EVE Evolved: 2015 EVE Online year in review

    
5
It’s been a busy year for sci-fi MMO EVE Online and developer CCP GamesEVE received more updates throughout 2015 than in any previous year, though it came in many small releases rather than a few big expansions. We got a whole new sovereignty system and new territorial warfare mechanics that have started to break apart many large alliances. We got new ships with the tech 3 tactical destroyers, tech 2 command destroyers, tech 2 logistics frigates, and more. Practically every module was also rebalanced, the graphics have seen a number of serious upgrades, and the NPC storyline began to seriously heat up with the appearance of a new Drifter faction emerging from wormhole space with insanely advanced technology.

We got a good look at the future for EVE‘s gameplay at EVE Fanfest 2015 and again at EVE Vegas 2015, with plans to return to big blockbuster expansions with the Citadels expansion in spring 2016. EVE‘s player activity also showed a slow decline in tandem with global MMO subscriptions in 2015 but appears to have finally stabilised toward the end of the year. As a company, CCP continued to position itself as a leading player in the upcoming VR games market with its immersive dogfighter EVE: Valkyrie and the recently released mobile VR game EVE: Gunjack. We also heard very little from PS3 shooter DUST 514, and the rights to the World of Darkness franchise were sold off to another developer.

In this year-in-review edition of EVE Evolved, I look back at the past year of gameplay updates, lore and news coverage for EVE and CCP.

opportunities-2EVE gameplay updates in 2015

CCP released around 15 major updates this year, which varied in terms of scope and gameplay. January’s Proteus release brought us new exploration sites, graphical enhancements for asteroid fields, and a slew of small changes. February’s Tiamat update introduced the first of the Tech 3 tactical destroyers and gave corporations the option to have CONCORD police punish corp members who attack each other unlawfully. Before this update, spies could infiltrate any corp and attack other corp members in high security space with impunity.

March’s Scylla update focused mainly on rebalancing things like tech 3 subsystems and railguns, but also kicked off the Drifter storyline with a new series of in-character news videos and live events that happened in-game. April’s Mosaic patch introduced ship skins and the Opportunities system that replaced the game’s old tutorial system, buffed nullsec mining, added tough new burner missions, and completely ruined the entire game forever by changing the Damage Control module icon. June’s Carnyx update included new drifter wormholes and the first round of nullsec sovereignty changes, with the new system capture mechanics being rolled out in July’s Aegis patch. August’s Galatea release contained mostly cosmetic items and skins, and the first iteration on the sov system based on feedback.

September’s Vanguard update went on to make a few more small tweaks to the system capture mechanics along with adding some new burner missions and graphical improvements. October saw the Crimson Harvest patch that added a new blood raider event spawning lucrative sites all across the game. The Parallax update followed in November with yet more tweaks to the sovereignty and territorial warfare mechanics and the Brain in a Box performance upgrade that reduced lag when jumping between systems and increased the population cap in trade hub Jita. CCP deployed the colossal Operation Frostline patch in December to round the year off, adding the Operation Frostline holiday event, ship dirt effects, battle damage effects, new propulsion effects, the Endurance ice mining frigate, tech 2 logistics frigates, tech 2 command destroyers, and tons of other graphical improvements.

sidesleeperStoryline and lore in 2015

It was a great year for anyone who really loves the EVE Online lore, as CCP began to evolve the storyline using in-character news videos from Gallente news corp The Scope. Though most of the storyline events in the videos didn’t happen as traditional live events, the after-effects of them could often be seen in-game. The stories were frequently used to introduce new technology to the game, and there were also several reports on actual in-game events such as wars between alliances and coalitions, and the Crimson Harvest event.

