Just over a year ago the Eve online: Citadel cinematic trailer was released. I remember the excitement I felt when I first saw the structure in that trailer. My mind was completely blown when the Rokh flew through the billboard and Permaband’s “Wrecking Machine” started playing. Finally, after a minute and a half the citadel exploded and across the screen flew those ever so memorable words: “Build your dreams” followed quickly by “Wreck their dreams”. This was definitely one of my favorite trailers for Eve Online, and the last twelve months have been full of huge changes.
As expected, Citadels, in particular, have seen many improvements and additions. I would like to take a moment to highlight these changes.
April 27, 2016
Citadel: First Citadels Roll Out! During the Citadel expansion, all four varieties of Citadels were released to the pilots of New Eden. Along with the Astrahus, Fortizar, Keepstar, and Palatine Keepstar varieties of Citadels, the Citadel sized modules used for fitting the structures were also released. The blueprints needed to build these structures became available for purchase in Upwell Consortium member corporation stations. In the weeks following the expansion many minor bug fixes and tweaks were made to smooth out the introduction of the structures into the game.
May 31, 2016
118.5: Citadel Expansion Iterations-Part One. 118.5 brought around the first part of additions to improve the user interface within Citadels and better integrate them into the game. It was made possible to open the ammo hold of a Citadel while controlling it through the icon in the fitting screen. The deliveries hangar could now be opened in their own window. The context menu for market entries in Citadels could now include the options for the location/solar system. Undocking from a Citadel would now display appropriate warnings (Crimewatch, Contraband, etc.) and will close appropriate windows (Clone window, reprocessing window). Along with a few more minor tweaks.
June 28, 2016
118.6: Citadel Expansion Iterations-Part Two. 118.6 brought on the second round of major integration additions. Redeeming items in Citadels became possible in this release. We also got direct trade between two docked characters, character customization, and the ability to set Citadels as travel waypoints—about time. 118.6 also contained even more bug fixes and tweaks in the seemingly never-ending cycle of trying to make functionality perfect.
August 9, 2016
February 14, 2017
119.2: Personal Insurance In Structures. 119.2 brought Pend Insurance to a Citadel near you! Another big step in making Citadels into what they are meant to be, and more useful to stage out of since you can insure your ship before it inevitably dies in a ball of fire on your next strat op.
March 14, 2017
May 9, 2017
119.5 Alliance Logos On Citadels. 119.5 FINALLY brought corporation and alliance logos to Citadels! It only took a year to get a tiny Fat Bee or Middle-Management Rex on the top, bottom, and sides of our Keepstars.
Unfortunately, I don’t think all aspects of Citadels have yet to live up to the excitement of the trailer. There is still a long road of changes that need to be made along with several aspects of Citadels that I and many other players still do not enjoy.
“Wreck” Their Dreams
I really, really want to wreck someone’s dream as promised in the trailer (sociopath much?). However, I find it hard to wreck anybody’s dreams when the asset safety system is still in place one year later. If you don’t know what asset safety is here is a brief rundown: In case a Citadel is destroyed, all of your assets are moved into what is called ‘Asset Safety”. When in asset safety, your items are moved to the nearest friendly Citadel or NPC station. A fee is paid depending on the value of the items moved and the distance, and after a couple of days you get your stuff back. The official Asset Safety page goes more in depth.
This is where the trailer gets it wrong. Since everybody’s items go into asset safety in the event that the Citadel explodes no one’s dreams are getting “wrecked”. There is no personal risk. Everything inside the Citadel is in relative safety.
However, I do think that asset safety is a good system in certain circumstances. It’s great for newer players in high sec and older players returning to find everything the own stuck in null. However, it has been a year. I know that CCP has a giant master plan to phase out old structures completely. But I feel that part of that should be loosening the safety of assets in lowsec and null sec. It is time to raise the stakes as we were promised. Not necessarily making it so everybody loses everything if a Citadel gets rolled, but enough to make a citadel worth defending and enough to make someone have a bad day if they choose not to.
