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EVE: The Second Genesis


Questions and answers for EVE: The Second Genesis

The number of persistent worlds is growing very fast, and only few titles are able to shine in such a moltitude. One of these titles is surely EVE: The Second Genesis, a mix of Space simulation and Role Play game, that will reach the shelves next year. We talked with CCP games about some aspects of the game, the source of inspiration and the designers' philosophy.

di Daniele Francioni, pubblicato il Do you plan to release a downloadable version of the client? Could a player try the game for free for a limited amount of time?

CCP Games: No, but buying the CD will give you 1 free month of play at least. Eve, with Earth and Beyond, is one of the first games that tries to create a persistent world around a space simulation. What were your main inspiration sources? Elite?

CCP Games: Yes, Elite and Privateer. Then of course Ultima Online was a great inspiration, of only to show us this was possible. Other influences include Blade Runner, the Star Wars movies, Fifth Element, etc. What kind of relationships can exist between Corporations? Can a corporation make a commercial pact with another one?

CCP Games: Not a formal one, the only formal states that can exist between corporations are neutral, allied and war. But players are of course free to make up informal agreements. A lot of work has been done to create a detailed background, with the introduction of heroes and others important NPC. Why have you decided to spend a lot of energies in this aspect of the game?

CCP Games: To make the world come alive and allow players to find their niche in the worlds' story and settings. A deep and interesting background story is important for all players, not just the hardcore role-players. It gives players a sense of belonging and greatly enriches their gaming experience. Eve, rather than other titles, has a free approach: for example, in EVE the player is not forced to choose a specific class and to use it for all the lifetime of his alter-ego, player killing is supported (with all its consequences), and so on. What are the advantages and what the problems of this apporach for a player and for a game designer?

CCP Games: Good question. The main advantages of this open-ended approach are that players are less likely to suddenly find themselves with a character that's maxed out or incapable of developing in the ways the player wants - basically you can use the same character to try out every aspect of the game. This increases the bond between the player and the character, which is vital for rational behavior and also makes the dangers in the game more intense and real. On the whole, the design philosophy has been to try to emulate real-life behavior and desires, where human nature is not shackled but useful. The downside is that character creation becomes a little less meaningful, as the decisions you make there won't have a critical effect on what you can do later in the game. There is also the danger that griefers will run rampant, which is especially bad when players are investing so much in their characters. So the legal system in the game must work to keep griefer incidents to the minimum. What kind of limitations can a pilot encounter with a very low security rating? How can he improve such rating?

CCP Games: He can be attacked by npc police forces or even banned from entering empire space. He can also have bounty on his head, so other players might hunt him down. If he's low enough he's a free target for anyone. Security status increases with time as long as you don't commit any more crimes. Some drops may also be linked to outstanding fines, so paying them will increase the status. Corporations in EVE are entities with great power and influence. Is there nothing upon them, something that limit their power? For example, what happen if a corporation does not respect a contract?

CCP Games: There are no artificial limits imposed on corporations. What limits them are other corporations. So if a large corporation starts to behave imperialistically or dishonestly then other corporations will most likely join together against it, plus members of the large corporation might leave if they start disagreeing with its policies. The balance of power that will exist between the largest corporation will be very interesting to track and will greatly influence the game. The EVE Universe has been described like an universe with a fragile political stability. Have you already in mind a plot for the game (like in Anarchy Online)? How far a pilot or a corporation can influence this plot?

CCP Games: We have devised a grand plot that will increase in importance and visibility as the game progresses. Players can influence this by pursuing certain npc agents and taking on special missions. Ultima Online has just passed his fifth year of activity with still more than 200,000 subscriptions, a truly impressive result, if we consider that the project was pionieristic when it started. Meanwhile, a lot of persistent worlds had been shut down or are heading in this way. In your opinion, what are the most important aspects that influence the longevity of a persistent world?

CCP Games: Good player community, solid gameplay and constant upgrades, in that order. The combat system in EVE has been described like highly tactical, where much importance has been given to the equipping phase. How much the player's ability (the player himself, not his character in the game) can influence the result of a battle? Will it be like watching a duel as in other RPGs, where the player only decides whom to attack or to excape (and then the skills of his character decides if he will win or lose), or will he be able to take decision that will determine much more the result of a battle?

CCP Games: There are decisions to be made in battle and player activity can greatly affect the outcome of battles. But the human role-model for what talents are needed would be someone like Gary Kasparov rather than, say, Michel Schumacher. In other words, thinking is more important than quick reflexes. When a player is offline, what happen to his alter-ego? Can it be killed?

CCP Games: If the player is unwise enough to log off while still flying in space, then yes. If he docks at a station he's safe. During the use of a training kit, can the player continue to do something else? What happen if a training session is interrupted? All things learned will be lost or simply the ability will be less effective?

CCP Games: There are no restrictions on player activity while training a skill except that only one skill can be trained at a time. If the skill training is interrupted the training time is lost and must be started all over again. What can push a player to become a player killer if we consider the risk to be killed by police or bounty killers, in particular considering that death seems to be truly penalizing?

CCP Games: Apart from some sorry persons who do it just to aggravate other people, then being a player killer has the benefits of allowing you to loot the cargo of the ship you shoot down. So, for instance, if you don't want to spend a lot of time mining, but still need minerals you can shoot down a miner returning from an asteroid belt and loot his minerals. Also, if you have a bounty license you can kill players with bounty on their heads and get a reward for doing so. Note that there is a difference between destroying someone's ship and actually killing the character. Also note that if two player corporations are at war then fighting between corporation members is allowed. Some types of jobs (like miners) seems to point towards a solitary gaming experience, since the player seems not to obtain big advantages in forming parties with others. Don't you think that this aspect, with the risks that free PvP introduces, can limit social interactions between players?

CCP Games: First of all, some players like playing solo, so this type of gaming should be available in the game. Secondly, it is possible for mining to be a very social thing - if you're mining a lucrative asteroid belt or you're mining in dangerous areas then hiring bodyguards and escorts can be smart; then players might want to specialize - one player mines and another player ferries the minerals back and forth; and then for those really adventurous (and rich) they could bring a recycling plant out into the asteroid belt (in a large industrial ship) and recycle the mined ore right at the spot. But the basic thing is: if players are joining to attack other players engaged in some activity (like mining) - then those players will start joining with other players for protection, which only encourages player interaction.

Thanks to the whole CCP Games team for their time, and in particular to Hrafnkell "Clover" Oskarsson, the game designer who has answered to our questions. We'll wait anxiously for the release of EVE: The Second Genesis.