I'm not at Fanfest this year. Wanted to be there. Couldn't. But I went ahead and bought myself a copy of the HD stream and I'm keeping up as best I can through that, bloggers and alliance-mates who are there, dev-blogs, and forum posts. Maybe next year, I can show up in person.
In the meantime though, standing at a distance, it's interesting to me how Fanfest 2012 seems like a merger of the personalities of Fanfests 2009 and 2011.
Last year at this time, I wrote a commentary on those two Fanfests. In it, I pointed out how virtually everything shown at Fanfest 2011 was something almost immediately deliverable:
First, something that we didn't see at this year's Fanfest that has been a recurring theme at past Fanfests is a lot of over-hype. In previous years, CCP had become quite good at making long strings of promises that there was no way they could deliver on, and certainly not in a year. This year, CCP stuck to making promises about things that they could actually do, and actually do in fairly short order. That's a very positive step, and reflects that a healthy dose of reality has taken hold in Iceland. There's nothing wrong with getting people excited, and they did a great job of that with the EVE Forever video. But they made it clear that EVE Forever is a vision, not an upcoming release. It's not set in stone and a ton of things can change.
Ironically, with them showing off planetary bombardment yesterday, this means that virtually everything shown at last year's FF has been implemented in the year between that blog post and this one. And that's with this past summer's crises. I find that completely remarkable. Other CCP observers said that it would be completely impossible. Yet here we are a year later, and it's almost all been done. Even more, the presentations themselves were rather low-key: relaxed... almost blithely confident. There was a marked lack of theatrics.
Now, compare and contrast with Fanfest 2009, which was a much more "pie in the sky" sort of experience (again, when viewed from afar).
Lots and lots and lots of "upcoming features" hyped at Fanfest 2009 still aren't implemented: treaties, comet and ring mining, Tech3 frigates and modules, Jove interaction, player-owned Incarna establishments, in-game gambling, "transparent" communication in and out of game, ship formations, DUST 514's release (remember, it was demoed on stage 2.5 years ago!). And "hype" is the right word. Presentations were larger than life, noisy, and there was an expectation that players could and should get really excited about all of these soon-to-be released improvements.
Now we have Fanfest 2012 and it's a been an interesting merger of these two styles. On one hand, we're definitely being shown things that will be implemented or released in the next couple of months: DUST 514 (for sure this time), missile launcher turrets, new Stealth Bombers, a new API, changes to the character creator, et cetera. In the middle, we're being shown things that are "sorta" thought through: crime watch, faction warfare changes, mercenary defenders for war-decs. And on the outside edge, we're also being shown things that might or might not ever be released. A good bit of that will apparently be at tomorrow's keynote, but we've already seen some of it: mining asteroids for moon goo, POSs (again), dropping ship tiers for ship roles and the new skills required for that.
And we're back to a somewhat "larger than life" presentation style, most notably when an actor playing a Gallente DUST 514 foot soldier handed Hilmar his weapon yesterday. I felt kind of bad for Hilmar: the script obviously called for the crowd to spontaneously cheer at the vision of CCP's CEO with an assault rifle in his hands, but the cheering didn't come...
Anyway, I'm not sure I have a conclusion to this, but this merger of styles sure is interesting! Maybe, being 4300 miles away, I'm just imagining it.