Game Director’s Letter – Viridian and Beyond
We’re now midway through 2023 and what a historic time it has been for EVE Online! So far, it’s been a packed year with a ton of exciting things happening in New Eden. You capsuleers have been busy having several trillion-ISK battles, adapting new strategies while building structures and taking others down. It has been remarkable to see the impact you have had as well as the number of firsts you have achieved: the first Keepstar killed in high-sec, the first rearguard system captured in the warzone, and the first shipcaster constructed for the Empires just to name a few.
Since the start of 2023, preparations and celebrations steadily ramped up into May, when EVE officially rang in its 20th anniversary. The capsuleer age has ushered in unforgettable celebrations, exciting moments, and recently the first expansion of the third decade, EVE Online: Viridian, which launched in June. Since the launch of Viridian, player corporations have been recruiting fresh blood and setting new goals with Corporation Projects as well as expressing their identities in bold colors across their territory…and that of their enemies!
Having reached the halfway point of 2023 and looking forward to the next expansion for EVE Online coming later in the year, we wanted to take a moment to revel in the anniversary with you, reflect on the celebrations and life after the Viridian launch, as well as look ahead at what the rest of the year has in store.
EVE ONLINE – 20 YEARS IN SPACE
When EVE Online was launched on 6 May 2003, nobody dared to dream of how big and significant the game would become. It has been amazing to follow the endless stories that you capsuleers have created throughout the last 20 years, from the great Guiding Hand Social Club heists that took early EVE by storm, to the massive record-breaking fleet fights like the and the , as well as to witness the birth and collapse of capsuleer empires. No problem seems too complex for EVE’s capsuleers to solve, and your collective achievements are a testament to the astounding things humans can accomplish when they band together. These stories have led to incredible friendships within the EVE community, and even families created by New Eden.
This 20th anniversary year has already seen many highlights. The Capsuleer Day event – traditionally one of the most anticipated and popular events of any year – saw many old faces return to New Eden to take part in the festivities, and in the anniversary stream viewers witnessed the destruction of CCP Hellmar’s Avatar-class titan as it undocked from Jita 4-4 on 6 May 2023. Capsuleers also ensured their legacies would be immortalized on the EVE Worlds Within a World Monument, which will be unveiled later this year as part of the anniversary festivities. These celebrations will continue throughout the year, culminating in the biggest and most impressive Fanfest yet, on 21-23 September 2023. We can’t wait to commemorate this milestone birthday with you in person at the Party at the Top of the World.
VIRIDIAN – FOR THE GLORY OF YOUR CORPORATION
The last nine months have marked a return to expansions for EVE, with Uprising and Viridian providing a strong start to EVE’s third decade. Friendship, creation, contribution, and destruction are a big part of what EVE is all about, and that is what we will build towards with our exceptional community.
With the Viridian expansion we were determined to empower players and facilitate the building of stronger organizations, delivering on the vision presented and commitments made at EVE Fanfest 2022. By offering more ways for corp leaders to create objectives for their members, they now have more tools and means to provide focus and direction for their corp, giving them a sense of purpose and belonging.
By allowing players to personalize their Upwell structures, corporations can better express their group identity, strengthening their presence in space, and further creating pride in the organization while potentially sparking fear in others! After all, structures are a testament to an organization’s strength and control. It is safe to say that since the launch of Viridian, New Eden is looking more vibrant than ever before as organizations are actively using SKINR to personalize their player-owned structures.
In fact, within the first 3 minutes and 15 seconds after the Viridian launch, the first structure was customized, courtesy of the Holey Roamin’ Empire:
In addition to SKINR, there has also been an enthusiastic and substantial adoption of Corporation Projects by players old and new. Since the launch of Viridian, there has been a noticeable rise in signups for corporations particularly amongst new players; It’s been great to see more new players finding their footing and their space friends. These new recruits have been put through their paces in the new Homefront Operations sites, where they have had the opportunity to fly alongside seasoned veterans, further powering the EVE Friendship machine.
