Every year, EVE Online fans descend upon Las Vegas to celebrate and discuss internet spaceships. Each year the event brings announcements and more to players eager to see what the future holds for CCP’s grand sandbox experiment. And after the year CCP has had with EVE Online, it’ll be interesting what the team has planned for the last EVE Vegas for the foreseeable future. Here’s what I’m hoping we’ll see and hear about at this year’s event.
Look, unless you find yourself addicted to EVE news or better yet, play the game, you likely don’t know what the Blackout was, nor its effect on EVE Online’s community this year. When EVE’s Blackout hit nullsec earlier this year, it put a lot of Nullsec veterans on edge, with many Alliances and players stating it fundamentally changed how surveillance and information gathering in those sectors of space. While the Blackout didn’t last as long as I initially, thought, it had a purpose: to inject a bit a chaos into New Eden.
CCP CEO Hilmar Pétursson told the player run “Talking in Stations” podcast that a “chaos era” was being ushered into EVE Online. Players had to deal with the new chaos in nullsec, which in turn came after the chaos of the Drifter attacks that took place earlier in the summer. I want to see more data showing exactly what CCP learned from the Blackout, whether or not it accomplished its goals and if we can expect to see more chaos crop up in the near future.
About those Drifters…
Speaking of the Drifter attacks in Nullsec earlier this year, will we see more as we move into the remainder of 2019 and into 2020? I’d definitely be interested to see and learn what CCP was trying to accomplish by forcing the hands of many of EVE’s great empires. Additionally, can we see these Drifter attacks come back up in greater force, but find them in lowsec, or even highsec hubs, such as Jita? Imagine NPC drifters that descend upon the trading hubs in Jita in such numbers that the security forces can’t keep up. With players in highsec already on guard thanks to player hunting parties who gank unsuspecting new players in what is typically considered the “safer” areas in EVE Online, the response from the players at the time would interesting to see, and maybe give players something to do when they don't want to mine, do a mission from the Agency or even try their hand at the current Triglavian invasion encounters currently going on in EVE.
New Player Experience
Every year we seemingly talk about the new player experience. How will EVE Onlne retain new players into the new year? What is the team at CCP doing to combat player retention? What is being done to make it more accessible to new players who might be interested but get immediately turned off when turned loose in New Eden?
The New Player Experience is pivotal to keeping EVE Online running into the next decade and much longer after. How CCP handles new players in game and gets them to start playing beyond the basic tutorial is a challenge that seemingly hasn’t panned out.
Back in June, EVE Toronto broke down the retention rate, showing that almost 90% of players who sign up for EVE quit within the first seven days. A new impression at the outset is obviously needed to retain new players and keep the game flux with new capsuleers looking to make their mark on New Eden. What I’d love to learn is how the team plans to do so.
Is it down to simplifying the skill system, which over the last 16 years or so has just become so massive it’s daunting for any newer player unfamiliar with EVE’s complexity? Or is it more along the lines of helping new players get their bearings and truly set on a path to succeed once the training wheels come off? It’ll be interesting to talk to the developers at the event this weekend and pick their brain as to the solution for an issue that has plagued EVE Online for quite some time.
This one might be a long shot, but last year EVE Vegas at the show gave attendees hands on time with the Dust successor. Originally another test was scheduled to begin the following month, but CCP abruptly cancelled the test, saying they were going back to the drawing board with Nova. After a year with little to no information coming out of CCP about the anticipated FPS set in the EVE Universe, could we expect to hear something about its progress again? While I don’t think we will hear more than a brief tease, if we do at all, it’ll be interesting to see if Nova surfaces at all on the Vegas Strip this year.
The Future of Permaband
This is more of a personal hope, but with CCP Guard coming back for EVE Vegas after leaving CCP earlier this year, my dream is we start to see the reformation of CCP’s in-house band. I remember back to EVE Fanfest 2017 when Kristian Nairn DJ’d the Top of the World Party. While the room was packed with people, it wasn’t full. When Permaband hit the stage you could barely move in there, showing just how much love the EVE Community has for the group.
While some of its members no longer work with CCP Games, will we see more reunions, and potentially more songs set in the EVE Universe? I hope so, as I’m still finding myself humming “Come Fly With Us” at least once a week.
SPACE POPE....And Other EVE Celebrities
EVE Online is a game about its players, and some of those players have transcended the normal amount of player infamy and become hugely popular not only to players, but even those who read about the exploits of New Eden. Two players specifically - Max Singularity, also known as the Space Pope and Katia Sae, the first player to fly to all of the systems in New Eden without a single ship loss - I'm interested in talking to this weekend if they are both at the event. I want to know more about the exploits that made Katia's journey memorable, whether there was any moment along the way she felt as though it was a waste of effort, and what it means to have a monument in her honor erected in New Eden.
As for the Space Pope, I'm "seeking the truth," which essentially amounted to a shot of Brennivin at 11am last time we met. I need a blessing from the man who runs one of the most helpful Empires in EVE, the Sixth Empire. I last spoke with Max at EVE Fanfest 2018 where we spoke at length about his personal struggle as he lost multiple friends in a short amount of time, and how he was able to translate that pain into bringing comfort to hundreds, if not thousands of Capsuleers who were in that same dark space. Now the Sixth Empire is the most visible neutral faction in EVE, helping players either by giving them someone that they can talk to about issues or simply by giving them a safe port to park their ship for the night. I'd love to catch up with Max and see what the Empire has been up to these days.
What are you hoping to see from CCP this weekend? EVE Vegas kicks off Friday, October 25th at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, and we’ll be there covering the event. Expect some interviews with the team behind New Eden next week, and be sure to tune into CCP’s Twitch channel throughout the weekend to catch the last EVE Vegas for the foreseeable future.