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EVE Online - Empyrean Age Dev Chat Log: Page One

The folks from CCP joined us on Sunday for a developer chat. Here are the complete logs of that chat for your reading pleasure.

MMORPG_Taera: Greetings and welcome to MMORPG.com's Live Chat on irc.coldfront.net! I'm your host, MMORPG.com's community manager Laura Taera Genender. Joining us today is the EVE Online dev team!

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MMORPG_Taera: Our guests will do their best to answer as many questions as possible, but due to limited time and a high volume of inquiries, they may not be able to answer every single one. Users are limited to one question at a time,and you will be notified if your question is rejected or discarded.

MMORPG_Taera: To submit your question, please /msg MMORPGBot yourquestionhere. If your question was deleted, it's probably because someone else asked the same thing first :)

MMORPG_Taera: This room will be moderated during the chat; if you want to talk during the chat, feel free to visit #eve-online

MMORPG_Taera: Now it's time for introductions! Feel free to start sending your questions to MMORPGBot while our guests introduce themselves!

Greyscale: Hi, I'm Greyscale and I'm a Game Designer on EVE Online. I also dabble in storyline stuff, and I've been heading up the Factional Warfare project for the last few months

Ginger: Hello, im CCP Ginger. Head of the Ginger Breeding Program. Im the current Volunteer manager but I also work alot in Storyline with TonyG and I used to be a game designer for Factional Warfare so I also help out Greyscale with that. Im basically the Ginger sidekick :)

t0nyG: Heyo, I'm t0nyG, Lead Writer for EVE Online. I basically do what the redheads here tell me to do, and get myself into trouble with the game design department from time to time.

Wrangler: Hi, I'm Wrangler and I'm the Community Manager for EVE Online, I manage.. the community.. mainly..

MMORPG_Taera: allseeingI asks, Will Assault Ships be rebalanced in a near future, and if yes - in what way?

Greyscale: Yes, definitely. I know they're high up on the balance team's list of issues, but they're not happy currently with the range of options they have available on that front

Greyscale: When we have the ability to properly differentiate them from other ship classes and give them a viable and unique role they'll definitely get revised, but I don't have any info on exactly when that'll be

MMORPG_Taera: bombishman asks, What changes have been made to FW based on player feedback from the test on SISI?

Greyscale: Right now, I think there's a few things already being tweaked as a result of playtesting and player feedback - system control caps and so on - but we're still collecting info on a lot of stuff. The feedback seems to be generally positive though so we don't have any huge outstanding issues cropping up

Greyscale: We're doing more playtests this week I believe, and I fully encourage people to show up for those if they can make time :)

MMORPG_Taera: thrawntl asks, will there be any changes coming to capital ships in Empyrean Age? like say a role bonus for mom's and titans?

Ginger: We've been looking at it and the balancing guys definitely have ideas in the pipeline, but not to be implemented in this patch im afraid

MMORPG_Taera: mairon asks, Will the FW mission have a higher base payout? I know that they will all adjust as time goes, but I fear that they will share the fate of lvl 5s.

Greyscale: I believe they're still using the same basic formula, which scales based on the average completion time. Given the number of jumps you're usually being asked to run this should result in higher payouts, but there's no hardcoded boosts yet. We do now have the capability to tweak these values in more detail though, so if we do find problems we'll be addressing them

Greyscale: That said, the issue with level 5 payouts should also be resolved in the Empyrean Age patch - there was an extra variable that was missed the first time round that we've now corrected

Greyscale: So you can expect L5 mission payouts to be noticeably higher after the patch :)

MMORPG_Taera: zionner asks, Hey everyone, I was wondering, what have you done in EA, to help include people who are new to PvP, into PvP and Factional warfare?

Ginger: Well we are hoping the whole dynamic of factional warfare, in that its much easier to get a fight and know where to go to fight will help get new players directly in the action. But also the areas and missions where you can only fly the basic ships, such as dungeons that only allow tech 1 frigates so it doesnt cost a fortune to participate and you can dont neccesarily have to face players who can fly much better equipped ships than you.

MMORPG_Taera: mench asks, What will deter large numbers of gatecamps in the FW areas so that less experienced players have a chance?

