channel and read-only mailing list.
- Ranks: Each of the factions relies heavily upon the support of their militias, granting the privateers great political clout. Talented pilots dedicated to the cause can rise through the newly-created ranks, 10 for each faction, by increasing their standing with their chosen militia's corporation.
- Factional Warfare Agents: In order to handle the influx of mercenary pilots, each of the four militia corporations have hired new agents-over 320 in all. These new agents are specifically tasked with coordinating the activities of freelance pod pilots and assigning them missions inside territory held by enemy militias.
- Statistics: Due to the emphasis placed on the role of militias in the conflict, many stations now boast new Militia Offices. Pilots can track their own warfare victories and kill statistics, as well as those of their corporation and faction. Each pilot's map has also been upgraded to better accommodate the increased flow of logistics data. The galactic map can now be configured to show occupancy status of a system, as well as detecting the presence of hostile navy forces.
- System Occupancy: In light of the formal declaration of war, CONCORD is now recognizing a new level of system control beyond sovereignty: occupancy. Factions gain occupancy of a system by winning conflicts in contested complexes. When a militia accumulates a certain number of victories for its faction, it is authorized to assault the star's System Control Bunker within 24 hours. Should the bunker fall to the attacking militia, a cease-fire is called in the system's Factional Warfare Complexes, and that faction gains occupancy of the solar system.
- Combat Zones: As the fighting has spread throughout the inhabited regions of space, many of them have been deemed Combat Zones. Most of these contested regions are located in low-security space, but not all. Regardless of their security level, each of the systems within a Combat Zone contains a System Control Bunker near their stars. These bunkers coordinate all activity within their system's Factional Warfare Complexes.
- Factional Warfare Complexes: As war rages across the stars of New Eden, a myriad of hidden deadspace complexes have taken on great strategic importance. Militia pilots that successfully scan for a complex and hold it uncontested for a set amount of time will claim it for their faction, and be rewarded with corporate standing-as well as more tangible benefits. But capturing these points of interest will not be easy, as they're guarded by rival naval forces. Speed and cunning are required to keep these important sites out of enemy hands, which is why microwarpdrives have been cleared for use in the complexes.
- World Shaping: The confines of settled space cannot contain a war of this scale, causing the fighting to spill over into a new region. Named "Black Rise," this new region contains 49 new star systems and nearly 40 stations, many of which are already sworn to one faction or another.
While the phrase 'sweeping changes' might not be apt in the case of the Empyrean Age,
these features do represent some significant changes to NPC and player interaction.
It's too soon to say how significant these changes will actually be for most capsuleers, but dark days are certainly coming. New Eden is about to become an even more turbulent place.