Each year's fanfest has had an EVE Online keynote headed by CCP's CEO Hilmar Veigar Pétursson. Usually this includes their plans for the next year, as well as a vision statement, summing up all of their hopes and dreams for the game. This year has been decidedly different. In the past, CCP have shown off a lot of their prototypes and really incorporated moonshot thinking into their presentations. This year they've been different, more grounded and realistic so as to not get their heads too far into the clouds like they did with Incarna.
In a way, this disappoints me a little bit. When I said I wanted to cover EVE's Fanfest this year, I had originally thought there would be more to it. Sure, there's a lot that I can talk about and speculate on, but a lot of the meat and fun stuff is strangely missing from it this year, we're seeing a lot of filler material that is more there for entertainment rather than actually being related to the EVE Online universe. Sure, its fun to see how technology from EVE is actually being worked on in the real world, but it really doesn't have anything to do with EVE itself. Also, they're starting to use re-balancing of ships and re-working of graphics as excuses for features in expansions, which kind of turns me off and gives me my bittervet vibes back, despite the symphony being awesome. Yawn.
Thankfully, there are a few "features" to talk about. They haven't entirely abandoned work on actual new content, although I must say that working on minor points as to how certain things work (read: starbases) and tossing it out there as a feature kind of annoys me when it should be something they're doing anyway. Where did the CCP that was capable of dreaming big go? As an aside, DUST 514 took up far too much presentation time, which annoyed me. CCP, when you give me a logical reason to take an interest in DUST, I will. Until then, please kindly stop shoving it in our face and passing it off as a thing we need to be concerned about. I'm starting to think that maybe DUST has overstayed its welcome in EVE, because I'm not seeing any real point in paying attention to it.
My personal annoyances aside, onto the things that are still worth paying attention to.
First up is the new "Tags4sec" feature coming in Odyssey. This will allow players with low security status to find specific NPCs in asteroid belts in low security space, kill them, pick up a specific tag and turn it in at a station along with some Isk in order to repair their sec status. It also means that people who like to rat in lowsec will be able to farm these NPCs in order to sell the tags on the open market. For the first time, security status may just mean that you pay some money and its as if nothing happened. I'm not sure how I feel about this.
Currently, those who enjoy exploring have a very rough interface to work with, and being at least familiar with non-euclidian geometry is a very good idea. The revamp means that scanning down anomalies and new ice belts can be done in a much smoother way, and EVE is finally beginning to look a lot like its trailers.
The Resource Revamp
This news was long speculated, ever since the Pax East meetup in which CCP Unifex talked a little bit about it. There was speculation that it might be the fabled 'Ring mining' revamp. The news actually came out in the form of two dev blogs after the keynote. It isn't ring mining, but its a step in the right direction. It ties in with the exploration revamp above, in that ice fields are going to be moved to ore deposits that will be moved to anomalies. These anomalies will despawn and will then respawn four hours after they are depleted in a different location. This is going to make it a little difficult on bots to start with, until they figure it out again. It also means that some people will have to actually mine ice out in nullsec and lowsec.
For those who are into tech 2 production, it means that resources that you use will be getting shifted around and out of the hands of well-standing monopolies. The other move they are making is to increase the utility of nullsec outposts and their upgrades in the form of more building slots. This is essentially a move to make industrialists attractive to sov holding empires. As to whether they actually will, I'm not sure.
Various other non-feature footnotes
-There is going to be a new jump animation. Shiny.
-We'll see rebalanced ships, some new navy battlecruisers with old pre-nerf stats. Fun. Maybe. Re-purposing battleship hulls means a few hulls might be used slightly more often than never.
-EVE's 10th birthday will see players being given a Gnosis battlecruiser that pretty much nobody will ever undock in. On the plus side, shiny. On the other side, once again, CCP have created unique art that will NEVER be used because it is a one-off thing. Frustration abound. The gnosis will have a 5-run blueprint included in the second decade collectors edition.
-Some battleship hulls got redone to current art standards. Fun.
-Starbase functionality is slightly less of a pain in the ass. If it were at a soul suckingly bad level before, its only slightly less soul suckingly bad. I'm not happy that it isn't being fixed, or if it is being fixed, it isn't being fixed fast enough.