War... War never changes. Except in EVE Online, where it tends to change with every new expansion. CCP's latest, Inferno, has just landed on Eve's only server. There’s a lot of new features to take in for the residents of the New Eden star cluster. Inferno follows up on last winter’s Crucible, which was the most beloved expansion released for EVE in a long time - in other words, it has a lot to live up to. It looks like it will do just fine.
One thing that many of EVE Online’s dedicated players used to complain about is the lack of iteration on existing systems, that CCP have had a tendency to include new fancy gameplay mechanics only to abandon them for the next “awesome” project. A major thorn in the players’ side has been factional warfare, which was introduced back in 2008 and more or less left to rot ever since. In Inferno, it will that faction warfare will receive an update it sorely needs - players will finally have more incentive to fight for their chosen side, with new rewards and the ability to upgrade the space your faction is holding onto. Factional warfare will no longer be delegated to the “lol roleplayers”.
Inferno is war-themed, and with it comes an overhaul to the whole war-declaration system, partly to stop people from abusing the old one to protect themselves from aggression. It will be easier to see how the war is going, with new war reports and killmails (automatic reports you get when you’ve blown someone up, or been blown up). The attacked corporation will also be able to call in assistance and mercenary corporations will finally see a formalized market for hiring them put in place.
An important facet of combat is to look good while blowing people up. CCP have always been busy improving the graphics of our internet space warfare, and last year saw new turrets and effects added to the game. With Inferno missile launchers get the same treatment; boy, do they look good. They look so good, in fact, that when CCP revealed them at Fanfest people cheered; so good that we predict that Caldari ships; ships that rely heavily on missiles, will receive a new lease of life, just for the fancy explosions.
Inferno will also introduce new modules that pilots can fit their ships with: one of them will let you instantly jump 100 kilometers in the direction you’re facing (which will be a boon for sniper fleets), another will try to break the locks of any ships that have you targeted (the more locks you have, the bigger the chance of breaking them). It’s always a gamble when CCP play with the balance, since any new tools given can upset the status quo.
There are further tweaks: character creation now includes more skin colours. There's a new status bar that makes it easier to spot that you’re the unfortunate victim of electronic warfare, and inventory and hangars have been improved. EVE’s UI can overwhelm newcomers: CCP is trying to make it as easy to use as possible.
The expansion is out and the population of New Eden is busy fitting their ships with new fancy modules or pew pewing like crazy. With the new factional warfare systems in place, and with all the fixes from Crucible still fresh in mind, there might never have been a better time to start playing. Just prepare to be blown up. A lot. That part of war never changes.