Tag Archives: Into the Abyss

Abyssal Pocket Stats from EVE Down Under

The EVE Down Under event was going on this weekend, with several of the EVE Online team flying out from Iceland to join in and do presentations in Sydney.

Video from some of the presentations is available on Twitch and The Greybill has already done a nice post about the changes coming for Caldari industrial ships. (Which I hate, mostly because CCP seems to enjoy making radical changes to Caldari ships, as opposed to way they retain design continuity when they change up Gallente ships.)

Of interest to me was CCP Fozzie’s presentation, which started off with some stats about Abyssal Pockets.  I have been hoping for a dev blog about how the roll-out went.  Absent that, this set of slides will have to do.

In an orange Abyssal cloud

The CCP devs had a whiteboard with estimates/answers to a set of questions they had laid out in advance which formed the backbone of the data.  They were wondering how many filaments would be activated and how many players would run the new content.

Filaments and Characters

While watching the presentation my own mental guess was 10K to 12K on the first day, which was in the zone.  11,944 filaments were activated on the first day, with 274,665 in the first week after Into the Abyss went live, with 1,680 and 13,961 unique characters running the content respectively.

The, of course, the question as to how many ships died.

Ships destroyed and filament popularity

579 ships were destroyed on the first day, which only counts from downtime to the UTC day change, while 11,369 were destroyed in the first week.  And a capsule goes with each one of those ships.

The most popular weather type… or flavor as I put it in my brain… was Gamma while the least favorite was Dark Matter.

Then some more diverse guesses about the Abyssal pockets.

Ship type, tiers, and time to first

The Gila, the Guristas pirate faction cruiser, was the most popular ship.  The most popular tier on the first day and during the first week was tier one, which is probably no surprise.  And the first filament was activated only 22 minutes after the expansion went live.  Somebody had a plan.

First Into the Abyss

The first into an Abyssal pocket was Mike Severass who ran a calm firestorm in his Ishtar in nine minutes.

Among the loot items in Abyssal pockets are blueprint copies for the three Triglavian ships, all of which were built for the first time on day one.

Triglavian ship build times

As CCP Fozzie pointed out, the Triglavian cruiser, the Vedmak, was built first, before the Damavik frigate.  And the Leshak battleship was built just before the end of the first day.

The most popular cruisers being used in Abyssal pockets were the usual suspects.

Ship Choices for Abyssal Pockets

Gilas were far and away the most popular, followed by the Sacrilege in distant second, the Ishtar in third, and then fourth place a tie between the VNI, the Caracal, and the Cerberus.

CCP Fozzie said that the most unique ship was a Victorieux Luxury Yacht, which can carry no armament, filled with booze, drugs, and exotic dancers, which went into a pocket presumably in an attempt to win over the Triglavians by appealing to their party spirit.  They are not party animals it seems… or maybe they thought it was just a big pinata… but you can see the kill mail from the attempt.

Also, a Scimitar, the Minmatar tech II logi cruiser, died doing a tier 3 pocket.  Somebody trying for a very specialized fit.

The popularity of the various tiers is pretty much as expected, with higher tiers being less popular.

Popularity of tiers over time

The popularity of the various Abyssal pocket weathers is also not a hug mystery.

Favored Weather over Time

Dark matter seems to be the least favored, but the gap between weathers isn’t huge.  If they aren’t evenly split, they aren’t that drastically different either.

As of the time of the presentation CCP Fozzie said that over 96,000 modules had been mutated with Mutaplasmids.

Most popular mutated modules

People want longer range points and webs I guess.

In the short term there are some updates coming to Abyssal pockets.

July Update Plans

Beyond that there are bigger plans for Abyssal pockets, however CCP Fozzie’s slide on the topic simply said “REDACTED!”  So We will be hearing more about Abyssal pockets going forward I guess.

Abyssal Pocket Mania

But what has it got in its pocketses, eh?

-Gollum Aideron, Jita Local

Abyssal pockets, of which I was somewhat dismissive back when the Into the Abyss expansion went live, calling them “…solo PvE death dungeons… in space!” in my post about the expansion launch, have turned out to be popular.  Very popular.  Far more popular than I expected.

The lure of something new, the chance to make some fast ISK while prices were high, and the challenge of fitting for and fighting this new time limited content has combined to capture the focus of New Eden.

