Highlights from 2011
If you're lucky enough to be in attendance this year, you're in for a huge treat. The developer panels and keynote speeches are all very interesting, but the real treat at Fanfest is getting together with other people who are as passionate about EVE Online as you are. Being surrounded by other fans so fervent in their love of the game that they'll fly across the world and brave the Icelandic springtime to discuss it is an odd feeling that's kind of hard to describe. It's like being in a little micro-universe designed specifically for you, one that only exists for three days per year.
I got to go to Fanfest only once, in 2011, but I can honestly say it was a fantastic experience. I was suddenly surrounded by people just like me, and all of those crazy internet spaceship things I find interesting were suddenly extremely important to everyone. The conversation even extends outside the convention centre walls; One of the biggest highlights of my Fanfest experience was sitting in the hotel lobby telling stories of wormholes, crazy battles, and political secrets. That little universe may only exist in the real world for three days per year, but it carries on inside EVE Online throughout the year. A lot of the big political alliances, events, and wars that happen throughout the year in EVE can be traced back to something that happened at Fanfest.
The 2011 EVE
Fanfest was jam-packed with awesome panels and reveals, and it was a chance for players to chat directly to developers. In the first day we heard from CCP Soundwave
on the incredible work behind the Incursion
expansion, had a few laughs at the hilarious and not-safe-for-work Alliance Panel, and eavesdropped on a panel discussion with the CSM. The second day's Keynote speech
was a huge success, showing off some impressive new pieces of server hardware and details of huge game improvements to everything from mission-running to manufacturing. We also got a first glimpse of the Incarna
captain's quarters, which at the time was very impressive.
The final day of the 2011 Fanfest was a massive visual spectacle
, with stunning videos showing new turret graphics and nebula backgrounds, and the unveiling of the amazing trailer A Future Vision. All three days were packed with fascinating talks and developer roundtable discussions, and each night was filled with social events and parties. We also took the opportunity to interview CCP Zulu
on CCP's plans for Incarna
, problems with Incursion
group PvE, and the community backlash over 2010's "18 month" fiasco.
Highlights from 2012
The big topic on everyone's mind at Fanfest 2012 was undoubtedly monoclegate, the scandal that started with leaked internal documents on microtransaction plans and ended with EVE
losing 8% of its subscriptions and CCP firing 20% of its staff worldwide. We weren't in attendance to interview developers on the topic, but CCP certainly didn't shy away from it. It featured heavily in the 2012 keynote speech, and the Fanfest show was littered with promises to work almost exclusively on in-space EVE
features for the next few expansion releases.
The highlights of the event for me
included the live planetary bombardment demo and CCP Veritas' incredible talk The Year in Lag, which showed how new tools had made fights with thousands of players almost lag-free. There was no shortage of eye candy, with new launcher and missile graphics and an incredible Physx demo showing shield impacts, asteroids breaking apart, ship hull damage and a new technology that generates 500,000,000 triangles per second on the GPU using geometry shaders. Several talks discussed PvP changes, ship updates and new modules planned for the Inferno
Fanfest 2012 was the first event to feature significant coverage of DUST 514
and World of Darkness
, with the overriding theme of the year being focused clearly on linking DUST 514 with EVE
. The impressive cinematic trailer below set the scene for DUST 514
, showing wormhole explorers entering a Sleeper structure and recovering an advanced implant that allows ground soldiers to benefit from the same cloning process as pod pilots. Fans worrying that World of Darkness
had been cancelled due to layoffs at the Atlanta office were treated to new gameplay details
and a video of a city scene in the game engine.
Fanfest is a special time of year for EVE
players, full of reveals and shiny videos that offer a look into the game's future. This year's event celebrates EVE
's 10th anniversary and the impending release of DUST 514
, which promises to make it the biggest party yet at the top of the world. We aren't sure what to expect from this year's talks and reveals, but there are sure to be some incredible eye candy and details of what EVE
's next big expansion will be. We'll hopefully also see more of DUST 514
and get an update on the World of Darkness
For those in attendance, Fanfest is much more than just a series of talks and parties; it's an opportunity to network with other players, make in-game contacts, and share epic stories from your little corner of the universe. For three days per year, the city of Reykjavik plays host to a universe that for the rest of the year exists only inside a supercomputer in London and on computer screens around the world. If you ever get a chance to go, definitely take it.
Brendan "Nyphur" Drain is an early veteran of EVE Online and writer of the weekly EVE Evolved column here at Massively. The column covers anything and everything relating to
EVE Online, from in-depth guides to speculative opinion pieces. If you have an idea for a column or guide, or you just want to message him, send an email to email@example.com.