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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.

Starting in an upcoming update, EVE players will be able to construct their own administration hubs, observatories (for intel/counterintel), research laboratories, and more — and they'll be able to build these structures basically anywhere, because CCP's removed the majority of its location restrictions (though some will stay in place to ensure players don't, for instance, clump around gates and make it impossible to invade).

"War in EVE should start looking more like war in the real world, in a sense, where if you go after infrastructure it matters. If you take down communication networks or bomb factories, it matters for your opponent," said Nordgren. "We really imagine a solar system could be able to look completely different based on who's there and what they've built."

As I said, it totally changes the way the game plays, adding yet another layer on top of the already insanely complicated industrial and supply logistics foundation of the game. "What I want is for us to put changes out there where we don't know what's going to happen," said Nordgren. "Where the outcomes are unpredictable enough there's an element of strategy and decision-making where the players are playing against each other — not in some predetermined way we've come up with."

"World-shaping capabilities are really going to be tied to structures where players get to impact the actual rules of the universe, in a sense. We're still going to control what's possible, of course, but we want structures to be the entry point to where players start to impact much more."

Accessibility

But that's only important if you're a longtime EVE player. For years now CCP has been adding features onto EVE Online and, frankly, compounding a problematic reputation the game already had basically from the start — that it's actively hostile to newcomers, thanks to a hellish tutorial and about a billion systems to learn. On the one hand, the game should be actively praised for containing so much depth it can basically be considered a living, breathing world in a way no other MMO has attained. There's a cost to that depth, though: It's intimidating.

Luckily CCP seems to be addressing that side of the issue finally , with a new client and the beginnings of an overhauled tutorial.

Starting soon the client will download only the baseline files needed to play EVE, streaming in new assets on the fly as players encounter them. "With the new much slimmer download, new players can be in space in as little as five minutes," said Nordgren during the EVE keynote. This new system is also allowing CCP to introduce high-resolution textures to the game — something that would've been storage-prohibitive before and ballooned the size of updates.

 

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