Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
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Monday, August 6, 2012

Quote of the Week: Christmas

QOTW this week comes (with permission) from a private chat I had over the weekend with riverini, the editor of EVE News 24.  We were chatting about the CSM Summit Minutes when he remarked (edited slightly):
Is it just me... or we ain't getting shit for Christmas?
And that question was so casually and cheerfully profane that I had to go with it.  ;-)

Now granted, the 2012 winter release is still about four months off and a lot can change between now and then.  But so far, the release is looking rather light.  We're told flat-out about the expansion:
The theme for the winter expansion will continue to be 'WAR', or more specifically the stimulation of blowing stuff up and there are to be no 'Jesus features' (large new shiny features). This will allow CCP to iterate on features already in the game and lay a stronger foundation for 2013.
A careful read of the Minutes indicates that the feature list is going to look something like this:

New Features
  • One ORE mining frigate
  • Four new destroyers (one for each race)
  • Salvage drone
  • Player-to-player contracts
Iterated features
  • Continuing tiericide and adjustment of roles for all racial frigates
  • Adjustment of roles for the existing four destroyers
  • Ability to rename POS mods?
  • Iterations of the Crimewatch system (might be delayed until 2013)
  • Iterations on operation of Sentry guns
  • Iterations of the war-dec system
  • Iterations of the faction warfare system
  • Iterations of new player content/Incarna (might be delayed until 2013)
  • Minor iterations of the e-war HUD bar
  • Minor iterations on Unified Inventory

In particular, I point you to that "new player content/Incarna" work.  What exactly the CSM was shown in Incarna is NDAed in the minutes (page 50).  But apparently it was a first look at prototype Incarna game play... perhaps Slay or something similar?  But the implication was that it's at prototype stage and I suspect we won't see it in December.  However, other NPE content was mentioned, but perhaps this was the work already done for the August release.

The other potentially major change affecting a lot of players are the Crimewatch updates, but it was emphasized that these updates might not see the light of day in 2012.  CCP will be playing that one by ear and deciding whether or not to release it based on the state it's in as December approaches.

As for the rest, any way you look at it, it's kind of a short list.  It also doesn't lend itself well so far to a marketing campaign.  How do you sell this list to new players?  What on this list encourages unsubbed players to resubscribe?

In short, what are we getting for Christmas?  So far, it looks like austerity isn't just for government budgets.


  1. As far as iterations go, the updated frigates might as well be new ships.

  2. Well they seem to have murdered incursions, so if you are enjoying faction warfare - watch out.

  3. I dunno, seems like salvaging drones are what is needed to reclaim the world economy. Have you noticed a similarity between EVE banks and RL ones recently? CCP is leading the way with reclamation tech :)
    But then, I've been looking forward to salvage drones for a long time and have everything in place to make them useful fleet-wide.
    To answer the gist of your argument. The NDA is in place specifically to keep us marketeers guessing. If I were a tad more cynical I'd accuse you of trawling for speculation tips.

  4. I feel like salvaging drones are a big thing for Christams. The application in solo wormhole is amazing. Free up a high spot where the salvager used to be for more DPS, longer drone range, or even a NOS. Marauders can have more tractors with the option of salvaging drones for those who do level 4's and an orca can use them to salvage the rats that get blown up during operation. I for one approve of the salvage drones.

    I also agree with the redesign of the destroyers. Their use has been destroyed by PVPers and their role in salvaging was taken over by the noctis. So where do they stand? I for one skipped right from a frig to a cruiser.

    Each race has its own mining frigate already so what use will an ORE one have? Cant give it a strip miner without making it look like the teir one barge.


  5. Austerity shouldn't be for government budgets

  6. "perhaps Slay or something similar?"

    You may want to check the dev comments on this thread:

    It seems indeed we won't be seeing this year what CSM saw.

    "How do you sell this list to new players? What on this list encourages unsubbed players to resubscribe?"

    There is one feature I think they will deliver this winter that you didn't listed: new animations for ship explosions.

    I'm not sure how much this will motivate seasonal vets to take a look at the game, though.

    At any rate, it doesn't seem this expansion has as many manhours into it as Crucible for instance.

    1. On the German player meet earlier this year, Torfi showed of a game play mock up they'd put together. That was before the post mentioned and he said they'd be preparing to seek board approval for it. It attaches directly to the setting hinted at by the fan fest trailer.

      The mock up was a playable sleeper base intrusion focussing on player (I forgot if there was shooting) and environment (force fields, radiation, levers) interaction with just very simple polygon graphics.

      Personally, I hate seeing Incarna go that route, but it's better than sitting on a couch I guess.

  7. From reading the minutes, it looks like we're stuck with "War" because CCP Unifex picked the wrong goal (p33, p88).
    "Soundwave jokingly said that “The schedule is CCP Unifex’s fault.” He laid out the development plan
    of highsec/war decs, lowsec/Factional Warfare, and 0.0/POS. He thought it would be
    “straightforward” to tie a 0.0 theme to the POS revamp."
    I'm not sure there was a lot of laughters after this joke.

  8. Salvage drones are several years too late for one thing. Really it will be the new ships and ship changes and rebalancing that will interest me the most. Still not quite worthy of a full expansion by the looks of it though.

