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

    
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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.

For those at home who read our summary of the EVE Online keynote but would like to see the presentation for themselves, the talk is now live on the official EVE Online YouTube channel:

Further details on structures

The full Structures talk followed on from the keynote by filling in a few of the blanks and hammering down specific stats on each of the three citadel sizes and the modules that will be available, indicating that development on this feature is pretty far along. CCP announced a bizarre mid-slot area-effect weapon for citadels that will forcibly bump ships away from the station, and area-effect point defense weapons for killing drones.

Developers also confirmed that citadels will not consume fuel like starbases, but that any services such as reprocessing plants or market services will consume a new type of fuel block. There’s also an interesting idea of making multiple blueprints that all produce this fuel block so that you can use your local empire’s ice products to make them.

More details on the size classes were revealed, such as the fact that only subcapital ships and freighters can dock at medium citadels and that market services are only going to be available on the 7 billion ISK large citadel or the 70 billion ISK x-large version. There is also some risk to anchoring a citadel as the process takes 24 hours and the structure has no shield or armour hitpoints when deployed. While it’s invulnerable during the 24 hour timer, a citadel can be destroyed immediately after deployment finishes if left unprotected. If left unattacked for 15 minutes, the structure will automatically repair itself up to full shield and armour. Structures deployed in highsec can only be legally shot at if the owning corporation is at war with the attackers, so you should be safe deploying in highsec as wars take 24 hours to initiate.

stationNew reveals for citadels

Players were pretty impressed with the idea that docking at a citadel will show you the citadel in space rather than an internal hangar environment; You can spin the citadel around as if it’s a ship in a hangar and will be able to see what’s going on outside. This information runs both ways, however, as anyone outside the structure will be able to see how many pilots are docked.

We also got confirmation that the automated tethering system described in the keynote reveal will indeed make ships completely invulnerable and unlockable, but that it disengages if you activate weapons so you can’t actively fight while tethered. Warp scramblers and Heavy Interdictor focused warp disruption fields will prevent tethering and docking entirely, so if you get caught outside the range of a station’s tether then you may be screwed.

The reinforcement mechanics are now much simpler to follow than before. The structure goes into reinforced mode for 24 hours if its shield is depleted during its vulnerability window. After this, if the armour is destroyed then the station services will go offline and the structure is reinforced for 6 more days, and then finally its structure is destroyed and it explodes. If the worst should happen and your citadel is destroyed, it turns out that you won’t need to mount a rescue mission to recover your items after all. Your items can be shipped free of charge to a station in the same system (if one exists), and they’ll arrive in about 7 days. Alternatively, you can recover the items to a nearby NPC station at a cost of 10-15% of the hangar’s value in ISK and with a 20 day wait time. Developers also revealed that after the Citadel expansion, they will likely begin working on assembly arrays and research lab structures that will be separate from citadels.

expansions-2More on the capital rebalance

In contrast to the structures talk, the presentation on the capital ship rebalance seemed a little short on details and left a number of big questions open. I got the impression that some of this work was still quite early in development compared to the citadel structures, and we’re only seeing the rough details now because CCP is looking for early feedback.

Developers confirmed that while all supercapitals and all capitals in siege or triage mode are losing their electronic warfare immunity, it will be replaced with a new built-in role bonus granting a percentage of electronic warfare resistance. They’ll also be getting several points of warp core stabilisation so that you need a few pilots to pin one down, and the new capital sized warp disruptors will have extra points of scramble strength to compensate. A new devblog has now been released with all these details, which pins down supercapital warp core stability to within the 20-50 point range, so you’ll still need a sizeable gang to tackle one with standard warp disruptors.

squadron_hangerCCP also released a few more details on the fighter squadrons that will replace carrier fighters, revealing that standard carriers will be able to launch the same types of light or heavy fighters as supercarriers but will just launch fewer of them. Additionally, neither carriers nor supercarriers will be able to launch standard drones any more. Supercarrier pilots on Reddit have complained that they’ve been left underwhelmed by the announcement and are now asking why they would use a supercarrier when a standard carrier can do the exact same job about half as well for less than 10% of the cost.

A full rebalance of damage and tank for capitals is also on the way, and CCP has admitted that the new rapid fire subcapital weapons for dreadnoughts could make battleships even more obsolete in nullsec PvP than they already are. It’s clear that there are still design challenges ahead for the capital rebalance team, but the one thing everyone can agree on is that the new superweapons sound awesome.

gunjack-2Player talks, Valkyrie, and skillpoint trading

The player talks and roundtable discussions were definitely the highlights of the second day of EVE Vegas 2015, with EVE historian Andrew Groen kicking the day with a fantastic talk on a brief moment in EVE‘s early history that sparked off the first great war of EVE. We also had an interesting presentation from player Alekseyev Karrde on the challenges of starting a corporation in EVE, and I caught a bit of EVENews24 reporter Matterall’s talk on the spying metagame.

