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EVE Evolved: Six years of EVE Evolved

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Culture, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, PvE, Opinion, Massively Meta, Hands-On, First Impressions, EVE Evolved, DUST 514, Guides, Sandbox, Anniversaries, Subscription, MMORPG

EVE Evolved title image
Six years ago to this exact day, I joined the Massively crew and published the first edition of this column dedicated to the ins and outs of EVE Online. The column has been home to over 300 featured articles since its creation, offering everything from guides and expansion reveals to opinion pieces, fiction, and tales of real in-game events. It's been my pleasure in the past six years to offer the Massively readers a digestible glimpse into the ordinarily somewhat impenetrable world of EVE Online and to introduce new players to the only game (other than Master of Orion II) that's managed to keep me hooked for over a decade.

It's been a fantastic year to be a fan of EVE Online, with CCP announcing its long-term vision for deep space colonisation and the game being revitalised through the Odyssey and Rubicon expansions. I've had the opportunity to explore both expansions in this column and to share some hands-on experience with DUST 514 and CCP's upcoming dogfighter EVE Valkyrie. There's been no shortage of opinion pieces this year either, with articles on everything from PvP consequences and twitch controls to whether Star Citizen and Elite are a threat to the sandbox giant.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I round up the best articles from the column's sixth year of operation in one place.

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CCP posts EVE Fanfest 2014's schedule

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Events (Real-World), DUST 514, Miscellaneous, Sandbox

EVE Fanfest
EVE Fanfest 2014 is just a week away, and participants will be pleased to know that CCP has posted the full schedule for the show.

The Fanfest schedule includes the dedication of a monument to EVE's players, the wrestling matches between the staff and CCP, a lecture by NASA's Les Johnson on interstellar travel, news about the future of CCP's game roster, and a blowout party-slash-concert.

The studio is psyched about the event: "Ask anyone at the CCP what their favorite time of the year is, they will say Fanfest. It is not just the players who look forward to attending, it's a highlight for us developers as well because interacting with the community is both the soul of our games and a thrilling reward."

The 10th EVE Fanfest runs from May 1st through 3rd in Reykjavik, Iceland. The entire convention will be streamed for free on CCP's Twitch channel for fans who can't attend. And stay tuned on Massively, as we will be there on site!

CCP staff to wrestle MMA fighter at Fanfest 2014

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, DUST 514, Sandbox

Fanfest
CCP is looking to give its fans their admission's worth for Fanfest 2014, as the studio announced that members of its team will be wrestling against MMA fighter Gunnar Nelson during the show. That's MMA, not MMO, by the way. The event, called EVE OF DESTRUCTION, will take place on Friday, May 2nd, in a series of 10 one-on-one wrestling matches.

CCP would also like to remind you that voting for EVE Online's 9th Council of Stellar Management ends tonight at midnight.

DUST 514's Uprising 1.8 patch out today

Sci-Fi, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, Consoles, DUST 514

DUST 514 concept art
CCP has released Uprising 1.8 for its DUST 514 console shooter. It's a significant patch on account of the "full equipment, weapon, and dropsuit rebalancing," not to mention new sidearms, cloaking equipment, and new heavy and light dropsuits for each of the game's races.

Cloaking is a game-changer, CCP says, and so "coordinated use of active scanners is vital, and properly placed drop uplinks and nanohives can help provide victory in even the most difficult battles."

DUST 514 jacks up its arsenal but nerfs damage output

Sci-Fi, Patches, Previews, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, DUST 514, Dev Diaries

DUST 514
DUST 514's small-arms arsenal is getting a few new options with Uprising 1.8. The patch will add three new guns and reduce damage to allow for longer fights.

The new guns include the Caldari Bolt Pistol, a high-DPS, small-clip handgun; the Caldari Magsec SMG, a semi-automatic with higher damage than other SMGs; and the Gallente Ion Pistol, a plasma-shooting beast that punches right through enemies' armor and shields.

