That November Expansion of ours

Today was a big day for us. The last major designs were finalized Friday, we went over the list of deliverables and risks of our upcoming (and, of course, free) expansion today. Now I can shed some light on what's coming in Revelations 3, because now we know.

Edit note: This blog is only intended as a brief overview instead of having to wait for a webpage detailing it all. Blogs detailing each item here will be made by the designer responsible for that task.

We changed our strategy some time ago and decided to release 2 expansions per year with a number of maintenance patches between. It looks good so far, we really liked Revelations 2.2, we hope you did too.

A later addition to that strategy was the Need for Speed initiative, an effort to bring it to the top of the mind of all developers, EVE's performance is paramount to world domination. How can one conquer the universe at 1 frame per hour?

Edit note: The "Need for Speed" was started to better handle high load situations such as large encounters and fleet battles. This expansion has less features because of our emphasis on this effort.

The Need for Speed philosophy dictates a ratio of 6 improvements for 1 feature, thus keeping our focus on improving what's in there instead of bells and whistles (and perpetuating older issues). The drawback there is of course less shiny new buttons to press and that can be a hard sell, but we hope you approve. There is a lot already inside EVE, it's depth probably one of it's strongest selling point.

This time around, the biggest feature is also an improvement. And an optimization. And very shiny. All this and more in one awesome package called Trinity 2, our new graphics engine. This is a case of where the beautiful becomes jaw-dropping gorgeous.

Edit note: Trinity 2 in November is using DirectX 9.0. The Trinity 2 engine is able to handle things such as fleet battles and large NPC encounters much better than the current one. That is what's being referred to as an "optimization" in the paragraph above but now properly emphasized with this note.

This leads us to everything else in our next expansion, focusing on improvements more than ever.

Drones Revisited

"About time" is probably the first thing that comes to mind. Not only are we improving the interface, we're working on the logic behind them. This should hopefully lead to them being more consistent in control and abolish their free will. Assist and Guard are new commands coming in, we're getting lots of new named drones and we're adding a new constraint on drones, bandwidth. With this, bandwidth determines the number of drones you can control, allowing the dronebay to be considerably increased on drone ships, accommodating more waves or variety. Ubar? Ja!

Edit note: Bandwidth referenced here is not in reference to your internet connection. It's to un-nerf specialized drone ships and allow more differentation between ships. There is also specific Drone Region content in this update.

The home-away-from-home-tech-2-battleship

The long-range and high-versatility Battleship nicknamed the "Violators". Their versatility will work for many play styles but we also wanted something which would work for PvE play styles. This doesn't mean they will work well for only mission runners, so there is no need to brand them with the misnomer of the "mission ship".

Edit note: Long-range is not a reference to weapons range but the ships ability to go deep into enemy territory and stay there for extended periods. It is not a HAC either :)

The this-is-not-the-tech-2-battleship-you-are-looking-for Battleship.

Infiltration and covert operation. It has a small jump portal for other covert ships. They are called the Black Ops. They are black. 'Nuff said. (Well, not really, but that's a different blog).

The should-I-stay-or-should-I-go Cruiser.

You might hate or love the Interdictors. Whatever your feelings are, here is a heavy one. They will bring to mind a whole new meaning to "Say hello to my little friend!".

The most-annoying-frigate-ever Frigate.

No, we're not talking about hundreds of noob frigates with civilian Gatling Guns, we're talking about electronic warfare on a new scale. A very small scale. It's the Recon class, now in bite-sized chunks that bite back if you're not careful.

Yes, indeed. Srsly. 4 new Tech 2 classes.

Edit note: The 5th ship class is still not confirmed to make it in time and therefore not covered. It's a mini-profession ship and requires resources that we don't have available. It is therefore not an option to say, skip the E-war frigate and do the mini-profession ship instead since they are working on the Need for Speed and fixing the 600 defects.

These ships will like recent Tech 2 has entered the economy recently, through Invention only.

