CCP have just announced DUST514 will be exclusive to the Playstation 3. Which is a shame (check out the EVE Online forums for some stronger opinions). Unfortunately it makes sense for a few reasons (well making it exclusive to one console makes sense - whether the 360 or the PS3 was the better choice is more debatable). Developing for a single console is quicker and easier - especially important for a game that will probably have more updates than the average game. There are suggestions that one or both of Sony and Microsoft aren’t happy about cross-platform multiplayer games. Since the idea of the game (a console FPS interacting with a PC MMO) is quite revolutionary they could get a lot of support (both financially and in terms of marketing and other benefits) from the console manufacturer, but only if it’s exclusive. That being said, it may not be the end for the Xbox 360 and DUST. Sony have suffered recently and definitely have lower consumer confidence (will players have to give Sony any personal information to play DUST?) and this decision will have been made long before Sony’s hacking problems. If sales are lower than CCP hope they may rethink the plan. And remember, “exclusive” in the games industry can be a vague and rarely lasts for ever. The game is scheduled for a Spring release so at least 360-only owners have a while to decided if they want to get a PS3 just for this game…
CCP recently announced that their long awaited “walking-in-stations” feature will now include an item store selling character customization options exclusively for real money (actually for Aurum another in game currency only available for real money). Some people have lamented the idea of EVE finally entering this area and selling items for real money. After all today you can buy a monocle, tomorrow a ship. This is a slippery slope that will lead to death of EVE Online as we know it. Except, of course, it won’t. Since PLEXs were introduced anything in game has essentially been purchasable for real money. Take the price in ISK, devide that by approximately 350 million and multiply by half the price of a 60 day gamecard. These items are slightly different since they aren’t available in game without using real money at some point (but it is possible to trade them between players so you don’t personally have to spend real money). One final note: the same customization opens are likely to be available to DUST 514 players once it’s released.
Yesterday EVE Online broke the peak concurrent user record again for an online game with 60,453 players online simultaneously. Just for the record, the reason World of Warcraft doesn’t hold this record (despite having by far the most subscribers of any MMO) is because of it’s sharded nature. All sixty thousand EVE players were in the same game world.
There is a mission in Star Trek Online that is causing no end of problems. It caused problems in the beta and people assumed it was bugged. It was the same in headstart, and it is the same now. Everyone assumed it was just broken. But apparently someone submitted it as a bug and got a reply saying it was working as intended. It’s just confusing :P This mission is called “Salvaged Relationships in the Neutral Zone”. It’s in the Ker’rat system in the Eta Eridani Sector block. It has two parts, the first part is to scan 8 Borg encryption nodes. This part is easy and fine. The next part is to destroy 4 Repair Hulks. This is where it gets confusing. There are many Borg vessels around as well as several Repair Hubs. The problem is Repair Hubs are not Repair Hulks. Destroying 4 Repair Hubs leads to the mission being failed (at least for Federation players). Apparently (although I haven’t seen it myself yet) destroying enough Borg Cubes leads to the Repair Hulks warping in. So hopefully someone will search for this mission, find this page and learn how to do the mission. You see, the mission is a large arena style mission with up to twenty players, and if just one of them goes off destroying the Hubs, the mission fails. So I’ll just post in big letters here: Repair Hulks are not the same as Repair Hubs. Don’t destroy Repair Hubs (at least if you’re Federation)! PS - Since I’ve never seen the mission complete this is all just a theory at the moment. Except that destroying the Hubs ends definitely the mission without success…
The biggest news in the EVE Online World recently (and in my opinion, some of the biggest news in gaming) is the announcement of DUST 514, a console FPS/RTS being developed by CCP and based in the EVE Universe. On the surface DUST looks a lot like a slightly grittier Halo 3. Basically a futuristic first person shooter with a strong focus on vehicles. The big point comes from it’s interaction with the EVE Online universe. The combat in DUST will take place on the surface of planets in EVE. As a consequence the result of battles will effect EVE. How big this effect will be (and in exact nature is not yet known). What we do know is that it will tie in with the upcoming changes to sovereignty in the Dominion expansion to EVE. A few people have responded with horror to this, worried that control of their systems will now be at the mercy of some crazy twelve year old console dude. Although it’s probably wise to have a little concern, DUST has been in development for two years and EVE Online is CCPs flagship product - I don’t think they began this endeavour without some serious thought. Personally I think it’s an amazing idea, creating a universe that can entertain two rather disparate audiences (PC MMO players and console FPS players) at the same time and hopefully make them both more fun because of it. More info should be forthcoming at EVE Fest, on October 1st.
