Tag Archives: eve online

EVE Online Feels Empty After In-Game Event Hides Players In Chat

Parts of EVE Online have changed radically in the last week, altering the way that some people play the game. Typically, when a player’s ship enters a star system, they’re added to a shared chat channel called “Local.” This channel provides a list of every player who is in the star system, as well as their relationship with one another. For years, players have been able to glance at local chat to see how many players are in space with them and whether they are friend or foe. Last week, that ability went away. EVE’s null security space is experiencing a blackout.

The blackout is part of the storyline of the game’s recent Invasion expansion. It was announced to players in the form of an in-universe news report from in-game news outlet The Scope.

According to The Scope, in the wake of the NPC Drifter assaults against player structures in the null security regions of EVE’s space, the communications networks got overtaxed and had to be shut down to prevent further system degradation. These shutdowns resulted in local chat being switched into “delayed mode,” meaning that pilots don’t appear in the channel until they speak in chat.

Players not appearing in a chat window until they type a message may seem like a small thing, but it has ramifications for EVE. Prior to the blackout, players in a system could see everyone who was there with them. It’s a small amount of information, but it’s powerful. At a glance, players looking to hunt down other players could use Local to determine if their targets were in the area. They could also use third-party tools to learn what kind of ships that person might use, which could help form a plan of attack or narrow down locations where the target might be. If a player is recorded as flying mostly mining ships, for instance, the hunter could start by looking at the asteroid belts in the system.

Local chat also functioned as an early warning system. A sudden influx of new players to a system might indicate a hunted player’s allies were coming to rescue them. This allowed for the hunters to disengage and flee from unwinnable combats. Local chat could also warn potential targets that a hunter had entered their area. They could flee, or, using intelligence networks, warn others, even those in different systems.

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After the blackout, null security space is a much more lonely, scary place. Now, when players enter a system, they are not treated to this massive amount of free intelligence. There’s no way to instantly tell if you are alone in the system or if there’s a massive fleet of hundreds of players lying in wait just outside of your visual range, refraining from chatting to keep their location hidden.

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Player reactions to the blackout have been mixed. Some players have embraced the changes. Others have threatened to not log in or even that they’ll cancel their accounts until the change is reversed. According to the EVE Offline website, which tracks the number of players logged into the game server, there seems to have been a slight decline in overall players logged in since the introduction of the blackout, but since only around a week has passed, those numbers are far from conclusive.

For my own part, jumping from system to system without knowing what lies in wait has been exciting, but the sense of emptiness is very real. Before the change, it wasn’t uncommon to travel between a few systems without running into another player. Now, some nights, it can feel like you’re the only one in the game.

Source: Kotaku.com

EVE Online Developers Discuss Ways To Stop New Players From Leaving The Game

EVE Online fans gathered in Toronto, Canada last weekend to celebrate the midpoint of the EVE Online Invasion world tour. EVE North, the name given to this leg of the series of fan gatherings, was the first official EVE Online gathering to be hosted on Canadian soil. The event drew over 500 players from all over Canada, as well as the rest of the world.

The Invasion world tour was announced last year as a replacement for the 2019 iteration of the traditional Fanfest celebration in Reykjavik, Iceland. The tour has already made stops in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, St Petersburg, and Sydney, with plans to visit Las Vegas, London, and Berlin later in the year. The tour will also land for one day in Kemiönsaari, Finland, when it invades the home of an EVE player who won of the Fanfest home video competition.

During the opening ceremonies of EVE North, the CCP Community team announced the members of the 14th Council of Stellar Management. The CSM is a group of democratically elected players chosen to represent the will of the player base directly to developer CCP via weekly meetings. CSM members are invited to CCP’s headquarters in Iceland twice during the year for an in-person summit.

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After calculating the results of 32,994 votes, a 12% increase from the votes gathered for the last CSM, CCP Dopamine announced the results of the election live at EVE North. Of the members, five were incumbents from the previous version of the council, and five were members who were joining the CSM for the first time.

Top Row: Re-elected Incumbents. Bottom Row: First time CSM Representatives.
Image: CCP Games (EVE North Presentation)

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CSM14 will now go through a rigorous on-boarding and briefing process, including signing a non-disclosure agreement, which will allow CCP to share confidential information with them to help decide the future of EVE Online. 

