As of today, EVE Uprising has officially landed. Here’s the behind-the-scenes scoop with our favourite CCP bigwigs.
EVE Uprising | Navy Dreadnaughts | Faction Warfare - EVE Online Interviews
Our November EVE Online interview is live, and what better day for it than to coincide with the launch of EVE Uprising -- a long awaited expansion jampacked full of new features, quality-of-life changes and crucial changes to Faction Warfare. We sat down for one of our monthly conversations with Peter (CCP Swift) and Bergur (CCP Burger). Just like the patch notes of EVE Uprising, this interview is pretty extensive. Strap in, Capsuleers.
Peter, pre EVE Uprising, we saw you keeping the fans happy with four new Navy ships announced at EVE Vegas. And that follows four more being released in Empire Frontiers. What can you tell us about them?
CCP Swift: For these ships, it was a little different to our usual process. Normally we release a line of similar ships with a slight flare between them. Instead of that route, we've opted for ships that are truly individualised. That is to say that the Navy battle cruiser for the Amarr is radically different from that of Gallente and so on, both in their aesthetics and role. There's one that's a brawler, one with a high APM (Actions-per-Minute) meaning lots of repair micromanagement, and one with a brand-new bonus of webification drones. As we'd hoped, instead of players all selecting a clear favourite, they're all opting for different ones that match their playstyles.
“Players were expecting new ships, they weren’t expecting 16 new ships.”
And when it comes to ship design, does it tend to be one person's brainchild or does everyone pitch ideas? How do you come up with the aesthetics?
CCP Swift: Good question. It varies but it's collaborative. I was talking with CCP Aurora, and she took ideas for these from player-inspired designs as well as speaking with other members of the CCP family who really understand the ship meta even though they're not necessarily designers. They've got a tonne of experience in the game and they're able to kind of collaborate and say "Hey, this is this is a hole that we've never filled before." It's about creating something we've never done without breaking the mould too much.
You've released a Scope video showing rising factional tensions throughout New Eden. Amarr has been repurposing Triglavian tech against Minmatar while a spy ring discovery has caused animosity between Caldari and Gallente. It all seems like a powder keg and the match has just been lit with EVE Uprising. How is Uprising going to change Faction Warfare?
CCP Swift: So Faction Warfare before EVE Uprising was a fun system for some, but the mechanics haven't changed since forever. And when you give EVE players a puzzle, they tend to figure it out quickly. It's something that has felt "solved" for a long time despite some diehard fans loving that type of easy ISK and low stakes PvP gameplay. Elements of it, including its rewards and the mechanism of system control, however, just felt uninspired.
CCP Swift: We've reinvented it, but we've done so based on the systems that players already liked. We've created systems that will allow the popular types of fights to continue. One thing that's changed, for example, is the way you capture systems. And this is really exciting, not only for Faction Warfare, but more broadly speaking. That's because we've hinted that if it works, it's a system that could work in high-sec, null-sec, and pretty much anywhere in New Eden. When two adjacent systems are controlled by opposing forces, that'll create a frontline which will become a hyper focus of activity where all the hefty rewards, new complexes, and new dungeon sites will be. What that does is take a really huge map that can feel a bit like a wasteland and make it feel really small.
How will that affect gameplay?
CCP Swift: As a player, you'll know where the most intense activity is and whether your side is winning or losing there. You can find a frontline system and if you want action, you can seek it out immediately. If you'd prefer a less risky experience, you can stay back from the frontlines. It's a system that scales the risk and reward based on player preference while still enabling other playstyles like sneaking behind enemy lines and engaging in guerrilla warfare.
I know EVE Uprising aims to up the stakes of Faction Warfare by making it more meaningful and more consequential. What sort of perks do players get from claiming territory?
CCP Swift: When you take these frontline systems, you gain Loyalty Points at a very increased rate. And those points are spent on certain types of ammunition as well as the exclusive new Navy ships we were discussing. Previously, this would scale based on how many systems you had. But players figured out that they could game the system by flipping one warzone one way and one the other. I'm sure players will work out some sort of new equilibrium hack, but with all the new capture mechanics, we've at least bought ourselves some time.
Continuing the questions on Uprising but on the narrative side of things. You've given players new ships to test and an Uprising teaser trailer with a soundtrack featuring a literal ticking time bomb. Just how explosive is it going to get? And do you think it will draw more players to Faction Warfare?
