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EVE Online

EVE Online loosens restrictions on trial accounts

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

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In an effort to draw in more prospective pilots, EVE Online is removing and reducing some of the current restrictions for its trial accounts once the Phoebe update hits on November 4th.

Come the update, trial accounts will be able to send and receive ISK without limits, can post in trade chat channels, participate in incursions, and can apply to up to five corporations at a time. While many restrictions on skills will be lifted, those remaining will be easier to identify thanks to a clearer interface.

"The goal of these changes is to open up the game to new players so they can explore a greater variety of the content available in EVE," the team reasoned. "We believe getting new players invested in the game early on will keep them playing longer than if we throw all the good stuff behind a subscriber wall."

EVE's Phoebe introducing simultaneous multiple market sell orders

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

EVE Online's Phoebe release draws near, and as we approach the November 4th launch date, CCP is publishing all manner of dev blogs designed to apprise players of the patch's additions. The latest blurb concerns item-selling, and more specifically the long-awaited ability to create multiple market sell orders simultaneously.

If you're an EVE trader you'll probably want to skim the details, and you can find them via the links below.

EVE Vegas 2014 roundup: Tech 3 destroyers, permadeath and more

Sci-Fi, Video, EVE Online, Culture, Events (Real-World), Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, Previews, News Items, Events (Massively's Coverage), Livestream, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Subscription, MMORPG

An event that started out several years ago as an impromptu EVE Online player gathering, EVE Vegas has grown so large that this year it was was officially taken over by developer CCP Games. This year's event was organised like a mini-Fanfest, with Executive Producer Andie Nordgren's keynote address and some interesting talks from both players and developers. Players got a chance to compare notes with developers on the game's recent progress, CCP let out a few exciting reveals, and the whole event was streamed live to viewers at home for free.

This year's big reveal was a new tech 3 Tactical Destroyer ship class that can transform into one of several tactical configurations mid-fight to boost power to the engines, shields, or weapons as required. We also heard rumblings of new "glass cannon" weapons that deal increased damage but lower your ship's damage resistances, and CCP tested the public response to the controversial idea of adding permadeath characters to EVE. Player talks were equally informative, giving insights into the world of nullsec Fleet Command and the custom Region Commander software that the game's biggest coalitions use to maintain their grip on power.

If you missed out on the event, read on for links to Massively's coverage of the stream or to watch the stream recordings for yourself.

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EVE Vegas 2014: Getting players involved in EVE's development

Sci-Fi, Video, EVE Online, Business Models, Culture, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, Events (Massively's Coverage), Livestream, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Subscription, MMORPG

Back in 2011, EVE Online developer CCP Games was rocked by controversy when players outraged over the Incarna expansion's microtransactions and CCP's indifference to player feedback spoke with their wallets and quit the game. In what became known as the monoclegate scandal, an estimated 8% of players quit, and CCP eventually laid off 20% of its staff worldwide. Some tough lessons were learned about keeping players looped into the development process, and CCP began involving players more closely in the development process.

At EVE Vegas 2014 today, developer CCP Fozzie looked at the ways that CCP gathers ideas and feedback from the community. As a sandbox MMO with a very dedicated community, EVE is in the interesting position that many of the players know more about the game than the developers themselves and can identify problems with ideas very early in the development process. Plans are now announced earlier in development to gather feedback, some new features are now made optional on release to gauge usage, and failed ideas will even be rolled back if necessary.

During the talk, Fozzie confirmed that each SCRUM team within CCP focuses on one particular area of gameplay and that player ideas are often brought into internal meetings for discussion. A new rig named the Higgs Anchor is even being introduced based on player suggestions; it will decrease movement speed by 75% but increase agility to make it easier to align to warp out if hostiles approach the player's location. If this level of player participation keeps up, hopefully disasters like monoclegate will never happen again.

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EVE Vegas 2014: CCP on the new player experience and permadeath

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Culture, Events (Real-World), Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, PvE, Events (Massively's Coverage), Livestream, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Subscription, MMORPG

Every time some huge scandal or record-breaking battle erupts in EVE Online, thousands of new players flood into the game ready to create epic stories of their own. Confronted with a confusing interface and a practically mandatory tutorial that takes most of the day to complete, most of those players, unsurprisingly, don't stick around. The past few updates have improved things by adding tooltips to the main UI elements and introducing a new notification system, but there's more to come.