One problem that the CSM will no doubt seek to help CCP solve was brought up in the EVE North keynote address, delivered by EVE’s Creative Director, CCP Burger. EVE Online is a famously difficult game to start, play, and master. Data shared during the keynote revealed that EVE’s player retention rate over the first week a player joins the game is only around 10%. A full 89.74% of new players who sign up for EVE Online quit within the first seven days.

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Player Retention Graph
Image: CCP Games (EVE North Presentation)

CCP Burger said that CCP plans to dedicate additional developers to attempt to solve this issue for the remainder of the year and beyond. Improving a player’s first impression of the game will not be an easy task and will likely require a massive amount of coordination between game developers, the CSM, and even the average EVE player. CCP Burger said that even though we create the game, you guys make the game legendary. We owe it to you to bring more people in. More people equals more content, equals more fun!”

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Another metric shared during the keynote involved the recent effort to combat players using automated scripts and programs, designed to play EVE Online with no human input around the clock to gain unfair advantages. “EVE is a cruel game,” CCP Burger told the audience, “but it should be a fair game. Cruel, but fair.” EVE players are encouraged to report bots when they see them, but players who report others generally don’t get updated on what, if any, action was taken against the players they reported. CCP Burger announced during the keynote that a new tool is being created internally at CCP to provide feedback to players when a bot they have flagged is punished or removed from the community.

Day two of EVE North began with another look at CCP’s plans to address player retention during a panel covering CCP’s Player Experience team, presented by CCP Falcon. Falcon explained that one of the defining moments that can change a player’s path in EVE is the loss of their first spaceship. In EVE, when a ship is destroyed by hostile NPCs, unfriendly players, or environmental effects, that ship is gone forever. This sense of loss is the backbone of EVE’s reputation as one of the most hardcore MMORPGs on the market.

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Currently, CCP has a support program for new players through which Game Masters reach out to rookies to offer advice and explain the game’s systems. CCP Falcon said in the future this program will also include a sort of grief counseling for players’ first ship loss. Rather than allow the player to become confused and demoralized, a Game Master will help the player understand why and how their ship was destroyed and may even restore the ship as a one time favor.

New player retention was a core theme of EVE North, coming up in many other panels. Over Twitter, the official EVE forums, and other social media, EVE players around the world resonated with the talks of bringing more players into the community and helping them stay, because EVE is nothing without people. The next major stop on the Invasion world tour takes place in Germany in mid September.

Source: Kotaku.com

Another Alien Faction Is Waging War In EVE Online

EVE Online’s players are in a panic: All across the game, player controlled facilities are under siege by powerful NPCs known as Drifters. Drifter vessels have been in the game for years, but they’ve never attacked player structures in an organized force before. Developer CCP has not confirmed whether this is an intentional part of the recent Invasion expansion or an anomaly.

Drifters pilot battleships more powerful than almost anything that players have access to. Their battleships have incredible range, nearly impenetrable defenses, and weapons systems capable of shredding player ships in seconds. Normally, Drifter battleships are found in small groups in PvE focused areas, guarding treasure and precious materials. Occasionally a single Drifter battleship can be found roaming around, looking for unsuspecting players. The Drifters seen today are swarming in unheard numbers of 20 or 30 at a time. They’re roaming through player controlled space, engaging everything they find in their path.

Reports are still coming in, but so far nothing seems safe from the Drifter incursion. Player vessels are being destroyed on sight, and players are reporting that the Drifters are even shooting their escape pods, something that most NPCs in EVE Online are not capable of doing. The Drifter fleets are also engaging player controlled space stations all over Null Security space. Hundreds of structures across the EVE map have been attacked today, including some of the absolutely massive Keepstar-class battlestations, the largest structure able to be built by players.

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Player response on Reddit, Twitter, and other social media platforms has varied widely. Some players welcome the AI threat to entrenched player empires, which they feel are too powerful for other player groups to overcome. Other players are angry that the Drifter NPC threat is interfering with actual players making war on one another. Initially, players were not certain whether or not this new erratic behavior presented by the Drifters would result in the destruction of player owned space stations or not. However, recent reports have come in that at least one structure has been completely destroyed by the Drifter menace.

Parody video posted to the EVE subreddit by XtraSquishy

In EVE, space stations have several “vulnerability cycles,” phases that players must go through to deal enough damage to destroy them completely. Each phase triggers an invulnerability timer for a certain period of time, which gives the owner of the station time to rally a defense around it. Initially, Drifters were only seen going through the first phase, triggering the initial reinforcement phase. Depending on the structure, this phase lasts between a few hours to a full week. In the case of the structure mentioned above, the reinforcement window was only a few hours. When the timer ran out, the Drifter fleet came back to finish the job. This suggests that players who are under attack by Drifters will have to be incredibly vigilant in defending their assets or risk losing everything.

