This expansion will be the biggest step yet toward CCP’s grand sandbox vision for accessible space colonisation revealed at Fanfest 2013, with future steps including things like industrial structures and player-built stargates. Developers have now released the preliminary stats for the new structures and all of the modules and rigs that can be fitted to them, in addition to the proposed component lists and fuel costs. This information has sparked fresh speculation on how each of the three sizes of citadel will be used when the expansion goes live in just a few months, and many are already buying up materials and making plans.
In this edition of EVE Evolved, I summarise all of the recently released information on player-owned citadels and draw some conclusions on how each of the three citadels will be used.
The medium Astrahus citadel has four high slots for weapons, four mid slots for electronic warfare, and three low slots for fitting modules and signal amplifiers. It can’t fit any AOE weapons, superweapons or even damage upgrades, and capital ships can’t dock at them, but they do have the new tethering mechanic and infinite item and ship storage space for docked pilots just like every citadel. We’ll likely see these used primarily in wormhole space, highsec, and anywhere that people want to create a staging point or temporary home.
The Astrahus is vulnerable to attack for only 3 hours per week and can fit a cloning center, reprocessing plant, and an ore compression plant. I think this structure will genuinely transform the way we play the game and I’m sure we’ll see a lot of people staking claims to underused star systems with no stations. Now that we know you can install clones and jump clones on these and that they might be built for as little as 350 million ISK, I imagine every corp will want to plant its flag on something using one of these.
The large Fortizar citadel has six high slots, five mid slots, four low slots and has nearly double the power grid and CPU for fitting them that the Astrahus does. It can fit all AOE weapons, can fit damage upgrades in its low slots, and it allows capitals to dock at it, but it’s also vulnerable for 6 hours per week and will cost around 7-10 billion ISK to put together. That pricetag is a bit much for an individual or one-man corp, but any medium-sized corporation with a few dozen of active members could easily afford to build one of these and the relatively short vulnerability window will make it feasible for them to muster up a defense fleet when required.
I think this will be the entry level for any corporation that wants to build its own permanent habitat, both because of its defensive capabilities and because it’s the smallest citadel that can fit the marketplace service. They’ll be most useful in wormhole space, where players currently can’t build outposts and so haven’t had access to marketplaces or even proper docking facilities before. The fact that they can be built in highsec means we may even see public Fortizars popping up all over the place and funded by docking and market fees, and we’re sure to see more than a few wars arise over them. Of course the primary use of these will be for nullsec corps, and we will undoubtedly see them being deployed to the front lines as staging points in wars mainly due to their ability to store capital ships.
The x-large Keepstar citadel is an absolute goliath of a structure, able to fit all AoE weapons and superweapons and to store both capitals and supercapitals. It has 8 high slots in which to fit a ton of anti-capital weapons and the Arcing Vorton Projector superweapon that will bounce between ships like the superweapon from the Empyrean Age trailer. While these have unique utility in that they can store supercapitals, at over 70 billion ISK and with 21 hours per week of vulnerability time, they’re certainly not as practical or cost-effective as the Fortizar.
I get the impression that these will essentially be massive status symbols for the biggest alliances in the game, and I think we’ll only see a handful of these initially. Unlike with player-built outposts that started off rare in nullsec and now number in the hundreds, the fact that citadels can be destroyed should keep these rare and make them the target of wars. I also have no doubt that some alliance or super-rich individual will try to build one in highsec and that it’ll be promptly blown up, which will be hilarious fun to read about.
Structure rigs and services
CCP has confirmed that while citadels are going to be good all-round structures with access to all major services, new specialised structures will be released over time with bonuses to particular tasks. For example, manufacturing and research services will be released at some point and you’ll be able to put them onto your citadels but a specialised factory or lab structure will be added with extra bonuses. Structure rigs are also very interesting in that large and x-large rigs don’t provide a bigger bonus than the medium versions but instead combine the effects of multiple rigs.
As Diana Olympos said over at EVE blog Crossing Zebras, this makes the expensive citadels more of a Swiss army knife but not fundamentally better citadels. A medium citadel will have to specialise in one or two particular areas but won’t be outclassed in those areas by large and x-large citadels. The list of rigs CCP has released also provides some clues about the kinds of limits citadels might have, with rigs that decrease market taxes, increase the number of offices available, and increase the number of jump clones that can be installed there. We also now know that the bonuses from many rigs are also penalised slightly if the structure is in highsec, and that all area-effect weapons and superweapons can’t be used there.
The Astrahus will replace starbases
When starbases were introduced in 2004, they were originally designed for mining and reacting moon minerals as part of a new tech 2 production chain. In true sandbox style, people ended up using them as everything from loot and ammo depots or safespots to tactical staging points and eventually long-term homes for wormhole expeditions. The problem is that starbases are a logistical nightmare to manage, between spending hours manually placing individual structures and constantly shovelling fuel into them to keep everything online. The corp roles and permissions system is also so complicated that many corps do it wrong and open themselves up to the possibility of theft.
The Astrahus is intended to supplant the starbase in all of its current non-industrial roles, and it looks like it’ll do a significantly better job. You’ll be able to actually dock at it, for starters, and the invulnerability tether is a much better mechanic than sitting inside a force field bubble. All citadels will also consume zero fuel with no station services online, so if all you’re looking for is a place to form up a fleet or store your stuff then it’ll cost you nothing in upkeep. Each station service will consume a small number of fuel blocks per hour when online, and switching a service online will consume 72 hours worth of fuel blocks instantly to prevent micromanagement. The key difference between a citadel and a station is that if a citadel runs out of fuel, the structure doesn’t switch off and your items are still safe inside. Even if the worst happens and your citadel is destroyed, you’ll only have to pay 10% of your stuff’s value to get it back.
I’ve been raving about how awesome I think citadels will be since they were first revealed and have offered a fair bit of speculation on how players might use them and what the effect will be on your everyday gameplay. Now that their stats, modules, rigs and build costs have been revealed, we can see more of the fine details of how it all fits together and start to plan for what we’ll do with citadels when the expansion goes live.
While the Fortizar is sure to become the staple structure of choice for large corporations and warring alliances, it’s the Astrahus that has me most excited. It’ll be a very low-risk option for anyone who wants carve out their own little area of space or stake a claim on something, and even one-man corps will want to get their hands on a few when the Citadel expansion lands. Do you have any plans for the Citadel expansion? Let us know in the comments!