One of the more interesting topics that has emerged on the Feature and Ideas forum has been Hive Ships. Daedalus II writes;
“It’s really hard to live a self supporting nomadic lifestyle in EVE in my opinion, and that is sad as it’s a very cool way of life that is missing from EVE. The game more or less force a group of people to stay in one place because to move in a safe manner you all have to be online at once (a real problem when you start coming up to 100 people). There is also the issue of industry. A nomadic fleet would have to bring a crapload of POSes to be able to produce what they need and that’s just not very user friendly“.
He goes on to propose the Hive Ship – a gargantuan ‘TITAN’ESQ” ship that would act rather like a mobile station. The idea, on the surface, sounds pretty appealing offering a chance for those corps with itchy feet to roam the star lanes at their leisure.
But it did get me thinking – do we actually need such a ship, and do we not have almost all the elements in place for a nomadic lifestyle to be a reality?
For a short time I was lucky enough to fly with Galactic Geographic, a corporation who are exclusively nomadic. They take pride in their rejection of ‘station life’ and for the majority of their pilots their existence is one of prolonged periods floating in space and they never see the inside of a station for weeks on end.
We certainly have a number of tools at our disposal to make such a concept a reality. In terms of ship storage and maintenance we can look to both the Orca and its big brother the Rorqual as our ‘base ships’ of choice. Their maintenance bays allow pilots to swap out and change modules, and the corp hangars offer a moderate storage capacity for ships and supplies.
Of course, logistics will be a primary concern for the nomadic fleet but again CCP have made available the solutions – both the Jump Freighter and the Blockade Runner give us options in terms of ferrying out replacement ships and equipment. Combined with Covert Ops ships and Black Ops jump portals and even the usual barriers of null / low sec gate camps become much reduced.
EVE’s a harsh and often unforgiving mistress – not least for our squishy pilots – whom from time to time are going to loose a POD or two. Again the Rorq provides at least the cloning facilities to provide medical aid – although there are clearly some restraints here.
To all intents and purposes then we have, more or less, everything an aspiring nomad could want. However there are exceptions. Most glaringly is the lack of any form of industry: we have no production ships in EVE where we can manufacture modules, ammunition, drones or new ships.
A fantastic addition to the panoply of ships then in my view would be a manufacturing ship (in fact considering how EVE so often looks like an RTS writ large its surprising we don’t have one already) that could churn out those ‘need to haves’ but in the depths of space. Either the Orca or the Rorq with a suitable module could equally do the same type of job.
Which leaves us with Daedalus II’s other problem “to move in a safe manner you all have to be online at once (a real problem when you start coming up to 100 people)”. Im slightly less sympathetic here – for one I think the nomadic lifestyle aught to have its challenges, and coordinating your tribes move across space is surely a part of that?
Whilst a ‘move everyone too..’ button would be nice it seems to me to rather defeat the purpose of being nomadic and taking away a good part of the challenge of sweeping up stragglers and planning ahead.
Perhaps the forthcoming EVE Gate addition to EVE Online will provide CEOs and Directors of nomadic corps with better tools in this regard, allowing them to plan and communicate the corps move through space. However, we should note that the nomadic lifestyle does tend to lend itself better to smaller groups (as we see in reality) and once we start looking at numbers in the hundreds we might be better off talking about migration rather than the truly nomadic lifestyle.
‘There’s a voice that keeps on calling me
Down the road, that’s where I’ll always be.
Every stop I make, I make a new friend,
Can’t stay for long, just turn around and I’m gone again’