We’ve reached the end of another year, and it’s certainly been a busy one for EVE Online
. This year saw heavy gameplay iteration, with improvements to everything from the UI to ship balance, and the Lifeblood expansion’s total moon mining overhaul
. PvE-focused players got a new AI-driven Resource Wars
activity in high-security space, and an experimental user interface named The Agency has helped tie seasonal in-game events together. New refinery structures caused a bit of a land grab on moons and gave alliances more to fight over, and CCP Games
lifted some of the free to play alpha clone restrictions
to help bring in new players.
It’s the players that make EVE Online special, of course, and this year had no shortage of crazy political shenanigans. We followed The Imperium’s war for revenge in the north of EVE that eventually fizzled out, watched as The Judge betrayed his alliance and stole the largest sum of ISK in the game’s history, and sat aghast as the leader of that alliance was banned for threatening to cut off the thief’s hands in real life. CCP Games itself hasn’t exactly made it through the year unscathed, with the company unexpectedly pulling out of the VR market and laying off around 100 staff worldwide.
In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look back at the past year of EVE Online news and summarise the highlights.
When Andie “CCP Seagull” Nordgren
walked onto the stage at EVE Fanfest 2013 and delivered her long-term vision for the future of EVE Online
, the excitement in the room was palpable. EVE
was riding its highest peak concurrent player numbers in the game’s history following the overhauls of the Crucible
, and Retribution
expansions, and players were ready for a new blockbuster feature to fire their imaginations. CCP delivered its ambitious five year vision to hand the reins of EVE
‘s living universe over to its players, with player-built stargates and deep space exploration in completely uncharted star systems.
We’re now about four months away from the five-year mark on that vision, and many parts of it have now been completed, but no battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy. We’ve seen some big feature drops such as the release of citadels, the industry overhaul, and the recent moon mining overhaul, but that deep space colonisation gameplay still seems far off. Some players feel as if EVE is currently in a holding pattern, with everyone waiting for the next big feature or overhauls to their favourite part of the game before deciding what to do next. So what does come next?
In this edition of EVE Evolved, I break down the progress toward Nordgren’s 5 year vision so far and talk about the possible next steps I think CCP could take to make it a reality.
‘s upcoming Lifeblood
expansion was officially announced last week
, and it’s landing a lot earlier than expected. Though it appears that Lifeblood
is the winter expansion CCP Games has been talking about since EVE Fanfest 2017
, it’s actually launching next month on October 24th. It includes the new Upwell Refinery structures, a total overhaul of moon-mining and advanced material reactions, a full balance pass for the ships used by free-to-play alpha clone characters, and some all-new PvE gameplay in high-security space.
We talked to EVE‘s Executive Producer Andie “CCP Seagull” Nordgren about the plans for new highsec gameplay back in April, and it sounded pretty damn exciting. CCP plans to use the new advanced AI that powers the roaming NPC mining operations to create an ever-evolving landscape of AI-driven conflict that players can affect. The first steps in that plan are arriving with Lifeblood in the form of Pirate Forward Operating Bases and Resource Wars, which ask players to help local factions fight back against the encroachment of pirates. This should make life a hell of a lot more interesting for players in high-security space, while the new moon mining gameplay is expected to set nullsec on fire.
In this edition of EVE Evolved, I dig into the Lifeblood announcement and feature list, and ask how players can get ready to make the most of next month’s expansion.
When I first discovered EVE Online
back in 2004, it had been out in the wild for just under a year and was a much simpler and friendlier beast. There were fewer than 50,000 players in total and most of them were flying around in tech 1 frigates and cruisers, either mining, grinding their way up top level 3 mission agents, or PvPing. Most corporations lived in the relative safety of high-security space and warred with each other for all sorts of reasons, and some power-hungry corps tamed the lawless nullsec regions to hunt battleship NPCs and mine ores containing valuable Zydrine and Megacyte.
Low-security space offered a tempting middle-ground for players back then, a place you could go to reap better rewards than highsec but at the cost of a proportional increase in risk. Pirates faced much lower consequences for attacking another ship unprovoked there than in highsec, and the areas around stargates and stations were kept safer by automated sentry turrets. The delicate balance between risk and reward in low-security space began to fall apart as the sizes of player groups in EVE increased and ships got better at tanking the damage from sentries. Nearly a decade later and with very little done to revamp the area, today’s lowsec still suffers from this legacy and has lost much of its identity. But how can this problem be solved? Hints may come from recent rumblings at EVE Fanfest 2017 on the future direction of PvE.
