Monday, April 28, 2014

EVE Ascended?

~or, “To be a Star Citizen, or One of The Ascended?”

Like many of us, I am interested and excited by the idea and potential of “Star Citizen”, a new MMO in development by Chris Roberts (developer of “Wing Commander” et al.). This is an MMO aimed at the Space SciFi crowd same as EVE, but with Roberts ideals of avatar (not ship) based characters, FP flight and combat modes and multiplayer ships for a few. Roberts is not trying to out EVE, EVE, Star Citizen is a persistent virtual world unto itself, just one that is also set in a far futuristic science fiction based 'verse with space flight, combat and industry with a player driven market.

I am intrigued by “Star Citizen”, but… I am not an easy gamer to please, and I am not ‘sold’ on all of the concepts in Star Citizen based on what I have read and seen so far, interested yes, sold that it will be as immersive and fascinating as EVE, not yet. What I want does have some of his idea’s though… character based avatars with (what we in EVE call, WiS) Walking in Stations, maybe even multiplayer ships. But his vision sounds to me, less immersive. Star Citizen will consist of two main components: First Person Space Combat (Squadron 42) and Trading (Star Citizen) in an MMO persistent universe.

For me, though some of his ideas are right up my alley, the one’s that increase one’s ability to suspend disbelief and get really immersed in a virtuality. For me in EVE, there are many immersion breakers… warping through planets and moons and stations… being automagically ‘tractored’ (IE transported) inside stations on landing at the correct range… IE Poof!, and yet, ALL of us being forced to undock from the same location, no matter the size or number ships involved… and one of my least favorites… weird Asteroid Belts that aren’t belts at all… just a very small arc of rocks that are not connected in any way to the actual physics of real asteroid belts… AND these automagically ‘reappear’ after they have been used up, over and over and over again.

Well… I don’t know if I am behind the curve here and everyone already knows about this but, I recently saw this article on Massively, “MMObility: Age of Ascent hopes to beat EVE Online's battle concurrency record” about “Age of Ascent” another space based MMO currently under development. Well, as an EVE player there is no way to not read something with that title, now is there? This, of course led to going to the website and checking this out a bit and what caught my eye the most are not the ways in which it is similar to EVE, of which are many… but in the ways in which differs from EVE… ways which are very exciting to me.

- Direct-piloting combat
- Free-to-play without pay-to-win
- Map derived from real world star catalogs:  more than 120k star systems!
- Skills to be a combination of Real Time AND Player Experience

These are a few of the design goals for the roll out product, the direction Llyriad Games wants to go after that though, now THAT really grabbed my attention…

- Ship and hull classes (science ships, support ships, drone carriers, weapons platforms, minelayers and minesweepers, stealth recon)
- Multi-player options for co-operative capital ship flying (!)

Multi-player co-operative capital ship flying? “…capital ships – carriers and ships of the line – that require crew to fly. Crew will initially come from specially skilled NPCs, but as an early stretch goal we will allow multiple players to fly the same capital ship simultaneously, occupying different positions and working together, acting in positions such as skipper, navigator, shields and damage control, engineering and power, weapons systems, manning turrets and so on.” OMG!

They also envision a Player-led Economy, very similar in concept to EVEs but…

- Multiple currencies which have a dynamic existence
- Using the Periodic Table of Elements as the basic construction building blocks for everything in the game… and
- Resources that won’t renew. You may find a system where it takes two years to mine all the goodies, but once they’re gone they’re gone. How can they do this? you ask, “…with more than 120k star systems to play with…” that’s how… uh, WOW.  Now THAT’s Immersion.

In a nod to the PvP-adverse players the core systems will be run by a variety of NPCs, and if you stay on their right side, they’ll try and keep you safe and, just maybe, they’ll offer you technologies and trades you won’t see elsewhere.  Which sounds to me like an open sandbox ‘verse similar to EVE, but with skill and or module based increases in ‘protection’ from non-consensual PvP… But you have to work for it, not you are safe just because you are in “X” system or some such. And, with 120,000 star systems, you actually would have a chance to go “Where no player has gone before, and none may find you in for a long long time to come…” or at least for the first few years.

They also are working to build multi-threaded, multi-outcome PVE missions. Missions that “change dynamically, according to local circumstances and which can have the scope to change entire regions of space depending on what players do and how our AIs respond to that activity.

They also describe something very near and dear to my heart “…modularly designed – space stations, jumpgate networks, trade-lanes, weapons platforms, manufacturing and mining centres, minefields, and every single thing that the pre-designed NPC zones of control has in them.

There is a lot more and it all reads like a dream wish list for a Space based MMO… now THAT’S what I’m talking about! I just hope they can make it as beautiful as EVE… AoA is a browser based game, and that may be, for me, its downfall…

Because ATM the graphics in AoA, in comparison to EVE, leave very much to be desired… AoA looks an awful lot like Vendetta Online TBH, and while I liked playing VoL, I have been ruined for space games with lesser graphics than EVE… and as it stands now, that’s ALL of them.

Fly Wreckless and see you in the Sky  =/|)=


  1. That really sounds promising. But how large is their Developer Staff? I'm interested in Star Citizen too but yeah, they have to deliver first. Maybe some day a game will challenge EVE at its core and maybe it will succeed. But having a good concept for a game doesn't assure funding for it.

  2. Very very small, only 2 FT employees, 3 PT... so... really small. They are crowdsourcing, working in WebGl, want it all browser based and the graphics seem to be suffering for that... but, the idea is good, where it goes, we'll see....

    Dev Q&A:
    AoA Trailer:


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