Monday, November 17, 2014

The Blue Donut Hole

TLDR: Theorizing future Thera and its actual impact to the game. The future is filled with blues, blues and more blues.

The Thera creation may be one of the greatest impacts to the game since Apocrypha (the release that brought us w-space).  I didn’t say, greatest as in best. What I’m talking about is, the game play impact it will have on players who choose to participate in it. Thera will bring with it a game play style different to anything already in play. CCP has effectively created a game play style and forced the player base to do what we do best and break it. Break it, we shall!

The Dev blog:

Though all of this seems totally new, we can use some basic deduction using prior precedent and current game play rules it would take years of CCP development to change.

 Here’s what will happen from my point of view.

“Thera is a gigantic shattered wormhole system that contains four NPC stations and a large number of wormhole connections”  -- Dev Blog

According to initial reports from friends who have jumped in there from the test server, when Fozzie says “Large Number of wormhole connections” he means 5+ Non static connections. Though the mechanics haven’t totally been explained yet, we can assume those would be either outbound K162s or inbound wandering wormholes from existing K-space and W-space. This is in addition to the statics, mentioned here;

“Thera has multiple static connections highsec, lowsec and nullsec space as well as access to wandering wormholes and K162 connections that can connect it to W-space. The result is a system that is much more connected to K-space than to W-space.” – Dev Blog

3 Static types, all K-space. Game impact is; this hole will be favored by people who don’t mind visitors, travelers and explorers. Pvpers.

Thera will be chaos unleashed. Those who don’t pvp in Thera will fit into two categories, waiting to die or catering to pvpers (market types, scouts). That’s it.

The sites will remain unrun, because to do so with this level of traffic would mean you won’t live long or you’re just bait waiting to be bitten.

Picture a pipe system next to a major trade hub in Low sec. Rancer without local essentially.

“None of the connections to Thera will admit capital ships (freighters will be able to squeeze in), none of the stations in Thera will allow capitals to be built, and there are no moons for starbase anchoring. This means the system will only ever contain sub-capital vessels.” – Dev Blog

No capitals is a huge play style change, though not unique. High sec war participants have been battling each other without capitals since war decs were a thing. Station games, station games .. o and more station games, but now without neutral alts you couldn’t effect, till it was too late. At the end of the day, capitals fill a battlefield roll. Sadly, without capitals and a known method to reduce the engagement strength of those who you’re fighting. In this sealed single system, the blob will rule. Best way to blob is to blue.

“Thera is the largest system we have ever had in EVE. The stations are spread between three different planets at the edges of the system and warps between them can be up to 342 AU. The vast distances and huge number of wormholes ensures that keeping a lockdown on all of the stations and wormholes in the system will be exceedingly difficult, although we expect it to be an extremely dangerous place.” – Dev Blog

This might be one of the most unique factors to this EVE play style. Players will be forced to bounce off a celestial based book mark, before attempting to expose themselves to fleets waiting at the connection points.

Example:  So if you warped from one spot to another into a drag bubble, you could essentially get pulled from your warp in point by a newly expired interdiction probe and its launching ship has long since left grid before even seeing you on Dscan. Crazy right? Unique, but not unmanageable. Though this system may be huge and from some reports taking up to 5 minutes to warp across it, it’s not total chaos. Here is how you solve it.

Wormhole/Sig generation will still follow the rules they do now in other EVE systems. All sigs will be 4 AU from a celestial. You could create book marks between celestials, the same way you do now to make safes, but for the most part Sigs/Anoms will always appear 4 AU or less from a celestial. 

I foresee all residents of Thera having a block of bookmarks all within 4 AU of each celestial. These will be used for intel gathering and safe warps. No one but bads will attempt warping 5 minutes from point A to point B without first bouncing to a 4 AU safe and hitting D-scan to the wormhole exit/entrance of their choosing.

Below is a picture of what I'm talking about. Please excuse my crude paint skillz.

Moving on...

“Anchored warp disruption bubbles will not be usable within Thera, although interdictor and heavy interdictor bubbles work normally.”  Dev Blog

I honestly like this. Though camps will be possible, they won’t be possible without greater expense to the campers.

We all know campers are as lazy as miners, so with the greater risk to the camping force hics and dics being on grid without local to save them from their own bubbles, we won’t see many long term camps similar to say HED-GP. – Example: Sure your HIC can sit there with its bubble up hopping to drag haulers/explorers out of warp, they will be at risk to the roaming gangs of cloaked ships that will call this system home.

“Thera contains wormhole signature and anomaly sites appropriate for class 3 and class 4 wormholes, as well as all the different types of wormhole gas mining sites on par with a class 6 wormhole system.” – Dev Blog

So what. Only the Anoms and pve Sigs will only be used for bait. Anyone else will be shellacked. The fleet it would take to hold that from the roving bands of cloaked murderers would make long term farming of a c3/c4 type Anom, just a waste of time/isk. Example: let me do this c3 anom in the most dangerous place in the game, in a passive resist drake. Right, that won’t totally end in cloaky death squads saving sleepers from people seeking isk.

