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EVE Online

New burner missions scrap nearly 20,000 EVE Online ships, CCP happy with results

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Patches, Previews, Dev Diaries, Sandbox

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CCP is "extremely happy" with the positive player reception of EVE Online's new burner missions that came in Hyperion. The studio said that the high level of difficulty in these missions was intentional in order to challenge the playerbase, and cited a bloodbath of 19,962 destroyed player ships as of September 14th as proof. The cost of the lost ships has topped 870 billion ISK so far.

Due to the embrace of these missions, CCP is prepping a new batch of burner missions for September 30th. These new burners, believe it or not, will be even tougher than the current ones, working in teams of three against players. CCP will be putting these missions on the test servers later this week.

Latest EVE dev blog outlines notifications in Oceanus

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, Sandbox

CCP's latest dev blog details another feature coming in EVE Online's September 30th's Oceanus update. That feature is notifications, which "will give you feedback and information about all the deadly, creative, regretful, and/or awesome things your characters are doing in New Eden."

Notifications are sort of a pre-cursor to EVE's eventual new player experience revamp, with the end goal being a more user-friendly sandbox and a removal of the current tutorial in favor of "a more open-ended experience."

EVE Evolved: Has the industry revamp worked?

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Economy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Patches, PvE, Opinion, Hands-On, First Impressions, EVE Evolved, Sandbox, Crafting, Player-Generated Content, Subscription, MMORPG

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When I was first introduced to EVE Online back in 2004, a big part of the attraction for me was the promise of a huge player-run economy in which the only real laws were those of supply and demand. With only a handful of tech 1 ships and modules available to build and everything made out of the same basic minerals, science and industry were pretty easy for new players to figure out. Over the years, more complexity has slowly been added to industry via features like Starbases, Salvaging, Capital Ships, Tech 2 Invention, Planetary Interaction and Tech 3 Reverse Engineering. Today's industrialists have to contend with hundreds of different items that are often arranged in sprawling component manufacturing chains, which can make it hard to figure out exactly how to make a profit.

The recent industry revamp attempted to solve this problem with a full user interface overhaul and a revamp of material costs and manufacturing prices. All of the relevant information for using a blueprint was packed into a slick new combined Industry UI, allowing new players to find the info they're looking for in-game rather than through websites or opening dozens of item info windows. It's now been almost two months since the industry revamp went live, and while the market for many items is still going to take several months to fully stabilise, the dust has finally begun to settle. So what's the verdict? Has the industry revamp worked?

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I consider whether the industry revamp has been successful, how easy it is to make a profit in the new system, and whether it's worth setting up your own industrial starbase.

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EVE's Oceanus laying the groundwork for visual ship customization

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, Sandbox

EVE Online's next release is called Oceanus, and it's coming to a PC near you on September 30th. CCP has published a feature overview dev blog in case you're not up to speed. Major tweaks include French language support, new cloak effects, and a "big visual update" for wormhole space.

There's a substantial under-the-hood update, too, and it has to do with how CCP stores and manages ship visual data. The dev blog says that this particular tweak is necessary "for being able to deliver visual customization of ships in the future." You can read about the rest of Oceanus via the links below.

EVE Evolved: Wormholes should be more dangerous

Sci-Fi, Video, EVE Online, Economy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Patches, PvP, Endgame, PvE, Opinion, EVE Evolved, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Subscription, MMORPG

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When unstable wormholes began forming all over the EVE Online universe in 2009's Apocrypha expansion, players approached them with extreme caution. The promise of riches in the form of new loot and Tech 3 cruiser components was balanced by the incalculable risk of facing a powerful new enemy in untested circumstances. Between the Sleeper AI that had been reported to melt players' ships in seconds and the player pirates taking advantage of the hidden local chat channel to sneak up on unsuspecting victims, we had no idea whether any ship we sent into a wormhole would ever make it back out again.

The risk of venturing into something truly unknown made wormhole exploration the single most exciting thing I've ever been a part of in an MMO, but the past five years have completely eroded that danger. Farmers now know exactly what to expect in every wormhole site and can efficiently farm Sleepers with the minimum of effort or risk, and PvP alliances can rapidly cycle through systems to find weak targets to attack. We've mapped and tamed all of the wormhole frontier, systematically reducing the risk to the lowest possible levels under the current game mechanics. Tuesday's Hyperion update aimed to shake things up with a few disruptive changes designed to keep wormholes dangerous, and I think it's a definite step in the right direction.

In this week's EVE Evolved, I look at some of the changes in Hyperion designed to keep wormholes dangerous and ask what more could be done to keep things interesting.

