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EVE Online Interviews: New Combat Features

By Dan Fortier on January 16, 2007

EVE Online: New Combat Features

Dan Fortier sat down for a quick chat with CCP's Huni "TomB" Hinrichsen about EVE Online's New Combat Features.

MMORPG.com:

The new changes to the gang system seem to be focused on making them more manageable both for players and your server cluster. What changes do you expect to see in the way large fleet battles are fought with this new system?

Huni “TomB” Hinrichsen :

There are a lot of improvements that the new gang system creates. Broadcasts give faster and better communication between gang members whereas before they had to spend time searching for the target objective once they’d received it via voice communication or chat text. The group system allows the commanders to create squadrons or wings that are dedicated to a specific role such as a group of electronic warfare specialists or logistical support and so on.

I would like to point out, however, that this is only the beginning of our focus on fleet combat. We have been working like mad scientists on finding more group focused activities that will add more fun, versatility and excitement in the second installment of the three-part Revelations expansion. (Revelations II is coming in 2007, but we don’t have a firm release date yet.) A few things you can look forward to seeing in Revelations II are massive bombs for stealth bombers, remote ECM bursts, remote force field arrays and totally revamped star base combat.

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MMORPG.com:

The new system makes it so only the designated Commanders of each tier will give their bonus to those under them. What were the main reasons for this change?

Huni “TomB” Hinrichsen :

Server performance was the primary reason for this change. Previously, there was a lot of stress on server nodes when a big gang jumped into a new solar system and all the gang bonuses had to be recalculated each time a new member entered the area. In some cases, it caused the solar system to crash.

But there was also a reason from a gameplay perspective, as well. We wanted to reduce the simple benefits of having a big group together in a gang by incentivizing them to organize the structure and select gang members that will give useful bonuses to smaller groups.

We are still looking for ways to improve upon this in future updates. One possible option might be to allow the commander of a group to assign the gang boosting ability to another gang member but continue having the limit of only a single person per group that can give bonuses. This will enable the player in the commander position to efficiently operate the group with fewer restrictive skill requirements.


MMORPG.com:

How do you plan to integrate the new fleet system in with the new voice technology being added?

Huni “TomB” Hinrichsen :

For starters, you can see in the system map the location of your gang member when he is talking, which will make it easy to spot him if he’s doing recon and hits pay dirt.

We are also working on multi-channel support for the global gang and squadron chat channels. This will allow the fleet commander to communicate to all gang group channels in his fleet simultaneously. But that’s not all! To make it extra awesome, the volume of speech for other members will be adjusted automatically so that everyone can hear the commands of the fleet commander.

 

MMORPG.com:

Formations have been mentioned as a possible addition to the current system. What kind of future add-ons can we expect to this new foundation for fleet warfare?

Huni “TomB” Hinrichsen :

In implementing the new gang system, we’ve built a framework that empowers the design team to create future add-ons with ease as simple content work without the need for additional programming. That will result in endless possibilities such as a lot more broadcasts, new modules designed for fleet combat (as mentioned above) and, of course, the very cool-looking formation flight that is already supported by our physics engine.


MMORPG.com:

What kind of server performance improvement do you expect with these changes and onwards with the rest of Revelations?

Huni “TomB” Hinrichsen :

We have finally managed to crush the top two lag generators that were related to gameplay; the gang system and Insta Bookmarks. These two have been dogging us with us for a while and were the worst offenders for griefing server performance. Now, we have already managed to accommodate 33,000 simultaneous players – with plenty of room to grow on -- without server instability, making the environment ripe for some large-scale, heart-stirring pwnage.

 

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