Nathan "Oveur" Richardsson, Senior Producer
"The Fifth Horseman: A Chronology of Revelations - And behold I did see a fifth horse the colour of a fine amber ale, waving a flask of fire and ice; and power was given to him that he could foretell of a world beyond the stars, and that world was EVE, and it was good."
Every single CCP person I met at the FanFest was incredible to converse with, but I have to say that Nathan "Oveur" Richardsson is a joy to hear speak. His easy-going, tell-it-like-it-is style lets you know immediately that he's not feeding you a load of crap, but spelling it out honestly for all to hear. His presentation focused on the 'Vision' for EVE, looking out as far as 10 years on the virtual horizon for the game. With all the experience they've picked up since the initial launch of EVE, they're well-situated to turn that into big things in the future.
Much of it has been discussed before in blog posts, but never all in one place. Some of his topics included:
- Contracts system that replaces Escrow;
- Combat system improvement (longer, more involved combats);
- Voice (see Vivox presentation);
- Warp to Zero, and nerfing warpgate instas;
- Map improvements (seamless zoom in and out from ship view!); and
- Exploration of systems (new skill that reveals hidden encounters).
The research system gets a boost with the addition of 'Invention', which (theoretically) will give players more control over the technology they have access to. With the addition of data cores to the game, players will be able to combine these with Tech 1 BPs to - possibly - create a Tech 2 BP of differing quality, depending on certain input factors. We'l know more once it hits the test server, naturaly, so all we have to go on at this point is what has been said previously in Dev blog entries.
Rigs and Salvage are in the works. Players with the Salvage skill will be able to extract resources from the floating hulks that destroyed ships will leave, opening up a whole new industry to the userbase. Rigs will provide more customization to everyone's ship fitting strategies, permanently changing some basic attributes of your ship at the expense of others. Think of them as implants for your ship! Re-packaging your ship causes them to be lost, much like implant destruction upon pod-death.
Add on top of all this, new ships, new regions, and new hardware/architecture. EVE Online's capacity for concurrent players has increased 50% since September, which includes some recent hefty upgrades with more IBM Bladecenters.
As reported earlier, the launch date for Kali 1 is tentatively scheduled for November 28th, 2006. Tentative, because it will only go live when they're sure it's not going to cause more problems than it solves. No one's said anything about it sliding, though, so keep your fingers crossed! Kali 2 will introduce more optimization to code, and focus on warfare - "Factional Warfare" has been the buzzword, but it's not just factional changes that are up for changes, it's *all* warfare, whether it be individual, corporate, allance, what have you. "Heat Management" is being talked about, where players will be able to temporarily overpower parts of their ship at the expense of others, on-the-fly during battle. Add that to 'Rigs' as mentioned above, and you see that there's a whole new world of ship building strategy opening up to us in the near future.
Kali 3 should be the feedback cycle to responses and changes needed as a result of Kali 1 and 2.
After that, what's the vision? Some of it was discussed in earlier presentations on art and tech, but Oveur summarized:
- Full human representation in-game: Walking in stations, increased social aspect to the game
- New Tech - Tech 3?
- Social Networking, Community and RolePlay - building an infrastructure that supports the game storyline
- New Environments - "The Dungeon Asteroid"
- Planetary Interaction - entering a planet's atmosphere for planetary flight and conflict, with ground stations and infrastructure
- New Races - The Jovians and... others?
They've planned everything out for the next two years, in 6-month cycles. TotalHellDeath? Hey, it's catchy.
Hilmar Veigar "Hellmar" Petursson, CEO
"Past, Present, Future - The keynote address celebrating the incredible rise of CCP and EVE in the MMO space and lionizing the exciting future ahead."
Hellmar's keynote address laid out the past, present and future of EVE Online. The past year has seen impressive growth, from just under 75,000 subscribers to the more than 145,000 we have today. The staff at CCP has grown along with those numbers, with expansion with EVE China leading the way. Hellmar likes to call this "World Domination Tour 2006", and he might not be far from the truth! Indeed, outside of World of Warcraft, no other MMO in recent memory has increased subscribership post-launch in this fashion, making EVE Online a poster-child for MMOs of a sort.
The big news of the day - CCP's merger with White Wolf, and all the implications that come out of that. The news was well-received by the audience and resulted in a flood of post-presentation questions for the Dev Panel that followed. What could it mean in the future? The White Wolf division takes over responsibility for the CCG, collectibles and other merchandising, which then frees CCP to focus on its core business - growing EVE Online. Future projects may possibly include an MMO based on White Wolf's "World of Darkness" IP. Under the new arrangement, White Wolf becomes a subsidiary of CCP where White Wolf President Mike Tinney retains his title and also leads CCP's North American division. White Wolf will look after the EVE Online brand as it pertains to CCGs, board games, RPGs, strategy games, minitatures, comics, novels, etc. - basically, anything that isn't the core MMO will likely be handled by the subsidiary. Talks of the merger began about a year ago - "We got naked," quipped Oveur.
The beauty of the arrangement, is that materials produced through White Wolf will eventually help fill in the gaps in the EVE Online storyline and may form the basis of future content that appears in the MMO.
Immediately following Hellmar's presentation was the Dev Panel discussion. Sitting on the stage were Mike Tinney (White Wolf), Hellmar, Reynir, LeKjart, Oveur and prepH. Some of the Q's they fielded included:
- Will future expansions continue to be free downloads?
- Was the IP/backstory for EVE China changed to accommodate local concerns?
- No, there was no change to any of the backstory. Changes were limited to those required for translation, for the most part.
- Are there plans to make Titans more cost-effective to build?
- No, "Titans were never meant to be cost-effective; it's a huge [male genital part]!"
When the discussion group finished up after an hour, there was nothing remaining save to prepare for the party ahead! Laugh if you will at the typical gamer stereotype, but there are plenty among the EVE-playing ranks that know how to have a good time. Even the staff got into the swing of things, with some of them dressing up in best Minmatar fashion!