  9. As far as I know, we can already rename all POS mods. I think they added that in one of the Inferno Patches due to the Unified Inventory making POS life even harder XD

  10. wow the winter expansion even made your blog feel boring today...how dare them.

  11. This is pretty much as expected.

    However you dice and slice it, a considerable amount of development effort will have to go into the Dust-Eve link. (not talking about meaty/substantive stuff - which would be a nice present after all - but just about making it work).

    To be honest, I am crossing my fingers that the Dust launch leaves New Eden mostly undamaged (if it does, and if Dust does well, we will profit from it considerably in the long run -> awesome opportunity // now if it doesn't ... -> nightmare)

    Also, iteration can be a lot of work, even if it is kind of boring. And we asked CCP very emphatically to do it, so I won't complain so soon when they actually do. (the T1 frigate changes being a good example -> not much talked about or much appreciated but they were actually done very well.)

    1. Seems like they're spicing things up for new players: NPE, rookie ships, T1 frigates, mining ships.

      If they're not deliberately aiming at tossing veteran players under the bus, then I don't know what they're doing.

      I can really see CCP selling out the game to Sony within a year. After all, no investor wants to keep their money in a company that's no growing, and the players made it abundantly clear last year that they weren't going to sit still while CCP turned EVE into a Play 2 Win cash cow. So Incarna gets dumped and, without that growth potential, EVE subs remain stagnant and ..... Tada! Sold so CCP can concentrate on Emo Vampires: a microtransaction growth industry!

  12. Guess all we can do is hope that there is something secret they're not sharing with the rest of us... and that we'll like our surprise =p

  13. I was planning to take a couple of months off already, but it seems quite safe now to stretch that to 6 months without missing anything.

  14. Maybe this is so obvious that no one has bothered to say it, or maybe it's too NDA, but isn't the EVE-Dust link going to require basically a whole expansion, on the size of Apocrypha or bigger, with significant changes to PI and the sov system, at least? Isn't that coming down the pike sometime this year, since Dust 514 is already in a pretty wide beta?

    1. My guess is No. The EVE-Dust link will be a knob they can turn from 0 to 10, with higher numbers meaning more impact on sov. Whether that's military index, or sov bills, I don't know. But I do think it'll start out at 0. Then they'll gradually turn it up and see what kind of impact it has (or rage it generates).

  15. I have not given up hope that at least the batch system (Page 57-61 Minutes), might make it into the Winter Expansion now that the on fanfest promised Big Industrial Expansion for Winter 2012 is off the table.

    I just started playing 1 year ago, how was it possible that they made this wormhole expansion and now it feels like they dont get anything done for "expansions" ??

  16. You can already rename POS mods.

    1. yup. tried it couple months ago when i got back into pos stuff...man, was that fun to just try renaming my silos "input" and "output" and it worked! haha

  17. You are getting DUST for Christmas.

    Although DUST is being handled by a separate team, DUST development is still consuming CCP resources, which cost money and are not usable for any EVE Online development work.

    Also, keep in mind that CCP did have a major layoff last year, so even with nuking most of the future WiS work, this has left them with much fewer dev resources than in previous years.

    As a result, EVE Online is effectively in a maintenance mode - which means spending the minimal amount of resources to fix existing features, and no investment into any new major features.

    Expect to see more database tweaks, such as the ship rebalancing. This sort of "improvement" is very cost-effective in terms of dev resources, esp. if your devs don't do much actual play-testing.

    1. I think this is spot on. They promised their investors that they would lead the way to the future with microtransactions driving growth. The players quickly disabused them of that notion. What's left to drive growth? Dust and whatever's left to squeeze out of EVE. They've given up on Jesus features because they never delivered the increase in subscriber numbers they were hoping for. Incarna was the last big Jesus feature. When it tanked, I'm afraid the longterm future of EVE went with it.

  18. Agreed, underwhelmed here.

    Biggest items on my Christmas list were for the POS 'fix' and a defining role for Black Ops. Those are now mentioned as 2013 projects, meaning we probably won't see those for a least another year.

    And did anybody else notice a lot of the comments seemed to focus on the format and timing, rather than the contents of the minutes itself?

  19. I don't mind this much at all. If they want to take a few months every so often to tweak what they see as broken that is fine. I am surprised they can't commit to getting all the cruisers and battleships fixed by the end of the year.

    The new contract system doesn't seem overwhelming at first, looking at the list of CSM ideas that you posted could make it worthwhile in the long run.

    Maybe I'm just weary of larger updates after the thousand dollar pants, barbies in space and unified inventory.

  20. bah. betcha they'll just give us "freeform" contracts again. someone please tell me why it was broke and they had to fix it in the first place?

  21. I think this is one of those times where what's not said is a good thing: No Jesus features, no superopera grand one line design item; just fixing shit that's broke (any progress is good progress on some of the stuff).

    It may not be the success that crucible was, it's still steps in the right direction in my book.

  22. http://uglebsjournal.wordpress.com/2012/07/21/team-avatars-tinkerings/

    That is what I think the NDA minutes of incarnate were. We will not see anything of that for at least 12 months.

  23. was crucible so full of things compared to winter 2012 ?
    I'm not sure

    but for crucible it was a new direction from CCP, so we were very happy with not much.

    but now... things are differents, and some little things are not enough.
    does that mean we bittervets are asking for jesus features ?

    what POS rework is not ? ah ok, we want jesus iterations then, is that much different ?


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