Fifteen years ago today CCP launched the Red Moon Rising expansion for EVE Online. With it came a host of new ships and changes. Going back and reading the release notes for the expansion is a good time. (As is going back to the dev blogs covering all the issues the launch brought to the game.)
But the big fish in that pond were the super capital ships. RMR brought motherships, now called supercarriers, and titans into the game.
Or at least the ability to build them. CCP figured that would take a bit. And it did, at first.
Somewhere out there, beyond my ability to find via Google, is a quote from CCP about how many titans they figured would eventually end up in the game. It was a very small number. Double digits small.
And, of course, today null sec coalitions can generate scenes like this if they need to.
A lot of factors over the last decade or so helped make that scene. Skill injectors, mining efficiency, liberal ISK faucets, and citadels, where you could park your one time space coffin and have it protected, helped put this one-time aspirational achievement within reach of the masses. Would those be welfare titans? There is even video on the CCP Twitch channel of Hilmar regretting the decisions that made scenes like this possible.
But back in the distant past of the game titans seemed almost unobtainable. There was a stretch for several years where spies and industry watchers kept track of individual titans and total population estimates seemed to at least not make a complete mockery of CCP’s early predictions.
Going back to the dev blog about titans and motherships is a reminder as to what they were meant to be. That post emphasized two aspects of the titan class ships. The first was the jump portal:
Instead of just activating their jump drive, Titans are able to open a bridge to distant solar systems allowing gang mates to jump through. Opening this wormhole comes at a cost based on every ship that goes through, on the mass of the ships that enter and distance of the jumps. So Frigates will be cheap to send through but Battleships will not be. It won’t cost as much as not as dreads jumping on their own but it will be a number you won’t forget once you’ve tried it out for the first time.
And the second was, of course, the doomsday:
You may have heared rumors of some superweapons that only titans will be capable of using. Some of you have even fallen victim to such a device destroying your ship. These weapons are true and they should not be tested when there are large numbers of friends around, unless you are as cruel as I am. What these weapons do is BIG BAAAAAAAAAADAA BEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeewwn and hurt almost everyone that is in sight, so be careful with your mouse when flying with your friends. These weapons are expensive to use and can not be used frequently (massive reactivation delay, recharge time is 60 minutes). These devices can also be activated on cynosural fields that are created by gang mates, however the field being in the same solar system as the titan for it to work (doubt it will be fun to be the person that opens this field).
Ah yes, the original titan doomsday weapon came with an AOE attack that could be shot through a cyno to a distant system. Crazy times. That got changed after not too long, but CCP eventually came back with some area doomsday ideas that couldn’t be shot across systems.
And, of course, titans and motherships were special in another regard; they were never supposed to be able to dock up.
The reason for the special manufacturing need of the Motherships and Titans is related to the fact that these ships can not dock at stations. They are doomed to fly in space for eternity or until they get blown up.
Losing a titan was a big deal. The loss of the first titan, Steve, which belonged to Ascendant Frontier leader CYVOK, ended up with CCP putting up a memorial in space back in the day. A decade later they wrote a dev blog to mark the ten year anniversary of the building of that first titan.
Losing a titan remained community level news for a long stretch, and DBRB losing 3 titans at Asakai back in 2013 was a crazy headline worthy event.
And then, a year later, came the Bloodbath and B-R5RB which saw 75 titans die. Pandemic Legion and NDot losing 59 of those was seen as a significant blow to their power at the time.
I was fortunate enough to be able to slip into that battle with a subcap fleet to see the clash of titans as the long day wore on until downtime.
That battle remains the pinnacle of titan combat, the day when the most titans died. It a twist of fate, the Guinness World Record that CCP earned for the battle was broken by the Fury at FWST-8 earlier this year, a fight that saw no titans lost.
Individual titan kills remain far more common though. There are so many in the game now that people use them casually… or jump them places where they ought to go.
But that might change. CCP’s economic austerity measures this year, which have nerfed ISK earning and mineral extraction, seem likely to make titans more costly and less accessible. But there are still a lot of them around, a lot of pilots who can fly them, and a lot of places where they can safely dock up.
Titans pre-date my starting to play EVE Online by about 9 months, so they have always been a thing while I’ve been playing. I’d been barely playing a month when that first titan died. But in all my time I’ve only ever flown one one, and it was on the test server.