E-ON Magazine issue 21 round-up

We regularly spend money on our favourite MMOs, be it in the form of a monthly subscription fee or a microtransaction purchase. We often spend more time and money on our favourite online retreats than we spend on other hobbies, and yet few MMOs have their own dedicated magazine the way other hobbies do. EVE Online players are fortunate enough to have the quarterly EVE magazine E-ON to spread out across their coffee tables. Produced by MMM Publishing, E-ON is guaranteed to be 100% EVE from cover to cover. Even the advertisements in it are for EVE corporations and services rather than paid ads for other games.

I've been slowly reading my way through Issue 21 since it popped through my letterbox and have definitely enjoyed it. This issue focuses on live events and the upcoming Incursion expansion, with a special feature on EVE's annual fanfest event in Iceland. The issue also contains guides to faction warfare militia fleets, EVE's various communication tools and the first of a series on Drones. Interviews this time around include CCP's video producer Stevie Ward and Technical Director in the fight against lag, Derek Wise. As usual, the magazine contains the latest war reports from nullsec, an awesome new piece of EVE fiction and the impressive layouts and graphics that readers have come to expect.

Skip past the cut for a breakdown of what you can expect from E-ON issue 21 and my impressions of the issue.
Fanfest retrospective

Much to the dismay of fans, EVE's 2010 fanfest was canceled. The annual gathering in Iceland normally occurs late in the year, around September. This schedule has caused CCP problems over the years as they are typically in the very early planning phase for their next big Summer expansion around this time. With not much solid information to divulge, developers had taken to talking about their vision for an expansion and the ideal design they'd like to go with. The 2010 fanfest was pushed back to March 2011 to alleviate this problem and let more people attend.

In this issue of E-ON, editor Zapatero got together with some of the EVE developers to talk about the previous fanfests. Topics covered included how it got started, how it absolutely smashed expectations and why the fanfest has now become an integral part of the company's feedback-gathering mechanism. As someone who has never been able to go to the fanfest, it's great to be able to read about how it all got started and what we can expect in the next gathering. If nothing else, it makes me want to go to the fanfest more than ever.

Against a dark background

The highlight of this issue for me was the magazine's look into EVE's storyline and events. The article talks about how events began in EVE all those years ago. It details the founding of EVE's AURORA volunteer event organisation and acting team, and their controversial demise. Other topics covered include the various EVE trailers, videos and novels that are woven in with the core storyline. What made this article good for me was the inevitable talk of the Sansha incursion events and how they're conducted.

Some fascinating facts are uncovered in the piece, such as the idea that the event actors have manual control over the duration of an incursion. When the number of players in the system starts to get too high, they bring the event to its natural conclusion and finish it off. It's those kinds of details that make me really hopeful for future events, as it shows a commitment from CCP to figure out the best way to run these events with maximum participation and a truly emergent sandbox style. In the run-up to the new Incursion expansion, we can hope to see more development on the Sansha storyline being played out in-game as live events.

Insider's guides

Every issue, the E-ON crew work together with knowledgeable EVE players to produce some excellent guides. This issue's Insider's Guide section looks at the basics of drones, how to run faction warfare militia fleets and how to get the most out of EVE's built-in communication tools. The drone guide, written by EVE player Keitari Baka, is the first part of what looks like it will be an absolutely comprehensive guide to drones. I honestly didn't think there was so much to talk about regarding drones until I read this first part of the guide, which goes into detail on the best way to use drones in each class of ship.

As a faction warfare veteran, being in the Gallente militia for over a year after the feature's release, I found the guide to militia fleets spot on. Written by experienced combat pilot The Balance, this guide covers important topics like the difference between militia PvP and PvP elsewhere in EVE. The Balance says that faction warfare fleets are "about taking what you've got and making it work," a sentiment I can very much agree with based on first-hand experience. Topics covered include tips for fitting ships, how new players can learn to be an effective part of a militia fleet and the importance of having a battle plan.

The guide to EVE communications by player Morphisat provides a handy overview of all the different chat options available in EVE and how to make the most of them. Morphisat writes about organising mail with the new label system, how to get the most out of EVE Gate and the merits of using EVE Voice over traditional voice servers. EVE Voice is sure to become useful in the Incursion expansion when pilots are forming ad-hoc fleets, so having a guide to using it could come in handy.

Also in E-ON Issue 21:
  • The 0.0 report, detailing all the major nullsec battles since issue 20.
  • Postcards from the edge, showcasing some awesome screenshots.
  • Alliance profiles of Art Of War Alliance and Veneratio Venator Alliance.
  • The 50 million ISK testflight challenge.
  • A summary of all the recent EVE news.
  • An article on player-made mods styled on EVE for other games like Homeworld.
  • An interesting article on balancing EVE with life and not over-doing your favourite internet spaceships hobby.
  • New fictional Chronicle "Condemned To Repeat", written by Danny Schalit
  • Interviews with CCP Video Producer Stevie Ward and Technical Director Derek Wise.
Finally, for those wishing they could get a digital copy of E-ON or cheap access to the many back-issues they've missed, there's something awesome on the horizon. In issue 21, the E-ON crew announced their intention to sell competitively-priced digital copies of the magazine in addition to their current paper-based offering. Subscribers to the magazine will even get free access to all back-issues.

This article was originally published on Massively.