New EVEMail in Dominion

Team Cosmos Client, working closely with our cousins in Team Cosmos Web (seriously, this is Iceland, they are our actual cousins), have been working hard to bring you a shiny new mail system that functions much more like the mail clients we all use out of game. The first step towards the Utopian ideal of a sleek, seamlessly integrated web and in-game mail system is the all new in-game mail system that we will be unveiling with Dominion.

In this blog I am going to talk about the main features of this new system and give some insight into some of the decisions we made around implementing them.

Before I go into more depth, here are the headline features:

EVEMail - The place to find all your mails from other players and player organisations.

Notification manager - A separate interface for all NPC communications.

Mailing Lists - A redesigned backend with a new management interface, which is integrated into the mail system.

Corp and Alliance Bulletin Boards - Added to the corp and alliance interface to replace the Bulletin Board function of the old corp and alliance mailing lists - more on this below.

EVEMail

The new EVEmail is intended to be an in-game messaging service with functionality and flexibility approaching that of today‘s feature-rich mail clients. The old EVEMail has served us well for over half a decade but it´s time for an update. Heck, it´s time we were able to sort our mails by date instead of just sender!

On top of the cutting-edge ability to be able to sort mail by date, we have added labels, a powerful and  highly customisable way of organising your mails. These will work in a similar way to folders, but a single mail can have multiple labels and selecting a certain label view will show all mails with that label.

You will have four predefined labels: Inbox, Corp, Alliance and Sent Items. New mails will always have the label "Inbox" and so will appear automatically in your inbox label view. Mails sent to a whole corporation or alliance will be labeled accordingly and appear in the appropriate label view. You can create up to 25 custom labels and each will get its own folder within the "Labels" section. Labels can be created and managed by clicking on the handy, label-shaped "Manage Labels" button in the EVEMail window.

From Dominion all mails will be stored locally on your computer. If you have a full mailbox it may take a while to open your new EVEMail for the first time, but from then on everything will be much quicker. This is because we have eliminated the need for the mail header syncing that used to happen every time you started the game. We have also increased the maximum number of mails that can be retrieved from 1000 to 1500. And of course we didn't want to leave the API out of the party, for details of the mail-related juicy goodness that we added please see CCP Elerinho's API devblog.

Settings - Accessed through the arrow in the top left of the EVEMail window. This is the place where you will set your CSPA charges from now on. It is also the place to tailor how many mails you want per page, and how you want to be alerted about new mails and notifications.

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Notification Manager

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Notification is the term for any communication you receive from NPC entities; whether that is a message about an insurance payout after your ship got blown up by the bad guys, a storyline agent offering you a top secret mission, a structure you own asking to be fed some more liquid ozone or an alert from CONCORD about the latest war declaration on your poor, persecuted noob corp. You will find your notifications grouped into folders for your convenience in the "Notifications" tab in the EVEMail window. Pre-Dominion NPC mails will end up under the "Old" tab. All newly received notifications will be available in the "Unread" folder as well as being in the appropriate group. Post-Dominion notifications will also be localized into English, Russian or German depending on your client settings.

This release is intended as a first iteration for the Notification Manager and we would like to see it grow and develop in future releases when it fits in with our other priorities. So please let us know if there are any cool new features you would like to see here.

Mailing Lists

As mentioned above, mailing lists have now been integrated into the mail system and are no longer linked to the chat channels directly. Mailing lists in EVE have essentially been a list of mails that, unless deleted, anyone joining would see back to the inception of the list.

Post-Dominion, on joining a new mailing list you will only receive any future mails sent to the list. This removes the Bulletin Board function that many corps and alliances have used their mailing lists to fulfill. In the long run we see this function being fulfilled by corp and alliance forums on the Cosmos Web app. In the interim we have the corp and alliance bulletin boards, more about them below. Pre-Dominion mailing lists and their mails will not be lost. They will be migrated over to the new system and will work just like newly created lists from Dominion onwards.

Chat Channels

Bringing Mailing List management into the Mail interface meant that we had an opportunity to reorganise chat channel management too. As the Chat window is permanently open we decided to move the options to add and create channels there. This allowed us to remove the Neocom item, making room for Fleet Finder. Clicking the speech bubble icon in the top right of the chat window will open the create/add channel window.

Corp and Alliance Bulletin Board - As already discussed this feature was added to maintain the ability of corps and alliances to make persistent information available to their members in light of the changes to mailing lists. This is a tab on corp and alliance home pages where Corp Directors and Communication Officers can add and edit bulletins. These bulletins will then be viewable by all corp and alliance members. Existing corp and alliance bulletin-type mails will be migrated over to the new mail system like all other mails. The new bulletin boards will be a blank canvas waiting to be filled come Release Day.

A corp or alliance can have up to 10 bulletins with titles of up to 100 characters and bodies of up to 2000 characters. Once published it may take up to 15 minutes for a bulletin to be visible to all corp and alliance members. Anyone with the necessary role (i.e. Director or Communications Officer) will be able to edit and delete all bulletins in their corp and alliance interfaces. The "posted by" and date stamp will always reflect the last change.

So there you have it, a whistle-stop tour of what you can expect in your new EVEMail and its related parts after downtime on Tuesday 1st of December. As I mentioned at the start of the blog, the work on this new in-game EVEMail has been intimately tied together with the work on our upcoming web-based EVEMail system. Post-Dominion we will be finalising plans for a staged release of this web-based mail moving towards a full release in the next months. Watch this space!