Factional Warfare will soon be upon us. I stopped playing EVE several months ago with the plan to return once Factional Warfare was in (which I figured would be a couple of months since it was suppsed to be part of Revelations. Well the next expansion, Empyrean Age will finally bring it to us. It’s not going to be quite as drastic as my hopes but they were pretty drastic :P Basically you sign up for FW with one of the four factions - that is Caldari, Minmatar, Amarr or Gallente (they’ve said other factions will probably be added later). You then have kill rights on that factions enemies anywhere (0.0, lowsec, highsec - even Jita, which will be even sillier than it has been). The factions enemies will obviously have kill rights on you. At the moment it seems it’s just going to be Caldair vs. Gallente and Amarr vs. Minmatar. Joining the fight gives you access to special missions that will involve attacking your new enemies. As one faction wins fights in a system it gains “points” there. Enough points and that factions takes the system. It seems that, at least initially, only lowsec systems will be up for grabs in this way. Finally, to balance out the fact that Caldari have little lowsec, a new region has been added basically in the middle called Black Rise that is mainly Caldari lowsec.
As of Tuesday it seems EVE Online will be officially supported on Macs and Linux. The Linux version seems to be just improved (and official) support for running EVE with Cedega (a commercial WineX fork). At the moment only Ubuntu, openSUSE and Linspire are supported (and come with nice packages). The Mac version was developed using Cider (a modification of Cedega for Macs) and only supports Intel Macs. The minimum hardware requirements are interesting. PRocessor and RAM are the same at 1.8GHz+ 1GB respectively. Mac users require a better graphics card than Linux users but the Linux version doesn’t support ATI graphics cards. I would guess 6 months to a year down the line when AMD have finished releasing open source versions of the ATI drivers then ATI support will exist for everything in Cedega. Full info about the Linux and Mac clients The other features in this release (Revelations 2.3) - incredibly minor http://myeve.eve-online.com/updates/patchnotes.asp?patchlogID=154
Tonight (well tomorrow morning) Revelations II is deployed. Lots of changes affecting everyone from solo players up to major alliances. I’ll summarise the things I find most important personally (for a non-alliance (and at the moment non-corp) player).
- Revamping the loyalty system for agents. Instead of agents giving you offers, NPC corporations will let you “buy” things with your loyalty points meaning you no longer have to wait for a specific offer to be available - if you have the LPs, you can have it.
- A lot of static deadspace sites have been moved to the exploration system which anyone can scan with a new low quality on board scanner on each ship.
- Heat (which may or may not be important to me) has been added allowing you to overpower some modules at the risk of damaging them.
If you play EVE, pay with time cards. Especially if you’re European. Basically it comes down to the US$/€ exchange rate. I also happen to be part of an affiliate scheme selling them through Shattered Crystal, but even if I wasn’t, I’d tell you anyway (in fact I waited a little longer to post this while I found a good affiliate scheme :P). I’ve explained the whole exchange rate thing a bit better as well as given more info about Shattered Crystal on my EVE Online Time Cards page.
EVE have announced a second stress test on Singularity, their test server, to see how voice chat holds up in EVE. For a long time people have used external programs such as Ventrillo and Teamspeak to talk. Now (for a small fee if I remember correctly) users will be able to chat in game, hopefully in a way that is nicely integrated into the UI (and the new fleet system).