Greyscale: Directly stopping, nothing. EVE is still a sandbox and it doesn't make sense to have deterrents to this sort of thing out in free space. The ways to deal with them are 1) have a fast ship - no warp disruption bubbles in lowsec space so if you're quick enough you can just run away, and 2) good co-ordination with your friends and allies to clear out enemy camps. Again, it's something we'll be monitoring once it goes live, but it's not something we wan

MMORPG_Taera: simon1402 asks, Will there be any countermeasures to prevent a well equipped gang camping the main trade hubs of the opposing faction - ie. galleneteans camping Jita 4-4

Ginger: Well high security space already has faction navies which attack players with certain low standings towards that faction. If you enlist in factional warfare these navies will also attack you. However we have beefed them up considerably as they were quite lite in firepower.

Ginger: They now pack a substantial punch, so that you might be able to take a short cut through high sec but if you stay in any one place for a short length of time you are going to be in some serious trouble.

MMORPG_Taera: abyssal asks, Why would anyone do the missions in FW, outside of using them as a means of trying to lure people to a gank?

Greyscale: Primarily they're there to give you a sense of direction. If you approach them like a regular mission, ie PVE fit and hoping to solo it for maxium profit, they're going to kick your arse. If on the other hand you treat them as a proper combat objective, be ready for combat and maybe bring some friends, they offer a really nice way to direct hybrid PvE/PvP activity

Greyscale: They're not your grandpa's missions, that's for sure, but they bring something interesting and new to the table :)

MMORPG_Taera: allive asks, Are there any plans to rebalance the Gallente Recons to a competetive level? Perhaps with a recon script or just increased ship bonusses?

Greyscale: I'm not aware of any plans for the Gallente recons in particular, but we're always looking at potential balance issues. If you have a specific concern the best thing to do is probably to bring it up on the relevant forum :)

MMORPG_Taera: wells asks, What rewards are we to expect from Factional Warfare, And what benefits are there to rising in ranks?

Greyscale: Going to do this backwards, if it's ok :)

Greyscale: The biggest bonus from the ranks is that every time you rank up you gain a fairly substantial chunk of Faction standing. This is the main way to achieve Faction standing in the FW mechanics, so it's fairly important :)

Greyscale: On the subject of rewards in general, the current target for the initial release is to have a reasonable but not huge reward mechanism in place. The biggest bonus is probably going to be the amount of NPC dogtags you can pick up, which are needed for a lot of LP Store exchanges and are in pretty short supply for a lot of people right now

Greyscale: On top of that, you'll get any payouts from missions, and of course the loot of those you kill!

Greyscale: The rewards area though is something we're definitely keeping a very close eye on, and it's likely that we'll ramp them up further as time goes on. We're anticipating that a lot of older and more experienced players are going to want to have a play after the initial release, and we don't want to be giving rich experienced PvPers lots of free cash! Once the system settles down and we figure out exactly where the balances lie we may well tweak things

Greyscale: But initially at least, the biggest payoff should be the fact that the PvP is fun. If you're having fun with the game then that should be its own reward!

MMORPG_Taera: irion asks, Will you be implementing some way to counteract seriously negative standings as with the new faction police large aeras of the game are very difficult to move through. Given that you can lose standings with a faction without gaining them for an opposing faction will this not lead to players locked out of normal access to large areas, this issue I belive is also a problem with level 5 missions.

Ginger: Yes, we realize that its currently impossible to regain standings once they dip below a certain level (-2 i think it is?) and we are looking into ways to address this situation but that wont be going out in the Empyrean Age expansion im afraid.

Ginger: We do however want to have consequences to you attacking, for example, the Amarr Empire. There not going to like you visiting their high security space after you spent a month blowing up their people.

Ginger: So yes, we are looking into addressing it but we certainly dont want it to be an easy task at all.

Ginger: Regaining seriously negative standings that is

MMORPG_Taera: nexo asks, Faction warfare does add many new dimentions to the eve universe, in regards to this, what will people who do not actively participate in the faction warfare recieve from this expansion ?

t0nyG: For Nexo.1: All wars create economic opportunities for someone. So for those who are not participating directly in factional warfare, I'd say that it could be interesting to find ways to profit from the conflict. Eventually, veterans from this war could also prove valuable allies or even as members of your own corporation. And for those that are immersed in the setting of EVE, factional warfare is going to advance the storyline considerably.

