If you followed our EVE Fanfest coverage last year
, you might remember CCP announcing plans to add a whole series of new deployable structures
in the form of Engineering Complexes and Drilling Platforms. The Citadel
expansion added new deployable space stations that players can put anywhere in space, with medium-sized Astrahus citadels for small corporations all the way up to the colossal Keepstars designed for massive military alliances. This was expanded on in the second half of 2016 with the release of Engineering Complexes as specialised citadels with bonuses to industry and research, but what ever happened to the Drilling Platforms?
Drilling Platforms were touted as an upcoming revolution in the way we collect resources in EVE Online, but the feature was still firmly in the early design stage when we discussed it with CCP at last year's Fanfest. There were general ideas floating around about automated mining structures that require different levels of player interaction and disrupting enemy resources by attacking their drills, but nothing concrete at the time. We've now been promised a solid development roadmap update at this year's Fanfest on April 6th and more information on Drilling Platforms in devblogs before then, and it's got me wondering what EVE's upcoming resource-gathering revolution might look like.
In this edition of EVE Evolved, I speculate about what Drilling Platforms might be like, discuss the kinds of gameplay I'd like to see from them, and lay out a few of my dream features.
EVE Online has practically dominated the sci-fi sandbox MMO niche for nearly 14 years, with its harsh PvP-oriented gameplay and massive single-server universe combining to provide something that's remained compelling in an ever-changing industry. From its humble foundation as a mostly empty sandbox with a smattering of people and limited resources has sprung political intrigue, war, espionage, charity, theft, and economics that often mirrors the real world in startling detail. In over a decade of virtual history, we've seen the rise and fall of massive empires, the birth and collapse of industries, the emergence of heroes and villains, and the forging of thousands of real life friendships.
While EVE's long-term success can be attributed partly to the absolute persistence of a single-shard universe, I often wonder what would happen if a fresh server opened today. What could players achieve with a level playing field and blank slate for all, and what would the EVE universe even look like without 14 years of accumulated wealth and skillpoints behind it? A tantalising hint of what that gold rush might look like comes from survival sandbox games such as RUST and DayZ, which have hundreds of small servers and very little focus on persistence. It's got me thinking about what a shorter-term survival sandbox game with EVE's core gameplay would be like, and I honestly think it could be amazing.
In this edition of EVE Evolved, I make the argument for an EVE Online survival sandbox game and the massive gameplay opportunities that periodic server wipes can present.
It's one of the more peculiar laws of the universe that when enough EVE Online players meet in the real world, they absolutely must swap stories. You can see it in action at meetups and events like EVE Fanfest and EVE Vegas, where players take a trip down memory lane with corpmates over a beer and regale whole groups of strangers with tales of wars, clever schemes, and treachery. It's like some tribal instinct takes over and we feel the need to pass on our virtual history or bask in glory days gone by like a couple of Klingons in a Ferengi bar.
We're all familiar with the biggest and most impactful stories that go down in the sandbox of New Eden because they tend to hit the gaming media like a brick in the face. When the largest war in gaming history goes down or hundreds of thousand of dollars worth of ships goes up in smoke, you're bound to hear about it. What you don't hear about is the hundreds of compelling little stories that take place every day within EVE, most of which are left untold. Several interesting stories are shared each day on the EVE subreddit and official forums, a few make their way into works of cinematography, and some have been immortalised in song or shoehorned into propaganda posters. These little stories are the everyday reality of what can happen in EVE, and part of the reason so many of us are hooked on the game.
In this edition of EVE Evolved, I suggest that the true draw of EVE is in its capacity for making stories with friends, and share a few of my own little histories from days gone by.
Over the past several years, the way in which we receive gaming news and the types of gaming media we follow has changed pretty fundamentally. Today's MMO gamers belong to dozens of micro-communities inside and outside their game, following multiple gaming channels and personalities on platforms such as YouTube and Twitch that have practically exploded in popularity.
Even a game as historically impenetrable as EVE Online has been swept up in this sea of change, with a huge number of video channels and livestreamers joining the game's rich media history of live radio, blogs, and podcasts. New shows start up and close down every year, but a few have gathered impressive audiences and really stood the test of time.
In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at five notable EVE Online YouTube shows and Twitch streamers you might want to keep an eye on going into 2017.
It's been another busy year for sci-fi MMO EVE Online, and an absolute roller coaster ride for both players and developer CCP Games. On the development side, we've had two major expansions with Citadel and Ascension and a significant business model change with the introduction of a free-to-play account option. Fan events EVE Fanfest 2016 and EVE Vegas 2016 brought us some fantastic insights into the future development, including a peek at some amazing work on future PvE gameplay and an all-new EVE FPS codenamed Project Nova.
