Tag Archives: CCP

Introducing Carnyx the Magnificent

Answer: The New Eden Store, a Panther, and the EVE Online Launcher.

Envelope reveals: Name a shop, a blop, and a flop.

Come on old people, laugh at the ancient, late night TV reference!

Nothing?  May Mister Vee call you as primary just as you go for a bio break!

Anyway, today is the day for the Carnyx release, a carnyx being some sort of ancient Celtic wind instrument, leaving open the option to claim that this expansion blows I guess.

The big thing for me this time around will likely be the ongoing null sec sovereignty updates.

Five weeks back, with the Mosaic expansion, CCP put the Entosis Link module into the game, the key item in CCP’s planned “Summer of Sov” changes.  Now that we’ve all had time to make the modules, their first use is becoming available with Carnyx, the ability to assail station services.

  • Station services for outposts and conquerable stations are now enabled/disabled using the Entosis Link module. They have become immune to regular damage.
  • The structures have been moved away from the center of station to more appropriate locations on the station model. Each type of station/outpost has a different layout of service locations.
  • Services will take 5 minutes of uncontested Entosis Link activation (after completing a warm-up cycle) to enable/disable. To provide a defensive bonus, the time take to disable a service is increased according to the solar system’s occupancy multiplier (more details in the dev blogs linked here)

That means no more sitting on stations expending ammunition, a current favorite pastime for both sides in the Querious war.

Missile exhaust trails

Shoot the big thing… no, you don’t get a kill  mail

Instead the attacking side will have to hold the station grid and keep the defenders from killing any ships running the Entosis Link module which, as was announced in a previous post, will be unable to cloak, warp, dock, jump, or receive remote assistance.  No reps, no running, no hiding, the Entosis Link ship has to survive on its own.  I will be interested to see what fits end up becoming common for link ships.

It also means that the activity defense multiplier will be in effect.

Activity Defense Multiplier

Activity Defense Multiplier

This gives a bonus to your defense, in the form of increasing the amount of time an attacking Entosis Link module must run in order to complete its conquest, based on how much mining and ratting has been done in the system as well as how old the currently active infrastructure hub is.  This should lead to some comedy in Querious, where nobody is ratting or mining and nobody has held any of their current systems long enough to have built up much age on their ihubs.

So I have that to look forward to.

Otherwise, the updates page has some additional goodies.

We get another new ship today, the Caldari tech III destroyer, the Jackdaw.

Enjoy me before I am nerfed

Enjoy me before I am nerfed

There is the next round of Pabst Blue Ribbon physically based rendering graphics updates and changes to lighting.  More screen shots required.

Also on the list:

  • New overview icons, so everybody will be confused for a while
  • The next round of module rebalancing, with shield extenders and armor plates getting a pass along with a rework of propulsion modules. (MWDs will now be 5/50/500NM and Afterburners will be 1/10/100MN, or something like that, to make them more distinguishable.)
  • Sentry drone nerf, because the game is still Ishtars Online most nights.
  • New ship SKINS for marauders, and SKINS for the Astero, Stratios, and Nestor coming soon.
  • New Angel Cartel burner missions
  • Updated graphics for the Caldari Naga battlecruiser.
Hail to the new Naga... pretty close to the old Naga to me...

Hail to the new Naga… pretty close to the old Naga to me…

And then there are the full patch notes, where CCP tends to bury a few interesting nuggets.  I like these line items:

  • Drifter presence has reportedly been increased throughout Amarr space.

No doubt something will come of this.

  • New systems are available that can be accessed via the Unidentified wormholes. (Unidentified wormholes can be found in systems that contain the Jove Observatory)

Makes me want to figure out scanning again.  I don’t think I have done that since the Apocrypha expansion was fresh and new.

  • Ships in high-sec space piloted by a character with a Criminal Flag will now be unable to use in-space re-fitting facilities.

I have seen this mentioned a few times, and I am sure it is meaningful, but I haven’t seen the impact fully explained.  Some aspect of suicide ganking will no doubt have to change with this.

Then there was the announcement that players would no longer be allowed to start the game from the exefile.exe, but would have to use the still flawed and somewhat annoying launcher to access the game.

