eve fanfest 2016

EVE Evolved: CCP Games on the future of EVE Online's PvE

It's no secret that EVE Online has always been a primarily PvP-focused game, with thousands of players smashing fleets of ships together on a daily basis. PvE requires a different set of skills and ship setups than PvP and is often seen as little more than a necessary grind to replace lost ships. Even with great PvE additions over the years such as Sleeper NPCs in wormhole space or Sansha incursions, almost all PvE ultimately still boils down to shooting at predictable NPC ships that don't pose a real threat. Players have engineered all of the risks out of PvE, coming up with optimum strategies and ways to predict NPC behaviour.

Things have begun to slowly change over the past year or so with the introduction of dynamic NPCs like the powerful Drifter menace with its advanced AI, Burner missions that in some ways almost mimic PvP, and new high-level capital ship NPCs. We've even had several seasonal events that can be completed in PvP-fit ships, turning the event dungeons into unexpected flashpoints for PvP. At EVE Fanfest 2016 we learned that CCP has begun stepping up these efforts to merge PvE with the rest of the game world and adding some unpredictability and engagement back into the game, and two new PvE dev teams have been formed to get the job done.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I talk to game designer Linzi "CCP Affinity" Campbell and senior creative producer CCP Burger about two new PvE dev teams they're part of, CCP's plans to integrate PvE more closely with the rest of the game, and how the Drifters were developed behind the scenes.

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EVE Evolved: Fixing EVE's New Player Experience (again)

It's become almost a running joke in the comments of articles that EVE Online is a great game to read about but not nearly as fun to actually play. While those of us who have been playing for years can attest to EVE's depth and long-term gripping power, it has always been a difficult game for new players to get into. EVE sees an unmistakable spike in new players every time a story about a massive battle or political event hits the gaming media, but most don't stay in the long term and activity levels always return to normal within a few months. CCP has tried to revamp the new player experience more times than probably any other part of the game to combat this, but EVE's infamous impenetrability remains stubbornly intact.

At EVE Fanfest 2016, we learned that a whopping 1.5 million people signed up to EVE last year, but that 51% of them quit within the first two hours. They're obviously drawn in by something but are then turned off by things like the minute-to-minute gameplay or the complicated user interface. A new developer named CCP Ghost is now tasked with solving this most intractable of problems, armed with a fresh perspective and an investigator's eye. Now it looks as if CCP may be fundamentally changing its approach to new players and is considering some options that few people expected a hardcore sandbox game like EVE would ever embrace.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look into the problems with EVE's new player experience, some interesting ideas discussed at Fanfest's New Player Experience roundtable, and my thoughts on what the new game introduction could look like.

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EVE Fanfest 2016: Andie Nordgren on EVE Online's Citadel expansion launch and beyond

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.

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 62: EVE Fanfest and PAX East

There was not one, but two big gaming conventions this past weekend, and Massively OP reporters were on the ground at both PAX East and EVE Fanfest! Join us for a lively and informative hour of con reports from Eliot and Brendan. What can they glean about the future of MMOs from these shows? Find out!

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

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EVE Fanfest 2016: Project Nova will include territorial warfare, link with EVE

At this week's EVE Fanfest 2016, CCP Games revealed its new PC first person shooter Project Nova that has risen from the ashes of console FPS DUST 514. Rather than being a direct PC reboot of DUST 514 with huge planetary battlefields and a direct link with PC MMO EVE OnlineNova aims to be its own game set in the EVE universe. In my hands-on time with Nova, I found it to be a perfectly competent if somewhat generic squad-based shooter but was left with burning questions about the future plans for the game. Would there be any unique gameplay elements to hook people in? What will progression look like in the finished game? Will there be territorial warfare, and what about a link to EVE Online?

Today I posed those questions and more to CCP's Snorri Árnason, and the answers shined a light not only on Nova but also the development process for new games at CCP. Nova is still in an early pre-alpha development stage and I was surprised to learn that it's been in development for only a few months. It also turns out that the game is set in the current EVE lore and not in the future as we had previously been informed, and the team's long-term ambitions do include sandbox territorial warfare and eventually a real economic link with EVE Online. The difference is that while DUST 514 sold us on huge promises and tried to do everything at onceNova will be built slowly from the ground up.

Read on for a brief overview of the long term goals for Project Nova and detailed interview responses from Snorri Árnason.

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EVE Fanfest 2016: EVE Valkyrie launching a carrier assault later this spring

The virtual reality EVE Valkyrie is striving to prove that it's not just a passing fad. The starship dogfighting game announced that it's prepping a free content update for late May or early June that will take players into a brand-new battle mode.

