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Crossing the Rubicon

Blake Morse Posted:
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This last weekend an intrepid cameraman and I set out upon a journey. Our destination: Las Vegas, Nevada to attend a fan fest for CCP’s EVE Online title, EVE Vegas 2013. Originally EVE Vegas was little more than a handful of fans getting together to share their love of their favorite MMO and in the few years since its inception has seen that number grow by the hundreds. Enough so that it’s now an officially sanctioned event with the Icelandic devs rolling out to give keynotes, demo content for their other titles, Dust 514 and the newly announced EVE: Valkyrie. And we were there to catch it all.

While the other two games had a presence, many of the talks and keynotes focused on the development of the EVE:Online universe or taking a look at the history that had gotten the game where it is today. To start things off the community team introduced their newest member, CCP Saberwing, who will be working out of the company’s Shanghai offices and showed some amusing photos of the CCP crew acting like goofs to get a feel for their zany personalities. The presentation itself was all about what they as a team were doing to improve quality, and make the game more approachable for new players.

One fan during the open mic Q&A was ballsy enough to ask if they would ever nerf the difficulty or halt griefing for noob players and was immediately met with a hail of boos. While EVE will never make anything easier for anyone, they will teach a man to fish and recently held their first rookie training sessions to help folks transition into the online world, which went quite well according to the community team.

Another interesting point during the initial presentation was the announcement of Twitch.tv integration for livestreamers and a stronger presence in the e-sports community. I’m curious to see how the twitch streaming will work, as I could see a lot of streamers getting folks figuring out where in the universe they are and heading their way for some blasting and looting.

Now it was time to get down to the new features of EVE: Online itself. For the games 20th free expansion, titled “Rubicon”, CCP is busting a ton of new features that they’re hoping fans will really, including a few new systems and a cleaned up user interface.

One of the biggest new features is the Mobile Deployment Structures. The MDS’s give players several convenient features that vary depending on which of the four you have available. The Mobile Depot allows you to access your stash and make changes to your ships. It’s sort of a portable space home. The depot can be deployed just about anywhere and has a special 48 hour reinforcement. Be wary of your placement though, as anyone who finds it can still scan it and, eventually, blow it up.

Tractor units will automatically pull in wrecks and cans, then loot the content. They can also be scooped though, leaving behind a jetcan with loot in it.

Cynosural inhibitors are getting a mobilified as well. They were designed to give players more control over their environment and have the ability to prevent normal cyno fields from opening within 100km of their radius. But the mobile devices have a gap of 200km between each placing, so cloaking too much stuff may end up giving you away in the end.

Syphon units are my personal favorites though. Little mobile thiefs that can suck moon material from starbases that don’t set off any alarms or auto turrets. And anyone can loot them at any time, so if you happen to come across one, it’s a mitzvah! Players wlll have to look for inconsistencies in their supplies and step up patrols in order to keep their precious materials safe.

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Blake Morse