Tag Archives: CCP

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.

The First Thing We Do, Let’s Kill All the Super Caps…

We expect the impact of these changes to be emergent, and as a consequence are unpredictable and will take a while to develop on TQ [Tranquility, the EVE Online live server]. This plays into our longer-term plans…

CCP Greyscale, Long-Distance Travel Changes Inbound

Oh, we’ve spent a lazy summer, with no major sovereignty war to occupy us, going on and on about how null sec is broken and how it ought to be fixed.  The problems and potential solutions have been enumerated, argued over, compared, contrasted, discarded, and picked up again and again while CCP, long aware of the situation, has largely been quiet.  They have been busy with other business, but with the Phoebe expansion now next on the agenda, which we can expect at some point next month (because there isn’t enough stuff dropping in November already), null sec is now on the agenda.

The first dev blog has been posted and it is a doozy.

CCP is planning to bring changes to null sec in multiple phases.  Later phases will include things like sovereignty mechanics and the like.  But the initial phase is going straight after power projection and the apex force with a one-two punch around travel.

Caps and supercaps will have their jump drive range limited to 5 light years.  That is the distance you’ll be able to go with max skills.  No word yet on how that will scale up if you only have jump drive calibration III trained, but the max distance jump will be five.

And the second blow is jump fatigue.  Now, via another mathematical formula, you will accrue jump fatigue… if you’re an old-school EQII player, think experience debt applied to travel I guess… which will act as a way to limit how soon you can perform your next jump.  Fatigue builds up based on how far you have jumped.

So there will be two new timers.  The first counts down until you can jump next, while the other keeps track of your accumulated jump fatigue, the latter being used to calculate the next round of the former after each jump.

JAandJFtimers

The stated goal is to make any travel using jump drive technology… which includes jump bridges… take longer than travel by gates past the 20 light year mark by basically putting an ever increasing timer between jumps.  CCP loves timers.  There are formulas and samples in the Dev Blog which I hope have been corrected by this point, as there were errors initially.

There are a couple of mitigation to this.  To keep the spice flowing supply lines open to null sec, Jump Freighters and Rorquals will get a special 90% reduction in the jump distance used in the fatigue calculation.  And, to keep caps and supercaps moving, they will now be allowed to use jump gates in null and low sec.

How do I frame this to get across to a non-EVE player how this feels to your typical null sec capital ship pilot?  I suppose this is about the equivalent of Blizzard limiting flying mounts to a half a zone in travel, putting a timer on travel between flight points, but letting all your flying mounts act like ground mounts to compensate.

Wait, isn’t that almost the plan for Warlords of Draenor?

Anyway, this has caused a lot of drama.  No kidding, right?  Emotions are running high and the comment threads on the announcements over at The Mittani and EVE News 24 are full of woe, while the threadnaught on the official forums is a joy if  your goal in life is to see supercap pilots delivering “I quit!” messages.

But what does it really mean?  I have no special insight, but I can take a few guesses.

The first guess is that the plan for Phoebe will be altered before it goes live.  The proposed industry changes for Kronos got pushed out to the next expansion when it got this sort of “the sky is falling” reaction.  That said, I don’t think it will be changed drastically, if only because CCP tends to throw things against the wall in the forums, but once it is a Dev Blog they are fixed on a target.  I suspect a cap on jump fatigue will be an early change.

The second is that the status quo won’t change.  Phoebe will not usher in the fall of the mighty null sec empires.  The same sovereignty mechanics apply, and as slow as capital ships will move, they will still be able to respond to a timer.  Instead the empires will optimize for the new system, the same as they have always done.  For example, I expect a new jump bridge network layout that makes the best use of those 5 light year jumps and is spaced to minimize fatigue.  It will even be easier for GSOL to maintain.

I can probably foresee us spending more time in interceptor fleets moving across space to link up with pre-positioned equipment.  Technically, the CFC pilots should have fleet ships in Deklein, Delve, and Fountain already, but I am guessing that most do not.  That might have to change.  And since jump clones aren’t being touched yet, the argument for pre-positioned equipment is increased.

Finally, the CFC seems to be the best positioned to absorb this change, being made up of alliances that are spread over our territory and actually live in the locations they hold.  Also, we’re already a subcap heavy group, so expect us to just blob on as we always have.  In fact, the first thing that came to mind was the old joke where the genie tells a guy he can have a wish, but whatever he wishes for his enemy will get double.  So the guy wishes for the genie to beat him half to death.

In the longer term… well, we shall see.  But I suspect that changes to the sovereignty mechanics will have to come into play before anything big happens.  And what CCP is saying on that front is not incompatible with the Null Deal proposal that was put out this week by the null sec stakeholders.

What else do you think this means?

Of course, others are also looking at these changes.  I will link them as I find them so we can go back later and see who had the best insight further down the road.

Shoes for Industry – Crius Deployed to New Eden

The first of CCP’s smaller, more frequent expansions went live today in EVE Online.  They call it Crius, which I keep wanting to type as Cirrus.

EVE Online - Crius

EVE Online – Crius

The Kronos expansion went live back at the beginning of June, the last of the expansions with a six month run-up to launch.  It was big and had bits and pieces for just about everybody.

With Crius, the age of the more focused expansion begins.  What does it mean?

That is a question with answers on several levels.

Crius itself is focused on industry in New Eden.  You can read the release notes for all the gory details, or the page devoted to the expansion, which at least has some pictures related to the changes for the more visually oriented.  Or there is the video.  There is always a video.   And music.  There is a Crius theme up on SoundCloud, where CCP posts all the EVE Online music.

Anyway, there are some general bug fixes and some small changes in other areas, but most everything is about industry.

Which isn’t very exciting to some.