Timers Timers Timers
You know what have way too many timers? Citadels. First, you have to wait for a vulnerability timer to even shoot at the things. Then you have a standard twenty-four-hour timer after you reinforce by bringing down the shields. After you wait the twenty-four hours and make it through the armor you then have to wait six whole days to make your final move on the structure (unless you are in a wormhole for some reason, don’t ask me).
I feel like timers like this really jeopardize the flow of gameplay. I don’t want to wait seven days to kill a single Astrahus. It is ridiculous. It makes sense to wait seven days to kill a Keepstar because they are huge, powerful, and expensive. But an Astrahus? Come on.
This has lead to a whole new generation of space tolling. An unfit Astrahus is cheap. If you take ten of them and anchor them all over someone else’s space it takes an absurd amount of man-hours to take them all down. The solution is clear though. The total time it takes to kill a Citadel should scale with its size. A Keepstar can still take seven days total. A Fortizar should take five days total. And finally, an Astrahus should take three days total. Not only does it make sense based on relative size and power, but it will help alleviate Astrahus space trolling.
This is something I had not thought about before asking around while doing research on this subject. Why isn’t there a smaller alternative to Citadels? After POSes become a thing of the past there will be no player anchored structure between mobile depot and Astrahus. Which is strange considering the massive difference in size. Something has to fill that gap. This is where CCP needs to introduce the newest product from Upwell Consortium. The Mobile Staging Outpost.
Bear with me. What we need is a player anchored structure that is somewhere between a mobile depot and an Astrahus. It needs to have a small tether range, one or two twenty-four hour reinforcement cycles, low offensive/defensive power, and short anchor/unanchor timers. It would also need to have limited storage space. Only enough to house a few ships for somewhere between one and twenty pilots.
What would be the purpose? This structure would exist to serve as a smaller alternative to Astrahus class Citadels as tactical staging points. They would deploy quickly in hostile space and provide very basic services to pilots. They would need to be fairly covert, perhaps they would not be a beacon in space and require combat probes to scan down.
I could see something like the this being used extensively in wormhole operations where an Astrahus is impractical to anchor. Basically, it would serve as a small non-dockable station that provides basic services and storage to pilots so that they can reship and return to an operation quickly and efficiently. I could see something like this being used to great effect in quick wormhole evictions.
Odds and Ends
Tethered Cargo Access
A while back CCP talked about having access to your inventory in a Citadel when you are tethered outside of it. This sounds really useful. Forget to load your ammo in your cargo before undocking for a fleet? Just reach in there and take it out. You don’t even need to dock up. Unfortunately, I have not heard anything about this idea for a while. I still hope to maybe see it in the future.
A corporation or alliance that owns a citadel should be able to control what the billboards in/around it show. I shouldn’t see Horde/TEST adverts running in a Goonswarm Citadel or vice versa. Heck, if I want to play this on repeat 24/7 in my Keepstar I should be able to! It’s that simple.
Citadels still do not have alliance wide notifications. Territory Claim Units and Infrastructure Hubs owned by the alliance let everybody know when they are under attack. It would be very nice if Citadels did the same thing so that as soon as one gets attacked, everyone is aware of it.
The alliance logos need to be a little bit bigger. I was underwhelmed the first time I saw one. It was cool and all, but I feel like it needs to be clearly visible at a reasonable distance. Not too big, but not as tiny as it is now in comparison to a Citadel.
Citadel skins? Yes, please. Now that we have alliance logos it is time to get some flashy and colorful Citadels. CCP: please.
Where We Are…
Eve Online, in general, has come pretty far in the last year. Citadels have been one of the biggest changes in Eve that we have seen for a long time. They may be a work in progress, but that is the keyword. Progress. I still have hope that someday they live up to everything I want them to be. However, until then all we can do is wait, and try to give proper feedback to CCP. Maybe someday we can all walk around our Citadels as we have always dreamed.