The larger venue at Harpa allowed CCP to greatly expand the number of technical presentations over what they did last year, and they took advantage of that. That's definitely a net positive. More information is always a good thing. CCP's next goal should be to expand their stable of good technical presenters, both through recognition of natural talent and through training. For a technical company, a good technical presenter is like gold. In my opinion CCP Veritas currently holds the position as CCP's best technical presenter. His presentations on lag and the efforts to fight it were funny, approachable, and presented solid technical information in a manner that was easy to understand. Thumbs up. More like this, please!
CCP should also address the how of their presentations. Technical presentations before a large audience should focus on features and information with wide appeal, and less on theory. CCP does a great job of this in their keynotes. The DUST 514 keynote was particularly well done this year. Ironically, the CCP Presents keynote on the final day was the weakest of the three keynotes. It got mired early in too-theoretical discussions that would have been a better fit for the previous day's EVE keynote. Next year, let David Reid open CCP Presents. He did a fine job of getting the crowd fired up. From his presentation on, CCP Presents had a lot more energy.
In general, theory should be saved for smaller round-table discussions with a smaller audience. These are often the people that can both appreciate the underlying mechanics and can offer concrete suggestions on how to improve them. It is perfectly acceptable during a presentation to a wide audience to explain what you're doing, and say that "if you want to understand why we did it this way, please join me in the round-table."
Finally, it's important to finish strong of course, but it's just as important to have strong points throughout your presentation to maintain audience interest throughout. The DUST 514 keynote and the presentation on World of Darkness did the best job here.
Nowhere could these lessons have been put to better use than during the "Brave New Module" presentation.
God bless CCP SoniClover. He really tried hard to present this material. But he was obviously petrified, and he didn't put in nearly enough rehearsal time. I don't know if he put together the presentation or if it was put together for him. But either way, it was far too heavy in theory for a wide audience. Even an audience as tech-savvy as EVE players. ;-) The combination of this dry material and a hesitant presenter made what could have been a very strong presentation feel weak. Someone help this guy practice, because I feel like he could be a good presenter with more practice and better material.
As it is, most people that watch this video will just skip ahead to the 31 minute mark, and that's a real shame.
The central message of this presentation was fantastic: CCP wants to shake up the ant farm. They recognize that ship fittings have calcified and hardened. They recognize that it is often easy to determine which side is going to win a battle before the battle is even fought, simply based on fleet compositions. They want to shake that up. This is a good thing, and this information, presented right at the opening of the session, would have electrified the audience.
CCP also wants to shake up how modules are introduced to the game, with modules and BPCs for modules being found in LP stores, through invention, wormholes, incursions, exploration, et cetera. Fantastic stuff! Even more interesting, they want to introduce "seasonal modules"... a type of module would appear for a while, then would disappear from the game or become a lot more rare. Also a great idea! This would allow CCP to experiment with different modules without having to commit to them in case they were exploited. Those that added additional game-play and balance could be retained and BPOs introduced for them over time.
All of this is really, really good stuff. There were also a couple of off-the-wall modules talked about:
- A "Target Breaker" module, a chance-based module that would break ALL target locks on you. The more people that have you locked, the higher the chance the Target Breaker works. An obvious anti-blob mechanic. Jester likes.
- A "resistance shifting hardener". This one would measure the types of damage hitting you each cycle and change its resistances to be higher against that type of damage in exchange for being weaker against others. This might drive game-play that would stop every single person from loading Fusion to attack the T1 armor-tanking ship. Jester likes even more.
There were also more concrete ideas about things that are coming to the game sooner:
- Salvage drones!
- Small and medium web drones!
- CPU rigs!
- Specialty rigs!
- Tracking disruptors are going to become "weapon disruptors" and disrupt missile damage!
- A drone damage mod!
- Buffs for ECCM and Capacitor Batteries!
All of this stuff is very, very cool. I'd love to see some of this stuff introduced in time for Alliance Tournament X. It'd be fascinating to see how EVE's theory-crafters could put some of these items to work.
So, needless to say, I'm looking forward to these changes and we'll see how things develop. If you've been warned away from the module presentation, go ahead and devote some time to watching it. It really shows off how much CCP has internally accepted that they're working on a spaceship game again and thought about what that means. It's a step in the right direction, and shows that the game's modules aren't the only ant farm that's getting a shake.