structures

EVE Vegas 2017: Structure warfare is about to get very cool in EVE Online

If I had to pick out one thing that EVE Online does exceptionally well, apart from the political betrayals and thefts that regularly grace the gaming headlines, it would be the ability to build a real home that you’d want to protect. This year we’ve seen players erect thousands of citadels and engineering complexes all over New Eden, from the colossal 300 billion ISK Keepstars owned by the largest military alliances to tiny Astrahus citadels and Raitaru factory stations owned by one-man corporations. The stage is set for the next wave of Upwell structures with refineries and moon mining gameplay hitting on October 24th in the Lifeblood expansion.

While adoption rates of the new structures have been immense, not everything about them has gone over well with players. The game is becoming littered with cheap and often abandoned structures mostly because they’re difficult to destroy and there’s no incentive to do so. The battles that occur when players do fight over structures have also become stagnant thanks to the emergence of a few clearly optimum strategies. So while developers prepare to launch into the future with Upwell refineries and beyond, they took a pause at EVE Vegas 2017 to peer back at the past year and committed to some big improvements to structure warfare. … And this time they might have goddamn nailed it.

Read on for a full breakdown of the new details of EVE‘s upcoming moon mining feature and a look at the future of structure warfare with the Upwell Firmware Upgrade 2.0 update.

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EVE Vegas 2017: Pirate factions will hunt you down in new EVE PvE

If your experience with EVE Online‘s PvE is of grinding through waves of predictable NPC pirates firing space pea shooters at you, get ready for that to change. CCP Games has been working on advanced AI for the past few years with the aim of turning those mindless drones we fight in PvE into intelligent actors similar to players. The first stage of this was shown off with the roaming Drifter battleships and later with the Blood Raider Shipyard and NPC mining operations that will form up counter-defense fleets and try to drive you out of the star system.

The next step in this plan is landing with the Lifeblood expansion on October 24th with Pirate Forward Operating Bases (or FOBs for short) and a new Resource Wars PvE system. We learned more about these new features this weekend at EVE Vegas 2017, and they’re beginning to sound pretty epic. Read on for a breakdown of both features and details of how the Blood Raider and Guristas pirate factions may soon be actively hunting you down.

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EVE Evolved: Is EVE Online becoming too safe?

EVE Online is often painted as a harsh universe without rules where you could have your entire net worth destroyed or swiped right from under your nose, a reputation that has been well-earned over the past 14 years. Emerging in an early MMO industry that was rapidly becoming obsessed with keeping players safe and happy, EVE stood out with its harsh death penalty and anything-goes ruleset. Stories of high-profile heists and massive battles are still the main types of news that come out of EVE, a narrative that underpins much of the official marketing of EVE even today. It’s been something of a double-edged sword for the game’s popularity, attracting some players on the promise of emergent PvP-oriented gameplay and dissuading others with the threat of extraordinary loss.

Despite this outward appearance, the past few years have seen an odd shift in EVE‘s development direction with the apparent goal of making the game a lot safer. Small improvements such as the Weapon Safety system and warning popups help prevent players from making fatal mistakes, but it’s the citadel asset safety and reinforcement timer mechanics that have been most striking. Player-built citadels are completely invulnerable for all but a few hours per week, and even attacking them in that short period is a painful experience as you have to defeat it three separate times over the span of a week and none of the station’s contents even drop as loot. Highsec is now littered with hundreds of structures that simply aren’t worth attacking, and I’m forced to ask whether the citadel reinforcement mechanics are overkill.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I discuss gameplay being designed with loss-aversion in mind and lay out some of the problems with the citadel asset safety and reinforcement mechanics.

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EVE Evolved: What do we want from Drilling Platforms?

If you followed our EVE Fanfest coverage last year, you might remember CCP announcing plans to add a whole series of new deployable structures to EVE in the form of Engineering Complexes and Drilling Platforms. The Citadel expansion added new deployable space stations that players can put anywhere in space, with medium-sized Astrahus citadels for small corporations all the way up to the colossal Keepstars designed for massive military alliances. This was expanded on in the second half of 2016 with the release of Engineering Complexes as specialised citadels with bonuses to industry and research, but what ever happened to the Drilling Platforms?