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There was no warning issued to players leading up to this massive change in AI behaviour, leading to speculation about the nature of the Drifter incursions. Some players are wondering if this activity is an AI bug introduced during the Invasion expansion. EVE developer CCP has been vague, saying only that they are aware of what is happening and are eagerly watching the situation. The next few days will reveal whether or not EVE is seeing the dawn of a new era of NPCs fighting an active war against players.

Source: Kotaku.com

EVE Online’s Latest Expansion Brings An Alien Invasion

Alien forces have invaded EVE Online, and players across the galaxy are banding together to resist them. In the latest free expansion to EVE, a lost race of humans known as Triglavians have breached the walls of reality and are pouring out of the Abyss. Triglavian forces are currently laying siege to three different areas in the galaxy, and this is only the beginning.

Invasion’s update to The Agency make finding Triglavian invasions easy.

First introduced during the Into the Abyss expansion exactly one year ago, the Triglavians represent the next step for EVE’s non-player characters. They are smarter and stronger than the game’s other NPCs and fly their ships and react as real players would. Until now, they have been relegated to Abyssal Deadspace pockets, small PVE focused instances spawned by players, who could then conduct smash and grab runs on Triglavian holdings. In the year since their introduction countless incursions into the Abyss have been made by players across the globe. With this week’s Invasion expansion, it seems that the Triglavians are ready to fight back.

The system linked to this gate is under Triglavian control.

The Triglavian assaults seem to revolve around massive “World Ark” vessels, ships that dwarf even the largest of the Titan-class behemoths available to players. These World Arks serve as the conduit to bring Triglavian forces from the Abyss into the regular space. The invasion starts in a randomly determined primary system; for now developer CCP says they’re focused in High Security space, the ‘safer’ areas of EVE, but they’ll spread out over time as the Triglavians become more confident in their invasion technology. From the center point, the invasion spreads to connected star systems.

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As a consequence of these incursions, effects from the Abyss are leaking into the surrounding areas, turning the entire skybox into a mass of roiling, blood red storm clouds. Any ships caught in this maelstrom are buffeted by Abyssal effects, causing massive changes to their base statistics and forcing players to have to rethink their strategies and loadouts before daring to venture too deep into the invaded territories.

A fleet attempts to fight of the Triglavian Invasion. Courtesy of @Julianus_Soter via Twitter

After entering a star system under Triglavian control, players are randomly attacked by roving gangs of Triglavian vessels. Small assault forces periodically warp on top of player ships and assault them. Systems inside the invasion are not welcoming places for the unprepared. Across the game yesterday, hundreds of players were destroyed by invading Triglavians while exploring the new feature or just while trying to go about their day to day EVE life.

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Players have begun to resist, though. Groups of players have gathered in affected systems to form fleets to fight off the invaders, with the hope of reclaiming the territory and maybe turning a profit while doing so. The invading vessels seem to be the key to creating the new ships that were also introduced in the Invasion expansion. These ships are upgraded versions of the Triglavian ships made available to players during Into the Abyss, and they’re highly anticipated additions to the game.

The spoils of war.

From the wreckage of Triglavian fleets, players are able to find new skill books, resources and research components which allow them, via the game’s complex Industry system, to forge these new ships. Or they can sell their spoils to the highest bidder on the open market and turn their risk into massive profits.

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There is a great deal that players do not know about the Triglavian invasions at this point. CCP Games has been very cryptic in response to questions about the event, challenging players to discover the intricacies of how the Triglavian ships are invading and how to stop them rather than laying every detail out in patch notes. The mystery seems to be as much of a driving factor for players as the contents of the event itself: public fleets, open to all, are forming in the affected systems, comprised of groups of players of all allegiances who want to unravel the mystery for themselves. If you don’t play EVE, you can experience some of the mystery and excitement of Invasion via a 40 hour straight streaming event from EVE’s streamfleet group here.

Source: Kotaku.com

Some Of EVE Online’s Most Powerful Groups Are Heading For War

Imperium Capital Fleet on the move Screenshot: Shingly

EVE Online is infamous for many things: scams that leave their victims devastated, player-created empires that span the stars, and perhaps most for war. The wars of EVE involve thousands of players across the globe, all focused on singular goals. The next great conflict may be starting now.

