CCP promised some big reveals at EVE Vegas 2015 and so far it has definitely delivered. In yesterday’s EVE Online keynote speech, we heard concrete details on the big Spring 2016 expansion and some other cool stuff coming to EVE in the near future. Now officially named Citadels, this expansion is intended to be the “biggest addition to the sandbox gameplay since the original starbases” and includes a complete overhaul of capital ships as well as three different sizes of the new modular citadel structure. CCP confirmed that citadels will be anchorable anywhere, even in high-security space, with the only restriction being that it can’t be within 600km or so of any NPC structure, celestial object, or other citadel.
We also learned that the supercomputer which runs EVE‘s main Tranquility server is getting upgraded and moved to a new data centre, and some big server-side performance optimisations are on the way thanks to the Brain in a Box feature. CCP also confirmed that the company is standing behind its somewhat controversial Transneural skill packet system that will soon allow players to trade skillpoints on the open market, but that they are still taking feedback on board regarding the specific implementation details. EVE will also be getting some new camera options (including a first person mode) and a fancy new launcher by the end of the year.
Read on for a full breakdown of the reveals for the Citadel expansion and the capital ship rework.
Citadel details revealed:
While we already had a vague idea of what to expect with Citadels, the keynote did a lot to solidify those plans and put numbers and details in place of promises and speculation. Medium sized citadels are aimed at small or one-person corporations who might currently use starbases, costing just 608 million ISK and with modules and rigs costing between 10 and 50 million ISK each. They will be vulnerable to attack for only three hours per week while the defenses “recalibrate and refuel,” a period which can be set by the owner. All citadels will be able to fit new citadel weapons, electronic warfare modules, and station services such as reprocessing units and manufacturing facilities.
Large citadels are definitely aimed at larger corporations or small alliances, with a price tag of 7 billion ISK and more slots for weapons, electronic warfare and station services. They will have significantly more hitpoints compared to the medium citadel but are vulnerable for a total of 6 hours per week. X-Large citadels are physically the size of a small moon and seem to be slated to make Outposts obsolete. They’re aimed at large alliances and will cost 70 billion ISK, and rigs to improve its services and modules will cost between 1 and 23 billion ISK each. Players in the game’s largest alliances have pointed out that this may be too cheap, but with 21 hours of vulnerability throughout the week these structures may be blowing up far more often than we think.
Docking, mooring and weapons
All of the citadels (even the relatively inexpensive medium sized version) will allow standard capital and subcapital ships to dock just like real stations, giving each person a private hangar that can’t be accessed by the station owner. If the citadel is destroyed, the contents of all personal hangars are ejected into deep space and the co-ordinates are available only to the owner, so your ship and items are safe as long as you can mount a rescue. The exception is in wormhole space, where all ships and items are dropped as loot. The X-Large citadel is also so large that titans and supercarriers can dock inside just like any other ship, so we won’t need special supercapital characters to log off in any more.
Citadel weapons will include AOE torpedoes, long-range ship missiles, short-range flak cannons to hit small ships with, energy neutralisers, and a ship tractor beam to grab enemy ships with. The x-large citadel can even fit a new citadel doomsday device that bounces between up to six targets. The mooring mechanic described in the original citadel devblog has been modified to produce a new mechanic called Tethering. Ships with docking permission at a citadel will automatically be enveloped by a tethering beam when in range that provides protection against attack, potentially eliminating docking games and station camping.
Capital ship overhaul
CCP has been pretty tight-lipped about the upcoming capital rebalance, but at the EVE keynote they finally revealed broad plans for the revamp. The biggest change is that carriers will no longer be remote repair platforms; That role will be moving to a new Remote Auxiliary capital ship class that has limited combat capabilities but excellent logistics and can use the Triage module. Capital remote repairers are also being nerfed on non-triage ships so that groups of carriers can’t spider-tank effectively, and ships will no longer be able to refit while they have an active weapons timer. This eliminates several popular capital combat strategies and appears to be part of a move to ensure that capital ships cannot be effective without subcapital support.
Electronic warfare immunity is being removed from supercapitals so that a single frigate can now tackle a titan if the opportunity arises, and we’re getting a ton of new capital ship modules. In addition to meta level and tech 2 variants of existing capital modules, we’ll be getting capital armour plates, shield extenders, afterburners, energy neutralisers, nosferatu, and capacitor injectors. New short-range but rapid-fire capital weapons will also be added that are designed specifically for fighting sub-capital ships, giving Dreadnoughts a dual role in PvP fleets. Capital class weapons will be rebalanced into a structure combat role, so dreadnoughts may have to carry two sets of weapons and refit in space. To accommodate this, CCP is adding refitting capabilities and corp hangars to Dreadnoughts.
Capital weapons and strategy
With carriers and supercarriers no longer occupying the logistics role, they are due for a combat role overhaul. Fighters are being grouped together into squadrons instead of being launched individually, and fighter hitpoints are being replaced with a simple indicator of how many fighters in the squadron are left alive. This eliminates the ability to remote repair fighters, but means there’s less for the server to track and gives players more control. We’ll be able to use a new interface to move drones or fighter squadrons to particular points in 3D space and to give them orders. This clever little piece of UI design asks players to first select the position they want the drones to move to on a 2D plane, and then pick how far above or below the plane the final selected location is.
The same interface will let titan pilots manually target directional doomsday devices, which CCP was able to demonstrate in an early but functional state during the keynote. We saw an Amarr Avatarr class titan select two points on the screen and then a giant beam slowly swept between them. The beam can destroy sub-capital ships if they aren’t fast enough to move out of the way, making it a tactical weapon that can manipulate the enemy’s movements on the battlefield and punish their mistakes. If that wasn’t enough manipulation of enemy movement, CCP also revealed a new superweapon tentatively named the “Hand of God” that uses the titan’s jump portal tech to forcibly teleport a group of enemy subcapital ships against their will. Supercarriers will be using similar area-effect superweapons to debuff enemy ships and manipulate the fight from a distance.
The excitement during the EVE keynote talk was pretty high, and responses from those at home receiving a trickle of news from the event have been equally animated. The Citadel expansion is set to release in Spring 2016, with a release date due to be announced early next year. There’s still plenty more to come from EVE Vegas 2015, including a look at a new project named Project Discovery that aims to gamify scientific analysis of actual research images and uses EVE players to further scientific research in the real world.
I’ll also hopefully get some hands on time with the latest version of EVE: Valkyrie, and find out some more about the progression and customisation options available, and of course I hope to find out what’s happening with DUST 514. If you have any questions about EVE Online or anything else you’d like me to ask CCP, please ask it in the comments and I’ll do my best to find an answer.