At EVE Vegas 2014 this weekend, CCP Rise discussed his plans for a new Opportunities system that will replace the tutorial. To help design the system, developers got together groups of gamers who had never played before and dropped them into EVE with little to no instructions. The playtests highlighted a lack of action compared to expectations and showed how confusing things like the map, station UI, and hangar inventory system can be for newcomers. Many of these problems are very easily fixed and may even be solved in one of the two remaining patches this year.

In an interesting move, Rise went on to talk about his idea to add a form of permadeath to EVE Online. Although you lose your ship when you die in EVE, it's actually only a financial loss as your character is reborn in a fresh clone. What Rise wants is for people to make new mortal characters with no clones and a fixed number of skillpoints to allocate to skills. It's possible that this could close the gap between old and new players by allowing newbies to purchase single lives with the focused combat skills of a veteran. This isn't something that will be introduced any time soon or even that's definitely coming, but the fact that CCP is talking about the idea publicly now is intriguing.

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EVE Vegas 2014: Region Commander turns EVE into a huge spreadsheet

Sci-Fi, Video, EVE Online, Culture, Economy, Events (Real-World), Game Mechanics, Guilds, MMO Industry, PvP, Events (Massively's Coverage), Livestream, Sandbox, Crafting, Player-Generated Content, Subscription, MMORPG

It's often said that sci-fi MMO EVE Online isn't so much a game as a giant online spreadsheet and that people pay a subscription fee in order to have a second job they don't get paid for. While that's little more than a joke to the majority of EVE players, there are those for whom EVE is genuinely played on a massive spreadsheet. In a guest talk at EVE Vegas 2014 earlier today, players Javajunky and Gossamer DT from the logistics division of one of the game's largest coalitions discussed the monumental amount of work that goes into the industrial and organisation side of running a nullsec alliance or coalition.

During the talk, Gossamer DT discussed an interesting piece of custom software he develops called Region Commander that was designed specifically for organising player empires. The tool keeps track of starbase tower fuel, maintains a blacklist of players who have been kicked out of the coalition, and allows organisers to create and assign tasks to players in their command. Players who want to contribute to their alliance's industrial backbone can log into the system to take on work tasks due for completion, and the tool updates in realtime. The only thing missing is a punch card and a paycheck.

Using this tool, players have managed to combat the logistical and organisational challenges that would naturally make coalitions of thousands of players infeasible. Many third party tools have been criticised in the past for providing gameplay advantages to those who use them and increasing the gulf between new and experienced players. Players already have tools to help with mining and trading, and even ones that parse data from your ship scanner into useful information for your Fleet Commander. It's clear that whether CCP or the playerbase approves of these tools, this djinn won't be going back into its bottle.

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EVE Vegas 2014: December's Rhea update adds tech 3 destroyers

Sci-Fi, Video, EVE Online, Classes, Culture, Events (Real-World), Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, News Items, Events (Massively's Coverage), Livestream, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Subscription, MMORPG

During the Keynote speech at EVE Vegas 2014, EVE Online developers revealed some big news for the game's next two major updates. We heard the broad strokes of CCP's plans at the latest EVE Fanfest back in March, when it was revealed that the company would switch from releasing two expansions per year to around ten smaller releases. The upcoming Phoebe release planned for November 4th will improve Tech 2 Invention, improve life in the lawless nullsec regions with heavy nerfs to capital ship movement, and introduce a highly requested unlimited length skill queue system.

While players are certainly looking forward to Phoebe, it's December's Rhea update that will really pack a punch. The Blackbird, Falcon, and Rook electronic warfare ships will get new models, and a new type of freighter codenamed the "Tug" will be introduced that can move large numbers of fitted ships around the game. But the big news coming out of EVE Vegas 2014 today is that a completely new set of tech 3 ships will be added for the first time since 2009's Apocrypha expansion. The new ships are tactical destroyer, and they aren't just smaller versions of the tech 3 strategic cruisers.

