Computers, Entertainment, EVE Online, Games, MPOGs, Technology

Revelations II for EVE Online

Tonight (well tomorrow morning) Revelations II is deployed. Lots of changes affecting everyone from solo players up to major alliances. I’ll summarise the things I find most important personally (for a non-alliance (and at the moment non-corp) player).

  • Revamping the loyalty system for agents. Instead of agents giving you offers, NPC corporations will let you “buy” things with your loyalty points meaning you no longer have to wait for a specific offer to be available – if you have the LPs, you can have it.
  • A lot of static deadspace sites have been moved to the exploration system which anyone can scan with a new low quality on board scanner on each ship.
  • Heat (which may or may not be important to me) has been added allowing you to overpower some modules at the risk of damaging them.

If you’re not already an EVE Online player, get a free EVE trial account, and if you already a player, get some EVE Game Time Codes 😛

Computers, Entertainment, EVE Online, Games, MPOGs, Technology

Revelations 1.3 – Castrating Jita

CCP have announced the patch details for Revelations 1.3. Nothing new as such is being added but it is a a pretty cool update nonetheless. Below are some of the points I feel especially important or cool

Firstly, Jita should be a little less crowded afterwards. It will probably still be a trade hub but it’s asteroid fields are being removed and the school stations are “under new ownership” (and hence no longer selling skills). A bunch of other stations are suffering similar consequences.

Expeditions are more likely to be triggered by exploration sites and Data Interface (used for invention) BPCs and materials will drop more. The new scanners will have their tech II mineral requirements removed also making exploration cheaper.

Best quote from the patch notes:

Moved all of the humans and animals located in the normal ‘commodity’ groups into the ‘livestock’ group, to prevent the poor things from being squeezed into small cargo containers by unscrupulous players.

Computers, Entertainment, EVE Online, Games, MPOGs, Technology

Improving EVE – Part 2

There are obviously more NPCs in the game than just pirates and Concord – there are all the factions. The rest of what I suggest is essentially a way to do factional warfare. And because I speak from a programming background there are a few technically implementation details.

The first step is to have some sort of invisible “power rating” for every NPC faction in a system. This power rating represents the control that faction has over a system and would be completely dynamic. The rating would control how quickly ships (and sentry guns for instance) controlled by the faction spawn. As more ships appear in a system, they could move into other systems and (in the case of war) attack the ships in that system. Losing ships in a system lowers that faction’s power there. By default they’d all be equal (on their borders) thereby ensuring it’s player involvement that tips the balance. With enough support a faction could gain sovereignty of a system from another faction (or perhaps a player alliance? The mechanics of system sovereignty would have to be expanded). The Caldari stamping out the Gallente for instance 😛 Since the factions need to survive they’d have to be some scaling factor giving more support to factions that have lost a lot of space so they don’t disappear completely.

This also means turning Concord upside down. Have Concord work the same as the other factions. And themn, instead of having Concord presence be dependent on security status, have security status based on Concord presence. Therefore player pirates that want to move in somewhere can, but only after they wipe out Concord first. For systems well secured by a faction, it’s navy should probably also take on the role of the police along with Concord.

The factions would also have different “rules” for expansion. Concord would not aim to take territory for instance. The big four would aim to strongly control a few systems whereas pirates would aim to expand a small presence everywhere (this would control pirate spawning for instance).

With EVE as large as it is, some pretty impressive effects could be achieved simply by interacting thousands of small pieces of AI.

Other possibilities could include the ability to declare war on NPC corporations. This would probably mean a loss of standing to friendly corporations and the relevant navy declaring war on you of course.

So to summarise the benefits:

  • Casual players can be more involved
  • Even with everyone helping in a war, the alliances still have the “prestige” of being player run and it meaning something
  • Alliances get to attack the factions
  • A blurring between high sec, low sec and 0.0 instead of the fairly sudden differences
  • And probably more

I’ll wait for comments about the disadvantages…

Computers, Entertainment, EVE Online, Games, MPOGs, Technology

Improving EVE – Part 1

Sorry about the recent EVE fixation. It will pass 😛

There has been a lot of debate on the EVE forums recently about high security space vs low security space vs 0.0 space. Basically CCP (the company that makes EVE Online) prefer 0.0 space and would like everyone to move there. This is for a few reasons. Since it’s all player controlled it is a more accurate example of a world controlled by players. This also means that CCP don’t have to create content for it to be interesting (although they still do).

The problem is that a certain amount of dedication is required and some players simply don’t have the time and prefer a more casual play style. And low security space is even more dangerous than 0.0 space essentially forming a no-mans land. At least in 0.0, alliances have control of it (or have the option to control it).

