The Great Outpost Conversion Commences

Then end of captureable stations is upon us.

We have been waiting for this since at least EVE Fanfest 2017, when it was discussed in detail, and possibly since the last game update in YC118 (December 2016), when the last outpost was deployed in null sec, or even since EVE Vegas 2014, when CCP Seagull spoke in the keynote about the roadmap of changes coming to EVE Online.

Time to drag this old slide out again… Are we at stargate construction yet?

CCP has planned for this change, written dev blogs to prepare people, and tried it out a couple of times on the test server.  But today it is happening for real.  All of the capturable stations… or outposts… or whatever they’re supposed to be called… will be converted to faction Fortizar type citadels.  Gone will be the stations that I and many others have grown accustomed to as a way of life in null sec space.

VFK-IV Station goes missing today

There are 1,217 outposts in player owned null sec… including the 8 in Jove space owned by CCP alliances… and CCP started a 3 hour downtime to covert them all into the new faction Fortizars.  That meant processing the contents of the stations, which according to the last dev blog included:

  • More than 53,300,000 inventory items.
  • More than 75,800 market orders.
  • More than 33,000 contracts.
  • More than 240,000 bookmarks.

Each item needs to be processed and placed into the correct corresponding new citadel.  Easy enough, as it is all just information in tables in a database.  But there is a lot of information and it has to be processed in a timely fashion and correctly, because mistakes will make players scream.

The new Fortizars will be special.  Some will have the look of old station models and are named after stations of note from the history of New Eden.  Players will be able to pack them up, move them, sell them, whatever.  And, of course, they can now be destroyed as well.  But each comes pre-configured with special rigs that make them more valuable if left in place, as packing them up will destroy these rigs and there will be no replacements.

The main beneficiaries of these new faction Fortizars contain some names you probably expect.  The final tally over at DOTLAN was:

Alliances sorted by Outpost Ownership

TEST alliance is at the top of the chart, with 102, having reaped the rewards of throwing Pandemic Legion out of Providence last month.  ProviBloc got the sovereignty, but TEST got the stations.

Goonswarm is second with 80 outposts, mostly in Delve, Querious, and adjacent regions.

The skill urself alliance was the beneficiary of the collapse of xXDeathXx in the east, gobbling up stations as they fell back to find a spot to crash on the couch of Legacy Coalition.

Brothers of Tangra is a renter alliance owned by NCDot, which itself is also on the top ten.  Combined the two add up to 106, so they win the crown for most outposts total I guess.  From there on down the rest of the top ten looks like the usual suspects.

There is a post up on Reddit that includes a spreadsheet listing the final ownership of all 1,217 stations if you are interested. (And yes, I will continue to use the words “station” and “outpost” interchangeably for as long as I continue to write.)  That indicates that TEST actually has 104, as certain older outposts don’t get counted on DOTLAN.  However, that still wasn’t enough to beat NCDot.

This all, for residents of null sec, is a big change.  We have mostly adapted to Upwell structures.  Delve is positively littered with them, to the point that I had to remove moon mining structures from my travel overview when I was last back as they were blotting out everything else displayed.  But the stations remained and were still used now and again.  The disposition of all of these special Fortizars will no doubt be a topic of interest for some time as ones in famous locations get packed up or destroyed.

And, of course, there are still stations in NPC null sec.  Station undock games will continue to be a thing.

But one big side effect of this change will be the unlocking of a lot of ships and items that had been stored in stations.  Everything left over in a hostile station which a player could not access will wind up in asset safety and be delivered a low sec NPC station where the owner can recover it for a fee.

This raises some questions.  How much of this will end up on the market and will it have any impact?  Will people come back to the game now that they can get their stuff back?  Will people setup and sell in place or haul stuff back to Jita?  And, since the NPC stations where these assets will end up are not a secret, will there be any effort to interdict some of this recovered wealth?

I suspect the impact will of this will be minimal… unlikely to outweigh all the assets being lost in Abyssal pockets over the last week… we need a dev blog on that… but I will be interested to see the Monthly Economic Report next month just to see.

Personally, I did not have much in the way of assets trapped in hostile stations.  As noted in blog posts over two years in age, I was able to pack up and haul most of my stuff out of Tribute just ahead of the invasion during the Casino War.  Likewise, the attacking forces obliged us by leaving Deklein mostly unwatched for weeks after we had pulled back to Saranen, so I was able to ship out nearly everything from there as well, leaving jump clones behind to fly out a couple of ships I did not want to repackage.

I have a few ships trapped in stations in Pure Blind, but that is about it.  Not much of a haul.

Anyway, we shall see.  According to the forum thread tracking the conversion, things we successfully and the server was back online and accepting connections at 13:56 UTC.  There was also an update blog post which included a link to the patch notes, as there were a few changes to Into the Abyss content that went in today as well, including a loot balance pass for abyssal pockets.  So there we go.

Of course, the job seeming done and it actually being done can be two different things.  I wouldn’t be surprised to find that an emergency downtime or two were needed today.

It will be odd, being tethered on something that looks like one of the old outposts.  And Alliance logos on them as well?

But it will soon be seen as the norm as we move on.

Next on the chopping block; player owned outposts, the POSes of old.  Right now all they really to is hold cyno beacons and jump bridge modules as well as giving bridging titans a place to hide in hostile space.  The writing is on the wall for the good old POS.

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