Instead of being built out of a set of subsystems, tactical destroyers will have the ability to switch between several modes on the fly, transforming them from snipers or tanks to speed demons as required. If you've ever wanted to transfer full power to your engines or shields like something out of Star Trek, these new ships are for you. Thanks to winning a recent research race event, the Amarr version of the ship will be released before the other races.

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EVE Vegas 2014: Tune in with our free livestream

Video, EVE Online, Culture, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, News Items, Hands-On, Events (Massively's Coverage), Livestream, Dev Diaries

EVE Vegas
While the main event of the EVE Online calendar is undoubtedly the annual Fanfest in Reykjavik, Iceland, new events have popped up around the world over the years. Player-run meetups are frequently organised in London, and EVE Down Under is starting to gain major traction with the Australian playerbase, but the most well-established by far is EVE Vegas. The two day event runs each year in Las Vegas in the USA and is attended by hundreds of fans and is kind of like a mini Fanfest, with presentations on the future of EVE and roundtable discussions with developers.

Today's schedule includes a keynote speech from CCP Seagull on the future of EVE Online, a screening of Rooks & Kings celebrated video Clarion Call 4, and talks from three nullsec alliance players on the topics of Fleet Commanding and Alliance Logistics. There will also be talks from CCP Rise and CCP FoxFour on changes to the new player experience, altered restrictions on trial accounts, and the plan for third party developers. All 500 tickets for the event were sold out in record time this year, but those at home can tune in for free right now on CCP's Twitch livestream. I'll also be tuning into the stream throughout the weekend to bring you the highlights on important reveals and information.

Whether you're a die-hard fan of internet spaceships or just a gawker on the sidelines, EVE Vegas is the EVE Online and EVE Valkyrie event of the season. Follow Massively's Brendan Drain as he reports on the Vegas event's starpower, scheming, and spoilers, and watch CCP's streams of the best panels live here on Massively!

EVE Online tightens things up for Phoebe

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

eve
A new blog post at EVE Online reveals that the team is working on streamlining a few of its existing features for the upcoming Phoebe patch.

The first tweak is to exploration, as the team will be making data sites more valuable and frequent. Career agents will also stop blabbing so much in the mission boxes, with shorter text messages to emphasize the objectives.

Finally, the team is bringing its semi-hidden expedition content into the light with easier-to-follow breadcrumbs and bug fixes: "We've added in some messaging to guide you towards these specific structures. We have also increased the percentage chance of the rarer types of expedition occurring as we simply found these figures to be too low. These combined changes should help somewhat in bringing this 'hidden' content to the surface for you to enjoy."

EVE: Valkyrie comic starts on June 3rd, 2015

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Lore, News Items, Consoles, Virtual Reality

CCP's last couple of side projects might have been a mess and a half, but this one's totally going to work, guys!
EVE: Valkyrie fans won't have to wait until the game goes live to start exploring the lore behind this spinoff of EVE Online. A comic miniseries is being published by Dark Horse comics, written by Brian Wood and drawn by Eduardo Francisco. This four-issue series will start selling on June 3rd, 2015, giving potential players or just general science fiction fans a chance to start exploring the lore before the game is finally launched.

Valkyrie is still on track as a launch title for both the Oculus Rift and the Sony Morpheus, bridging both consoles and PCs. No specific release date has yet been announced.

EVE Evolved: Fixing EVE's player activity

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Business Models, Culture, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, Opinion, EVE Evolved, Sandbox, Subscription, MMORPG

EVE Evolved title image
It's been a sort of running gag in EVE Online throughout the years that players spend inordinate amounts of time docked in stations and spinning their ships around in the hangar, but this is oddly close to the truth. Those of us who have been hooked to EVE for years know just how intense the game can get at its most frantic and how incredible it is to be present for historic events and important PvP battles, but those moments are rare, and there's typically a lot of downtime between periods of activity. For every PvP battle fought, incursion fleet formed or wormhole op organised, players often have to spend hours in stations or in space amusing themselves or doing busywork.

With gamers now spreading their increasingly limited free time across a growing catalogue of online games, some EVE players log in for only a few minutes per day to queue skills, chat with corpmates, and see if anything interesting is happening. The recent announcement that the upcoming Phoebe release will contain infinite length skill queues has some players concerned that people will lose the motivation to pop their heads into New Eden each day and see what's going on. Since the best sandbox gameplay is emergent in nature, just getting players to log in so they're available to take part in something awesome when it happens is extremely important.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I ask whether EVE is in trouble due to its recent decline in player activity, look at the impact of people with just a few hours per week to play, and suggest a new app idea that could help solve all of those problems.