This update is themed around an assault on a giant carrier. Obviously, this is a pretty daunting challenge for smaller fighters and will take place over three stages. The first stage is a skirmish to take out the carrier's shields, the second is an attack on and around the carrier itself, and the third will take pilots inside the carrier to destroy its core.

To keep players from getting bored due to long travel distances during the carrier assault, the devs are adding in a speed boost gate that will give fighters a temporary rush of extreme velocity.

We've got the carrier assault gameplay video after the jump!

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EVE Fanfest 2016: Industrial citadels and drilling platforms in EVE Online

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.

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EVE Fanfest 2016: Project Nova rises from DUST 514's ashes

On May 14th 2013, CCP Games optimistically launched its first attempt to penetrate the console & shooter markets with DUST 514. The game had made huge waves in the media for its ambitious plan for realtime links to PC MMO EVE Online, with EVE and DUST players living in the same sandbox universe and fighting on separate fronts of the same ongoing wars of New Eden. The reality never quite lived up the the plan, unfortunately, with both games having minimal impact on each other and DUST 514 failing to attract the millions of console gamers CCP courted in pre-launch marketing.

While it attracted a small dedicated following and reportedly turned a profit, DUST 514 was essentially dead on its feet and CCP recently announced that it will be officially shut down in May this year. The game's only hope of salvation came in the form of a complete reboot on PC codenamed Project Legion that was announced at Fanfest 2014, but at last year's event we learned that Legion may have been relegated to development limbo. Today at EVE Fanfest 2016, players cheered as CCP announced that Legion is back with the new name Project Nova and a reinvented focus as a more traditional first person shooter.

Read on for information on Project Nova and some first-hand impressions from EVE Fanfest 2016.

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EVE Fanfest 2016: EVE Mobile coming to Android and iOS

Remember back in 2013 when Jon Lander announced plans for an EVE Online mobile tie-in with the immortal words, "This time next year, you'll have EVE Mobile in your hands?" Things didn't exactly work out as planned back then, and Jon Lander has since left the company, but you'll be glad to know that CCP didn't abandon the idea of a mobile tie-in. Today at EVE Fanfest 2016, CCP showed off a beta version of a new EVE Mobile companion app for Android and iOS that could become an essential part of practically every player's arsenal.

In addition to letting players read and respond to EVEmails from their mobile devices and providing access to in-game corporate calendars, EVE Mobile will deliver all of your in-game notifications to your phone in realtime and allow you to select which types to enable push notifications for. You can also add multiple characters to the app, use it to manage your subscriptions, and see details of your characters such as what ship they are currently flying. Many alliances already use out-of-game tools to organise players, but having an official companion app that ties directly into the EVE servers could make it an essential tool for every pilot.

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EVE Evolved: What to expect from EVE Fanfest 2016

Ask the average gamer what he knows about EVE Online and after the word "boring" and a spreadsheet joke or two, he'll probably talk about stories of massive scams, colossal space wars and savage politics. Though EVE is well known for its cut-throat in-game universe, the shared struggles of players have created some very close-knit communities and enduring friendships over the years. Those online communities and friendships bleed into the real world for a few special days each year when the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik plays host to the annual EVE Fanfest. In-game rivalries are set aside, mortal enemies buy each other beers, and everyone celebrates their shared love of internet spaceships.

Fanfest is an opportunity for CCP Games to interact directly with the game's most dedicated fans, and is usually packed full of reveals, roundtable discussions, and player-run talks. EVE Fanfest 2016 kicks off in just a few days on Thursday 21st April and runs until Saturday 23rd, and Massively OP will be on the ground again this year to get the latest information on EVE Online, Valkyrie, and even some brand-new projects. The event schedule has been released, and it looks like there are also some fantastic player talks, panels on recent and future changes, and feedback-gathering roundtables. As usual, there will also be plenty of opportunity for interviews and posing questions to CCP and players.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I dig into the EVE Fanfest 2016 schedule and see what there is to look forward to this year. If you have any questions you'd like to be posed to CCP or even other players, let me know in the comments!

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EVE Fanfest kicks off next week

CCP couldn't have timed it better if it had tried: This year's EVE Fanfest will kick off in Reykjavik, Iceland, next weekend, smack in the middle of EVE Online's biggest player war ever.

Massively OP's longtime EVE Online expert and veteran reporter Brendan Drain will once again be reporting from the event, so stay tuned for our coverage, and in the meantime, check out CCP's promo video below.

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