Missions a-plenty

We're adding tons of new missions to agent levels 1 through 4, these missions will utilize "escalating paths" for bonus rooms, exploration and other nifty tools that have been added lately. We're also adding new courier missions, even for level 5. Speaking of missions, the LP store is getting more content for the secondary factions like Mordu, Thukker etc.

Heat Improvements

Following up on Heat, we're adding more strategic options. Taking a module offline will make it a heat dispersion module, giving you long-term overload at a more serious cost. Tech Levels are also getting different heat sustenance levels, some can take the heat better, such as the run of the mill Tech 1 modules that don't suffer from the delicate construction of specialized modules. Heat attenuation is being added, so heat damage spreads "sideways" from the overloaded module, not randomly in the rack. You can thereby create buffers by slapping your favorite named/faction module between two Tech 1s if you like. The heat is on, as the classic song said.

New low-sec boosters!

We're adding gas clouds to 8 low-sec regions as well as some more legal and milder versions of boosters. Overall, boosters in general are getting their stats revised and their industry numbers tweaked.

More exploratory material to explore, exploratorily of course

We're following exploration up with more encounters and also changing multifrequency probes. The Multifrequency probes take the selected scan group into account when deciding what results to return. With the Encounters being moved to Cosmic Anomalies and being given a Deadspace Anomaly beacon, you should be able to scan for either or both groups.

Edit note: There is also specific Drone Region encounters here.

Mo' better blues.

Or whichever genre of music you like to play for your fleets. EVE Voice gets more improvements and the ability to directly address a specific part of your fleet. Want your tacklers to hear you sing "It's Britney Bitch!" but keep your damage dealers oblivious because they might express their displeasure with guns? Done.

Edit note: This is not an ability to share music, it means that you can utilize your vocal chords in new ways than before.

Better kill-mail system

The aim of the review is to overhaul the killmail system, shifting it to a kill log available in the character sheet as a standard table, thus allowing a rich format view while keeping the current classic text format. The main benefit being the kill records are always persisted and won't fill your evemail inbox. All participants will be recorded and shown (no longer truncated at 20), NPC final blows (where NPC fired the death shot) will be shown and the kill log will update the highest damaging player as the recipient of the log update. Rigs and dropped items will be included alongside destroyed items. We hope this delivers.

Big-bada-boom Improvements.

We have a lot of combat related improvements, like allowing bombers to launch their payload without placing themselves in the blast radius, as long as the bomb is launched on a forward trajectory. They will also be made cheaper. We will introduce more filtering of damage messages so that you can see more clearly what is happening to your ship, and what ships are doing to others. Not only are module scripts allowing dual-purpose modules where you can switch between functionality on the features list, but more balancing and improvements to a range of topics, like Starbase Warfare.

Evelopedia and Corporate Registry

At the same time, we should have an Evelopedia in place, an official wiki for everything EVE in addition to a new Corporation Registry, allowing corps to list them as recruiting and for players to search for corps to join.

New client distribution, patcher and log-in

To be able to deploy our fixes in a more timely and less intrusive manner, we're creating a new mechanism for client distribution and patching. This feature will also include a new log-in complete with better news delivery, MOTD and other information. The reason is simple, we're patching more frequently and our current process makes deploying smaller fixes more difficult than it should be. With this feature, our (yet-again-increased) team of dedicated programmers focused on fixes-only can get them out faster. Till then, our goal is to fix more than half of the listed defects by the time of Revelations 3. Yup, you read that right, that's about 600 fixes. By November.

Edit note: Emphasizing this point for the "Fix-more-add-less-stuff-brigade" :)

600 fixes means we're fixing far more than we're adding to the game. This is further emphasized in the 6-to-1 Need for Speed ratio, an "improvement" is fixing something which is broken or inadequate. It's actually 1080 defects if we include "improvements" to content and such. All for November.

Beautiful becomes gorgeous

The focus in this expansion is obviously on Trinity 2, the new graphics, but there are quite a few other things in there and this blog is by no means a complete list. We often find time to get more in and we have more in the pipes already that we want to address. However, this is the list we are comfortably sure about getting done in November. By all means, if you feel there is something we should be addressing, chime in on the ideas forum. Chances are that we're working on it already.