COSMOS. They made a vague announcement of it with some eye candy at FanFest 2008; something I am fairly confident was, at the time, just a mock-up design. Needless to say, I found the concept very interesting, even though as a rule I tend to stay clear of social media (in spite of my recent tweeting).

For anyone who is completely unaware of what the hell this thing is, see the following devblogs on the subject:

But what does it “mean”?

Well, first and foremost, and I cannot stress this enough – they are making the evemail system not suck. Once more with feeling: They are making the evemail system NOT SUCK. This has been a personal gripe of mine for years. Once you play for a long time, you amass a lot of evemail, and if you are quite social ingame, a lot of these mails you really don’t want to be deleting (or at least I don’t >_>). But when you get mails incoming about ingame business mixed in, and most of them aren’t signed, so when you click the mail to read it, it pings that person’s entry on your inbox to some random place down the list… It gets frustrating. But I digress. With this new site, you’ll be able to check and (presumably) respond to your evemail while out of game. Lets look at an example of where this is useful:

Jo runs most of the sales for her corp’s industrial division. Her main role is setting up contracts to clients with the goods they want. She fires up her browser, clicks the bookmark on her toolbar and sees three orders. Excellent! She subsequently logs in and sets up the orders for her clients – happy player, happy corp wallet. It works the other way too. If Jo’s had a particularly stressful day at work, and doesn’t want to be dealing with those annoying sponge-like customers, she can check how many orders there are and play her Power of 2 account (lolz, free advertising) instead if its a little overwhelming.

Wait… Is that it?

Initially. But lets not dumb down the fact that the evemail system has been sucky since its inception in 2003. This combined with the IGB overhaul is something I, and many others have been wanting for a bloody age.

But… There is more, as it happens. CCP, like many good web developers, are laying the foundations to expand upon this rather basic tool.

So, firstly (post-Dominion), we can expect to see the much vaunted calendar system for out-of-game promotion of your corp/alliance fleet and mining operations, and other organised events, and thanks to the built-in API stuff, it will only be visible to the people you want it to be visible to. This will also apply to the two-way friendship thing; something that you’ll be familiar with if you’ve ever used a social networking site like Facebook or MySpace.

Anything else?

Not much detail has been announced about other things you’ll be able to do, or how accessible some of the API elements will be beyond COSMOS. Some people in the comments thread have been stating they want full read-write access through the API, but I would guess a more likely outcome with be read-only; so you can get corp mails displaying on your corp website, or recieve your personal evemails in your Thunderbird client, but just not be able to respond. I think this in itself is enough – you don’t want to discourage people from logging in, but its great to see if you have anything you’d want to reply to or act on (as in the example with Jo).

Also, putting my hand up for wanting blogs on the thing. WordPress is nice and all, but I want everything integrated, dammit!

Something I’d like to see, and something that was echoed (whether in a good or bad way, I’m unsure) by 00darksage00 “COSMOS is going to make the eve tweeter world obsolete.” I’d like to think it will eventually. An Eve-based Twitter-like facility would be fantastic, and something I have pondered on for a while, but with the lack of access to a pilot’s location through the API, its always been limited in scope. I’d love to see ‘tweets’ from different systems in the last day for example; I think it will help bring small communities together beyond the boundaries of corporations and alliances; instead based on their geographical area of operations in New Eden. Obviously this is only truly useful in empire, but even in 0.0 it might be interesting to get up-to-the-minute reports from major fleet engagements with perspectives from each side in real-time!

I think COSMOS has a lot of potential, and I have high hopes it’ll be used to maximum effect!

Though I’m not sure what to rename the COSMOS agents we currently have…

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