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With the first part of
hitting today for style="font-style: italic;">EVE Online,
are clamoring for more information on the upcoming changes to their
favorite MMOG. To ferret out that information, Ten Ton Hammer spoke with Noah Ward, lead game designer for CCP Games. Questions provided by resident EVE writers, The Mittani and Space
Ton Hammer: The Sansha attack portion of style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold;">Incursion style="font-weight: bold;"> is going to be pretty
rad, but will basically shut down large areas of space for as long as
they are there. It is good to shake up high-sec space, but it's
possible some players will be upset at having their otherwise
predictable sandbox shaken up. What would you say to those players?
Ward: Those players should
see this as an opportunity to enjoy new content, meet new people and
potentially made big profits. style="font-style: italic;">EVE
players in general are pretty good at adapting to changes and new
challenges. I expect the majority will welcome this challenge. The nice
thing is if people really hate it they simple need to evacuate to a
neighboring constellation for the duration while the more brave members
of the community fight back the incursion.
Ton Hammer: Parts of style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold;">Incursion style="font-weight: bold;"> are being delayed until
December and January for further improvement, yet the style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold;">EVE style="font-weight: bold;"> fan community appears
mostly pleased. How happy is CCP about the reaction to their decision?
Ward: I think every gamer has
been burned at one time or another by a product launching before it had
enough time for polish. CCP is extremely pleased that the community
understands we would rather put out a well polished product late than
to rush something out that has imbalances, graphics glitches and
Ton Hammer: The changes that are still being rolled out in November are
mostly fixes or minor changes suggested by the CSM council. How do you
think this will change the perception of the CSM?
Ward: Our hope is that as
people see that we listen to the suggestions of the CSM more people
will get involved in the process by voting in the elections and
supporting issues raised on the assembly hall forum. It's a simple
matter of heading over to the style="font-style: italic;">EVE
forums and clicking support in the threads containing issues you like
or starting a new thread with an idea for something you want changed.
Then the CSM handles organizing and prioritizing the ideas and bring
them to CCP for further discussion. Of course we're also reading the
forums and monitoring the hot topics. Speaking of the style="font-style: italic;">EVE
forums those are getting a facelift and being integrated with EVE Gate,
our social networking site for style="font-style: italic;">EVE
characters. The facelift should make it both nicer on the eyes and
easier to use.
Ton Hammer: Many players seem most disappointed with the delayed
release of the Noctis, though it is not clear when that ship will be
released. Any comment? What other CSM-initiated features will be in
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Noah "CCP Hammer" Ward
Ward: This forum post by CCP
Explorer answers both questions:
are deploying the
work we have done since summer in 3 releases; the 1st one in late Nov,
the 2nd one in mid Dec and the 3rd installment in mid to late Jan. The
deployment of Incursion is going to span over approximately a month and
a half. Like all good fireworks it's going to start of with a teaser,
contain a surprise and end with a big bang:
The 1st release contains a collection of player requests we have been
working on alongside the main expansion features and that we could
easily extract from the expansion code base. This includes: Rocket
balancing, tech 2 ammo balancing, faction ships on the market, fighter
bomber lag reduction, window resizing, camera offset, meta-item
indicator icons, the Noctis, and more.
The 2nd release is a Christmas surprise; new development we decided to
dive into but something players have requested. The Christmas surprise
will probably be delivered in two parts...
The 3rd release are then the headline features of the expansion,
including but not limited to the new Character Creation, the Incursion
feature, and a big iteration on Planetary Interaction and EVE Gate.
Shiny ships, there is the Noctis. Perhaps there is more.
Ton Hammer: Will the delayed release affect CCP's spring
it shouldn't really
have an effect on our 2011 expansions. Many of the teams are working on
right now and weren't planning on putting their stuff out this Winter
so the delay didn't affect them. Other teams didn't need as much time
for extra polish and could start on laying foundation for next release.
With our move to enterprise agile across the entire organization we've
gotten pretty good at responding to change.
Ton Hammer: The CSM minutes mentioned that there could be as many as
one Sansha Incursion per region, except the Sansha home region of
Stain. If so, why so many?
Ward: That would be at the
absolute highest end of how many we've considered and won't likely be
the number at launch. At the very low end we've considered 2 in high
sec, 2 in low sec and 2 out in null sec. But those numbers are entirely
open to change and we can easily tune the number that spawn based on
player activity. We want to strike a balance where there are enough
that everyone who wants to participate can do it without there being so
many that some are ignored or so few that they are overcrowded to the
point of player frustration.
Ton Hammer: We know that the new CONCORD loyalty point store will have
better versions of Capital modules, but will there be anything new and
interesting for sub-capital ships?
Ward: Yes the CONCORD store
has a slew of new implants on offer. The other cool thing about CONCORD
LP is that they can be exchanged for LP in the other major empire LP
Ton Hammer: Won't the new capital-class modules make it even harder to
kill supercarriers? Aren't supercarriers a little out of control,
already? The present balance in style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold;">EVE style="font-weight: bold;"> heavily favors
supercapital ships to the point of the game occasionally being referred
to "Supercapitals Online." Incursion will be providing named
Capital-class modules for the first time, as well as a faction
Supercapital ship for players to use. How will style="font-style: italic; font-weight: bold;">Incursion style="font-weight: bold;"> prevent Supercapitals
from becoming even more central to the gameplay?
Ward: We're well aware of
being refered to as "Supercaps Online" by some of the more veteran
players and we understand that not everyone wants to participate in
capital fleet battles. With that said however, there are players who do
enjoy that gameplay and those players haven't had nearly as much choice
in ways to fit their ships as players who pilot subcapitals. So while
some players feel capital ships are becoming more prevelant on the
modern battlefield than they should be, we don't want to punish players
who enjoy piloting those ships. The new improved modules will make
capitals better for sure, but it will also make them much juicier
targets due to the cost of the modules. The focus of the style="font-style: italic;">Incursion
expansion wasn't about balancing large scale, end game PvP but it has
been our focus in recent planning sessions for the 2011 and beyond
expansions. We are excited to talk directly with players about those
things in depth at the next Fanfest.
Unrelated to the balance of capital ships is the fact constellations
with incursions in them will be cyno jammed so no capital ships will be
allowed in those systems. Black-ops cynos will still work. So large
groups of subcapital class ships are going to be required to take out
the Incursions and those players in the smaller ships will be able to
profit by selling capital class modules.
Our thanks to Noah Ward for this interview.
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