Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Look at the History of Expansions - Part One

A Look at the History of Expansions - The Series

With my mind buzzing with CSM thoughts I sought the help of my chat room for non-CSM related topics to work over. I'm not quite the endless font of thoughts that I envision myself with. Things that I am highly vested in will consume my thought process. And while I'd like everyone to vote for me, I'd like not to only write about the CSM for the next two weeks.
[13:03:58] Michael Harari > i think you should do a series on old eve expansions
Michael made a very fine suggestion and one that will involve a lot of personal learning. I love history. I get caught up in the now because the now is what I play. I started right after Crucible was launched. But the past of Eve is also interesting. With the 20th Expansion (and its unannounced name) heading towards us, I think that I shall try to look at the history of Eve's expansions before the summer starts. And if I am very, very fortunate, I will get some vets to chip in when I hit their part of the story.



Last year, at fanfest, we learned a bit about Eve's history as part of the celebration of its 10th year. We learned that CCP made a board game called the Danger Game to support themselves. We learned how Eve almost died and how it clawed its way to life. We learned that people were surprised that the video games that they saw recordings of was the video game that was being played. And we learned that for all of the changes there are still some things that are the same.

Such as players, and spaceships, and some code.. but I get ahead of myself.

Now Eve was in Beta for some time before it's release. We have players who started way back when. The person who introduced me to low sec was one of these players. People would comment in shock at his creation date.

Out of Beta, Eve opens on May the 6th, 2003 as Eve Online: The Second Genesis. You can buy a copy on the shelf but you can also download it online. It is a subscription based model and it is going to defy the norm and create one single universe for everyone to exist in at the same time. They are going to allow real time skill training, a player run economy, no set professions, and you get to make your spaceship however you want to make it. There were already 5 thousand player corporations on the ground when they started with complex management tools, in game mail, and you got to meet all of the other players. All pretty cool stuff.



On a loot back, the lack of Nebula is shocking. But, space is dark after all and spaceships need headlights to navigate.

What was Eve like at first? To get a good view I started looking at the patch notes from March of 2003 to the hi Launch, May of 2003.

The early Faction Police:

  • Police idling nearby will now attack people who lose security status rather than just sitting there.

Gateguns were once meaner!

  • Stargate and station sentry guns in systems with 0.45 or higher security level now attack players who come within range and have -5 (or lower) security status.

Sentry guns around stargates now attack people within range who lose or recently lost standing from the corporation that owns them or the faction that owns the solarsystem.

The origional Global Criminal Countdown.

  • Police now remember players who stargate jump away or disconnect for 15 minutes. Even if they wouldn't be pursued based on their standings and security status, if they were pursued for some reason within this time and return, they will be pursued again.

Minmatar cruisers and battleships have had their speed bonus removed, instead they will get much more base speed and now also ROF bonus (Rate of Fire) for projectile weapons per navigation skill level. This does not apply for Minmatar frigates.

Some things are confusing because in the same patch note it says:

  • Some pirates now have the chance of using stasis web when fighting players. and then Pirates now have less of a chance of using stasis web on players. (Second Genesis v.1105 - Build: 1105)

There is so much that is familiar. As well.
"Modified "local channel" concept, so now all the stations within the solar-system are in the same channel as the solar-system. Should make local a bit more usable"
A bit more? Who would know that an argument rages years later about local.

Level 3 agents were also added in just before the launch.

And a crowning note:
Anti warp scrambler AKA warp core stabilizer is now available on the market
There was PvP everywhere! Autopilot was in the game. Bookmarks were here, cargo scanning, cargo containers, pirate NPC factions. Damps, neuts, nos, disruptors were all there. Concord told people they were naughty when things happened in front of them. And it seems that only shield boosters could be active or remain active in warp. There were french and German versions of the tutorial. There were illustrated landmarks on the map that you could look at. I took a moment to open my map to see if that was still an option. I do not think that it is.

There was splash damage! Splash damage is something we often ask for these days. We see it in smartbombs still. However, there used to be mines in the game I know. I wonder what other splash damage effects there were? Assets and waypoints and so many basic aspects of the game. Eve was here, it was playable, and it was launching.

