Producer’s Letter - From Uprising to New Conquests
It’s an incredibly thrilling time to be a capsuleer in New Eden as we embark on a new year in EVE Online. The frontlines have been buzzing with activity and some big shifts are happening in the political landscape. Since the launch of the Uprising expansion in November 2022, the activity in New Eden has exceeded our wildest expectations with active player counts swelling since release and - more importantly - pilots being more active in space. Particularly notable has been the sharp 75% increase in PvP kills in lowsec as well as the 11% PvP kill increase in highsec despite the additional restrictions on ganking and changes to Abyssal Deadspace following the release. This has pushed industry and mining significantly, with navy ship production rising 14,709% and capital manufacturing seeing a 34% bump!
Now that we have entered a new year and are marching toward EVE’s 20th anniversary, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on last year, the latest expansion, and look ahead at what is happening next in New Eden.
UPRISING - THE FUTURE OF WAR BEGINS
Making Factional Warfare (FW) an exciting area of space filled with action and intrigue was one of the big things we aimed to address in Uprising. Territory control is a foundational aspect of EVE Online and we wanted to make it easier to find and participate in the action. Introducing Frontlines was the first big step in evolving this fundamental system and making it more dynamic.
Along with Frontlines, new ships entered the warzone, existing ships got rebalanced, complexes were reworked to make them fairer and more fun, and all new Battlefield sites were introduced. Together, this has created even more ways for players to get involved in - and be rewarded for – diving into the action.
As mentioned in the Factional Warfare Dev Blog that was released in December, the next big part of the FW equation is already underway. This next update, coming in Q1, will introduce a feature we’re calling Direct Enlistment, which will allow players to join FW without leaving their corp and alliance mates.
Not only did the Uprising expansion overhaul Factional Warfare but it also opened the door to personalization. As a capsuleer, flying your colors allows you to celebrate your allegiance while sending a message to others about who you are. The new Paragon corporation introduced a new currency (EverMarks), along with new agents, stations, and missions that enable you to acquire corporation and alliance emblems. The real beauty, however, is that you cannot simply buy your way into these accolades; you actually need to undock and play. This results in more pilots in space, more opportunities for conflict, and more budding industrialists and traders filling the need created by Paragon. As we move forward, we will add more ways for you to earn EverMarks through your in-game actions. The most recent example of this being the daily login rewards from the Winter Nexus event.
The launch of Uprising saw emblems become available on over 100 ships, with a further 186 new ships added on 15 December. We will continue to roll out emblems for more ships with the next batch planned for later this quarter. You can also expect even more radical customization options in the future - from peacocking your killmarks to marking your space and citadels!
BRINGING MORE PLAYERS INTO THE FOLD
Our ambition has been to ease the pathway for new recruits to become battle-hardened veterans and contribute to the battles raging across New Eden.
Having redeveloped the entry into the game while empowering new players with opportunities to develop the core skills for their spacefaring adventures, we can now shift our focus onto giving them more meaningful roles in the interstellar war effort.
The main design question that we continue to ask ourselves is, “how can we make new players become even more capable and ready to engage with empires, corporations, and alliances?” Much of the Uprising expansion’s focus was geared toward PvP, but we also want to enable different methods of contribution to the war effort that accommodate more playstyles. If lowsec is the warzone, then highsec is the homefront, where bullets are made and boots are stitched for the frontlines.
As we start to look beyond Uprising, we’ll be taking the learnings from Factional Warfare and applying them to other areas of space with one of our focuses being on guiding players into more parts of the sandbox, while smoothing the learning curve for novice pilots so they can become valuable recruits for experienced capsuleers. The war machine requires scores of cogs to run effectively - every capsuleer has a role and purpose, whether it’s fighting for territory on the frontlines or supporting the war effort from the homefront. Every item destroyed requires replacement, driving industry and mining - the backbone of New Eden.
An issue many leaders face is the funding of their organizations. We hear this time and again, where player corporation and alliance leaders of all sizes and areas of space need to lean on taxes from bounties or the goodwill of a few, through donations, to run their organizations. This is simply not sufficient for the myriad of different activities that groups rely on for income such as Abyss running, Loyalty Point (LP) generation, market trading, wormhole blue loot, and more. Allowing more avenues of taxable income will ensure that important programs, like SRPs (ship replacement programs) will continue to allow novice pilots to take the step into more challenging content or encourage more experienced capsuleers to risk larger ships. We have already started experimenting with this through the one-to-one EverMark corporation contributions into the corporation wallet. This was just our first experimentation with a corporation LP wallet and is something we're looking to expand on this year.
