While the focus of EVE Vegas 2015 was definitely on the new Citadel structures and the capital ship overhaul coming next spring, the topic I’ve been most frequently asked about by readers is what’s on the horizon for PvE. To find out, I attended PvE roundtable discussion headed up by game designer CCP Affinity, who answered player questions and gave us a glimpse into the future of PvE in the sandbox. In the short term, we can look forward to the advancement of the Drifter storyline and the release of a new soon-to-be-revealed Tribute system that will give players extra rewards for their first piece of content completed each day. We can expect to see a devblog on this new feature released any day now.
The long-term picture for PvE presented at the roundtable was pretty awesome, with NPC patrols for all factions flying around the game and interacting with the universe just like players. Every part of space could eventually be filled with ships going about their daily business and reacting to players based on standings, offering missions and services to allies and opening fire on or even pursuing enemies. Other ideas in the pipeline including procedural generation of missions and dungeons to add an element of randomness, and scaling up content in difficulty based on the number and type of ships you bring. This would be a huge deal for EVE, as right now PvE is so predictable that players quickly optimise strategies for dealing with any new gameplay.
Both CCP Affinity and CCP Seagull confirmed that we shouldn’t expect to see these features any time soon, which comes as no surprise as the devs are currently working hard on the Citadels expansion. Some of these features may start to appear as early as spring 2016, but CCP won’t commit to a development timeline on this yet. Some elements of this plan may not even necessarily make it through the development process, and it could be several years before those that do finally get into our hands. Nevertheless, the discussion provided a clear idea of what direction CCP wants to take PvE, and it’s a pretty exciting one. We may eventually find ourselves in a truly living universe populated by both players and NPCs and filled with the bustle of active interstellar empires.