I feel like there are an increasing number of developments happening in EVE Online these days, and it's getting more challenging to keep up with the latest news. I think this is a good thing, in general, but I wonder if all this activity perplexes casual players, or new people just joining the game. Regardless, I love the high level of activity. Whenever I think things have calmed down for a while, CCP Games refills our candy dish with more space treats for us.
The story thus far...
First, there have been some huge advances in the lore of New Eden over the last few weeks. I feel sorry for those who pay no attention to the backstory of the game. I suspect they are about to feel ambushed by some very significant game developments when they happen, while those of us who have been watching The Scope videos and reading the in-game news reports already anticipate the coming calamity.
If you don't know what I'm talking about, just take a look at the visuals in this latest report. You don't have to know who Hilen Tukoss is or what he represents to see that the Drifters are amassing their forces, which likely spells trouble for us capsuleers.
CCP Loki (the creator of the Scope videos), and the entire EVE Online community team, should be congratulated. They've all done a marvelous job maintaining the brisk pace of in-game news reports. I've never seen a more active interest in the lore of New Eden.
If you feel baffled by all the speculation and theorizing about what these news reports mean, I recommend two sources to help you catch up.
- The lore panels conducted by the Hydrostatic Podcast crew are an excellent way to understand what is going on, and why it's important. The expertise and knowledge of the panels of experts assembled for these discussions is impressive. You definitely will not find these talks boring! To get a handle on current events, start with the Rhea panel, then the Tiamat panel, and finally, the latest Entosis panel.
- If you prefer to read rather than listen, I recommend reading this useful list of links, in sequence, which were compiled by Signal Cartel pilot Ned Thomas.
Yes, there's a lot of content in both sources. Like I said, there have been an increasing number of developments happening in EVE Online these days, and it's easy to fall behind.
New wormhole content
One way that the emerging lore story is manifesting in the game can be found in the new content appearing on the test server. I wrote an article about new Unidentified Wormholes for Crossing Zebras, compiling information from a variety of sources.
The coolest thing about these new wormholes, beyond the lore implications, is that the anomaly sites in them appear to require multiple pilots, working different parts of the site at the same time, in order to complete them successfully. This is a neat new take on PvE content, and I like the idea.
Alas, CCP Games shut down access to the Unidentified Wormhole content on the test server, so we can't do any more advance investigation at this time. We'll have to wait for the new content to be officially released to the Tranquility production server, which hopefully will happen in either June in the Carnyx update or in July in the Aegis update.
Are you authenticating yet?
I installed the new two-factor authentication protocol for all of my accounts. It's an easy process, and so far, I've had no technical issues with it. However, I'm not yet used to needing my iPhone nearby every time I log in to the game client, or when I'm trying to access my account management page. I keep firing up the launcher, entering my username and password, and then realizing that I need to use the Google Authenticator app on my phone to get the current six-digit number code. The change is a bit of a pain, but I'm sure I'll grow more comfortable as the new log-in process becomes routine.
Still, I think the additional log-in step is worth the trouble. As my friend Noizygamer points out, hacking of your game accounts is a very real threat. The extra layer of security provides protection from most of this problem, although CCP Games still has some work to do to overcome some legacy issues, such as the ability to log in without the launcher. But it's only a question of time before those are addressed, and I figure that two-factor authentication will become the norm, so it's best to start getting used to it now.
A (possible) new era for player-made art
Kudos to the talented Rixx Javix, who has championed the cause of enabling player-made EVE Online-inspired artwork to be available to the public. He spoke briefly about this during his talk about fan art at the last Fanfest conference, and hinted that more progress with CCP Games was expected soon.
And indeed, this progress has come to fruition, with his cool battlecruiser posters now available for sale. These posters are really beautiful, and I've ordered a set, even though the shipping costs are high. I saw them first-hand at Fanfest, and I would have bought some there, but I wasn't confident that I could get them home intact.
More importantly, these posters represent a potential new era for fan-made artwork. Rixx has shown that is now possible for player-artists to work with CCP Games to produce and market their efforts. If sales of Rixx's posters is strong, the likelihood of expanding this program rises significantly. So, I urge everyone reading this to take a look at Rixx's work, and consider ordering a set of his posters. You won't be disappointed in their quality, let me assure you.
Please help Nepal now
I donated to the "PLEX for Good" campaign for the victims of the recent devastating earthquakes in Nepal, and I urge everyone who can to do so as well. This campaign concludes on Sunday, May 24th, so if you haven't contributed yet, please read this dev blog and make a donation today!
Cashing in on Fozziesov (I hope!)
I wonder how CCP Fozzie feels about the next version of nullsec sovereignty mechanics being generally called "Fozziesov", after him? If it turns out to be widely accepted, he'll be relieved, I'm sure - but if it all goes bad and people take up their pitchforks and torches, I'm sure he'll be less than enthusiastic about becoming the focal point of player rage and rebellion.
I don't think he needs to worry. I'm impressed with how he has handled the dialogue with the player base about the coming changes, which will be rolled out in phases in June and July. He and the CCP developer team have listened to player feedback and refined the proposed sov mechanics, without abdicating the integrity of their design.
I agree with Talvorian Dex that the latest iteration of Fozziesov addresses a lot of potential issues. The "trollceptor" concern - fitting a long-range Tech II Entosis Link on a super-fast, hard-to-catch ship and harassing enemies endlessly with them - is now much less of a worry. Increasing the defense ratings of a designated alliance capital system helps improve the importance of geography (or should I say, astrography?) under the new system, which is generally a good thing - it will help make warfare in nullsec more territorial. Adjusting the vulnerability windows, and making them more dynamic, provides more options for players in different time zones to participate in "good fights".
In general, I like just about everything I hear about Fozziesov. It's a brilliant design, in that it eliminates the most boring part of old Dominion sov mechanics: grinding down structures in long, boring sieges. The new system should distribute conflict across multiple systems in a constellation, and open a wealth of dynamic tactics and strategic choices. It's going to be a lot of fun to see how it all unfolds when the new mechanics are rolled out in the summer.
As a mostly highsec carebear industrialist, why do I care at all about Fozziesov? Because war is good for business. I'm hoping that Fozziesov does indeed encourage the nullsec powers to engage in widespread conflict, and I'm hoping that it opens up nullsec to new entrants who want to make their claim to their own space. If it does, then that can only increase demand for the kinds of Tech II components that I am building.
In fact, I am betting big that this does happen. I've been manufacturing and hoarding billions in value of Tech II ammo and modules. I'll be watching the markets with eager anticipation in late summer, and hope to cash in on a significant rise in demand.
My biggest worry is that everyone else, including the nullsec powers themselves, are doing the exact same thing. There may be quite a backlog of items in producers' inventories, waiting for the same wave of buyers. My hoarding strategy may backfire badly, or take much longer to come to fruition than I hoped. But I'm enjoying myself, thinking about the potential payoff if I'm guessing right.
We live in interesting times
So it goes in EVE Online. These are very interesting times indeed, with so many good things happening, or about to happen, in the game. I don't think I've been more optimistic about the future of the game, or what it means to our community of players. It feels like CCP Games is just firing regularly on all cylinders these days. The high-quality developments in the lore, the content, the mechanics, and the frequent updates - it all just seems to be working well.
For a game as complex as EVE Online, and for a player base as difficult to please as our community can be, that is saying something. I can't wait to see how it all unfolds over the summer and beyond.
Fly safe! o7