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EVE Online's new updates make game more accessible, customizable than ever before

Hayden Dingman | March 23, 2015
EVE Online is a game predicated upon giving players power. It's a massive, universe-sized sandbox that's spent twelve years building a reputation off the backs of its players--either the most dedicated or most insane in the world, depending on your viewpoint.

EVE Online is a game predicated upon giving players power. It's a massive, universe-sized sandbox that's spent twelve years building a reputation off the backs of its players — either the most dedicated or most insane in the world, depending on your viewpoint.

Any other MMO, stories about international corporate espionage leading to losses of multiple thousands of dollars in real-world money would be...unthinkable, really. In EVE Online, it's a semi-annual occurrence. Just look at these search results:

Unlike World of Warcraft or Star Wars: The Old Republic or Elder Scrolls Online, EVE can't be divorced from its players. What little solo content exists in EVE feels almost like an afterthought. It's the barest of excuses to steer people toward the player-driven side of the game, which encompasses everything from massive battles to corporate diplomacy to assembling ships that price out at thousands of dollars apiece — a value that can be devised only because of EVE's equally complex player-driven economy.

And now CCP is allowing players even more power to affect the game, giving it what EVE Executive Producer Andie Nordgren (CCP Seagull) termed "more granularity." There are two key facets to EVE's latest vision, which the company unveiled at EVE Fanfest 2015: Ship skins and player-built structures.

That first is pretty straightforward. EVE  players will now be able to skin their ships to look more unique, expanding a test program from last year. CCP revealed 102 new designs at Fanfest. And I do mean revealed 102 designs — there were like, sixty different slides shown as part of the keynote.

102 skins is just the beginning. I confirmed with CCP that player-submitted skins and other forms of customization are also in the works, though there's no definite roadmap for if or when future features might make it out to the general playerbase.

The other big reveal this year is player-built structures, and it's poised to totally change the way people play EVE. Up until now, EVE has been a ship-based game. And it still will be. That's not going away.

But CCP is adding a new system on top — one that Nordgren hopes will lead to all sorts of new player-driven insanity, like entire cities of EVE players, built by EVE players.

"Right now we have a pretty small set of structures players can build, and it's extremely restricted where you can build them and what they can do," said Nordgren. "We're trying to turn structures into something on par with ships, where you have a huge variety of stuff you can build and you can build structures any place in the universe. It's going from a very limited, specific system to a full-blown, open-ended sandbox system."

 

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