You can watch the page on zKillboard and see all the ships getting blown up every day. (Or if you just want to see the 1 billion ISK and up deaths, there is this page.  Even some pods can make that list.)  Trillions of ISK worth of ships have been destroyed so far in Abyssal pockets and players I never expected would go for PvE content have been draw in to the challenge of them.

I am seriously waiting for the Dev Blog from CCP on how things have gone… once they get the May MER and the CSM 13 election results out.  Abyssal fever may not last, but for the moment it is everywhere.  Streamers picked it up right away, though that was not without controversy.

CCP gave some streamers from stream fleet five calm Abyssal filaments (one of each type of the lowest tier) about half a day after the Into the Abyss expansion went live in order to get people streaming the sites that night.  However a streamer who did not get in on the free filament deal got angry on Twitter with the usual complaints about favoritism and fairness that come out whenever somebody else gets something for free. (People rarely complain about this when they are the recipients.)

This tempest in a teapot led to a side debate about the sanctity of the New Eden economy as well as everybody getting a free Abyssal filament, but the streamers were on the job all the same showing off the pretty new content.

Oddly, a lot of people excited about Abyssal pockets were not people I would have pegged for it, which is to say people who actually PvP regularly.   There seems to be a cross interest in the need to fit well and the constraints and difficulty of the content.  There has been a lot of chatter about Abyssal pockets.

Of course, not everybody is happy… but then I don’t think there is a feature in any game anywhere that could make all fans happy.  And those unhappy were not exactly a surprise.  There is a slice of PvE players who both seem to hate the dull current mission content but who also insist that they won’t run any PvE content that doesn’t have a predictable reward.  You cannot answer the “what’s the ISK per hour” question with any certainty, and that makes some people angry.

And the randomness of the rewards is clearly a thing here.  I have been through sites where none of the rooms dropped any rewards and sites where all three rooms have had something for me.

And that statement is a clear indication that I have spent some time running Abyssal pockets with the crowd.

My main problem with the content is that I am a cheapskate and I don’t really want to invest in expensive ships that I am likely going to lose.  So I have taken a different tack, which has been to fly the cheapest ship I can put together on an alt and still survive.  While the market for heavy assault cruisers is booming… and prices for them keep going up as demand tries to drain the market… I have been trying to keep expenses down by sticking with T1 hulls.

My first run was with a medium blaster Thorax I had sitting on an alt.  It was already insured and fit, so I just jigged it around to be a little more tanky, grabbed some faction drones and ammo, and headed off willy nilly into an Abyssal pocket.

Thorax on the move

The Thorax wasn’t a huge mistake.  It actually made it through one calm pocket, but that was mostly on accident.  However on the second run I hit a room that was all fast frigates and I found I had brought nothing to slow them down.  So while my drones worked away my blasters couldn’t touch the ships.  The frigates burned me down before my drones could finish their work and that was that.

About to collect my insurance money

Once my Thorax was kindling for the Abyssal fire, I decided that a Caracal might be a better choice.  My alt has some missile skills.  They couldn’t do tech II heavy missiles, but they could manage meta launchers and faction missiles.  Add in a pair of faction drones, a couple of ballistic control systems and a target painter to help damage application, and then pile on resists and a shield booster and I figured it might work out, and it wasn’t even that expensive.

Caracal in the pocket

That again seemed to work out fine for a few runs.  But then I drew a room with five striking Davamiks, the Triglavian frigate, and then damage application became an issue.  Theirs was really good and mine was not.  I managed to burn one down, but they were hot on me.

Davamiks on parade… and my drones on the wrong target

I wasn’t too concerned about my drones as I was learning that I needed a shield buffer and not shield boosts.

Caracal brewing up in the pocket

I dug around looking for some buffer tank examples of Caracals and hit upon the post over at INN about various Abyssal pocket fits, which included a Navy Caracal.  Since my alt could do tech II light missile launchers, the rapid light launchers in that fit were an option as were the fury and precision missiles.  The Navy Caracal is considerably more expensive, but its price hasn’t spiked up the way the popular Gila or Ishtar has, so I thought I would give that a try.

Caracal among the rocks

The buffer tank and rapid light launchers with tech II missiles worked much better.  I hit a point where I could run any of the calm pockets with my alt.  There is, of course, a temptation to start running the next tier up.

As for loot, as noted above, it can be fairly random.  I have ended up with a few BPC drops for the new disintgrator ammo and some of the raw materials for building the new Triglavian ships and weapon systems, either of which makes a run easily profitable.  Filaments are the other main drop, and there is a market for them, but supply is pressing hard on demand, forcing down the prices.  The day after the expansion went live calm filaments were nearly 20 million ISK on the Jita market.  The next day they were under 10 million.  Now they are hovering just over a million each.

