Empyrean Age and all that – An overview
So, we have this expansion coming out this summer called Empyrean Age. It's going to be pretty neat, and it's going to include this thing called Factional Warfare, which is a feature we've been talking about for a fair while now and is generally regarded as something of a big deal. Over the course of the next week or so I'm going to thrash out the fundamentals of the entire design in a series of blogs, starting with this one.
What is Factional Warfare?
This, in a way, is the biggest question of the lot, so we'll start here!
There are a lot of things that Factional Warfare could be. What it is, right now, is in its most basic form a gameplay bridge from high sec to null sec – from the safety of Empire to the wild lands of Alliance space. High sec and null sec have very differing communities of players with very divergent play styles, and while moving from one to the other is obviously possible, it's harder than it should be.
Factional Warfare provides a halfway house for players from Empire to get into the sandbox at the shallow end. It serves other functions too, for other types of player, but this is its primary function.
How does it work?
The core gameplay element of Factional Warfare is small-scale PvP combat. We believe that rounding up your posse, rolling out into contested space and having a healthy exchange of opinions and weapons fire with your sworn enemies is fun. Factional Warfare is designed to make this kind of experience accessible, with low entry requirements and a target-rich environment.
There will be two core drivers for this sort of combat. For those looking for direction, missions will be available, sending you on surgical strikes deep into enemy territory, battling through or sneaking past enemy players to reach the objective. For those who prefer to set their own goals, combat sites will be distributed throughout the warzones. Each site will be contestable by all sides involved in the conflict, with the winning side scoring both immediate rewards and points for their faction.
And what do points mean? Systems! As your faction racks up points in hostile systems, control will slowly swing into your favor, until eventually you're given the opportunity to occupy the system outright. Of course, the enemy's trying to do the same to your systems, so a good defense as well as well as a strong offense will be needed if you want your adopted faction to prevail and dominate!
Is that all?
Pfah! Is that not enough? But no, that's not everything. Ranks, intel screens, a lot of NPC tags and so on are all part of the design. But that's all for future blogs, so watch this space…
Oh, and Black Rise
One last little thing, when we were sketching out the combat areas for all this stuff, we kept running into one brick wall in particular: Caldari low sec space, well, kind of sucks.
Specifically, there isn't much of it, and what there is, is mostly in the wrong place (i.e. well away from the Gallente border). This is, for a system which needs decent expanses of lowsec space between the Empires, a problem. So we looked at the map and decided that there was room for a bit more.
It seemed like a picture would do most of the explaining for me, so there we go. It's Caldari-owned and mostly low sec, some new stations, some new agents, asteroid belts, some ice fields, all the gubbins. The Cloud Ring system just off-screen is W-4NUU, the other connections you should be able to figure out yourselves. For more details, keep an eye out for news on Singularity updates, as you should be able to explore it all yourselves in the near future.
This is incidentally, as some of you will realize, the first actual region we've added since the original universe was generated, which made it an, uh, interesting project. Most of the actual work was done by Prism X, who took the pile of spreadsheets we generated, did a whole load of wizardry which I don't claim to begin to understand, and gave us some new space to play in. Please direct all praise regarding this rather fine achievement in his general direction.
Has anyone seen my barber?
It's traditional now that we get a quote in somewhere for blogs about Factional Warfare, so I'll leave you with this little gem from Russell.
"War does not determine who is right, only who is left."