The main story arc kicked off early in the year with what looked like a massive supernova in Jove space and the sudden appearance of Sleeper ships in normal space. The Sleepers eventually uncovered cloaked Jove observatories hidden throughout the New Eden cluster and began dismantling them, bringing parts back into their wormholes. We then learned that the ships were stealing our corpses and using them to manufacture new bodies, leading to a new faction called the Drifters who appeared to be of Jove origins. Much of the year’s storyline has been focused on the Drifters invading our space and assassinating the empress of the Amarr Empire. If you haven’t been watching the videos from The Scope, I suggest watching them all in order as they provide an immersive glimpse into the NPC storyline of EVE Online.

sideendofeveevolved

EVE coverage in the media

This year started off on a major sour note for us as AOL axed all of its weblogs, including Massively. I penned what I thought would be the final edition of EVE Evolved and readers asked where they would get their EVE coverage from. In the end, we pulled together and were able to relaunch as MassivelyOP as a fully independent site thanks to the generous pledges from backers on Kickstarter and ongoing support from readers via Patreon. We were able to bring back our EVE coverage and the site is now coming up on its one year anniversary.

We didn’t see many major dramas spill out from EVE Online and into the general gaming media this year. There were some very vocal complaints on the EVE forum over the proposal of a Transneural Skill Packet system that would allow players to extract their skill points and sell them on the open market, but this turned out to be a storm in a teacup. When we spoke to players and took a broader view of the EVE community that included bloggers discussing the issue, most seemed to be cautiously optimistic about the idea. There was also an issue with CCP renaming the Interbus Ship Identification System, which people assumed was done to avoid using the acronym ISIS.

All in all, EVE coverage across on the web seemed a little muted this year, perhaps because there was no big blockbuster expansion generating hype and the market for subscription MMOs and MMORPGs in general is still in a low patch. EVE blogs and community sites kept churning away throughout the year, with fansite Crossing Zebras really standing out to me with some fantastic articles and vidcasts. For the most part, 2015 was an average year with a few big in-game battles and wars, some big updates with new features, and enough internal community dramas to turn your face blue.

Top news stories of the year:

 

EVE Online reintroduces large-scale expansions
Earlier this week, EVE Online Executive Producer Andie "CCPSeagull" Nordgren announced that the game will be returning to large-scale expansions in addition to frequent patches. What can…

EVE’s ‘ISIS’ ship browser gets a rename
EVE Online's Operation Frostline patch yesterday brought to light an intriguing change: a new name for the game's ship browser, the Interbus Ship Identification System, otherwise…

EVE Online expert Brendan ‘Nyphur’ Drain has been playing EVE for over a decade and writing the regular EVE Evolved column since 2008. The column covers everything from in-depth EVE guides and news breakdowns to game design discussions and opinion pieces. If there’s a topic you’d love to see covered, drop him a comment or send mail to brendan@massivelyop.com!
newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:
Danikov
Guest
Danikov

Back at ya, Brendan, hope to see you at next Fanfest.

Kaloth
Guest
Kaloth

Nice wrap-up. I, too, read CZ with some frequency. Sure, there’s occasionally some crap posted, but they also pose some questions and share insights that I otherwise wouldn’t have considered. It’s good to have my perception of the game challenged.
As for that game, I get the feeling that despite a lot “happening”, not much actually occurred this year in Eve. I’ve spent much of it being bored with the content we already had, shit-posting on /r/eve, laughing at the drama and tears that are the main-stay of this game and running a couple scams to keep me in ships (kill rights scams are my favourite as they don’t require I do much beyond letting eve run in the background while I work). I must admit I did do some pve too, but that got awfully boring awfully fast, which is why I moved on to kill rights scams for income.

Akrasjel Lanate
Guest
Akrasjel Lanate

Aliens in EVE, we don’t them, non sentient aliens like Fedo for example are a different thing.

Lateris
Guest
Lateris

Ty Massively OP for the great coverage and discussion on Eve Online. Also, TY for pointing out facts on Eve Online as opposed to the misinformation of commentators who never played or engaged in the depth of Eve Online. 2016 is going to be one hell of a year for New Eden.

Landari_Omega
Guest
Landari_Omega

Regardless of what disgruntled spectators would have you believe, EVE has had a very successful year I’d say. First year in a while I’ve legitimately had tons of fun.