As earlier reported, CCP today released the EVE: Eclipse trailer that was originally intended to come out at FanFest. This also marks the beginning of Quadrant 2 for 2020, ending the Q1 ‘Fight or Flight’ content. Before we go any further, though, a pair of disclaimers:
Disclaimer 1: If you have not already, watch the below-linked Eclipse debut trailer. Seriously, grab your headphones, do it now.
Disclaimer 2: The rest of this post is wrapped in a metric tonne tinfoil. This is entirely a speculative, heavily biased review, of said trailer.
[Disclaimer 3: I am rage-writing this right now so that I can try to get this out there first, so if I lose you on any run-on sentences or stream-of-conciousness dives into the rabbit hole, I apologize. Occupational hazard.]
I’m going to tackle this in three pieces: what we can clearly see in the trailer; what we have seen in the antecedent action; and what this ultimately – and very likely – means from a game play perspective. I won’t go into the lore because Makoto, Ashterothi, and Uriel do a far better job in the Talking In Stations post-debut stream and it doesn’t really play into what I have to say here.
What The Eclipse Trailer Shows
MANDATORY SPOILER ALERT!
(If you haven’t watched the trailer, or you don’t like spoilers, go back.)
The Eclipse trailer shows us a few things we can absolutely speak to, and say for certain. The following are really not in debate, because they’re shown very clearly in the debut trailer.
About the Triglavian activities:
- The Triglavians are modifying space.
- The Triglavians have been kidnapping colonies and putting them in places they are modifying.
- The changes are happening on a planetary level.
- The Triglavians are doing things to stars in systems they are modifying.
- The Triglavians are very interested in systems with blue suns. (Likely tied to Isogen-5 availability.)
- The sun in the trailer, affected by the Triglavians, turns from blue to red. This appears to be affected by a latticework around the sun.
- When this process completes, the internal stargates in the affected system go offline.
- The Triglavian World Ark and solar accelerators appear to be a key factor of this action.
About what else is going on in the trailer:
- There is going to be a new Upwell vessel, which appears to be destroyer- or cruiser-sized. Perhaps an alluded-to heavy bomber.
- Said vessel fires an Area-of-Effect weapon stylistically similar to the Keepstar doomsday (arcing volton projector).
- Said vessel does not appear to be firing on capitals.
- We see CONCORD and Upwell vessels fighting along side capsuleers (undocking from a Fortizar) to repel the Triglavians.
- The Avatar titan has a new doomsday animation; we see it charge up, but we do not see the effect of it firing.
- We see Amarrian Crucifiers appear several times in the trailer, in close-up or fly-by.
- We see vessels undocking from the World Ark.
- The Lone Triglavian (Zorya Triglav?) is walking amongst crystals which are growing on what appears to be a Storm planet.
What We Already Know and Have Observed
These are the things which are objectively known, either from News, Dev Blogs, Chronicles, Short Stories, or Patch Notes. Specifically, we know some of this from the most recent Galactic Hour News Roundup.
- The Triglavians have been active in Minmatar space. This is supported by the fact that the gate which offlines at the end of the trailer is a Minmatar region gate to Gallente Space. Specifically the Bei-to-Colelie Gate in Metropolis. It is also covered in the above-linked News article.
- The Triglavians, in modifying space, have brought new common ores to the known space of the New Eden cluster. These ores are called Talassonite, Raknovine, Beznocine, which are all variations of Scordite mutated by entropic radiation.
- CCP has introduced a number of changes to how people can get around Null Security and Wormhole Space:
- There has been a massive buff to the number of static and roaming wormhole connections.
- The introduction of Needlejack filaments allows capsuleers to dive into a random Null Sec system/constellation.
- Needlejack filaments work from within Anoikis (wormhole space).
- If the interior gates to systems are off-lined, the only way to get to said systems would logically be wormholes, filaments, or jump/bridge to a cynosural beacon.
- Capital ships cannot take advantage of the first two methods of travel to off-lined gate systems.
What This Means
My internal child is running in circles, screaming frantically and excitedly, stamping his feet, and doing his best wacky, flailing-arm, inflatable tube man impression. I haven’t been this happy with a game since I got my first Nintendo 8-bit system for Christmas 1987.
