Introducing ERIC! Coming In The Next Release!
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As Fanfest 2018 draws closer, we’ll be starting to reveal a lot more about what’s coming up for New Eden over the course of 2018.
Before that though, there’s a few things that we’d like to talk to the community about in advance.
Amazing things. Revolutionary, game-changing things.
Here’s a rundown of what you can expect real soon, coming to you this month in EVE Online.
More Balance Iteration!
Since the start of the year, there have been many balance changes released, touching everything from Structure Times to Entosis Links and Assault Frigates to Battleships. We’ve also seen substantial changes to Jump Fatigue and how Sovereignty capture events work, and we’ve watched the feedback that the community has given based off this first line of tweaks.
We hear your voices, and your voices are saying “we want more!”
CCP has been closely monitoring the machine learning and artificial intelligence industries over the course of the last few years with a view to utilizing these technologies as much as possible going forward. Advances in NPC behavior are a perfect example of where improved AI can take us, but we want to take this one step further.
We’re happy to announce that with the next release, we’ll begin to utilize a highly advanced artificial intelligence to give weekly balance passes on every aspect of New Eden, including all ships, modules, ammunition, structures and NPCs.
In addition to this, we are of course aware that everyone’s taste in how they play EVE differs, so these balance passes will be personal, based on algorithms generated by learning to predict player behavior, and monitoring each pilot’s most commonly used ships and modules.
We want to tailor EVE for each individual player to give the best experience possible, and we recognise that while you may use the same ships as your friends, sometimes having the same bonuses and slot layouts just doesn’t make sense, and can inhibit true sandbox gameplay.
Everything from slot and hardpoint layout to physical sizes and colors of vessels will be customized to fit each individual player
More Assistance In Space!
Space can be a cold and lonely place, and starting out in New Eden can be a very tough endeavour for new pilots.
With this in mind, we’d like to introduce you to ERIC.
ERIC is a companion that will assist pilots in game much in the way that AURA has for many years, offering advice and assistance during gameplay, and allowing pilots to learn and grow as they take their first steps in New Eden.
When we initially ship ERIC in April, he’ll have some base functionality that will be used to teach new and old pilots alike about various systems and professions within the game.
The plan is to allow ERIC to assist rookies with their first steps in New Eden, as well as offering veterans solid advice and guidance for game systems that they may be unfamiliar with and haven’t touched yet.
Providing everything from advice and information, to fire support and remote logistics in sticky or dangerous situations, we hope that ERIC will become one of the key cornerstones in a new pilot’s introduction to EVE Online.
In testing, he’s proved to offer invaluable advice and information that has enriched and focused the gameplay of our test subjects.
Here we can see ERIC offering advice during a controlled test involving a 20-hour long mining operation.
Not only will ERIC assist in making sure that entertainment and companionship is provided during long sessions, he’ll also be available to haul your ore and advise on min-maxing which ores to harvest for the best return on investment based on current regional market prices.
Here we can see ERIC during autopilot plugin testing. His advanced intelligence and traffic monitoring algorithms will also take into account your cargo value, along with the value of your ship, fitting and implants, cross referencing this information with current activity and danger levels in New Eden in order to plot you the safest route across the cluster.
And of course, as mentioned, when you’re facing overwhelming odds and need that extra bit of assistance, ERIC is always on hand to provide additional fire support or remote logistics in a sticky situation, advising on best practices in combat as well as which damage types to use for more effective and rapid takedowns of hostiles.
While AURA was criticised in a number of instances for laughing at pilots who were killed in combat, ERIC’s advanced intelligence will be able to offer both emotional support and financial advice for replacing your lost hulls and implants should the worst happen.
His insurance plugin will also allow you to re-ship and acquire new implants faster than ever before, so that you can get back into the thick of the action.
With ERIC, life in New Eden just became a lot easier.
So far, the model of ERIC that we’ve shown has been the base introductory version that every capsuleer will receive as standard with the next release.
This version of ERIC comes with all the base functionality described above, as well as a myriad of mini games and training exercises that will improve his functionality and abilities in the field.