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EVE Online: Phoebe improves quality-of-life for subscribers and trial members

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

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Unpacking EVE Online's Phoebe content update is so involved that it takes another one of CCP's epic posts to do it. The big thing to take away from the notes is that this update features several quality-of-life improvements for both regular and trial players.

When Phoebe hits on November 4th, players will have to adjust to jump fatigue during long-distance travel. To offset that, there will be the ability to set skill queues to unlimited length, place multiple market sell orders, enjoy better exploration rewards, and experience new cloaking effects.

Trial players will also see some of their limitations lifted after the update, such as being allowed to fly battleships and be a part of faction fights.

CCP is upgrading EVE's sensor overlay

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, Dev Diaries, Sandbox

CCP's latest EVE Online dev blog is all about the sci-fi sandbox's sensor overlay. More specifically, it's about sensor overlay 2.0 that's likely coming in EVE's Phoebe update. The current overlay basically allows pod pilots to view cosmic anomalies and signatures in space rather than as text entries on a scanner.

The upgrade will add "a number of other objects in space [...] along with filtering options and a new compass view," according to EVE's developers. It's quite a lengthy dev blog, and it's also got plenty of pretty pictures to further the explanation. You'll find it all via the links below.

EVE Online kicks off a new story-driven competitive event

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Contests, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, Lore, News Items, Dev Diaries, Sandbox

EVE
A new post by CCP Fozzie on the EVE Online website outlines an ongoing plotline running in the sc-fi sandbox right now. Reacting to research on unusual behavior of Sleeper Drones in W-Space, each of the four factional groups in New Eden has requested help collecting stuff... for science. Capsuleers, that means you'll be rounding up Neural Network Analyzers and Sleeper Data Libraries and turning them in to your factions in a competitive galactic donation drive.

Fozzie notes that the results of the story-driven event will directly affect tech rollout for the game:
Out of character, I can reveal that this storyline and the associated donation drive will lead directly to new technology falling into the hands of players in the near future. The relative success of each empire's donation drive will determine in what order each faction will get access to this new technology. Each faction navy will also express their gratitude through a special ingame item representing an honorary commission to their forces. The commissions will be given to the character that donates the highest value of Neural Network Analyzers and Sleeper Data Libraries (combined and weighted) to each faction over the course of the event. Each commission will be a unique item that will forever contain the name of the winning character in the description.
Players can donate the relevant items from Sleeper Drones via item exchange contracts to their factional contacts. The event is live now and closes out on October 14th.

EVE Online hopes to rescue nullsec with dramatic travel changes

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Game Mechanics, Patches, PvP, News Items, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Subscription

EVE
CCP has big plans to shake up the EVE Online sandbox. The studio has just published a dev blog declaring that nullsec, the most lawless area in the game, is "stagnant and needs a change." Phase one of CCP's plan for that change is to "significantly" increase travel times for capital ships by introducing both a jump cooldown and a new mechanic called jump fatigue, which will effectively limit how often those ships ship can jump. CCP Grayscale explained the expected results of the overhaul:
In the short term, we would anticipate a reduction in the degree to which the average non-trivial capital fight escalates, and the number of parties involved. This seems likely to increase the frequency of capitals being deployed in small-scale engagements, in both lowsec and nullsec.

Over the medium term, we see the potential for more substantial changes in the nullsec status quo as the various competing parties work to adjust their internal objectives to the new situation; it seems plausible that the general reduction in travel capabilities will lead to more localism, but we don't want to make any firm predictions in this area. We're confident that these changes improve the overall system of lowsec and nullsec gameplay and take them in better directions, but any set of changes that would allow us to accurately predict their consequences would by their nature be too simple to be interesting for very long.
Phase two and three, CCP vows, will focus on starbases and territorial capture and control.

Massively EVE expert Brendan Drain has documented modern nullsec problems in his long-running EVE Evolved column.
EVE Evolved: How to fix nullsec territorial warfare
EVE Evolved: Capital ships ruined nullsec

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