I am certainly not going to get rich running the tier 1 sites.  But I am mostly playing the tourist right now.  I’m going in to see the various scenes and take screen shots, a gallery of which you will find below.  Whatever else you want to say about Abyssal pockets, they sure are some pretty stretches of space.

The Great Outpost Conversion Commences

Then end of captureable stations is upon us.

We have been waiting for this since at least EVE Fanfest 2017, when it was discussed in detail, and possibly since the last game update in YC118 (December 2016), when the last outpost was deployed in null sec, or even since EVE Vegas 2014, when CCP Seagull spoke in the keynote about the roadmap of changes coming to EVE Online.

Time to drag this old slide out again… Are we at stargate construction yet?

CCP has planned for this change, written dev blogs to prepare people, and tried it out a couple of times on the test server.  But today it is happening for real.  All of the capturable stations… or outposts… or whatever they’re supposed to be called… will be converted to faction Fortizar type citadels.  Gone will be the stations that I and many others have grown accustomed to as a way of life in null sec space.

VFK-IV Station goes missing today

There are 1,217 outposts in player owned null sec… including the 8 in Jove space owned by CCP alliances… and CCP started a 3 hour downtime to covert them all into the new faction Fortizars.  That meant processing the contents of the stations, which according to the last dev blog included:

  • More than 53,300,000 inventory items.
  • More than 75,800 market orders.
  • More than 33,000 contracts.
  • More than 240,000 bookmarks.

Each item needs to be processed and placed into the correct corresponding new citadel.  Easy enough, as it is all just information in tables in a database.  But there is a lot of information and it has to be processed in a timely fashion and correctly, because mistakes will make players scream.

The new Fortizars will be special.  Some will have the look of old station models and are named after stations of note from the history of New Eden.  Players will be able to pack them up, move them, sell them, whatever.  And, of course, they can now be destroyed as well.  But each comes pre-configured with special rigs that make them more valuable if left in place, as packing them up will destroy these rigs and there will be no replacements.

The main beneficiaries of these new faction Fortizars contain some names you probably expect.  The final tally over at DOTLAN was:

Alliances sorted by Outpost Ownership

TEST alliance is at the top of the chart, with 102, having reaped the rewards of throwing Pandemic Legion out of Providence last month.  ProviBloc got the sovereignty, but TEST got the stations.

Goonswarm is second with 80 outposts, mostly in Delve, Querious, and adjacent regions.

The skill urself alliance was the beneficiary of the collapse of xXDeathXx in the east, gobbling up stations as they fell back to find a spot to crash on the couch of Legacy Coalition.

Brothers of Tangra is a renter alliance owned by NCDot, which itself is also on the top ten.  Combined the two add up to 106, so they win the crown for most outposts total I guess.  From there on down the rest of the top ten looks like the usual suspects.

There is a post up on Reddit that includes a spreadsheet listing the final ownership of all 1,217 stations if you are interested. (And yes, I will continue to use the words “station” and “outpost” interchangeably for as long as I continue to write.)  That indicates that TEST actually has 104, as certain older outposts don’t get counted on DOTLAN.  However, that still wasn’t enough to beat NCDot.

This all, for residents of null sec, is a big change.  We have mostly adapted to Upwell structures.  Delve is positively littered with them, to the point that I had to remove moon mining structures from my travel overview when I was last back as they were blotting out everything else displayed.  But the stations remained and were still used now and again.  The disposition of all of these special Fortizars will no doubt be a topic of interest for some time as ones in famous locations get packed up or destroyed.

And, of course, there are still stations in NPC null sec.  Station undock games will continue to be a thing.

But one big side effect of this change will be the unlocking of a lot of ships and items that had been stored in stations.  Everything left over in a hostile station which a player could not access will wind up in asset safety and be delivered a low sec NPC station where the owner can recover it for a fee.

This raises some questions.  How much of this will end up on the market and will it have any impact?  Will people come back to the game now that they can get their stuff back?  Will people setup and sell in place or haul stuff back to Jita?  And, since the NPC stations where these assets will end up are not a secret, will there be any effort to interdict some of this recovered wealth?

I suspect the impact will of this will be minimal… unlikely to outweigh all the assets being lost in Abyssal pockets over the last week… we need a dev blog on that… but I will be interested to see the Monthly Economic Report next month just to see.

