In order to add more depth to the game, the team detailed their plans for roles and progression. Roles are broken down to fighter, heavy and support. The fighter was the only role available in what was being shown off this year, and it's an quick, agile vessel armed with cannons and missiles. While we didn't get to see or hear much about the heavy or support, some of the differences will be how the various roles handle environments. The heavy, for instance, is better shielded and won't have its instruments scrambled for flying through zones that mess with electronics. You can probably make some assumptions about how heavy and support work in the game, but one of the goals is to ensure that the roles feel and play differently, and to avoid having them all play like variations of the fighter.
Each role will have its own weapons and special abilities but, in addition to that, there will be a steady stream of progression and upgrades to unlock. Players will be able to upgrade their ship, pilot, and ground crew, in addition to adding cosmetic customization like decals and skins. The major ship upgrades that were explained were load-outs. A load-out is an unlocked template that modifies the basic structure of the role. The developers stressed that these are meant to push different play styles and weren't strict upgrades. A Strike Fighter keeps the same configuration as the normal fighter, but it trades missile capacity for increased damage and more speed, letting it in theory be a better dogfighter.
The story and background of EVE: Valkyrie was also being fleshed out during this time. Building on the existing EVE Universe lore of clones and transferring of consciousness, Valkyrie pilots are aces whose minds are captured at the moment of their death and moved to a new body, making them essentially immortal. The Valkyries are led by Ran Kavik, voiced by none other than Katee Sackhoff, and whose backstory is going to be further looked at in the comic series published by Dark Horse. Just hearing Starbuck barking out orders before you're launched into the void adds a nice little touch the experience. The developers mentioned that getting the perfect voice was very important though since you're dialed into more of the stimuli with a VR headset and headphones on.
EVE: Valkyrie is shaping up to be a system seller in its demographic, and both Oculus and Sony are taking notice. While there are only a limited number of the improved Development Kit 2 (DK2) Oculus headsets available, a handful were on hand in order to show off the latest version of EVE: Valkyrie. In addition to various visual upgrades, the DK2's defining feature is the inclusion of IR lights and sensors that track not only your heads rotation but also its position. This means you can lean in to see objects up close. Sony was also on hand with their Morpheus headset, and it was recently announced that EVE: Valkyrie would be available on that hardware for the PS4 as well.
Whether you're an old school flight simulator junkie or are excited by the notion of affordable VR technology, EVE: Valkyrie should have your attention.