We sat down with CCP to get a look at Odyssey and some of its more major components, including a huge exploration overhaul, more user-friendly controls, and a dramatic change to the way in which resources are distributed across its vast, starry expanses.
Here's what we've learned.
Exploration is key
There are, at last count, around 7,900 star systems in EVE's universe. The great majority of these systems have hidden mysteries to discover, explore, and of course, loot. There's just one problem: finding the stuff in the first place. In the past, this hasn't been so simple and the payoff hasn't been so great. But CCP knows that exploration is a key draw for new players, with lead designer Kristoffer Touborg noting, "People come into EVE wanting to explore."
Second, the scanning minigame, in which you scan down system anomalies with the help of probes, has seen a few light touches in the interest of making it more efficient and new-player friendly. Probe launchers now launch seven probes at once, by default, and the probe scanner comes programmed with presets from CCP designed to aid in scanning down systems. You can also design and save your own probe presets if you prefer using fewer probes or have a setup that currently works for you.
Exploration isn't the only thing in EVE getting a big update. The entire space-scape is receiving a massive rebalancing. First, obviously, new exploration sites are being added all across the game's known and unknown universe. Second, CCP is tweaking the ore value distributions across various systems -- less valuable but more fundamental ores will have a higher chance of popping up in more dangerous areas of space, providing low-sec corporations and players with vital materials they might need for continuing operations without as much need to trek into high sec.
"We're gonna turn some stuff upside-down." -Kristoffer Touborg
In the words of Touborg, "We're gonna turn some stuff upside-down."
There's also the issue of security status. In EVE, a player's security status, which is determined by his actions, is what controls his ability to enter certain areas of space. If your security status dips below a certain threshold, you'll be shot on sight in some of the universe's more respectable locales. But Odyssey offers a new path to redemption for former pirates and thieves: the Security Tag.
Security Tags are special items that drop from rare NPCs in low-sec and null-sec space. With a few Security Tags and a bit of ISK, you can buy back some of your lost security standing and eventually work your way back into CONCORD's (EVE's resident police force) good graces. And because this is EVE, Security Tags will be tradable on the open market. CCP emphasized that the enemies that drop Security Tags are not readily farmable but do spawn periodically around the darker corners of the universe.
The little things
Every EVE expansion introduces a collection of small changes in addition to the big stuff. Odyssey is no different. There's a new radial menu designed to make navigating the depths of space more efficient (say goodbye to right-clicking and reading tiny drop-downs). Clone costs have been reduced 30% in the hopes that people will get out of their ruts and take risks. Says Touborg, "Hopefully [players] go out and shoot some people. Or get shot." There are dozens of tiny tweaks aimed at making EVE more user-friendly for its 500,000 current subscribers and new players alike.
Overall, Odyssey is another massive update that will invigorate of the game's most interesting but least rewarding professions, while added elements like resource rebalancing, starbase upgrades, and Dual Training have the potential to once again fundamentally change key elements of the EVE metagame. Now all that remains is to see how the community reacts when the features go live.
Hopefully with a thousand-year war over spinning blue ice chunks in the sky.
Look for Odyssey on June 4th. And if you want to learn more, tune in for one of the official CCP livestreams on May 28th and May 29th at 5 p.m. EDT or check out the brand-new official dev blog on this topic.
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