Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Eve Online Tyrannis: a whole universe

CCP surprised most of it's userbase, earlier this week, with the announcement of Eve Online's next expansion: Tyrannis. Slated to be released around the summer, Tyrannis will bring a whole new dimension to Eve Online: planetary exploration. We will be able to survey all those thousands of planets in New Eden, we will exploit the minerals and other treasures to be found through infrastructures we will build. And this will happen not only on the earthlike planets, but on all of them, including the lava planets and the gas giants.

So why is this exciting? Because planetary exploration is a missing link in the current incarnation of the New Eden universe. The planets got a visual upgrade in the Dominion expansion, and they sure look great, but they are at the moment little more than eye candy. How strange, really, that in a simulated universe like Eve Online, you can't do anything to or with a planet! Most of todays' SciFi movies, books or series would be meaningless without functioning planets. Eve Online, so far, has done without, but not for much longer.

Eve Online: Dominion planets

There's precious little concrete information in the Tyrannis devblog but it seems we won't be able to walk on our planets just yet: Incarnation, formerly known as "walking in stations" will have to wait (again) until a later expansion. But Tyrannis is definitely a first step to prepare New Eden for planet bound combat as projected to happen with the new CCP game Dust 514:

In future expansions you will be able to project military force for attack and defense of planetary installations. That will be where DUST 514 will connect with EVE. But DUST 514 will not be coming out at the same time as Tyrannis, so that is at a later date.

A New Eden with functioning, meaningful planets, spotted with industrial complexes owned by Eve Online pilots, and occasionally raided by either Dust 514 mercenaries or rivaling Eve Online corporations, is a much more complete, whole universe than the New Eden we've been enjoying for the past few years. It is more realistic too - insofar something like that can be said from any internet spaceship game.

Add Incarna to the mix, and it gets even better. I can hardly wait to pilot a shuttle through a gas giants' atmosphere, dock up at our refinery station floating there, pop out of the spaceship and head for the bar where a few corp mates are enjoying a well earned drink. Tyrannis lays the groundwork for future expansions where this might very well become possible. Exiting times for an explorer like me!

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