Last weekend, the leader of The Imperium, the largest organization in EVE–and possibly the largest group of players in any game–declared that they would strike against some of their longest standing foes. This enemy, a coalition known generally as Panfam, consists of Northern Coalition (NC.), Pandemic Legion (PL), and the Pandemic Horde (Horde). NC. and PL are home to some of EVE’s most tenured pilots and have long been synonymous with the game’s elite forces. Horde welcomes all players with open arms, even newbies, and makes up the numeric majority of Panfam’s forces. The Imperium’s stated goal is to invade regions controlled by NC.’s vassal alliances, players who pay tribute to the larger group to live under their protection, and burn those regions to the ground, denying their foes income and support.

Northern Coalition.’s logo
Image: Northern Coalition. (https://ncdot.co.uk/forum/)

The Imperium is comprised of several large groups: The Initiative, Tactical Narcotics Team, Bastion, Lawn and The Goonswarm Federation. Goonswarm Federation is the largest of The Imperium’s groups and the coalition’s de facto leader when situations involving the entire alliance are involved. (It’s also, for the record, the group to which I personally belong.)

The Goonswarm Federation is the primary aggressor in the looming war, backed by their legion of friends and allies. As of yet, there has been no mention of settling into the territory they seek to claim during the war. Rather, they want to destroy the enemy’s infrastructure and then withdraw to their strongholds once the war is won.

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With the brunt of the initial assault landing on Northern Coalition’s front door, the group has already begun to take preventative measures. They’ve withdrawn from less defensible positions and begun removing player-constructed space stations from certain areas. Tactical withdrawals like this are not uncommon in EVE warfare and are often used by groups to preserve resources, both physical structures and member morale.

The Imperium famously used a similar strategy during one of EVE’s biggest wars only a few years ago, called World War Bee or The Casino War, depending which side of the battle players were on. The Imperium abandoned almost all of their holdings when faced against overwhelming odds so that they could regroup in the future and not lose everything fighting an unwinnable war. This maneuver, dubbed a Fabian Strategy by Imperium leadership, was met with ridicule from the masses of EVE Online, but it set the group up to rebuild once the war was over. It’s not completely unexpected to see NC. and the rest of Panfam do the same here.

The difference, in this case, is that employing this strategy seems to align with The Imperium’s goals. Withdrawing from these territories leaves the vassal organizations vulnerable and prime targets for the Imperium’s massive fleets. These vassal groups, known as renters in EVE vernacular, are important to the economic power behind NC. as the group is not known for the industry and empire-building aspects of the game like the Imperium is. The passive income from sheltering renters is a core component of NC.’s economy. Leaving them to fend for themselves not only hurts NC., but plays into the Imperium’s stated goal in this war.

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Rorqual Indistrial Vessel under siege by smaller ships.
Screenshot: Lizzie Fox

The war is not without risk to Imperium holdings either. By deploying what appears to be their entire military force away from their home, the “fields and farms” of the Imperium are left vulnerable. PVE focused players with little interest in war are left in an insecure position, and some have already fallen prey to Panfam raiders and opportunistic marauders seeking to exploit vulnerabilities exposed by the power vacuum. During a call-to-arms speech by the Imperium’s leader TheMittani, Pandemic Horde brought online several beachhead space stations to provide havens for striking into Imperial territories, knowing that the Imperium’s main force was already on the move. The hope is for these structures to serve as staging grounds for Panfam forces, as well as anyone who has ever been “wronged” by Goonswarm Federation and their allies and for any independent players seeking to make a name for themselves by striking at the biggest alliance in the game.

TheMittani during an impassioned speech.
Image: CCP Games

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This gambit is already proving to be effective. Panfam forces won a decisive victory in defending the structures as they came to full power, and strikes have already been made against Imperium pilots who did not heed the call of war. Imperial leadership’s outward stance is that players who do not follow the coalition to battle do not deserve the group’s protection and are expected to die quietly at home if they don’t join the war effort. The response may seem callous, but it has been the standard response from the group for years, and is not a revelation to anyone involved.