Personally, I did not have much in the way of assets trapped in hostile stations.  As noted in blog posts over two years in age, I was able to pack up and haul most of my stuff out of Tribute just ahead of the invasion during the Casino War.  Likewise, the attacking forces obliged us by leaving Deklein mostly unwatched for weeks after we had pulled back to Saranen, so I was able to ship out nearly everything from there as well, leaving jump clones behind to fly out a couple of ships I did not want to repackage.

I have a few ships trapped in stations in Pure Blind, but that is about it.  Not much of a haul.

Anyway, we shall see.  According to the forum thread tracking the conversion, things we successfully and the server was back online and accepting connections at 13:56 UTC.  There was also an update blog post which included a link to the patch notes, as there were a few changes to Into the Abyss content that went in today as well, including a loot balance pass for abyssal pockets.  So there we go.

Of course, the job seeming done and it actually being done can be two different things.  I wouldn’t be surprised to find that an emergency downtime or two were needed today.

It will be odd, being tethered on something that looks like one of the old outposts.  And Alliance logos on them as well?

But it will soon be seen as the norm as we move on.

Next on the chopping block; player owned outposts, the POSes of old.  Right now all they really to is hold cyno beacons and jump bridge modules as well as giving bridging titans a place to hide in hostile space.  The writing is on the wall for the good old POS.

Find Your Own Private Abyss in New Eden

The EVE Online expansion Into the Abyss went live earlier today.

Into the Abyss

Announced at EVE Fanfest last month, the expansion is centered on new PvE content for the game in the form of abyssal pockets.  These are solo PvE encounters.  However, you need to take care.  Once you start one of these encounters you have 20 minutes to complete it and come out the far end.  If you fail, the pocket will collapse and you will lose your ship and your pod, ending back up where ever you have your death clone set.

A new way to stimulate the market?

The pockets come in multiple flavors (5) and levels of difficulty (also 5), but you can only get into one if you have an abyssal filament.  You can find those at data sites or, likely, on the market.  I am sure enterprising explorers will be happy to see some.

In the pocket you will face three encounters with Sleepers or the new Triglavians.  But when you go into a pocket a marker is left that lets people scan down where you will re-appear once you are done.  And if you do level 4 or 5 difficulty pockets you will also have a suspect timer when you exit, so anybody can shoot your likely damage ship and take your stuff.  Fun fun!

So why, given the drawbacks, would anybody bother with abyssal pockets?

Well, loot of course!

Rewards include blueprint copies for one of the three new Triglavian ships, entropic disintegrators and related modules, the hot new weapon system the Trigglavians bring to the game, or those Mutaplasmids, special items that can mutate the stats of current modules in New Eden, making them better… or worse… or just different.  For the new ships and modules there are new skills you’ll need to train up… because of course there are.  For the Mutaplasmids though no special skill is required, just a willingness to gamble with modules.

Or maybe you will want to go just for some screen shots.  Those abyssal pockets are pretty.

Eagle in a pocket

Just don’t go out of bounds in search of a good screen shot, that’ll blow you up as well.

Maybe try abyssal pockets out on the test server first.  That’s what I did.

That is the big anchor feature of this expansion, solo PvE death dungeons… in space!

But that isn’t all there is to the expansion.  Also announced at EVE Fanfest was the fact that somebody at CCP actually tried Planetary Interaction and found out that the interface was confused shit.  So they decided to try and fix that.  The feature’s only been around for eight years, coming in with the Tyrannis expansion back in May 2010, so it was about due for a pass.  There is a whole dev blog about how CCP plans to make things better.

Of course, if you’ve grown used to the unintuitive psycho-clicky interface over the last eight years, I am sure the new one will seem a burden, at least for a while.  Time to re-learn.

Aside from that, you can no longer have a warp core scrambler stabilizer fit if you want to use a Factional Warfare acceleration gate.  Unless you have a mobile depot out and quickly refit after activating the gate… or so I hear.  CCP was going to fix that by not allowing people to refit while aligning for or in warp, but it turns out capital pilots use that feature pretty often.  After dismissing the capital pilot outcry for about a day by pointing out that this was an unintended feature they had been using for years, CCP relented and left things as they were.

There is also the usual range of big fixes and the like.

