EVE Vegas 2018 is this weekend: Here’s what to expect from the show

    
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It’s that time of year again when internet spaceship nerds descend on Las Vegas to get incredibly drunk find out what the future holds for EVE Online and its related IPs. EVE Vegas 2018 kicks off soon on October 19th and MassivelyOP will be on the ground again this year to interview developers and get the latest on CCP Games’ future plans. This year’s event looks like it’ll be a whopper, with a huge number of developers reporting that they’re attending and a full livestreaming setup for announcements and talks.

This year’s event will be more important than usual as it’s the first major event since CCP Games was acquired by Pearl Abyss and will be an opportunity to see how the studio is shaping up under new ownership. There will also be no EVE Fanfest in Iceland in 2019, so this may be the last big opportunity to announce new developments to the press in person for quite a while. There seems to be an increased press presence this year, which has me wondering whether there will be some big reveals at the event.

So what can we expect from EVE Vegas 2018? Read on for some brief speculation before I head off to the airport, and don’t forget to comment with any questions you’d like asked to developers or players.

The future for CCP Games

Last year’s EVE Vegas was a hopeful event tainted by the immediate aftermath of unexpected layoffs. Developers working on Valkyrie and Sparc spoke of bright futures for their games, with Valkyrie’s lead developer delivering the dismally prophetic words that “if it weren’t making money, then [CCP] wouldn’t still be developing it.” In the light of CCP’s departure from VR and subsequent acquisition by Pearl Abyss, there’s a lot of hell of a lot to dig into on the topic of CCP’s future as a business.

We know that CCP has several new projects underway, and expect some kind of update on each of them at Vegas. There’s an upcoming mobile version version of EVE Online subtitled Infinite Galaxy to be released in China in partnership with NetEase, the western mobile spinoff EVE: War of Ascension, and possibly an as-yet-unannounced action MMO project in development in London. We’ll be following up on these, and paying particular interest to anything that might have changed since the Pearl Abyss acquisition and any way the two studios might be now working together.

An update on Project Nova

There’s been a great deal of speculation recently about CCP’s upcoming MMOFPS codenamed Project Nova, which was developed as a replacement for the now-defunct PlayStation 3 exclusive DUST 514. CCP showed off a playable demo of an early version of Project Nova at EVE Fanfest 2016 and the game stayed quietly in active development for the next two years without much in the way of an update. All that changed recently at EVE Fanfest 2018 when CCP’s CEO Hilmar Veigar Pétursson announced that Project Nova will be coming “in months, not years.”

This was expanded on recently when ex-DUST 514 players were sent an email asking them to reserve their old character names in Nova in exchange for some veteran rewards. That email contained hints that the itemisation and storyline of Nova is already well developed and that the game is very much closer to release than we might think. I would expect a big update on Nova at this year’s EVE Vegas, at the very least an official name reveal and trailer. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see it playable at the event for attendees, given that an early version was playable two years ago and there’s at least one talk on it.

The future for EVE Online

EVE Vegas will function as a kind of checkpoint for CCP half way through the year to follow up on its recent Into the Abyss expansion. I’m sure we’ll get some interesting stats on the expansion (I want to know how many trillions of ISK in ships the Triglavians have blown up) and I’d expect to hear more about the next step for this form of highly controlled and effectively instanced gameplay. I’d predict the next step to be either solo Abyssal Deadspace gameplay for another ship class (possibly battlecruisers or battleships) or some form of two-player co-op content.

The event also functions as a way for CCP to get some feedback from players, and this year all eyes will be on any developers discussing highsec war declarations. We recently discovered that wars are literally causing corps full of new players to collapse and that this may be ruining retention rates. I wouldn’t expect CCP to have any specific plans for addressing this yet, but would like to be pleasantly surprised on that. We’ll also hear more about the Activity Tracker, get an update on recent territorial wars, and see the finalised designs for deployable stargates and cynosural field jammers.

