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EVE Online

EVE Evolved: What does Thera mean for EVE?

Sci-Fi, Video, EVE Online, Culture, Events (In-Game), Expansions, Game Mechanics, Guilds, Lore, Patches, Previews, PvP, Endgame, PvE, Opinion, EVE Evolved, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Player-Generated Content, Subscription, MMORPG

EVE Evolved title image
If you've been keeping up with the recent news updates on EVE Online, you've probably heard about the upcoming Rhea update scheduled for December 9th. This mega patch will introduce the new tech 3 Tactical Destroyer ship class, Sleeper incursions into normal space, hands-on WASD flight controls, and 101 new wormhole systems (including 25 that are limited to small ships). The new wormhole systems have had all of their planets shattered by an as-yet unknown stellar phenomenon, and clues as to what transpired there will be hidden in the rubble. This infusion of new content and story will mark the first time the wormhole storyline and gameplay have been significantly expanded in over four years.

Each of the new shattered star systems is guaranteed to have at least one outgoing wormhole leading to normal space at all times, increasing the likelihood that pirates will catch you exploring or farming them. And since these systems won't have any in-tact moons, you won't be able to put up a permanent starbase to retreat to if hostiles appear. I'm pretty excited for exploring this new lawless frontier, but it's a unique shattered star system called Thera that I'm most looking forward to finding. Thera will be the first and only wormhole system to have fully kitted NPC stations and will serve as neutral ground for anyone who wants to live there. It's been described as the Mos Eisley of EVE, a permanent home to pirates, PvP corps, and smugglers looking to make some quick ISK.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at how the Thera system could revolutionise EVE for a lot of players and where the EVE storyline could go as a result.

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'This is EVE,' and it's pretty slick

Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, EVE Online, Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, Sandbox

If you've got even a passing interest in sci-fi sandbox EVE Online, you'll want to take a look at the new trailer just unveiled by developer CCP at today's EVE Down Under player event in Australia.

The clip runs for nearly four minutes and is comprised entirely of in-game footage. It's also underscored by the voice comms of actual EVE players (NSFW!), which CCP has cut together to form a rather scintillating soundtrack that attempts to answer the question "what is EVE."

This is EVE, according to the trailer's title, and you can soak it up just after the cut!

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EVE gives more market data tools to the mod community

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

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EVE Online is such a mod-happy game that there's an official site for it, and it's on this site today that CCP said that it will be giving another valuable information-gathering tool to players with the advent of a new searchable resource.

"We also are making available the MarketType resource. MarketTypes is a collection of all possible MarketType resources," the devs posted. Being able to search market history and orders will help modders pull in data from multiple regions and should be in the game with the Rhea content patch.

The Daily Grind: Should EVE Online add manual flight controls?

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Business Models, Expansions, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, Opinion, The Daily Grind, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Subscription, Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous

The Daily Grind title image
On Friday, developer CCP Games stunned us with the news that EVE Online will be adding manual flight controls in December's Rhea update. Gamers have been asking for twitch controls since EVE launched in 2003, but the idea has always been shot down as infeasible because it would put the server under extremely heavy load. CCP mentioned its interest in twitch controls during Fanfest 2013, and I speculated on a possible server-friendly implementation in an EVE Evolved article shortly after, but the fact that the feature is about to be released still comes as a huge surprise.

The new controls will be optional and quite limited. Ships will be able to rotate clockwise or counterclockwise and pitch their ships up vertically up and down, but we won't be able to do loops or rolls like in a dogfighting game. Developers also want to add joystick support soon, but so far there are no plans to add manually targeted ship weapons. Many players are excited for the new controls, and some of them are already asking for further features like the ability to lock the camera behind their ships for a more hands-on flight experience.

The announcement has prompted debate in the EVE Online community, and not everyone is convinced it's a good idea. Some have complained that twitch controls don't suit EVE as the ships are supposed to be massive starships with full crews rather than single-pilot fighter craft. There's also some cynicism over whether the feature is only being worked on now due to the growing popularity of Star Citizen and Elite: Dangerous. EVE could be positioning itself as a viable alternative for any players who are disappointed with the new space games, a strategy that has worked in the past to help it absorb players from games like Earth & Beyond and Star Wars Galaxies.