With Carnyx coming to Tranquility it will no longer be possible to launch EVE Online using the exefile.exe file from EVE/bin/ folder. If you are using this method due to the issue with your launcher where “PLAY” button remains gray after downloading an update, please pay close attention to the information provided in this article.

If you still have other issues launching the game, please contact our Customer Support team.

This caused much groaning in the bit of the community that actually pays attention to these announcements, as well as prompting my little attempt at a joke at the top of this post.

But that announcement was contradicted the same day by an announcement regarding the repair tool, which included this addendum:

Please note that contrary to the earlier news article, launching the EVE Online client using exefile.exe will continue to work after the deployment of the Carnyx release.

The original announcement was tossed down the memory hole, never to be seen on the official site again.  But the RSS archive remembers!

So that is what has gone live today.

Addendum: Also, a new model for the Caracal, which I know was talked about, but which didn’t quite make it to the patch notes.  Rixx Javix has a picture of it in his post about the new PBR rendering.

Meanwhile the next expansion, Aegis, which will deliver the balance of the null sec sovereignty updates, has been pushed back one week and is now slated to launch on July 14.  Happy Bastille Day I guess.  I do not know if that will push out all of the subsequent expansions by an additional week.  There was already a six week gap planned after Aegis (vacations, no doubt), so if nothing else changes the launch dates should look like this…

Edit: The Fozzie Sov stuff will be going live July 14, the Aegis expansion appears to still be on track for July 7 otherwise, so I misunderstood what was being said… again.  So the dates look like this for expansions still:

  • July 7th
  • August 25th
  • September 29th
  • November 3rd
  • December 8th

No word on the whole “features between releases” idea that was floated with the Mosaic expansion.  I don’t think adding stuff to the New Eden Store counts.

And, finally, there is the Carnyx launch music, which is kind of moody and foreboding in its own electronica way.

 

To PLEX or not to PLEX, That is the Question

I have something of a philosophical question.

I mentioned more than a year back at this point that my other blog, EVE Online Pictures, had been accepted as an official fan site by CCP.  It is listed over on community page for the game.

Somewhere between Japan and Poland now...

Somewhere between Japan and Poland now…

Aside from that listing, one of the benefits of running an official fan site is that you get a free account.  So long as I remain in this program I will never unsubscribe from EVE Online because I am playing for free!  FREE!

Well, “free” as in not having to pay any money.  I still have to keep my site up and active.  But that isn’t such a big task.  I tell people I literally pay for my account by taking screen shots.  A pretty sweet deal, no?

Anyway, as I said a year back, you can consider me bought and paid for by CCP, though I doubt you could detect any difference in my posts since I got the whole fan site thing.

But there has been a change.  Fan sites were recently sent an update regarding the program that included this offer:

We are currently planning to change the rewards that we are currently offering to Fansites. Firstly, we are adding the option that will allow you to get PLEX rather than gametime. Anyone taking up this offer will be granted three PLEX per quarter (for a total of 12 PLEX per year). If you would like to take advantage of this offer, please email me or file a support ticket.

On the surface, this seems like a bad deal.  I would be trading an option where my account is free 365 days a year (366 on leap years!) for an option that gives me only 360 free days every 12 months.  I might have to pay for those extra 5 (or 6) days eventually!  Oh noes!

The thing is, as a human, I am not always a fully logical being.  Far from it.

For me, a subscription to a game I play actively is no big deal.  I just pay it, or put a credit card on auto-repeat and it gets paid automatically, and think no more about it until I stop playing.

Basically, in my world, subscriptions are easy, which makes them about the polar opposite of cash shop items.  Leaving aside immersion issues and not having anything worthwhile to buy, the biggest problem I have with free to play… or perhaps it is the biggest problem free to play games have with me… is simply getting me to buy the special in-game RMT currency, be it Station Cash, Turbine Points, or Aurum.

I think World of Tanks might be one of the few exceptions to that, and I didn’t buy much from them.

The only time I tend to accumulate and use an MMO’s RMT currency is when I opt-in for their subscription plan, and that plan includes a currency stipend.  This is how I ended up with a pile of Station Cash… which I think is now Daybreak Cash… and Turbine Points.  And while I have noted the problem I have with a lack of offerings in some games, I have ended up spending my Turbine Points in Lord of the Rings Online fairly freely.

