Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with CCP's Petur Oskarsson to talk about the recent launch of EVE Online's most recent, and some would say most sweeping expansion, Apocrypha.
When the team from EVE Online launched their Trinity expansion, there was an issue for a short time that saw people's boot.ini file deleted. While the issue was caught and repaired by the EVE team fairly quickly, it still left a number of players scratching their heads so I asked Petur if there were any similar incidents this time around with the rollout of Apocrypha.
"I'd say that this was by far the best development and deployment of an expansion so far," he answered.
Development-wise, this expansion is certainly the biggest that CCP has released. When it was announced to much fanfare at CCP's annual Fan Fest, many in the audience were surprised by the sheer number of new features that would be implemented in the expansion. The expansion was so huge, for example, that a fair number of the company's total employees were diverted to the project.
So, what did it include, according to Oskarsson?
Along with all of these new additions, this expansion also re-launched EVE Online's store box sales. The game had previously been download only since it left shelves after CCP reclaimed their game from defunct game publishers Simon and Schuster Interactive way back at the end of 2003 when the Icelandic company decided to move to a digital distribution system.
When a game begins new distribution, there naturally tends to follow an influx of new players who may have seen and picked up the game for the first time. As a result, I asked Petur to go into more detail about the expansion's New Player Experience: "EVE is an open-ended game," he began. "If you choose a profession, you're not tied to it, you can change whenever you want... What new players were facing before this expansion was having to decide beforehand, without actually knowing where to head in EVE. Now, the progress is more non-linear. You decide that it's cool to fly a new ship, you try that... you want to try mining or resource management, you can try that... You slowly build up your character instead of building it first and then using it. So you have more informed decision making than you did before."
Up until the launch of Apocrypha, EVE Online made use of static ships. By this I mean that if you built a ship, that ship looked exactly the same as every other ship of its class. Not that they didn't look great, but they didn't have a whole lot of diversity in them. This is what makes the introduction of Tech 3 ships into the game so important. For the first time, players will be able to choose their own ship designs (from a set of pre-existing modules, of course).
"We haven't had a lot of players playing with them yet," Oskarsson answered, referencing the amount of time it takes in-game to actually build a new ship. "But what we can gather from data and feedback from the test server, players love it. The idea of putting together your own ship [is great]."
Finally, I asked Petur to tell me if there were any issues that had come up that the players had brought to their attention. He told me that with wormholes, players run the risk of having the wormhole close and their ship completely stuck. They've had a few players complain about this and while they knew that it was going to happen, they didn't know that it would happen so often. The thing is, this isn't actually a bug, it's a real risk that players take when they travel to the unexplored areas opened up by wormholes.
If you want to see the interview in its entirety, take a look at the video presentation below, or you can check out our own Andrew Wallace's review of the Apocrypha expansion, here.
Jon Wood interviews CCP's Petur Oskarsson on Apocrypha, the recently launched expansion for EVE Online.