Viridian also introduced brand-new Tech II capital ships in the form of lancer dreadnoughts. The first of these – a Gallente Hubris – was built by Toon Hermans of UK Corp on Friday 30 June. It will be exciting to see how the meta around these ships will evolve as EVE players will inevitably surprise us with how you incorporate lancers into your gameplay. The added Loyalty Point income for corporations is a further example of empowerment and control for player organizations on the road to making New Eden their own. Since the release of lancers, Tech I dreadnought prices are also trending downwards even in the face of an expected rise in demand now that Tech II lancer dreadnoughts are coming out of production. Addressing bottlenecks in production has eased the cost of T1 capital ships - most notably dreadnoughts - opening the door for more exciting capital escalations. We're elated to see lancers coming off the production lines, and excited to see how you’ll utilize them.
The overall look and feel of New Eden has also greatly improved following the launch of Viridian. As featured in the first installment of the In Focus series,this expansion brought some incredible visual enhancements including missile impact upgrades, immersive new volumetric clouds, and a visual overhaul of empire frigates and marauders. These improvements follow updates made earlier in the year with unlimited shadows and new anti-aliasing techniques as detailed in this visual updates blog:
Additionally, there were significant quality-of-life and balance updates with the Viridian expansion.
Marauders are now in a much healthier state with counter-play and more diversity in ship selection, fleets of Rokhs have been taking off for the first time in years, and Large Hybrids are now providing more options for fleets and mission running ships alike. Viridian also included a ban on XL structures in high-security space and following that announcement you all quickly went to work removing those legacy structures, the most notable of which was the Tranquility Trading Tower near the Jita game in Perimeter.
Since the Viridian expansion the daily value of Planetary Industry has almost doubled, mining value has jumped up significantly due to more demand for moon minerals, and Loyalty Point value is stabilizing as Loyalty Point supply and prices find a new equilibrium. These and other collective results of the Viridian expansion have been overwhelmingly positive, and we can’t wait to see what you do in the coming months with everything from Viridian and the further updates to come. The nature of Viridian is slow growth, and it will take some time to appreciate its full impact, which makes us even more excited to see what our intrepid capsuleers do with it.
VIRIDIAN – THE BIG PICTURE
Corporations are at the core of New Eden – your interactions create countless stories, experiences, and deep bonds that continue to astound us 20 years on. Our long-term vision is to give you more tools to facilitate these immersive experiences; not only more sand in the sandbox, but more tools to shape and move that sand around. Viridian was a key step in this direction.
What does it mean to be a member of a corporation? For all members, new and seasoned, it’s important to identify how you can contribute to the group. It’s one thing to be able to identify yourself and wear the colors, but it’s another thing entirely to feel part of an EVE corporation and have pride in your collective accomplishments. We’ve been inspired by examples in the community where groups successfully motivate new recruits and instill in them a sense of corporate and alliance pride, and so we created Corporation Projects, a way for groups of all sizes to create and track opportunities and serve as a vehicle for collaboration with purpose. Corporation Projects give corp leaders direct in-game tools to map out, distribute, and incentivize the work needed to achieve specific corp objectives. This in turn gives members more methods to contribute in more meaningful and deliberate ways to their organization. This feature has gotten amazing feedback, and we’re happy to announce that we will be expanding on Corporation Projects with features like automatic payments, new goals like capturing FW complexes, and a few more we think you’ll be excited about.
Last year, we took time to revamp the tutorial and enhance the career missions to improve the onboarding experience for new players. We understand that it’s vital for new players to have some understanding of how to interact with the game and other players as that will help them embed themselves faster and have added impact as quickly as possible. However, we cannot teach new players how to play EVE through a purely single player experience. You’ve shown us over the years that corporations are crucial to teaching new players the ropes. Homefront Operations sites build on this concept. We’ve seen you team up with new players and create communities to take on these new Homefront Operations sites. Creating new environments where new players can band together with themselves, or take advantage of veteran experience, all while learning how to apply the skills they’ve learned to practical scenarios that will be helpful in real EVE life.
Personalization as a way to instill collective pride and identity is also important, and last year at Fanfest we promised corporation structures. Providing a path for corporations to express their identity so publicly in the game allows players to show strength and mark their territory – or make a stand against another corp. We started the heraldry journey with corporation and alliance emblems in Uprising, and SKINR is the next step toward customization and expression. At the core of personalization is EverMarks – a new currency we released with Uprising. We wanted to give designers a new tool they could use to reward players for in-game achievements. There are certain ship customizations you can buy – like ship SKINs and apparel for your character – and that won’t change. However, we really wanted to create a system where you could show off your achievements – things you earn. The EverMarks ecosystem is still in its early stages, but as it grows, new ways to earn and spend them will be introduced, and we look forward to sharing more details in the near future.