Drilling Platforms were touted as an upcoming revolution in the way we collect resources in EVE Online, but the feature was still firmly in the early design stage when we discussed it with CCP at last year’s Fanfest. There were general ideas floating around about automated mining structures that require different levels of player interaction and disrupting enemy resources by attacking their drills, but nothing concrete at the time. We’ve now been promised a solid development roadmap update at this year’s Fanfest on April 6th and more information on Drilling Platforms in devblogs before then, and it’s got me wondering what EVE‘s upcoming resource-gathering revolution might look like.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I speculate about what Drilling Platforms might be like, discuss the kinds of gameplay I’d like to see from them, and lay out a few of my dream features.

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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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Crowfall has kicked off external pre-alpha Siege Perilous testing

You don’t know if you like Crowfall yet. Sure, you may have taken part in the Hunger Dome testing, but we’re going to let you in on a secret: That wasn’t anything. That was just mechanics. No, it’s the Siege Perilous testing that’s live now which is all about providing players with new ways to do things and show just a snippet of what Crowfall brings to the MMO space that’s diverse. Did we mention that it’s live? Because it is.

The participants in this particular test are still sharply limited, but players will be getting invited in greater numbers over the next few weeks. There may or may not be siege weapons heavily involved in this version of the testing, as the Throne War testing is next on the agenda, along with another new archetype for players (the Druid). If you’re a backer and can’t wait to get into the business of tearing down castle walls, take heart; your time is coming soon.

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Here’s how castles are built in Crowfall

According to the old adage, a man’s home is his castle. But you know what’s really a castle? An actual castle. And you can have one in Crowfall, but the degree of customization for the actual keep has gone back and forth over time. The original plan for the game’s keep was to have a fixed structure in place wherein players could design around the structure without fundamentally altering it.

But once the large keep was designed for the Hunger Dome tests, it became clear that maybe something could be done to let players toy around with the structure. The result is a nine-minute behind-the-scenes video about the team investigating the possibility and seeing whether or not allowing more player freedom could be supported from a technical and design standpoint. It’s a look at the making of tools and structures, and it should be fascinating not just to Crowfall fans but to anyone who wants to see how features change over time.

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EVE Vegas 2015: Further Citadel details, Valkyrie, capitals, and skill packets

Though most of the big reveals for EVE Vegas 2015 were front-loaded into day one’s EVE keynote talk, a lot of questions were left unanswered on the specific details of the capital rebalance and citadel structures. Day two’s talks provided further details of both features and included a few additional reveals that got rounds of applause from the audience.

We had some excellent player presentations throughout the day on everything from the history of EVE Online‘s first great war to starting a corp successfully and the spying metagame. I also got the opportunity to try out the latest version of EVE: Valkyrie on what may be close to the final release version of the Oculus Rift, and found out what attendees thought of CCP’s plans for the skill packet trading system.

Read on for a breakdown of all of the above, including new information on structures and capitals and my own views on the announcements.

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EVE Vegas 2015: What to expect from EVE Vegas 2015

While the main event of the EVE Online community calendar is undoubtedly the annual EVE Fanfest in Iceland, smaller fan-run events have popped up around the world over the years to accommodate players who don’t fancy traveling to the arctic circle. Probably the biggest of these events is EVE Vegas, which is happening right now in the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. The event has become so big that this year CCP has officially taken over and tuned it into a mini-Fanfest filled with new information, reveals, and talks from both developers and members of the EVE community. As MassivelyOP’s resident EVE expert, I’m on the ground at EVE Vegas this weekend to find out what the future holds for EVE Online.

Today’s schedule includes both an EVE Online keynote with Executive Producer Andie Nordgren and a Valkyrie keynote with Associate Producer John Nejady. The real meat and bones of the event kicks off tomorrow with presentations on CCP’s plans for capital ships and deployable structures in the upcoming Spring 2016 expansion. The event is also peppered with feedback-gathering roundtable events, talks from players from all walks of life, and more info on something called Project Discovery that aims to “bring real science research into the game experience.” CCP has told us that this event will present the company’s vision for the future of EVE and solid plans that will be delivered by Fanfest 2016, with a few potentially big reveals.

