CCP Games are set to bring another new update to the hugely popular EVE Valkyrie next week, with ‘Groundrush’ offering, amongst other things, a brand new map. For the first time EVE Valkyrie’s space-based combat won’t be in space; coming down to planet-level in a unique arrangement known as ‘Solitude’.
A very narrow design, Solitude is more about the ability to evade than a head-on straight-shooting affair. It’s a chase map: players being tailed will do better with intricate knowledge of the layout than their opponent and weaving and diving provides many environmental obstacles with which to lose your pursuer. Towers rise high into the sky; a helipad provides an iron grid to weave through; below, trenches run deep into the snowy surface.
It’s this underground network that provides the most interesting aspect of bringing EVE Valkyrie’s combat down-to-earth. A tunnel gives access to an underground base with only one very tight exit directly into the centre of the map, a trench runs deep across one side allowing for surprise flanking and a low foundation surrounded by a low network of large pipes can provide cover as you wait for new enemy spawns. Solitude has the potential to bring brand new tactics to EVE Valkyrie along with the brand new aesthetic.
The team at CCP Newcastle are proud to have ‘solved’ the problem of high-speed travel with a horizon in view by all accounts here at EVE Fanfest 2017, though in truth it’s not that straightforward. Indeed, EVE Valkyrie remains one of the most comfortable fast-paced action videogames in virtual reality (VR), but it still has issues that may be obtrusive to some.
Speaking to a selection of players that had experienced the new map, most of which had already played a considerable amount of EVE Valkyrie, there were mixed feelings about the new map. Some stated they did indeed feel perfectly at ease with a horizon in view, even when flying at high speeds or unaligned with the ground’s surface. Others however, stated that they felt the map was almost unplayable; that it would take a considerable amount of practice to adapt their usual techniques to the new design not in terms of map arrangement, but simply due to their comfort level.
VRFocus found that Solitude was slightly uneasy in comparison to traditional outerspace level design, but it’s far from the intense challenge of Descent: Underground or even Omega Agent. Either way, you’d be hard pressed to bet against CCP Newcastle on getting it right, given the pedigree of the team piloting the VR mission behind EVE Valkyrie.