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CCP lays off two execs, closes San Francisco offices [Updated]

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, MMO Industry, News Items, Sandbox, Subscription

Gamasutra reports that EVE Online developer CCP has closed its San Francisco studio and fired laid off CFO Joe Gallo and CMO David Reid. The firm's revenue and earnings were both down year-over-year, the website says.

CCP laid off 49 staffers from its Reykjavik headquarters in June after announcing the cancellation of its long-gestating World of Darkness MMO in April.

[Update: CCP's public relations firm contacted Massively to clarify our source's original claim that Joe and David were fired; in fact, CCP says, they are both "both leaving of their own volition and it's an amicable split."]

EVE Online's Hyperion update adds PvE missions, tweaks wormholes

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, PvE, Sandbox

CCP pushed EVE Online's latest update to the game's live server this morning. Hyperion features "the biggest wormhole changes since they were first discovered" as well as new PvE missions. CCP Guard also notes the patch's "ton of quality-of-life features" during the latest In-Development video dev diary, which you can view by clicking past the cut.

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EVE Online previews overview and incursion changes in Hyperion

Sci-Fi, Video, EVE Online, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Patches, News Items, Sandbox, Subscription

Just a forever-falling pit in space.
The next major update for EVE Online, Hyperion, is going live in less than a week. Two new development blogs are available to enlighten players about what's going on with the changes to the game, starting with new shareable overviews. This new feature will allow players to share these settings with others while still allowing the recipient to make changes as needed; it's functionality that players have wanted for a while, allowing both new players and veterans to see through someone else's eyes, as it were.

Incursion changes are also on the way, reducing the respawn timers so incursion runners have more to do while also upping rewards. The NCN Wall is also being taken down, and there are new incursions to be concerned with in nullsec space. If you're unclear on what's being added in the update, you can jump past the cut for a video explaining Hyperion's major system changes before it goes live on August 26th.

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EVE Online lottery site SOMER Blink shutting down [Updated]

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Culture, News Items, Sandbox, Subscription

Spin the wheel, but you will no longer win.
Fans of popular EVE Online lottery site SOMER Blink received some bad news yesterday. After four years of operation, the site is going inactive, with a shutdown that its front page calls a temporary and perhaps permanent hiatus. All players with prizes waiting will be able to claim those prizes, and all ISK in the system will be returned to players over the next several months, starting with those players who had over 5 million ISK in their accounts.

What led to this shutdown? The site administrators claim that CCP created a toxic environment and reversed previous statements without warning, resulting in a situation which made the site no longer enjoyable to work with. CCP has issued its own statement, expressing regret at the loss of a community site while stating that the promotion that caused the controversy "was not representative of the original proposal that was brought to CCP." The community team will provide further information soon, although there will be no interference in the refund process.

[Thank to Dab for the tip!]

[Update: CCP has today commented in detail on the situation. We've included CCP Falcon's full statement below.]

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EVE Evolved: How to fix nullsec territorial warfare

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Guilds, Patches, PvP, Endgame, PvE, Opinion, EVE Evolved, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Subscription, MMORPG

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If you've been playing EVE Online lately or just following the major events in the game, it can't have escaped your notice that nullsec has become a bit stagnant. The lawless nullsec regions are supposed to be politically unstable territories claimed by hundreds of warring player-run alliances, but today they're dominated primarily by just two or three mega-coalitions. Individual alliances can no longer hold out against the combined forces of the coalitions and must either pick a side or be annihilated. The coalitions have even signed agreements not to take space from each other by force, and players are being bored to death as a result.

Two weeks ago, I examined the history of force projection in EVE Online and made the argument that capital ships and jump drives ultimately created today's nullsec problems. Increases in mobility have led to alliances teaming up over vast distances, making mega-coalitions an inevitable outcome. It's obviously too late to remove capital ships or jump logistics, but there are plenty of other ways to potentially fix the nullsec problem. We had some great discussions in the comments of the previous article about how this complex problem could be solved without making warfare the painful slog it was back in 2004, and I believe it's possible.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I lay out some ideas for new game mechanics that could solve the current nullsec crisis and may meet CCP's goals for the eventual sovereignty revamp that's on the way.

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EVE Evolved: Capital ships ruined nullsec

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Culture, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, Guilds, Lore, PvP, Endgame, Opinion, EVE Evolved, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Subscription

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All throughout EVE Online's lifetime, compelling stories of incredible events, daring heists, and colossal battles with thousands of players have periodically surfaced and spread across the gaming media like wildfire. Most of the recent stories have been about record-breaking battles between huge alliances of players in the lawless depths of null-security space, and each one has been met with an influx of new players who want to participate. The surprising truth behind nullsec warfare, however, is that many of those on the front lines are simply fed up with the political state of the game.

