I was recently re-reading a favorite book entitled A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge. One of the concepts in the book is that the universe is divided into Zones of Thought. In the middle (the Unthinking Depths), faster than light travel is impossible. The farther out you travel into the Beyond, multiples of lightspeed are possible. These zones have implications on the possibilities of automation. In the High Beyond, automation approaches sentience. In the Transcend, automation is super-sentinent or godlike. One of the protections offered by the Zones is that much of super-sentient automation in the Transcend degrades or fails entirely in the lower Zones. This fact drives much of the plot of the book.
Naturally, I was thinking about this in terms of EVE.
I think the New Space (accessed by player built stargates) should be a place where higher automation is possible and contains the components and blueprints for building Tech 3 modules. These modules would have a significant improvement over Tech 2, but would have significantly higher processing requirements. A new module called a “Tech 3 Processor” (low or mid slot) would be introduced. A single Tech 3 Processor would support four Tech 3 modules. So – in effect – you can trade a low/mid slot for 4 enhanced slots. The downside is that Tech 3 modules would only function at their full capabilities in the New Space. In current K-space or wormhole space, they would function about like a Meta 4 module (similar to how ASB’s and AAR’s are better when they have charges and worse when they do not).
From an exploration standpoint, hacking could also take on a more risky (and profitable) tone. A new type of site could be introduced where you might be trying to hack a system that is smarter than you are. Succeed, and one of your ship’s modules (random) is upgraded to Tech 3 (still only usable under the conditions described above). Fail, and the consequences might be severe (destruction of a module? loss of control of your ship?).
Lots of balance things to consider here, of course, but I really like the idea of new space where new things are possible. It gives some great options to a broad spectrum of players without negating the activities in the rest of New Eden. There should still be some goodies that should come back to New Eden, but I think the game will be better if many of the rewards of the New Space are only useful in the New Space.