New information has come to light about what CCP Games is planning for EVE Online players as the Empyrean Age progresses. EVE Associate Producer Arend Stührmann spoke with MMORPG.com's Jon Wood in a Leipzig video interview about the releases slated for the rest of this year, and how CCP views their accomplishments thus far.
The goal of the Empyrean Age expansion was to create a lower-risk PvP environment that would encourage more players to experience this aspect of the game. Stührmann says that there is a solid core of players who've made factional warfare their livelihood, with over 40,000 players that enlisted in the first few weeks. Stührmann also spoke about the effect of factional warfare on non-participants. War can invigorate an economy and this idea holds true in New Eden as well. Factional Warfare in the Empyrean Age has had an impact on the market, particularly with tech I ship and module production.
Stührmann also discussed the new few updates and expansions to EVE Online, briefly outlining how the game will evolve in the coming months. The next update is Empyrean Age 1.1, and is thought of as the "power to the people patch." It will consist of numerous small fixes based off of suggestions that came from the players themselves. Empyrean Age 1.1 will not bring any major changes, but should result in a game experience with fewer nagging issues and idiosyncrasies with the client and game mechanics.
Empyrean Age 1.2 will bring with it a slew of new missions but also a new feature to the game: certificates. These are similar to university diplomas and provide proof to other players that you possess certain skills, which could obviously have an effect on the corporation recruiting process. (Note that Stührmann hasn't stated whether or not displaying one's certificates is optional or if it affects all players automatically.) In some respects, this is like an achievement system that fits in with the setting of EVE. No bonuses or items are associated with certificates, but they do provide a new way for players to gain bragging rights. This might also lessen the frequency of CEOs and Directors asking potential recruits for their API keys, but time will tell.
In addition, Stührmann announced EVE Online's winter expansion internally referred to as "Midas," which will focus heavily on industry. While the Empyrean Age has been solely about war, the Midas expansion will be about enhancing the underpinnings that fuel factional warfare. CCP is streamlining processes and may be introducing new ship types. This could be a serious boost for industrial-type players. There's no word yet on whether or not the rumored Orca mining vessel will be introduced to the game, but it stands to reason if it's going to happen this year, it would be with Midas. If this has caught your interest, be sure to check out the MMORPG.com video interview, which also asks if factional warfare will ever end, and touches on EVE's future as a sandbox title.