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MicroWarpCast interviews EVE lead game designer Noah Ward

James Egan

The EVE Online-focused podcast MicroWarpCast returned this week, hosted by our friend CrazyKinux with guest Noah Ward (aka CCP Hammerhead), who is a Lead Game Designer at CCP Games. We mentioned a while back that the winner of a contest CrazyKinux was running would get to interview an EVE developer on the podcast. People entered by writing an article on planetary control and how this could be implemented in EVE Online. The winner was Xiphos83 from the EVE blog "A Misguided Adventurer" who wrote about about a siege system that could be used in planetary conquest. As the contest winner, Xiphos83 posed questions to Noah about some of the current or controversial issues in the game.

This led to Noah explaining CCP's reasons for limiting the use of the directional scanner with a timer -- a major issue cited by many players who either hunt others or want to evade attackers -- due in part to player macroing of directional scans. The directional scan will never go back to how it was since that system was too easily exploitable, but he asserted that the devs have tried to balance performance for the players with server demands.

Much of the interview focused on what is to come in EVE Online. In terms of changes that will benefit the game's industrialists, Noah hinted at the next toy CCP Games would like to give EVE's miners. He described "what you could consider a mining fighter -- a huge industrial drone, painted yellow with greasy hydraulic stuff going on." He indicated that, at the time of the interview, these drones are slated to arrive soon in the development timeline after the Dominion expansion.

Xiphos83 asked Noah if CCP will improve lowsec in the future, particularly in terms of the ISK per hour ratio pilots can earn there. While CCP's plans for lowsec are tentative at best, they do like some of the ideas that came from the player meetup in Las Vegas -- "Corruption" game mechanics that allow player organizations of criminals to carve out their own slice of lowsec territory (or action in that territory). Whether or not planetary interaction and conquest will come to lowsec, and whether it's tied in with the game's NPC pirate factions, is something CCP Games is still exploring. (And as Xiphos83 learned, there are no immediate plans to boost piracy/criminality in the game, per se.)

The interview also discussed designing for group play as opposed to solo play, the ECM vs. ECCM issues (jamming vs. countermeasures), and the ways that players can get their ideas heard by the EVE developers. Head over to CrazyKinux's announcement of the special edition of MicroWarpCast to download the interview with EVE Lead Game Designer Noah Ward.

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