Eve Echoes celebrated its first birthday in the year 2021, amidst many challenges. Fortunately, both the game and the development team have grown along the way and are moving in a good direction. This has reinforced our belief to make EVE Echoes the coolest sci-fi role-playing game ever.
EVE Echoes has released a lot of impressive content this year. Corporation structure upgrades, add-on structures, and capital ships bring more buildable content to the nullsec zones, providing greater space for corporations to grow and plan strategically. The gameplay of Exploration enriches the fun of exploration while regulating the disproportionate reward and risk in lowsec zones. A new tutorial and Faction Wargames that allow for non-destructive PVP battles have helped pilots new to New Eden to better integrate into the universe. We have also worked tirelessly to optimize existing content to improve convenience and enhance the player experience. These new content and optimization made EVE Echoes a better game.
While the content of EVE Echoes is gradually improving and moving in the direction we expected, it also faces many challenges. We spare no efforts to face the challenge and refine the game. Though, there may be unknown difficulties and risks in the upcoming future, we desire to present a satisfying game.
Black Screen Issues
One of the most appealing features of EVE Online has always been the large scale, multiplayer PVP battles, and EVE Echoes was designed with the intention of bringing this fun to the mobile platform from the start. Over the past year, however, we have received a lot of feedback from players about black screens and disconnections during large scale battles. This happens for a number of reasons.
Firstly, the client performance and network stability on mobile devices are indeed more uncontrollable than on PC.
Secondly, the complexity of PVP battlefields is progressively increasing as more module is released, players level up in technology and command levels increase.
Thirdly, the tight release schedule and limited development resources have let us include more resources towards the development of new gameplay and new content.
We apologise for the bad in-game experience and thank all pilots for your tolerance. In fact, we have been actively addressing this issue. The Performance Mode released in November is just one of the solutions, as well as many other imperceptible performance improvements, which have been released through weekly maintenance. The tactical overlay released in December is also a feature that we have overcome through many performance challenges. With more team experiences gained, more resources will be devoted to performance optimizations in the future.
Over the past year, we have focused a lot of time and manpower on completing updates to content that complements the game's framework and gameplay loop. For example: Exploration, which adds exploration gameplay and addresses the low risk but high reward of low-sec PVP; Corporation Citadels and add-on structures, which complements the Sovereignty gameplay in nullsec zones; and Capital Ships, which complements the need for strategic-level weapons that can have a decisive impact on the battlefield in Sovereignty. However, due to the limitations of the total manpower and resources, this has led to the delay of some of the optimization content that players have been concerned about.
In the new year, we will focus more on resolving known issues that have been delayed and on improving the quality of the game.
Examples of those already in progress are
1. Combat-related logic: it promises to reduce the performance overhead required for equipment settlement, effects playback and improve the smoothness of combat.
2. Underlying drone code: it aims to fix the problem of drones being able to attack beyond their command range, which has not been entirely fixed.
3. Underlying local channel and chat: it addresses the current issue of standing being displayed incorrectly.
In EVE Echoes, players are faced with a very large variety of environments and encounters. The main challenge of numerical balancing for the development team is that there are so many cases to focus on, and the interferences of different scenarios are also obvious. We have previously concluded two effective approaches: one is to confirm the scope of adjustments to be made in each numerical balancing release through both statistics and player feedback, to ensure that the numerical issues affecting most players are covered; the other is to avoid frequent balancing adjustments so that players do not need to repeatedly adapt to new numerical changes.
We will still follow these methods in the future, but will also include some new methods (such as using more scientific approaches to geographical output balancing, grouping industrial and gathering adjustments into balanced versions, and adding a one-month validation period after balancing adjustments), in the hope that we can improve the quality of balanced versions through these approaches.
We plan to address the issue of interceptor frigates being too versatile and destroyers not having a clear advantage over frigates in April next year.
In addition to balance adjustments to address the intensity of combat between ships, we will also be looking at ship differentiation as a key area of game optimization.
