Here's a collection of fun EVE news from the previous week, because there's always something interesting going on in New Eden. There are some new NPC-driven game dynamics, and a discussion of server priorities. Updates to avatars are coming eventually, and the debate over possible downtime exploits continues.
First, some trouble being stirred up by the developers themselves: they are introducing NPC pirate invasions to highsec space. These unexpected NPC encounters will certainly make the game more "exciting" for both PVE and PVP players. Invaded systems will experience system-wide effects until the invasion is fought off, including the reduction of NPC bounties, reductions in the effectiveness of armor, shields, and weapons, and the jamming of jump drives. So, what does this mean for EVE players?
The effect on powerful alliances that hold nullsec territory will be relatively small. If they're strong enough to fight each other, they can definitely get together a group to fight some NPCs. The players that are likely to be most affected are those that never leave highsec, such as the ever-mining carebears, who may suddenly find that they're the targets of surprise attacks. Alliances that play out in the lawless PVP wilderness rarely have a shot to harass these players, because doing so near NPC police would be suicide. This also means that specialized corporations may have to use a variety of players. Nullsec alliances may need mission runners to deal with system invasions; carebears might need combat pilots to escort them. Invasions require that up to 40 players work together to deal with them, so this may add some variety to corporations and draw solo players into groups.
On the EVE devblog, there's an interesting discussion of how the game system handled the huge load of a battle between 3,242 players. The gist: EVE's system puts priority on physics over other actions. This means that actions (such as firing weapons) may be delayed. If there's an overwhelming number of physics-actions to process and lag results from this, that means other actions are occurring less. When they do occur, they feel surprisingly timely. That's an odd revelation. EVE admins hope to improve their physics so that they take significantly less processing power.
A devblog from November 11th indicates that release of Incursion has been split up into three parts in order to allow for more time to perfect new elements that will be introduced to the game. Perhaps getting all of the glitches out of the new avatar creation process and making it just right is very difficult. There have been some amusing problems in the past, such as some characters being reduced to just a pair of floating eyeballs.
From Massively's EVE report comes a continuation of the ongoing discussion of Test Alliance Please Ignore's possible exploitation of EVE downtimes to capture territory. This event spurred EVE GMs to take a look at all territory captures and other timed events that had a significant portion of their countdown while servers were offline, as discussed in a previous Charlaxian post. Points of debate include whether this incident constitutes an actual exploit, accusations of corruption, and the history of utilizing EVE's possibly-unintended features.