EVE Online: is improving at a rapid rate

Last year at EVE’s yearly Fanfest in Reykjavik, CCP Seagull (also known as Andie Nordgren, executive producer) announced a major change in the way expansions would be released. Rather than two big releases a year, we’re getting smaller updates, more frequently.

The first of these was Kronos, released on June 3, 2014. It was meant to be a massive overhaul of the industry interface, but this was held back. Instead we got three new ships for pirate faction Mordu’s Legion. The Garmur, a fast-moving attack frigate that gets a 25% bonus to missile damage; the Orthrus, a cruiser with an impressive 200% bonus to missile velocity; and the Barghest, a fast battleship with high-speed missiles.

Kronos also introduced a new mining ship: the Prospect. This ‘expedition frigate’ has significantly more HP and cargo space than the Venture, with space for a specialised cloaking device. This has obvious benefits when harvesting in dangerous areas.

The next update, released on July 22, was Crius: the industry update originally scheduled for Kronos. The interface for manufacturing is now a lot simpler to use, and a lot less daunting for newcomers. Crius also introduced a new starbase extension called a compression array, which lets you store large amounts of ore and ice in player-owned stations.

Released August 26, the Hyperion update focused on wormholes. Additional information is now shown on the ‘show info’ menu, including the size of ships able to pass through, and the W-systems themselves were tweaked to make them feel more mysterious and unpredictable. Hyperion also, at long last, included the ability to share overview profiles.
Released on August 26, the Hyperion update focused on wormholes
Wormholes received further tweaks in September 30’s Oceanus, with new visual effects that let players know, at a glance, which ships can squeeze through them. Cloaking also received a fancy new activation effect. A more practical new feature was the ability to name your jump clones, making it easier to manage them. You can also paste ship fittings in text form from sites like BattleClinic.

Following Oceanus was Phoebe, released on November 4. This brought changes to jumping, reducing the range to five light years, and adding a ‘jump fatigue’ that triggers a cooldown on ships making multiple jumps.

Capital ships are for the first time able to use stargates. The CCP team think the sense of New Eden as a physical space has been diminished by long range jumps, and this is an attempt to combat that. They also want to make space feel busier, and encourage small, local engagements without masses of people turning up.

The ability to sell multiple items was also added, and the 24-hour time limit on skill training was finally removed. This means you can plan your skill tree in advance for days, months, or even years. And as if that wasn’t enough, the overlay was redone, with bookmarks (both personal and corporate) visible on-screen, and easily navigated to thanks to a new ‘compass’ on the HUD.

Rhea was released on December 9. A massive new ORE ship, the Bowhead, was added, designed for transporting fitted ships. It boasts a 90% jump fatigue reduction and a whopping 1,300,000m³ capacity maintenance bay. A new Amarr tactical destroyer was added too: the Confessor. This sleek ship has good bonuses for small energy turrets, and has become a popular solo ship in nullsec.

Rhea also added a new wormhole system called Thera. It’s a giant shared system with four NPC stations and loads of wormhole connections. These lead to multiple locations in highsec, lowsec, and nullsec space, making it the most connected in the game. Thera is the largest system in EVE, with great distances between stations. This makes controlling the entire system a challenge, even for seasoned conquerors.

But perhaps Rhea’s most dramatic addition was the ditching of clone grades. You no longer have to keep your clone upgraded to match your skill points, and better yet, skill points won’t be lost on death. Because you pay to subscribe to the game, it’s a bit too much like losing money. It will also remove frustration for new players who forget to upgrade their clone and lose days of skill points.

Proteus dropped on Feb 10, bringing new visual effects for asteroid belts and new anomalies for new players, offering small scale mining opportunities that won’t dry up so fast in high activity areas.

The most recent update as I write was Tiamat, released on March 3. This released the Minmatar equivalent of the Amarr Confessor from drydock, the latest tactical destroyer to join EVE’s growing fleet. A bonus to small turrets has made it a popular PvP ship.

Despite the pressure of releasing multiple expansions a year, CCP shows no signs of slowing down.

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