Reports began popping up on Twitter during the afternoon of June 26th about Drifter NPCs attacking and reinforcing Upwell structures in null sec space. This was picked up by Imperium News, who reported that the Drifters were moving around Delve and reinforcing structures around the region.
When I got home from work I jumped into game on an alt and fly over to the one of the systems they were reported to be working in and, sure enough there were Drifters firing away at an Azbel while other structures in the system had already had their armor timers set.
Dismissed at first as a boot.ini level bug by CCP, the Imperium has decided that CCP is not going to “fix” what is happening and has sent out pings for a recall to Delve from our staging in the KQK1-2 Keepstar, which itself was hit by Drifters earlier.
Coincidentally, back on June 5th I saw a small Drifter force hitting the KQK Keepstar, though it was only three ships and they were sent packing right away.
I thought at the time this was anomalous behavior, Drifters doing silly things, especially after the mention at EVE North about the great NPC battle nobody saw. But now, after they have started hitting structures in force, it seems like we have a new event in null sec to keep up busy. The EVE North mention might have been an alert or might have been a ruse in hindsight.
There has been word that the Drifters have hit structures in TEST and Pandemic Horde space as well and have set up gate camps at times to shoot players as they travel through the various null sec regions. There is also word that damage caps do not apply to Drifter attacks and they are reinforcing structures more quickly that players are able.
Imperium move ops are coming soon and I guess I have the answer as to what we are going to do now that the last Keepstar in Tribute is gone. PAP links for PvE coming up I guess. We’ll be fine, throwing our forces against the Drifters. We’ll see how other groups fare.
We will also have to see what CCP has in mind with this.
Others on the Drifter menace:
- INN – Drifters Attacking Player Structures
- INN – Imperium Returning to Delve
- Reddit – Thread about where Drifters are hitting
- The Greybill – The Drifers are Coming
- Ashey in Space – Drifters: An Emergent Threat
- PC Gamer – Chaos after an Unprecedented Alien Invasion
- Game Informer – Surprise Alien Invasion
- Polygon – Community Erupts
And CCP has a video from The Scope
So there we go.
As an outsider who follows EVE only through blog reports here and elsewhere, I have to say this is one of the most interesting things I’ve read about EVE in a long while. We often talk about the fundamental problem with pure PvP in an open world setting being that players who want it can’t always get it and it’s long seemed to me that having NPC factions that act as similarly as possible to player factions might be a better solution than instanced battlegrounds, which, as we know, tend to remove even more potential opponents from the open field.
If a game has valuable structures that can come under attack from NPC forces it means meaningful action for the defenders that doesn’t rely on the whims of other players and at the same time it opens huge opportunities for hostile player factions to take advantage, leading to real PvP that also matters. I’ve seen that in other in other games but The idea of NPCs also running gate camps seems both original and inspired. I realy hope this is going somewhere CCP intends and isn’t just a serendipitous bug. And even if it is, I hope CCP pick it up and run with it, because if this turns out to be a successful thing in EVE I might eventually get to see something similar in games I play.
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Of all possible ways this war could have ended, I surely didn’t anticipate this one. Very interesting indeed.
If this NPC behaviour is serious and here to stay I guess the days of plastering every system with multiple citadels are over. I mean, who wants to defend all that stuff on a daily basis?
The irony is that if you have gone way, way, way overboard in dropping structures everywhere… see Delve… then even Drifters and their ability to ignore damage caps end up slogging through systems wondering when this goddam structure shoot op is going to end.
Interestingly, last night I could have sworn I saw one group land on an Anisblex jump gate, then disappear, as though they used the gate. I wasn’t close enough to tell for sure though. But they didn’t increase in range like they warped off.
And, of course, the joke is that this is Olmeca Gold’s first act as CSM member, since his platform was to break up the null sec empires.
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Outstanding news. Given that the players can’t destroy the RMT machines, and the older CCP employees certainly don’t want to, it is good to see some outside pressure do what should have been done 8 years ago. It would be glorious to see every structure controlled by one of the cartels wiped out entirely.
@Dins – Don’t wet yourself over this. The most likely victims will be smaller null sec groups that cannot stand up defense fleets at any hour. It will end up with the rich getting richer.
If this turns out to be the solution to time zone tanking, I’ll laugh out loud in real life :)