CCP Swift: Even before EVE Uprising, we've been laying out these Easter Eggs and some little narrative hints as to the directions of the great empires. It's been a good driver towards Faction Warfare especially when we offer incentivised objectives. For example, fighting for control of stellar transmitters menacingly harvesting energy from the sun using stolen alien technologies -- whoever controls these sites gets more ISK. Before that event kicked off, factions were completely lopsided with Minmatar controlling all but five systems. Tactically selecting points for these transmitters reshaped the balance of the warzone, which acted as a proof of concept for the new frontlines system. We saw the activity start to really drum up to the point now where some 30 odd systems were taken back in a matter of weeks.
CCP Swift: Furthermore, people are joining because they want to get in on the ground floor in the new feature to make social connections with those already familiar with Faction Warfare. That way, now the EVE Uprising expansion has hit, they can hit the ground running and reap as many rewards as possible.
How are the Faction Warfare player numbers looking?
CCP Swift: I think we've had a few thousand new players enter Faction Warfare in the six weeks or so before EVE Uprising, so that's looking pretty healthy. Even before the expansion, the Faction Warfare systems were the most deadly they've been since I can remember. There was one system that had 2400 ships destroyed in 18 hours -- that's a tonne of explosions. It's been really cool to see.
CCP Burger: I think the great thing about Faction Warfare is that it's a really nice steppingstone into null-sec gameplay. Oftentimes, players come into the game, they do the new player experience, but they lack purpose and direction. Faction Warfare leads towards deeper career options and immersion into PvP political wars. This also becomes a really interesting backdrop to all these other possibilities of supporting the frontlines from high-sec. Think canned soup for the soldiers in WW2. There's a lot of interesting opportunities for scaling up the system to touch way more people and give more people purpose.
What else has arrived in EVE Uprising that players should get excited about?
CCP Swift: At Vegas, we teased a few things including the new larger ships that will join the 8 ships we already discussed. What players didn't except were the Navy Dreadnaughts -- these are the coolest ships in-game if you're aspiring to fly. They do the most damage, they look amazing, they're the big ones that players reach for. So, we've added Navy variants of those with some really, really neat bonuses. Not only that but the art team just went nuts. The old textures were just too old so in the redesign process they thought, "Hey, if we're going to spruce it up, why not make it amazing." Players were expecting new ships, they weren't expecting 16 new ships.
CCP Swift: There's honestly a list as long as my arm of the quality-of-life changes. Many of which have been things dreamt about for some time. We've got Alliance fittings for stronger organisational regularity. We've increased the number of fits that you can have; we figured if there's more ships then why not? One that I'm personally really excited about is the Fleet Watchlist window. For my first 10 years of EVE, it could fit 10 pilots in it. So, you could see the health and status of your 10 best friends in your fleet of 250. It was a bit like a Myspace profile where you select your fave 5 pals.
Showing your age there, Peter.
CCP Swift: Thank you, yes, throwing that in there. Anyway, we increased it to 15 about 8 years ago, and that's been it. Our goal is to take it close to 100. And that's going to be massive. You'll have a much better idea of how your fleetmates are doing. It also provides new roles for people in the fleet. A fleet commander can delegate to his lieutenants and get sitreps on the rate at which ships are being lost. And that could well change how fleet warfare works.
CCP Swift: Yet for every change I've spoken of here, there are another 10 that are equally impactful. And what is a favourite for me is insignificant for another player and vice versa. I noticed that at EVE Vegas; whenever I went over to a group of players, everyone was abuzz about something distinct. We're really hitting a wide range of these quality-of-life changes.
CCP Burger: I think it's one of the longest patch notes we've ever put out. No matter what you do in the game, there's something in EVE Uprising for you.
CCP Spyder: And we're not just introducing new ships but breathing fresh life into existing ones. Redefining roles and offering rebalancing. Lots of people have had ships they love but haven't been flying them due to restrictions and limitations on those ships' bonuses and attributes.
Stay tuned for December's interview where we'll continue to talk about EVE Uprising, Heraldry, Bounty Modifiers, and the value of player pride. In the meantime, go get stuck into EVE Online and see if the expansion lives up to the hype.