And then there was one more item.  CCP also updated the recommended computer specifications for playing EVE Online.  Those are now:

Windows:

  • OS: Windows 10
  • CPU: Intel i7-7700 or AMD Ryzen 7 1700 @ 3.6 GHz or greater
  • RAM: 16GB or higher
  • VIDEO: NVIDIA Geforce GTX 1060, AMD Radeon RX 580 or better with at least 4 GB VRAM

Mac:

  • OS: Mac 10.13
  • CPU: Intel i5 Series @ 3.8 GHz or greater
  • RAM: 16 GB or higher
  • VIDEO: AMD Radeon Pro 580 or better with at least 4 GB VRAM

That came as a bit of a shock.  CCP defended this move by pointing out that they haven’t updated the specs since 2013, but in the world of video games, where “recommended” often really means “minimum” and where “minimum” usually means “the publisher wouldn’t let us ship if they knew how demanding our game really was, so theoretically you can play with this config, but it will likely be frustrating” that seems like a pretty high bar to set.  People may assume that they shouldn’t bother if they don’t have the recommended config.

However, the minimum specs didn’t change, so I guess we’re all still okay with this update.  I assume I’ll still be able to carry on running two clients with graphics turned up, in the manner to which I have grown accustomed.   But I am now fairly far behind the recommended spec with the following:

  • OS: Windows 7 64-bit
  • CPU: Intel Core i5-4590 3.3GHz Processor
  • RAM: 12GB of RAM
  • VIDEO: nVidia GeForce GTX 960 video card with 4GB of VRAM

Oh well, we shall see.

The expansion has been successfully deployed.  Details are available in the Patch Notes and on the Updates Page.  There is also the Known Issues post about what has been found so far with the expansion.

The next big update will be coming next week when, on June 5th, CCP retires all of the null sec outposts, converting them into faction citadels.  At that point all of the lost goods, trapped in hostiles stations, will go into asset safety, leading to… I am not sure what.  INN has some speculation on that front.

Lost Dungeons of New Eden

This past Saturday I wrote about the EverQuest Agnarr server, one of Daybreak’s progression servers, and passed over at one point one of the expansions slated for it, Lost Dungeons of Norrath.

The main focus of that expansion was instanced content, a brand new concept for EverQuest at the time.  They were dungeons that came in a few basic flavors that had some variations between them, allowed the players running them to choose a difficulty level, and ended up rewarding players with “augmentations” that they could use to upgrade their current gear.

It was a moment of change for EverQuest and MMORPGs in general.

Saturday evening I decided to log onto the EVE Online test server, Sisi, where early cuts at the upcoming abyssal deadspace content had been made available for people to try.

The “How to” aspect of this new feature wasn’t obvious to me, but I found the thread about trying it out in the forums, which at least got me pointed in the right direction.

I wasn’t sure what ship or fitting I ought to try, so I just used my ratting Ishtar fit and figured I would adjust from there.  Everything on Sisi is 100 ISK and the market is stocked with all the non-faction non-officer hulls and modules, so you can grab what you want.  When grabbing some ammo I accidentally bought 2,000 Ishtar hulls, but what the hell right?  It is all 100 ISK.

I then grabbed a “calm” filament, the level 1 flavor and headed out to give it a try.

Ishtar in an Abyssal pocket

The tiers run like this:

  1. Calm
  2. Agitated
  3. Fierce
  4. Raging
  5. Chaotic

And each comes in variations, the difference between which I have yet to see.

Tiers and types of filaments

I spent most of the first run fiddling with my drones to figure out what would work and what I ought to skip.  All the NPCs had placeholder names, but they were either ships or drones.  I seemed to be running into just Sleepers, but that might be related to which filaments I picked.

It seemed that 5x Acolyte IIs would eat up anything small and be able to dodge incoming fire.  Mediums and heavies were too easy to hit and I had to pull them right away.  So I plowed through a room, went through the gate, which opens up once you’ve cleared, then did another room, and then another, and then was back in normal space again wondering when I would get my prize.

I knew that ships did not drop loot, so skipped past them, but I didn’t notice the part about blowing up the structure in each room.  That is the loot pinata.  So I grabbed another calm filament and gave it another try.  This time I broke all the pinatas and came out the other side unscathed.

That run dumped a bunch of loot on me, though the loot payout is cranked up at the moment, well beyond what it will be when it goes live, to let people experiment with drops.  I got a mutaplasmid for a large shield extender so bought one off the market to mutate it.  The result was okay.