War in EVE Online is volatile. The momentum of a conflict can change day by day, and this conflict is still in the earliest stages of development. It could become a conflict that shakes the foundation of the game world and lasts for months, or it could peter out and die off in its infancy. The fog of war abounds, and neither side really knows what the other will do in the near future. If the Panfam counter-offensive is too successful, the Imperium may be forced to withdraw to secure its own borders. The Imperium’s blitzkrieg, led by their overwhelming numerical superiority, may move faster than expected, forcing NC. to rally all of their allies behind them to defend their holdings. The only known factor is that both sides seem to be fully embracing the conflict, planning their moves, and preparing their forces.

Source: Kotaku.com

Chinese EVE’s Largest Corporation Is Moving To International Servers

EVE Online Serenity Logo
Image: CCP Games (https://forums.eveonline.com/t/dev-blog-the-handover-of-serenity-thank-you-farewell/93929)

Lately, the EVE community is buzzing about a potentially galaxy-shattering invasion. It’s not one designed by the game’s creators or by one of the current power blocs looking to start a new great war. Rather, players from EVE’s dedicated Chinese server, called Serenity, are planning to join the rest of EVE’s single shard environment.

While most players in China play on Serenity, non-Chinese countries play on an international server called Tranquility. The reason for the separation of the two communities is long and tedious, built on licensing agreements between EVE publisher CCP Games and various Chinese partner organizations. These agreements, combined with rules from the Chinese government, have kept the two game servers separate since Serenity’s creation in 2006. A few times the two player groups have come together to compete on international tournament servers, such as during the “Worlds Collide” tournament that pitted teams from each server against each other. There are some Chinese players on international servers, some members of the Fraternity alliance, for instance, use VPN connections and other methods to connect to Tranquility and currently hold large areas of its conquerable space.

Recently, players have been suspecting at least some of the separation might be coming to a close. Some users on the EVE subreddit have shared communications purported to be from the Pan-Intergalactic Business Community, or PIBC, the largest player-run coalition on the Chinese Serenity server. These communications detail the PIBC’s plans to invade Tranquillity and establish a foothold. Screenshots posted to reddit by user FRT-panda, a member of one of the Chinese language groups already playing on Tranquility, show a gathering of nearly two thousand players attending the announcement on YY, a Chinese social media and voice chat software.

Screenshot from the YY chat in question, the user count is in the top left corner.

The screenshot and others like it have been circulating on the EVE subreddit. As they are not in English, players have been relying on translators to provide context on what is being said. Reddit user JHXSMatthew provided a brief translation for one of FRT-Panda’s screenshots, showcasing the meeting minutes from PIBC’s announcement.

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Screenshot with a rough translation from Reddit user JHXSMatthew

 

According to the translation, PIBC will attempt to make a foothold in Tranquility. Their goal in coming to Tranquility, leaving their assets and territories on Serenity behind, is to seek new challenges and find more players to fight. They aren’t immediately looking for a strong ally to protect them, which many players hope will cause them to fight for their territory, rather than acquiring it via diplomacy. According to the translation, the PIBC will welcome Chinese and non-Chinese players and won’t force their players still on Serenity to join them.

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Another reason for the migration is that for all intents and purposes, PIBC seems to have achieved as close to total victory as a group can expect to in EVE Online. They and their allies have almost complete control over the vast majority of capturable space on Serenity. Several groups of their enemies have already made the transition to playing on Tranquility with the rest of the world. According to the translations of the meetings, the PIBC players are willing to leave old vendettas and allegiances behind them to create a united Chinese front and begin building a new empire.

There are many reasons that players might want to cross the digital divide between worlds. Some make the transition looking for new challenges, to research tactics in a completely foreign metagame, or because they feel like they are being forced into the transition by their enemies. One of the few groups to make the transition in reverse, going from Tranquility to Serenity, is Rooks and Kings, who created a video documenting some of the struggles happening on Serenity over the last few years. The video covers the history of several major factions native to Serenity, including the group rumored to be staging the current switchover.

So far, the invasion is off to an impressive start. Already PIBC has formed into a group of over 900 pilots, calling themselves The Army of the Mango Alliance, and are already playing on Tranquility. The alliance was founded around ten days ago, and though they have yet to begin conquering any space for themselves, they are rapidly expanding. The alliance is growing by the day, and as those players begin to establish themselves, more will surely follow. If PIBC follow through with their plans, the entire face of EVE Online could change. A new group of players fighting for limited territory could ignite wars that last for years, as players are displaced and attempt to find new areas to call their own.

