You’ve probably heard by now that EVE Online
is giving its free-to-play alpha clone characters a massive boost in power in December about a month after the launch of the Lifeblood
expansion. The news has been spreading through the gaming media
since it was announced last week at EVE Vegas 2017
and the reception online has been generally positive. Some existing players are worried that the change might even be too
generous, with fears that veteran players may let their subscriptions lapse and play for free, or that the new skills might be abused to create an endless army of ganking alts.
There’s no doubt that the changes will help to close the power gap between subscribers and free players and will open up new avenues of gameplay. Free players will finally be able to fly tech 1 battlecruisers and even battleships, and cross-training for multiple races will unlock multi-faction ships such as the Sisters of EVE exploration ships. Alpha clone players will also finally be able to use tech 2 weapons and fly many of the ship setups flown in massive nullsec wars, though the way that the new skill limit is being implemented may actually benefit old and returning players more than new ones.
In this edition of EVE Evolved, I dig into the free-to-play changes, briefly examine the power gap between free and subscribed players, and look at who will benefit most from the change.
A new event named The Agency kicked off this week
in EVE Online
, and it looks a bit like the daily quest systems you can find in many other MMOs. When you log in, you’ll be presented with a list of challenges that will each earn you points on a reward track, with prizes available when you reach various point thresholds. The challenges are all casual PvE activities that you might be doing anyway, such as killing 25 pirate NPCs or collecting a million ISK in NPC bounties, and they refresh every 24 hours so you can grind up the points you need throughout the two-week long event period.
It’s no coincidence that the reward track sounds suspiciously like last year’s botched Shadow of the Serpent event, as this event is built on the same event system and even uses the same user interface. The 24 hour refresh on challenges also makes it similar to a daily login reward system, something that CCP trialled last year with Recurring Opportunities but discontinued as it didn’t increase login numbers. Developers do seem to have learned lessons from both of these examples when putting together The Agency, and now I can’t help but wonder if this could be modified into a fantastic daily reward system.
In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at some of the positive and negative aspects of The Agency and suggest how it could make a great permanent daily reward system with a few tweaks.
Of all the terminology associated with EVE Online
, the one thing that’s always made me a bit uncomfortable is to hear players describe PvP as “generating content.” It’s an oddly sterile euphemism that seemed to surface years ago during the era of the blue donut when large alliances organised faux wars for the entertainment of their restless troops, and it doesn’t sit right with me. PvP in EVE
is supposed to be about real conflict for solid reasons, not generating content for its own sake. It’s about smashing a gang of battleships into a pirate blockade to get revenge, suicide ganking an idiot for transporting PLEX in a frigate, or forcibly dismantling another alliance’s station because you just hate them so much
EVE PvP can be visceral and highly personal, not just something fun to do or a game of strategy but a way to settle old grudges and punish people for whatever the hell you want. World War Bee was a brutal mix of Machiavellian politics and massive fleets of highly motivated players coming together, not just for some fun gameplay but to try and completely annihilate the goons. So what the hell happened? Why are so many people sitting in nullsec fortresses and farming ISK, building huge capital fleets and complaining about the “lack of content” in PvP today? Does EVE‘s conflict engine need a tune-up?
In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at some of the factors limiting real conflict in EVE today and suggest three possibly controversial changes that would drive further conflict in New Eden.
Did you know that this month marks the 20th anniversary of CCP Games
? Well now you do, and you have no excuse not to share that knowledge with your most trusted allies and confidants.
Also, you can take advantage of a sale on EVE Online’s PLEX during this momentous occasion. For a limited time, all PLEX is 15% off, allowing fans to stock up on the premium items that can be used for game time, extra ISK, or various account services.
The team at CCP also delivered a pep talk to its legion of fans. “I want to thank you for filling up our space universe with your creativity, villainry, and shenanigans,” said CCP CEO Hilmar Petursson. “You’ve challenged us and had our backs.” Watch it below!
