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EVE Online Interviews: Magnus Bergsson, CMO

By Dan Fortier on October 30, 2006

Path to Kali and other topics are the focus as we chat with CCP

Magnus Bergsson is the Chief Marketing Officer at Iceland's CCP Games. Today, Dan Fortier interviews him on a range of subjects including upcoming changes, Path to Kali and more. The interview is joined by two exclusive screenshots that show off the new ships.

MMORPG.com: First off tell us more about the Voice Chat option you are adding in cooperation with Vivox. Have you decided what the additional monthly charge will be yet? Are you worried it may add to some lag issues when in use in the larger battles?
Magnus Bergsson:

The new voice integration is more than simply a replacement for other third party voice clients like TeamSpeak or Ventrillo. It is directly integrated into the chat channels and more importantly the new gang features. It will offer functionality users simply don't have with other voice software and will offer gangs a strategic advantage in combat, and especially larger gangs. In addition the voice quality is leaps and bounds better than what users are used to.

The voice support will not create any lag for two reasons. First, the voice traffic will go out on different pipes than those used by the EVE cluster and will run on dedicated servers at Vivox headquarters. Second, lag that sometimes occurs in large fleet battles is caused by tremendous pressure on the server CPU running the system that battle is enganged on, and has nothing to do with internet bandwidth. So the net effect is that the voice support will not have any effect on EVE Online.

There are still discussions about how we will charge for the voice client. We are fully aware of the comments our users have made and are doing everything we can to bring this to them for as little as possible. The voice support is not a profit center in any form; we simply think it is a very cool feature but understandably there are operational costs that we need to cover.

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MMORPG.com: Can you give us an update on the progress of the Chinese Open Beta?
Magnus Bergsson:

The open beta in China ended a short time ago and we are now in full subscription mode in China. It is going very well over there and we will release subscription numbers shortly. Personally I would like to see an organic growth in China for the first six months in order to allow the community there to build up on a strong foundation and become as strong as our community on Tranquility. If the influx of users will be very heavy then I fear that the community base will not become as strong. We all know how important it is for EVE to have a good community as the game is so heavily influenced by the players.

MMORPG.com: Do you have more details available on the medals and awards which you can earn in the upcoming factional warfare? Will they simply be an extension of the loyalty point system or another tier of rewards entirely?
Magnus Bergsson:

Medals and awards can use any metric or accomplishment to give it to you. We want it to be a very flexible system which we can use with most areas of EVE gameplay. It should use the metrics we already gather of everything within EVE and of course be useable for our future addition to EVE. We see uses with it in regard to the loyalty point system in general, such as offers require a certain certificate to be offered it, corporations creating Contracts which require a certain rank or medal within their corporation and so forth.

MMORPG.com: Speaking of factional warfare, What effect do you see it having on the day to day life of those not directly involved? To what extent will the borders fluctuate?
Magnus Bergsson:

That's all to early to determine, we need considerable play testing until we finally decide to what extent the soldiers fighting for their empires will have. On the other hand it should also be considered that we want Factional Warfare to be an entry into PvP combat hopefully sparking interaction which leads to these warriors to crate their own Alliances.

MMORPG.com: The new ship skins look great, but when will we see the same kind of graphical upgrades for the rest of space and planets?
Magnus Bergsson:

Yes, the ship upgrades is only the first area of EVE to be upgraded. It's a massive undertaking which we've gotten external resources to help us accomplish. After this we'll be taking on the stations and planets, world objects, structures, and such.

MMORPG.com: The new EVE Card game looks interesting, but what made you decide to jump into the CCG arena?
Magnus Bergsson:

It started as a pet project of Reynir, our founder and mastermind. He and Petur, the game designer of the CCG called EVE: The Second Genesis, told me they wanted to create a card game for EVE and I then though this would be a two- to three-month project. Little did I know that it would take more than a year to just create the game. The initial reaction within the CCG community has been to say the least very good and this is full-scale project within CCP with a 100% dedicated team. We will support the product with marketing, continued development, and a global tournament schedule and I am confident it will do very well. It is good to step away from the computer once in a while and play an offline CCG game.

MMORPG.com: What level of customization are you aiming for with the new expansions and beyond?
Magnus Bergsson:

We're now adding Rigs, which are specific ship upgrades where you can customize your ship even more for a specific role. The ingredients for ships are all gathered from shipwrecks, which all ships turn into on destruction (player and NPC alike). We're not going into visual customization on ships at this point in time -- we're focusing on the general visual upgrade. We also have heat management of the ship on the horizon, allowing you to overpower your modules if you can handle the increased requirements for heat dispersion. This allows further customization of your ship setup.

MMORPG.com: What new things can we expect to see in the new Tutorial? Do you have plans for other ways to ease the learning curve for new players?
Magnus Bergsson:

We're constantly improving our tutorial, this time we're focusing on adding tutorials which are on more specific topics and we've overhauled the character creation to better show you what you are choosing, what the benefits are and a greater starter benefit so you can do more of the basic things from the start. We'll then revamp in the next release what happens after you finish the tutorials themselves to get you more acquainted with the EVE universe and how to get into the different professions.

MMORPG.com: Can you give us some of the things you are personally looking forward to in the future expansions of EVE?
Magnus Bergsson:

Being a PVP pilot in EVE my opinions are tainted with anything that affects that aspect of EVE. Those that saw the interview that was done with me on EVE TV know I am bit annoyed about WCSs so I am very much looking to they get nerfed. I will celebrate that day as a major milestone in the development of the human race! Then the seamless map is just fantastic as well as the new gang features with the integrated voice. The new graphic engine will of course make everything just look better and the new Cosmos might be very cool.

We encourage readers to visit www.eve-online.com for more information. Thanks for giving us the chance to talk with MMORPG readers!

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