MMORPG_Taera: zt3fan86 asks, Does Eve News" have any influence on the actual gameplay at all? like the one we got last day, BREAKING NEWS: Unidentified Armada Detected In Yulai or are those news just for role players?"

Ginger: Well , there are several areas of EVE News. CCP Announcements, Player News and what we currently call fiction news.

Ginger: As this question is related to fiction news I will address that section of it.

Ginger: Fiction news related to players the goings on in the world of EVE, the fictional story of EVE

Ginger: Which, as it happens, is currently very busy with many nasty , interesting, confusing and exhilerating happenings as we build up to the Empyrean Age release

Ginger: In the past, the fiction news hasnt had much affect on gameplay however with the build up to Empyrean Age we have got the resources from other departments to actually change the world to reflect the changes described in the news.

Ginger: So for example. When we released the news and the trailer of the Nyx plowing into the Ishukone Headquarters

Ginger: If fly there now you will find that station greatly changed

Ginger: Its got a bloody big hole in it for a start

Ginger: So things like this we are looking to incorporate into the game itself, but the news items will not affect your ability to play the game of EVE.

Ginger: They will enrich it however

t0nyG: Zt3Fan86: Some news is for players to interact with directly, others not so much due to the contraints of what we can accomplish in short order to support news events.

t0nyG: This is actually the first time we've secured assets to tamper with the universe directly to do these things, and we're extremely pleased with the feedback so far.

t0nyG: We hope to someday expand that level of integration beyond just static changes, and provide more opportunities for direct interaction by players.

MMORPG_Taera: kryptiq asks, Will there be a new type of ship, possibly equal in power or more powerful than the Titans? If so will they be harder to make?

Greyscale: No.

Ginger: Greyscale is no fun :)

t0nyG: Darn

Greyscale: More specifically, the answer to big, expensive, hard to build ships dominating battles is not bigger, more expensive, harder to build ships

Greyscale: The Titan is quite big enough as far as combat ships go, we don't want to go any bigger

Ginger: I do

Ginger: But im a little nuts

Greyscale: There's still space in the background for supermegaultra-logistics bases

Greyscale: But don't expect them to have guns

Greyscale: Or appear any time soon

Greyscale: Regardless of what Ginger says :)

Ginger: :'(

MMORPG_Taera: leuko asks, Hi, what are the current plans for pirate factions in factional warfare? Will I be able to assist the Angel Cartel in their battles against Sansha's Nation at some point?

Greyscale: For the initial release we deliberately decided to start with the four main Empires as the minimal set of entities needed. This lets us cover the majority of the playerbase and lets us evaluate the overall mechanics without making them overly complex

Greyscale: Throughout the development of the warfare systems and so on - which was a pretty big task, as we're doing a lot of things that haven't been done in EVE before - we've ensured that everything is as forward-compatible as possible

Greyscale: This means that if we want to bring in the pirates, or the smaller factions or whoever, we should just be able to enable them in a few places, iron out a few bugs, do all the content like missions and stuff and push them out

Greyscale: That said, given the disparate and isolated nature of the pirate factions, it may not make sense to implement them identically to the Empire factions - we may play with different objectives, or allowing Alliances to challenge the other 0 factions directly

Greyscale: In other words, it's something we've given thought to, but we haven't decided the best way to bring them into play yet

MMORPG_Taera: kai asks, Why exempt already existing alliances from factional warfare? alliance like CVA will be unable to fight for there faction. or is my point valid that you do not need factional warfare to actually roleplay?

