Hell is Freezing Ove(u)r, Revelations 2 is Coming
Today, we are Feature Freezing Revelations 2, which essentially means that programming are finishing their part of the Revelations 2 expansion and that we're entering a stabilization period, full testing, fixing defects and eventually of course, release! No more programming of new additions, we only fix what's already in from now on.
How long stabilization will take depends on the testing effort, both internal and public, the defect status and of course the results of playtesting. Today, we can say that Revelations 2 can come as early as end of June but also as late as August.
So what's really in Revelations 2?
Well, being so close to Feature Freeze (which is still a misnomer, 90% of Revelations 2 is improvements of existing Features) we can list out what we're done with and what we feel likely will pass testing/playtesting and be released. Thanks to Tony Gonzales for the write-up of the features in intelligent English :)
Need For Speed
Revelations 2 advances our commitment to improving the performance of EVE Online. With server CPU and dogma optimizations launched in this release, Revelations will also set the initial groundwork to provide full Vista support. Also integral to our Need for Speed initiative is the continuous refinement of our Core Technology, the foundation infrastructure for EVE. We have a new sound engine, client rendering optimizations and hopefully our load balancer changes will make it in.
Adding a new dimension to space combat in EVE, Revelations 2 brings you Heat: the ability to overload starship modules for a temporary boost in performance, but at the risk of damaging or even destroying any module in same rack.
Performance overloads are temporary attribute increases for any active module, covering everything from firepower and defenses to propulsion and electronics. While the benefits of overheating are specific to the module, the cost—heat buildup—is cumulative, and could thus damage other modules as well.
Modules that succumb to heat become unusable during combat, and must be repaired when—or if—the ship makes it back to a station.
Agent Mission Improvements
Revelations 2 will introduce Level 5 Agents, and with them the most challenging PVE encounters for players yet in EVE. These missions are designed for capital ships or small gangs, who will face NPC elements that include dreadnoughts, carriers, and other mammoth adversaries that require vast amounts of firepower to take down.
To encourage group participation for tackling agent missions of any difficulty, gang support for missions will also be added, splitting the bounty, loyalty points and standing increase for success evenly between participants. As for the actual rewards, the agent offer system is being enhanced in two ways: by moving loyalty points from the agent to the corporation level, such that offers will be made on behalf of that corporation, and available through any agent of that corporation; and with the addition of a new loyalty point store, in which players can view the entire list of available agent offers and select which ones to accept as determined by their affordability in loyalty points and/or merchandise.
Expanding the Frontiers of Exploration
Revelations 2 will expand the content for solo exploration, increasing the chances of discovering in-space encounters and hidden deadspace pockets of varying difficulties—including greater rewards through rare NPC commander spawns. The balance of escalation will also be improved, with an emphasis on creating a more gradual difficulty progression through encounter stages and. Finally, a built-in scanner that has no requirements for additional skills or modules will be added to assist with finding low-risk encounters.
Structure Warfare Enhancements
Revelations 2 will significantly expand the opportunities for strategic operations between fixed structures in space by encouraging siege-type game play, enabling attrition warfare, providing tactical objectives for smaller attack forces, and improving the economic vitality of outposts.
New Starbase Tactics. Factionalized Structures such as Serpentis Control Towers and Domination Autocannon Batteries, each with unique looks and bonus attributes; Energy Neutralizing Arrays that can drain capacitor reserves from attacking fleets; Scanner Arrays that perform localized scanning for the presence of ships; Jump Towers that allow players to jump instantaneously between starbases owned by the same corporation; Cynosural Field Generators that can quickly bring capital ships to the battlefield; and Cynosural Field Jammers to prevent them from coming in.
Exposed Starbase Assets. We are opening up the tactical opportunities for smaller attack groups by moving some starbase structures beyond the protective force field. All such eligible structures will receive significant hit point increases, which will include all firepower, electronic warfare, scanning, and tracking arrays; cynosural field jammers and generators; and jump bridge towers.
Improved Defenses. All offensive structures will be increased in hit-points to ensure they won't be easy prey for the monstrous capital ships. Structures can now be anchored when the host control tower is in reinforced mode, forcing attack groups to patrol the tower until it is destroyed while giving the owner a chance to recover from assaults. Most importantly, players will now get direct command of starbase weapons, allowing them to control individual assets such as turrets, missile batteries, and stasis webifiers.
