Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sleepers, awake!

When the Apocrypha expansion hit Eve Online, lots of us eagerly jumped into the nearest wormhole to start exploring. And many of us overenthusiastic pilots lost their ship, either because we were unable to find our way back out of the wormhole, or because we got killled en masse by the Sleepers, the mysterious guardians of old Jove complexes in wormhole space. 

When you're used to the regular NPC enemies in Eve Online - the belt/mission rats - Sleepers can be a nasty surprise. Their AI is more advanced, they are less predictable, making them harder to beat.

As it stands now, regular PVE in Eve Online highsec could use a bit of spicing up, and last night I wondered: perhaps it's time for the Sleepers to aggressively respond to the ongoing infiltration of wormhole space. Let them come out of their hiding, let them infiltrate regular space, let them get some revenge! Eve pilots can enter and exit wormholes.. why couldn't Sleepers do the same? If a wormhole spawns somewhere, Sleepers could appear from the wormhole and spread throughout the system, infecting belts or complexes, harassing pilots near gates or stations, perhaps even invading deadspace mission areas.

The nice thing about this is that it would create a level of uncertainty for (PVE) pilots. When you go out ratting or on a mission,  you (should!) know what NPC rats to expect: each system in Eve Online has only one documented and well known type of belt rats. In missions, the type of mission rats is predictable as well, with their logo featuring on the mission description, and more explicit descriptions available on sites such as eve-survival. With this knowledge, you can fit your ship accordingly, with optimal resistance against the types of damage those specific rats do, and the appropriate ammunition that is known to be most effective against them. But if you encounter a Sleeper instead of a regular rat, things change. Sleepers do all known damage types, and therefore require a different ship fitting, and perhaps you'd need other weaponry or ammunition too. And given that wormholes come and go, seemingly without a pattern, you never know when or where you might encounter the Sleepers spawning from them.. Suddenly, the same ol' fitting for the same ol' belt ratting may not be cutting it anymore.. A lot of uncertainty would be injected into a now essentially stagnant area of Eve Online.

As for the Eve Online story line, this 'revenge of the Sleepers' could set the stage for a greater role for the Jovian race in New Eden. Eventually it could even lead to a full blown Jovian themed "Apocrypha II" expansion, featuring Jovian incursions via wormholes, or the opening of (parts of?) Jovian space to Eve Online pilots for instance.

An added bonus.. the spawning of less predictable Sleeper AI in PVE areas of Eve Online might be an extra hurdle for the botters out there, as their programs would have to take into account a much less predictable environment than today.

(blog entry banged out in response to this Kirith Kodachi blog entry)

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