Once again we find ourselves on the cusp of another seasonal expansion, with summer’s Odyssey leading into Winter’s Rubicon, announced a few days ago on Twitch. While the feature list is incomplete so far, we can likely expect few surprises. These past two years CCP has focused almost exclusively on iteration as a response to player dissatisfaction with feature bloat while existing content continued (or continues, in some cases) to be unrewarding (exploration), unengaging (hacking), exploitable (bounties), imbalanced (Marauders useless in PVP), or just plain dated (industry, especially at a POS). If I had to guess, most future reveals will simply be details of what we already know.
Speaking of what we already know, we know we are getting two new SoE ships, though the price point remains a mystery. They could be BPO+build, or they could be controlled by an LP store. These ships are purportedly suited to low/nullsec exploration. We know we will get a fancy new certification UI. We know CCP will buff the dedicated EWAR frigs. We know CCP will turn Marauders into mini-dreads without web bonuses and with a shorter MJD cycle time while out of “siege.” We know CCP will be tuning warp speeds, and we know that interceptors will be immune to bubbles. We will be seeing the release of rapid HMLs for battleships and a skill to reduce PI taxes. We know we will get moon harvester siphons to steal resources from “AFK empires.” We know we will get temporary cyno jammers (though they only jam their own grid, not the system). We know player-owned customs offices are coming to highsec (though I suspect it will render the space near Jita unusable due to constant wars). We know we will get a “depot” that apparently functions as some form of shield-less mini-POS. We know there will also be a structure that automatically tractors wrecks together.
The structures (except the cyno jammer, naturally) will function in high-sec and can be attacked without CONCORD intervention. The cyno jammer in particular promises to make capital escalation far less reliable for sov warfare, forcing larger alliances to run tighter doctrines in their support fleets or use pots and pans to stall while the true support fleet and capitals jump to a different point in the system and warp to the field. The depots promise to make wormhole exploration more accessible and with less commitment, letting players refit and store a limited amount of items without the investment and responsibility over a proper POS but at the expense of a finite life and the necessity to watch over it or hide it well and pray. We can’t speculate on player-owned stargates yet though, there are simply too many angles for CCP to take. Could they be deployed in W-space to link geographically close systems, or would they connect to uncharted K-space? What would happen if they were destroyed, if not treated as outposts?
You can find the feature page in the usual place or watch the recorded announcement stream below: