EVE-Online – Keynotes ‘in a way we can believe in’

This entry has been written from an ‘out of character’ perspective to discuss the fanfest 2014 EVE-Online keynote.

Fanfest2014

Here we go, time for the super ‘dense’ EVE-Online keynote.  I hope its impressive as I found the EVE Valkyrie keynote to be light on content and the Dust514 keynote to be rather enraging (as it wasn’t about Dust514, but the future game that is going to replace it).

*Deep breath* Ok.

Thank the Amarrian God, it was a proper keynote full of actual *STUFF* that CCP is clearly delivering on within six months and what to expect over the next year or more.

CCP Seagull kicked us off by explaining that EVE will be transitioning from two major expansions a year over to ten smaller (quasi-monthly) releases per year.  Essentially we are going to see ‘named point releases’ releasing content as it is ready, rather than storing it up for one big release.  The intent is that this allows for more ambitious features to take the time they need to be developed over multiple releases while other features ship when ready.

fanfest2014 EVE release schedule

The first ten releases will be named after the Greek mythology Titans, the first being Kronos.  The Kronos release will be bigger than the others as it was initially planned as full expansion.  The image above shows the provisional release dates and names.

CCP Scarpia, EVE’s new lead game designer came on to tell us that he wants to let us build and destroy any structure and asset in the game. That ladies & gents is a commitment from the mouth that matters most to letting us blow up not only player-built stargates but null sec’s outposts too.  Marvellous!

Features of the Kronos release (the last summer expansion we will be able to label as such) is going to include Freighter rebalancing in which freighters will be given rig slots! You may now make a more gank-resistant Freighter or one that waps faster etc.  There will also be a T2 hauler rebalance with a 2nd high slot for all Blockade Runners while Transports get more cargo/defences/something else CCP Fozzie wouldn’t reveal.

There will be a T2 Venture that gets covert-ops cloaking abilities.  I’m not sure if I like that as it probably means FW LP farmers will be heavily stabbed and warp while cloaked.  Sounds annoying!

Turns out my hope for a new ship line was not in vain.  Finally this Fanfest has delivered something from my wish list!

fanfest2014 EVE Mordus

Mordus Legion NPC’s are being deployed to low sec and will drop BPC’s to build all-new Mordus faction ships.  Like all the others we will get a frigate, cruiser and battleship.  Being a Caldari Navy break-away faction, they will be the first missile-focused pirate faction with ships that look like this:

fanfest2014 EVE Mordus Barghest

There are going to be faction appropriate paint jobs applied to stations.  There will be 12 new ship skins added.  There will be new station & booster sound effects added along with a sound customisation system that will allow us to select which sounds play and so on, all of which is cool.  There will be new effects for warping in/out which are shiny.  The Condor/it’s variants are getting updated models, which is also cool.

The Typhoon is getting updated and will look more like the Hel supercarrier. Which is awesome.

fanfest2014 EVE Typhoon

CCP Veritas took the stage and told us about changes being made to the way that skills and mods apply their effects to your ship that will provide major performance boots as soon as he can get it through QA testing so that the server actually loads up.  It’s a pretty fundamental change.  He wants to make EVE’s core ‘Dogma’ engine “wicked fast, super capable”.  Which is great.  As EVE grows we really want it to be a game that doesn’t need to be held together by TiDi and duct tape.

CCP Seagull came back on and showed a brief video of a Tempest having custom ship colours applied in rapid iterations.  I’m not sure if she meant to say ‘this the tool our artists are using to make more ship skins’, or if we are getting a ship painting tool to create corp/alliance colours.  That would be epic but is probably too good to be true.

She did however promise us a a ‘social structures’ overhaul.  Looks like CCP are going to follow up on the Industry overhaul by rebuilding the way we look at corps, alliances and the god damned corp roles system.  It’s happening!  CEO’s and directors may rejoice! This work, on the back of (hopefully) improved industry mechanics/UI will lead into that much anticipated player structure building.

CCP Seagull sees these steps as being pivotal and vital to prepare EVE to tackle a comprehensive revamp of the null sec sovereignty system and warfare ‘in a way we can believe in’.  I love that phrase.  It is a commitment not to half-arse it all over again only to result in a constrained partial solution that could fit into an six-month expansion cycle.  Remember that ‘ten releases a year’ thing.

Seagull then alluded to giving players a choice of how much risk and interaction players want to expose themselves to.  I’m not sure what this really means yet but it sounds like good news for the solo players out there.  CCP doesn’t want to push you out of the game after all!

And then a sudden Black Screen Of Death!  The stream broke as CCP Seagull was just getting into something about player built stargates and delivering her big finish.  It cut back in to applause and a picture of a ship in front of a stargate.  I have no clue what the end of the presentation was, but EVE TV assure us it wasn’t a major announcement.

fanfest2014 Dust514 CCP Praetorian Rouge Sabrewing

After the keynote wrapped up, EVE TV went to an interview with CCP’s Rouge, Praetorian & Sabrewing, the senior Dust514 staff present at Fanfest.  CCP Rouge (the Executive Producer) was just in the middle of pledging that they were ‘not going to leave anyone (from Dust514) behind’ as they move towards Project Legion when the stream died again.  It seems that CCP are intending to bring existing player characters (and our stuff) from Dust514 across to Project Legion.  CCP Sabrewing (community manager) asked his boss this question on behalf of the feedback he has been seeing on social media.  If you’ve seen my twitter feed in the last few hours, this makes sense.  I suspect that CCP’s views on this subject might have crystallised somewhat this afternoon given the player reaction to today’s announcements.

From the dev’s comments it seems that they have managed to win over, or at least mollify, the players present at the Dust round table who came in emotionally charged following the presentations earlier today.  Sounds like CCP Rouge is now fully aware of the importance in holding that dialogue with the community, shame he didn’t think a little further ahead and put it in his keynote!  *Whelp*

Still, the EVE keynote was pretty successful and improved my mood.  Despite my concerns over CCP’s non-EVE-Online projects at least EVE itself looks in good hands and is pressing onwards.  Here’s hoping the new release schedule yields the timely smaller improvements and enables the bigger, more ambitious plans to unfold as intended.

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