What do you think? Should EVE add manual flight controls, and is this an attempt to appeal to the mass market?

Every morning, the Massively bloggers probe the minds of their readers with deep, thought-provoking questions about that most serious of topics: massively online gaming. We crave your opinions, so grab your caffeinated beverage of choice and chime in on today's Daily Grind!

EVE Online turns manual control of ships over to players

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

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For the first time ever in its history, EVE Online is experimenting with giving players manual control of their starships. The change was prompted by observing new players who were frustrated that the game didn't include standard WASD controls. These "simple" controls will be introduced as an optional beta feature in next month's Rhea update.

CCP also posted a list of other features that we'll be seeing with the upcoming content patch. Players will enjoy an improved star map, try out new ships such as the Confessor tactical destroyer, experience more atmospheric asteroid belts, and no longer lose skill points or clone grades when podded.

Wormholes opening up 101 new EVE Online systems

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

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Think you've explored most of the known galaxy in EVE Online? First of all, that's a lie as the game is stupid big, and second, you won't as of next month anyway. CCP announced that one of the big features coming with the December 9th Rhea update will be 101 new wormhole systems opening their doors for business.

The wormholes will be separated into three categories, starting with 75 "standard shattered" systems filled with broken planets and minable ice fields. Then 25 of the new systems will only allow smaller vessels to jump through. And finally, the 101st will be Thera, a story-heavy location that will be the largest system in the game. Like small ship shattered systems, Thera won't admit capital ships, but will host four stations for those who venture into its domain.

EVE Evolved: Clone upgrades and skill loss are gone!

Sci-Fi, Video, EVE Online, Economy, Expansions, Game Mechanics, Patches, Previews, PvP, Endgame, News Items, Opinion, EVE Evolved, Dev Diaries, Sandbox, Subscription

EVE Evolved title image
While the player activity stats might suggest otherwise, the past few years have been a real rennaisance for EVE Online. Developers have gone back and iterated on dozens of old game features that were starting to show their age, and some of them have been pretty huge. The war declaration and criminality overhauls in 2012 were fundamental changes to core gameplay that had been stagnant for almost a decade, and the recent industry and warp acceleration changes were equally fundamental shifts. These were all features we had previously been told were essentially off-limits for iteration because they relied on undocumented legacy code from 2003, and none of the programmers wanted to poke that sleeping beast.

Now it seems that no idea is off-limits, and developers aren't afraid to challenge fundamental parts of EVE's original design that may not make sense today. This week's Phoebe update revisited capital ship force projection for the first time since the ships were added in 2004, for example, and it removed the 24-hour skill queue limit that CCP insisted on adding in Apocrypha. In Thursday's episode of The EVE Online Show, developers announced the next big legacy feature to be put on the chopping block in the game of progress: As part of December's Rhea release, clone upgrades and skill point loss on death will be completely removed from the game.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at the problems caused by the cloning system, why it needs to be removed, and what could possibly replace it.

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EVE Online solicits feedback for UI revamp

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

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That there above is the new user interface for EVE Online, so what do you think? Well, you can tell us, but CCP really wants you to tell it, as the studio is asking for feedback on the upcoming UI overhaul.

"For the look itself, we want EVE's UI to look and feel more like something fitting a science fiction universe, and a bit less like an operating system," CCP posted today. The team posted its goals for the overhaul, including making it feel more intuitive, allowing for semi-transparent windows, using colors "in a sensible way," and tweaking the icons to fit thematically within a group.

Currently, the UI changes are on the test server for any and all to try out.

Phoebe update lands in EVE Online

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

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Outer space has gotten a little more interesting as of today with EVE Online's Phoebe content update.

