CCP Games revealed some details on the as-yet unnamed EVE Online expansion, slated for release in March of 2009. "The unnamed expansion will introduce 'Tech 3' modular ship designs, branching epic mission arcs, further improvements to the new player experience, and exploration of uncharted space through unstable wormholes," writes Oli Welsh, reporting from EVE Fanfest 2008 for Eurogamer.
Welsh also reports that the exploration system of EVE Online will be revamped dramatically, now allowing for 'true exploration' where EVE's pilots will use "new skills and modules to travel through wormholes into all-new, unconnected space. There they will find unique stellar phenomena and the resources and artifacts that will lead to the third level of technology in the game universe, Tech 3 -- the first such update since Tech 2 was introduced back in 2004," Welsh adds.
Perhaps the biggest announcement made regarding the March expansion is the impact of Tech 3 on player ships. Welsh writes: "The star feature of Tech 3 will be modular, customisable ships. Instead of providing each faction with one or two new ships each, CCP will provide each with a template that comes in five sections, with five options in each. That's a total of 25 possible basic ships for each faction, with many more thousands of smaller modifications possible (7776 permutations possible, to be exact.)" Check out the whole Fanfest scoop on this huge expansion over at Eurogamer for more details on where EVE is heading.
Update: We've gotten word from CCP Games that the exact number of configurations with modular ship designs isn't set in stone quite yet, but may very well be in the thousands depending on how balancing and testing goes. Massively will be reporting more on Tech III over time, as information becomes available.