Fanfest: What to ExpectAshterothi
Fanfest swiftly approaches. For those of us who have been around the block a few times, Fanfest is a word often spoken with anticipation, or even a bit of reverence. Although we have seen great showings at other events such as EVE Vegas and EVE Down Under, Fanfest still stands as the central tent post of the EVE Online community, EVE Online as a game, and CCP as a company.
However, this year has also seen many new players join, some of whom are going to Fanfest. They may not understand what is happening or what to expect when they get to Iceland. And even those who have, may not be sure what exactly to expect. Here is what to expect at Fanfest:
EVE Valkyrie has launched with pretty good success. Most of the reviews are pretty positive, with the principal complaint being that it feels thin, however the novelty quickly fades. A lot of this can be understood by the fact that Valkyrie was a little rushed to make the Oculus Rift launch deadline. Additionally, while the reception of Valkyrie has been largely good, the actual Oculus Rift rollout has been less impressive. Slow deliveries, and the announcement of the Vive platform being stronger than some expected, has caused slower uptake of the technology, and thus Valkyrie, to be a much slower burn than originally expected, although CCP has said this benefits them thanks to not overwhelming their servers.
What we can mostly expect is a victory lap for Valkyrie. Expect a lot of impressive stats, mostly tied to the sale of Rifts (Valkyrie comes bundled with every Rift), and a lot of excitement about the release on the Vive. Additionally, expect to see some followup about integrating more storytelling, and deeper gameplay between matches.
Dust is dead, long live Dust.
Unreal 4 Engine is very powerful, and a strong supporter of VR environments
As we learned during the announcement of the shutdown of Dust 514 servers, we have a new offering coming in the form of a FPS made in the Unreal 4 Engine. Fanfest will be where we see the actual vision for this new project. Not Dust, and not Legion, this game will be something else. Unreal 4 Engine is very powerful, and a strong supporter of VR environments.
My prediction is that whatever they end up calling this offering, the main point of it is solidifying the “One Universe One War” once again. Having an solid engine means that content will be far more rapidly built, and level design far easier. This offering is the biggest wildcard of the show, seeing as it could be anything from a replacement of walking (and fighting) in stations, or even an entirely different IP offering. Pretty much anything is possible at this point.
Of course this is the showstopper, but it is also in a very odd position. With Citadels launching the next week, they have no stat porn about Citadels to lean on. Likely there will be a long retelling of the great victories, with plenty of stat porn about both World War Bee and Skill Injectors. Expect to see them push for the new daily rewards system in a more fleshed out way. Finally it will be filled out by discussions about the different events in the last six months, including lessons learned.
Fanfest is as much about the future as it is about the past.
However, Fanfest is as much about the future as it is about the past. Two years ago, CCP Seagull laid out a vision for EVE Online, and a two year road map. We now officially are at the end of the timeline, but not the roadmap. We know quite a bit about what the next steps will be. Citadels are only the first step, and new structures will likely roll out much faster with the basics in place. Additionally, we know that Stargates are still the light at the end, but we also know very little about what that means. The chronicle Inheritance hints at a possible abandoned Jovian space, and the Drifters continue to seemingly dial in a newly constructed gate in their home holes. Where all this is going is still wildly speculative, but many of the answers will be revealed this weekend.
My personal prediction is that we are going to see a major PvE and economics overhaul. With the citadels and capitals out of the way, efforts can be moved over to making the worst part of EVE actually good: the PvE. New AI, potentially new ways of doing missions, additional ways to interact with and work for pirate factions, Faction Warfare tweaks, and the new industrial structures will all pave new ways to make the “boring” parts of EVE less of a chore. All of this will culminate in the forging of the Stargates to bring us to Jovian space, creating an explosive amount of content for explorers and conquerors alike.
CCP gives developers 20% of their work time to work on whatever projects they want, and Fanfest is generally the time they show off those projects to the public for the first time. Both EVE Valkyrie and Project Arena were both shown for the first time in this way. With more and more focus on VR, and Unreal 4 it will be very exciting to see what other gems come from the devs.
Also, this year will be a big one for tournaments. This will be the first official tournament since Valkyrie released, but even that is eclipsed by the grandeur of the Amarr Championships. This year, all of Fanfest takes place in Amarr to bear witness to the final two champions and their battle to see who the next ruler of the Amarr will be.
Additionally, the player panels are exceptional. Makoto Priano is hosting a panel on the Drifters, and taking part in the active lore community. Additionally, the Alliance Panel is historically a pretty impressive display of the meta, although has had a checkered past.
Fanfest comes this weekend, and it will be a must see event for anyone who considers themselves interested in the EVE Universe. If you want more information, Hydrostatic EVE has a twenty minute or so “survival guide” for attending the event.
Whether by stream, or in person, all eyes will be on Reykjavik this weekend.
Fanfest Dev Blog