The devs said that they will be tweaking time-to-kill in 1.8 by reducing the power of high-level damage modifiers, taking one grenade away from what players could previously hold at a time, reducing base damage for several weapons, and applying weapon proficiency skill bonuses against either shields or armor.

EVE Evolved: What to expect from EVE Fanfest 2014

Video, EVE Online, Business Models, Culture, Events (Real-World), Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, New Titles, PvP, Opinion, Hands-On, Events (Massively's Coverage), World of Darkness, EVE Evolved, DUST 514, Dev Diaries, Player-Generated Content

EVE Evolved title image
Almost 10 years ago, EVE Online developer CCP Games started a new tradition with the first ever annual EVE Fanfest. The event started out as a largely informal gathering in a tiny venue that allowed players and developers to mingle on a more personal level, but it's now grown into something massive. Over a thousand players now make the annual pilgrimage to EVE Online's birthplace in Reykjavik, Iceland, to hear what the future holds for their favourite MMO. For many, the event is also a social gathering, a chance to swap stories with other players, and a rare opportunity to meet the corpmates they fly with every day in the virtual galaxy of New Eden.

The Fanfest weekend is typically a packed schedule of panels, talks, roundtable discussions with developers, and keynote speeches revealing the future of the game. While the event is understandably focused on EVE Online, it's recently expanded to cover aspects of DUST 514, the latest goings-on with World of Darkness, and even CCP's new virtual reality dogfighter EVE Valkyrie. CCP has announced that this year's event will see a monument to the EVE playerbase unveiled in Reykjavik Harbor as well as the first reveal of EVE's summer expansion, but what else can we hope to glean from this year's event at the start of May?

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I delve into the EVE Fanfest announcement and speculate on what we might expect to hear from this year's event. Will this be the year that World of Darkness gets some serious news? And what's new for DUST 514?

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CCP Games reveals big plans for EVE Fanfest 2014

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Culture, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, News Items, Hands-On, Events (Massively's Coverage), World of Darkness, DUST 514, Sandbox, Anniversaries, Subscription

EVE Online title image
The universe of EVE Online may be best known as a crazy virtual galaxy full of back-stabbing pirates and political betrayal, but for a few days each year it becomes something altogether more tangible. At the annual EVE Fanfest, hundreds of the game's most devoted fans make the long pilgrimage to the game's birthplace in Reykjavik, Iceland. In addition to the official talks and reveals on the game's future from developer CCP Games, Fanfest plays host to charity raffles, roundtable discussions with developers, and informal get-togethers for players to share their stories.

Last year's 10th anniversary Fanfest was the biggest one yet, with information included on World of Darkness and DUST 514 and the official reveal of Oculus Rift-based dogfighter EVE Valkyrie. This year's attendees can look forward to the first ever live demo of EVE's yet-to-be-revealed summer expansion, hands-on experience with the next major evolution of DUST 514, and playtests of a brand-new build of the virtual reality dogfighter EVE Valkyrie.

This year's Fanfest will also see a special monument dedicated to EVE Online players revealed to the world; The "Worlds Within a World" monument will be installed in Reykjavik Harbor and will be etched with the names of all active EVE subscribers on March 1st. It's also hoped that crowdfunded EVE Online documentary A Tale of Internet Spaceships will be premiered during the Fanfest weekend, and we'll reportedly hear the latest on CCP's new EVE comic book and live action TV series. The event takes place from May 1st to May 3rd, and I'll be attending this year's event on behalf of Massively to bring you in-depth first-hand coverage of all the big reveals. Stay tuned!

Perfect Ten: Biggest MMO news stories of 2013

World of Warcraft, MMO Industry, Warhammer Online, News Items, Opinion, RIFT, Final Fantasy XIV, DUST 514, World of Tanks, EverQuest Next, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous, ArcheAge, WildStar, Diablo III, Defiance, The Elder Scrolls Online, Destiny, Star Citizen, Trove

As the light slowly fades from 2013, we spend our final moments quaffing eggnog, putting up President's Day decorations, and reminiscing about the year that was. We stare at the past and realize that it's a mirror reflecting our own journeys through the past 12 months. We contemplate the impact of one small decision that ripples out and touches souls everywhere. And then we stop getting so maudlin and start getting excited for what 2014 has to offer.

