EVE Online developers CCP Games have launched a new site for the sci-fi game's Apocrypha expansion, slated for a March 10th launch. The site has a teaser trailer, screenshots, wallpapers, and concept art related to Apocrypha.
In addition, there are brief video presentations from three key developers involved with the expansion: Lead Game Designer Noah Ward (CCP Hammerhead), Associate Producer Arend Stührmann (CCP Whisper), and Senior Producer Torfi Frans Olaffson (CCP Torfifrans). Their presentations range from discussion of Tech III to how wormhole exploration and the New Player Experience will add something fresh to the game:
Lead Game Designer Noah Ward
Ward discusses Tech III strategic cruisers. Namely, he touches upon what they are are what their roles will be. The modular ships are absolutely protean, he implies. They can be be used for a number of different roles dependent upon the subsystems chosen, and of course the modules a pilot chooses. Each race's Tech III ships will possess different racial qualities. In Ward's own words: "Each race will have its own flavor." In addition to the strength and flexibility the modular designs will have, skills will improve the performance of a given subsystem, and this is before even fitting a given ship with weaponry and electronic warfare modules.
Associate Producer Arend Stührmann
Stührmann's presentation focuses on one of the most-awaited features in the Apocrypha expansion: wormhole exploration, or true exploration. He cites the fact that so much sci-fi is based on the idea of seeking out the unknown, and that's what CCP aims to do with the introduction of wormholes that connect to roughly 2499 new and uncharted solar systems. (This is in addition to the over 5000 solar systems in EVE's known space.)
He also mentions the revamped scanning system that explorers will soon be using, which will be quite different from how exploration is done today. The idea is to simplify the exploration profession without taking away the skill required to succeed. On the topic of success, those explorers who venture through wormholes will face dangers, but high rewards don't come without high risks. In addition to the difficulty in confronting the Sleeper NPCs who are the key to producing Tech III ships, there is the very real possibility that the wormhole will collapse, trapping explorers in a remote region of New Eden.
While such encounters may not be soloable (it's still too soon to say with any certainty), the main thing about wormhole exploration is that it's accessible to everyone. The system isn't tied to a given territory in the game. So small corporations have as much access to these rewards as a huge alliance, Stührmann says. Anyone willing to prepare themselves for what's on the other side will be able to experience true exploration, for the first time in EVE Online.
Senior Producer Torfi Frans Olafsson
CCP Torfifrans addresses that infamous image of EVE's learning curve, stating that CCP Games hopes to lessen this impression new players have of the game. He asserts that he views EVE as a thinking person's game, something CCP doesn't want to dumb down in order to make it more accessible. The solution then is to make it easier for new players to get immersed and not be overwhelmed by choices and options that can't fully be understood in the beginning anyway. Those choices will still ultimately be made, but will happen further down the line, once the new player has a better handle on the game.
As of Apocrypha, new players will begin with less skillpoints when starting out, but will train their skills twice as fast for a time, allowing them to progress quickly in the beginning in ways that they choose. This system, part of the New Player Experience, will give a pilot just starting out more control over what skills he or she learns, rather than being given a large set of skills whose usefulness isn't apparent to the rookie yet. In addition to the New Player Experience, CCP Torfifrans discusses the forthcoming skill queue and epic mission arcs.
Have a look at the Apocrypha page for more info, and keep an eye on it, as we suspect that more content will be added as March 10th gets closer.