Greyscale: Heh, this chestnut

Greyscale: Ok, there's already a fairly extensive blog on this here: http://myeve.eve-online.com/devblog.asp?a=blog&bid=561

Greyscale: But to go over the main points again, the main reason for excluding alliances is that it acts as a soft limit to discourage larger, more established groups from getting involved

Greyscale: This is because a) they'd likely totally dominate the entire mechanic if they were given unfettered access, b) there are arguments for why the Empires aren't yet at a point where they're ready to trust Alliances, and c) possibly the most important reason - we don't want this stuff to detract from the player empires and politics established out in 0

Greyscale: The completely open sandbox out in unregulated space, and the stuff happening out there, is very important to us, and we decided very early on in the project that one of our priorities was that we wouldn't do anything that took away from that environment

Greyscale: Thus several design considerations came together which meant that allowing Alliances to enlist in the first iteration was just a bad idea

Greyscale: We're looking over the feedback from the players, particularly WRT the various RP-oriented alliances, and we're looking at what we can do to ease the pain of certain groups who feel disadvantaged by this

Greyscale: And yes, I absolutely and unreservedly agree with the suggestion that you don't need the FW mechanics to RP!

t0nyG: Alliances would do well to have representation within the factions. I personally see this as an oportunity for them, not a roadblock for their rp. Your alliance is that much more prestigious with ex-ranking militia officers, for example. And of course, the militias themselves should serve as a great recruiting tool for your own alliance.

MMORPG_Taera: lavista asks, What kinds of love do you guys have in the pipeline for the industrial people?

Ginger: Were looking at addressing certain improvements and additions to the industrial section of EVE in the next EVE expansion, nothing definite yet but we have love and are willing to give it industrially.

MMORPG_Taera: [kma]xxapophisxx asks, Is it possible that CCP will add more capital ships in between carriers and dreads or between dreads and titans! I believe their could be a dropship inbetween a dread and a carrier that is kinda like a freighter and only carries ships and clones to the battlefield

Greyscale: I don't think the capital ship selection is done yet, but we have no plans to add more in the immediate future. Our first priority is to get the existing ones knocked more into line with what we'd like them to be, in terms of overall roles and abilities

Greyscale: We've done a fair bit of work in this area and we're putting together a package of overhauls which we think properly rationalises the existing ships

Greyscale: Once we get that finalised and implemented, we can start looking at where the gaps are and considering additions

Greyscale: That said, the plan is that capital ships will be fulfilling specific roles that complement rather than replace subcapital ships, so we're not planning for them to do everything by any means :)

MMORPG_Taera: entropy asks, in empyrian age CCP changed the parameters of faction ships. Why changes dont affect the faction battleships, especially tempest fleet issue?

Greyscale: Simply put, we haven't got round to the battleships yet! We touched the Sansha ships in a previous patch, and in Empyrean Age we'll be resolving some issues with Empire cruisers, as well as bringing the Navy Apocalypse in line with its standard counterpart

Greyscale: I believe further changes to other classes are being considered but I don't have any solid information yet, sorry :)

MMORPG_Taera: septacore asks, Will ambulation be implemented and upgraded with next patches?

t0nyG: No, not in Empyrean Age, but in future expansions.

MMORPG_Taera: toxicfire asks, Not totally pertaining to EVE:EA but a while back there was disscussion about moving all fixed resource nodes (asteroids/ice) over to A exploration style system, this seems to have gone silent any news on that because it could fundementally change the industry aspect of eve!

Greyscale: This is still something that's on our to-evaluate-further list as our DB guys think it could result in performance savings, and it gives us a lot of new opportunities for very old content

Greyscale: That said, ideally we'd revisit the scanning system used to locate this sort of content before putting significant extra load on it in this way

Greyscale: When we do get round to looking into it in more depth, we'll evaluate it from all angles to try and make sure it's enhancing rather than detracting from existing gameplay

MMORPG_Taera: richard_iii asks, how does a corporation join a militia and who can target my corp's ships for destruction when we join?

Ginger: To enlist a corporation into factional warfare, someone with the director role needs to enlist at a militia office. He will then be asked if he wants to sign up his corporation to factional warfare.

Ginger: Members will then be notified via EVE Mail that there corporation is about to enlist to fight for a faction and after the next downtime the corp is active.

Ginger: After that all pilots of the enemies milita will be able to engage you within the rules of a standard EVE war.

MMORPG_Taera: winthrowe asks, Why did you decide to release the expansion before you made the book available?

t0nyG: We knew years in advance that timing the expansion with a publishing date was close to impossible given the product development schedule of both businesses.

t0nyG: Our goal was always to make sure the game release came first,

t0nyG: since the full story in the novel will reveal all the details behind the scenes--the stuff that doesn't make the news headlines, for example--in addition to some plot twists.

t0nyG: So in that sense, we're lucky we were able to get them as close to each other as we did.