Mutated shield extender II

CPU usage went down but power grid went up.  Sig radius got a little bit worse, but the shield hit points were boosted quite a bit.  Not a bad mutation I guess.  And the newly created module shows you what was initially mutated and what got better or worse.

The after module

It also has a button to find that sort of thing in contracts, since these items won’t be on the normal market.  I am going to guess that contract usage will jump sharply when these are introduced and that we might get a pass on the contract UI after a lot of people are suddenly using them more than ever before.

I also had a mutaplasmid for a medium shield booster, so I grabbed a tech II version and ran it through the process… and ended up wrecked.

Worse for the tinkering

I also got a tier 4 filament drop so decided to give that a try.  That went less well.  I managed to blow up small stuff in the usual way… a pack of cruisers in this case… with acolyte IIs, leaving me with a Sleep battleship once they were out of the way.

Sleek Sleeper Seeking Me

And even that seemed to be going well.  I pulled in the acolytes and sent heavy drones after the battleship.  Not problems at all…. right up until my ship suddenly exploded and I was dead.

And that was that

I am not sure what did me in really.  I may have flown into a pocket of toxic space.  The timer may have run out.  Nothing in the feedback (or in the logs) indicated what happened.  Something just turned my ship into mush, ripping through armor and hull in a flash before I could react and do anything.  Surprise!

That threw me to where my death clone was set.  From there I had to move to a station that had stuff up on the market then set about fitting another ship.  I decided to go with an Eagle this time.  It could hold the five acolyte IIs I’d need and I thought the guns might speed things up.

Eagle on a run

As it turned out, nothing I could do would make medium rails track the small drones once they closed range, but my own drones took care of them as expected.  Being able to reach out and shoot larger targets seemed to work okay.  And I could pop the structure right away.

Structure going up as the gate opens

I ran some tier 1 and 2 versions just to get a feel for it.  It sure looks pretty.

Eagle waiting for the gate to open

My tour ended when I had another insta-pop event.  This time I didn’t even see things change, I was flying one moment and dead the next.  The logs don’t show anything, just my drones popping away at the small stuff… and it was all small stuff.  Maybe I hit a mine.  I don’t think the timer ran down… but there is no visible timer, so I am not sure.

Just before my sudden demise

Anyway, that was enough for me to get at least some flavor of what is in store.  I might try it again as we get closer to the Into the Abyss expansion release and things have settled down some.

But as I tinkered around with all of this my brain kept making the link with the Lost Dungeons of Norrath expansion for EverQuest.  Here we have players being given instanced content, able to choose the style and challenge up front while the actual layout comes from a set group of possibilities, and offering up items that augment current equipment as a possible reward.

Nothing new in the world I guess.

Unfortunately my impression so far is that abyssal deadspace has all the drawbacks of of PvE in EVE Online; It is fun and interesting the first couple of times, but it becomes tiresome on repetition.  And there is the insta-death timer thing.  I don’t know enough to know if that is avoidable or if we’re going to get a visible timer, but it will rile people up when it happens on the live server.  People do not like to get their shit blown up.

In the end some people will optimize and do abyssal deadspace for the rewards, and then complain about having to grind and the lack of predictability in getting what they wanted.

And that leaves aside the whole RNG module upgrade element, which already has people annoyed, as well as the strange new contract marketplace that will spring up where you’ll have to be very careful to inspect whatever you buy because every mutated module could be different.

That it doesn’t appeal to me doesn’t mean much in the larger scheme of things.  Somebody will love it.  There is a niche fan base out there for every feature.  But will it be a draw for enough people to have been worth the effort?  Will it change the game in a good way?

Monday Musings after EVE Fanfest 2018

EVE Fanfest 2018 is over.  We are in that strange time between announcements and reality when hope and fear can run wild, before Dev Blogs nail things down and updates show us what we’re really getting.

EVE Fanfest XV

I did not get to watch as much of Fanfest as I might have liked.  Living on the left coast of the US, currently 7 hours behind UTC/EVE Time, a lot of the early presentations happened while I was still asleep.  I wasn’t going to alarm clock that.  But I did get to see a few, and it looks like the ones I missed are slowly making their way on to YouTube so I can follow up.  But here on the Monday after is a quick recap of what I think I saw over the weekend.

Fifteenth Anniversary Goodies

CCP told us what they’ll be handing out to players for the 15th anniversary.  Alpha clones will be getting some things, while Omegas will be getting that and more.  There will be an array of ships and skins and clothing items handed out, so long and you remember to log in your account in the 30 days before the anniversary date, which is May 6.

