The Lifeblood expansion is upon us, having been deployed earlier today.
After weeks… and in some cases months… of talk and updates and dev blogs, the date has finally arrived. And what does Lifeblood bring?
The Moon in the Sky
Probably the biggest change involves moon mining. Moon mining lies at the center of the production of Tech II ships and modules, so any disruption of that means a disruption in the market… and a disruption seems likely.
The first aspect of the moon mining change is the introduction of new Upwell structures, in this case the Athanor (Medium size) and Tatara (Large size, there being no XL) refineries. These structures will be replacing the moon mining and reaction capabilities previously seen in the familiar old Player Owned Starbase, or POS. From this point forward a POS can no longer mine moons; that capability is now gone.
The refineries will take that all over… once they come online. Corps and Alliances and the rare enterprising soloist will have to grab a BPO for one of the new structures… probably research it a bit just to shave off some of the cost… and actually start building the new refineries. During that time there will be no “moon goo” production.
Meanwhile, the big moon reshuffle will also have happened, so people will need to go probe moons to find out what they will now yield. Yesterday’s R64 might not be so valuable today.
And then, once moons are surveyed and refinery production has ramped up and structures are available to be place (one per moon), there is the matter of the new moon mining process.
The old process was passive. The POS modules did the work and somebody just had to show up to collect the output every so often. It was common for one person to have multiple moons and reaction farms going, or for an alliance to have a few people tending their moons while the proceeds went to support their ship and SRP budget.
The new process involves extracting a chunk of a moon, hauling into space, blowing it up into little chunks, and then mining it the way you would mine an ore anomaly. That means getting people out there in mining ops to collect the 75 new flavors of ore that will carry the things like technetium that was formerly extracted passively. (There are also ten new mining crystals, with tech I and tech II variants, divided into classes of moon ore rather than individual ore types.) Groups that pride themselves on being PvP only who have depended on moon mining to fund their operations will need to find a new way to stay on the moon goo gravy train.
So there will be delays as the new structures are produced, moons are scanned, and organizations adapt to the new reality of moon mining, during which time we will all be living on whatever moon goo supplies have been hoarded ahead of time. I suspect that the price of Tech II modules will rise on market speculation alone.
Related Dev Blogs:
A legit opportunity to say “spreadsheets in space” for once, CCP has added a way to track your own personal mining output, with a corp version so that leaders can get an organizational view of who is mining what, when, and where.
I will be interested to see what becomes of this. Every time CCP gives more data to players, that data ends up getting used in many ways. I expect this will become both boon for some and bane for others around New Eden. There is a dev blog up with details.
Coming with Lifeblood will be a new pirate faction shipyard, this time from the Guristas. Up to three of these NPC Sotiya class engineering complexes, two in null sec and one in low sec, will be up and running in Guristas space, which is in the north end of New Eden.
As with the Blood Raider shipyard in the south, these will spawn forces to defend based on the attacker’s force and will drop blueprint copies of Guristas capital ships. These will be the Loggerhead force auxiliary, the Cayman dreadnought, and the Komodo titan.
While these look like their Caldari counterparts, the Minokawa, Phoenix, and Leviathan, they have their own special additions. In keeping with the Guristas love of drones, the latter two will be able to launch fighters.
Forward Operating Bases
In addition to the shipyards, both the Blood Raiders and the Guristas will be deploying forward operating bases around New Eden. These will be group PvE sites to attack and will react proportionally the way the shipyards do, only on a much smaller scale.
At EVE Vegas CCP said that if these forward operating bases are allowed to linger NPCs from them will start to venture out to attack those in system with bad standings with the faction in question. How powerful these excursions from the FOBs will be was left unsaid. If they are akin to belt rats it won’t be a big deal. If NPCs start hunting players in force, I expect outrage and hilarity to ensue until they’re nerfed.
The Agency Upgraded
Also shown at EVE Vegas was the new vision for The Agency. Up until now it has been simply an interface from which regular events have been run. But CCP has a broader vision for The Agency, planning for it to be the one-stop-shop for all of your PvE needs.
The Agency will roll up events, agent finder, the journal, and epic arcs as well as showing you anomalies and other PvE activities around you in New Eden. This is supposed to open the world of PvE options up for newer players who might not even be aware that they exist.
Dev Blog about updates to The Agency.
With The Agency update we also get another new PvE activity for it to track in the form of resource wars. This is sort of an co-op open quest approach to PvE, where you do not have to fleet up but can join in as you want. Your job will either to be to mine ore to hand off to NPC haulers or defend the haulers from NPC pirates.
The events will reward ISK, standing, and loyalty points with the new empire specific NPC corps that will be running these operations.
The sites will also come in five tiers of increasing difficulty which you will have to unlock by increasing your standings with the corp in question.
If done right, I think this could be a good addition to the PvE options in New Eden. I plan to give this a try.
There is a dev blog up explaining Resource Wars in more detail.
In addition to a frigate/destroyer/cruiser balance pass there are the usual bits and pieces and minor updates and fixes that have come along for the ride with this release. UI and tool tips seem to have gotten a pass, and they keep plugging away at that new map. There was also the CONCORD battleship the Marshall, which was redone in anticipation of handing copies over to people who attended both Fanfest and EVE Vegas. (ONE per person this time, not one per account.) You can now wager on duels… so after a year hiatus, some form of gambling has returned to New Eden. Also noted is the coming of the Crimson Harvest event later this week.
While there is no music track to accompany this release… I guess the days of new space music are behind us at this point… there is a Lifeblood feature tour trailer.