So my theory is that if I went with the PLEX route, I would be more likely to do things I have considered from time to time, like buy ship skins or activate another account for a short time at need or consolidate characters from a couple of accounts onto a single account or enable multiple skill training queues, which might make the game more fun or interesting, because I can use the PLEX I have been given.  Or I can sell it on the market if I need some ISK, or I can just use the PLEX and cover 30 days of account time.  (See How to Use PLEX on the official site.)

I get more flexibility, and it will take a while for those five (or six) days to catch up to me anyway.

Like I said, this isn’t logical.  I could do these things by just putting up the cash, but my history says I will not do that.  But paying for a subscription?  I won’t think twice on that.

So, as I said above, to PLEX or not to PLEX?

Ship Skin Revamp Coming with the Mosiac Expansion Next Week

I am pretty sure that EVE Online players have been talking about their desire to customize their ships for as long as the game has been around.  Probably the most visible icon of this… dare we call it a movement… is the Hello Kitty Kestrel.

You would fly this, I know it

You would fly this, I know it

That, of course, is an extreme example to make a point, something you would never expect to see in-game or in real life.

Hello Kitty Nissan Silvia S15

Hello Kitty Nissan Silvia S15… love that tail pipe

(photo from the Deviant Art portfolio of no5master)

There is always some desire to stand out from the group.

Long range beams

Red beams because I want to be different! Also I was bored.

Of course, the specifics as to how any individual wants to stand out is all over the map, so I am not sure CCP has had an easy time getting to where they are now, nor do I believe it will please a very large percentage of the population of New Eden.

But at least we’ve got something.  And that something is ship skins.

CCP launched that plan a little over a year ago with skins for a few ships and what felt like a convoluted… and somewhat expensive… process to get them into the game.  It was about $2.00 to get a skin on a frigate through the manufacturing process, at which point the skin was expended and now a permanent part of the ship.  If the ship blew up… and frigates blow up with alarming regularity… the skin was gone.

Due to the price as much as anything else I would guess, the skins did not see a lot of use.  Well, I didn’t see many of them, though that might be as much because of another issue I’ll get to later.  In the end it seemed to become more of a PLEX alternative, a way for some to turn real world cash, used to purchase Aurum which in turn could be used to purchase the skins, into ISK by selling skinned ships for a premium in Jita.  Not a bad thing, but not much mass appeal in that either.

CCP has tinkered with the system a bit and added some new skins.  The dread skins that came in with Rhea are probably the ones I see the most.

How could any Goon pass up a Fat Bee Moros?

How could any Goon pass up a Fat Bee Moros?

But CCP announced a big change to the whole ship skin thing this week with a detailed Dev Blog on the topic.  The essence of of the change is that skins will now be bound to your character rather than a ship.

Skins tab in the character sheet

Skins tab in the character sheet

So if you have a permanent skin (and all previously purchased skins will be permanent) you will be able to apply it over and over to ships as you lose them or swap.  Also, there will be temporary skins that will have a 30 day duration.  And you will be able to swap skins in space, barring a few activities like when you have a cyno running.

This is in conjunction with a slight change up to Aurum packages and the list of current and new skins that will be available with next week’s Mosaic expansion (it should have been called Charybdis to go with the last expansion, Scylla) led at least one player to tally up how much all these skins might cost the avid collector.

Nearly $1,600 in skins if you straight up buy your Aurum for real world money at the best possible rate.  More than I would want to spend.  But then I have the problem that, even with more than 100 skins lined up for release, there are very few that apply to ships I fly.

Some ships have just been ignored.  In what reality would you have somebody work on a skin for the Ferox, but leave the ever present Drake on the sidelines? (Okay, they had a Guristas skin to work with already, but still.)  And the Tech 3 cruisers like the Tengu, with their different modules, are probably a pain in the ass to skin due to the variety of layouts you can create, so I might expect them to never get skins.

And then there is the Tech 2 problem.  Among the ships I fly regularly there is the Harpy, the Hawk, the Ishtar, and the Basilisk.  The first two share the same hull as the Merlin, while the latter two share hulls with the Vexor and the Osprey respectively, all three of which have custom skins available.  However, those skins only apply to the specific models rather than generically to the hull, so I have no real options for my daily rides.  I suspect that will change over time, but on day one I will have no real reason to run out and buy a skin, unless I want to drop about $20 to paint my hangar queen Archon blue with the Archon Kador skin.  It looks cool, but maybe not $20 cool.  If I had an Avatar though, I would totally buy the Kador skin.