I have a proposal to alleviate some of the problems. Many people on the forums have had proposals and most of been bad – and there is a chance mine would be no different. But read anyway 😛

The basic idea is to remove the divide between players and NPCs. Previously I would have said this had no chance of happening. CCP want the player interaction to be most important and not let it become a “Massively Single Player Online Role Playing Game”. But with the announcement of factional warfare it seems more possible. In fact my whole idea is essentially an implementation of factional warfare (unfortunately the details about how it will work are probably set in stone by now so suggestions may not help). More details of that in part two.

The first step to bring NPCs and players closer together is to make Concord “real”. At the moment surviving a Concord attack is considered an exploit. The second step is to put Concord in low security space. If it’s considered “empire space” it should be protected. The clever part is to scale Concord involvement to the security level. And also have more patrols and fewer stationary blockade type setups. Having a concord fleet at every gate is kind a silly, and even if they’re become theoretically killable, it would still need a massive fleet.

This would make low sec a bit safer and high sec a bit more dangerous. You’re open to attack anywhere, however you’re more likely to be saved by Concord the higher the security status you’re in. In 0.1 Concord may send a couple of ships eventually, in 1.0 there’s probably 10 patrols just “round the corner”.

Next is the issue of NPC pirates and how Concord should react to them. It doesn’t really make sense for Concord to ignore them. At the moment NPC pirates are important to the game since they

  1. add a bit of risk to new players in high sec
  2. provide bounty for the more experienced
  3. are a necessary storyline part of agent missions

Number one is required in some level so players get to learn combat but this could easily be replaced by training complexes, or even normal rogue drone complexes that Concord could conceivably not be interested in. Number two is certainly not required, there are enough ways to make money. I’ll address number three later. But for now, lets assume NPC pirates are still needed in high sec. A way round this would be to have different parts of a system have effective security statuses lower than the rest of the system. Perhaps make asteroid belts 0.2 lower than the listed security status of the system they’re in – at least as far deciding Concord response. And they should try to run away if they think they’ll lose (and choose not to attack certain ships). This would frustrate experienced players trying to get bounty but would make sense for miners who are, after all, supposed to be the victims of pirates, not the other way round. And remember, you’d be vulnerable to real pirates anyway.

Computers, Entertainment, EVE Online, Games, MPOGs, Technology

Some random revelations

Well I’ve now been playing Revelations, the latest update for EVE Online for a couple of days now. At the moment I’m hastily training skills to use the new features. Contracting for instance lets you have multiple contracts (I do a lot of lazy trading with spare ISK – buy something, pay for it to be shipped, sell it).

I nearly trained Survey V for Salvaging since that is one of the listed requirements. But in their patch notes for the downtime today EVE announced that the requirements for Salvaging will be dropped to Survey III (and Mechanic III).

The final thing you might want is Astrometrics V so you can use the new scanner probes. These allow the funky new exploration. Random interesting sites that can be found (as far as I can tell from reading – no experience yet) in any system (although more interesting ones are in low security and 0.0 space).

Computers, Entertainment, EVE Online, Games, MPOGs, Technology

Revelations (Kali part one) for EVE Online is here

Well Kali is finally upon us. I haven’t really had chance to play yet. But the first thing I noticed was 29,000+ players online, the most I’ve seen personally (although I was apparently online when they first broke 30,000 – I was stuck in Jita with 700 other players).

They did post a dev blog about yet another cool idea they’ve had for the release beyond Kali – the ability to walk around stations in a nice 3D rendered world. Although they pointed out it will be mainly cosmetic at first. And to be honest isn’t high on my list of wanted features…

Computers, Entertainment, EVE Online, Games, MPOGs, Technology

More Kali Goodness

Yet another dev blog entry includes more information on what will be in the first two phases of Kali. Since it’s all there I’ll just summarise.

The seamless map is integral to the new scanning format and exploration. It seems the scanner interface is now built into the normal view. Lots of hidden things will now be available everywhere for people to find.

Related to the seamless map is improved combat awareness including hierarchical gangs. Have fleets of squadrons of ships along with better gang situational awareness and apparently built in voice chat.

Invention will provide a new path to tech II. Gather random materials and mix them with tech I blueprints to create limited run inefficient tech II blueprints.

Loot will be revamped. No more shiny canisters dropped from ships but actual wreckage with “components” that can be used to make rigs – things that work like implants for ships allowing greater customization.

And all this is in Kali 1, before we get factional warfare.

The Focus of Kali 1 versus Kali 2