It’s safe to say that it’s been a rough year for CCP Games, with the company pulling out of VR game development and laying off around 100 staff worldwide. The entire EVE Online
community team was reported to have been slashed down to just two employees, and many of the studio’s most experienced PR staff were let go when the Atlanta office was shuttered. EVE
players (including me
) came down hard on CCP and on CEO Hilmar Veigar Petursson in particular, and some inside the company were notably shaken.
EVE Online Community Manager Paul “CCP Falcon” Elsy was one of the few members of the community team left after the layoffs, suddenly finding himself organising the 15th anniversary Fanfest without a team. It’s now been almost five months since the layoffs, so I caught up with Paul at EVE Fanfest 2018 recently to find out how the company has coped with the loss of so many skilled community staff. He also clarified CCP’s role in tackling harassment outside the game client in the wake of a recent virtual scuffle on the Open Comms show, and gave a fascinating account of how Hilmar himself dealt with the recent layoffs and how he’s been getting more involved with EVE lately.
Read on for our massive in-depth interview with EVE‘s Community Manager Paul “CCP Falcon” Elsy.
Creating and maintaining planetary colonies in EVE Online
isn’t exactly new, as the system dates back to 2010. But the developers have deemed it high past time that they give this creaky system some love
with the upcoming Into the Abyss
“Most of the changes are aimed at making setup and maintenance of your colonies less painful, especially when it comes to all the clicking that is currently involved in setting up a colony,” CCP said in a dev blog on the system. Lots of changes to planetary interaction are in the works, including a new planetary colonies window to help you keep track of your projects.
And while things get ordered down on the surfaces of planets, out in space it’s still the anything-goes sandbox that EVE has always been. One interesting piece of the game’s history that was recently documented by PC Gamer was the story of the Hellcats, an all-female fleet that pushed back against the notion that the MMO is strictly a game for men. The fleet only ran for two-years, but its legacy still lives on today.
Similar to how skill training works in EVE Online, Crowfall uses a time-based skill-up system that accrues points whether or not the player is online. The dev team took some time recently to evaluate how the system was working out in testing and decided that it could benefit from some improvements.
While a dev blog goes into depth on the minutiae of the tweaks, the gist is that the entire system will accrue points in a “time bank” for players to spend on skill nodes when they log in each session. Many of the skill trees have been streamlined as well.
VIP players are going to have an advantage over regular players with this system, as they will get a much larger time bank (30 days vs. three days) and the ability to train two types of skill trees at once instead of one.
Last January’s much-hyped “million dollar battle
” in EVE Online
may have been a $3300 bust
in terms of the value of the ships destroyed in the chaos, but that doesn’t mean the battle was for nothing. As The Ancient Gaming Noob
himself noticed, the folks at Guinness World Records
have determined that the event set a new record in online PvP.
“Fans of space-based video game EVE Online have helped set a new record after achieving the Guinness World Records title for the Most concurrent players simultaneously involved in a single multiplayer PvP videogame battle. A total of 6,142 players took part in an enormous battle – the Siege of 9-4 – in January 2018.”
At Fanfest, where CCP accepted the award, CCP Guard fittingly said, “This award is yours; we’re just its stewards.”
If you play Guild Wars 2, World of Tanks, EVE Online, or World of Warcraft in Russia, you may find that access to these titles has become spotty or non-existent as of late. This is due to the Russian government cracking down on the Telegram messenger app, which came under fire for essentially allowing people to communicate without being spied upon by intrusive government agencies (and then refusing to grant said agencies backdoors into the system). Over 20 million IP addresses have been blocked in the country as of April 17th, a move that has affected many services and sites not related to Telegram.
The crackdown has basically shut down access to the login servers of Guild Wars 2 and EVE Online for some, prompting outrage and frustration among players who suddenly were not able to access their games.
Every day in the sandbox of New Eden, several hundred thousand EVE Online
players perform millions of unseen actions. Every item manufactured, module activated, shot fired at an NPC, and stargate activated leaves its mark on the universe, but the granular details of those actions is lost forever. It simply isn’t feasible to record every little thing a player does in-game, or at least it wasn’t feasible until now. At EVE Fanfest 2018
, CCP announced an innocuous new Activity Tracker feature that may actually eventually have big consequences for everything from game balance to fighting bots.
The feature will be delivered as a new Activity Tracker window in the game client that will show players detailed stats on almost everything they’ve done in-game since the tracker went live. This in itself is useful, both for helping players set goals and for highlighting other areas of the game they might not have given a fair shake yet and so might enjoy. Behind the scenes, the way that CCP is collecting this detailed data and the implications of its use are really fascinating, and there are even plans to use machine learning to look for patterns in this data that would help identify bots.
Read on for a breakdown of exactly how masses of new data is being captured on EVE players, and how it could be put to use in the future.
One of the most common comments you’ll see in articles about big events in EVE Online
is that it’s a lot more entertaining to read about than to play, and that’s certainly true if what you’re reading is Empires of EVE
. Written by EVE
Historian Andrew Groen back in 2015 and published thanks to the support of over 3,000 players through a crowdfunding campaign
, Empires of EVE tells the story of some of EVE
‘s earliest and most deadly wars and political schisms.
Cutting through all of the propaganda and player self-motivations in a political sandbox like EVE is no small task, and it’s complicated by over a decade of shifting loyalties, misinformation, propaganda, and misremembered events. Andrew is uniquely equipped to cut through many of those issues, collecting as accurate historical records as possible and delivering it all as a coherent, deeply compelling narrative that even plenty of non-players have thoroughly enjoyed. Andrew recently announced that Empires of EVE had broken the 15,000 sales mark, and at EVE Fanfest 2018 he announced a sequel is now in the works.
I caught up with Andrew at Fanfest to find out how the first book’s success has affected him and what the future holds for Empires of EVE: Volume II.
Last autumn, when CCP Games began dumping assets and studios and VR holdings overboard, it also sent almost all of its EVE Online community team packing too. At the time, it caused some players to wonder about the fate of EVE Fanfest as well as its spinoff versions like EVE Vegas, so we were all relieved to hear that this year’s Fanfest would go on as planned.
But CCP is apparently planning a shakeup of its gatherings. Next year’s event won’t be held in Reykjavik, Iceland, breaking a 14-year tradition to hold it in CCP’s own back yard. The company says it’ll instead hold 2019’s events across the continents, so there will be one in Europe, as well as Australia and the US (Vegas and one on the east coast too). CCP further says that’ll hold one event inside one player’s home, which is definitely something I do not want to have to clean for, so I will not be entering the video contest for that, but you folks definitely should. We’ll bring the popcorn.
Over the weekend in the Guild Wars 2 spyware article comments, a commenter remarked that Blizzard’s Warden spyware was “the biggest scandal in MMOs” over the last 10 years. I was pretty surprised to see that claim; I was aware of Warden, but it probably wouldn’t even make my top 10 list of scandals across the industry. The first one that pops to mind is Blizzard’s RealID, probably followed by Monoclegate, the Funcom insider trading case, the EVE jumpgate scandal, the Sigil Games parking lot firing fiasco, and the NCsoft/Bluehole lawsuit.
I’m positive I’m forgetting some juicy ones. What’s the biggest scandal – scandal, mind you, not just drama – the MMORPG genre has ever seen? Lay ’em on me!
Of all the fascinating things the EVE Online community has embraced over the game’s almost 15-year lifetime, perhaps the most bizarre is space pope Max Singularity. The character of the space pope started out as a joke among players who discovered Max doling out words of worldly wisdom in the in-game chat channels and counselling players who were going through tough times. This most cutthroat of online communities embraced Max’s kindness, and he embraced his new in-game role as a religious leader of the Amarr empire.
The space pope is actually NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory employee Charles White in real life, but at EVE Fanfest 2018 this week he was in full papal garb with an entourage of space monks and space nuns. If you’ve never heard of the space pope, well, I promise I am not making this up. Today at Fanfest, lucky EVE players Tairon Usaro and Irma Amatin were married by the space pope himself in a traditional Amarrian ceremony in front of hundreds of onlookers. Skip past the cut for a short video about the wedding.
The past couple of weeks has been wild as we dispatched writers to GDC in San Francisco and PAX East in Boston to gather up and bring back everything they could on the MMORPGs large and small on the spring convention circuit. In fact, as I type this, we’ve got Brendan in Reykjavik for EVE Fanfest too! So for this week’s Overthinking, we’re rounding up our coverage and then reflecting on the best and worst as we pick out what most excites, surprises, and disappoints us: First the roundups, then our thoughts. Read on!
While player capsuleers are undoubtedly the most powerful force in EVE Online
, there are some pretty scary NPCs lurking in the depths of space. One of those threats has just been unearthed throughout New Eden with the discovery of The Triglavian Collective, an ancient and twisted offshoot of the human race found in tiny pockets of space cut off from the rest of the universe. EVE Online
players will soon be able to invade these pockets of Abyssal Deadspace and face the collective in the upcoming “Into the Abyss
” expansion coming on May 29th.
At EVE Fanfest 2018, CCP revealed a huge set of interconnected new features revolving around ancient Triglavian ships and Abyssal Deadspace pockets. Players will hunt through these bizarre new environments filled with unpredictable dangers that get more challenging the further you go, and with increased challenge comes some incredible rewards. You’ll find blueprints for powerful Triglavian ships, an incredible new weapon system ominously named the Entropic Disintegrator, and organic mutaplasmids that can transform your existing modules into powerful Abyssal versions.
Read on to find out who the Triglavian Collective are, what the deal is with Abyssal Deadspace, and why the “Into The Abyss” expansion could be incredible for solo PvE players.
EVE Fanfest 2018
has just kicked off here in
Reykjavik, and MassivelyOP is on the ground once again to bring you the latest on the future of EVE Online
. While Fanfest is primarily a community event and a chance for players to meet their in-game friends in the flesh, this year’s event also promises to be packed with some big news and exciting announcements.
The main talks and presentations will all be streamed live from the event, the most important of which is the announcement-packed EVE Keynote. The keynote presentation will go live just a few minutes after this post goes live, and you can tune in now via CCP’s official twitch channel or the embed after the cut. If there’s something that you’re particularly excited for or if you have any questions you’d like us to pose to developers, let us know in the comments!