It seems that every year another few MMOs have closed their doors or convert to free-to-play business models to stay afloat. EVE Online has always enjoyed a level of insulation from these market trends elsewhere in the genre, and just last week on May 6th it celebrated its 11th year of year-on-year subscription growth. Following on from my previous column celebrating the EVE Evolved column's sixth year of operation, this week I'll be summarising all the major EVE news stories throughout the year.
It's been a big year for EVE fans, one that many of us can be proud to have been a part of. The EVE community turned its financial wizardry toward the real world and raised over $190,000 US in relief aid following a typhoon hitting the Philippines, and CCP even built a monument dedicated to the community. Several massive player battles once again put EVE on the global media's radars, and the Odyssey and Rubicon expansions revitalised the game for explorers and PvPers alike. But not everyone can hold his heads up high this year, with details of more cyberbullying within EVE coming to light and several players being banned for defacing the EVE monument in Reykjavik.
In this anniversary retrospective, I summarise all the major EVE news from the year in one place and take a look at what the future may hold for the EVE universe.
EVE Online's 4000-person battle is its largest yet Last night, EVE Online players did what they do best: organize record-breaking battles with internet spaceships. The 4000-player battle between TEST Alliance and the Goonswarm-led CFC lasted more than five hours at the cost of almost 3,000 ships, according to reports from Eurogamer.
EVE Online's PLEX for GOOD drive raised over $190K to aid The Philippines EVE Online players aren't all about intrigues and blowing each other up in New Eden, they are about helping others in this world. The community banded together in the recent Plex for GOOD drive and raised $190,890, all of which goes to the Icelandic Red Cross to help The Philippines recover from Typhoon Haiyan.
EVE Evolved: Six years of EVE Evolved Six years ago to this exact day, I joined the Massively crew and published the first edition of this column dedicated to the ins and outs of EVE Online.
Massively unboxes EVE Online's Collector's Edition Sci-fi MMO EVE Online initially launched as a physical disc sold in stores back in 2003 and saw limited success in the fledgling MMO space. A decade of regular updates and digital distribution has seen EVE grow organically into the largest sci-fi sandbox on the planet with over half a million subscribers, but until now something has been missing: EVE has never had an actual collector's edition box.
Rubicon aimed to fundamentally change PvP and territorial control in EVE forever, and it certainly lived up to that promise. Control of the NPC customs offices around planets in empire space was turned over to players, sparking several highsec wars for dominance in key systems. Changes to warp acceleration and the rebalancing of frigates and interceptors gave players the tools to travel around EVE in relative safety, and twitch integration allowed players to stream large battles more easily. The expansion's big feature was a set of new personal deployable structures designed to disrupt territorial alliance control, including the freeform Mobile Depot that functions as a ship fitting service and hangar all in one and the Siphon Unit that can steal resources from unattended moon-mining starbases. Rubicon also introduced the first version of a new ship painting service, with several pre-designed ship skins released in the NEX store.
This year saw the official announcement of EVE: Valkyrie, a virtual reality dogfighter that is set in the current EVE universe but doesn't directly hook into the EVE Online server. CCP acquired industry veteran Owen O'Brien from DICE to head up the project in its Newcastle office based on his experience working on Mirror's Edge. Valkyrie was announced as a launch title for the upcoming Oculus Rift gaming headset and will be coming to PlayStation 4 using Sony's Project Morpheus headset. The recent announcement that Battlestar Galactica's Katee Sackhoff will be playing Valkyrie's main character has also had fans of the series excited. It's not yet known whether Valkyrie will eventually hook into the EVE Online server or whether there will be any story crossover in the form of live events within EVE, but its success would mean big things for CCP and EVE.
EVE has flourished for over 11 years, reportedly growing in subscriptions year-on-year despite dozens of development missteps and an overwhelming shift in market trends toward free-to-play games. Not everything has gone to plan for CCP this year: DUST 514 failed to live up to expectations, last year's EVE Mobile plans were quietly buried with the departure of project lead Jon Lander, and the unexpected cancellation of World of Darkness has driven a wedge between CCP and a potential new market. But the one constant throughout the years has been the dedication of the EVE Online community.
This time last year, we had a future vision for EVE of deep space exploration, colonisation of entire new solar systems hidden in the void, and wars erupting over control of player-built stargates. It was refreshing at this year's Fanfest to see that CCP still has the same vision as last year and now has a solid plan for delivery. The Odyssey and Rubicon expansions have given us the first step toward that goal, and the recently announced Kronos industrial expansion will lay the groundwork for industrial megaprojects like player-built stargates. With CCP stepping up its game in response to upcoming competition from games like Elite: Dangerous and Star Citizen, the next few years could be an absolutely incredible time to be an EVE Online player.
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.