Equinox in Focus: Reinvigorating Nullsec | EVE Online

Equinox in Focus: Reinvigorating Nullsec

2024-05-07 - By EVE Online Team


EVE Online: Equinox, the first major expansion of 2024, is coming soon. This first installment of the Equinox in Focus series gives you early insight into the invigorating changes, new structures, and exciting customization options coming to null security space when the expansion launches on 11 June. Read on for all the details, and tune in to CCPTV on 8 May at 16:00 UTC to get even more in-depth information on the expansion. 

At the heart of the Equinox expansion lies the desire to make null security space more meaningful and active, endowed with more customization options for content and activities, and creating topology. Star systems are seeing impactful changes, with planets now becoming integral to each system's function, dictating their strategic importance. 

Since the introduction of citadels in 2016, the Upwell Consortium has played a significant role in nullsec. With its new Equinox suite of solutions, Upwell presents the next pivotal steps in transforming nullsec from the space you live in to your home. Capsuleers will gain access to more tools and content than ever before to allow them to shape space according to their needs. With improved mechanisms, streamlined ownership, and more personalization, a foundation is being laid for the future of nullsec – a space that means and matters more to its denizens.  


One of the main ways Equinox attempts to shake up the status quo in nullsec is by empowering capsuleers with major new Upwell structures: the orbital skyhook, sovereignty hub, and Metenox moon drill. These structures allow the extraction and exploitation of new colony resources, enabling capsuleers to tap into the wealth of resources available on planets and moons within their sovereign nullsec territory, utilize these resources to grow their wealth and influence, and disseminate them throughout their empires.  


Replacing the customs office, the orbital skyhook takes the form of an anchor, and will be required to extract resources from planets. It not only replaces but retains the functionality of the customs office as a resource interface for Planetary Industry, but also enables the extraction of new colony resources introduced with Equinox. Skyhooks can be attached to all planet types, but only within player-owned sovereign nullsec space, and only one can be placed in orbit of each planet. 

Once an orbital skyhook is in place, capsuleers must be vigilant, as there's a periodic risk of encountering a Pirate Orbital Blockade. These blockades challenge players to either engage in combat with pirate NPCs, potentially at an officer level, including capital and supercapital ships, or run the blockade. Successfully lifting these blockades rewards pilots with ISK in addition to enhancing the defensive rating of the solar system. The blockades thus give capsuleers more opportunities to tackle powerful pirate NPCs for impressive rewards. 


The introduction of the sovereignty hub will provide massive, new opportunities for owners of sovereign nullsec space. Replacing the existing sovereignty structures - the territorial claim unit and the infrastructure hub - this revolutionary new Upwell structure will refresh and enhance sovereignty management, upgrade mechanics, and gameplay in capsuleer-controlled systems.  

The key feature of the sovereignty hub is sovereignty upgrades, which provide pilots with the primary means to improve and customize the systems they control. This will provide value to the space owner and create a drive to capture space, which in turn is all but guaranteed to ignite territorial conflicts. These new upgrades will offer more meaningful choices than currently existing sovereignty upgrades, adding to capsuleers’ control and creative options over their sovereign territory.  

One example of improved sovereignty upgrades is the addition of a new, harder combat anomaly for the Pirate Detection Array upgrade. Furthermore, all sites detected by this array will now have a chance to escalate, with some having the possibility of capital or even officer escalations. 

Another upgrade will allow the detection of previously undiscovered ores, allowing sovereign nullsec leaders to choose what minerals their system will provide, potentially reducing manufacturing bottlenecks and shaping space to suit their needs. 


The expansion introduces three new colony resources: Power, workforce and reagents. These will be required in different quantities to fuel the various upgrades available to the sovereignty hub, impacting the customization options available in that territory. System topology will determine resource availability, as each type can only be extracted from specific sources.  

Power comes from suns or plasma and storm planets. It is a hard limitation within each system, which determines how many upgrades your sovereignty hub can support and run. Workforce consists of the people, specialists, and tools required to run these upgrades. This is a soft limitation and can be transferred between systems, however certain conditions apply. Reagents are two new fuel types, extracted from ice and lava planets. They are used to fuel sovereignty upgrades and to run the Metenox moon drill, and are freely exchangeable, opening new market opportunities for entrepreneurial capsuleers. 

Once the resources have been extracted, power and workforce will become available in the sovereignty hub, while reagents must be collected and distributed. 


Perceptive pilots will notice that power is somewhat of a baseline resource, while the other two offer more opportunities for disruption. As power and workforce will be required for sovereignty upgrades, fresh opportunities will emerge for those looking to sabotage and disrupt by choosing to destroy orbital skyhooks. These structures function similarly to medium Upwell structures with a single shield reinforcement and damage caps on armor and hull, and will continue working while reinforced. 

