One term I learned early in my wormhole life is “weather.” When one wormholer asks another, “How’s the weather?” she refers to spatial anomalies that affect ship systems in some wormholes. They range from the exotic Magnetar to the more mundane but no less influential Red Giant. For instance, a Black Hole has the following effects on ship systems:
This is, IMO, one of the coolest things CCP developers have written into EVE Online. Living in a country blessed by frequent Aurora Borealis may have influenced their decision to include weather in wormholes. That is sheer speculation on my part, but I know I’d be inspired.
These aurora are the result of atmospheric turbulence on the sun. A few days ago our own smallish and relatively well behaved star blew off three Coronal Mass Ejections (CME) in the just a few hours. Here is a timelapse GIF from Spaceweather.com (excellent site!) of the event:
The least of these CME cause intense aurora within the Earth’s magnetic field as the charged particles from them interact with our planet’s atmosphere. The worst CME can burn out satellites and even cause power outages on the surface of the planet. In the 1850’s, the largest CME ever noted was so large it caused telegraph operators to suffer serious electrical burns and miners in Colorado got up and went to work in the middle of the night because the aurora were so bright they thought the sun had come up.
And that got me thinking. Why couldn’t the devs program something like this into EVE Online? They already have the code for module effects from wormhole weather. They already have a random generator system in place for incursions. In my admittedly non-expert view of things, could they not also put in place a system of solar effects that are random (mostly but more on that in a moment) and last only a few days?
One of the things I’ve always wished didn’t happen in EVE is “perfect fit” syndrome. In real life, there is rarely a “best” fit. Every situation is dynamic. There are no assurances that the car model that saved your life in the head on collision last time will do so again. Having an environment in EVE that could render a Drake worse than a Brutix for a time would be very interesting. Taking your DPS monster and yanking it’s claws would keep you on your toes. FCs would have to take system effects into account and if you’re roaming the fit you leave with might not be best should you jump into an affected system.
Wouldn’t it be exciting if you log into your home system one day and, due to a CME, your shields are lit up like a Christmas Tree or your sensors hampered. Or the reverse could happen and your sensor strength increase. Missile guidance might fail. Tracking computers could blitz out. Nanites might get more of what they need to repair your armor.
The effects the CME has on a ship could be taken directly from the existing weather tables or CCP could develop new ones. Either way, it really would make combat more interesting not knowing exactly how your fit would work under such conditions.
And as I said earlier, this temporary weather would be mostly random. I could see intense mining operations raising the chances of a CME. As mining fleets remove asteroids and the gravity they assert, tidal effects on the star could trigger a CME. I’d also like to see the chances of a CME go up in reaction to the intense energy exchanges of large fleet battles. Heavy cyno use might also trigger them more frequently All of these things could affect the pure randomness of the CME.
Lastly, seeing them happen in in real time as an operation was ongoing would be awesome, but that would be a very difficult piece of programming – I think. Still, if CCP could pull it off, it sure would make fleet fights an interesting proposition should the Maelstrom blob suddenly see their DPS cut in half or the Drakes shield capacitors start to drain at an accelerated rate [queue maniacal laughter.]
So, if CCP were to introduce temporary weather in “normal” solar systems, what sort of effects would you like to see? Is this something that would make EVE more real? Would it make EVE more interesting and fun? How would it affect your game?