Proving once again that the players in EVE are the most engaging content, this year brought us the political twists and turns of the now-infamous World War Bee, which became the largest PvP war ever to happen in an online game. We also delved into some absolutely crazy sandbox stories, including one player using $28,000 worth of skill injectors to create a max skill character as a publicity stunt, and the controversial banning of the gambling kingpins behind World War Bee.
In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look back over all the biggest EVE stories of the year, from the political shenanigans of World War Bee to the surprise free-to-play option and how expansions have changed the face of the game this year.
In the political sandbox of EVE Online
, colossal player-run military coalitions frequently war over territorial conflicts, in revenge for past transgressions or just for fun. Circle of Two alliance recently found itself the target of a massive war not long after it had built a colossal 300 billion ISK Keepstar citadel in the historically contested nullsec system of M-0EE8. Opposing alliances set up their own smaller citadels next to the Keepstar and used them as staging points in an all-out attack on the system. Following two intense battles over the Keepstar in which hundreds of billions of ISK was lost
, the explosive final phase of the conflict took place last night in what has come to be known as The Siege of M-0EE8.
I arrived in M-0EE8 in a cloaked covert ops frigate at around 18:30 EVE time to watch the event unfold, and it wasn't long before a world-record-breaking 5,300 pilots had poured into the star system. A cluster of anchorable warp disruption field generators hung like bright lanterns in space, with great swarms of Scorpions and shoals of Machariels swirling inside. A constant stream of weapons fire flowed from these blinding death bubbles to the Keepstar, whittling down its immense structure like a swarm of insects nipping at a Tyrannosauros Rex.
In this edition of EVE Evolved, I give a brief account of the Siege of M-0EE8, share some screenshots from the event, take a look at how the server coped with the enormous battle, and drill down into the battle stats to see just how record-breaking the siege was.
Just under two weeks ago, EVE Online
launched its new free to play account option
with the introduction of clone states. Subscribers are now given the new Omega clone state that allows access to everything the game has to offer just as before, while free players get a new Alpha clone state with a limited set of skills available and reduced skill training speed. The people this helps the most are new players, who previously had to get a 14-day free trial to check the game out but can now just sign up and take their time with it. The Ascension
expansion also delivered a brand new fully voiced tutorial that developers hope will retain more players.
Thousands of new players have poured into EVE Online over the past two weeks, so many that last week's peak concurrent user numbers reached over 51,000 players for the first time since 2014. The Rookie Help channel is now regularly packed with 6,000 to 8,000 players every night, indicating that over 15% of the active playerbase is currently composed new players. I've been playing on a new alpha character this week to explore the new tutorial and see what I could do solo within the alpha clone restrictions, and it's been an extremely interesting experience.
In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at what new free-to-play players will experience in EVE, give my impressions of the new tutorial and alpha clone limitations, and deliver some important tips that should help all new players make the most of their time in EVE.
expansion goes live in just two days on Tuesday November 15th, introducing the new free-to-play alpha clone state and completely overhauling the game's new player experience. The new tutorial represents the best opportunity new players have ever had to get into EVE
, and the removal of the mandatory subscription fee means you can can take your time and play as infrequently as you like. Free accounts will have access to a limited pool of skills
that will restrict them to flying tech 1 frigates, destroyers, and cruisers of just one race, but you'll still be able to take part in most of EVE
's gameplay using those ships.
As CCP Rise demonstrated at EVE Vegas 2016, alpha clone players should be able to make enough ISK to fund PvP and even get some nice solo kills if they know what they're doing. I've done similar experiments in the past in which I started a new character and attempted to compete in Faction Warfare after just a few weeks of skill training, and found the same result. Being effective in EVE is less about the ships you can fly or the skills you can train and more about learning from actual experience or having the benefit of someone else's. With a good foundation tutorial and just a little direction from older players, new players should be able to beat the learning curve and become highly effective players in just a few weeks.
In this edition of EVE Evolved, I dish out three essential tips from my own experience that should help any new alpha clone players get a leg up on the competition.
If you've been reading the gaming news this week, you may have heard about the enormous amount of wealth that was recently removed from EVE Online
's economy when the players behind EVE
gambling website IWantISK were banned for real money trading. The figure was initially rumoured
to be around 40 trillion ISK, but the only sources for this information at the time were one of the banned players himself and a third party using guesswork. With the release of CCP's latest monthly economic report
, we now have a verified primary source to work from.
Digging into the CSV records attached to CCP Quant's October economic report, we were able to see that on the day of the ban (October 12th), total ISK supply dropped by 24.85 trillion ISK overnight. Accounting for the average upward movement of ISK over the previous month gives us a figure of around 25.77 trillion ISK that was likely part of the ban wave. This amount of ISK could currently buy you around 20,295 PLEX game time codes on the in-game market, which have a real world value of between $303,000 and $405,000 US depending on the price paid per unit.