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As for the players who are native to Tranquility, their opinions on the move are varied. Some players fear that rumors of Serenity being filled with thousands of automated bot accounts are true and worry that the trend will carry over to Tranquility. Botting accounts generate income 24 hours a day, causing massive inflation, and though against the rules, can be difficult to track down and ban. For the most part, though, players seem receptive to fresh blood being injected into the game, and hope that the influx of what could be thousands of players will make a large impact on day to day operations in game. Players largely seem to view the so-called invasion in a positive light: EVE is a game that thrives on content created by its players. Adding a few thousand more to the mix should be a positive change overall.

Source: Kotaku.com

Real-Life Politician Removed From In-Game Office In EVE Online

Yesterday, EVE Online player Brisc Rubal was permanently banned from the game and removed from the Council of Stellar Management, the game’s player-elected representative body. Outside of EVE, Rubal’s real name is Brian Schoeneman, and he’s a lawyer and a career politician, working as a lobbyist in the state of Virginia.

A developer blog released by CCP Games on Monday claims that Rubal was “found to be sharing confidential information with a member of his alliance that was later used by another alliance member to conduct illicit in-game transactions.” The Council of Stellar Management, or CSM, participates in closed door discussions with EVE’s developers that operate under a non-disclosure agreement. The blog states that a member of the CSM approached CCP with evidence of the prohibited communications, which, after reviewing, forced them to take action. These actions included not only banning all of Rubal’s accounts, but the accounts of two other players who allegedly received confidential information from him and used it to further their own in-game goals.

Brisc Rubal’s in-game persona as a CSM
Image: Brisc Rubal

Following his ban, Rubal released a statement via Reddit denying that he had broken the NDA in any way, writing, “I am innocent of these allegations. I have not, and would not, violate the NDA I signed after being elected to the CSM. I have not provided any proprietary information furnished by CCP to me as a CSM member to anyone.”

During his campaign for CSM, Rubal shared that he was a politician by day and an EVE player by night. In an interview with Kotaku as well as a YouTube video, Rubal referenced his political past as part of his qualifications for CSM. In his Reddit statement, Rubal wrote,

As an attorney and a public figure in the United States, my ethics and reputation are regulated by a code of professional responsibility and statutory law, unlike CCP’s opaque community team. As a licensed attorney for nearly a decade, I have never had a complaint filed against me. I have served in positions of public trust in the United States Government and have never had a complaint filed against me. The claims that I would risk my reputation by providing proprietary or otherwise confidential information to members of my own alliance for personal gain are false.

These baseless charges have had an immediate and negative impact on not only my in-game reputation but my out of game reputation.

Rubal’s campaign video for CSM

According to Rubal’s statement, “I contacted CCP Dopamine and CCP Falcon to request information about the ban. As of the time of this writing, I have received no response from any one at CCP in response to my repeated inquiries…I will fight these false allegations, restore my reputation and seek all avenues for recourse available to me for these reckless actions.”

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Rubal asked CCP to reconsider the punishments handed down to his two in-game associates, writing, “Their bans are wrong, and a travesty. […] They do not deserve to be banned from the game, even for a year, and I strongly urge CCP to reverse these bans – not only for the sake of those two players but for all of the players who rely upon them.” The players in question, Pandoralica and Dark Shines, were banned for one year for allegedly acting upon the confidential information said to be given to them by Rubal, as well as having assets and currency on their accounts repossessed or destroyed.

Pandoralica and Dark Shines are high-level members of the Initiative alliance, serving in leadership roles and leading Initiative fleets in the game. Recently, Pandoralica famously led the effort to assault and destroy what was considered to be a nearly invulnerable fortress belonging to another player alliance. The loss of these two players will inevitably cause harm to the Initiative’s in-game plans, and potentially the alliance’s future.

Due to the nature of the accusations and the confidential material at their heart, players may never hear the full story. How Rubal will fight the ban and how CCP will respond remains to be seen. In the developer blog, CCP stated that it will be focusing on more education for players elected to the CSM, and take extra time to ensure that all participants are fully aware of the “do’s and don’ts” when operating under an NDA. For the duration of the current iteration of the CSM, the council will remain a member short. Elections for next year’s council are looming and are expected to begin soon, with details beginning to be released next week, according to the developer blog.

Source: Kotaku.com

EVE Online Player Is The First To Visit Every Star System In The Game

Exploring the entirety of space is impossible in the real world, but it’s now been done in EVE Online. A player by the in-game name Katia Sae is the first player to have officially visited every one of the game’s 7,805 star systems. Even more impressive, they did it without losing a single ship to EVE’s notorious pirates.

