EVE Evolved: Improving EVE Online’s organisational tools

Throughout most of EVE Online‘s lifetime, players have developed their own third-party applications (and yes, spreadsheets) to help organise and enhance their gameplay. We’ve got skill training calculators, websites for keeping track of structure fuel, databases full of information on items, and advanced industry and market tools that look like they belong to real world stock brokers. Most large alliances also now use Slack or Discord to organise out of game, have their own dedicated voice comms servers, and use tools like Jabber to notify members of important events.

CCP Games itself has added some brilliant in-game tools over the years that help players organise too. We now have a great in-game Calendar and event system, a customisable notification popup tool, corporation bookmarks, and an official smartphone app. We even have the ability to simulate and share ship fittings, and a new Agency panel that helps new players find content near them. These are all extremely useful productivity tools, but with a few improvements I think they could be even better!

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I discuss a few improvements I’d love to see for EVE Online‘s calendar, Agency interface, and official mobile app that would help players organise and work together more easily.

Improving the calendar

The Calendar is one of EVE Online‘s most useful and overlooked small features, helping individuals and corporations to schedule events for particular times and keep track of everything from moon mining fractures to CCP-run mass-test events.

Your calendar is fully accessible in-game, viewable in the EVE Online mobile app, and can be incorporated into third party applications via the EVE API. Most large alliances will use their own out-of-game tools to organise members instead of using the calendar, but a few improvements would be of enormous benefit to individuals and small corporations.

  • Structure Timers: Attacking Upwell structures or mobile depots will cause them to enter a reinforced mode that makes them invulnerable for a certain amount of time. It would be amazing if the game automatically created a new event for that time and invited both the player or corp that owns the structure and everyone who participated in the attack. If you find anything that’s currently reinforced, it would also be awesome to have a right click option to add it to the calendar.
  • More Automated Events: In addition to automatically adding structure timers to your calendar, there are tons of other scheduled events that it would be great to get automated events for. I’m thinking of structure fuel warnings, asset safety timers, war declarations, bill due dates, the end of your Omega subscription time, jump clone timers, mission timers, Agency events, skill training end dates, maybe even industry job completion for selected jobs.
  • Google Calendar Sync: Many of the general features I’m interested in are already part of Google Calendar and other third party calendar software. Some players are already syncing their in-game calendars to Google using tasks on Zapier, but some kind of official integration between them would be very useful.
  • Sharing Events: One small change that would greatly improve the usability of the Calendar would be the ability to drag events into the chat box to share them with people and let anyone with the link invite themselves. This would make it much easier to host publicly accessible events, and would let us put them in the message of the day in an in-game channel or in our character and structure bios.

Improving the Agency panel

It’s been a while now since CCP added the Agency user interface with the Lifeblood expansion, and it’s working pretty well. The panel shows you a map that highlights a variety of mostly PvE-related activities nearby, and it keeps track of special timed events such as the Crimson Harvest and Guardian’s Gala.

We can see accessible mission agents, asteroid belts, Sansha incursion constellations, Resource Wars sites (though that feature is dead on its feet), pirate strongholds, and cosmic signatures in the system to scan down. This has been very useful for newer players, but it could be improved.

  • Lobby Channels: It would be amazing if CCP could give each item in the Agency panel its own chat channel and then add that to the Agency itself. This would give players the ability to self-organise around specific types of content and find a group more easily.
  • Increase Scan Distance: Many of the things shown in the Agency interface are only visible for your current star system, such as asteroid belts or cosmic anomalies in the system. I’d personally like to see that range expanded so that you could see whether it’s worth travelling to a system to look for exploration sites.
  • Notifications: One of the cool features of the Agency panel is that its icon in your taskbar flashes when new content appears in it, but I’d like that to be hooked into the notification system. We could pick what types of content we want notifications about, such as getting a heads up that a new cosmic signature has spawned in our current star system.
  • Public Scans: Much of EVE‘s current PvE content is hidden in deadspace sites that have to be scanned down, and right now all the Agency interface can tell you is how many sites are in the current system. It would be amazing if explorers could choose to publish scans to the public domain, releasing the scan info and bookmark to everyone via the Agency interface. They could maybe even attach a price so that other players would have to buy a copy of their scan, though I’ll admit this is a bit of a big feature to be asking for.

Improving the EVE mobile app

The official EVE Online Portal app came out on Android and iOS at the end of 2016 and was one of the reasons I got an Android phone, but it could really stand some improvement. It lets you view your skill queue and jump clones, shows a limited set of in-game notifications, and lets you view your EVE calendar. The app also lets you accept or reject calendar invitations to events, and both read and reply to in-game mail from your mobile device. Player-built alternatives such as the EVE Droid app can already do much more than this, with everything from ship fitting tools to market transaction logs.

  • Event Notifications: You currently only get notifications about calendar events when you’re logged into EVE, and they aren’t delivered to the mobile app. As the app already has access to your calendar, it would be great if it could be used to notify you of upcoming events an hour or so before they begin.
  • Market Transactions: The ability to view a character’s wallet and market transactions is already part of the EVE Droid third party app, and it would be great to get it in the official app. There are ways this could be extended beyond a simple list too, for example allowing players to pick certain market orders and get a mobile notification if they sell.
  • Corp and Alliance Pings: Most large alliances use third party software to ping certain groups of users when they’re needed in-game urgently, or to ping all members when an important fleet is happening. Adding this to the EVE app would be brilliant, allowing a corp CEO to send pings to anyone in the corp with the app installed.
  • Chat Channels: The number one feature I’d kill to have in the EVE Online app is access to at least the corp and alliance chat channels. While I understand why CCP can’t let people adjust market orders or change their skill queues from outside the game client, chat is a purely social feature. Many large corps or alliances already use things like Discord to communicate while logged out, so I’d love to have in-game chat in the app if it’s technically feasible.

EVE Online has a long history of player-made tools that act as companions to the game, but it would be great to see the official tools beefed up further. The Calendar could be made even more useful by letting us automatically add everything from enemy structure reinforcement timers to industry jobs, and there’s a ton of scope for improving the Agency panel and the official EVE Online Portal app.

The mobile app in particular should be the ultimate companion for EVE that lets you stay in touch with everything that’s important to you while away from the game, and a social tool that keeps you tied to the community during the day. Adding tools such as chat channels and new notification and ping options can only serve to keep players invested in EVE and let them know when something big is going down, so they can be there when it matters.

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!
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Morpayne
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Morpayne

Design a game with Eve’s setting/rulesets, only with more traditional combat ( Freelancer ) and you and your company will be overnight success stories. You’ll swim in gold like McDuck and laugh maniacally.

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mysecretid

Last time I checked, there were already too many tools playing EVE Online, Brendan! j/k

Ba-dum-bump-tssh!

I’ll uh … I’ll just let myself out …

Cheers, Mr. Drain. Good to see you posting anew

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