We’ve reached the end of another year, and it’s certainly been a busy one for EVE Online
. This year saw heavy gameplay iteration, with improvements to everything from the UI to ship balance, and the Lifeblood expansion’s total moon mining overhaul
. PvE-focused players got a new AI-driven Resource Wars
activity in high-security space, and an experimental user interface named The Agency has helped tie seasonal in-game events together. New refinery structures caused a bit of a land grab on moons and gave alliances more to fight over, and CCP Games
lifted some of the free to play alpha clone restrictions
to help bring in new players.
It’s the players that make EVE Online special, of course, and this year had no shortage of crazy political shenanigans. We followed The Imperium’s war for revenge in the north of EVE that eventually fizzled out, watched as The Judge betrayed his alliance and stole the largest sum of ISK in the game’s history, and sat aghast as the leader of that alliance was banned for threatening to cut off the thief’s hands in real life. CCP Games itself hasn’t exactly made it through the year unscathed, with the company unexpectedly pulling out of the VR market and laying off around 100 staff worldwide.
In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look back at the past year of EVE Online news and summarise the highlights.
One of my favorite things to do every year is drill down the top articles on the site for our readers. I don’t mean the most controversial, the most fun, the most important, or the most commented-on; I mean the single articles that actually brought in the most hits. And what I find most interesting is that most “popular” aren’t always the ones we expect! As we’ve noted before, a well-timed link from a major website – Reddit, Fark, or a game dev – can elevate an entire month. (That’s why we’re so grateful when our fans share our work across social networks!)
Just remember that the list favors posts made early in the year (and in some cases, evergreen articles from earlier years) as later pieces haven’t had as much time to percolate, so when you do see big articles from December on a list like this, that means a popular post indeed!
When we moved over here to Massively Overpowered, some of us transplanted our long-running columns to the new space. I perhaps felt most devastated that I was going to lose all of the Game Archaeologist articles that I had painstakingly researched over the years. So my mission with this space became two-fold: to rescue and update my older columns while continuing to add more articles to this series on classic MMOs and proto-MMOs.
I’ve been pleased with the results so far because TGA is a series that I really don’t want to see vanish. As MMORPG fans, we should consider it important to remember and learn about these older titles and to expand our knowledge past the more popular and well-known games of yesteryear.
Now that we have quite a catalogue of Game Archaeologist columns, I thought it would be helpful to end the year by gifting this handy guide to you that organizes and compiles our continuing look at the history of the genre. Enjoy!
Though EVE Online
has a reputation as a cut-throat PvP sandbox where anything goes, the fuel that fires its conflict engine has always been PvE. Players collectively pump over 100 trillion ISK into the EVE
economy each month by hunting NPCs all across the game, and at the same time they mine around 40 trillion ISK’s worth of ore for ship and module production. Over 90% of NPC bounties predictably come from people farming in the player-owned nullsec regions where some of the largest PvE rewards can be found, but data released earlier this year showed that 7.2% of bounties actually come from high-security space
It’s unsurprising, then, that CCP chose high-security space as the test-bed for an entirely new casual PvE format with the release of Resource Wars in the recent Lifeblood expansion. The expansion also saw the return of the Crimson Harvest event and the release of a new tool named The Agency that helps players find nearby PvE content. I’ve been getting stuck into all three of these this week and seeing how it all ties together, and I’m now more convinced than ever that we could be heading for a full-scale PvE revolution.
In this edition of EVE Evolved, I discuss Resource Wars as a new model for PvE and consider how The Agency could be expanded to help promote casual pick-up PvE groups in EVE.
It always gets a bit bumpy when politics, international intrigue, and video games collide, so hold on for this one.
According to CNN, Russia’s Internet Research Agency — an organization devoted to create unrest in the USA — tapped into Pokemon Go as a way to do this. How could this be? Apparently, the agency ran a contest on a site in 2016 that encouraged supporters of Black Lives Matter to hunt down Pokemon near sites of police brutality and to even change their character names to victims.
It seems dubious whether the “Don’t Shoot Us” campaign and contest had any effect on players or interfered with politics. CNN couldn’t find anyone who actually participated in it, and the campaign’s Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook accounts have all since been suspended.
Happy September, EVE Online
. Howsabout an expansion? You got it: CCP
has just announced Lifeblood
, launching October 24th.
“As new technologies for resource acquisition emerge in the form of Upwell Refineries, new moon mining capabilities and refined reaction processes, pirate factions have set their sights on taking a slice of the dwindling resources that remain in New Eden. With more tools for resource gathering at the hands of capsuleers than ever before, the competition for raw materials and supremacy over space is becoming more heated than ever as the cluster is pushed closer toward the brink of all out conflict.”
New refinery structures are en route, along with moon mining, a better UI for reactions and The Agency tool, collaborative gameplay dubbed “resource wars,” pirate FOBs to take out, a balancing pass for alpha ships, and a ledger for mining history. The studio’s also awarding Fanfest and EVE Vegas ticket holders a Marshal class CONCORD Battleship. Requisite trailer below!
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.
The graveyard of Sony Online Entertainment and Daybreak Game Company is certainly full enough to be considered a threat if there was ever a zombie uprising among MMORPGs. From PlanetSide to Free Realms, there are plenty of live games that were disposed of in this grim fictional burial ground. But there are also those stillborn titles that never had the change to make or break in a live environment. EverQuest Next might be the most fresh in our minds, but go back a handful of years and you might have seen players lamenting the loss of a different promising SOE game: The Agency.
The Agency seems like a natural fit for the studio’s focus on first-person shooters and a willingness to branch out from strictly fantasy territory. Instead of dragons or stormtroopers, players in this game were to face off against terrorist organizations and dastardly spy agencies, all in the pursuit of living out the ultimate James Bond fantasy.
But instead of sitting on our desktop, The Agency exists only in a forgotten corner of this imaginary cemetery. Today, let us tenderly brush off its worn tombstone and remember what we can about this canceled spy shooter.
If you’ve ever installed an auction hall mod in World of Warcraft or added a mood hack to your Sims 4 install, put down your mouse and back away slowly from your computer: You could be on the road to crime!
That’s only a slightly hyperbolic takeaway from a statement made by the UK’s National Crime Agency as pointed out to us by MOP reader Sally Bowls. Following its inaugural booth attendance at last week’s EGX event, the agency told Motherboard that it was hoping to “educate” all you rapscallions who cheat at and mod video games as you’re at risk for lawlessness.
“We have undertaken analysis on pathways into cyber crime offending and can conclude that some young people who have an interest in online games may begin to participate in gaming cheat websites and ‘modding.’ This has the potential to progress to criminal hacking forums and use of low level cybercrime services like DDOS for hire. We are therefore at the event to speak to young people who may be vulnerable to becoming involved in cybercrime and promote lawful career pathways.”