CCP Affinity posted a dev blog about Ghost Sites coming in the Rubicon expansion, and my excitement level just jumped up a couple of notches on my EVE-O-meter.
My initial reaction to the various features of Rubicon, to be released on November 19th, was: "I like it, but it seems light." I subsequently wrote about the lack of any substantial new content, and expressed my concern that Rubicon was going to be yet another disappointing update, resulting in lower average daily log-in counts.
I'm not worried about this now. Rubicon is going to be very popular.
What are Ghost Sites?
These are going to be a new player-vs-environment (PvE) experience. Unlike regular mission sites or exploration sites, ghost sites are going to be an interesting combination of the best parts of each.
According to CCP Affinity's post:
They are pirate faction anomalies that will crop up in all parts of space. If you're lucky enough to come across one, it'll automatically appear on your system scanner. The moment that the first player enters a Ghost Site, an invisible and random timer will start ticking. You will never know how long until the traps laid by the pirates might explode, shredding your bulkheads and leaving you adrift in your pod.
Your objective, if you wish to risk life and limb (well ... your crew's lives and limbs) is to hack your way into the sites 4 research facilities, grab whatever you find, and get out as fast as you can. At the moment, hacking is only found in exploration-style environments, so we decided it would be fun to shake that up and see how it works under pressure-cooker circumstances. You will only have one chance to hack, if you fail you will set off the containers security and they will explode. While Ghost Sites are not exploration sites, you'll still need to use either a data or relic analyzer to access the vaults. If you're successful in hacking, you'll be given loot (which won't be scattered), but if you take too long, the pirates will be alerted to your presence and will warp in to attack you. The pirates are there just to protect their loot and will not be carrying any items in their cargo or have a bounty on their heads. As I mentioned, these sites are related to dangerous experiments, and the pirates desperately do not want the capsuleers to steal the fruit of their labors. When they realize that they have an intruder in their midst, they will blow up the research facilities, causing damage to everyone in the vicinity.
I love this idea - it offers higher reward for higher risk. And it will require a combination of skills to complete successfully, with significant consequences for failure.
The fact that these sites will appear everywhere, including wormhole space, is also smart. Adding some higher risk elements to high-sec, if players want to try them, provides more options for play at different levels of risk, without having to go into more dangerous space. This is balanced by improved loot in higher-risk space. Perfect.
The only thing that concerns me is that they are described as "rare" - so, when they do appear, there will probably be a crazy mad rush of every pilot in system. On the other hand, that might not be such a bad thing, since the sites are timed, so having several pilots hacking away at once might be desirable. But if any one of them fail, and the whole thing goes boom... that could get interesting really fast.
What's this lore stuff?
I admit, I enjoy the backstory of EVE Online, and I'm really pleased to see CCP take the time to integrate these ghost sites into the lore of the game.
If it's done well, it will add another layer of flavor and rationale about why these new sites exist, and how they connect to future events.
Call me crazy if you will, but I like things to make sense in EVE Online. I know there are a lot of players who dismiss the game's lore as fluff, and generally ignore it, but I think they are missing out on a great story. Kudos to CCP for keeping this aspect in mind.
I admit I despise the scattering spew mechanic of the Odyssey hacking sites. It does require more interaction, which is good, but it's also highly annoying, especially when you get lousy loot for your troubles.
The fact that this mechanic is being dropped from hacking in ghost sites makes me smile. They sound dangerous enough without having to click on a diaspora of cans anyway.
And the loot is going to make these sites worth the risk, it appears. With the first ever blueprints for implants, as well as for new mobile depots outside of high-sec, ghost sites should give pilots enough incentive to risk destruction. The new Ascendancy implants, with their improvement on warp speeds, are going to be very much in demand, as Rubicon's changes to warp mechanics makes this much more important.
I also find it funny that one of the mobile depots are called "Yurt", because that is exactly what it looks like.
I take full credit for all of this
Clearly, CCP Games reads all of my blog posts and puts great stock in my sage advice. It's the only logical explanation. I'm sure my Ishukone Scorpion will be delivered any moment now, since I'm obviously so prescient and awesome.
Please post your thanks and accolades in the comments. All gifts of gratitude are welcome, of course.
Fly safe! o7