Outpost Warfare. Targetable Outpost Services. Individual services offered by outposts are now vulnerable to precision strikes. Attacking players will see a list of “opportunity targets” in their overview as they approach these stations, each of which will have different hit point values depending on their importance. Services—including any jobs running at the time of attack—will become unavailable for outpost residents as they are destroyed, but can be restored once selective criteria are met.
Outpost Upgrades. Tiered Improvement Opportunities. Hierarchal “construction paths” for increasing the economic vitality of outposts will be implemented. These station improvements must first be purchased as construction platforms, then anchored at the outpost site, and supplied with the requisite materials. Once built, these upgrades are permanent, even if the outpost is lost. Possible improvements include the addition of office, factory, or research slots; increasing the efficiency of reprocessing and manufacturing facilities; or adding these services to the outpost. The upgrade level of the outpost determines the total number of improvements that can be made, the greatest of which are functions of race and sovereignty conditions.
Broader Sovereignty Scope
Revelations 2 will make sovereignty more modular by adding four different tiers of ownership and broadening its scope to the constellation level. Structured incentives and intermediary objectives—with unique benefits offered at each tier—will be available for alliances to pursue, but with the added challenge of contending with the tactical changes to starbase warfare. The benefits at each tier include which outpost upgrades can be added, what structures can be anchored around starbases, and how much fuel is required to sustain them.
Sovereignty tiers include Territory, Protectorate, Province, and Constellation Capital. The latter is achievable through Constellation Sovereignty, which is reached when half of the systems in a given constellation become official “territories” of the same alliance; three or more outposts and/or conquerable stations reside with the constellation; and at least one system is a Province—the alliance-declared capital system of that constellation.
Improved Corporation & Alliance Management
Revelations 2 will deliver significant enhancements to the management tools for corporations and alliances—the cornerstone organizations of EVE.
An alliance standing tab, which will give directors the ability to set and adjust corporation standings with other alliances,Seven divisional wallets for corporations, which will give directors the ability to uniquely categorize corporate finances however they fit.A transaction log for each divisional wallet , identical in functionality to personal wallets, An export manager that will allow players with an accountant role to export corporate data to file, and all players to export their personal wallets to file.
Remote search functionality of corporate hangars and manipulation of corporate assets, such as moving items between hangars and stacking, an alliance history tab similar to the character employment history tab, detailed shareholder reports, and science & industry logs that display a history of all jobs accessed by members with a factory manager role.
A starbase fuel technician role, which will allow players to perform basic starbase maintenance tasks but prevent them from damaging the base through resource theft or other means.
Revelations 2 will introduce new tactics for dispersing large concentrations of ships. Motherships will be able to equip a Remote ECM Burst module that will break the locks of any ship within its effect radius of the target that the module was activated on. Stealth bombers can be armed with AOE (area-of-effect) Bombs that damage everything—friend and foe alike—within its blast radius. Carriers will be able to revert to triage mode, in which its logistic and defensive capabilities are greatly enhanced at the expense of nearly all of its firepower.
Dozens of enhancements will be included with Revelations 2, addressing Titans & Motherships; adding faction missiles to loot drops; giving commanders the ability to transfer their gang-boosting role to another pilot; seeding the market with more gas cloud harvesters to encourage booster production; adding rogue drone commanders to exploration complexes; plus many more unique improvements to better the EVE experience for new and veteran players alike.
There is more; larger and smaller fixes, optmizations and minor improvements not mentioned here and quite a lot of balancing. On the other hand, as noted before, what's mentioned above might not get passed testing but we're confident that we will.
"First things first, but not necessarily in that order"
Summing it up, Revelations 2 is around the corner, to be released when it's ready this summer. There are a lot of improvements, optmizations and fixes in it and we're intentionally staying away of "new stuff".
On the more recent issues of Tranquility stability, we have all hands on deck addressing the multitude of software, hardware and networking issues we've had lately. Not only are they disrupting service, it's also preventing us from working more on preventive measures and our server hotfix deployment schedule. This means we still have a line of fixes and hotfixes before Revelations release waiting for deployment. Rest assured, we take this very seriously.
That's it for now, I have scheduled the formal Feature Freeze meeting in 51 minutes and I see TomB has a new Starbase Warfare blog coming in. Till next time, we salute you, pilots.