On funding, we have prioritized Contested Income (formerly known as passive income) - a source valuable enough to take, hold, and defend. In Uprising, we created several new gameplay systems introduced to Factional Warfare that could also be applied elsewhere. The Frontlines system has shown we can create high conflict zones, which are ideal candidates for these contested income sources since they create areas of vulnerability. We much prefer these high-value sites in areas of substantial risk, rather than having highly defensible systems.
We believe that creating more ways for players to get involved in the war effort will set us on the path to creating the ultimate interstellar war machine, which in turn will make New Eden an even more vibrant place filled with excitement, intrigue, and infinite possibilities.
FRIENDSHIP MACHINE -> WAR MACHINE
You’ve heard us talk about the friendship machine. We believe that the social connections made in New Eden are one of the most important aspects of EVE Online. People create meaningful friendships through fleets, corporations, and alliances. Running and operating these social entities can be very daunting, as well as taking the leap to join them. But getting more players involved is incredibly important, especially in fleets, as EVE is even better with friends. Watching the emerging social organizations form in the warzones has been truly inspiring, where old and new capsuleers join forces in taking on the objectives at hand. This is something we’ve seen in public fleets, such as NPSI fleets, over the years and is something on which we want to put more focus in this next phase of development.
As we enter the next era of EVE Online, we plan to establish a strong social network to foster powerful bonds as we build toward delivering the future of war in New Eden.
THE FUTURE OF EVE EVOLVED
With the Uprising expansion, immersion in EVE has been elevated to even greater heights through visual and audio enhancements backed by significant performance and UI improvements.
The new epic Upwell hangars allow you to marvel at your achievements and really convey a sense of scale for the stations and ships from the safety of the dock. Uprising also saw the release of several audio updates to enhance the sensory experience, and all of this is supported by performance improvements and a modern UI.
Photon UI has been in testing for the past six months and now has an adoption rate of over 91%. Thanks to player feedback there have been several improvements, new features, and fixes made in the process. Expect to see more improvements and a full launch later this quarter bringing with it a full release of multiple overviews and more features.
You can look forward to further visual enhancements on this scale and other powerful improvements to audio and performance coming to the star cluster as we continue to evolve EVE Online into the next decade and beyond.
UPRISING AND BEYOND!
Over the last couple of years, we have carried out important, foundational work that enabled us to build Uprising, our first expansion since 2018. We aim to continue releasing expansions of this caliber going forward, with additional updates, more shiny toys, and riveting world events like the stellar transmuter incident in-between to keep New Eden vibrant, active, and well-balanced.
With the Uprising expansion, we took a big step toward realizing the future of war in New Eden... and yet, there is still so much more to come. We are thrilled to reveal our high-level roadmap for EVE Online for the year ahead:
KICKING OFF 2023
We are kicking off the year with a celebration! EVE’s Lunar New Year will begin on 19 January and alongside this celebration, we will be bringing Simplified Chinese to Tranquility. NetEase has been pioneering the frontiers of EVE Online in mainland China and building the future of our two servers, Serenity and Infinity, for that region. We want to recognize our Chinese-speaking players outside of Mainland China that have built strong alliances and made their mark on New Eden over the past two decades.
Furthermore, toward the end of January the Microsoft Excel plug-in, developed in collaboration with Microsoft, will be soft launching in a closed beta trial. Announced at Fanfest last year, this integration will enable Omega capsuleers to log in and directly pull in-game data into Microsoft Excel. We believe this will level the playing field by providing easy and simple access to in-game data, without requiring coding knowledge. The official launch is planned around EVE’s 20th anniversary in May.
For more on New Eden post-Uprising and the future of EVE, please tune into CCP TV today at 16:00 UTC as CCP Convict, CCP Burger and I will be conducting a deeper dive into the topics from this blog.
As we enter the third decade, we are one step close to our mission of having EVE live on forever. We are incredibly excited as we accelerate toward EVE Online’s 20th anniversary and look forward to sharing more details on new gameplay features and live events throughout this year.
The future is bright, and we look forward to seeing you in space!
CCP Rattati, Game Director