Community talks and events

While I’m sure we’re all excited to see what the future holds for EVE Online and Project Nova, EVE Vegas has its roots as a player-led community event and it still bears much of that appeal. The official schedule is now up, and it looks like we’ll be getting some interesting player talks. Materall will be giving a detailed rundown of the wars in EVE from 2016 to 2018 from his insightful perspective, Wilhem Arcturus will be giving a talk about EVE blogging, and Ahlea Corinth will be discussing how to use multiple characters to create your own self-controlled fleet.

Dunk Dinkle is giving a talk on leadership, which should be useful as he’s an executive in real life and has plenty of relevant experience. Luna Moses & Raiden Harmann will take a deep dive into the world of streaming, Kismeteer will give a talk on specialising into particular roles in PvP, and theorycrafter Baltec1 is giving a talk entitled “Ship Fitting Misadventures” that’s sure to be a good laugh. For those in attendance, players have organised a variety of events from karaoke to indoor golfing.

EVE Vegas 2018 looks like it’s shaping up to be a huge event with some equally huge potential reveals. We’ll hear more about the future of EVE Online, hopefully get more information on CCP’s upcoming MMOFPS Project Nova, and hear from players on a variety of topics. We’ll be on the ground at the event and will have time to conduct several interviews and attend plenty of talks, so stay tuned to the EVE Vegas 2018 tag for more news.

If there’s any question in particular you’d like asked or anything you’d like us to look into, please let us know in the comments or email your questions to brendan@massivelyop.com and I’ll do my best to get some answers. And yes, Arktouros, I will ask about alphas getting access to mining barges. Promise!

Disclosure: In accordance with Massively OP’s ethics policy, we must disclose that CCP is paying 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. This article has been written before we’ve been sent any privileged or embargoed information, so we’re speculating purely based on what’s in the public knowledge.

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Armsman

Wait where’s the:

“No…Really…The Caspuleer Lockbox is a GOOD thing For EVE Online”

Panel? ;)

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Vellik

Even with all that’s happened with CCP over the years (closures, layoffs, being acquired by another company), I’m still cautiously optimistic about Project Nova and their mobile title. I want them to succeed because I like the universe that they’re set in. If EVE: Online weren’t as hostile to small industrial corps, I might play that again as well, but I’ve had one too many war-decs to want to come back to that.

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partiesplayin

Didn’t someone buy CCP Games ? So why is CCP still representing Eve Online. Did the new owners decide to keep the studios name ? If that it the case that is very strange for PR.

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Armsbend

Normally in these deals they keep the higher ups on for 1-2 years to make both internal and external customers feel calm before they gut the company. It happens roughly 100% to 100% of the time in every company acquisition ever made. No variation – ever.

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Wilhelm Arcturus

Common, but not 100%. Not even close to 100%. A recent example is Mike Morhaime, who managed to hold on leadership of Blizzard as a studio from its acquisition in 1994 through until this year.

But yes, current execs are almost always offered a special bonus to stay on for a set amount of time, a year or two, in order to maintain the status quo, say nice things (literally contractually forbidden to criticize the new owners in some cases), and try keep morale up as the new owners fumble about, more often than not destroying the value they think they have purchased. Been down that road many times.

But your response doesn’t actually answer the question, which is why is CCP still a thing after an acquisition. That too is something about maintaining the status quo. CCP has built a name for itself and is associated with EVE Online. If you suddenly change out the name it will bring it to the attention of people who might not have otherwise noticed.

It is common to keep names after acquisitions. Again, see Blizzard above, which has been owned by somebody else for over 24 years and yet still produces games under the Blizzard brand.

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Wilhelm Arcturus

Those desiring to see my grim visage up on stage babbling on about blogging will likely be disappointed as it seems CCP is planning to cut over to Stream Fleet while I am speaking. There is an “old vs. new” message in that I am sure.

With that in mind those who actually attend my presentation are much more likely to hear me swear on stage, something that promises to increase the entertainment value substantially.