In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at the reasons I believe low-security space has lost its identity and a few of the ways CCP could inject some much-needed personality and speciality into this neglected area of the game.
For a few days each year, hundreds of EVE Online
players from across the world flock to a frozen volcanic rock at the top of the world for the annual EVE Fanfest. I was on the ground at EVE Fanfest 2017
last week in
Reykjavik to get the latest on what’s ahead for EVE
and CCP’s other titles, and it was a thoroughly enlightening experience. We learned all about CCP’s amazing plans
to roll out adaptive AI-driven PvE across the game world, talked to players and developers, and heard about the next stage of Project Discovery
that will let players search for real exoplanets in space.
We also got hands-on with CCP’s immersive VR sport game Sparc, looked at Valkyrie‘s new Groundrush game mode that has players fighting inside huge structures on a planet’s surface, and confirmed that DUST 514 successor Project Nova is still in development. There were talks at Fanfest that we just didn’t get a chance to go to, and others that really have to be seen first-hand. Thankfully, CCP has recorded most of the event and has begun uploading talks to the EVE Online YouTube channel.
In this edition of EVE Evolved, I’ll be running down some of the highlights of the official videos from EVE Fanfest 2017 for those who missed the event.
Today’s EVE Online
is a far cry from the empty but hopeful sandbox released back in 2003, having constantly re-invented itself for over 14 years and put together some incredibly ambitious visions for the future. Executive Producer Andie “CCP Seagull” Nordgren
shared one of these visions in her Fanfest keynote speech four years ago
, laying out the long-term goal of having players build their own stargates, explore deep space and colonise previously undiscovered star systems. This trajectory has brought us Citadels, Engineering Complexes, and soon Upwell Refineries, but it isn’t the only plan for evolving EVE
and it may not even be the most impressive one.
Last year we heard from CCP Burger and CCP Affinity on some amazing advances that had been made in NPC AI for the powerful roaming Drifter ships, and broad plans to integrate parts of that more widely into the game, possibly even creating something CCP Burger called “PvPvE.” We got our first taste of the end result after EVE Vegas 2016 when NPC mining operations began appearing in certain star systems and mimicking the activity of real player mining ops — They had mining barges hoovering up rocks in the belts, haulers picking up the ore, and even combat ships using PvP setups and strategies modelled on real players that would chase attackers around the star system. This first iteration of the feature was impressive, but at EVE Fanfest 2017 we discovered that an even more incredible future awaits EVE players.
Read on for a breakdown of the next stage in EVE‘s PvE gameplay and an interview with CCP Seagull on how this feature will be rolled out over high-security space and beyond.
Just under four years ago at EVE Fanfest 2013
, EVE Online
‘s Executive Producer Andie Nordgren took the stage and delivered an epic long-term vision for the game’s future in which players will one day explore deep space and colonise previously undiscovered star systems. Developers have been tackling this enormous vision one step at a time ever since, and today we have a versatile set of player-built Citadels and Engineering Complexes
for corporations and alliances of all sizes. As we approach the four year mark, we’re now about to hit another major milestone in Nordgren’s plan with the release of Upwell Refinery structures and a total overhaul of EVE
‘s resource-gathering gameplay.
CCP released a devblog last week revealing details of the new Upwell Refinery structures and a whole new gameplay system for moon mining that sounds pretty damn impressive. Rather than simply deploying a static structure that provides a permanent stream of moon minerals, new moon mining structures will physically rip a huge chunk of the moon’s surface away and drag it through space to a refinery for players to mine. The new mechanic will transform moon mining from a relatively secure source of passive income into entirely active gameplay, with far-reaching consequences for alliance warfare. This forms one part of the promised resource-gathering revolution, which we’re sure to hear more about at EVE Fanfest 2017 this week.
In this edition of EVE Evolved, I drill down into the details of the new Upwell Refineries and moon mining mechanics, and ask what effect this will have on the rest of the game.
Those of you who’ve known me a while probably know that my husband is an astrophysicist, which means that astronomy is a passion in my house, and I’m thrilled when his field overlaps with mine as it does today: CCP Games has announced a new “citizen science” project, whereby it will work with multiple universities and the Massively Multiplayer Online Science group to put players to “work” hunting for exoplanets — not in New Eden, but in our real universe.
