These days it seems like every MMO has some form of microtransaction system or merchandising deal. It's clear that players don't seem to mind spending a little extra on their MMO hobbies now and then, whether it's for an in-game item to cut out some of the grind or a geeky T-shirt to show off to friends. Several online games even have their own dedicated magazines, and EVE Online is no exception. Published four times per year, EON magazine by MMM Publishing provides guides, interviews, sneak peeks at upcoming expansions, fan-written chronicles, and big news from across New Eden.

Issue 22 of EON popped through my letter-box a few days ago, and I've spent most of today thoroughly absorbed in its pages. This quarter's mag focuses on the Sansha incursions happening across EVE and the upcoming Incarna expansion with its long-awaited walking-in-space feature. Also in this edition is a featured look at the rise and fall of the Band of Brothers alliance, a guide to surviving your first time at the annual Fanfest in Iceland, and all the usual features. This issue will be the first officially released under the name EON -- the previous name of the magazine being E-ON.

Skip past the cut for a roundup of what you'll find in EON magazine issue 22 and my impressions of its content.

Surviving Fanfest

Issue 21 brought us a featured fanfest retrospective, which looked back at the history of EVE's annual party at the top of the world and how it all got started. Issue 22 follows on nicely from this with an insider's guide to surviving fanfest. Iceland resident and EVE player Blankstare has attended previous fanfests and recognises that attendees from across the world might find themselves lost in the gigantic village of Reykjavik. While practically everyone you'll meet in Iceland is likely to speak good English, the guide includes a short list of useful phrases that's just enough to tell someone you don't speak Icelandic. The guide goes into some detail on the fanfest schedule and how to get the most out of the trip.

Perhaps more useful for first-time fanfest attendees is Blankstare's list of common prices for food, drink and taxi fares. One particularly helpful revelation in the guide is that most things in Iceland are taxed and tourists are able to claim back some tax when leaving the country. Having visited Iceland once before, I really wish I'd known these things in advance of my trip. For those heading for a night out during fanfest, the guide has plenty of tips on the best local bars and restaraunts. In addition to the local nightlife, Iceland has plenty of tours of the country's landmark scenery, including the Gulfoss waterfall and Geysir. I highly reccomend taking the Golden Circle tour while you're in Iceland -- you won't regret it. No trip to Iceland would be complete without visiting the Blue Lagoon, and CCP is organising a trip there during the fanfest. If you're going to the fanfest in March, this guide is a must-read.

Fleshing out Incarna

If you were to read only the EVE forums or comments on news posts about Incarna, you'd think the entire EVE community doesn't want it to happen. Players didn't ask to be able to get out of their pods and walk around, and many are annoyed with the significant level of resources being dedicated to making that ambulatory future a reality. The same was said of the Incursion expansion's new avatar technology -- a forerunner to the upcoming release of Incarna -- and yet the reactions to that have been mostly positive.

In this issue's cover feature, EON editor Richie Shoemaker discusses the details of a meeting he had with CCP's developers on the future of EVE and how Incarna slots into the game. CCP demonstrated an early version of the walking-in-stations feature back in 2006 and went on to let players try it at 2008's fanfest. Several years later, the feature is still in heavy development and is apparently scheduled for the summer 2011 expansion in a few months' time.

The article reveals that part of the EVE tutorial will now take place inside a station and that the gameplay will consist mostly of what CCP Zulu calls "risky business." Smuggling, contraband, black market trading and handling of stolen goods will all take place inside stations to keep those dealings "off the grid." Anything that requires a player to leave his pod will definitely be worth his while, with additional rewards for underhanded dealings. There's a few nuggets of new information in this interview, but mostly it gives a good overview of what direction CCP Zulu is taking with Incarna.

The downfall of BoB

This issue's big feature is an insightful historic account of the Band of Brothers alliance, from the creation of Evolution corp in those fledgling first days of EVE to its dramatic disbanding by GoonSwarm operatives. As one of EVE's oldest and biggest organisations, Band of Brothers has unsurprisingly attracted its fair share of attention over the years.

This article tells the good and the bad of BoB's colourful history, covering both the alliance's glorious wars and the T20 developer corruption scandal. The article ends with the tale of GoonSwarm's eventual victory in disbanding the alliance from the inside and the group's reforming as IT alliance. Written by EVE player Finnagain Zero, this article is definitely worth a read for fans of EVE's political history.

Other highlights

A new chronicle titled "The Atrocity Planners" by Kalin Ringkvist tells yet another tale of EVE's brutal and dystopian world, but unlike the fiction in previous issues, this piece wasn't to my liking. Also in the magazine is a short article on CCP's new Carbon technology framework that powers the Incursion character creator and will be used in the upcoming Incarna expansion. Other highlights include a testflight special on fitting faction frigates, interviews with several CCP developers, and part two of the insider's guide to drones.

Shunning recent suggestions that nullsec PvP is on the decline, this issue's 0.0 report shows details of all the major battles since issue 21's report. My personal favourite additional article in this quarter's issue is the insider's guide to Sansha's Nation. This is the first of a series of guides looking into the backstory of EVE. Player Angus McDecoy writes this excellent piece on the history of Sansha's Nation, including a timeline of events and details of Master Kuvakei's return to action.

This article was originally published on Massively.
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