MMORPG_Taera: james_lyrus asks, We've seen a few interesting new mechanics introduced for factional warfare. Is something similar being considered in regards an overhaul of sovereignty in general?

Greyscale: All things are possible :) Seriously though, we've been re-evaluating the existing sovereignty/spaceholding mechanics internally for a while, and we're hoping that the success or otherwise of the factional warfare mechanics will give us some interesting new data points to consider

Greyscale: Some elements of the design actually come from sovereignty concept work done over the last few years, so there's stuff flowing both ways there

Greyscale: There's nothing set in stone, obviously, but it'd be remiss not to use the outcome of the FW stuff as a reference point in future territorial discussions :)

MMORPG_Taera: zamav asks, Do you plan to adjust faction cruiser prices to make them more accessable?

Greyscale: With regard to faction ship prices, when we implemented the LP Store last winter we made a conscious decision to leave the ship offers exactly as they were, because they were considered a staple crop if you will and we didn't want to mess around with them at the same time as adding a new system

Greyscale: Now things have settled down, revisiting those offers is something we are considering, as they haven't been changed in some time. The current round of new ships are essentially using the old model still, but as above there are plans afoot to come up with a new pricing model here

MMORPG_Taera: ta-kane asks, Will factional objectives ever include attacking opposing militia's corporational starbases?

Greyscale: In the initial release, no - it was a conscious decision that player starbases have no effect on the war effort, so directing players to attack them would be futile. It's unlikely that this will change in the near future; at the very least we'd want to get any overhauls done to the system before tying it in in this way

Greyscale: But for now, no, no starbases, at least not of the player-owned variety

MMORPG_Taera: winet asks, Do CCP plan to up" the reqards for corps partaking in FW"

Greyscale: Not immediately, no

Greyscale: We'll of course keep an eye on how it works out, consider feedback etc, but there's plans on the table to increase the barrier for entry

MMORPG_Taera: bellasarius asks, Is my understanding of Faction Warfare correct, that if you do NOT sign up, you can carry on pretty much as before ?

Ginger: That is basically correct. But the pilots in factional warfare aren't seperate from the rest of the players so Carrying on as before does include these factional militia pilots flying around giving each other a good kicking in EVE.

MMORPG_Taera: x1alpha asks, You've lately broadcast TV commercials. Do you plan to invest more in this kind of advertising, and if so, what's up next?

t0nyG: We're extremely encouraged with the feedback and results from the ad we placed on BSG, and we're seriously looking into other opportunities and audiences to spread the word.

MMORPG_Taera: pavel asks, have you any plans to improve PVP in 0.0, something else that blobs or nanogangs?

Greyscale: Yes, we have plans, but we're not quite at the stage where we're ready to share them yes

Ginger: yet

Greyscale: Yes, that

Ginger: :p

Greyscale: The relative homogenity of nullsec combat is something that we're monitoring closely, as we'd prefer to have a more diverse combat environment out there

Greyscale: The biggest challenge is disentangling exactly what mechanics and trends are affecting the ships people are flying and the way people fly them, so we can establish exactly what needs changing, and what a given change is likely to do

Greyscale: We're also investigating specific areas where we feel mechanics are unbalanced, out of whack or just generally in need of an overhaul and where they're problems in and of themselves rather than as part of the wider fabric of the battlefield

Greyscale: Generally these seem to be easier to spot and decide where we want to get to, but harder to establish exactly how to get there without causing knock-on issues or artificially limiting things

MMORPG_Taera: [celes]Felysta asks, Will players be able to influence the NPC defensive capabilities of a system through FW, perhaps storyline missions or through ISK payments?

Ginger: Players cannot currently increase the defensive capabilites of NPC's in the way I think you are getting at. We are going to looking over the whole FW design after its been with the players and look at areas to improve and tweak. This will be a continual process so its certainly possible.

Ginger: You can however, influence the NPC's of course by hopping in dungeons and assisting them in defending directly by shooting enemy players in the face. And as long as your faction standings are high enough those friendly NPC's will not attack you.

Ginger: Unless of course you do something to annoy those NPC's. Such as killing them

Continued on Page Two

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