Posted Thu, Mar 31, 2011 by Space Junkie
On the third day of Fanfest, the developers rested. Well, not really. Instead, CCP went for the big reveal: a presentation that juxtaposed their plans for the next expansion in EVE Online with a video explaining their long-term "end-goal" vision for EVE Online.
We don't know what the next expansion is called, yet, but we do know a good portion of the features that are likely to be included, both from the Fanfest presentations and from developer blogs on the EVE forums. Enjoy.
In times long past, cosmic anomalies were crappy encounters that most players ignored in favor of more lucrative activities. Those times are long since past. These days, the modal average of players living in null-sec probably make their ISK by running "sanctum" anomaly encounters.
Unfortunately, there were some problems with how these were implemented, and CCP has decided to rectify them. Problems include: anomalies introduce too much raw ISK into EVE (compared to missions that are part ISK, part loyalty point, part salvage), are too easily run with bots, and most importantly, they are equally available in every null-sec system that has been upgraded. By making the best "member-level" way to earn ISK equally available, a major source of contention between alliances was removed.
CCP has given us a major look into the future of EVE Online.
On the one hand, it is good that alliances have an incentive to stuff people into their space: the best way to get people into null-sec is to incentivize it on the personal and alliance levels. But there are the problems mentioned above, and there is no real reason to fight over space since if you don't have technetium moons, most any space is the same as everyone else. And though there is some disagreement on this point, it seems clear that there is a need for more reasons to fight, not less.
CCP Greyscale is the face on the markedly unpopular decision to reverse this state of affairs. According to his blog and subsequent posts made in the comments thread, the quality of cosmic anomaly will now be tied to the truesec of the solar system where it resides. This means that good systems will remain good and may even be better (the blog seems to imply this), but systems with worse truesec may get less high-end anomalies, and those with really crappy truesec (especially -.02 and higher) won't have any of the good sites at all.
Understandably, large amounts of players are not happy. This is the null-sec equivalent of tinkering with with level four missions: most people in alliances rely on these anomalies for their income, and they are pissed. The comments thread is at sixty pages of almost entirely negative replies, despite being up for less than a week. Nevertheless, CCP is going full steam ahead. I can't really fault them for this, since what is lucrative or effective for players does not always make for the most fun game or stable economy. But this does seem poised to reduce the total number of people in null-sec, and I really doubt that it will make the truly large alliances any less stable. Nor can one fault the players: they just want a way to make ISK in null-sec that is lucrative enough to offset ship losses to gankers or defending space. This will certainly increase the internal pressure most alliances feel over NPC-killing rights, and make alliances less tolerant of botting. I just hope this doesn't push a big chunk of players out of null-sec.
The Ongoing Incarna
Barring some catastrophe, the next expansion will feature the "captain quarters" portion of Incarna, as shown in CCP's keynote preview. We will take a more in-depth look at what CCP showed us about this, in a later article.
The new expansion will also have additional character options, probably including facial piercings, racial tattoos, casual tattoos, sleeve tattoos, distinctive scars, and facial hair. There will also be more clothes. It was explained that the clothes currently available are deliberately generic, and that later clothes will be much more particular and stylistic. There may even be entire fashion lines released. It is also possible that there will be cigarettes, cigars, bloodstains, blood spatters, and colored light, at least if the previews are any indication. There's no telling whether any given example of these features will be in this next expansion or a later one, though.