Into the Abyss

While I am against EVE Online expansions that aren’t just one word… maybe two words, but seriously, screw you Exodus: Red Moon Rising… there are some interesting items stacked up for Into the Abyss.

Coming May 29

It is good to see that CCP can do updates almost every month and still are able to package up something like a real expansion once or twice a year.

Triglavians Are Coming!

I wrote a post about this on Friday.  I’ve seen a few more details, but not enough to renounce that post or have much to add.  Abyssal Pockets will be a thing as will entropic disintegrators .  I need to go back and watch the video for the Triglavian panel.

Final Date for Null Sec Stations

Only about six months after the initial estimate, stations in null sec will finally be transformed into special faction citadels.  First announced at Fanfest 2017, the scramble for stations will now commence as those who hold them on June 5, 2018 will be memorialized.  Also, this will be the great asset recovery for null sec as everything locked in hostile stations will now be in citadels, allowing players to get their stuff back… for a modest fee of course.

Structure Futures

The end of the POS, player owned starbase, is night.  Planned small structures will replace the cyno beacon, cyno jammer, and jump bridge functionality.  Those will require ihub upgrades.  And then there will be the great refunding and re-purposing of modules and blue prints related to the noble POS before it finally disappears from New Eden.

There is a plan for propaganda structures that corps and alliances will be able to deploy around their space.  I am sure running into enemy space just to shoot their symbols will become a thing.

There is also talk of possibly maybe some day giving players access to the pirate faction forward operating base structures in order to fill a gap left by the removal of POSes.  You could bring a POS with you into hostile space, find an open moon, and deploy it in an hour, giving yourself a base of operations quickly.  An Astrahus or Raitaru take 24 hours to deploy and are up on everybody’s overview the whole time.  We shall see.

Activity Tracker

CCP will be adding in a feature to track both more broadly and deeply what you have been up to in New Eden and what you haven’t tried yet.

Activity Tracker base view

Unfortunately a lot of the data for this has never been collected in the past, so it will only start filling in once it goes live.  As such my own tracker will likely only show activity in the capsuleer combat section, my days of mission running, mining, industry, invention, and what not being things of the past.

As a side effect of this kill mail data will be more complex… probably killing zKillboard in the process… and will allow logi ships to get on kill mails.  I guess I am okay with that.  I just got on kill mails as logi in the past well enough, using the time honored whore drone method, but whatever.

Three Pillars of EVE Online

What CCP Seagull put forth as the primary foci of the EVE Online team.

The look like hexagons to me

I expect this to be turned into a meme very soon.

CSM13 Candidate List

While most of it ended up on Reddit early, we did still get pictures and names of all the candidates that were slated for the CSM13 ballot.

The CSM13 candidate list… I hope CCP Falcon isn’t covering somebody there

I haven’t heard when the election will actually be, but the campaign can now really begin since people know who will be on the ballot.  At a total of 49 that is less candidates than previous years.  Last time around there were 64 candidates.  I suspect less may be better, but it is still 49 people on a ballot, most of whom the average player will no nothing about.

Empires of EVE Vol II

The Kickstarter for this is off and running and already past 6x its goal, so it looks like we’ll be getting another fine Andrew Groen book on the history of null sec.

The Rixx Javix Payoff

Warp Core Stabilizers not being allowed in Faction Warfare sites?  This smells strongly of a ploy by CCP to get Rixx to say something nice about them.

Other CCP Games

We learned a bit about Project Nova and Project Aurora.  The former, a PC remake of DUST 514, is alleged to be close than we think while the latter, now called EVE: War of Ascension, is expected to be available on mobile devices later this year.

A Wedding

There was a wedding at Fanfest this year.

A moment they will no doubt remember forever.

Camera Work

Being remote from Fanfest sucks, and not just due to the time zone differential.  Those of us at home are at the mercy of CCP and how they choose to run their stream, including how the cameras are deployed and used.

There is nothing I can say that really describes that moment when CCP ran the new 15 Years of EVE Online trailer and, part way through, the camera cut to the audience so people on the stream were treated to the vision of a bunch of nerds sitting in the dark watching the thing we really wanted to see.  The only upside was that at least I could only see one fedora being worn in the crowd.

I wish I was watching what they were watching… also, fedora

Being CCP, they ran the trailer twice… and cut to the crowd again during the second run.  At least they cut during a different segment so that, in two consecutive runs I think I saw most of the trailer.  But I still had to wait until it hit YouTube to get it all in one go.

