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Fanfest: Revelations II & III and More

Dana Massey Posted:
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The third part of our Fanfest reports looks at Revelations II & III and more

Editor's Note: This is the third in a three part series of articles covering the EVE Online Fanfest 2006 that MMORPG.com recently attended in Reykjavik, Iceland. Part one (Revelations I and White Wolf Merger) and part two (Avatars, Linux and Announcemnets) were published last week.

EVE Online's Fanfest 2006 was not all about what they're working on today and what EVE fans should expect to see soon. A couple of the presentations turned their eyes far into the future. Senior Producer Nathan Richardsson even went so far as to look beyond Revelations II and even Revelations III, all the way through the next ten years.

The third day of presentations started with a host of impressive demonstrations and technical updates. The afternoon updates brought us the big-wigs. On top of Richardsson's 10 Years of EVE, Creative Director Reynir Hardarson gave a fascinating, if oddly placed, talk on the nature of evil and CEO Hilmar Petursson not only announced the big White Wolf merger, but also provided attendees with an update on the health of CCP and EVE Online.

10 Years of EVE
Don't say they don't think big. Senior Producer Nathan Richardsson gave a spirited talk on EVE over the next ten years. He began with some talk of Revelations, but quickly escaped beyond that into some big ideas floating around CCP.

Richardsson explored places he hopes to steer EVE, with the repeated caveat that all these areas are not promises, but ideas and totally subject to change.

First, he talked about "walking on stations". He hopes to see full human representation in EVE and envisions this as a primarily social, not militant, experience. At least at first. He pointed out that the only thing better than walking on star bases would be being at the helm of their defenses during fleet battles. This is the kind of combat he wants to see in the avatar realm of EVE. He doesn't envision hand-to-hand, but he'll never rule anything out.

If they put all the effort into avatars though, he doesn't want to just limit them to one place. In the CCP tradition, they'd first walk on stations, but who is to say where it ends? Richardsson showed off a wealth of concept art that could potentially be very interesting in both the ship and avatar point of view. Prime among these was the idea of "space dungeons", which are giant asteroids full of caverns that ships could fly around inside.

He also opened the planetary interaction can of worms. He hopes EVE eventually not only allows players to fly around in the atmospheres of planets, but to also allow players to terraform, colonize and otherwise interact with them. He alluded to a new form of income for players and corporations as they extract resources from planets and simultaneously try to balance the needs of their populations. Perhaps some day soon, corporations can dominate land and sea, as well as space.

As Richardsson looked forward, the concept of looking backwards weighed on his mind. Another area he wants CCP to explore is the idea of recording EVE's history. He noted that each day that passes, more history is lost and he wants to record the wonderful player-driven storyline of EVE. One way he mentioned this could be done is through social networking sites where players record their adventures for all to see.

Finally, Richardsson teased the audience with the idea of new tech levels and races.

Revelations II and III
Before he went off into the very theoretical, Richardsson did start with his feet firmly on the ground as he looked at Revelations.

Revelations I, as you know by now, launched on November 28th (if it's deemed ready). Beyond that, Chapter II is slated for early next summer. The main focuses of it are optimizations and warfare upgrades. Chapter III then comes towards the end of 2007, but is not clearly defined. The logic is to use Chapter III to react to I and II. This is to say, expand those areas that are well received, fix things that are not and make sure the radical changes to the game stay under control.

One big thing Richardsson wants to get into the next two expansions is heat. Heat is a new ripple the developers are building towards over the next couple expansions and one of the many reasons they slowed down combat. Heat adds resource management to EVE. Player ships have many systems and at the moment, they simply do what they do. With the addition of heat, players would have a maximum amount of heat their ship could support. They increase their heat by turning up the levels (thus amplifying the effect) of specific devices. They decrease it by turning down (thus cutting the effect) of other devices. It's a large balancing act, but one that lets players tune their ship to their situation. If they're in a large fleet and don't anticipate taking much damage, they can turn down their shields and use the extra heat to amplify their weapons. If they're just trying to get away, maybe throw some of that heat into the propulsion instead of the weapons. This also opens the door of over-clocking the ship. At a risk of blowing yourself up, it may be wise in an emergency to throw full power to the weapons for a few moments, caution be damned.

In Revelations II, warfare remains the focus. The major goal for Richardsson is to improve points where you can have skirmishes. Currently, combat in EVE is an all or nothing venture. With Revelations II, he hopes to change that.

Another idea for that expansion is the idea of sovereignty. This change allows player corporations to take over entire peoples and gain benefits from them. This kind of hierarchy among the factions is a small step towards their eventual goal: factions.

Factions are for Revelations III. These are NPC run - at least initially - organizations that players can join. These bring the fabric of EVE into the here and now. Players will need to build up faction with different groups and can even join them to run missions and pursue their goals. This would seem to be leaning EVE towards a slight bit more of a directed experience, at least at early levels. One way this was discussed by various developers was as a sort of half-way house on the way to a player joining a full player corporation.

Initially, they intend to start small and only allow individuals to join factions. This could mean splits within corporations and various members swear to one or the other. In fact, he is unsure if they will allow entire corporations to swear to a single faction as a unit. He pointed out that it may cause conflicts within the group in terms of pre-existing faction.

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Dana Massey