CCP Zulu informs us that they Shader Model 3 will be the new standard for EVE come April. Read on if you want to know whether or not this change will affect you.
TL;DR: As of April 5th we will discontinue support for Shader Model 2 graphics cards. The new minimum specification will become Shader Model 3.
As we announced in October last year, we are at a point where maintaining support for the now legacy technology of Shader Model 2 is becoming a serious burden on our graphics tech team. It is also hindering us in making EVE Online look as good as we want it to since we currently have to develop for cards up to and over 8 years old. We want to bring that number down to 7 year old technology.
We realize there is still a portion of the player base (we estimate around 9,000 users) that has Shader Model 2 cards. To try and ease the transition we are working on securing a discount deal with a graphics card vendor that we will announce in the next couple of weeks.
Please note that although we are discontinuing support of Shader Model 2 we will not actively block those cards from running the client. It is therefore possible that players with that hardware will be able to run EVE for some time afterward. We do, however, urge them to update their graphics cards as soon as possible.
We have furthermore decided to extend the grace period given to Shader Model 2 users where they can bypass recreating their character in the new character creator. The window of the grace period will stay open for another couple of months.
If you are unsure what Shader Model version your graphics card supports then you can download this handy little app to check.