For me, I live for end-of-the-year lists. Man, I love 'em. I will devour them, drinking up everyone's opinions about what what the best what, what movies or songs I should check out, and what idiocy drives some people to write top 10 lists. Seriously, am I right? Learn to use a paragraph format, people!

Well, here's my top 10 list covering the year's top stories in the MMO industry. Some are pretty obvious, some will be up for debate, and all will be in the past soon enough. So what will historians say about 2013 and online games?

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DUST 514: Uprising upgrades factional warfare, vehicles, and more

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Game Mechanics, PvP, News Items, MMOFPS, DUST 514

The Uprising has begun. Today, CCP rolls out DUST 514's 1.7 update, dubbed Uprising, which includes new weapons, a new volcano-themed battleground, and an overhauled vehicle system. On top of that, the studio is strengthening the link between the ground game and EVE Online. Oh, and you can shoot your comrades now, too!

Two new rifles join the game's arsenal: the Minmatar Combat Rifle (short and medium ranges) and the Caldari Rifle (for long range). The vehicle changes, while streamlining vehicle fitting and laying a foundation for future vehicle variations, also address some players requests; temporary lock-timers will prevent anyone other than vehicle owners and squadmates from hopping in a vehicle (for five and 15 seconds, respectively) after it is deployed.

If you want higher stakes in factional warfare, you've got it, as friendly fire has been enabled. Additionally, players participating in factional contracts will receive loyalty point that can buy exclusive faction-aligned weapons. And those orbital strikes? Those have to be earned by capsuleers in EVE Online by securing orbiting satellites. More details are available on the official site.

[Source: CCP press release]

Massively unboxes EVE Online's Collector's Edition

Sci-Fi, Video, EVE Online, Economy, MMO Industry, Previews, Opinion, Hands-On, First Impressions, DUST 514, Promotions, Sandbox, Subscription

Game title image
Sci-fi MMO EVE Online initially launched as a physical disc sold in stores back in 2003 and saw limited success in the fledgling MMO space. A decade of regular updates and digital distribution has seen EVE grow organically into the largest sci-fi sandbox on the planet with over half a million subscribers, but until now something has been missing: EVE has never had an actual collector's edition box. To celebrate 10 successful years of operation, last month CCP officially released the EVE Second Decade Collector's Edition box.

I recently received a review copy of the Collector's Edition from CCP and have put together an unboxing video with my general impressions of the items within. The collection comes in a sturdy presentation box and contains a 192-page commemorative hardback book looking back on the first decade of EVE's history, along with an anniversary re-release edition of CCP's board game Danger Game and a physical Rifter model that doubles as a USB hub.

The pack also comes with a new account key with 60 days of game time, a soundtrack CD of the EVE music played by the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra, and keys to unlock billions of ISK worth of virtual collectables in-game. It's pretty expensive at around €150 or $150 US, but the virtual items can be sold in game to claw back some of the cost in the form of PLEX. Enjoy our look at the new CE!

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Free for All: MMORPGs for your new console

Betas, Fantasy, Super-hero, EVE Online, Launches, New Titles, Previews, PvP, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, Consoles, Casual, Virtual Worlds, MMOFPS, Free Realms, Rumors, Warhammer 40k, Kids, DC Universe Online, Final Fantasy XIV, DUST 514, World of Tanks, Free for All, Family, EverQuest Next, PlanetSide 2, Sandbox, Diablo III, Defiance, The Elder Scrolls Online, Destiny, Player-Generated Content, Subscription, Buy-to-Play

PS4 and Xbox One picture
Consoles and MMOs do not have the stand-offish relationship that they used to have. In fact, there are so many different MMOs to choose from on consoles that it's seriously tempting to pick up one of the new ones -- the Xbox One or PlayStation 4 -- even though I wasn't planning on it for a long, long time. I enjoy using a controller with MMOs so much that I plan on covering the subject more in the future.