Let that set in for a minute.
I have also been waiting for this news since October 2017.
I joined Iron Armada in November of 2017, and I was enticed to join by Tridgit, the alliance executor. This happened in person at a Boston Pizza in New Westminster, BC, where like many players of EVE we would meet monthly to share our experiences, tell war stories, and tin-foil hat like any good fanboy is apt to do.
So in October, and I remember it was October, before I had made the decision to join Iron Armada I, Tridgit, Meredudd of the Mindclash Podcast, and a few others started throwing out our hairball ideas of what would improve the state of Null Sec life in EVE Online. What were our best ideas for real fixes that would help to balance the game and make Null a place where small organizations could begin to thrive?
Well, we came to a consensus of four really big points:
- You need a way to seriously delay or impede the movement of capital umbrellas. You can’t stop them, but you can slow them down. Perhaps off-lining gates to impede movement or setup a home-court advantage.
- You need a way to affect the battlefield circumstances, be it weather effects, persistent geospatial effects powered by deployables, or some other element that lets you temporarily stack the deck for a fight beyond what is already capable with command boosts.
- You need a way to innovate on wormholes and wormhole travel.
- You need a response to the capital meta in the form of improved weapons or battlefield counters.
Now, in the latter-most example my thought was that we have modules and skills that allow us to (ewar) act directly against the efficiency of the pilot’s skills, rather than certain modules. For example, in the Eclipse trailer we see Crucifiers on field against the Triglavians. This makes a lot of sense because entropic disintegrators have practically zero falloff, and if you can forcibly reduce the tracking speed and optimal range of turrets, Triglavian battlefield efficiency falls off very sharply.
However, we do not have ewar that allows us to work against a carrier pilot’s fighter command skill, reducing the number of fighters he can have in space. Nor can we currently apply the same method against fleets of Dominixes and their waves upon waves of drones.
What I had not considered was the possibility of introducing miniaturized doomsdays and deploying them against subcap fleets (see arcing voltron projector), or capital ships (see previously alluded-to heavy bombers).
With the Eclipse expansion, CCP seems to be aiming to achieve all four of our best-case-scenario wet dreams and I am hilariously overjoyed.
Even if the expansion doesn’t play out as I imagine it will, and pray it does, there is the very high likelihood that we will see the following occur, at the very least:
- The capital umbrella will be harder to move if large blocks have to start taking large swaths of ‘fallow’ null back from Triglavians, then fight off their system effects, then fight their escalation fleets (thank you, aggressive AI), and then restore system index enough to drop Pharolux Cynosural Beacons and Jump Bridges.Sure, you could just use Recon ships with cynos, but see aforementioned ‘Africanized Rats’. The Triglavians will likely be responding to any cynos with force.
- You will see the Wormhole highway become a 12-lane superhighway. Everyone will need a presence in wormhole space to get where they want to go if large sections of abandoned or under-utilized Sov Null starts being reclaimed by faction rats or the Triglavians.
- We will likely see implants introduced which will increase the maximum fleet size which can advantage Needlejack filaments. (Speculating here.)
- There will be a massive in-game push on the war between the Drifters and the Triglavians, with faction warfare mechanics playing heavily into it and the Capsuleers encouraged to take sides. We already knew this, because CCP has said as much in interviews.What I expect this means is that at some point standings will begin to affect how factions respond to your presence, and with all hopes will begin to respond not just with reactive combat fleets but also in support of those with whom they share positive standings.
Now, I’ve very, very heavily speculating here, but I don’t think that anything I’ve observed, remarked upon, or proposed is ludicrous or out-of-the-question. In fact I wonder how much of this was setup, at least in broad strokes, by Ex-CCP Seagull before she left.
Perhaps that’s dismissing the ideation of people like Rise and Fozzie and Mannbjorn, perhaps not. I have felt, up until the debut of the Eclipse trailer, that CCP had been losing sight of – or had lost – a strategic direction in their development. I had felt that the old, oft-alluded-to grand, multi-year plan Seagull would refer to had been shelved and was forgotten.
I do not feel this way anymore.
How do you feel?