Of course, all this intelligence requires a lot of horsepower, so you’ll need to keep him fed and fuelled in order to keep him firing on all cylinders.
Eric’s base requirements for fuelling per day are:
- 1000x Spirits
- 1000x Tobacco
- 500x Long-limb Roes
- 500x Synthetic Oil
- 500x Hydrogen Batteries
- 1x Homeless
- 1x Janitor
You take care of ERIC, and he’ll take care of you! Regular feeding and interaction with ERIC will strengthen the bond that you develop with him over time, turning him into a more loyal and dedicated companion as time goes by.
Given the nature of EVE’s harsh sandbox environment, and the emotional trials that can face capsuleers as they journey through the often-hostile world of New Eden, we’re also testing an advanced version of ERIC, known as the “Hugger” model.
At launch, this Tech II version of ERIC comes with customizable arms and a selection of fur based SKINs that will make him substantially more huggable and friendlier in appearance than the base model.
Right now, we’re preparing a library of more than 1000 customizable fur colors and textures that will be made available in a new dedicated section of the New Eden Store over the course of 2018.
In addition to this, various options for arms are also in the works to give ERIC a more animated and realistic appearance in space. Several voice fonts are also being worked on so that ERIC will be able to give audio feedback and engage in light conversation in future iterations.
We understand that at times life in EVE Online can be tough, with the harsh environment and sometimes even other pilots doing unpredictable things that can influence gameplay.
The idea with this upgraded version of ERIC is to be able to offer advice, guidance and companionship through both the good and challenging times in New Eden.
To access this Tech II version of ERIC, pilots will need to purchase this new Capsule-Bell choker from the New Eden Store, which serves as both a vanity item for their avatar, and an implant that unlocks the advanced functionality of Tech II ERIC.
In addition to these two versions of ERIC, there’s also more!
Both versions of ERIC will be able to operate in the immediate vicinity of your ship in space, however if you’d like to deploy ERIC further afield, for instance to head on over to Jita and pick up things from the market on your behalf, there are additional accessories that will be made available in the New Eden store to further enhance his capabilities.
For the industrialist and trader, “Bast” drone control cranial implants designed by the Ishukone Corporation will allow ERIC to be controlled from anywhere in New Eden.
This hardware utilizes quantum entanglement to merge ERIC’s own AI with the mind of his capsuleer companion, allowing him to deploy ERIC anywhere in the cluster and access the regional market that ERIC is located in.
ERIC can then be used to shop for ships, modules and other supplies, before returning to his capsuleer companion with everything required.
Bonuses from these implants include:
- -50% sales tax (stacks on top of “Accounting” skill).
- -50% reduction in costs of setting up a market order (stacks on top of “Broker Relations” skill).
- +500 outstanding contracts.
- +1000 active market orders (stacks on top of “Retail” and “Wholesale” skills).
Similarly, these “Anubis” cranial implants are more combat focused, allowing ERIC to operate as a scout, pacing ahead of his capsuleer companion and relaying information on potential hostile situations.
With these implants, ERIC can be deployed to any system in New Eden, providing a picture in picture overview of the space he is in, as well as information on population and standings in the immediate area.
These cranial implants also allow ERIC to provide both ECM and ECCM support to his capsuleer counterpart in combat, with the following bonuses:
- 500% Bonus to ship racial ship sensor strength.
- 250% bonus to effects of all modules that require the “Electronic Warfare” skill.
- 75% reduction in capacitor usage for ECM, Tracking Disruptor and Sensor Dampening modules.
We’re incredibly excited to bring you ERIC in the next few weeks, along with all his accessories and optional add-ons, and we hope that many pilots will have fun engaging with him, interacting with him and learning from him as we ship regular updates to his AI in future.
With the deployment of ERIC alongside our regular weekly automated re-balancing system, we feel that in the coming months, New Eden is going to become a more prosperous and exciting place for all.
We look forward to seeing how capsuleers will utilize ERIC once he’s deployed, and remember pilots:
“The best ship, is the Friendship!”