This is a collection of short in-character fiction pieces about Awakened Industries, a group of capsuleers and their crews living in the enigmatic and dangerous regions of Wormhole Space in EVE Online. None of the protagonists are actual characters or corporations in-game. All similarities with persons fictional or real are possibly coincidental and only sometimes intentional. - Emergent Patroller

For an introduction to this blog refer to this link. You may also want to check out the guide for new readers

: The stories on this blog contain mature themes involving sexuality and violence and are not suitable for minors or sensitive people.

26 May 2012

Blog Banter 36 - Ever Further

I was almost worried about our most beloved Blog Banter Host Seismic Stan because of his prolonged silence. But here it is, the next Blog Banter about the history and future of EVE expansions. So without further ado, here is what we get to write about this time:

"With the Inferno expansion upon us, new seeds have been planted in the ongoing evolution of EVE Online. With every expansion comes new trials and challenges, game-changing mechanics and fresh ideas. After nine years and seventeen expansions, EVE has grown far more than most other MMOGs can hope for. Which expansions have brought the highs and lows, which have been the best and the worst for EVE Online?"

My shortest possible answer would be: Best Apocrypha, Worst Incarna.

Apocrypha came way before I started playing. When I did begin to play EVE I only knew of Wormholes as tunnels that lead from A to B. Sometimes B would be another system, sometimes it would be some weird location where you faced one of two options 1. You get killed by the NPCs 2. You get killed by the people who actually survive the NPCs

Despite all the "don't ever go there, you have better chances of survival in nullsec" warnings of my then CEO, I felt attracted to this dangerous frontier. Maybe it was because of his warnings?

However that may be, today I live there. I am one of the few EVE players (i think it was around 10%) who derive their whole gaming experience from this one expansion. Also, Apocrypha intruduced the T3 Strategic Cruisers, my most favorite ships in the game.

When I started playing, Dominion was live, but I hardly understood what that meant. The first expansion I experienced was Tyrannis. Many people were not impressed with it, but Tyrannis expanded something that is very much part of EVE: It gave a whole branch of the economy to the players. From that time on, scores of products were not just sourced to the market by some engine, but actually supplied by the PI installations of people.

Incursion was also nice. It offered the possibility for me as a rather new player to learn about fleet combat. How to compose fleets of different ships and make them work in different roles - an experience that was very valuable later when I moved into wormhole space. The fact that people suddenly died en-masse in PVE sites was funny and intriguing. I remember the posts on the EVE forums - full of rage - that complained about Incursion sites being too hard.

I also met lots of new people I would otherwise not have gotten in touch with. I know people who managed to graduate from incursion flying to becoming part of large nullsec fleets. So this expansion provided great opportunities for completely unconnected people to get to know eachother. These days it's a bit stale, with lots of site farming going on, but I gather that our latest expansion, Inferno, changed the conditions a bit and made it more random.

Actually, if Inferno would have been live when I started, my life as a player might have taken a different path. In the beginning I liked the idea of Faction Warfare a lot, but it turned out to be underwhelming after I tried it a bit. Too much established structure and repetition, sort-of like incursions have become.

Crucible was great. Not only did it fix lots of issues and re-align CCP to the core business of EVE, it also included a new class of ships that was designed by players. This expansion showed how great CCP is. I mean, how many MMO's do you know where players get to add new stuff. Sure the ships are not quite as they were intended by the designers, but still, the people who created the models for the Naga, Oracle, Talos and Tornado can be proud each time they see one of those ships in-game. The changes to graphics were also nice. The Gallente and Caldari ships got more character, and the experience of flying through space has become amazing. In the first days after the expansion I had a hard time doing anything meaningful because I was so busy looking at the stars.

To comment on Incarna is almost redundant these days. I do want to mention that the new character creator is great, and I do like that the new portraits look more like human beings and less like cartoon characters. Apart from that it did not contribute much.

I am more curious than ever what the future might bring. POSes need to be adressed, and at Fanfaest there were some interesting new concepts shown. I hope those changes will come soon, if not this winter, then next summer. Certainly the graphics will continue to improve. Will walking in stations make a comeback? How will the integration between EVE and Dust514 influence things? Will there be some more lore added to the game world?

Despite setbacks, and sometimes things being added with expansions where the impression comes up that CCP didn't really think things through to the end, the game remains fresh and ever-changing.

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