The blue Avatar

The blue Avatar

So skins will be great for some and no doubt a disappointment to others.  Some people will want to paint their hulls themselves or have corp or alliance logos present, while others will want different ways to stand out in the crowd.  This month’s Blog Banter was all about such things.  And then there is the question to which I rather vaguely alluded to above, which is who will see these skins in any case?  You’ll see your own and maybe those in your fleet if you look around.

A Quafe skinned Domi!

A Quafe skinned Domi in our fleet

But space is big, something modeled well enough in EVE Online, so your foes are often just entries on your overview and maybe some brackets on your main screen.  You have to go out of your way to see their ships and they yours.  Ah well.

Anyway, I’ll probably be in for a couple, once they become available for ships I actually fly.

What do you think of this update to ship customization?  What ships are missing?  What would you buy if it was available?

Rhea Ushers in a New Era of Clones, Wormholes, and Graphics to EVE Online

CCP is launching Rhea today, the next expansion on the EVE Online hit parade, and for the first time ever, nobody had to remind players to start training a long skill just in case there were issues with the update.  That is because, after Phoebe, everybody should have a long training queue at all times.  Why wouldn’t you?

My own queue stands at 320 days going into the expansion.  That should be plenty of buffer.

But back to Rhea.

I have to admit that I was skeptical that CCP could deliver exciting, game changing, quality of life improving content on a regular basis with their “every six weeks”  expansion plan.   After all, there were expansions during the “twice a year” era that barely spark a memory for me.  I would say that the Quantum Rise expansion springs to mind, only it doesn’t  I had to go look at a list of expansions, and I couldn’t recall a single feature from that release.

But since the summer started, almost every one of these small expansions has had something meaningful to me in it.  With each one the features seem to be getting bigger and better, and Rhea seems to be continuing this trend.

The Rhea expansion page is bursting with new and updated items.

There is new space, in the form of Thera and the shattered wormholes (Also the name of a Jon Hallur tribute band), adding up to 101 new star systems, with new and interesting characteristics.  This is the first time CCP has expanded the number of systems in New Eden in quite a while, and it will be a race to see who reaches Thera, the new mega wormhole system.

There are two new ships.  There is the Amarr Confessor, the first of the tech 3 destroyers.

Still looks like a Cayman to me...

Still looks more like a Cayman to me…

And then there is the Bowhead freighter, which is meant to transport assembled ships.

Bowhead... how soon until the first gank?

Bowhead… how soon until the first gank?

Probably the biggest change for me will be the update to clones.  CCP is removing the whole clone upgrade and skill point loss aspect of clones.  No longer will I face a 30 million ISK toll for being podded and Dabigredboat should now be safe from losing Fleet Command V going forward.  No more of this. (From this thread celebrating what might be the last skill loss pod death in the game.)

I realize that this has caused some moaning amongst those hardest of the hard core, this softening of the death penalty in EVE, but the skill loss thing has always seemed like a “Gotcha! Didn’t say ‘Simon Says!'” sort of deal.  And you are already losing your ship and dropping back in a medical clone that could many jumps from where you want to be at the moment.  Basically, how much death penalty is enough?

Then there are graphical updates to, some ships, and the introduction of Physically Based Rendering that will change the look of all the models to some degree.

Can I bring my PBR Drake?

Can I bring my PBR Drake? (New vs. Old)

There is also whole new version of  the star map in progress, which you will be able to opt-in to try with Rhea.  I have said in the past that the star map in EVE Online is one of the most impressive yet least useful features in the game.  CCP is aiming to make the map even more impressive while trying to make it useful as well.

Also, there will be manual controls.  You will be able to steer your ship about using keyboard controls as opposed to the current “click in space” or “align to a thing” methods currently available.  I am actually looking forward to this, being one of those people who occasionally just likes to undock in a fast ship and fly around the station just for the sheer hell of it.

Rhea also includes Sleeper cache sites and polarized weapons, Sleeper drones in known space, pirate faction jackets and dreadnought skins in the store, a bunch of smaller items, and a new song for the expansion. along with a video.

The release notes for Rhea are dense with changes.

