The event location was almost filled to the last seatImage: GAMES.CH
For 19 years now, "EVE Online" has captivated sci-fi enthusiasts around the world. At the beginning of May, hundreds of fans of the cult MMO met in Iceland's capital, Reykjavik. watson was there and took a close look at the legendary community event.
The space MMO "EVE Online" has often made headlines. On February 4, 2021, more than 5,000 participants dueled in a gigantic, almost 14-hour battle in which user-built spaceships worth $378,012 were destroyed. An immense sum and according to the Guinness Book of Records the “most expensive computer game battle” of all time.
The Icelandic developer CCP Games wanted to convince the dedicated fan base at the EVE Fanfest 2022 in early May that “EVE Online” still has what it takes to break records in the future.
Has big plans for the future: CCP CEO Hilmar Veigar Pétursson.Image: GAMES.CH
The special thing this time: After the decision was made in 2019 for a "World Tour" with stops at eight different locations and the corona pandemic thwarted the plans for 2020 and 2021 Fanfest, the cult event returned in 2022 Finally back in Iceland's capital, Reykjavík, after a four-year absence.
The audience on site was correspondingly euphoric when CCP boss Hilmar Veigar Pétursson stepped onto the stage of the multi-purpose arena Laugardalshöll on the first day of the event and outlined how the studio, which now has almost 150 employees, would like to make its long-term hit fit for the third decade.
An EVE e-sports tournament was also a must.Image: GAMES.CH
“CCP is sometimes called the 'cockroach of the gaming industry'. Nothing can kill us!"
CCP boss Hilmar Veigar Pétursson
Before Pétursson spilled the beans, however, he proudly referred to the company's upcoming 25th birthday in June and emphasized the resilience of Iceland's largest games developer, which was affiliated with South Korean publisher Pearl Abyss for $425 million in 2018: " CCP is sometimes called the 'cockroach' of the gaming industry. Nothing can kill us!" Whether the bearded Icelander is right with this statement remains to be seen. However, the future plans of the studio presented at the EVE Fanfest 2022 seem ambitious in any case.
How do you mitigate the steep learning curve?
At the top of the agenda is the intention to get many new players on board. The latter already worked well during the pandemic and is to be pushed further from autumn 2022 by integrating further, extensive tutorial sections with their own story strand.
"57% of Eve players have joined since the last Fanfest"
CCP boss Hilmar Veigar Pétursson
In order to make "EVE Online", which is often referred to as a complexity monster, more accessible, the creators are currently working flat out on the AIR Career program – a help view that can be called up at any time, which shows newbies at a glance possible career paths within the game, suggests useful activities and gives tips and much more.
Those who dared were restyled on site to suit EVE.Image: GAMES.CH
All of this should be flanked by extensive balance adjustments, a revised user interface, an Excel plugin (which received a lot of applause from EVE veterans on site), many graphic improvements, significantly more customization options for spaceships, new faction war mechanics and the supplement a language version for the Spanish speaking community.
In order to keep long-time fans loyal, they also want to finally say goodbye to quarterly content updates (so-called quadrants) and focus more on so-called "arcs" from the fourth quarter of 2022. This refers to dynamic in-game stories that, according to CCP Games, were deliberately designed to bring about major upheavals within the world of New Eden.
To put it more concretely: The outcome of such stories should primarily depend on the actions of the players. For example, if a faction fails to achieve an overarching mission goal, the developers adjust the course of the story accordingly and steer the plot in a completely different direction.
After the discontinued "Dust 514" for PS3 and the scrapped "Project Nova" for PC, CPP London is now working on a first-person shooter in the EVE universe.Image: CCP
But apart from the forthcoming evolution of «EVE Online», CCP had a lot of news in its luggage. Among other things, Pétursson leaked that the London branch is currently working on an “online first-person tactical shooter with atmospheric graphics” and that CCP Shanghai is maturing a 4X strategy game for the mobile gaming market, codenamed “Project M5 ».
Fans took both announcements kindly, but also expressed a certain disappointment that neither title was presented in action – let alone was playable in any form.
EVE Online: Grown by dedicated fans
Apart from such setbacks, however, the atmosphere on site was great and the "We are one community" spirit of the community could be felt everywhere.
Speaking of community: Shortly after the keynote, EVE Online enthusiast Scott Manley took the stage and gave a charming presentation, explaining how the Icelandic space MMO has had a significant impact on its rise to a YouTube star with more than 1.42 million subscribers today.
Three years later, Manleys went online with the "EVE Online Beginners Guide" cobbled together in Windows Movie Maker, cracked the 1.7 million view mark and brought thousands of new players to the MMO in record time. This is probably one of the reasons why CCP Games returned the favor with a fan festival invitation this year.
Other highlights of this year's Fanfest were sociable developer talks, a beauty saloon for EVE-style makeovers, an 80s-style stage quiz show, the "Party at the Top of the World" attended by many dance enthusiasts, and the infamous pub crawl.
For the latter, those present split up into different groups, which then – each led by a CCP employee – walked together through Reykjavik's colorful bar district. A boozy pleasure that many of the almost 750 fans in attendance enjoyed to the full until the early hours of the morning, despite the sometimes dizzying beer prices.
And next year they will probably come in droves again, because a fan festival is almost certain for 2023, for the 20th anniversary of the game.
About Team Games.ch
The editors of the longest-serving Swiss games website have been dealing with games for over 30 years. It all started in the 1980s with a disc magazine for the bread box (C64) that the platform founder, a former baker, published. Electronic games have accompanied the editors ever since: from the Sega vs. Nintendo fanboy wars of the early 1990s to the rise of the Playstation and the entry of the Xbox into the console market. The memories of the past are numerous – and the joy of the current gaming hits continues unabated.
At watson, the Games.ch team takes care of exclusive stories from the gaming universe for gamers, fans, nerds – and those who want to become one in the "Loading…" blog.
Representing the team: cat Mia with buddies.
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