CCP Games has revealed details of its forthcoming expansion to the massively multiplayer online game EVE Online. Entitled “Dominion,” the free expansion pack is expected to be released this winter, sometime after CCP Games’ annual Fanfest, which takes place in Reykjavik, Iceland (home of the developer) in October.
EVE Online takes place in outer space, in a galaxy on the other end of the universe, where mankind has populated star systems and participates in interstellar trade and combat. Mankind has fractured into four factions that experience uneasy alliances frequently broken and rearranged; players assume the role of a “capsuleer,” the pilot of an interstellar spacecraft.
Often described as the ultimate “sandbox” MMO, EVE places few restrictions on what players can do — they can fly solo or in groups, participate in “corporations” (the EVE equivalent of a guild), become pirates or warship captains, mine precious minerals from asteroids, trade materials, produce finished goods and sell them to other players, and more.
The focus of “Dominion” will explore how individual players can influence and control what happens in EVE’s single-shard, persistent world — an online universe populated by more than 300,000 players. Unlike other MMOs, EVE isn’t split into different “shards” — everyone plays in the same space.
“Sovereignty” is a concept that’s often described as “EVE’s end-game” — when a player or corporate becomes influential and powerful enough to erect a space station and control an area of space. It’s an issue that EVE Online senior designer Noah Ward has described previously as something the company planned to work on, and the results of that effort will be made apparent in Dominion. Sovereignty will be overhauled in Dominion as alliance combat requires additional tactical strategy.
COSMOS — a social networking framework for EVE Online — will also make its debut in Dominion, along with new Pirate Epic Mission Arcs for players who enjoy Player versus Everything (PvE) combat. The developers are also refining some graphics tweaks to the game.
Walking in Stations still in development
CCP Games’ recent announcement about Dust 514 has led to some confusion about what the future holds for EVE Online. Dust 514 is new console-based first person shooter/real time strategy game based in the EVE universe; what happens on the ground in Dust 514 will have a direct bearing on what happens in the Mac and PC-based MMO. Dust 514 was revealed by CCP Games CEO Hilmar Petursson at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in Cologne, Germany last month.
Some long-time EVE players are concerned that Dust 514 is a replacement for “Walking In Stations” technology that CCP Games has been talking about for a couple of years now and which it demonstrated at Fanfest 2008. Walking In Stations will let EVE Online capsuleers leave their spacecraft and interact with each other directly.
The project, which has recently been renamed “Incarna,” is still in development, confirmed CCP. Incarna will not be part of Dominion, but is still coming "soon."