“Within EVE’s virtual universe, players will interact with real-world astronomical data provided by the University of Geneva through a fully integrated part of the EVE Online game experience called Project Discovery. Once enough players reach comparative consensus on classification of the data, it will be sent back to the University of Geneva for use in refining the search for exoplanets.”
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.
ready to bring you clone states and Ascension tomorrow,” CCP’s Andie Nordgren
tells EVE Online
players in a dev update today on the — wait for it — eve
of what is surely the biggest change to ever come to the sci-fi sandbox, that being its free-to-play transition.
“We’re also pretty sure that launch day will have some excitements that we didn’t expect,” she says. “Clone states is a huge change that impacts almost everything about EVE and all the services and processes that we run behind the scenes to make EVE work.” Consequently, the team has asked for patience if there are catastrophes and help pinpointing issues and reporting bugs. That goes for feedback on the EVE Portal app as well, which launched last week.
She does note that players who’ve written guides or other useful bits for new players should send them along to the dev team for inclusion in an upcoming blog post.
“It’s almost showtime,” she grins. “Let’s show some new people what it’s all about.”
Andie “CCP Seagull” Nordgren has a new development video
out for EVE Online
players this afternoon. She explains that as part of the free-to-play conversion for the game, CCP has a “big team” working on the new player experience.
“When you enter the game, you will wake up in the aftermath of a battle gone wrong, ” she explains, “and your empire will need you to get up to speed and perform important tasks so that you can eventually help with the Drifter threat in a pinnacle moment where a large fleet from your empire engages the Drifter forces.” Players will be guided along by their ship’s AI and factional leaders with the goal of getting both a purposeful and epic experience.
Nordgren says more information on the new player experience, the engineering complexes, command bursts, and fitting simulation system will be released next month and during EVE Vegas (which Massively OP’s Brendan Drain will be attending).
EVE Online‘s highly anticipated Citadel expansion has now launched, adding a whole new class of player-built structures to the game for corporations to build and smash to bits. The new citadels can be built anywhere in space, allowing players to plant their virtual flag and base of operations near stargates, NPC stations, asteroid belts, and other points of interest. Industrialists are currently scrambling to manufacture those first few citadels to sell on the open market for a massive profit, but when the dust settles the prices are expected to low enough that even small corporations will be able to afford their own citadels.
To put EVE’s largest alliances to the test, CCP has also added the Palatine Keepstar, a beefy x-large citadel with the interesting twist that only one can be built in EVE at a time. The Palatine Keepstar costs around 200 trillion ISK (15% of EVE’s total economic wealth) to build, which is around $3,000,000 to $4,000,000 worth of PLEX. We still have no idea whether the Palatine Keepstar will ever be built or what players will ultimately end up doing with standard citadels. This expansion is the first huge step toward Executive Producer Andie Nordgren’s future vision of deep space colonisation accessible to all players. The next step comes in the fall when players will get access to industrial structures and in winter when we get automated drilling platforms.
Read on for our interview from EVE Fanfest 2016 with EVE‘s Executive Producer Andie Nordgren on what comes next after the Citadel expansion.
EVE Online‘s Citadel expansion goes live in just a few days on April 27th, opening the floodgates on a new era of space colonisation for players. The new citadel structures will give players the ability to build their own fully dockable space stations anywhere in the EVE universe to be used as everything from storage depots and mining outposts to huge market hubs and colossal military staging outposts. It’s an exciting time for both players and CCP as it’s the first big expansion in over a year and no-one really knows what players will ultimately do with citadels.
This expansion is very much in keeping with EVE‘s core design philosophy of giving players versatile sandbox tools and then seeing what happens, and there is plenty more to follow after the initial release. At this year’s EVE Fanfest 2016, CCP has discussed plans to follow up on the first installment of Citadel with some epic additions stretching out for the rest of the year, adding huge industrial and factory citadels, resource-gathering drilling platforms, mining super-drones reverse engineered from rogue drone parts, and more. The NPC pirate factions of New Eden will begin building their own terrifying capital ships, and fleet warfare will see a change with a fleet boost rework.
Read on for a breakdown of what’s coming to EVE throughout 2016.