How CCP is Making VR’s Biggest Title More Accessible to Everyone

by David Jagneaux • May 14th, 2016

We really liked EVE: Valkyrie, the Oculus Rift launch title from CCP. It provides one of the most intense and rewarding experiences available in VR right now and when it releases on the HTC Vive and PSVR later this year, even more people will get to experience the thrill of their signature brand of fast-paced dogfighting in space.

Now that it’s been out for a while, just like any multiplayer shooter, overall balance and end game progression issues expectedly start to come up. And as a diligent developer that cares about the longevity and perception of its game, CCP are hard at work addressing the biggest concerns surrounding EVE: Valkyrie.

On May 11th, CCP announced what is assuredly the largest patch for the game so far and it’s releasing for all players on Tuesday, May 17th.

We reached out to the team for comment about the patch and Andrew Willans, Lead Designer on EVE: Valkyrie, stated that, “There’s no particular reason behind the patch, other than our ongoing commitment to improve the game. This is one of the benefits of running EVE: Valkyrie as a ‘game as a service.’  We’ve gotten a lot of valuable feedback from our players and that helps us prioritize what to fix, improve, and which new features to add.”

In particular, Willians explains that this patch is targeting issues that arose regarding player progression. Namely, it was taking too long to unlock other classes of ships. “We want players to gain access to the Heavy and Support classes sooner to give them more tactical options in combat,” explained Willians. “So, as part of these revisions we removed the crafting costs for the base ships in each class and lowered the XP required to gain access to them. These changes are also complemented by our removal of rental costs for the Launch Tubes.”

This change means not only will you be able to get different ships sooner, but you can also purchase and use Launch Tubes indefinitely as well.

“Another big ticket item for us was getting better joystick support so players could re-map their controls to better suit their requirements,” said Willians. “That was something we actually moved up in priority as it was originally planned to go live with our first big content update that includes our new Carrier Assault mode.”

None of the changes in this patch should severely undermine the core of the game in any way at all, but when you make things a bit more accessible, there is always that fine line you have to walk between alienating your hardcore players and drawing in new players. It’s not an easy balance to strike by any means.

“Everything we do has to be balanced between new and current players,” said Willians. “But we also see that our current players know that growing the community is important, so they understand when we roll out a fix or new feature that isn’t specifically for them. We will continue to improve features which help our new players to become ace pilots as quickly as possible. Player onboarding is incredibly important and our goal has always been to provide an experience that is immediately fun and intuitive. Competence in minutes, mastery in months.”

As the title continues to increase in age and grow its playerbase, we’re likely to see more tweaks like this to make the game a bit more approachable to the newer audience. Shooters are incredibly difficult to get into if you’re late to the party and everyone can quickly kill you before you have a chance to get your feet wet.

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