The changes to PLEX for EVE Online
make it easier to buy small chunks, sell small chunks, and not have all of it get blown up when you stuff a cargo hold full of your money. Of course, part of what has made PLEX so vital is the need for newer players to be able to catch up with veterans, which ties into use of skill injectors… which are currently very expensive. So the game is introducing a cheaper way to get those
, as well.
Existing skill injectors will be marked as large injectors, while the new smaller skill injectors will hold a maximum of 100,000 points and offer smaller and smaller rewards to players with more skill points. The hope is that newer players can buy the bite-sized injector and start to catch up before moving on to larger purchases, thus ensuring that everyone can more quickly take part in the sprawling wars of backstabbing that make the game tick along.
The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!
This week we have stories and videos from TERA, Rend, Tree of Savior, Dragon Nest, Neverwinter, Armored Warfare, EVE Online, Overwatch, ARK, Wakfu, Destiny, and Pokemon Go, all waiting for you after the break!
The bad news for EVE Online
fans is that the game is going to require extended downtime today. There’s nothing to be done about it; it’s just a thing that has to happen. Why? Because the big 119.5 patch is going live
. That means the game is rolling out PLEX changes to make PLEX into a currency while also no longer making PLEX a valuable physical item to blow up on a regular basis.
Of course, this patch contains more besides, as there’s the first iteration of new AI systems with Blood Raider shipyards and visual improvements to suns throughout the game. Players will also be able to display fleet emblems on station, enjoy new models for the Pacifier and Enforcer, and obtain new Blood Raider capital ships. You can check out the full patch notes to find out what you’ll be doing once the servers come back up; you’ll have plenty of time to think about it.
When EVE Online
releases its next big patch on May 9th, PLEX is changing in a big way
. For example, the old days of ships carrying around a huge number of PLEX packages and getting blown up will be a thing of the past; PLEX will now be stored in a central vault that can be accessed from anywhere, meaning that it’s no longer incredibly valuable (and volatile) cargo. It’s also being converted into currency in its own right, broken into 500 PLEX rather than a single PLEX item used to extend subscription time.
This makes the name “pilot license extension” rather inappropriate, but since everyone just calls it PLEX all of the time anyhow, the actual impact will be lessened.
All of the changes will also mean that PLEX will be the new go-to microtransaction currency while being less vulnerable to destruction in the game. A month of subscription will cost 500 PLEX, so that elemet of gameplay remains fundamentally the same, even though it’s possible to earn PLEX in smaller increments over time with the shift. So if you’ve got some vulnerable haulers full of PLEX… maybe just leave those in the dock until May 9th. Then you can have them haul something less expensive.
Last week, we covered CCP’s
new plan to change EVE Online’s
30-day sub currency, PLEX, by effectively breaking it into smaller chunks
and turning it into more of a cash shop currency that’s more easily fungible and tradeable.
It was an announcement not without its detractors, as Massively OP’s EVE columnist Brendan Drain explained over the weekend: Some players were miffed that PLEX will be transportable without the risk of ship-to-ship movement, while others grumbled about the short-term effect on the market and poor conversion rates for the secondary currency, Aurum, and the lack of conversion for players with fewer than 1000 Aurum. And as is common with such in-game economies, still others are up in arms over apparent market corruption, as it appears that players with insider information began trading ahead of the announcement to manipulate the economy — as Brendan suggests, likely a CSM (player council) member privy to information ahead of the embargo lift.
Today, CCP posted an update meant to assuage some of the concerns about the new program.
