For this week’s Massively Overthinking, I’ve asked the writers to do something most of them hate: brag! We’ve tried to isolate our favorite personal work from the year and talk about why we think it matters, then identify our favorite work from somebody else on the site this year and do the same. I always tell them it’s easy, but it never is!
See: EVE Online
Happy holidays, EVE: Valkyrie fans! Enjoy a shiny box of… wait, why are you hyperventilating? This isn’t a shutdown notice. (Which, you know, was a logical thing to expect based on recent events. You might have good reason to be jumpy.) Stop. Take a deep breath. There’s an update. There is an actual patch. See, there’s even a video down below covering the features. The biggest addition is the new moon refinery map that’s letting you blow things up in the midst of a mining operation on a moon. Not Earth’s moon, just a moon.
Do you need to sit down for a little while? Here, we can cover this in text. Have some hot chocolate. The update also adds in a new spectator mode so you can watch other players shooting at stuff without being in the match. Yes, other players. You can even set up custom matches with those other players specifically, if you want. Are you doing better? Can you watch the video now? It’s just past the break.
As if CCP Games isn’t struggling enough right now, the studio announced today that it’s lost one of its own: an EVE Online developer and graphics programmer known to the community as CCP Blaze. If you’ve ever warped anywhere or switched on the tactical overlay, you’ve seen his handiwork.
“CCP Blaze, one of our Senior Software Engineers with our Audio & Graphics team, passed away suddenly at the age of just 35, while on vacation in London celebrating his recent engagement. He is survived by his fiancée and one year old daughter here in Reykjavík, and leaves behind an amazing legacy at CCP from his 8 years at our headquarters working on EVE Online.”
The company says it held an internal fundraiser for Blaze’s family over the past few weeks since learning the news, and as of today, it’s also releasing a special fundraising item for the community: a brand-new “Blaze” squadron SKIN set that will be sold for one week only as a one-off for the Armageddon (100 PLEX) and for a five-hull bundle (495 PLEX). Blaze has been written permanently into the lore for the ship skin.
Don’t despair thinking that the entire EVE universe is collapsing into a single title just yet; the black hole theory has yet to be proven, and CCP’s virtual reality offshoots are still flying. In fact, Gunjack 2: End of Shift just made the jump to a new platform, announcing its arrival on Samsung Gear VR this week.
The virtual reality shooter, which puts the player inside a capital ship gun turret to blast EVE universe ships, now is available for $9 for Gear VR players. It’s also still available through Google Play.
Fly — and shoot — on, CCP!
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.
Think of all the wacky things devs have said in public in front of gamers and journalists this year.
Now imagine what gets said behind closed doors!
For this week’s Massively Overthinking, I’ve asked our staff to select the best (and worst) developer quotes from the year and reflect on what we’ve learned from them. Let’s dig in – we’ve got some whoppers.
Develop has a fascinating interview with CCP about how the studio uses strategies from urban planning when developing its space MMO. Citing “unproductive” development around 2004 following the game’s rise in popularity, CCP drew its community into talks about what it wanted to see for EVE Online, which in turn led to the formation of the Council of Interstellar Management. Through all of this, CCP started seeing the game’s growth through the lens of city planning.
“EVE is more like a city than it is a game,” said CEO Hilmar Pétursson. “If you are doing urban planning in a city, getting feedback from the inhabitants is important. You might have to bulldoze away some houses to make a highway, or you might have a garbage collection problem, and it’s impossible to know all this. We have no way of knowing all the things in EVE Online that the hundreds and thousands of people who live there every day do. They have way more information about it. So factoring in all the information about the game, their input on where the game needs improvement, putting those two things together is what the EVE team does every year.”
As Counting Crows told us, it’s been a long December, although the fact that it has also only just started being December speaks to something unpleasant in the makeup of this particular month. But it also means that this is a good time to check in on the overall health of various MMORPGs and see which ones look to be in the healthiest state at the end of the year.
This is, I hasten to point out, not a scientific process; last year I pointed to Marvel Heroes as a not-quite-MMORPG title that was still in a very healthy and robust place, and it later turned out that this was entirely not true and had been built upon a foundation of lies. But we’ll cross that bridge if and when we come to it in 2018. What are the healthiest games running right now?
This update also brings in a new event celebrating these new piloting options, new visual improvements, new daily skill injectors for free players, resource war adjustments, and lots of other fun things all around. You can jump in right now, if you so choose (or at least you can once you’ve done the requisite patching and so forth). Unfortunately, this update does not include the free ship fairy visiting everyone, but perhaps that’s something to ask for when the winter holiday comes around.
Last weekend, Brendan wrote a great column on how to stay safe from gankers in EVE Online, noting that the newbies are commonly given what he considers bad advice to just stay in high-sec; indeed, he smartly quoted Shedd: “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”
The article prompted a discussion in our work chat about risk-taking in MMORPGs. “After every one of Brendan’s (excellent!) tips, I keep mentally adding, ‘or alternatively, don’t play EVE,'” Eliot joked. And they’re both right. If you’re dead-set on being a “ship” in the risky gameworld of New Eden, staying in “harbor” defeats the purpose of playing EVE. But this is a real world where you don’t have to be a ship – you don’t have to play EVE. You don’t have to risk it all just for some pixel gratification.
For this week’s Massively Overthinking, I’ve asked the writing staff to dish on risk-taking, in EVE or elsewhere. Are they into it? What kinds of risks are they willing to take, PvE or PvP? What do they think about risk-vs.-reward in MMOs?
The patch will also include visual improvements to warp bubbles and various textures, a better selection interface for your faction, and the new skill injectors offering Alpha players improved learning for a day. There will also be new balance passes for resource wars, jump drive, and improvements to pirate forward bases. So there’s stuff to delight even players who already have a subscription to the game, even if the big focus is on free players now flying around in far more dangerous ships.
Although you may still want Brendan’s tips for how to avoid being ganked even in these more powerful ships, because sometimes “sandbox” rhymes with “getting sand kicked in your face for no reason other than the fact that you’re there.”
The fact is that most players will never experience a suicide gank, and it’s relatively easy to avoid becoming the target of one. Bookmarks can be used creatively to give even the most persistent gankers the slip, for example, and the Weapon Safety system can prevent you from accidentally committing a crime and opening yourself up to attack from ordinary players. Remember, though, that managing risk is a core part of EVE, and with that in mind there are some common sense rules that can help you to minimise the risk of attack or the degree of loss should an attack occur.
In this edition of EVE Evolved, I give three top tips for staying safe in EVE Online that should help even if you’re completely new to the game.
“Warframe lends itself to replay in quite a number of different ways,” noted Why I Game in an extensive review. I Has PC is gushing over the various Warframe discoveries: “There is something for everyone here, all wrapped up in a tight, beautiful gameplay package. I have read people on Reddit learning new things about the game after putting in over 1000 hours already.”
Warframe not for you? This week’s edition of Global Chat points you toward MMO essays on the joys of climbing, grabbing free stuff in games, and the pain of healing a group of idiots. Check it out below!