Updated Fri, Nov 18, 2011 by Space Junkie
EVE Online Crucible: Captain's Quarters
The long-awaited new captain's quarters are here: each of the remaining player races will receive their own space apartment. These are beautiful and will probably be much more pleasing to players' general architectural preferences. Players are certain to like the sculpted, bright Gallente quarters, the all-business polished metal of the Caldari quarters, or the Amarr's gilded church quarters. Any one of these should be easier on the eyes than the rust bucket look of the previously-released Minmatar quarters, which I think many players found alienating despite being aesthetically consistent with EVE Online game lore.
EVE Online Crucible: New Nebula Art
One of my favorite details about this change is that the backgrounds will vary depending on what area of space you are in. High-sec will be brightly colored, with hues representative of the NPCs in charge of that area. Meanwhile, low-sec and null-sec will be darker and, well, spooky looking. Null-sec is about to become a much colder, darker place. Notably, W-space backgrounds will not be changed this expansion, as they are already much more recent than the other areas, and are representative of the local stellar phenomena like black holes and so forth.
EVE Online Crucible: Player-Driven Content On Planets
CCP's upcoming console game, DUST514, is expected early next year (perhaps as early as January, though that seems optimistic). It will feature teams of Playstation 3 players fighting as mercenaries for control over EVE Online's planets. Because planets are a source of incredible wealth in EVE Online, this will be a very important and competitive portion of the game. There will also likely be armies of NPCs fighting each other for control of planets in high- and low-security space.
That all comes with DUST514, but in the meantime, Crucible will represent a sort of stopgap situation, where spacefaring EVE pilots will need to build their own customs offices on most planets outside of high-security space (at least the ones people want to use). Controlling a customs office will allow a player to levy taxes on those players that use it, permitting players that live in low-sec and NPC-owned null-sec to develop their own little financial empires. Players will be able to blow up each others' customs offices and replace them with their own, of course. Low-sec customs offices will be initially replaced by NPC-owned customs, that can then be taken down and replaced by players (or not) as they like.
This will be particularly interesting in low-sec systems that are accessible from high-sec, where pirate corporations will surely fight it out for the right to tax those heavily-used planets. There may even be some attempts to protect the people trying to use those planets, though in light of how cutthroat those pirates are I kind of doubt it.
EVE Online Crucible: Time Dilation
EVE Online is all about epic fleet fights involving hundreds of pilots slugging it out. But the size of the player base and organizational ability of the large alliances has long outstripped CCP's abilities to host fights on that scale. This despite CCP's incredibly dedication to fighting lag and innovative changes to facilitate huge fights. Players explode without ever seeing the ships attacking them, guns stop firing or cannot be reloaded, and the response time of the game slows to a drip feed.
Fortunately for us, a new mechanic is going to change all of that, and hopefully revivify null-sec and factional warfare in the process. Time Dilation is a game mechanic where the server slows everything down to the point where the server can handle things. Fights will happen in slow motion, with everybody's commands being treated equally by the server. Though this may sound a bit weird, in practice this will mean an entirely new era of EVE warfare where jumping into a system is not like playing Russian roulette. Of all the new features in the Crucible expansion, I think this one excites me the most.