It’s the time of year again when EVE Online fans and developers from around the world make the annual pilgrimage to a frozen volcanic rock at the top of the world for the EVE Online Fanfest. Over 1200 people are in attendance at this year’s event, and the key talks are all being streamed live in HD for free via Twitch TV. I’m also here on the floor at the event to bring you all the latest from the EVE universe and visit some of the talks and roundtables that won’t be streamed.
The focus of EVE Fanfest 2015 will be squarely on players, with all the reveals and announcements packed into the EVE Keynote later today to give the most time possible for roundtable discussions and feedback sessions. CCP has promised less talk about visions for EVE‘s future and more on things it can promise to deliver, with “less hype and more substance.” We’ll see some shiny new graphics, results of the overhauled new player experience testing, and info on upcoming balance changes and the sovereignty revamp. We’re also promised a ton of interesting stats on EVE and a big feature reveal that players should go crazy over.
EVE Online, like many MMOs, is best enjoyed with a friend, if for no other reason than to have at least one other person you can safely attack with minimal fear of retaliation. The development team has added a new incentive to people bringing their friends in to try the game with the addition of buddy invites to trial accounts. Try the game, invite your friend, and if they pay money for the game, you get a subscription for yourself.
Anyone who sends out a buddy invite that is used and converts to a full account will receive an account upgrade from a trial to a full account, with 30 days of subscription time. That also allows players on the former trial account to use PLEX and otherwise extend their subscription. For more details and information on corner cases like two buddy invites being redeemed, check out the full news post.
[Source: Bring Your Friends: Buddy Invites for Trial Users
With PvP-encrusted MMORPGs like Camelot Unchained, Crowfall, and even Revival on the genre’s horizon, I have a glimmer of hope that the future of MMO PvP might not be a dreadful dichotomy of sterile MOBAs and psychopathic gankboxes after all. PvP might just have a chance at restoration to a place of honor in MMORPGs rather than be jammed into themeparks as an afterthought or unleashed into empty open worlds as the lazy dev’s idea of “hardcore content.” MMO PvP has been great before — wouldn’t it be fun if it were great again?
This is how I’d like to see it go down: Here are six things I expect from serious MMO PvP.
Crowfall continues to add experienced industry veterans to its team, as ArtCraft announced today that it has hired Valerie Massey to be the new director of community management.
Massey is CCP’s former senior director of public relations and communication and is enthused about the new project. “When it came to MMOs, I felt like the magician’s assistant who has seen the lady get sawed in half too many times. The magic was gone. But when I heard about the concept for Crowfall, I saw something unique on the horizon at last. I had to be a part of it,” she said.
EVE Fanfest 2015 is coming in a little less than a week, and if you can’t attend in person, you do have the option to be there via the magic of internet streaming. The team posted the convention stream schedule for your planning purposes.
Fanfest’s coordinators issued a weather warning for physical attendees because Iceland is cold and not everyone will get that from the name alone. We’ll be sure to let Massively OP’s Brendan know when he heads out there.
You’d think that EVE Online players would have taken the “trust no one” mantra to heart after a decade of news stories about corporation scams and scummy capsuleers in CCP’s sci-fi gankbox. Apparently not, though, as the latest bit of drama involves a 600 billion ISK theft perpetrated by someone named Non Erata against the Vanguard Frontiers corporation.
According to Rock, Paper Shotgun and EVEnews24.com, Vanguard Frontiers’ current and former CEOs called for punitive in-game action against Non Erata, though CCP has long maintained that this sort of skulduggery is part of the sandbox.
If you’re wondering, 600 billion ISK equals approximately $13,000.00.
, via RPS
When CCP Games announced last year that a complete nullsec revamp was coming to EVE Online, the playerbase breathed a collective sigh of relief powerful enough to create its own tropical weather system. There’s no question that nullsec and territorial warfare in EVE are broken beyond belief, and players have been campaigning for a complete revamp for years. It’s been over five years since the Dominion expansion tried and failed to revamp nullsec for the better, and most of the changes since then have been small iterations and quality of life fixes. The situation came to a head late last year when players and CCP acknowedged that nullsec had become stagnant and something really had to be done.
The first phase of the revamp came last October, when developers made changes to jump drives and jump portals to stop people from deploying fleets across huge distances within minutes. This week CCP announced phase two of the ambitious plan: a complete overhaul of the sovereignty gameplay designed to allow smaller alliances to capture and hold space, among other goals. It’s the change I’m sure a lot of corps in EVE have been waiting for to finally try their hands at claiming their own little corner of New Eden, but discussion on sovereignty is far from over. Developers have reached out for feedback on the proposal ahead of this month’s fanfest, and the forum thread has reached nearly 200 pages.