All in all, a lot of stuff for what will be the final titan themed release.  The word has come down that the 2015 expansions will have a different naming theme, though that has yet to be announced.

There are a lot of things in this release I am really looking forward to seeing or trying out.  And, of course, with various updated models, skins, and the PBR graphics update, there will be a lot of new screen shots to be taken for my other blog.

This is EVE 2014

CCP has put out a new EVE Online trailer using voice coms from actual in-game operations.  The result gives you a sense of what the high points of the game are.

(Direct link to video, or the uncensored version)

EVE Online can be a boring game.  You can spend a long time with tedious mechanics and annoying people and wonder what others see in the game.  And then one of these sorts of moments comes and something big happens, something that changes the game for you.  You make a big score.  You with a desperate battle.  You escape that gate camp against the odds.  An operation goes off as planned, or goes horribly wrong.  And the hook is set.  Then you go sit on that titan or duck into that low sec system or camp that gate or shoot that tower, not knowing whether or not the operation will be a snooze or another of those peaks.  And even if the op is dull, it *could* have been one of those ops, and you would have hated to miss it.

Tech 3 Destroyers and Other Tidbits from EVE Vegas Keynote

EVE Vegas is running this weekend.  The one time player driven event that has turned into a CCP sponsored affair, complete with a keynote speech full of new treats.

CCP Seagull kicked things off with a theme and overview of how CCP is looking at the upcoming changes.  The idea is that CCP wants to create things where they cannot predict the outcome, because they if they can then we can as well.  So roll on emergent game play.

Playing and Outplaying

Playing and Outplaying

She reviewed the titan themed expansions so far this year…

The new expansions so far...

The new expansions so far…

And talked a bit about items we have heard mentioned before.  Then she gave us the release plan for 2015.

2015 Release Plan

2015 Release Plan

That is 10 release for 2015, plus the two we have left this year, Phoebe and Rhea.  This all led into a bit more overview on what the upcoming phases of change they are planning.

Going through a phase

Going through a phase

Phase 1 is looming, with Phoebe dropping in just a couple of weeks, but Phase 2 is where the shape of null sec might change.  She then wrapped up with a revised version of the road map for EVE Online.

Where we are...

Where we are…

This is a bit trimmed down from the old one.  The green line shows where CCP feels they stand, so industry is pretty much done but many more major changes are left to come.

CCP Seagull wrapped up and handed the stage over to CCP Fozzie who got to talk about some more specific items related to the Rhea expansion coming in December.  Most of that is still under wraps, but there were a couple of neat things.

Quick look at Rhea

Quick look at Rhea

The art change consisted of an update to the Blackbird/Falcon/Rook ship model.  There was a very early mock up of what they want to do with the some of the most loved/hated ships in the game, but CCP Fozzie said that it would likely bristle with antennae when it was done.

Then there was a new ship type announced, currently codenamed “Tug.”

The Tug

The Tug

This will be a freighter sized ship that will be used for carrying around multiple fitted sub cap ships.  A mock up of the ship was shown.

The model is still early on, so no textures have been applied, but CCP Fozzie did say something about the art team pushing the envelope when it come to the number of polygons used.  I suspect that this will be a popular ship.

Then CCP Fozzie spoke about the research race/contest that had been going on for the last week.  The results were in, which he announced, along with what it would mean.

Research Race results

Research Race results

Each of the empires will get their version of the end result in the order in which they place… and what they are getting is Tech 3 Tactical destroyers.

Tech 3 Destroyers

Tech 3 Destroyers

The Amarr should get theirs as part of the Rhea expansion, which other races getting theirs with following expansion.  There were even some mock-ups of potential models for the Amarr tactical destroyers shown.

Amarr tactical concepts

Amarr tactical concepts

He also showed mock-ups of the Caldari version, because apparently the Caldari were in first place in the race until almost the end, so the art team started in on what looked like the winning team early.

Caldari tactical concepts

Caldari tactical concepts

As with the “Tug” announcement, there were no final names or any stats for the ships.

That about wrapped up CCP Fozzie’s time, and he then gave way to CCP Seagull again who spoke of exciting times coming in the game with all of the changes they have planned.

Others talking about they keynote:

Also, the video of the keynote is up on YouTube now.

And on a related topic, CSM member Sugar Kyle has summarized some of the CCP roundtables.