ZAM @ Fanfest 2012: Everything We Know on DUST 514

Up until a week ago, my fundamental understanding of DUST 514, CCP Games' F2P PS3-exclusive EVE-tied MMOFPS, was shaky at best. A lot of information had been posted via dev blogs and news items and I vaguely comprehended some of the game's underlying mechanics but, without any hands-on experience, it was difficult to visualize any of these systems on a practical level. Thus, from the moment I set foot in Reykjavik, Iceland, to attend EVE Fanfest 2012, one of my main missions was to rectify my ignorance by not only getting some solid hands-on time with DUST 514, but to also attend every presentation, every keynote address and every roundtable discussion that I could get my hands on. The end result of this is that I have a lot of information and a lot more excitement to share on this upcoming title. Allow me to fill you in.

ZAM @ EVE Fanfest 2012: EVE Keynote Speech

And so it begins! Thursday marked the first day of EVE Fanfest, as players and CCP enthusiasts gathered in Reykjavik, Iceland, to hear of future plans for EVE Online, in addition to getting new details on CCP's upcoming PS3 exclusive MMOFPS, DUST 514 (more on that in a few days!). World of Darkness is also slated to make an appearance Saturday, day three of EVE Fanfest, although what sort of details we'll get regarding this delayed horror-based MMORPG remains to be seen. Yesterday we took in the DUST 514 keynote and, while not a lot of new information was presented there, ZAM will attend all of the round table discussions being hosted today and tomorrow to bring you our in-depth analysis of the game, as well as our hands-on experience with it. For now, however, let's get on with the EVE Keynote speech!

EVE to Get New NPC Race

Everyone loves variety. That variety may be in smaller doses for some and larger doses for others. Everyone likes change, especially when it's from the creators of one of the most original, awe-inspiring massively multiplayer games currently in the business, EVE Online. Over at their developer's blog they discuss some of the newest changes being made with the upcoming release of Apocrypha.

"We have been observing the current strength scale between players and NPCs with watchful eyes for quite some time now. More often than not, PvE interactions in EVE are quite limited, merely consisting of watching the NPC explode after a few volleys. We are not satisfied with that... That is why for Apocrypha, we are unleashing an ancient race into the universe: the infamous Sleepers, lurking throughout the vast unknowns stretching at the other side of the Wormhole maws. Do not underestimate them, as they will remain radically different from the regular pirate factions you are used to."

If you play EVE, this is some exciting news. The introduction of a completely new race into the story arc brings not only a fresh-side to PvE in the game, but it also forces all of the players to re-think their current strategies in terms of all NPCs. They just never give up on innovation over at CCP Studios, and soon we shall see just what all the hubbub is about.

EVE Online Update: Patch [1.27.09]

Today marks the beginning of the end of EVE Online normality. Of course we are referring to the release of a new patch. With it, they are preparing us for what is to come: New ship technologies, new systems to explore, new NPCs and all new stories are due, with the upcoming release of their latest expansion, Apocrypha. Downtime is scheduled for 6:00 AM EST until 7:15 AM. This release also contains their new Redeeming System, slated to make paying for your online game-of-choice a secure breeze.

Redeeming System Added to EVE Online

Quantum Rise 1.0.5 was deployed today and it brings with it the new redeeming system.

The redeeming system allows players to take advantage of special offers made available by CCP and affiliated companies. In this release, the redeeming system will allow for game time credit to be purchased via the Secure EVE Online website in the form of 30 Day Pilot License Extensions (PLEX). More information about the use of PLEX can be found here.

You can read the full patch notes, which also contain some minor fixes, here or below.

EVE Online Gets New Exploration System

Not wanting to vary from their completely immersing story and feature additions, EVE Online wrote today in their development blog about how they are going to add a whole new aspect to the game, with wormholes.

Wormholes will bring us to this new frontier, appearing all over New Eden as a result of a cataclysmic event, the nature of which we'll reveal in the coming months. These wormholes are unstable and will spawn and vanish randomly throughout the known universe. A pilot who stumbles across one of these stellar phenomena can fly through it and travel to unknown space, where there are no stargates or stations, just the unexplored void of a new solar system.

This is an exciting development that will tie into their story seamlessly. One has to wonder where they get so many innovative ideas but they continue to surprise everyone with the way they keep the game interesting.

6th Alliance Tournament Kicks Off Today

The Sixth Alliance Tournament is here ! This massive PvP tourney comprised of 64 teams will go on for the next three weekends. Today and tomorrow are the first round of qualifiers, so it's a great time to get in on the ground floor of all the action. Matches start at 3 p.m. GMT both days and go until around 9 p.m.

For the first time the qualifying rounds will be available via an audio broadcast. We'll have our commentators in place to give you the action as it happens live via Eve Voice in the in-game channel "Alliance Tournament".

If you can't get log in, you can still listen to the commentary on, and The second round of qualifiers is on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1. The finals on Feb. 7-8 will be televised. More infomation and discussion can be found in the official tournament forum.

Newest Issue of E-ON Magazine Now Available

In case you weren't aware, there is a quarterly, full color magazine devoted to EVE Online called E-ON. If you're interested in picking up a copy, now's the perfect time. The newest issue, #014, comes out today.

The newest issue of E-ON magazine is out and this issue is full of goodies for all you EVE Online fans. Curious about Tech 3? E-On gives you scoop on EVE Online: Apocrypha's customizable Tech 3 ships and wormholes. Missed Fanfest 2008? Blogger CrazyKinux shares his impressions as a first-time attendee.  Be sure to check out new profiles, reports, the definitive made-up history of RoXoR, and more!

You can order the newest issue or back issues here.

10th Expansion Apocrypha Set for Release March 10

CCP announced today that the 10th free expansion for EVE Online, entitled Apocrypha, will be released on March 10 as a free download. That's the same day EVE will be released as a boxed product through a partnership with Atari. Of course, Apocrypha will be available in the retail box, as well.

The fabric of space itself will be transformed as vast, unpredictable wormholes open to connect previously unexplored regions of the universe to the stars of New Eden. The seeds of advanced new technology await inside of these cosmic anomalies for those brave enough to explore them. This infusion of technology will enable production of the most dynamic vessels ever – Tech 3 modular ships with an astounding amount of customizability that can fill any role from skirmish muscle to industrial support.

Also, NPCs will assign Epic Mission Arcs to pilots willing to take on the task, and CCP has reworked the New Player Experience for players entering New Eden for the first time. You can read all about the expansion here or below.

New Record: 45,186 Users on at Same Time

When MMOs start to hit the 5-year mark, there's always a concern that players may start to wander away from the virtual world. Well, it's actually the exact opposite with EVE Online. CCP announced today that they've just hit a new record for peak concurrent users at 45,186!

While we've made tremendous serverside changes in the EVE Online infrastructure with the EVE64 and StacklessIO initiatives, it is truly a testament to our loyal fans that 5 years into EVE's existence we are still breaking records and more people are flying in New Eden than ever before. We know we'll be trying to find leftover champagne from New Year's EVE to celebrate. When we do, we'll toast to you!

It's great to see so many players online at the same time in New Eden. Congratulations to CCP and the EVE Online team, and we hope that record continues to be broken.