This week CCP Games
announced that some big changes are on the way for PLEX
in EVE Online
. The PLEX or “30-day Pilot’s License EXtension” is a virtual item that represents 30 days of subscription time and can be bought for cash and then sold to other players for in-game ISK. This simple mechanic has proven to be one of the most important innovations in the subscription MMO business model over the years, allowing players with lots of in-game wealth to effectively play for free while permitting cash-rich players to buy in-game currency without funding dodgy farming operations that can disrupt the game world. Dozens of games now support some kind of player-mediated currency roughly like PLEX
The proposed changes are intended to simplify EVE‘s business model by merging PLEX with the microtransaction currency Aurum. Players will also be able to put their PLEX into invulnerable account-wide PLEX Vaults that are accessible at all times rather than having to move the valuable items manually by ship. There’s been significant backlash from the EVE community over the newfound invulnerability of PLEX, plans to delete some microtransaction currency from the game without compensation, and the possibility that someone leaked the announcement to friends early in order to make a profit. So what’s the deal with these PLEX changes, and why are some EVE players going nuts over them?
In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at the upcoming changes to the safety of PLEX, the opportunities that more granular PLEX could have for EVE, and why players are up in arms over plans to delete Aurum from thousands of accounts.
announced this morning that it’s overhauling PLEX
in EVE Online
. As the currency works now, players buy the 30-day sub token known as PLEX with cash and then either use it or sell it to other players in exchange for in-game currency, isk.
“We really like PLEX because it lets you players in the in-game market decide what trade-offs you want to make between time, isk, and real money,” CCP Seagull explains in a new video today. “It also gives us at CCP a type of income that doesn’t mess with the integrity of the game design.” The overhaul won’t impact that philosophy, but here’s what is changing:
PLEX will be broken down into smaller chunks; one current PLEX, worth around $15 or 30 days of sub time, will now work out to 500 new PLEX, which is intended to allow players more flexibility in trade and allow CCP to effectively sell smaller sub lengths (although it has not announced its intention to do this) as well as smaller items in the cash shop using PLEX as currency.
Possibly of more interest to non-EVE players is the fact that the new PLEX Vault in the player inventory will allow players to move PLEX without actually putting it in their ships. No more wacky stories about people losing thousands of dollars’ worth of PLEX while dragging them in ships across the galaxy!
It’s said that you’re never truly safe in EVE Online
unless you’re docked or logged off, and sometimes not even then. If someone wants you dead badly enough, he can get to you even in the heart of high-security space surrounded by legions of CONCORD police ships. The police in EVE
will get revenge on anyone who attacks another player in high-security space, but they aren’t very big on crime prevention and take a few seconds to kick in. If you can get enough players together in high-damage ships, you have enough time to take out some pretty big prey before CONCORD comes to promptly turn your attack fleet into floating scrap.
That’s the premise behind suicide ganking, and it wouldn’t be EVE if someone didn’t turn this most heinous of crimes into a huge player-run event or even an annual tradition. Starting in 2012, the Burn Jita event sees hundreds of players in the Goonswarm Federation alliance flock to EVE‘s main trade hub system of Jita for a weekend to suicide gank as many industrial ships, freighters, and random passers-by as possible. Burn Jita 4 took place recently, and killboard records estimate the final damage total to be over 750 billion ISK (worth roughly $10,000 to $14,000 via PLEX conversion at current rates). According to the latest economic report, this impressive figure is actually only around 2% of the total ship value destroyed game-wide throughout February.
It’s been another busy year for sci-fi MMO EVE Online, and an absolute roller coaster ride for both players and developer CCP Games. On the development side, we’ve had two major expansions with Citadel and Ascension and a significant business model change with the introduction of a free-to-play account option. Fan events EVE Fanfest 2016 and EVE Vegas 2016 brought us some fantastic insights into the future development, including a peek at some amazing work on future PvE gameplay and an all-new EVE FPS codenamed Project Nova.
Proving once again that the players in EVE are the most engaging content, this year brought us the political twists and turns of the now-infamous World War Bee, which became the largest PvP war ever to happen in an online game. We also delved into some absolutely crazy sandbox stories, including one player using $28,000 worth of skill injectors to create a max skill character as a publicity stunt, and the controversial banning of the gambling kingpins behind World War Bee.
In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look back over all the biggest EVE stories of the year, from the political shenanigans of World War Bee to the surprise free-to-play option and how expansions have changed the face of the game this year.