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E3 Path to Kali Preview

Carolyn Koh Posted:
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EVE Online Path To Kali Preview

Exciting things are in store for players of EVE online. The updated graphics are… in one word… sweet! Starting with ships, the new textures will be launched very shortly. Players with older systems and video cards do not need to fret. If their game machines are unable to support the high resolution graphics, the old textures are still supported.

Plans are to tackle first the ships, then the stations, then ultimately, space. Also in the works is Trinity 2, a graphics engine based on Windows Vista. This update is the first part of their new expansion – code named Kali – which will be released in 3 stages.

Dana Massey and I met with Magnus Bergsson, CMO of CCP Games who was a congenial host and spoke with quiet enthusiasm about the new features that are in the works.

“All of them are free of course, like all our expansions,” he said.

The Path to Kali will provide additions to exploration content, a new reactive content system - Advanced Reactive Content System (ARCS) which provides more dynamic player interaction with the game engine - and new regions (servers) will also be added to support the increasing number of players. New features revealed to us included the following:

  • An “Explorer” class and also “Reverse Engineering” skills which will allow players to actually modify ships. “I’d like to have a player improved ship myself.” Said Magnus with an anticipatory gleam in his eyes. Timeline for release – 2nd stage.
  • Voice Integration. CCP is collaborating with Vivox to integrate a voice chat program into EVE Online. A user interface will show the various communication channels and which player within a channel is speaking. Players will also have moderator privileges to kick, mute, ban and un-ban other players, allowing greater control communication control, especially during combat. As an option provided to players and there will be a minimum monthly fee to per player to use. Timeline: 1st stage.
  • Zoom Out Map. This much wished for and greatly anticipated feature allowing for better strategic play is definitely in the works. Timeline: 2nd stage.
  • Update on Gang & Squadron Models. Timeline: 2nd stage.

We also spoke of more content to come such as Tier 3 battleships and combat boosters with their resultant detrimental recovery effects. A boost to create stronger shields that a player would take into combat may result in decreased shield power for twice the length of time after battle, for example.

The releases are planned for the 2nd quarter of this year, the end of the year and in mid 2007, players will reach Kali and prepare for “Maximum Warfare,” the ultimate space battle, the result of which will shift faction boundaries on each region (server).

Magnus did warn that the actual dates of release may be affected by their China Beta release. It seems that their Chinese partner had to obtain special permission from the government to purchase and import the solid state hard-drives required to support EVE Online.

“So how is EVE Online doing in terms of numbers of subscribers? You’ve mentioned the need to add new servers.”

Magnus actually waved his hands here. “It’s Fantastic! We can’t explain it. It is as if you just took a ruler and drew a rising line on a chart.” He was not shy to share his numbers with us. EVE Online has 120,000 subscribers and an additional 30,000 trial accounts activated. Conversion of trial accounts average 20%.

“Any dips when WoW or EQ2 was released?”

“No… it slowed and for a while, it leveled off, then it began climbing again.”

Both Dana and I remarked on the time it took to get into the game. Dana admitted to not having had the time to figure the tutorial out. I on the other hand, liked to read a guide and to have it handy to refer to when learning a new game, but also admitted to giving up early in the launch. This was when Magnus pointed out the very comprehensive player guide on the site which he was proud to say he wrote himself.

However, he also informed us that as CCP Games continues to improve EVE Online, a new and improved tutorial system will be designed. The tutorial system has been updated once before, but quality time is still required to really get into the game.

Judging by the steadily growing subscriber numbers, the quality time spent in learning this game pays off as players subscribe and stay in steadily growing numbers.

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Carolyn Koh

Carolyn Koh / Carolyn Koh has been writing for MMORPG.com since 2004 and about the MMO genre since 1999. These days she plays mobile RTS games more, but MMOs will always remain near and dear to her heart.