On Friday, it seems to have been universally agreed that the best session of the day was the Economy Roundtable, which I definitely would have attended except for the fact that it overlapped with the Alliance Panel which I definitely was NOT going to miss. Oh well, that's what Youtube video replays are for. One of the interesting statistics to come out of the Economy Roundtable: 50% of all EVE players "play solo", whatever that means. I'll have to either watch the whole thing or corner DrEyjoG at some point to find out. That said, the number does not surprise me in the slightest.
I also would have liked to have been in on Team Pony Express's Roundtable about the new player experience, but it was titled "The Un-Frankenstein Experiment" for some reason and by the time I figured out what the title was about, it was too late. Whoops! Another one I'll be watching on Youtube.
Nope, on Friday, I spent the entire day in the Singularity secondary hall until it was time for the EVE keynote. My fixed position, particularly since I transmitted it on Twitter a couple of times, made it really easy for people to find me and lots of players swung by to say hello, which I really appreciated! I guess I also appeared on the EVE TV stream at one point -- I think while I was watching the Art Panel? -- as part of an audience reaction shot.
I still haven't met Two step, Liang Nuren, and the King of Space, nor Elise Randolph, Shadoo, or Seismic Stan from Freebooted. I hope to rectify this today.
Anyway, in the Singularity hall were...
- World of Darkness. Not a lot of progress on this one since last year. There was a pretty bad-ass partial game-play video that was an advance from last year's Fanfest video, but I'm told they're not putting this session up on Youtube so if you weren't there, you won't see it. I have to admit to being really intrigued about this one despite not being in the target audience for the property. One thing is clear enough: the devs are not backing off a bit yet from having a bloody, violent game.
- CSM Panel. Present were Seleene, Trebor Daehdoow, Two step, Hans Jagerblitzen, Elise Randolph, and Greene Lee. This one was surprisingly low-key! All of the questions that you would expect to be asked were asked: "If you could go back in time, what would you change about what you did?" "Why are you not running again?" "What about that leak?" "What about the STV system?" Et cetera. Very predictable, with few or no surprises. The one thing that jumped out at me from this session is that Hans implied the first DUST 514 CPM is only going to be in office for a few months.
- Alliance Panel. Everyone appeared in cone-shaped party hats, reminiscent of the wizard hat that Mittens wore so famously last year. It was also made clear that while those present could drink, they could only have one drink on the table at a time. Still, nobody was in a hurry to repeat last year's performance. As a result, this panel was a disappointment for two reasons: nobody took any risks, and there were far too many alliances scheduled to speak with Dirt Nap Squad taking far more than their fair share of the time. Pandemic Legion, Fatal Ascencion, and a couple of others presented, which left Dabigredboat from Goonswarm with a grand total of about five minutes, which was a damn shame because their presentation looked better than three or four of the others put together and Boat had to rush through it.
- Art Panel. This one stole some of the thunder from the EVE Keynote by showing off the new gate effects, the new jump effects, a bad-ass new Crucifier model, some of the new v3 assets including the new Avatar, and other eye candy. Well worth watching!
- Prog. w/Ship Identification System. This showed the new ship skill selection interface and unfortunately was the least interesting presentation I saw at Fanfest so far. There just wasn't enough material here to fill the full hour though the devs involved tried manfully to make it do so.
- Game Design Live Session. This one was rather fun! It involved CCP Greyscale, CCP Beattik(?), and CCP Masterplan walking the assembled group through the process of game design for EVE Online. I learned a ton about the CCP software development process that might prove to be really useful pretty soon here. ;-)
- EVE Keynote (actually in Tranquility). I'm sure all of you have seen it by now. Most emotional moments were the standing ovation for Jon Lander after he finished his remarks about Retribution, and the birthday celebration for the company and the devs at the end. As I said at the top, the minor downside of being at Fanfest is that you're too busy to read dev-blogs, so I've only read about a third of CCP Fozzie's dev-blog so far. For now, I'll just say it doesn't surprise me at all that Fozzie got tasked with presenting the material rather than, say, Greyscale. ;-) All I'll say here is that I'm a little bit surprised that more of the features of Odyssey weren't covered during the keynote, but there was a lot of ground to cover in two hours.
As the picture at left probably shows, CCP Beattik is both a genius and crazy, in the way those two qualities sometimes combine... He's a fantastic guy and great fun to hang out with.
I'm not a big fan of beer, and the beer in question is Gull. It's a lager and I guess it's pretty good as lagers go but again, I'm not a big fan of beer unless it's Guinness, so I passed on that. I was very curious about Brennivin, though, so I accepted one of the first shots of that. And it's excellent! It's a schnapps flavored primarily with caraway. It doesn't have an alcohol flavor at all and so you can probably render yourself inert pretty quickly on it if you're not careful. I myself had five shots of it over the course of the night which tends to scorch the back of the throat a little bit.
CCP devs are an enthusiastic bunch, it turns out. ;-) "And when we go out," one of them said to me, "we say skál, loud and proud!"