19 October 2014

The Infinite Universe (part 1)

There has been ongoing speculation for what the promised eventual future of player built stargates will bring. A lot of the speculation predictably revolves around finally unlocking access to Jove space. Others think the gates will unlock access to some other well defined long-forgotten region of space. My personal favourite is that CCP will use player built stargates to replace the distances about to be taken from carriers and other jump-capable ships allowing the largest alliance to ephemerally replace the logistical links they currently rely upon. I think it is time to stop thinking so small and really expand our online universe. Space is infinite so why shouldn't New Eden be so?


It's time to properly extend the exploration career to the discovery of entire new solar systems. Doing so should be a corporation wide endeavour requiring the expenditure of a large amount of resources. The basic premise of the discovery portion of this idea is a massive extension of the existing scanning skills except this will be on a galaxy map rather than a solar system map. In addition to this, each 'scanning bubble' will be controllable by a single character. This will require a minimum of four pilots to have any chance of successfully scanning a system and an optimum of seven or eight for more rapid discovery. Each pilot should be based in their own POS and each POS needs to be in a separate solar system. The further apart each pilot the greater the chance a deep scan will work.

Of course we're going to need new probes with their own mini jump drives. Like existing drives these mini jump drives will of course require fuel to jump to these distant regions of space. Deeper exploration may even expend all fuel on the outbound journey resulting in sacrifice of the probe. Will it be worth it? Of course the scan itself shouldn't be as passive as the solar-system scans. Let's introduce a new variant of the hacking mini-game. Rather than just be a random click-fest this should actually require some skill to play. Eight skilled players playing the mini-game at the same time... did I just create an online cooperative game *inside* an MMO?


So what happens once our industrious corp pins down the jump coordinates of a distant star worthy of further investigation? Well then the real exploration begins. How do they get there and back safely? Clearly we need a new class of ship. A deep exploration ship. Sounds like something ORE would build? Meet the newly refitted deep exploration Rorqual. This refitted Rorqual comes with a modified jump drive. Unlike existing drives this one has the ability to lock to on to the single gravity well of the distant sun and jump much greater distances. The emphasis on singular gravity wells obviates the possibility of abusing the Rorqual in known space (although future use in W-space could be an interesting option which I won't consider here). Whilst making this a one-way journey would be an interesting choice it's probably not a good idea. A 'point of origin' marker would guide the Rorqual home at the end of the voyage.

So our corp is ready for their jump to deep space. They load their Rorqual with the tools of their trade - more exploration ships and quite probably a smattering of combat ships for defence from the unknown. They 'board' the Rorqual by attaching their current clone to the clone vat bay. Once prepared the Rorqual pilot initiates the jump to the distant system and all the involved parties jump as one ready to brave the dangers of the remote system.


This turned into a longer post than expected. I'll continue during the week with what happens next.

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