EVE Online: Summer Expansion 2009 Announced
At the "World Domination" keynote on the final day of EVE Online Fanfest 2008 in Reykjavik, Iceland, Senior Producer Torfi Frans Olafsson unveiled the upcoming "Summer 2009 Expansion" for the sci-fi MMO, calling it the "biggest expansion in EVE to date." They'd taken more than 300 CCP staff from other projects, and there were more programmers, artists, and the like working on the expansion than ever before, he announced.
New Player Experience
Acknowledging that EVE had a "mildly steep learning cliff" (which drew chuckles from the crowd) that was a barrier for potential new players, Olafsson said that one of the primary objectives with the new unnamed expansion was to streamline the introduction. They'd focus more on learning by doing and progressive character creation, giving players more of a hands-on approach instead of walls of text.
There would also be changes made to the game's UI, continued Olafsson. It wouldn't be a completely different UI overnight, but the team they had working on it would be focused on strengthening the UI and making it more of a productivity tool, rather than a hindrance (especially for newcomers). "What takes 20 clicks now," he said, "should take 1."
Unstable Wormholes and Tech 3
While their aim was to make the game more palatable and welcoming for new players, the bulk of the expansion was certainly aimed at EVE veterans. Unstable wormholes would be popping up in the universe of EVE - or rather, they'd always been there but the technology hadn't existed to discover them. Using new scanners, players would be able to track down these wormholes that would sporadically open and close.
The unstable wormholes would function as gateways to new, heretofore unconnected space - completely unexplored and undiscovered - that, joked Olafsson, was full of "stuff." Ancient stuff, he clarified: artifacts and the like, new resources that would open the way to the game's new Tech 3.
Tech 3 is something that EVE players have been looking forward to for some time since the release of Tech 2 back in 2004. With the new unexplored space, there would also be new discoveries to be made, including new ship designs. Olafsson explained that the team had discussed how many new ships to give each race, but had eventually settled on another implementation entirely: modular technology. Players would be able to mix and match different components. The current plans had 5 different modules with 5 different levels in each, allowing for a whopping 3125 different potential permutations - though CCP cautioned there might be restrictions involved.
There would also be "epic mission arcs" consisting of a hierarchy of missions in a branching storyline tree. Failing a particular mission wouldn't end the storyline, but instead would open up a different mission (whereas a success would lead to another quest entirely). Players would traverse the trees in different ways depending on how they did on different missions.
The expansion, which has no name, is slated to launch in the summer of 2009.