Eve Echoes has several combat and fitting options that have been refined from EVE Online, but in some cases oversimplifications have resulted in the blending of the roles of ships and equipment. A typical example is the shield-armor balance.
In EVE Online, shields are mainly active modules, with a high recovery capacity and high power consumption, as well as features such as self-recovery. armor is mainly passive and is higher hp than shields, but can slow down the mobility of the ship considerably. In EVE Echoes, shield and armor modules use almost identical mechanics. We have tried to make a relatively large distinction in terms of specific numerical effects, it is still difficult to avoid the fact that shield and armor are highly similar in their positioning in the game. Often it is far more difficult to balance two highly similar things than it is to balance two very different things, because similar things will always be put into the same application context for comparison, and then a single optimal solution is arrived at.
If shields and armor were more differentiated in their application context, players' strategy would be more focused: "My enemy has a lot of power-absorbing and power-destroying gear, I should use armor resistance so it lasts longer." or "We're going on a quick sneak attack and the extra armor will slow us down, I should use shield resistance.”
Balance may seem like a question of comparing who is numerically stronger, but the essence of the balance issue is actually a question of the chances of appearance of different ships and modules. Being equally strong does not increase the chances of appearance of different modules, but more differentiated features and application scenarios can do so. In the subsequent design of new ships and equipment, as well as the adjustment of some old ships and modules, we will pay more attention to differentiation, and there may be some new modules with more differentiated characteristics released, while the old homogeneous module will be gradually retired.
The first phase of the insurance was aimed at reducing combat players' losses. Since the introduction of the insurance in February 2021, it has helped many combat players by improving their experience and making them more willing to engage in combat. At the same time, the introduction of insurance has also led to a varying reduction in the rate of consumption of items such as ships, modules and rigs, which has inevitably had an impact on the income of producers of these items. Having completed the first phase of the project, our second phase was to increase the labor value of players. We have subsequently made a number of optimizations related to this, for example: increasing the number of corporation insurance offices, increasing the recovery of dead modules and rigs, increasing the recovery of minerals through T10 ship industry adjustments and corporation outpost upgrades, increasing the number of insurance Plex sell orders, and item purchase orders through system bonuses.
The second phase of the goal is incomplete yet. What is still in progress is to recalculate the insurance points that are given away in the mall insurance point packs, growth funds, accumulated omega rewards, and other benefit systems that are not converted into Plex again, and to further increase the purchase orders generated by the insurance system without affecting the insurance point users. In the slightly distant future, we may also have the opportunity to optimize insurance for capital ships, for example by making the insurance system generate purchase orders not for capital ships, but for capital ship components. In addition to this, there may be new features in the future that are not directly related to insurance, but which also serve the objective of "increasing the value of the production player's labor".
Although EVE Echoes has a complex gameplay system, it is far from being an all-encompassing game and there is still a lot to discover. Both players and the development team are looking forward to the new content and gameplay in the future. When planning new content, we aim for the best rather than the most. We try to ensure that the new content we plan is something that active players want and will really enjoy. On the other hand, as an operational mobile game, will also be some limited open holiday events to keep players fresh and to use the events as a first test of some groundbreaking new gameplay. We will continue to invest in both of these areas in the coming year.
In the coming year, EVE Echoes hopes to make a breakthrough in the following areas:
1. Improve combat fun: more playable PVE and PVP content, more PVP scenarios of different scales.
2. Improve player cooperation: enrich Corporation gameplay, improve the convenience of corporation collaboration, and enhance the efficiency of ship combat.
3. Improve game stability: client-side and server-side performance optimization, more flexible and effective time dilation mechanism.
We sincerely thank all pilots for your support and encouragement, and we are also very grateful for your critical feedback. The development team has been playing EVE Echoes with everyone, enjoying it together, griping about it together and improving it together. New Eden will be better tomorrow.
EVE Echoes Development Team
Written in Guangzhou, China on 31 December 2021