I later got to try my hand at the latest version of EVE: Valkyrie, which is a playable demo of the escort mission from last Fanfest’s trailer video. It was being played on the latest version of the Oculus Rift Crescent Bay with a new desk-stand head-tracking camera, and we were informed that this is likely very close to the tech that will be in the final retail release version of the Oculus Rift. There’s still a lot of work left to do on Valkyrie‘s progression and customisation, but Valkyrie feels pretty solid already.

Skill point trading

Toward the end of the day, I attended a roundtable discussion on the controversial skill packet trading mechanic that has been slated by some gamers as being a pay-to-win scheme. Despite all the complaints on the EVE forum, the roundtable was surprisingly empty and those who did show up were largely in favour of the feature. Players mostly voiced their views on whether this might help get new players more invested in EVE, with one training corp owner confirming that she plans to offer new recruits who stick with the game skillpoints as rewards.

CCP stated that the system isn’t really designed for the newest players but for those who have spare ISK and know exactly what they want to skill into. Skills represent a roadblock that those players can’t get around currently without buying an entire new character and losing their identity, and the stats show that many of those players quit rather than waiting for skills to train. The expected average user of skill packets will have 10-50 million skillpoints, making them at least one year old.

Disclosure: In accordance with Massively OP’s ethics policy, we must disclose that CCP paid for our writer’s travel, accommodation, and ticket for this event along with several other members of the gaming press. CCP has neither requested nor been granted any control or influence over our coverage of the event, and the writer is paid exclusively by Massively OP for this work. The people who go to EVE Vegas are also at least twice as crazy as the people you meet at Fanfest.
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Nyphur
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Nyphur

Armsbend EVE Vegas was actually a fan event until this year, and the cost is significantly lower than expected because attendees get a preferrential rate on the hotel. The vast majority of those who went to the event (over 90% of them) had never been to Fanfest and most live close enough to drive here or take a short flight. For them, this is still a player event where they get to meet their corpmates and other players. Even with CCP officially running it this year, the event definitely maintained that focus and the player talks were some of the best parts of the event.

Nyphur
Guest
Nyphur

Polyanna The thing I really took away from the roundtable on skill packets is that they aren’t meant for new players. They’re for people with maybe 6 months or more in the game who have figured out how to make ISK but are being stalled in progression by skillpoints. As Rolder pointed out, alliances are likely to give people skillpoints to get them into the alliance’s doctrine ships sooner.
I spoke to several nullsec guys over the course of the event about this, and many said they reward newbies on fleets with new ships and ISK if they make a good tackle that nets a good kill or if they really enjoy flying with them. In the future, this ISK could be replaced by skill packets that would help the newbie graduate from day-one roles like tackling up to other fleet roles.

dorn2
Guest
dorn2

Polyanna 
Old players driving up the demand isn’t going to be the problem.  The problem is going to be CCP charging too much for this service.  The supply will be very low due to this.

Rolder
Guest
Rolder

Polyanna I could see bigger alliances using their moon or renter income to purchase packets to give to their newer members in order to get them into the alliance’s doctrine ships and out fighting sooner.

Polyanna
Guest
Polyanna

Everyone thinks the SP trading thing is designed to or will “help new players.” But there is no way around the fact that anything intended to help new (low SP / poor / inexperienced) players will help veteran (high SP / wealthy / experienced) players more.

The only “new” players that will be in any way aided by SP trading are those that have the ISK to buy SP. And it’s not going to be cheap, so most new players are not going to be having the ISK needed to afford any non-trivial amount of SP any time soon. That means . . . tada . . . yet another reason to get sucked into the cash to ISK racket with PLEX, meaning more PLEX sales, which is in the end the entire point of this feature.

Meanwhile veteran players will be cashing in by selling of salvaging stale or nerfed skills (hello, “capital rebalance”) or will use some of their billions of spare ISK to bulk up already SP bloated characters even more and bust into the elite ranks of the 200 Million SP Club.

FF4LIFE
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FF4LIFE

So according to @vicariousfan and @Vagrent Zero, if you have the name Hellbound Heart, your an alt or hacker. I feel sorry for anyone who loves the novella by Clive Barker Hellbound Heart : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hellbound_Heart so be warned, if your a Clive Barker fan he will hack you and attack you. Also don’t talk to him about Final Fantasy. They hate it. Like really bad. Post the trolls when I can, that’s what I do. You’ll notice several users question these two people as well. Be warned.

Landari_Omega
Guest
Landari_Omega

I’m glad to see at least two of my predictions/ideas came true.

SallyBowls1
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SallyBowls1

Armsbend I absolutely agree that the money spent on Gamescom and PAX could be spent better elsewhere.  E3 is for trade so a bit better but still.

OTOH, CCP and Blizzard have enough passionate fans that they can probably get away with some of the old school ways.

I point out that when Legion was announced at Gamescom, they had a few thousand in the auditorium and a million (500K twitch, 500kYT) via stream.

OTOH, the EVE target demographic can probably find stuff to do in Vegas.

Armsbend
Guest
Armsbend

Instead of going to all of this trouble just make a youtube video.  That is a sweet kiss to all developers.