Not that industry isn’t of absolute, vital importance to the game.  Without the great industrial concerns of New Eden we might very well be flying about in rookie ships with civilian modules, terrorized by that guy who just finished the tutorial and was flying a Bantam or a Kestral.  Every other ship in EVE Online has to be built by somebody.  Some player in the game buys the blueprint, collects the materials, runs the assembly job, and lists the result on the market for just about every ship hull you want to buy.  I am not sure I have played any MMO that depended so much upon player crafting.

So industry deserves attention.  I am just not sure that it grabs much attention.

I went through an industrial phase myself, and my eyes still start to glaze over looking at those patch notes.  I like that you now only need 100 of any ore to refine it.  I have several stacks of 487 units of some ore that used to require 500 to refine.  And it is a good thing that was mentioned at the top of the list, because it kept me from speed scrolling to the bottom of the notes for probably a good five seconds as I looked for something else that made sense to me.  I think it is easier to plant a POS in high sec now.  Maybe.

I’d better stick to the page with the pictures.  Go Teams!  They are a some kind of thing now.

Necessary stuff, but not exactly exciting.  No marketing team’s dream here.  The ingredients required for things to go boom, without any of the actually boom.

And it brings change to what is a fairly conservative group in New Eden.

The core of these changes were supposed to go into the Kronos expansion, but there was such a hue and cry over them and how they might change the dynamics of industry and rob this group or that of their livelihood that it got pushed off to Crius.  Industry is such a basic necessity to the game that even CCP, who have been known succumb to their rash viking heritage from time to time, felt they had better back off and think about this.  But eventually they came up with something that did not start a revolution amongst industrialists against the company, and that is going live today.

Which brings me to the big question, what do these changes mean to the game itself?

Damned if I know.

I am so long out of the industrial side of things that I can’t gauge what will be a popular win and what will be a milestone around the neck of this expansion.  But there are plenty of smart people in EVE Online who can explain things.  You can try these:

I am sure there will be many more posts on the topic.  The general sense seems to be that things will be a bit more expensive.  We shall see.

Meanwhile, the next focused expansion on the list, Hyperion, should be well under way.  We should start seeing dev blogs about that soon.

The CCP Train Schedule

The CCP Train Schedule

While the dates have already changed, we should still see Hyperion about eight weeks down the line if CCP can hold to its planned pace.

Quote of the Day – World of Darkness, World of Chaos

Sources report that, over the nine-year period, the game effectively reached alpha – the stage at which all the major features have been implemented – three times, only for each version to be scrapped.

-The Guardian, World of Darkness – the inside story on the death of a game

We all know that the World of Darkness MMO, which CCP had been working on since it acquired White Wold back in 2006, was cancelled earlier this year.

World of Darkness

World of Darkness

But what actually happened, how things reached that state of affairs… all of that has been somewhat murky.  There are rumors and lots of speculation about what happened, but few details.

Well, that just changed.  Over at The Guardian, there is an article up attempting to detail exactly what happens.  The piece depends heavily on the word of Nick Blood, a former CCP staffer who is unhappy about how things played out.  But even if you allow for a certain level of disgruntled spin… and Blood is clearly angry… it does lay out a tale of woe, of lack of direction, of poaching WoD resources to support EVE, of being disconnected from the reality of the situation.  There are lots of EVE Online tidbits in the article… since WoD staff apparently spent a good deal of time working on EVE… including a bit more dirt about the Incarna expansion.

There is one quote from Nick Blood that certainly rings true for the bitter vets,

CCP has an extensive track record of promising to return to features and never doing so.

I would have agreed with that quite readily before Incarna.  Afterwards though, CCP seemed to have changed.  They have returned to old features and have spent a lot of time of things that had otherwise been left alone for years.  Maybe Incarna was the shock to the system that CCP needed.

And maybe letting go of World of Darkness was the better course.  It is certainly disappointing to those who wanted to see that IP come alive as an MMO, but it doesn’t sound like CCP was doing well at juggling two very disparate game worlds.  Sticking to EVE and its derivatives is probably for the best.

Anyway, there are certainly a few insights to be gleaned from the article.

Meanwhile, CCP has announced even more layoffs, this time in Iceland.

Not a good day for CCP, with dirty laundry out for all to see and more people losing their jobs.

Hat Tip: Neville Smit

Quote of the Day – Getting the Dev’s Attention

I may just end up kicking Titan rank to 600 simply because Shoogie suggested it and his reasoning looks sane.

-CCP_Greyscale, post in the EVE Online Forums

That isn’t really the quote I wanted to use, but everything I did want to use was so long and interconnected that I would have to reprint the whole post to get what I wanted.  So I’ll do that too, but further along.

This was the end result, on page 49 of a thread, when Patri Andari up and asked three questions:

1. No one has ever proclaimed the criteria a post requires to get a response, yet this “good post” rises to the top and is responded to fortwith. I would love to see an enumerated guide on how to get a response from the devs.

2. Why have so many other posts which bring up even more important circumstance gone ignored?

3. Is it required that one post in a way that rubs a dev the right way to be considered a ‘good post’? If so, how do you like to be rubbed?

I am sure we have all asked ourselves how we can post something on the forums that will get the attention of development.  And, judging by what I have seen in the past, at least a few people have decided that being as angry and as insulting as possible (I always love when somebody calls developers lazy, as an example.  No better way to get somebody on your case than calling them lazy!) must be the key.

Maybe this will get those people to reconsider.

I am putting CCP Greyscale’s response after the cut.  It is long, but I think it is worth a read (and preserving somewhere I can find it easily) even if only to see how one developer views player input in the forums.

Hat Tip to CSM9 member Sion Kumitomo for highlighting this post on Twitter.

Lots of text after the cut.

Continue reading