With the introduction of "nanite repair paste", players will soon be able to fix those busted modules in the field. If a module is completely broken, they still need to return to the station and they cannot do it while they're in use or overloaded. The change, combined with increased survival time for those modules, though, should cut down travel times and let people stay out on adventure a bit longer.
They've also added some strategy to how players equip those modules. Previously, when a module overloaded and exploded, it was anyone's guess as to what other modules on the rack it took out. Now, proximity to the exploding module determines the level of damage. The move is logical and means that a smart pod pilot will equip their least important modules next to those they frequently need to overload. There is also now an advantage to empty and/or inactive slots as they act as a heat sink for the rest.
In the future, Tuxford hopes to tie this system closely to Tech 3 and introduce new modules that help players manage heat in unique ways. He also hopes to one day see systems where players can target and damage individual modules as part of their attack strategy.
Aside from voice and heat, Drones are another highly of Trinity. There are dozens of brand new drones for players to use and an optimized, simplified UI to control them with. The options and UI are all very similar to pet UI in traditional MMOGs. "We're getting a little more intelligence in drones," Richardsson deadpanned.
Other additions include new boosters, many more missions, new military complexes and other new areas to see and an absurd amount of faction loot he scrolled in fast forward on the big screen. They also built in a UI element that allows corporations to advertise for new members, including specific on what kind of players they need. Obviously, in reverse, this streamlines things for players who want a good corporation as well. Anyone who plays EVE always says that a good corporation is a key to fun and thus anything to make the path to one easier should be a welcome addition for new players.
New players will also appreciate enhanced in-game help files. EVE is far from simple and frankly overwhelming to many. CCP never wants do dumb it down, but they also hate to scare people off. Help files are a good way to make sure that they don't. "Most windows now have context sensitive help," said Richardsson.
Of course, what is an expansion to a space-ship MMOG without new ships? The expansion introduces 20 brand new ships for players to buy and fly. All 20 will of course have models in both the premium and classic client, so no one is forced to upgrade to explore the new content.
Trinity promises to be a pretty major patch for players, regardless of whether or not they upgrade they graphics. To lessen the pain, the tech team at CCP did some work to more fluidly deliver the content to their players and avoid expansion-day download headaches. This time, on patch day, players will login and patch the basic game updates they need to get on the same version. Then, they can go play while the game downloads all the extra stuff in the background. When it's done, they're told the next time they dock and can log out and in to try out the new visuals.
They've also added download throttling, which is a fancy way to say that their patcher - which can continue to operate in the background even when EVE is turned off - monitors other downloads and makes sure to throttle back its download rate so as not to interfere with web browsing, torrents or whatever else a person wants to do on their PC. In then automatically scales back up when the other activity is complete. Of course, that is all optional.
Many players have requested that large updates be available through torrents, but that is not something CCP was prepared to promise for Trinity. They did say that they will explore the option, though, for future updates.
The Trinity patch will also allow Vista early-adopters to take advantage of some of that operating system's features, such as user account control, the game explorer and, of course, parental controls.
Trinity will not alter the system requirements for people who use the classic client. Those that use the premium client need a video card that supports Shader 3.0, which roughly translates to a GeForce 6000 series or higher video card.
EVE Online: Trinity brings to the fans the third portion of what was originally one giant expansion called Kali. It was originally one giant expansion pack and has since grown into four updates, the first of which launched late last year. The fourth and final portion of their vision is slated for 2008 when they introduce factional warfare.
Our epic look at EVE Online concludes later this week with part five of our "War on the Impossible" series, which details plans beyond Trinity and other tidbits from the Fanfest 2007.
For some videos from Fanfest 2007 that show off the new ship models, click on to the final page.