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EVE Evolved: New roles for capital ships

In the past two editions of EVE Evolved, I looked at the Aegis sovereignty warfare overhaul and how it played out in a recent war in the Providence region. The new system has been a pretty big success in terms of improving the day-to-day play of those living in the depths of null-security space, but there have been a few casualities. As I mentioned in last week’s article, capital ships have lost their primary roles in the new war dynamic and are fast becoming unnecessary on the battlefield. The new gameplay encourages the use of highly mobile gangs of medium sized ships such as battlecruisers and cruisers, leaving not much use for battleships and capitals. Dreadnoughts have been made completely obsolete as we don’t shoot at structures any more, triage carriers have little use in a war that doesn’t need battleships, and you don’t need supercapitals to counter enemy capitals if they aren’t fielding any.

CCP has promised that a full capital ship rebalance is in the works to give EVE Online‘s capital ships new roles in nullsec warfare, and a recent devblog has shed some light on the first step of that plan. Dreadnought pilots will be happy to know that shooting at structures is coming back in a limited fashion; the new Citadel structures that are planned to eventually replace player-owned starbases and space stations will use a new damage mitigation mechanic instead of the entosis mechanic. There’s still no word on what roles carriers, supercarriers or titans will be squeezed into, but there are plenty of ways they could be adapted to serve important strategic roles in the new sovereignty gameplay. Could supercarriers become actual carriers for moving fleets behind enemy lines? And maybe titans could be the mobile space stations we’ve read about in the EVE lore.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at a few problems with the new damage mitigation mechanic and suggest possible strategic roles for the other capital ships.

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Here’s an early look at Crowfall’s keeps

A lot of Crowfall is going to come down to the environments. That might seem a little bit odd or silly, but if you consider it for a moment, you realize that it’s absolutely vital for players to have structures like keeps be exciting places to attack or defend, not just straight rushes from an entryway to a goal. So the latest video showing off the greybox form of the Keep is pretty relevant for players of every stripe.

This early model doesn’t feature textures or detailing, just the raw form of what the building may look like. It also already features plenty of places for defenders to repulse attackers and chokepoints for dramatic showdowns. The whole video is about 10 minutes long, but if you’ve got a bit of time to see what’s been built thus far, check it out below.

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EVE Evolved: Building your own empire

When CCP announced its far-reaching plans to overhaul EVE Online‘s territorial warfare gameplay, players were cautiously optimistic but understandably guarded. EVE‘s old sovereignty system saw the game’s signature political rivalry and emergent warfare gradually morph into a stagnant universe in which a few massive coalitions held practically all of the power. What started out as alliances naturally joining forces against common enemies ended up with just a handful of groups controlling almost all of the lawless nullsec regions, a situation that nobody (not even the coalitions themselves) was happy with.

Independent alliances and individual corporations are still forced by neccessity to gain powerful allies or join an existing coalition if they want to play any part in EVE‘s territorial endgame. The jump fatigue feature introduced in November’s Phoebe release and the recent changes in Mosaic have helped force alliances contract into smaller territories and shattered many renter empires, but those are just the first steps in a much grander plan. EVE is heading into a golden age in which any corporation can build its own little empire and independent alliances may actually be able to defend their space from attack, and it all begins this summer.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at the latest details of this summer’s sovereignty overhaul and the recently revealed Citadel structures that will let any corporation build its own little empire in the void of space.

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Player structures are coming to Pathfinder Online

It’s hard to think of a sandbox game without the ability to create and dwell in player structures, but until now that feature has been missing from Pathfinder Online. Fortunately, this will change with Update 4.0 on February 19th, which promises to bring in the first wave of temporary player structures that can be used to populate the world.

The structures will come in a variety of types, from the small campfire to the long-lasting smallhold. Each structure has both a cooldown (after which it can be deployed again) and a lifespan that it will exist on the main map. The larger structures, such as the base camps and smallholds, will need to be purchased from the game’s store.

Pathfinder’s last patch, Update 3.0, came out on February 4th.

[Source: Pathfinder Online #1, #2]

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