Each presentation I watched had its own camera screw up, like when Elise Randolph put up a slide of FCs as part of his presentation but the camera stayed on him so we got to watch him, turned away from us and looking at the slide on the big screen, rather than the slide itself.  We were allowed a brief glimpse of the slide after about a minute of Elise’s ass, but it wasn’t enough to pick anybody out.

And none of that was helped by the fact that they felt they needed to keep a corner of the screen reserved for the speaker when showing slides, which covered data on the slides more than a few times.

Yeah, I know, it is tough to be in the booth and make the right calls at times, but when you’ve making the wrong call… change the camera.

Other Things

Then I turned on Twitch at one point and saw what appeared to be CCP staff on a Japanese game show climbing stairs slathered in slippery liquid.

Too little left to the imagination

I have to admit, CCP Guard captured my reaction pretty well.

Look, I just work here…

And, during the warm up intro to EVE Fanfest, CCP Guard pulled out what was perhaps one of the more ironic screen captures from the early era of the game.

For Bumping?

I am not sure what happened since then, but bumping pretty much enables suicide ganking and Burn Jita.  Times have changed.

Anyway, such was Fanfest from afar.  EVE Vegas is coming in October again for those of us unwilling to fly across eight time zones.

Into the Abyss and Our Triglavian Future

The EVE Fanfest keynote yesterday was full of news, from the name and date of the next expansion to the fact that somebody at CCP finally tried doing Planetary Interaction and realized that they really need to fix that interface.  I’d actually like to re-watch it, but they haven’t gotten around to putting the replay up on Twitch or YouTube as I am writing this.  No doubt there is too much partying to be done at the moment.  Anyway, it will get posted eventually.

The next expansion will be Into the Abyss and will be coming out on May 29, 2018.

Into the Abyss

One of the big items coming with the expansion is a new type of PvE content which will involve cruiser class ships entering what are being called Abyssal Deadspace.  This appears to be instanced PvE, though your entry and exit point will be marked with an Abyssal Filament, the key to getting in and out of this content, and other players will be able to scan it down and surprise you as you emerge from the instanced pocket.

There you will encounter the Triglavian Collective, a faction newly discovered when one of their ships fell into CONCORD hands.  This ship itself was visible while under quarantine in the Youli system, as documented over at EVE Travel.

The Triglavian cruiser in Youli

I am not sure how they were named.  The “tri” part no doubt refers to the somewhat triangular symmetry of their ships, but the “glavin” part is a mystery.

Late one evening at CCP HQ… a whole post just to support this one joke

Or maybe it has something to do with the tallest mountain in Slovenia.  I don’t know.

Anyway, running Abyssal Deadspace sounds like it will have some scaling level of difficulty, with content getting harder the deeper you penetrate, as well as a time limit, after which time the pocket will collapse and evict you.  Sounds like a vaguely sexual metaphor.

The rewards for this effort will be access to Triglavian ships and technology.  There will be three new ships (frigate, cruiser, and battleship), and new powerful weapons technology, and what are called ”

A multiplasmid for a 50MN MWD

The multiplasmid drops will be specific for a type of module and will change its attributes when applied.  So, as a demonstration, CCP Rise showed the result when one of these was used.

A mutated 50MN MWD

CCP Rise said that the resulting Abyssal MWD was more powerful than any of that class currently in the game, and the only downside was a slight increase in CPU requirements for fitting.

And then he showed us another attempt where literally every attribute on the module was worse.

A badly mutated 50MN MWD

The module was essentially made, if not useless, useful only for comedic/ironic value.

So there we have it.  CCP is introducing instanced PvE and random number generator based module upgrades.  My prediction is that PvE players will reject this new content the way they seem to reject most new PvE content while contnuing to claim CCP never does anything for high sec, that bitter vets will get testy about the random aspect of this, /r/eve will be filled with threads featuring screen shots of comically ruined modules, and that the new ships and weapon systems will be overpowered and will need to be nerfed as soon as they fall within the price range of the average player.

Basically, an MMO expansion.

Anyway, there was only a preview of what was coming with the keynote.  I am sure we will get a lot more information as Fanfest goes on, so anything I said here might be superseded by reality.

Addendum: Reddit post with details from the Triglavian panel.  Also, something about the ships.

Addendum: I got up this morning to find CCP had posted the EVE Keynote to YouTube, so you can see what I was referring to.