The always lucid and fascinating Mittani is back with another insight by way of his column at TenTonHammer. The angle this time is the possible end of “great wars”. Holding territory, he argues, has become too expensive, meaning territorial alliances must keep themselves in check and hold back on their expansionist urges. The obvious result, he insists, is that EVE is entering a period of enforced apathy.
Although I have no direct experience of old or new sovereignty, I can see his point. If alliances are having to work harder to control much less, and don’t have the same avenues for income they once enjoyed, then an alliance’s sphere of operation is going to have to contract, else it does so by way of implosion.
I do think Mittani’s outlook is a little pessimistic. After all, into those nullsec gaps left by the big players, new powers can emerge out of opportunities that have been hitherto denied New Eden’s less domineering entities. As a consequence this means greater scope for diplomacy and collusion, certainly in the long-term. It’s long been a desire to formalise player empires (coalitions to you and me), and perhaps this is just the beginning of that process. I wonder whether The Mittani is role-playing the point as a domineering agenda-driven character with a withering grip on power, or as a player mourning the passing of a universal golden age.
Dominion was always going to be a landscape-changing expansion. Whether it’s had too seismic an effect is perhaps part of the problem, but I see EVE not settling into some kind of stupor, but rather we can expect a whole series of aftershocks that will make things more interesting, not less. (Although I say this from the safe vantage point of an observer, not someone constantly being rained on with patches of fiery lava.)
The just-announced Tyrannis expansion will bring the next big quake, the second and potentially even more devastating expansion in a loose trilogy that will hopefully change the focus, not of war, but of resource-gathering in New Eden. I’m assuming this epoch in EVE’s history will conclude with a sister expansion to the console game Dust 514, where the foundations between sovereignty, planetary interaction and planetary sovereignty will be fully laid. My point is that we seem to be starting down a very long road, not coming to the end of a short one.
Of course much of my own optimism is based on faith in the future rather than the facts in the present, since I have no more access to CCP’s design documents than any other rank-and-file EVE player, but the benefit of having distance over current events is you can peek a little further over the horizon. In any case, I really can’t see CCP allowing EVE to become SimCity in space. The implementation may have left a lot to be desired, but the objectives CCP were aiming for in Dominion were always long-term and were always going to be tied in with those of the following expansion (Dominion II, if you will). Let’s see what the alliances do with Tyrannis and the vast resources that planets will unlock before calling time on the age of the dinosaurs.