We are energized about the positive reaction to our focus on corporations, identity, and culture, and we are already reacting to the feedback. We didn’t stop on release day but have continued with additional meaningful updates, including the promisedproviding further management tools, and adding the ability to trade EverMarks within an alliance. We plan to continue to monitor the effects of these changes and will expand on some of these concepts (particularly EverMarks) as well as adapt as we witness the impact of the expansion and get more of your feedback.
Uprising and Viridian have set the foundations for what will become the ultimate war machine, powering New Eden. Our goal is to give everyone a place and role to play, a purpose and drive no matter what your career path, or focus, is in EVE.
Looking beyond Viridian and the summer, teams are already working on the next expansion in the winter! However, there is still lots of great stuff to sink your teeth into in the meantime. As you may have noticed there has been a shakeup in your regular cadence of events in EVE. Some of the historic events such as the 4 x Empire Day summer events have been put on hold to enable us to strengthen the tools needed to bring you bigger and better content, faster and more reliably. You can still look forward to seasonal events such as Crimson Harvest and Winter Nexus later this year, with extended Crimson Harvest dates now confirmed as 5 Oct – 6 Nov.
We’ve also shifted focus to events that bring you more opportunities to have greater impact within them. At Fanfest 2022 we unveiled our concept behind arcs, a new event framework in which you can co-create the world with us through your actions and contributions. The most recent example of an arc event was the Shadow War which was a phenomenal campaign in which capsuleers aided their chosen faction to achieve key strategic goals in the conflict, such as constructing an empire’s first ever interstellar shipcaster – with some managing this more swiftly than others! The Shadow War also got players into new areas of space, resulting in exciting levels of PvP and backstabbing. We have plans to build on the concept of player driven arc events, creating more opportunities to work together to trigger events that impact the world.
The next arc event will kick off in the coming weeks, so stay tuned to EVE News where we will reveal more on this soon. In the meantime, keep your eyes on the stars as there are other clues to be uncovered that will become important later. Some eagle eyed capsuleers have already started to uncover somewhich are likely to come in handy in the coming months.
Not only can you look forward to seasonal events and arc events, but to further focus on player driven content, the Alliance Tournament will also return in August, so be sure to tune into CCP TV for the live broadcasts on 12-13 and 19-20 August.
LOOKING AHEAD TO FANFEST
As we look beyond the summer and into this coming fall, we’re starting to get excited about seeing all our space friends in person as we celebrate 20 years of your stories at what promises to be an epic EVE Fanfest!
So much has happened since the last Fanfest with New Eden buzzing with activity, construction and destruction taking place as if there’s no tomorrow! We have ambitious plans for the winter expansion, and we are excited to share those plans at Fanfest. With the event being so close to expansion this year, we are going to be able to share many more details on what is coming. It will be full of panels and presentations to discuss plans already in motion, and although those plans will be underway, there will still be room to gather feedback and apply some of the lessons we’ve learned to the expansion and its follow-up releases.
For an overview of what events and activities we have planned over the next 6 months, here’s an updated version of the roadmap that we originally unveiled back in January:
CCP’s vision is EVE forever, and so we will continue to invest in long-term EVE Evolved projects in addition to delivering on two expansions a year, all while keeping New Eden alive with a regular cadence of updates, seasonal events, and the newest arc events throughout the third decade. We will also maintain our focus on giving capsuleers more control as well as expanding on Factional Warfare. Conflict drivers in EVE are always on our mind, and as the late Cormac McCarthy wrote, “War is God.”
This is a landmark year for EVE Online, for New Eden, and its growing ranks of capsuleers. It is also a step on the road to forever, a historic moment which we will celebrate like never before at Fanfest 2023, fueling the friendship machine and the war machine into the exciting developments coming in the winter expansion and beyond.
Fly safe, and fly together!
CCP Rattati, Game Director