Keep in mind that these figures account for only the liquid ISK in the banned players' accounts. The value of any assets frozen on those accounts could bring the total even higher, but the frozen assets can't be verified at this point. The bans came after intensive investigation of the accused players for real money trading offences, and happened on the same day that CCP announced that all third-party EVE gambling websites would have to shut down.
One of EVE Online
's developers once described the new player experience with the line "Welcome to EVE
, here's a Rubik's cube, go f**k yourself," and he wasn't wrong. EVE
has a well-earned reputation for being a difficult game with an incomprehensible user interface, and new players are just dropped into it at the deep end. CCP has tried to overhaul the new player experience several times over the years and even implemented an achievement-style Opportunities system, but 51% of new players still quit by around the two hour mark.
This was the monumental problem inherited by CCP Ghost, the weird chap who showed us all a scan of his brain at EVE Fanfest back in May. Ghost had some interesting ideas for revamping the tutorial using a story based approach, and this weekend at EVE Vegas 2016 we got to see the final result of this work in action along with details of how it was designed. Under the codename of Inception, the first stage of EVE's new fully voiced story tutorial will be going live with the Ascension expansion on November 15th. After seeing the Inception tutorial in action, I finally see what has been missing all this time and realise that EVE has never actually had a proper immersive tutorial before.
Read on to find out what makes EVE's upcoming Inception tutorial so different, how it was designed, and what the future may hold for EVE's new player experience.
Yesterday at EVE Vegas 2016
, developer CCP Rise
held us spellbound with tales of his recent misadventures in EVE Online
recently when pretending to be a newbie. With free alpha clone accounts on the way, the devs wanted to prove that a well-informed player in an alpha clone could engage in a wide range of activities and even see success in PvP, and CCP Rise naturally rose to the challenge. Starting with only the skills trainable by an alpha clone character and no ISK or assets, he quickly got on his feet and made enough ISK to start engaging in frigate and cruiser PvP and net some very nice solo kills against veterans.
Rise's success came as no surprise to me, as I've done similar experiments with small group PvP and I know just how effective cheap tech 1 cruisers can be. I recently showed how free users could be nearly as effective as well-trained subscribers in the same ships, and yet the myth that they will be simply cannon fodder for the elite pervades the comments sections in articles throughout the web. Developers have said that they intend for free play to be a viable long-term play style, and it should be possible to extend the system in the future. We may even some day get specific challenge clone states for those who want bragging rights or hardcore clones with permadeath.
In this edition of EVE Evolved, I debunk the myth the alpha clone system is an endless trial, examine the potential impact of alphas on both EVE community culture and CCP's financials, and look at a few ways the clone state system could be expanded on.
While EVE Online
is typically thought of as a cutthroat PvP game, players spend a substantial amount of time engaged in PvE activities such as missions, exploration, and farming nullsec anomalies. At last year's EVE Vegas event, we heard about CCP's ambitious long-term vision for PvE
that included ideas such as procedural content and NPC ships flying around and acting like players. This weekend at EVE Vegas 2016
, we learned that an impressive part of this vision will actually be going live in the Ascension
expansion with the introduction of NPC mining operations.
Starting with the Ascension expansion on November 15th, several NPC corporations will begin mining in the asteroid belts throughout New Eden. These groups have been modeled on real player-run mining ops and will feature NPCs mining real ore and haulers collecting it, but they aren't just new NPCs to blow up. If you attack the mining ops or have low standings with the corporation or faction that owns them, they'll dispatch a combat wing to take you out. Critically, all of the ships in these groups (including the combat ships) will be flying actual EVE ships with real fittings modeled on player-made ship setups.
Read on for a brief breakdown of the new PvE feature, what it means for PvE, and how it bridges the gap between PvE and PvP.
While the main event of the EVE Online
social calendar is unmistakably the annual EVE Fanfest
convention in Iceland, smaller gatherings are held throughout the year all over the world. Hundreds of players flock to Las Vegas every year for EVE Vegas
, which started life as the largest player-run EVE
event and is now officially endorsed and run by CCP Games. I'm on the ground at EVE Vegas this weekend to get some insight into the upcoming Ascension
expansion, which is due to go live in just over two weeks on November 15th
Ascension aims to turn EVE Online on its head by opening the doors to subscription-free users for the first time in the game's 13-year history. To prepare for opening the flood gates on a free-to-play EVE and get all of those new players over the game's infamous learning cliff, developers have produced a story-based tutorial system and overhauled the character sheet interface. Veterans can look forward to a dramatically improved ship fitting screen, new player-built industrial complexes, huge mining ship buffs, a new EVE mobile app for Android and iOS, and NPC mining ops using advanced AI.
Read on for a breakdown of some of the big things we learned at the EVE Vegas 2016 Keynote and to check out CCP's new expansion trailer and feature videos.