I foresee no one doing any level of PVE, other than maybe a gas site here and there, in a throw away venture with a throw away clone. The extensive risk will never be justified by the current reward system.

Example: Null sec Incursions. No one does them because the risk is so high and rewards just a little better than simply doing the same thing in a high sec system.

What to expect:

1.      TiDi, during normal day to day I’m sure TiDi won’t be an issue, but allowing jump clones at stations will mean that each time there is a huge noncap brawl, everyone and their mother will jump clone into Thera to honorable 587th party.
2.      Local chat spam
3.      Station games
4.      Blues, blues and more blues between Thera residents. Think Provi. Wspace edition. There will be groups that come and go but long term residents will construct some sort of blue list to fend off the massive other groups who will clone jump into the system for some Gud fights.
5.      Random gangs of Thera based bandits appearing at a null sec near you. The surprise factor won’t be there, I suspect that all major alliances that wish to keep their ratting caps from being blobbed will keep either spies or scanning alts in Thera to notify intel networks of pending doom. The idea of a wormhole filled with stations and hundreds of pilots opening up in prime null ratter turf makes me wet, but honestly how long before someone in Null realizes they just need to put an alt in the Blue Donut Hole gang and get free intel. 


The Politics of ‘Blue Donut Hole’ (I coined that btw) I suspect will be similar to what Black Legions point of view is right now. Go where the fight is, fight any and all people just cause. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if BL wasn’t already making plans to dominate the system. Why wouldn’t they? It’s a wormhole they can move their alts/combat pilots to, clone jump to when something juicy is tackled and fly to high sec whenever they want to get more ships.

Thera will provide a mobile platform to spread destruction through Low sec and Null sec on a sub capital level throughout all of new Eden. The thing is, you must feed this gang of scum and villainy. Don’t feel like fighting with the Null they are connected to? Roll the Null till you find a null with something to shoot.

I don’t suspect any of the giant sov holding groups to set up anything permanent in Thera. Since the primary goal for most of these groups is ISK generation, and Thera will offer nil on that front.
Thera will be a pvper refuge and whomever caters to that type of player.  

I don’t see existing wormhole groups moving into Thera on a long term basis, most that I know about are either very pvp small gang/cap supported or are total cap escalation bears. Thera won’t be this.

Potential Issues: 

Right now, in w-space I can scan out a chain for the reasons of finding a small group to fight fairly effectively. I have access to most of the ships I need in my POS. I can roam null or low sec if I want to find numbers of less than 20 in all of those  locations. Thera as a w-space battle platform that will constantly be raided by the weekend pvper blobs. Naww its coo bro, you can keep that.

Why on earth would an effective wspace hunter like myself want to base my operations out of there? The fights I find right now aren’t huge sub cap brawls in tidi. Thera to me and others like me will view Thera as a vacation space to throw away some ships, that's about it. 

If anyone remembers what the BNI Low sec system was like, before BNI wandered off to claim sov. That chaotic undock in that system with multiple groups of sniping ships and playing station games was the norm.. This is what the stations will be like in Thera. Undocks that are total mess of ships, gangs, null sec style shit talking and kiting boats. When the Blue Donut Hole eventually takes back the grid, it will be “so what do we do with this fleet now? ”Well we are connected to ____ lets go raid them”.


CCP may knock this out of the park and create an entirely new play style. This could be something great. Then again they might do what it, what they did with C4’s i.e. Making C4s amazing with another static with one hand and not knowing what the other hand is doing, nurfing potential c4 income by “fixing” RR sleepers (2 years after the fact). Effecting taking 1 step forward and 2 steps back.

 I have high hopes but my expectations have been mired by past precedent.


  1. Example: Null sec Incursions. No one does them because the risk is so high and rewards just a little better than simply doing the same thing in a high sec system.

    Just going to point out, 0.0 incursions get (got?) run by the CFC all the time. Not sure if they still do since Phoebe though.

    1. They only get run to get rid of then since they cyno jam the whole area.

  2. Good point, might not have been the best example.

  3. For us the second c4 static meant no more site running. I dont know of any pve corp living in a c4 liking this change.

    pvp corps - maybe

  4. We've been anom running our c4 with both c3, c2 and 3x k162 for a long time (even when there were only c3 static). No one really bothers to catch 2-3 100mn tengus with 10 fighters support from archon and 5-link bonus at pos. Same farming alongside c3 static (without carrier fighters). Low damage 100mn tengus but zero risk and no messing with WH rolling.
    Isk/hr/pilot is laughable though compared to other risk free stuff like afk-ishtar or incursions running.
    Pashko Morgan @ Rg.P