CCP's Eve Online keynote has just concluded with announcements of a series of quality of life improvements to the 12 year-old game.
A new ghost-fitting system will be introduced, allowing players to mess around with the game's entire roster of ships and fitting options, even if they don't currently own the items. This will likely remove the need to resort to the third-party tools that have provided a similar service up until now.
As for the cosmetic appearance of ships, long-awaited high resolution textures will be released later on this year. The option has finally been enabled with the pending launch of a new on-demand client launcher, due for release next Tuesday, 24th March. The new downloader will stream only the assets currently needed, although the option to grab the entire client will still exist.
The new installer allows new players to get into the game within around five minutes, rather than the hour or so it currently takes. The new player experience is also being improved with a so-called Opportunities system, which provides newcomers with various objectives to work towards as they learn the complex ropes of the game.
Further cosmetic adjustments are coming in the form of an enhanced ship skinning system, which will add around a hundred new faction-based skins to the game. You'll be able to buy the new skins using the game's Aurum currency, or by trading with other players over the in-game market. They'll be added to the game on April 28th. The Alliance logo submission process will also be reinstated as of April 15th.
On the subject of release dates, Eve switched from a bi-annual release model to a more frequent content update system triggered roughly every six weeks. In the future, there'll be even more flexibility, with new features and tweaks being released between the headline updates. You'll be able to track all of the historical and upcoming changes to Eve Online using a new website called Eve Updates.
To protect players using these websites, and to reduce the impact of account hacking and theft, Eve Online is moving to an optional two-factor authentication system as of April 28th. When you attempt to log in to the account management site, a unique code will be sent to your phone or email account which will be used to verify your access.
Back in-game, a new round of ship balancing is currently under way, with the team changing their focus from individual ships to the very class of ships they belong to. More significantly, structures are being completely overhauled in the long-term, and separated into classes of their own with various upgrade opportunities. You'll be able to fit them with special new items - either in space or in station - before anchoring them into position, and a host of quality-of-life fixes to things like inventory management are also in the pipeline.
Finally, a new trailer was shown, teasing the expansion of Eve's gargantuan galactic map, and the emergence of a new Jovian threat.