EVE VEGAS: KEYNOTE ROUNDUP

2015-10-24

With the beginning of EVE Vegas 2015 came, of course, the EVE Keynote address. Delivered by CCP Seagull, the keynote touched on a number of anticipated topics. It delivered details on some features and teasers on others, while adding in a sprinkling of unexpected news to the mix as well. So, without further ado, we present a very brief rundown of some of the keynote’s key notes.

TRANSNEURAL SKILL PACKETS

Transneural Skill Packets (TSPs) were touched on very briefly at the beginning of the keynote, with CCP Seagull acknowledging they are definitely a big change to fundamental systems in the game. She sought to reassure the players that CCP doesn’t take the change lightly, and encouraged everyone to keep the feedback coming. More devblogs on the topic will be released in the coming weeks.

CCP’S ROADMAP

In another brief segment, CCP Seagull mentioned the new server hardware coming to TQ, emphasizing the commitment that it and the completely new datacenter represent to the future of EVE Online. In addition, she touched on the new EVE Launcher. The new launcher is designed to make it easier to manage multiple accounts, adding the ability to store and manage a number of different settings profiles. Last but not least, she turned to the topic of Brain in a Box, the long-running CCP project to revamp a large amount of the code determining the actual specific performance profiles of each ship in space, based on how the hull, modules, skills and implants interact with and reinforce one another.

The first version of Brain in a Box is expected to hit TQ with the Parallax release on November 3, and should bring significant performance improvements, especially over session changes like moving from system to system, or undocking.

Parallax will also bring with it the next iteration of the Aegis Sovereignty system, including node decay, as well as the first serious tweaks of the year-old Phoebe jump drive changes.

EVE ONLINE: CITADEL

The biggest news, though, was definitely the news surrounding the official announcement of the Spring 2016 Expansion, EVE Online: Citadel. While full-blown expansions were removed with the implementation of the 6-week development/release cycle, CCP Seagull has decided that an all-or-nothing approach isn’t the way to go. So while the accelerated cycle persists, whenever a large number of significant, interrelated changes or additions to the game are planned, those will likely be grouped together into a single cohesive Expansion release. The first of these restored Expansions: Citadel.

Citadels will bring with them new visuals, new gameplay, and are expected to usher in an expanding investment in space. When the Expansion goes live, all three sizes of Citadel, Medium, Large, and XL, will be included, as will new weapons, EWAR modules, and citadel rigs. In addition, Market, Cloning, Reprocessing, and Compression service modules will also be available. All structures will automatically gain fitting services. Also ‘tethering’ — the process CCP had previously called ‘mooring’ — will automatically apply to any ships within docking range that do not have a weapons timer, rendering them invulnerable.

Deploying the new citadels will be easily done from cargo, and they can be positioned anywhere in space, without being limited to planet or moon locations. Additionally, the new structures can be rotated on deployment to aim the undock in whatever direction is desired. Citadels will allow for unlimited personal hangars, and have room for subcapital ships and a corporate office for the owner’s corporation.

Then came the breakdown on the various sizes of Citadels:

Medium Citadels:
Size: 50km across
Targeting: 200km
Slot Layout: 4 High / 4 Mid / 4 Low / 3 Rig / 5 Services
Cost: 608m

Large Citadels:
Size: 100km across
Targeting: 200km
Features: separate capital undocking bay, and multiple undocks.
Slot Layout: 6 High / 5 Mid / 4 Low / 3 Rig / 7 Services
Large Citadels will have three times the effective health of medium citadels
Cost: 7b

Extra-Large Citadels:
Size: 150km across and ‘staggeringly tall’.
Targeting: 200-350km (700km diameter targeting range)
Features: All capitals and supercapitals, including titans, will be able to dock.
Slot Layout: 8 High / 6 Mid / 5 Low / 3 Rig / 8 Services
XL Citadels will have roughly six times the effective health of larges, or eighteen times that of mediums. They are ‘intended to be the homes and battlegrounds of the largest organizations in EVE’.
Cost: 70b

Citadel weaponry was also unveiled: Flak Guns will be useful in taking down fighters, bombers, and small craft at short range. Anti-Ship Missiles will be effective against larger ships, and AOE Torpedoes will be available ‘to disperse enemy fleets’. New structure doomsday weapons were confirmed, which will be able to ‘bounce’ from one target to the next to hit multiple ships at once.