One review from June 5th, 2003 says:

SUMMARY:
Basically in this game, you mine constantly, and occassionally battle some rather boring cookie-cutter "pirates" who attack miners in asteroid fields. ALthough it takes place entirely in space, ( you fly around in your ship, there is no avatar, except a tiny portrait that others may see if they want to), the combat is all point and click, just like earth and beyond, but with even less comabt strategy. Don't expect anything ike privateer, even though there is no resaon they couldn't have made the combat flight-sim. 
When you do lose your ship it, it means you have to go back to mining for days, even weeks to replace your ship, or pay an extravagant insurance fee which is about 1/4 of the price you paid, and only lasts a week. It does not cover any of the expensive or rare ship modules either. This menas very few peopel dare to go into pvp b/c the consequences are so high.
There were supposed to be many ways of making money in this game : trading, shipping, courier missions, bounty hunting, selling manufactured goods. But believe me, these are all ocassional diversions from mining, there is no escape. Even player pirates have to mine more than anything else! They designed this game to be the most boring game ever, and on top of that it is buggy as hell. 
I picked this review because it has interesting reflections on the current day. Eve's birth wasn't easy and Eve was not an easy game to play. Most of the reviews I have found from 2003 are cookie cuter bits from review sites that go over the basics and the prettiness. Few of them are like the tortured soul that I quoted. He wrote of his agony a month after the game was launched. We're now driving down the road to the future.

Next I'll look at Castor and what happened between the Launch of Genesis and the first Expansion eight months later.

Notes:

I found another blog that follows Eve's history and the player was around during the launch: Sophia's Eve Online Research Blog - Second Genesis.

Ships that I saw referenced in the patch notes before launch: Rupture, Stabber, Vexor, Scorpion, Typhoon, Armageddon, Arbitrator, bellicose, Maller, Omen, Thorax, Raven, Imicus.

(Author's Note: I was trying to find a list of the original ships in the game. I think, however, I will learn this list backwards and write it out at the end. It will be more interesting.)

References:
Eve Online - The Second Genesis Enters Stage 3 Beta Testing
Eve: The Second Genesis [Original Official Trailer] (YouTube)
2003 Dev Blog Archive
Second Genesis Patch Notes
Eve Online Official Second Genesis Expansion Page
2013 Fanfest Keynote (YouTube)

3 comments:

  1. "And a crowning note:

    Anti warp scrambler AKA warp core stabilizer is now available on the market"

    I'll leave Hitler to the more noble....I know what I'm doing when I get my time machine for Christmas!

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  2. Awesome idea! Very interesting to learn about the history and influences of this game we all love so much.

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  3. Looking forward to reading this. I started in beta7 and was born a few days after launch. Back then, an Apoc or Raven seemed like a crazy-silly amount of isk while we mined away in our frigates.

    Somewhere I have a post of old stuff, but here's a few things off the top of my head:
    - Seems like in Beta7, there was no autopilot (or I never found it). I remember going 8 or 10 jumps from Kisogo and having to map the route on a notepad by my mouse so I could find my way home.
    - Travel was of course very VERY slow with no warp to zero option.
    - My corp mined omber in Niyabainen during beta and just after lunch. A later ore redistro would move all but veld out of the 0.9 and 1.0 systems.
    - Opening weekend, corpmate and I mined like crazy in Piak - mining Gneiss and Hedberite in highsec - only to find out later that the station we hauled to had no refinery and nobody owned an industrial yet. The leftovers from the eventual refining is still in my assets list.
    - At launch and for a long while thereafter, you could initiate an afterburner during warp; you'd drop from warp at full AB speed. Was very helpful for haulers doing trade runs.
    - Speaking of which, I financed my first Apoc by buying/selling robotics from the npc supply/demand across the map. (Do the npcs even seed the market anymore?). To this day, my main probably has more hours in a Bestower than any other hull.

    I remember when a corpmate got a 2nd account to help haul. At the time, it was a crazy notion ... TWO accounts. Hah.

    // Abavus

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