So you’ve saved up for a new battleship in EVE Online, and you’re eager to start blasting stuff into space dust, but there’s one problem: your battleship looks a little boring. How are you meant to strike fear into the hearts of your enemies if you can’t paint it hot pink?
CCP are aware that this is a concern, and to give pilots more creative control, the developer is kicking off a ship painting pilot program. Yes, you are one step closer to your rainbow monstrosity.
The pilot program will be introduced in Rubicon 1.3, launching on March 11th. It’s going to start small, though, with nine pre-selected skins for pilots to choose from. The library of skins will be expanded in future updates, however.
CCP is taking things slowly because there are a surprising number of factors to consider. “While we know that this has been asked for in the past, we do not have collated, large data sets to base design and implementation decisions on,” CCP explains. “What actual level of demand is there? What is the sweet spot of cost for such customization? Are pilots more risk averse if they are flying a painted ship? At what volume and velocity do painted ships travel through the markets of the greater EVE economy? How does graphical load scale when the GPU has to render painted hulls differently?”
The point about pilots potentially being more risk averse is an interesting one. The philosophy of vessel ownership in EVE Online has always been “Don’t fly what you can’t afford to lose,” but when you start adding personal touches to ships, making them stand out from the crowd, then losing them will become an even greater blow.
And there’s the cost of the paint job, of course. “Our vision for the future of ship skinning includes skins available from many different sources, including some skins sold through Aurum and others available through purely ingame methods such as loyalty point stores,” says CCP. “In the first release of the pilot program we will be introducing eight skins available for Aurum, and one available exclusively through ingame achievement.”
Blueprints will need to purchased with Aurum, which you can get from account management or by exchanging PLEX. You can get them through in-game means as well, by purchasing PLEX for ISK from other players.
Actual prices are open to change, but CCP is saying around 45 Aurum for Frigate paint and 350 for Battleship paint. Depending on the PLEX package selected when you’re buying Aurum, that’s around $0.23 - $0.26 and $1.75 - $2.00, respectively. That’s for a single application.
“If this pilot program reveals that the painting of internet spaceships is indeed popular and we are able to gather enough data and thoughtful feedback, we will put some very eager programmers and designers on the task of creating a system that allows us to change the skins of ships without us having to create a new TypeID to get a different color variant,” CCP says. “The exact game design of how you’d paint your ship has not yet been decided, but we are keeping our super capital brothers and sisters and their wormhole siblings and their inability to dock their ships in mind.”