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GDC Progress Report: CCP and EVE Online

At the Game Developers Conference, News Editor Garrett Fuller had a chance to catch up with CCP's Magnus Bergsson to talk about EVE Online and CCP as a whole.

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EvE is a game about the future, and we were lucky enough to see the future of EvE this week here at GDC. I had the chance to sit down with CCP's Magnus Bergsson about what EvE will offer over the next year, some of the scandals that the game has seen, and get some early information on the White Wolf merger and games planned. CCP has a lot of work ahead of them and these guys seem to be ready for any challenge.

The first feature that EvE has planned is EvE Voice, which will be coming out on March 20th. The game will have full voice support for players to take advantage of. The service is in final beta and being tested by several Corporations. The service also features directly into the game client so you don't have to use any extra software.

I asked Magnus how they will protect players who may not want to use the service and he said it was optional. There is a service fee of $14.95 a year to use voice and it is only $9.95 for the year in the first six months. The service is optional for players so if you want to keep your identity private you simply don't have to pay for EvE Voice. Also, Fleet Commanders will have the ability to control the voice service for their Corporation. If a player gets out of line, the Commander can mute them out of the conversation. The voice chat will also be channel enabled and identify in text which player is talking, this way people will be held accountable for what they say.

Another very important issue that CCP wanted to address was the recent scam run by one of its players. The company has stated that they are trying to keep a hands-off policy in regards to their in-game economy. Players need to be careful and also police themselves. The point at which CCP does get involved, is the second a player tries to take in game money and go to the real market with it. So if a player tries to profit in the real world off of the in-game money, CCP will ban that player and seize all assets from their account. Magnus was very quick to say that EvE does not support RMT (real-market trading) in any form. He believes it would make the game balance very difficult because of the way the economy is set up. Gathering resources is a very important part of EvE and if RMT continues then players stop gathering and leave it to the farmers. This can eventually cause the economy to collapse.

We did catch a glimpse of the Ambulation feature that is coming to EvE a little down the line. Players will be able to leave their ships as a character and work in the stations. The graphics on the trailer were flawless, but Magnus said they were not good enough yet. CCP has very high graphical standards and continues to promote them. Players will be able to recreate the look of their characters to fit this new feature. Inside the stations, players can set up recruitment centers, agents to sell items etc. The game will host full avatar support and is doubling the team on the project to deliver a quality experience.

For those who do not know, CCP and White Wolf games also had a merger this year. Magnus mentioned that the relationship has gone very smoothly and both companies are now working as one. This leads to the beginning of the "World of Darkness" MMO that CCP has planned based on the gothic horror IPs which White Wolf owns. Games like Vampire: The Masquerade will be incorporated into the MMO as well as many others.

Magnus said that they want the game to be like nothing anyone has seen on the MMO market. They are currently in the concept phases of the game and really want to bring the gothic look and feel to life, no pun intended. He laughed when I asked him if the game would be geared towards older players, silly question. You can't have vampires without blood! Clearly this game will be tailored to an older audience. If the game will be any reflection of CCP's party at GDC, I think we're all in for a wild ride.

I want to thank Magnus Bergsson for meeting with us. I did ask him about the overall MMO market and he feels strongly that the best part of MMOs is when players can drive the game content. If you create a sandbox game, then the game does not get old. Keeping this feature as part of the game and adding content as you go really builds the best experience for all of us was what he said in a nutshell. We will certainly be keeping an eye on CCP and all the work they are doing for the future.

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