So let's get to the list of MMOs that are currently on consoles or that will be coming out on consoles in the near(ish) future. Massively's own Mike Foster put together a fantastic list last summer, but I thought I would update and pass it on. After all, the new consoles are officially here... so be sure to reference the list when you need a new MMO to play on your shiny new console!

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Tickets now available for EVE Fanfest 2014

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Culture, Events (Real-World), News Items, Consoles, MMOFPS, DUST 514, Sandbox

Unlike other events, scalping tickets here is both permitted and encouraged.
It's time to pack your bags and get ready for a trip to sunny Iceland if you're an EVE Online fan. Yes, the EVE Fanfest isn't until May, but the tickets are now available for purchase if you already know you need to be there. Tickets are normally $175, but there's a limited number of early bird tickets available for $150 if you jump on the deal fast enough.

As it has in previous years, the fanfest will contain an assortment of panels and revelations for the games under the CCP Games umbrella, including EVE Online, DUST 514, and the upcoming EVE: Valkyrie. There will also be pub crawls, dinner with the developers, and the Party at the Top of the World to finish it all off. If that sounds like your sort of deal, grab your tickets now and start budgeting for the trip in a few months.

DUST 514 dev blog showcases new assault weapons

Sci-Fi, Patches, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, Consoles, MMOFPS, DUST 514, Dev Diaries, Miscellaneous

DUST 514
Two new weapons are headed to the DUST 514 battlefield in the form of the Caldari rail rifle and the Minmitar combat rifle. These items join the Gallente assault rifle and Amarr scrambler rifle as the latest in DUST 514's race-specific weaponry; each gun possesses unique traits based on the preferences of the race that designed it.

The Minmitar combat rifle comes in three-shot burst and fully automatic variants. The Caldari rail rifle also comes in two variants; the assault version uses no sight and loses range for increased rate of fire, while the normal version fires slowly but with higher accuracy.

You can check out full crunchy breakdowns on both in the typical CCP style over on the official update post.

DUST 514's new community manager recaps EVE Vegas 2013

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Culture, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, DUST 514, Sandbox

DUST 514's new community manager recaps EVE Vegas 2013
Did you miss the largest EVE Online/DUST 514 party outside of Iceland's Fanfest this year? EVE Vegas happened back in October, but CCP's newest community manager, CCP Saberwing, recaps the event for those who may not have been there in body or sobriety.

Since this was the first time the fan-run event was officially sponsored with 25 devs attending, there were more official panels and presentations than ever before. And luckily for all of us who didn't make it, the presentations can all be viewed through the EVE Vegas 2013 YouTube playlist.

EVE Evolved: What DUST 514 should have been

Sci-Fi, Video, EVE Online, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, Endgame, Opinion, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, EVE Evolved, DUST 514, Dev Diaries, PlanetSide 2, Sandbox, Subscription

EVE Evolved: What DUST 514 should have been
‚ÄčIt's now been almost six months since DUST 514's official release, and I think it's safe to say it hasn't quite lived up to expectations. The game was lauded for its revolutionary realtime link with the EVE Online universe, but so far there's very little back-and-forth between the two titles. Originally intended as an MMO in its own right but also as an integral part of EVE's territorial endgame, DUST now exists largely as a lobby-based first-person shooter with the twist that equipment is lost on death.

Even the planetary conquest portion of DUST that could be considered its most MMO-esque element has been abstracted into a series of instanced and scheduled 24v24 battles. DUST's main rival during development was the PC-based PlanetSide 2, and had the two games released on the same platform, I'm sure that rivalry would still be in the media spotlight. I've been playing PlanetSide 2 for just a few days, and I can already see elements that would make it a far better fit for the EVE universe than the current version of DUST. So what could DUST learn from its non-console-only counterpart?

In this week's EVE Evolved, I look at how PlanetSide 2 handles issues of persistence, planetary conquest, and vehicle spawning, and why I think DUST 514 should be borrowing a few tricks from its game design.

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