This is a bit awkward. EVE Online Revelations, the expansion to EVE Online, is a constantly evolving MMO. We’re reviewing Revelations but it’s actually an ongoing series of patches; for now we can only review the first installment in the sequence.
Upsettingly, it hasn’t brought with it the major graphical overhaul, or any of the snazzy DirectX 10 stuff that CCP have been talking about during 2006. Nor has it fixed really hardcore problems like the sovereignty system used to capture player-owned stations. Without these things, the changes Revelations brings feel premature. I’d rather have waited for a massive installment some time in 2007.
What Revelations has done is to fix some significant problems that have been in EVE since the very beginning. The largest of these is "warp-distance." Since launch it has only been possible to arrive 15km from things, but now you can land right next to them. That might sound like a small change, but it’s probably the biggest since the game began. It’s as if bunny hopping was removed from Quake, only to be replaced with an entirely more efficient mode of leaping around.
Other major changes accompany it: The ability to see if someone is a baddie without checking out their character sheet. The new map, delivering an epic long zoom enabling you to say “woo” every time the camera tracks back from your ship and out to the entire universe. A new fleet command system, with stacks of annoyingly complex gang bonus and command tools.
And then there’s the contracts system. This huge tool for EVE’s economy enables more trust, more flexibility and the capacity for players to create missions for each other. It’s a clear indication that EVE’s economic growth is just as important as the exploding spacecraft we hold so dear.
There are new ships to explode too. This is likely to be the last patch in a long while to have new spaceboats, as CCP seems to have filled every imaginable niche. Fortunately the new designs are brilliant, with the new tier-two battlecruisers seemingly designed by spaceship pornographers, the bigger battleships rounding off complex fleet warfare with wads of rippling metal.
Ships can now be augmented by ‘"rigs:" new one-off modules that enhance various aspects of your performance. Characters, on the other hand, can be enhanced with drugs. The so-called "boosters" allow you to pump up your character for an extra edge to that killing frenzy. There’s even been a change to the way ships are destroyed, allowing enterprising players to come along and salvage bits, do some reverse engineering and then invent their own kit. Impressive stuff.