Thursday, March 19, 2015

Best Keynote Ever!

@CCP_Seagull delivered the EVE Online keynote address earlier today, and hit it out of the park!

For all of you who do not live in the United States or have familiarity with American baseball, sometimes a player will hit a home run where the ball clears the playing field.  Sometimes, they have the strength and power to literally hit the ball out of the entire park, which is what this keynote did.

There were references to the new and improved release schedules, some very quality graph porn, wonderful art discussions, additional information on the new skins, and an announcement of a model which you can purchase of a Nyx...... that levitates!

There was a discussion on our alliance slack about the keynote ending, but I told the audience that it couldn't yet:

Witmer Jolith [10:53 AM] @draivsolregard: can't be.  there is no bomb dropped yet

You see, CCP Seagull has had a plan for the past 24 months, lets call it a roadmap.  We are still on that plan and have made some tremendous strides in the past 12 months as she mentioned in the list of accomplishments which were achieved via the new and improved release schedule.

Last years bomb was not so much one single item, but rather the concept of the flexible development team, releasing improved or updated code in a faster schedule than ever before.  We also have seen a huge transition in the way that CCP announces updates or functionality changes and how they gather feedback.  In a nutshell, they release information far in advance of a change, and they actively seek to gather feedback from player community, such as the recent phase two changes to sovereignty.

About 75 minutes into the keynote, Seagull returned to the stage and introduced CCP_Nullarbor to the stage.  He proceeded to discuss one of the wonderful mechanics in the game that many players have come to despise and literally become sick over, Player Owned Stations (POS).  He then proceeded to go into a summary of many of the changes which CCP plans to make in the near future (some in 2015, others later):

First, your current structures will be safe:

I could just imagine players and corporations getting very fearful of the changes which will be coming as it relates to their current structures.

Next, CCP will be transitioning the structure system to something very similar to the ISIS system for ships, which is a natural transition given the new and improved structures.

Size will become very important in the future, with new structures being over 100 kilometers in length.

A new structure management tool for management of your structures in space, which seems far superior to the current one.

A totally revamped anchoring process which is very similar to the current fitting tool.

Other highlights of the presentation on structures, but not captured in graphical form are the ability to control guns on structures, the ability to apply permanent bonuses on structures, player controlled markets, mooring slots on structures, and the ability to transfer structures from one entity to another.

All in all, I could not express this any better than was by Lockefox on twitter:

There is a presentation scheduled for 1300 GMT on Saturday regarding these structures, and I for one know that I will be waiting for all of the details I can get on these structures.

Finally, I mentioned on slack that this is honestly a perfect time for structures:

1) It goes to addressing the long time complaint from many EVE players on the pain in the arse which is the current structure system within EVE.  Improvements to actual structures and their use, new structures, anchoring and management just to name a few.

2) This more than likely ties into the sov update for phase two which is coming later this year.

3) Certainly involves the end goal of that plan that I referred to earlier with player built stargates.

CCP was onto something with the changes in Phoebe, they increased upon it with the release of the This is Eve video, and now with these changes as well as the phase two sovereignty changes in June they are making major strides at player retention and bringing that spark back to EVE which for many of us has dwindled in the past.

Bravo @CCP_Seagull!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Indices, now they actually have meaning...

Ever since the last re-vamp of sovereignty in 2009 with Dominion, EVE has had an index system within player controllable null security space.

These indices in the past lead to the number of anomolies/ore sites as well as the quality/volume of them appearing in a given system.  Military index has always been tied to ratting (killing red crosses) and Industry has always been tied to volume m3 of mining.

Certain systems have always been consistent with their indices, others have changed over the course of time.  This could be to changes in owners, level of PVE activity within the holding entity, and finally renters.

With the dev blog release on Tuesday from @CCP_Fozzie, we now see that the plan is to provide additional incentive to actually use the space that you hold.  Each system has a base timer for attacking forces to take advantage of the Entosis module.  System structures (TCU, iHub, Station) have a base time of 10 minutes.  Station services have a base timer of 5 minutes.  For each level that your indices are at, it increases the amount of time that the attacking force must spend to gain control over the object being targeted.

There is some speculation in the community regarding what will be done in the future with null sec residents.  As mentioned earlier, there are systems with high index levels, and there are some with nearly zero.

This map was taken as a screenshot on Tuesday roughly 10 hours after the blog was released.  The systems with colors in white or highlighted in green have nearly no ratting activity.  It is possible that there is mining taking place, but no matter what the residents of Tenerifis are not taking advantage of their systems.

This will be the key in the future.  The changes to sov mechanics now mean that more alliances will be able to engage in sov warfare even without having a massive super capital fleet at their disposal.  However, to maintain that space and make it as difficult as possible for an attacking force to attempt to take over you actually need to use your space, both mining and ratting.

I for one am very excited about these changes and I look forward to engaging in activities where we can turn over an apple cart or two in null sec.  A Band Apart. official has no interest at this time in taking sov space.  However, we are all about content and looking for it wherever we can find it.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

First Step in the Death to the Donut

Just this morning, CCP released the latest development blog for Nullsec Sovereignty, if you have not taken a look yet, please head over there and take a look.

There are many aspects of this proposed change which is scheduled for June 2015 which are very appealing, but the one which jumps out immediately are the defensive bonuses applied for actual use of your system.

The current model of indices are tied to Military (killing red crosses) and Industrial (mining).  All of player controlled sovereignty uses this model and the higher the level of indices the more red crosses and ore sites will appear in system for you to take advantage of.  With the new model, all of this is still accurate from the PVE side of the equation, but the defensive bonuses of system are tied directly to these same indices as well.

So, to actually gain defensive bonuses above the standard times required for attacker you will actually have to make use of your system.

Where this really helps in sov warfare is that there are huge areas of null sec where systems are not in use at all.  No shooting of red crosses, no mining, literally nothing outside of jumps in and out of system.  So, all of these systems immediately become ripe targets for invasion.  This also makes it much easier for smaller alliances to take footholds into null sec and take advantage of that game play if they have ever considered it previously.

This initial blog and the potential it provides is spectacular.

Already the thread of tears is at an all time high for even the first few pages, and the twitter posts are quite fun as well.

I for one am very excited about the potential for these changes and hope that the spectacular success of Phoebe is brought forward into these changes as well.