Fan Fest Special Report

New Nemesis concept art

The work on missile launchers required changes to stealth bombers so they can fit. Here is some concept art for the new Nemesis

Well, Fan Fest is over and I suspect there are a lot of painful hangovers this morning and a lot of people dying to get home and log into Eve properly for the first time in a few days. Sadly, Light Speed Interactive were unable to attend in person this year, but we were able to watch the streaming of the key presentations. We compiled out the key points for all of those unable to attend or see the live feeds themselves.

The Crimewatch presentation detailed CCP rolling their sleeves up and making major improvements to the code known as “Crimewatch”. Crimewatch is responsible for the aggression flagging mechanics in Eve Online and, by CCP’s own admission, very complicated and prone to breakage. Although the intent appears to be code simplification and overhaul, CCP Greyscale highlighted some significant and possibly game changing changes from this work.

Our notes on the Eve Forums have generated quite a large thread about the changes, the majority appearing to be around the concept of the new “suspect” flagging and a suspects ability to defend themselves from other players.

War Declarations
With Inferno being a war based expansion, CCP have decided to reinvigorate the Corporation War Declaration mechanics. Prior to this, there was a lot of concern that CCP would make wars easier to avoid, but they have gone with entirely the opposite approach. The new war dec system is being built around the concept that if you want to run or be in a Corporation then you need to live with wars. You won’t be able to hide from them, and if people figure out ways of avoiding them, these will be considered holes that will be patched.

Although not as lively as the Crimewatch thread, there has been some debate around the new mechanics proposed, many of them surrounding the war cost being related to the size of the target corporation, something which was flagged in the session as possibly open to abuse.

Faction Warfare
Faction Warfare is something which was long believed to have been abandoned somewhat by CCP, support somewhat by their lack of attendance at the Faction Warfare round table at the 2011 Fanfest. Not this year however, with Faction Warfare behind highlighted as something they were planning on addressing in the Inferno expansion.

CCP appear to have approached Faction Warfare changes with the intent of creating consequences. Prefacing with a statement that they don’t want to replicate the 0.0 sovereignty and associated politics, they are considering similar elements, meaning that militia success would result in systems changing sovereignty. They even threw in the possibility of upgrading systems via the donation of LP, leading to the possible deployment of items like cynojammers to protect systems.

Although this does appear to expand the Eve sandbox considerably; meaning that faction warfare may have lasting impact on consequences on the Eve landscape and possibly even its storyline, there appears to be significant resistance building to the changes from Faction Warfare players themselves. It seems the militias consider this sort of functionality as too close to the 0.0 warfare which a lot of them are trying to avoid.

Ship Balancing
The ship balancing presentation went into a little more detail around the ‘ship line’ changes proposed in an earlier dev blog. They want to restructure the way the ship trees work, ensuring that under utilised ships are given a new lease of life and address some new player verses veteran player imbalances. They claimed to be rebalancing how T3 ships compare with their T2 equivalents, with T2 being ideally more effective than their T3 counterparts but significantly less flexible. The example pulled out was suggestion that Command Ships should be providing great bonuses than their T3 ganglink ships.

Art Panel

New Stealth Bomber concepts

Concepts for new Stealth Bomber designs

Here the CCP Art Department were able to show off what they were recently working on for Inferno. The main highlight was the work being done on missile launcher turrets, and the associated rework needed on the on ships to support them. The most dramatic of this was the rework needed on the Stealth Bomber class of ships so they could fit the larger siege missiles and bomb launchers.

The missile launchers looked great, and if the video linked below is any guide of how the finished product is going to look, the single glowing ball of light that our missiles currently are will be replaced with actual missiles, complete with smoke trails! Grouped missiles will also look like a swarm of missiles, each being a separate missile with a separate trail.

DUST514, Eve and CCP Keynote
Each of the three days had a keynote speech, summarising what had gone before it, plus adding in new information about what was coming. The DUST514 keynote showed us for the first time a full demonstration of how DUST514 plays. First up we were shown a “Captain’s Quarters” equivalent for the DUST players, alongside a rather impressive looking communal war room. Next was a quick run through the skills and fitting (7 years of possible skill training time?!) and then finally planet side as two devs assaulted a base, both on foot and in a set of vehicles.

The crowning moment however was at the end of the presentation, where the connection between Eve and DUST514 was demonstrated fully by an orbital bombardment of an enemy installation, requested by the DUST soldiers, accepted and delivered by the Eve Player in orbit. Very exciting stuff.

The Eve Keynote started up by confirming some dates for us. Inferno will be released on May the 22nd with a preliminary patch beforehand on the 24th of April called “Escalation to Inferno”. The presentation then moved through the other presentation content, confirming what would be coming in the Inferno release.

We saw some information about how DUST514 was connecting into Eve Online, a new API interface called Carbon REST, or cREST for short. This interface was then revealed to be in the pipeline release for 3rd party developers and will allow write access on certain functionality back to the Eve Online databases. This means that 3rd party developers may soon be able to build application to help with playing Eve. We expect to quickly see tools for handling the more mundane Corporation tasks, such as standings and member management.

The CCP Presents keynote went further into the future, showing what could be possible with the new graphics cards on the markets now, demonstrated by a Revenant supercarrier flying through an asteroid belt and having constant collisions with the rocks. We were also introduced to a “graphic cards for Plex” concept, allowing players to purchase an nVidia graphics card with Plex alone. We aren’t sure where this will lead, but does seem to be a “testing the market and rules” move on CCPs behalf.

Concept art showing how weapons fire hitting the shields could look

Concept art showing how weapons fire causing structure damage could look

After a well done introduction to CCP Pokethulu, CCP’s new marketing guy which we feel did a good job to allay any fears of “Marketing” out among the players, CCP TorfiFrans and Hillmarr came on to the stage to talk about what else could be coming in the future.
This included hints around a complete overhauls of the POS system, making POS’s something that everyone should want to own, changes to mining to introduce cometary or ring mining as a far more group based activity than normal belt mining.
There were also some concept screens showing an overhauled overview alongside demonstrations of ships displaying damage differently based on if they were taking shield, armour or structure damage (see concept images on right). We were also treated to the sight of an supercarrier rippling with explosions, and being destroyed in stages rather than just with a single explosion.

Penultimately, Tortifrans talked about the possibilities of avatar based game play, showing us a concept video of someone exploring an ancient station and pointing out that this is Eve and there could be a very real threat of being locked away in there with no escape.

Wrapping the show up, Hillmar reminded us all the Eve was hard, and was going to stay that way, before coyly blowing our minds with CCPs latest trailer, introducing DUST514 to the Eve Online Universe

Eve Keynote

CCP Keynote