EVE Online released ten years ago in 2003. For ten years now, it has been known as one of the most difficult games to learn and play. It has also been the only game to see consecutive population growth every single year since its release. No matter who you are that’s no small feat to accomplish. It also wasn’t done by waving a magic wand.
CCP’s community team works closely with their fans and has made a habit of listening to them carefully. That doesn’t mean there haven’t been some bumps in the road. I can tell you from experience that even the best of teams will have the occasional mishap occur, whether caused by a change in the game or a miscommunication between the company and the fans. Each time, the team has worked hard to not only mitigate any damage, but to repair relationships. They take their fans extremely seriously and I think the game’s continual growth is a testament to this.
Though the game has seen steady growth, it can always use more players. One of the big blocking points with people sticking with EVE past the trial period is the vertical cliff it has for a learning curve. Needless to say, the development team is always looking for ways to make the curve less imposing. Not all players feel this needs to be done. As a case in point during one presentation, a question was asked about possibly making the game easier for new players, at least so far in terms of not losing their stuff when they first venture out and get attacked. There was an immediate and heated reaction from nearly everyone attending EVE Vegas. Admittedly those coming to the convention represent the hardcore fans, but I was surprised at the universal vitriol that came forth at the suggestion.
Despite the reaction of the players in attendance, I think the game is going to be easier for new players with the release of EVE Online’s next expansion, Rubicon (just not in the ways other players are worried about). Set to go live on November 19th of this year, Rubicon will be the 20th free expansion for EVE Online. As far as I’m concerned, it will also mark a turning point in the game’s future growth.
One of the most common reasons for players to quit EVE Online after they’ve made it through the tutorial is a nearly overwhelming sensation of “now what?” One of the changes coming to the game with Rubicon is a complete overhaul to the way skills are viewed and this is what’s going to give new players a goal when they’re first starting out. The ability to tell what's going on with your skills and how they relate to your abilities with various ships and as a whole will be much more visual than it has been previously. Rather than dealing with a massive set of nested skills that are buried further and further, players will now be able to look at a branching tree. This also makes it far easier for new players to see what they need to learn and progress in in order to fly the ship of their choice.
Rubicon has a lot more than just a revamped skills system to offer though. Here’s a quick rundown of what else new and existing players can expect to see added to the EVE universe.
- 20 rebalanced
ships (Marauders, Electronic Attack Ships, Interceptors, Interdictors)
- Mobile deployable
structures – These
structures will be totally player owned (they cannot be
owned by corporations and the like. There are four types being released
Rubicon but more will be on the way later.
- The Mobile Depot - A personal home in any system that can be placed nearly anywhere within that system. Used for item storage and personal fitting service. It will also have a new unique 48 hour reinforcement system meant to encourage players to log in and play at least once every two days.
- Mobile tractor unit – Automatically tractor beams legal wrecks/cans and loots their contents. Can be conveniently scooped, leaving behind a jetcan with the loot. Can only tractor one wreck/can at a time.
- Mobile Cynosural Inhibitor - Disposable one-time use item that prevents normal Cyno fields from opening within 100 kilometers. You can place as many of these out as you can afford but keep in mind that they cannot overlap, so no matter how much you blanket an area with these, there will still be gaps for enemy players to use. This unit was designed to give players more control of their environment and force tough decisions onto their opponents.
- Small Mobile
Siphon Unit – This
mobile unit steals moon materials from starbases. The
biggest item of interest to note about this is that it also does not
notify the starbase owner and defense
guns do not automatically shoot at it (though other players can shoot
It can also be looted by anyone. Before people go crazy in protest,
important to note that it only steals a small amount and is meant to be
an instigator rather than a way to get rich at little to no risk.
- Warp Speed
Overhaul – Ship warp
speed now affects acceleration and deceleration in
warp. Tier 1 cruisers are the baseline that will be used. This will
hit and run fleets. There will be meaningful differences between faster
slower ships. When EVE Vegas attendees were shown a comparison between
a Tier 1
cruiser and one of the new exploration ships complete with speed warp
and fittings, the response was extremely loud and 100% positive.
- Ghost Sites
new class of exploration sites will be introduced with the release of
These will be fast-paced sites combining hacking and combat that are
in all areas of space with different rewards in high/lo/null space.
contain the blueprints and materials for… something.
- FULL Direct X 11 Support – The graphics of EVE Online have always been beautiful but they’re about to be ramped up and players can’t wait!