CCP Roo took the stage Saturday to present a recap of the first year of Valkyrie, the upcoming Groundrush expansion, and the team’s plans for the future. Groundrush—Valkyrie’s fifth expansion—exits the launch tube on April 11 and brings the fight to the surface of a planet. With a year of gameplay behind them, the Valkyrie team is taking a hard look at ship usage, strategic choices, and the in-game economy. Player agency and progression are areas the team seeks to improve. CCP Roo ended his presentation with a virtual mic drop after showing a teaser of the new covert ship class.
The Groundrush expansion brings the first planetary map, Solitude, to the game. This map, which is set in snow-covered mountains, features an abandoned Minmatar research facility that Schism repurposed for their nefarious deeds. The map features underground objectives that require dogfighting through tunnels and caverns. The dev team forgoes accurate physics in favor of fun gameplay, so pilots do not need to worry about that thing called gravity. Also, bundled in this expansion are new wormhole maps and official Steam Controller support.
The Wraith is the most used and most iconic ship in the game. Capturing a whopping 37% of all gameplay the Wraith dwarfs the nearest rival, which comes in at 9%. CCP is looking hard at ship choices and want to find ways to make all ships feel unique and useful. This may result in removal of some of the least used ships and reimagining the roles of other ships. They are also considering user interface and model changings that make ships easier to identify in the heat of battle.
Launch tubes are a game mechanic that forces players to choose a few ships and loadouts before a battle. This provides a strategic decision point while preparing for a match. CCP is reviewing this mechanic and assessing how well it meets their goals. They are not entirely happy with the current state of launch tubes and may replace them in an upcoming expansion.
Lastly, CCP Roo talked about the in-game economy and the choices players make. Currently if a player chooses to purchase a customization item, they may have to delay character progression. CCP wants player rewards that feel genuine and they want more options for player customization. We can expect updates to the game’s currency options and ways to spend it. Roo also showed a UI concept and mentioned that piles of money in your hangar look cooler than an icon and a number.
No CCP Roo presentation is complete without a teaser. This time he showed a screen capture of the new covert ship class. Roo used the word “stealthy” in the presentation so it possible that this ship will have cloaking technology. CCP is playtesting the ship now but do not expect this ship any time soon. Balancing stealth is a difficult task in any game and CCP is taking their time to get it right.