Katia Sae and her trusty ship, the Jester’s Trek
Image: http://www.saganexplorations.net/

Katia’s journey began in December of 2009, in the wake of the launch of EVE Online’s “Dominion” expansion. “CCP was starting the rebeautifying effort of New Eden. They were updating the planetary graphics and background nebula, and I decided I wanted to see that,” the player behind Katia explained to Kotaku via Discord. They had no idea that this journey of simple curiosity would end up taking the next ten years of their life to complete.

Ten years seems like an incredible amount of time to explore the world of a video game, but EVE has a scale unlike other games. Katia’s journey was not as simple as visiting every system and immediately moving onto the next. The goal was to visit each system and actually explore it, visiting and documenting each area’s planets, monuments, and quirks. On Katia’s blog the journey is captured in a combination of in and out of character posts, covering the ten years of exploration. In addition to the enormous amount of time the project required, Katia Sae was an alt, or alternate character, and not the only pilot the player behind her focused on.

Graphic: A graph from Katia’s blog tracking her journey.

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Over the duration of her travels Katia accrued over 50,000 screenshots of the game’s updated graphics, hosted on a blog. Amongst her favorite shots is the wreck of the first of EVE’s enormous Titan-class ships, Steve. The ship was destroyed in a battle between warring players in 2006, and a permanent monument was erected in space to commemorate the first Titan to ever be created and destroyed. “The wreck of Steve was something to see, the first titan kill in game. It’s really something to know that players were being recognized, and able to leave a permanent mark on the game,” Katia said.

Image: The wreck of Steve the titan. First to be built, and first to die.

The wreck of Steve highlights a style of gameplay in EVE that is foreign to the character of Katia Sae, who was from the first day of her creation a pacifist. Through the journey around EVE’s star systems, Katia never fired a single shot at a fellow player. Taking the path of the peaceful explorer is not an easy choice in EVE; there are a lot of players who prey on peaceful people, seeing them as easy kills and a quick way to get some loot. Nevertheless, it’s a credo that Katia lives by. About halfway through her journey, she found others who feel the same.

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Katia’s journey started before the inception of Signal Cartel, a group based on peaceful exploration of EVE. “Signal Cartel wasn’t around until about half way through my journey, but I have the honor of being the member with the longest tenure in the corporation, besides leadership,” Katia told Kotaku. The group is dedicated to being peaceful, friendly, and helpful explorers, in contrast to the many pirates and thieves that often come out of EVE. Joining Signal Cartel helped Katia stay focused on her pacifist mission during her journey, by introducing her to a steadily expanding group of like-minded individuals.

Just flagging yourself as a pacifist and a non-combatant does not guarantee safety in the lawless areas of EVE, though. Katia often ran into trouble from other players during her journey. “I was in a dead end system, and this corp bottled me up in there, only one way out,” Katia said of the time she came closest to losing her exploration vessel to enemy players. In EVE the only way in or out of a particular star system is via NPC-owned stargate structures. No one can be denied access to the stargates, even when they’re in player-owned territory, but players can create blockades to try to prevent anyone from entering or exiting through them. Running these blockades takes a combination of the right type of ship, precise game knowledge, and patience, making them formidable enemies for Katia. “They kept the gate camped for a couple of days, but they got lazy and a gap in their camp opened and I managed to get out.”

Image: CCP

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Katia also encountered danger from EVE’s world itself, especially during the endless hours she spent searching for connections to EVE’s hidden-away “wormhole” systems. The wormholes aren’t connected to the game’s stargate network; to enter them, a player must find one of the roaming wormholes using specialized scanning gear. After a wormhole is found, you can navigate your ship through it into a hidden pocket of space, often considered one of the most dangerous types of space in EVE Online, in part because the wormholes decay over time and then randomly spawn a connection to different systems. There are 2604 wormhole systems in EVE Online, and there is no guaranteed path to any of them. Players can spend hours, or even days looking for a wormhole to a particular system.

Eventually, Katia’s journey came to a close, after countless near misses with danger and thousands of images documenting the beauty of EVE Online’s environment. Once her own personal records showed that she had indeed visited every star system there was, she approached the game’s creators, CCP, to see if they would verify it for her. Paul Elsy, aka CCP Falcon, a Community Developer for EVE Online, confirmed to Katia via Twitter that she had indeed completed her journey, but there seemed to be one more system she could travel to: Polaris, the in-game home of CCP Games, where EVE’s game masters, who deal with in-game player support, and other CCP employees congregate to test things in the live server. A few days later, Katia was pulled through a mysterious wormhole and appeared in Polaris, becoming the first player character to ever see the system and further securing her place in EVE’s history.

