Getting High On Your Own Supply

Greeting capsuleers of New Eden, I'm here to talk about one of the more insidious and longstanding human subcultures: performance enhancers. Hate them or love them, they're a part of these strange worlds we all inhabit, both the one we wake up to, and the one we log in to.

When it comes to EVE Online, boosters can rear their head in all sorts of interesting places. From Serpentis booster busts to players pioneering booster manufacture, they are one stream in the darker undercurrent that exists in the world of characters and ideas we have created together...and in the actual game we all play.

This blog is about how we're going to add another layer of interest and support to the booster industry of New Eden. It also includes some more information about other big additions we've made to exploration and mini-professions in general. But first...

The Way Things Are: Booster-Fueled Gameplay

It's easier to understand and appreciate what has changed if we first look at how things are now. So, first let's look at boosters in terms of their actual production and sale.

So far, booster production has been predominantly the focus of smaller, specialized corporations and larger nullsec alliances who can afford to integrate booster manufacture into other more lucrative (or less taxing) endeavors. As anyone who has ever involved themselves in booster production from start to finish can tell you (which, most often, they won't) the process is not an easy one. It requires a range of skills across a broad area, both in terms of the ones you train, and the ones you acquire as a player through experience.

Scanning down gas clouds, harvesting them, acquiring reactions and blueprints, reacting the raw material into a more advanced versions, and ultimately producing and delivering a final product - it is a complex and involving process that truly demands something of the player.  This is how it should be, of course. Being a booster manufacturer, a narco-smuggler, an expert explorer who can sniff out Cytoserocin clouds in the depths of space - these should be careers that mean something. The choices you make should help you carve out your own style, identity and market amongst New Eden's many shades of grey.

Despite that, however, we do feel things could be a little bit more accessible and certainly more engaging for those with an interest in booster production. We don't want to open the floodgates and make it easy for everyone to become a pill-pushing Space Pimp overnight. Rather, we want to encourage the gameplay and the industry around it to grow. Grow means many things here; more locations to scan down, more diversity in the sites you explore, and more content in those sites.

With exploration coming to play a central role in the mechanics of wormhole space (and consequently, a lot more explorers taking to the stars), it makes good sense to develop and add to pre-existing content that relies on this same mechanic, giving brave pioneers old and new more secrets to uncover.

Around the Corner: Meet the Pushers

With the arrival of Apocrypha, players will be able to scan down new exploration sites focused on the pirate factions' underground war. Inside these new booster sites, you'll find both new things and more ways to acquire old things. More specifically, they will serve as a source of booster blueprints and reactions, which can be hacked from containers within. This time around, however, booster blueprints and reactions can also be looted from the guardians of these new areas. Enter the new drug pusher gangs.

In what military experts are calling a "hustle," the Guristas, Sansha, Blooders, Angels and Serps have all started moving in on the Empires, trying to push their wares. Each organization has its own reason for doing so, and this is part of the story that's sitting out there, waiting for you to discover.

Each pirate faction has entrusted this task to their most reliable and ruthless captains, who in turn have recruited their own lieutenants. This means new, unique NPCs - a gang of three for each booster type. These guys have their own stories too, and in addition to dropping booster materials, they will occasionally drop a unique item exclusive to them. These items don't have any practical value, but are just cool in and of themselves.

Clouds

In addition to making these booster sites, the content team has also added to the number and distribution of cloud sites where you harvest the raw materials for boosters. There are two types of gas clouds; Mykoserocin and Cytoserocin. The raw materials from these clouds are used to make Synth boosters and the normal boosters (Standard, Improved and Strong) respectively.

Currently, Cytoserocin clouds have only been found out in nullsec, where large clusters of them form. The renewed focus of the pirate factions in lowsec has also resulted in the discovery of smaller pockets of these same clouds. This allows small-scale production of normal boosters to be run purely from material drawn from low-security space.  Not enough to build a drug empire maybe, but it sure could get a party started. The aim here is to allow people to see the entirety of the drug production process without their needing to venture into 0.0 space. Of course, any serious booster producer will have to make that step sooner or later. The good stuff is where the sharks swim.

In Summary

Some numbers and additional information to sum all of this up:

  • 16 new booster sites: Two for each type of booster; a lowsec and a nullsec variant. Lieutenants can be found at lowsec sites, captains can be found out in 0.0 space.
  • 24 unique booster pushers and items: Challenging new NPCsthat have a chance of dropping unique "storyline" items, booster blueprint copies, booster reactions and slightly above-average loot. We also "boosted" Ha! - ed. CCP Jasonitas these guys appropriately, if you get what I mean. Expect a mean shield tank from the captains and lieutenants of the H-PA Crew.
  • 8 new low security cloud sites: These sites will offer a source of Cytoserocin outside of 0.0 space.  

More Exploration!

Not happy with producing content that adds to the booster profession alone, we also got to work on expanding every other aspect of exploration and its related mini-professions, in hisec, lowsec, and the nullsec systems of wormhole space. In a nutshell this means more hacking, salvaging, archaeology, combat and cosmic anomaly sites to discover. We have doubled the amounts of content for all of these sites, giving explorers more to discover as well as some more diversity to what they find.

320 (make sites every day)

An even simpler way of expressing all the work we've done to improve exploration is the number 320.

  • 8 New Hacking sites (4 Hisec, 4 Lowsec) across the five pirate factions makes 40 sites.
  • 8 New Archaeology sites (4 Hisec, 4 Lowsec) across the five pirate factions takes that to 80 sites.
  • 24 New Salvaging sites (split across all security status) across five pirate factions makes a total of 200 sites. These are a completely new type of exploration site.
  • 12 New Anomaly sites (have a chance of a faction spawn) across five pirate factions adds another 60 sites for 260 total.
  • 24 New Booster Sites (split across all security status)...284
  • 36 New Wormhole sites (hacking, archaeology, encounter).  Some of these behave as multiple sites, effectively turning 1 site into 2.

...and tada! 320.

The moral of the story is not that you shouldn't do boosters, but that you don't have to. There's plenty of content on its way for every type of explorer to find and profit from. Of course, if you are looking to score some uncut Cyto, then I tip my hat to you. Just remember, kids, always enjoy your virtual synthetic psychotropics in moderation.