The update contains a smorgasbord of changes and quality-of-live improvements, including better search functionality, jump fatigue to slow down long-distance travel, looser restrictions for trial accounts, the ability to place multiple market sell orders, and a streamlining pass for exploration.

Phoebe was EVE's fifth content release for 2014. Attention now turns to the game's next update, Rhea, which is scheduled for December 9th.

EVE's Phoebe adding better search functionality and more

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

Another day, another Phoebe-focused dev blog from the folks at CCP. EVE Online is getting a bit of a search overhaul in its November patch, as items inside station containers will be included in search results.

CCP is also calling attention to the "pretty powerful advanced search functionality" in EVE via a new question mark icon in the game's Asset Search tab that leads to a keyword tooltip. There are several other UI changes scheduled to debut with Phoebe, but you'll need to click through the links below to view them in the full dev blog.

If you're a third-party EVE app developer, don't forget to visit CCP's newly published blog.

EVE Online uses jump fatigue to discourage long-distance travel

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

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Hold your horses, space buckaroo. Where do you think you're going so fast?

EVE Online is preparing to deliberately slow down pilots with the introduction of jump fatigue in the upcoming Phoebe patch. Jump fatigue adds a timer following a jump that must be endured until the next jump is allowed. According to a dev blog (that includes an appendix!) on the subject, "This allows us to discourage people travelling longer distances using jump travel, while keeping penalties relatively light for tactical/occasional movement."

Another dev blog tackles the changes to invention and manufacturing that are planned with the patch. One big change is the merge of invention with reverse engineering, which comes with an algabraic forumla because spaceships and laser battles are not exciting enough on their own.

CCP explains EVE's upcoming mission guidance system, CSM changes

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

CCP released another Phoebe-focused dev diary earlier today, this one detailing the new mission objective system coming to EVE Online next month. The firm is walking a fine line between general guidance and "brain-dead instructions to follow," and as such it is asking for feedback relative to how the new feature is presented in today's diary. It's a lengthy read, but you can also see the new system in action if you log onto EVE's Singularity test shard.

CCP has also delivered minutes from the Council of Stellar Management's summer summit earlier than expected. CCP Leeloo explains that the studio will make further changes to the CMS next year, starting with lengthening the winter summit and shortening the current CMS's term to better align with next year's Fanfest. Applications for CSM10 open on January 30th.

EVE video dev diary talks Phoebe features

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

CCP has published a new dev diary video focused on EVE Online's upcoming Phoebe release. The clip runs for nearly seven minutes and features a who's who of current EVE devs talking about various bits and pieces scheduled to hit Tranquility on November 14th.

Phoebe features nullsec travel tweaks, an unlimited skill queue, a revamped invention system, mission objective guidance, and more. Click past the cut to watch the dev diary!

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EVE Evolved: Could permadeath work in EVE?

Sci-Fi, EVE Online, Culture, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, PvP, PvE, Opinion, EVE Evolved, Sandbox, Subscription, MMORPG

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Permadeath has been one of the most contentuous features in online gaming since as far back as I can remember. The feeling of permanently losing a character you've spent months training up and playing with because of a single mistake or lag spike would be horrifying to most people, yet the idea continues to intrigue both players and developers. Diablo II's Hardcore mode is probably the most successful permadeath mechanic in an online game to date, separating the hardcore players onto a different server so that they develop their own game economy and leaderboard. Several MMOs have experimented with permadeath servers or mechanics over the years, but they're almost always reverted as failures.

In a recent presentation at EVE Vegas 2014, EVE Online developer CCP Rise discussed the idea of permadeath characters as something he's wanted to add to the game for the past few years. This is particularly problematic for EVE as the game uses passive time-based skill training and the whole game takes place on one massive shard. The hardcore players would need to have enough incentive to risk their characters' lives on a daily basis, their abilities would have to be balanced with non-hardcore players, and abuse of the system to suicide gank players would need to be handled. But if those problems are tackled, is it possible that there's a place for permadeath in EVE?

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I look at how permadeath could be added to EVE Online without disrupting the rest of the game.

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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."

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