Updated Fri, Mar 05, 2010 by Space Junkie
Torfi Frans Ólafsson is Senior Producer at CCP Games, the makers of EVE Online. He was kind enough to say a few words about the upcoming Tyrannis expansion, which features the development and control of entire planets.
Ten Ton Hammer: Can players really get into planetary interaction on the their first day of playing EVE, given all the right advantages?
Torfi: Players will finally get access to and be capable of meddling in the affairs of entire planets. The pilots were unhappy with just roaming the skies and controlling the universe from above. So now they are interested in the trillions of people that live on these planets, and the riches on them that will provide a lot of opportunity and adventure.
TTH: Since there is not going to be any way to dislodge players from the planets that they have started governing, unless it is by their own mis-governance, are planets going to be assigned on a first come, first served basis?
Torfi: No. The actual mechanics of how many people can occupy a planet haven't been ironed out, yet. But the general idea is that it is not a land grab. You can build infrastructure and interact with almost every planet in the game, regardless of whether someone has something there, already. The problem is that the planets are going to have limited resources. So if too many people are harvesting a planet at the same time, there will be diminishing returns. So what you will find is that it will be much more enriching to travel to the more remote planets in the more remote systems, for planets which haven't got infrastructure built up, yet. But of course that takes you away from the key trade hubs to which you want to deliver your manufacturables.
We are taking a lot of the things from building systems in the past and we are trying to use the best practices from what we have learned, and to avoid some of the mistakes in terms of implementing industry and markets and handing out slots. In the past in EVE, there are a lot of systems like that. So the general idea is that everybody can play EVE, every player can do stuff on any planet, and the more people that use a particular planet, the less valuable it is for that particular player. And of course there are over 65,000 planets in the game. And you can interact with each and every one of them. Including those that are in wormhole space, which can actually be quite challenging.
TTH: I'm guessing that different planets have different resources and that the harder a planet is to get to, the more rare its resources will be.
Torfi: Of course. And they are all wildly different, which is exciting. We're making really interesting manufacturing and resource trees here, right now. Going over 'what materials are you extracting from gas giants, what are you getting from planets which are pretty much just molten magma. You will actually be able to put down facilities, arcologies, and cloud cities, or really tough units that you can place on very hostile worlds, to extract and manufacture from them. And then rocket the stuff off of them, or move it out with a space elevator. In general, of course, with more risk comes more reward.
TTH: Right, right. Will there be a new set of skills that players will need to master?
Torfi: Yes. Absolutely. Your ability to master a planet, to manufacture, build up, and manage it, will be bound by skills. But again, the barrier of entry is really low. We want people to get in on and get a feel for this feature early. And also, I should mention that the planetary interaction should not be thought about as a feature to replace any action that is already going on in EVE, today. It's more augmenting and re-experiencing EVE. It doesn't require you to sit and grind. You go and you build up infrastructure, but then you set up some manufacturing cycles and infrastructure, and that interacts while you are playing the game. Then you can go back to it and make sure that everything is going well. Lube the machines, so to speak. And collect stuff from them to sell to someone else, or pick it up. But in general you can actually be playing and profiting from planetary interaction while doing all of the other interesting things that you can do in EVE.