With the March update, the EVE client chat interface will be getting a complete overhaul, according to a recent Dev Blog. As part of this update, CCP will no longer be including voice chat in game. The change comes as part of an ongoing effort to update the client and prepare it for future iterations as the game reaches the midway point of its second decade.
Voice chat, in particular, was an unused feature which stood in the way of CCP’s plans to release an updated 64-bit client which would be better optimized for modern computers. “At present, EVE Voice is used by just 0.4% of our active pilots,” writes CCP Falcon in the blog. Today, most players use Mumble, TeamSpeak, or Discord for voice chat functionality. With so few pilots using it, it makes little sense to continue including the in-game voice chat in the new chat.
“It’s currently one of several more things holding us back from developing a 64-bit EVE client.” Last year, the Captain’s Quarters were removed for similar reasons. Asked on the official forum discussion post if there was a list of other blockers to developing a 64-bit client, CCP Explorer told us there are “no other known blockers.” This may indicate that a 64-bit client could be ready in the foreseeable future.
The new chat system will be based on XMPP protocol, which could also pave the way for third party or non-client integration to the chat. The Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP), originally called Jabber, is an open source messaging platform designed for integrated use across multiple applications. As such, there may be an opportunity to communicate with other players in client from mobile devices, or from other devices without being logged completely into the game.
While CCP hasn’t announced either way if there are plans to allow this level of integration, any move towards a modern system is a welcome one. The current chat system, in place since launch, is a custom solution. If updating the chat and getting rid of voice are the only things holding us back from a client optimized for modern computers, then this is certainly a welcome change.