Module costs for the Citadel modules were also estimated, with most modules coming in between five and one hundred million ISK, Rigs ranging from 7-80m for Mediums, 90m-1.1b for Large, and 1-23b ISK for XL Citadel rigs. The Structure Doomsday was estimated to cost 1.05b ISK. All cost figures given were estimates based on current market value of minerals and other components.

Look for a new devblog this week to go over all of this, and more.

CAPITALS

CCP also announced groundbreaking changes to the way capital ships function, and has brought them more in line with the functions of sub-capitals.

Announced during the changes, the use of carriers as logistics ships has completely changed. They will no longer be used as a logistics ship, with that function being handed over to a newly announced class called “Force Auxiliaries”. Force Auxiliaries will be the new logistics ships and are also a radical change from the cap-rep chain of current logistics, though they will still deploy in the familiar triage mode.

Carriers will now have a new function for the battlefield, with fighter drones being done away with. Now, carriers will deploy “squadrons”. This will function much like the planes in World of Warships, and their HP will be determined by how much of their “squadron” is left, rather than HP like before.

Dreads will have a new lease on life, by functioning as in-your-face damage dealers. This is much like they functioned previously, but are now more effective in the role.

Supercapitals are getting a range of new effects as well. First are supercarriers, which are going to function as long range artillery on the battlefield, much like carriers. However, they will be getting some EWAR effects to buff the capabilities of their little cousins. Titans, the veritable end-game ship that can create tides if close enough to a planet with water, will be getting the same treatment, with their doomsday weapons functioning as a force multiplier with dreads.

The next grand change, and the cause of what is bound to be misery for some, is the announcement of meta capital weapons and modules, including faction and tech II. “So yeah, there will be tech 2 extra large guns, and ammunition, and skills”, says CCP Larrikin. This also includes armor plates, energy vampires and neutralizers, and other modules.

Additionally, there will be a new set of guns called “High Angle Weapon Batteries”, which will function to defend capitals against sub-capitals much more easily, with the tradeoff being that the capitals will be more vulnerable to subcaps.

A new doomsday class was also announced, called the “sickle class” which will slash across the battlefield. Another doomsday is called “the Hand of God” and will be used to teleport sub-capitals, against their will, to another point in the same system. However, this cannot be used on capitals, and will affect the warp capabilities of other ships.

Capital ships will completely lose their ability to be immune to EWAR. “If Brave Newbies show up in 50 rifters, they can tackle your titan” CCP Larrikin claimed in the keynote.

Almost as an afterthought, the ability to untether your camera from your ship was announced, allowing players to look at any point in the local area regardless of their ship’s position. This feature will definitely be welcomed by capital pilots after these changes.

SO LET IT BE WRITTEN…

CCP also took the time during the keynote to address two different, but related literary projects going on in the greater EVE universe. The first is what was described as a “very powerful book; those who have seen it say it changes their outlook on EVE”: A History of the Great Empires of EVE Online by Andrew Groen. The book was funded via kickstarter, and features both a clear, analytic walk through the epic struggles and history of the player-driven story of EVE Online, as well as lush and lavish artwork illustrating the events covered.

The second book addressed was the unveiling of the new collaborative effort between CCP Games and TheMittani Media that’s brought bestselling author Jeff Edwards into our little sandbox. Entitled The Fountain War, the novel will be written in Edwards’ signature style and recount the twists, plotting, betrayals, and events of the war, culminating in the Siege of 6VDT. Everyone involved is, of course, incredibly stoked to have an author of Jeff’s stature helping to bring to life the stories of our game experiences, and Jeff will be taking input from all interested parties.

A Kickstarter for The Fountain War has been announced for November.

CCP also took the time, before closing out the keynote, to assure everyone that the Floating Nyx is still coming – and that in fact the display prototype had arrived in Vegas just the night before, and was available for everyone to check out.

This article originally appeared on TheMittani.com, written by Vos.

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