In EVE's early years, the map was split between hundreds of small alliances, each of which slowly expanded its influence by conquering the star systems bordering its space. Skirmishes and pirate incursions were brief and commonplace, while border wars over territory were long and protracted affairs. Today's nullsec is a different animal entirely, with nearly the entire map carved up between two colossal mega-coalitions of alliances (N3/PL and CFC), each one internally held in a state of perpetually monotonous peace. No alliance in a coalition can break away and stand on its own for fear of being demolished by the others, and so all of nullsec is at peace with its neighbours and bored to tears by it.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I examine how nullsec got to the state it's in now and why it's badly in need of an overhaul.

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Massively interviews EVE executive producer Andie Nordgren

Sci-Fi, Video, EVE Online, Culture, Expansions, Interviews, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Subscription, MMORPG

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If you've been following the development of EVE Online lately, chances are you've heard of Andie 'CCP Seagull' Nordgren and her mission to make deep space colonisation and player-built stargates a reality. Andie has spearheaded the direction of EVE's development over the past few expansions and has gathered a considerable following in the EVE community. At EVE Fanfest 2014, we heard her plans to overhaul EVE's outdated sovereignty and corporation management systems, and to eventually introduce new deep space colonisation gameplay.

Today CCP announced that Andie Nordgren has been promoted to the position of Executive Producer on EVE Online. I caught up with her for a chat about development on EVE and to find out what this promotion means for the future the game. I've pulled together the important details from the interview in this article, and if you still have burning questions for Andie Nordgren, she's doing an AMA thread on Reddit right now!

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EVE Online: Crius launches today

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Expansions, Patches, Sandbox, Crafting, Subscription

crius
EVE Online is just churning out expansions (or plus-sized content updates, if you will) lately, with today's Crius release being the latest of the bunch.

Crius' main focus is on revising and expanding the industrial and crafting portions of the game. Players can join industrial teams to get important jobs done, enjoy an overhauled research interface, partake in dynamic pricing of tasks, and add industry-related upgrades to starbases.

Other fun features of this update include interior atmospheric audio, a new reprocessing system, the ability to opt out of fleet warps, and API support for the industry features of this patch.

EVE Evolved: Stepping through the EVE Gate

Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, EVE Online, Culture, Expansions, Lore, Endgame, PvE, Opinion, EVE Evolved, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Subscription, MMORPG

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Though EVE Online is often lauded for its rich decade-long player history full of wars and complex political dealings, the NPC storyline and New Eden's ancient backstory have always held my fascination. I started playing in early 2004 after reading dozens of fiction chronicles and mock scientific articles on the EVE website that painted the picture of a real living universe where incredible things could happen. Sure enough, my first years of play were punctuated with compelling live events and storyline arcs like the Crielere research project that led to the development of cloaking devices, the theft of a Federation Navy titan by Serpentis pirates, and the Blood Raiders taking over Delve.

CCP has frequently stated that its goal with EVE is to create the ultimate sci-fi simulator, and the core of a compelling sci-fi setting is a living universe that grows and changes. The best sci-fi TV shows are those with a constant cycle of revealing compelling mysteries and then solving them and of encountering escalating challenges to be overcome. EVE has done this extremely well a few times in its life, such as with the release of wormholes or when the Sansha incursions events were kicking off, and each time the concurrent player numbers have spiked. Guild Wars 2 has shown the power of an evolving living storyline to get people into the game and keep them actively playing in the long term, something that should be the norm for MMOs and that EVE Online could take much greater advantage of.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at some of the big NPC mysteries revealed in EVE Online's decade-long history and ask why they were abandoned and where they could go now.

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Perfect Ten: Why the second half of 2014 will be awesome for MMOs

World of Warcraft, EVE Online, MMO Industry, Opinion, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge, The Elder Scrolls Online, Destiny, Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous, Landmark

In the midst of mid-summer doldrums, it's easy to fall into a mild depression thinking that everything cool that was going to happen this year already has -- especially in gaming. The spring launch blitz is now officially over, with two highly anticipated MMOs launched, and now some people might be wondering if the rest of 2014 will be all downhill.

Spoiler: It will not be.

We started talking the other day in the Massively office about just how much there's coming for the latter half of this year and why we're excited to see what the fall and winter months bring. There's so much to look forward to, in fact, that it was incredibly difficult to narrow it down to a mere 10 entries. But that's my job, and that's what I did. Here's why the second half of 2014 will be awesome.

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