CCP's yearly EVE Online fanfest event in Iceland is bigger and better than ever, and EVE Ten Ton Hammer's Space Junkie is on-hand to deliver the latest on EVE Online's May expansion: Inferno.

This year, the event is being held at the Harpa conference hall, a surreal example of Icelandic architecture that fittingly most resembles the hull of a crashed spaceship. It is here that the players of EVE Online converge to discover firsthand what is in store for the next year of EVE Online, to socialize with other EVE players, and perhaps to to argue with CCP game developers over a beer or two.

Despite EVE Online arguably having the most competitive metagame of any MMO, EVE players are a surprisingly friendly bunch. Players that have been shooting each other with spaceships for years (literally) can still happily share a beer or two with their space enemies, while they reminisce about battles long since fought. After all, as EVE players we have far more in common than we do things that set us apart.

EVE Online: Inferno

The next free expansion for EVE Online will be the Inferno expansion, and it will make or break this game. The most recent expansion, Crucible, was a hurried product resulting from CCP giving itself a long, hard look in the mirror. Despite that, it seems to have generally made EVE players happier than they have been in years. This is probably more to do to with CCP's statement of intent to continue developing "flying in space" content, and less with the actual Crucible content. Don't get me wrong here, we all loved the new battlecruisers and most of us liked the new customs offices, but CCP can fry bigger fish than that.

And that's what EVE players are hoping: now that CCP has actually had time to work on an expansion rather than churn it out at the last minute, the results should be impressive. Here at fanfest, the anticipation for Inferno is palpable.

What We Know About Inferno

Crimewatch Reborn

We know that the expansion will touch on Crimewatch, the system that handles aggression mechanics within EVE. According to the developer presentation on this, CCP is hoping to simplify how fighting takes place in high-sec space, as well as how pilot security status affects us.

So far, so good: there is little in EVE that is more lamentably complicated than high-sec aggression mechanics. The presentation did not give any hint as to whether there would be a fundamental reworking of the way that high-sec wars happen, which is something that I and many others have hoped would occur. We'll see.

Drone Region Changes?

Another thing that seems likely is a change to the drone regions. In his economics presentation this morning, Dr. Eyjo was asked whether there would be any changes to the way the drone regions affect the mineral economy in EVE. In response, he said something along the lines of "I did not say that" while nodding emphatically. If true, this could seriously affect the political landscape of EVE Online. Would drones give bounties like other EVE NPCs? Or would they drop something else, instead? Again, we'll see.

EVE Ship Rebalancing

The presentation on ship balancing from has been less tantalizing, with mostly a rehashing of CCP's new design philosophy as already presented in recent developer blogs. This is a promising line of thought for CCP to pursue, but I had hoped for more specifics in person. The only thing of significance that I noticed was a wincing reference to tech III ships not being intended to exceed the capabilities of tech II ships in their area of specialty.

Does that mean a nerf? Possibly, but based on the presentation it seems more likely that there will be de-specialization of tech III bonuses. One example presented includes splitting up the gang bonuses projected by a suitably fit tech III cruiser so that they give several bonuses rather than one, while the tech II battlecruisers would continue to give a single, more significant bonus. Fair enough. But let's hope there is something more exciting and specific than this. After all, players do not fly from all over the world to be told vague generalities about tech I ships needing some love.

No Rest At Fanfest

Check back with us later for more about Fanfest and the Inferno expansion for EVE Online. We should have some developer interviews, along with an in-depth look at the all-important EVE keynote presentation.

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Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016