In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at EVE‘s upcoming sovereignty revamp and explain why I think the system needs a few design changes to work.
EVE Online continues its concerted effort to improve nullsec space with the advent of phase two of the revamp. A pair of dev diaries today both looks back and looks ahead at the process.
In evaluating the first phase, the team reiterated its main goal: “Our hope is that by designing mechanics that allow a wider variety of organizations to claim their own space without requiring the support of massive powerblocks, more and more of our players will see opportunities to have fun in nullsec space.”
As CCP moves ahead with phase two, it will be introducing a key device called an Entosis Link to facilitate more interesting and dynamic battles. The Link is a module that can be used on stationary structures to activate, capture, reinforce, or disable them.
[Source: Dev diary 1
, dev diary 2
. Thanks to Manic for the tip!]
Big battles in EVE Online take place over long distances. Players need to be able to zoom out and get a sense of the battlefield, which means that they are almost entirely reliant upon the icons displayed for the various ships around them. As part of the current project to modernize the game’s UI, the team at CCP is working on changing up the display icons for the game, starting with a comprehensive re-do of the icons shown for ships, structures, and other objects that players will see out in space.
The goal was to create distinct icons that would be obviously different at a glance without radically changing the overall shape or profile. If you’re an avid EVE player, take a look and see how well you can unpack new information from the field.
[Source: Icon dev blog
What do you get when you take a few of the most experienced developers in the MMO industry and give them the freedom to buck the safe trend of copycatting World of Warcraft? And what would you get if you further challenged them to combine the progression from MMOs with the always-fresh strategy genre? You might just end up with something like Crowfall.
As you read this, Crowfall has launched its Kickstarter funding campaign after weeks of speculation, reveals, and an always-ticking countdown timer. ArtCraft has done all it can to prime the pump for community investment, and now we’ll have to see whether it will pay off spectacularly… or be deemed too niche for primetime.
Last week, I chatted with ArtCraft’s J. Todd Coleman and Gordon Walton for a no-holds-barred discussion about Crowfall. Enough with the teases and partial revelation; I wanted the full picture. What is Crowfall, really? And how will it set itself apart from the MMO pack?
Are you voting in this week’s EVE Online Council of Stellar Management election? If so, you’d better do some research, because there are 77 candidates vying for your affections. Alternatively you could just use Vote-Match for a quick and dirty look at how your interests align with the hoard of potential politicians.
CCP says that an even 100 players applied for CSM X candidacy, with 23 of them being rejected for either failing to verify their identity or passing a security check. The election begins Wednesday, February 25th.
[Source: CCP blog
This week saw the first concrete reveal of EVE Online‘s potentially revolutionary new Opportunities system, which promises to replace the current tutorial with a more sandbox-oriented alternative. Rather than leading players by the hand through a series of steps, the new system will give players looser goals to complete and let them explore the game at their own pace. It doesn’t sound like a huge change, but the opportunities system will completely change the way new players interact with the game. If it works as intended, this feature has the potential to solve EVE‘s notorious learning curve problem once and for all.
At the same time, I find myself excited for new opportunities outside the game as Massively relaunches as an independent site. Just a few weeks after we were informed that Massively was being shut down and we were all being let go, everyone on the team has pulled together and volunteered his or her time for free to create Massively Overpowered. It’s really good to be back, and I hope I can continue delivering your regular dose of EVE Online for years to come! Ultimately, though, the long-term viability of this column and all the other coverage at MassivelyOP depends on the success of our Kickstarter campaign and future funding through Patreon and advertising.
In this first edition of the reborn EVE Evolved, I discuss EVE‘s upcoming Opportunities feature and the effect it might have on the new player experience.
Throughout its over 10-year life span, EVE Online has always been regarded as having an insane learning curve. New players are dropped into the sandbox at the deep end, confronted by a complicated user interface and gameplay that is very different to anything else in the MMO genre. A common refrain among players is the fact that they had to try the game two or three times before it finally clicked, meaning the new game experience could use some improvement. The developers at CCP Games have made huge strides in overhauling the user interface in recent years, and the game’s tutorial has been overhauled several times, but they’re not finished yet.
At last year’s EVE Online Fanfest, developers revealed the early stages of a potentially revolutionary new feature called Opportunities that they hoped would eventually replace the in-game tutorial with a more immersive experience. It was little more than a vague concept at Fanfest 2014, but this week the first prototype of the finished gameplay has made its way into public testing. Players who log into EVE‘s test server Singularity will find the feature available for testing and can provide feedback on the test server forums. Read on for a brief breakdown of how the new feature works.