Additionally, a new form of hit-and-run activity is being added around the orbital skyhooks, allowing pilots to hack into them in the style of ESS heists, enabling them to steal resources and sell them off. Reagents will have a period of maturation within the structure, ensuring that they will always be somewhat vulnerable to theft. 

Throwing enemies’ workforce into disarray by attacking a sovereignty hub’s Workforce Transport Complex or a workforce-providing skyhook directly or even starving them of an essential reagent before an attack will become viable stratagems, bringing meaningful new conflict drivers to the table for raiders and attackers. 

The introduction of these new structures is sure to gain immense attention, including the notice of local pirate forces, so be wary of warping to these structures in undefended haulers! In fact, there’s a chance of facing officer-level NPCs around skyhooks, so be prepared. 


Another deployable structure being introduced in Equinox is the Metenox moon drill. Fueled in part by fuel blocks and also by reagents, a new resource harvestable from planets, this structure can be deployed at moons in lowsec, nullsec, and wormhole space. The Metenox may be less efficient than manual extraction by players using an Athanor or Tatara, but instead, it slowly collects the resources obtained from mining and refining moon ore in an automated fashion. This gives smaller alliances and corporations normally more focused on aggression the ability to mine moons, even if they lack the necessary manpower. For those groups that do have the manpower, they can focus their attention on the high-value moons while the Metenox takes care of the lower value ones. 

Metenox moon drills are vulnerable to attack, only having a single, short reinforcement timer. Any materials will be trapped inside reinforced moon drills, allowing aggressors to provoke engagement or loot resources for themselves should they be able to destroy the structure. In addition, successful attackers can deploy their own Metenox in its place. 


The new structures aim to bring more life to nullsec. In terms of quality of life, the user interface is seeing changes aiming to enhance in-space interactions, reduce friction, and ensure smooth usability when engaging with the new structures. A dedicated in-space UI allows for seamless depositing of fuel and hack objectives, as well as easy access to crucial information. This streamlined interface will allow effortless interaction with the new Upwell structures without breaking immersion. 

Information about the distribution of the new colony resources, power, workforce, and reagents will be easily accessible through the Agency window under the Resource Harvesting tab. The interface allows capsuleers to search and filter for specific resources, their availability and quantity, informing pilots’ decisions about the expansion of their sovereign space and empowering them to find and target valuable star systems. 

Capsuleers in managerial roles will gain access to a dedicated interface capable of installing and prioritizing upgrades. Pilots will be able to design their desired layouts for upgrades, monitor resources available to the sovereignty hub, and efficiently manage workforce transfers. The interface provides a centralized hub for strategic decision-making, enabling managers to optimize their territory effectively. 

Additionally, through the corporation window, all players within an alliance holding sovereign nullsec territory can now track collective progress, receive updates, and gain insights into their sovereign space activities. The alliance tab has been revamped with a new section dedicated to sovereignty. The aim here is to strike a balance between clarity, accessibility, and engaging aesthetics. By incorporating table layouts for easy sorting, filters for enhanced research, and graphical data representation for items such as resource allocation and fuel consumption, the interface is designed to inform and captivate, ensuring capsuleers stay engaged and up to date about the state of their territory. 


With the introduction of the Equinox suite, Upwell sets out to redefine the strategic importance of system locations within the universe. It enables capsuleers to specialize the systems they oversee, providing the flexibility to adapt and maneuver workforce resources across their territories as necessary. 

Strategic planning is paramount with the Equinox suite, as pilots must consider potential attack vectors. For instance, a system might offer substantial power resources but lack nearby workforce sources and be susceptible to isolation. Capsuleers may invest in such a system or opt for a less optimal but more defensible position. Furthermore, pilots must consider how they'll distribute various system upgrades to maximize their effectiveness - specializing in mining or combat operations could greatly influence their strategic decisions. 

The Equinox expansion also introduces heightened opportunities for raiding, trading, and betrayal. Expect intense specialization in mining or combat readiness in certain systems. Pilots can utilize Metenox moon drills as strategic bait for skirmishes or as significant income sources on a larger scale. The ability to fine-tune systems to suit specific needs, such as mining for isogen or hunting high-level pirates, will appeal to many. For those adept at wormhole operations, the thrill of ambushing an overly ambitious adversary or raiding a vulnerable reagent skyhook offers a tantalizing prospect. 

There is much to anticipate with the Equinox expansion. It promises to transform how systems are valued, equipping pilots with innovative tools to customize their space and sparking new dynamics in conflict across varying scales. The unfolding strategies in this transformative era of nullsec promise to write thrilling new chapters in the storied legacy and future of New Eden. Make sure you tune in to CCPTV on 8 May at 16:00 UTC for a live, in-depth look at the expansion, and don’t forget that the Capsuleer Day celebrations are in full swing – a great way to start gearing up for the expansion by accumulating daily rewards such as Skill Points, boosters, SKINs, and more.