Space crowbars at the ready – it’s time for some serious interstellar robbery. The Great Heist is here, landing in New Eden at the end of July. For months players have been speculating about when these much fabled “Reserve Keys” would be unveiled and now we know. The planned changes are available to test on the Singularity test server, starting on July 16, 2021. With around 20 trillion ISK lying in wait, there isn’t a better time to plan some crime!
From what the DevBlog reveals, there will be a new series of anomalies that spawn in Low Security (lowsec) space. These sites contain a guaranteed drop of a new item: the Secure Commerce Commission (SCC). These new anomalies, named Secure Key Storage Sites, will require “patience and skill” to complete. We are excited to see what they look like.
After successfully completing the site, the capsuleer can use the SCCs on an ESS specific to a particular quadrant of the map. However, it is not clear whether these locations are tied to the looting player or to a particular system or region. We will see two types of keys: a long and a short duration. Judging by the graphics displayed on the DevBlog, the long key will allow a player to siphon ISK for 45-minutes, whilst the shorter option appears to only be 6-minutes. Just enough time to get in and get out before the locals arrive!
Once a player uses a key on an ESS, the payout starts to increase until it reaches a maximum, then slowly decreases. The trick will be holding the grid for that length of time. This heist will become even more challenging as the opening of a Reserve Bank will trigger a region-wide alert – thefts must be well planned and properly executed, especially when done behind enemy lines.
Although the ESS Reserve keys have been anticipated for some time, the news of the release isn’t the most noteworthy addition. The graphical changes to the UI featured on the DevBlog look spectacular. There are many quality-of-life changes, including a new visibility for the warp-disruption bubble that will change with the player’s perspective. This change comes in response to player feedback. Further, there is a new intrusion interaction as well as a redesign of the actual ESS model.
The ESS system has removed the gump that appeared when hacking a bank; it has been replaced with an “in space UI,” allowing the player to interact seamlessly. There is a very cool looking in-space timer that appears around the ESS during an invasion, with a blue circle for the main bank and an orange one for the reserve bank. CCP is clearly using the Grand Heist as a trial run for these new systems of interaction. Let’s hope we see more dynamic methods rolled out across the whole galaxy.
The opportunity to steal ISK all over New Eden will be an exciting prospect for many players. Having control over large swathes of the galaxy will now have a real advantage. But, with the sites spawning in lowsec, we may also see a definite steer towards the non-capsuleer empire pirates who reside there. Many have already suggested that large alliances will simply buy ESS keys to their own space – but marginal gains aren’t what this is all about. The ESS is about content. With the right key, in the right system, at the right time, small groups of players could steal billions from under the noses of the large empires.