EVE Online's next mini-expansion, Hyperion, is on the horizon and its preview website has gone up. The biggest changes are focusing on wormholes, which are having their most significant redesign since being introduced in early 2009 expansion Apocrypha. Also being added are a new selection of missions specifically designed for 1-on-1 fights in frigates against tricked out NPCs called "Burners." There's also a short explanation video of the changes and how CCP are hoping they'll effect the game.
In a more detailed post specifically about the wormhole changes, CCP Fozzie discusses how the plans for wormholes have been modified by player use. Initially they were intended to be too unpredictable to be used as staging areas. However, CCP underestimated their player base's skill and commitment to doing exactly that and are happier with what they have become five years later than how they planned it. The changes being implemented are therefore to balance how useful different types of wormhole are for their new, player-decided purpose.
The Burner Missions are the other major addition, an attempt to vary EVE's classically boring (to put it mildly) PvE. Rather than a pirate base to raid or a group of fighters to take on, they're 1v1 fights against NPCs with ships based on what PvP players use. They're not supposed to be pushovers, requiring specific countermeasures to be equipped to deal with their gear. The initial release will have five possible targets and CCP are looking to expand it into more types of enemy frigate and make similar missions for heavier classes of ship.
It's out on August 26th and there's a bunch more info about smaller changes. The experiment of providing content in smaller packs more quickly is an interesting one to follow as we move further into the age of games as permanent services. More updates keep players coming back, but it's a careful balance between that and still making the changes interesting for all the different styles of player. Blizzard have experimented with similar measures in WoW, and it lead to long periods of downtime once the patches ran out but full expansions weren't ready. For those of you who are regular capsulars, how has it gone for EVE?