This once in a lifetime trip to Polaris is not the only gift that CCP has in mind for Katia. Last weekend, CCP announced that Katia Sae will receive her own in-game monument. The monument will be based on a 3D rendering of her character model and will be anchored in space in the Saisio system. Saisio is Katia’s “home” system, where she first spawned into the game after character creation. The monument to Katia’s achievement, once launched, will remain in place for as long as the game servers run, commemorating one of EVE’s foremost explorers.

Source: Kotaku.com

An EVE Online Funeral Means Ozone-Light Vigils And Spaceship Sacrifices

Screenshot: Khan Pserad (Reddit)

Every single player in EVE Online is connected, in some way. The game is next to impossible to play truly “solo,” especially because of its single-shard environment. Each and every person that logs into the game connects to the same server, flies in the same space, uses the same resources, and can fight in the same battles. This has, over the 15 years that EVE has been online, created a uniquely bonded community of players. When the unthinkable happens, and one of those players loses their life in the real world, those close to often reach out to other players to help commemorate their fallen comrades.

Funeral rites are a long-standing tradition in MMORPGs, where player avatars gather together to show respect to fallen friends and enemies alike. In EVE, the tradition often involves what is called a “cyno vigil.” Groups of players gather in a set spot in ships equipped with a cynosural beacon. The in-game purpose of these beacons is to create a signal strong enough for massive capital-class vessels to use as navigation beacons, like a lighthouse shining into a dark night, showing the way home. These beacons ignite the liquid ozone stored in a ship’s hold to create a fire in space visible from light years away, creating a candle blazing in the darkness.

Sometimes hundreds of individual players attend these funerals, each adding their own candle flame to the vigil.

Mourners also attend after equipping their ships with harmless firework launchers, creating dazzling displays of color and noise. These players prefer to express their respects and grief with celebration and extravagance. Some even go as far as to offer their own vessels as a sacrifice in memoriam, either asking their attendees to destroy their ship, or self destructing them in viking-esque rituals.

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On January 27 of this year, a memorial was held for a player named Luke, known to the EVE community by the handle Diana Sarain. Nearly a thousand players including Luke’s father, who introduced him to the game, gathered together in EVE to celebrate him. Luke’s father organized the gathering, and provided a supercarrier vessel intended as sacrifice in his son’s memory.

EVE is a game about combat and destruction at its heart, though, so not everyone attending these memorials seeks peaceful remembrance. Very often, fleets of combat-ready vessels are fielded to guard those holding vigil, as hostile players very often show up to attempt to “contribute” to the event in an antagonistic way. Massive battles have been known to break out on top of vigils, with players fighting for hours in and around those assembled to remember a fallen friend.

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These combatants are not always reviled, however. Not infrequently, they are in fact invited to participate by those organizing the event. The bonds formed with the deceased were often forged during in-game combat, and some see one last fight in their name to be a fitting tribute to a fallen ally or foe.

In the days, months, or years following the loss of a community member, some groups maintain a lasting tribute to fallen friends. Space stations are renamed to bear their names, fleet doctrines gain nicknames referencing them, or vital parts of an organization’s infrastructure are branded in remembrance. The Brave Newbies alliance holds a vigil once a year in honor of John Bellicose, a member of their group whose death shocked their community. They renamed their home station “Mothership Bellicose” in honor of John’s mother, who has become an honorary member of the group and attended several real- life player gatherings since her son’s passing. In some cases, annual events have been created so that the community can pay lasting tribute to the people that they have lost over the years.

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A final tribute often associated with the permanent loss of an EVE player, often shared in memorial posts on forums, is a poem inspired by the cadence of a traditional naval goodbye, “The Watch.” It was originally written and shared by the Reddit user Dranchela.

Eyes forward, capsuleer, the cyno is not yet lit.

Consider your modules, your rigs and ammo before you undock, for the cyno is not yet lit.

Break free of the station and witness the universe before you, For the cyno is not yet lit.

Set your ship to fly through the vastness while you wait, For the cyno is not yet lit.

Pay attention, capsuleer, for those who have gone before you call for you to join them.

The cyno is now lit.

Source: Kotaku.com