In the latest of the Eve Vegas presentations, CCP Nullabor rushed through an hour and a half’s worth of the new structure information in about forty-five minutes. In it, we learned some of the ins and outs of Citadels as well as getting a sneak peak of the other new structures.
Starting off, we were given an overview of what CCP Nullabor and Team Game of Drones would like to see from structures. In addition to the previously announced Citadels, we will have assembly arrays, laboratories, drilling platforms, observatories, administrative hubs, gates, and advertisement centers. These were only touched on briefly, but some idea of each was given. The assembly arrays and laboratories are the closest to being developed, and will do what they say on the tin. After Citadels and these two structures, explanations got very murky and hand-wavy.
Drilling platforms will harvest resources from moons and belts. Much like the current moon harvesting arrays for the former, but it will be interesting to see how they apply that to the latter. Observatories will “gather and disrupt intel,” though no real details on what that means were revealed. Administrative hubs will be for “investing in space,” though the CCP Nullabor was more than a bit vague on what that means. Given that the new other structures are replacing more than a few of the current structures, it would seem that these are designed to replace I-Hubs more than augment then, but we will have to wait for more details from CCP. Gates are to facilitate movement between systems much like jump bridges do now, as well as possibly within the same system. Lastly, we get the advertisement centers. CCP Nullabor described these as giant space statues that can take and deal damage; this may have been more embellishment than actual plans, but it certainly sounds like a content creator.
After teasing the other structures, we got into the meat and potatoes of the Citadel structures to be released in the Citadel expansion. They will come in three flavors as announced earlier in the year: medium, large, and extra-large. Much like your local burger joint, CCP has elected to skip the small size and go straight to medium because the current set of deployables and space yurts function as the small class of Citadels. All Citadels will have four functions: housing, trading, defense, and docking. Now, not all of these things will be already in the structure when it first launches. The out of the box functionality of all Citadels will include docking, personal hangars, tethering, docking, and ship fitting.
Personal hangars will function much like station personal hangars of today. Anything in there will be impervious to theft or tampering by other players. There are also an unlimited number of such hangars with an unlimited amount of space, much like outposts are now. Where it differs is when the Citadel is destroyed, but that is another matter.
Docking is getting some significant changes in the titular structures. Much as it was announced with the initial Citadel announcement, the extra large Citadels will allow for the docking of supercapitals for the first time since their inception, as well as all smaller ships. Large Citadels will dock capitals and subcaps, while only subcaps can dock in the medium. Undocking ships from these new structures will be much safer than undocking from current stations for a multitude of reasons. There are multiple undocking points, a view of the outside world while docked in the Citadel, and a new feature called tethering. Just one of these would have made for a very different experience, but the full set will make for a very different dynamic. CCP Nullabor was rather vague about what the multiple undocking points means outside of the fact that supers, subcaps, and capitals will all have different locations to undock from. Currently, the design is for a random class-appropriate undock point to be chosen when you launch yourself into space, but it will make it harder to camp an undock point, making for more engaging game play for the undocker.
A feature long requested by players has been to get a view of the outside world while docked in a station. Though it is normally in the context of walking in stations, it appears CCP is finally delivering on this player request. This feature will be coupled with the ability for players to literally station spin, instead of the previous spinning a ship within the station. While in the station, CCP Nullabor promised that you can see if there are bubbles on the undocks, large gangs, or the like but that specific intel gathering will be very limited. It is intended to be somewhere between the intel gathering you can do in a POS and a station right now.
The last of the tweaks to undocking is tethering. Tethering, formally known as mooring or invulnerability link, will begin as soon as a ship is in docking range, including upon undocking. This will grant a ship immunity from damage and targeting so long as they do not start a weapons timer. Running warfare links or other battlefield effects will also disable tethering and may also give the user a weapons timer, but the design hasn’t been finalized. Tethering will not engage if a player is currently being warp scrambled or has a HIC infini-point. Unlike current undock invulnerability, though, you can move, align, and warp while maintaining immunity. Tethering will not engage even if you cannot dock at that station.
Citadels will have a very different system for gathering intel. When a player jumps in a system, you must risk warping to a Citadel that is not friendly to find out its size, vulnerability state, and exact location. It will show up on your overview, or you can probe it down or d-scan it if you are in range. Once you decide to warp to it, you will be greeted with a bracket showing who owns it, its vulnerability state or health, and even how many players are currently docked within it. Players that are able to dock in the structure will be able to find some of this information without warping to the Citadel. This should help balance the amount of information that players inside the structure and outside the structure are able to gain about each other.
