A little write-up on revamping navigation mechanics

As a disclaimer of sorts, I personally play Eve as a hauler and sometimes an explorer of sorts, so my perspective is a bit different from the more pvp-minded. And so, I’ll try to appreciate different viewpoints.

I suggest that we do away with gates and replace the entire system of inter-system navigation with a new one that i’ll try to describe and defend here.

Instead of having star systems connected by gates, systems would merely have a signal beacon that indicates their general location inside a 3-dimensional plane of space-time and any ship that wants to navigate to a certain system has to enter a series of constantly changing pathways (in a sense, wormholes that can be opened/entered forcefully but in a much smaller scale compared to existing wormhole mechanics) to navigate towards the signal or indeed any signal that the scanners on one’s ship might spot.
There are two main reasons (with multiple sub-reasons) why I’d advocate this over a gate-based mechanic.

  • Navigation and exploration becomes more of an active process, one has to always find a new route even to same destination, and you can always find something different on the way, since a pathway that connects to literally anywhere might open up on random. It would be indefinitely more interesting to pilot any ship from system to system in this fashion, so any player from a freighter pilot to a pve ratter stands to gain from this alone.

  • PVP and ‘anti-PVP’ (avoiding ganks, tracking down gankers) becomes more interesting and more skill-based, as gankers would have to scan a constantly changing network of pathways to gain understanding of the general direction of where a potential target might be headed and intercept their path. Meanwhile, a hauler or an explorer would have to actively scan their ‘space-time surroundings’ to gain an idea of whether or not someone might be tracking them down. There’s tons of fertile ground for skill development and ship build mechanics in a system like this as well. Depending on how the exact mechanics and math behind all this is formed, the balance can go either way, as a difference on what one can see on their end of the screen based on skills and ship build, but in any case, it would still be better than the current mechanic where one just has to wait behind a gate and the only way to gain info of the situation and fight against any of it is to drag an alt there or wait for a friend to scout ahead.

Now, I realize that this is both a massive rework of the existing system and massively different to what has existed since the start of the entire game, so all this could be a pipe dream (or someone else’s nightmare) but either way, i just wanted to get ‘the system’ out of my ‘system’ so well… gimme your thoughts, if it provokes any, and ask questions if I’ve failed (which I no doubt have) to communicate all the details in a clear manner.

So…these pre-existing but ever-shifting warp tunnels would be like wind/ocean currents along which we seek to speed our way towards the general vicinity of our destination? Our warp drives would be like wind sails catching the current, and we’d have to hop between different currents to get where we want to go?

I rather like that idea, pipe dream though its implementation in EVE may be.

@Quelza: I like that analogy, one that i had in mind was how planes first navigated with VOR beacons and radio direction finders.

It would be a nightmare to code though, since one would have to figure out an algorithm to generate instances with finite lifetimes that are semi-randomly connected to other instances, which would always maintain a connection between the main systems in some loose sense. One night a route from Jita to Amarr might be 9 instances which we’d sail past, some other night it could be as many as 18 or as little as 5.

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Mixed feelings. I frequently reference the idea of a “fun:suck ratio.” Right now navigation is mostly suck. Long trips are not fun. Shoot, even short trips are not fun. As I understood the proposal, having to scan out your jump in every system, what could be fun would quickly turn to suck. Making it an optional way to find shortcuts could maintain the fun level. To balance the fun:suck in this instance, I’d want to be able to set a long route with autopilot, and not have to worry about it, just as it is now. I’d like to be able to make adjustments on the fly to find shortcuts from my long route (add some fun to the ratio.) Maybe as connections fluctuate, the most traveled routes become public and available for AP. For an idea this big to work, there has to be a gentle transition between the old system and a new one.

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So, you want more short range wormholes, just with longer, more annoying session changes?

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