CCP Games on Thursday revealed the full list of changes that will occur with the release of EVE Online: Apocrypha, the tenth expansion pack for its massively multiplayer online game for Mac OS X and Windows, scheduled for release on March 10, 2009. Among the enhancements is the long-awaited release of “Premium” graphics support for the Mac version of the game.
The Mac OS X version of EVE Online debuted in late 2007, about the same time as the release of EVE’s Trinity expansion pack, which incorporated new graphics support that upped the graphics quality of the game. Mac support of “Premium” graphics was promised, and was ultimately delayed while CCP Games and its Mac development partner, TransGaming, addressed numerous underpinning issues. The release of Apocrypha—which will be a free update for all users—marks the official introduction of Premium graphics support for the Mac (it’s already been in a public beta on CCP Games’ staging server).
Wormholes now provide access to more than 2,400 new solar systems users can explore and plunder. Booster sites, archaeological digs, hacking sites, gas clouds and salvaging sites also provide new places for EVE Online pilots to explore and utilize.
A new non-player character (NPC) race called The Sleepers are being introduced; they protect an ancient technology found within the wormholes and react with deadly force to interlopers. Tech 3 strategic cruisers are also new—they’re modular ships that players can extensively customize for specific mission requirements.
The “New Player Experience” in EVE has been totally rebuilt with improved tutorials and an easier introduction to possible career paths. EVE has long had the reputation for being unforgiving to newbie players, so this is a welcome change.
Epic mission arcs and huge branching mission sagas have been added, visual aspects to the game have been renovated, and character attributes can now be rearranged to better suit specialized skill training. And players can schedule automatic training of multiple skills.
The Ship Fitting Panel screen has been reworked to provide more information when you’re outfitting your ship and the audio engine has been reworked with improved sound effects.
As is customary for all EVE Online expansions, Apocrypha will be a free (and required) update for existing users when it’s posted. It also coincides with the retail re-introduction of EVE Online; while the game has long been—and will remain—available as a download, users will soon be able to buy it as a packaged product in stores for $35.