Citadels will also bring an improved structure management system at the corporation level. Because Citadels will only be able to be launched for corporations, there will be a new structure management window showing the locations of all a corporations structures as well as their current state. In an attempt to preserve logistic director’s sanity, CCP will allow for the saving of Citadel settings between Citadels with as many or as few master setting lists as they would like. In order to change the settings on multiple Citadels that share the same list, they would only need to edit one settings file. There was much rejoicing when this was announced.
Similarly, there will be a new groups system for choosing who can and cannot dock, managed by mods and admins. The group system will allow for a mod or admin to choose what corporations, alliances, and even individual characters can dock in what Citadels. These groups can then be shared and swapped much like fittings can right now. On the subject of mods and admins, admins have ultimate power over groups and can set other admins and mods, whereas mods can only control individual users who are not mods or admins. Unlike the Citadel settings list, though, this can be run by a third party. For example, Pandemic Legion could require Pandemic Horde to run a specific group list that Pandemic Legion maintains.
Citadels’ ability to defend themselves and be fit like ships represents yet another large departure from the stations they are set to replace. Citadels will have high, mid, low, and rig slots much like ships that will vary based off of their sized. They will also have module slots that burn fuel to provide services like clones, player markets, and reprocessing and compressing ore. High slots will mimic ships with guns, smart bombs, and other offensive modules. Mid-slots have a bumping module, though there were no details on that, in addition to all types of ECM, webs, and disruptors. Low slots had damage amplifiers and applications. Rigs were a very large departure from the precedent set by rigs on ships and the modules. Modules can be removed and reused, though service modules required a fuel online fee, but rigs will be destroyed much as we are used to.
There were two classes of rigs: defensive and service. Citadels can only have one type of rig affecting a variable at a time; no putting all three rigs as missile explosion radius, for example. Rigs are also size specific, with the medium rigs only providing a benefit to one aspect of the Citadel. Large and extra large rigs will have two and three effects each, respectively. However, only the service rigs will have an increase in percentage based on size. As an example, if a rig were to increase refining yield, the medium version might give you a five percent boost, with the large giving seven, and the extra large giving ten percent. All of these fittings will be applied and adjusted using a fitting screen much like we are used to with ships, no more green boxes.
Citadels will only be vulnerable for a certain number of hours every week. CCP Nullabor gave an example of 21 hours a week for an extra large. The owning corporation would set these hours beforehand in hour increments, assumedly in the configuration lists mentioned earlier. A corp could set one hour each week day at 2100 Eve time, and then split the remaining hours between Saturday and Sunday during peak times to allow for the best possible defense. It is important to note, though, that once a structure has been attacked during its vulnerability window, it will remain vulnerable until it has had 15 minutes of safety in which to repair. If after 15 minutes, no damage is received, the Citadel will jump to perfect health instead of the current regeneration system.
In stark contrast to current structures, the Citadels introduce damage mitigation. This new system is halfway between the Entosis Links and structure hitpoints. Damage mitigation will limit the amount of damage that a structure can take at a time, balanced over a 30 second time span. The end result is that it will take a minimum of 30 minutes to grind a Citadel to the next timer regardless of the number of ships that show up. If you successfully grind down the shields, they will enter a 24-hour reinforcement timer. Curiously, that will be 24 hours since the time that the structure was first shot, not upon depleting shields. If the defender fails to defend the Citadel in armor, the Citadel will be reinforced for six days from the first shot on the armor during which time, all modules will be disable.
If these final defenses fail, we will see a beautiful explosion. Players in non-wormhole space will not lose everything. Instead, all market orders will be canceled if the market modules is fit, and then player assets will be suspended until they decide on one of two options for evac. The first one will have assets moved to another Citadel within the same system after a five day waiting period but with no cost. The second option will have the assets magically transported to an NPC lowsec system for a fee somewhere around 10-15% of the value of the items. We were also informed that this transfer mechanic can be initiated at any time by the player. The players that destroy the Citadel will also be rewarded with a very large prize of salvage and possibly modules. In wormhole space, this system goes entirely out the window and all assets stored in the Citadel drop as loot, subject to the whims of the loot fairy.
Lastly, CCP Nullabor discussed the art direction of the structures and had a few slides of structures we had not seen yet. When several players commented they looked too Caldari, he responded that firstly, we shouldn’t judge them until they have textured, and secondly, that they are designed to represent what they do rather than who made them. We were also told that they used the same texturing system as ships, leaving the door open to SKINs and weathering effects, much like the ships have now. We were also told that the Citadels are so massive, they required a rework of the current texturing systems. The system that they have developed for them will have multiple layers of textures of varying resolution that dynamically blends as you zoom in.
If you are interested in more details, CCP Nullabor has promised a dev blog later this week. He also requested players with input join the Tweetfleet Slack room #structures, post in the official forum, or tweet him @ccp_nullarbor.