The biggest news of EVE FanFest 2008 was the newly announced Summer 2009 expansion, with a working title of "True Exploration." Here are the in-depth features of the expansion according to Senior Technical Producer Torfi Frans Olafsson:
- Unstable Wormholes - No matter that a collapsed wormhole was how EVE got into this mess, CCP will allow you to go off the map poking around in previously unexplored space via temporary wormholes. These areas are the key to Tech 3 and will require new skills and modules to explore.
- Improved New Player Experience - In an effort to combat what Olafsson called EVE's "steep learning cliff", the newly revamped NPE will get players out of the station faster and teach players more about the game. A iterative revamp of the UI is a big part of this process.
- Epic Mission Arcs - In a bid to make EVE Online more soloable, epic mission arcs will lead you from one mission to another, with alternate paths if you fail a mission. These mission arcs will introduce players to the new wormholes as well.
- Tech 3 - The big news of the True Exploration expansion is customizable, modular ships made of up to 5 components you can switch out based on your fitting needs. Components will tie into exploration as well, and the total number of combinations numbers over 3,500.
- Improved AI - Or, as Olafsson put it, "We're actually going to be doing NPC AI." The changes will be gradual, starting with end bosses and working their way down to give EVE players more of a challenge.
Gallentean components and how they'll fit into Tech 3 ships.
The EVE Summer Expansion will hit retail shelves on March 10th, 2008 through a newly announced distribution partnership with Atari, though current subscribers can, as always with EVE expansions, download the new content for free.
For more info on the EVE Online Summer 2009 "True Exploration" expansion, check out these videos from EVE FanFest 2008: