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.
You can follow along, if you want...

Friday, May 2, 2014

Fanfest day two: Ten per year

For those of you who missed it (or missed part of it), TMC did a fine point-by-point recap of the EVE Online keynote today.

And in my opinion, that was the finest EVE keynote in a number of years! Lots and lots of interesting reveals for the next EVE Online expansion, including:
  • freighter customization through rigs;
  • Mordu's Legion ships focusing on missiles, speed, and warp disruption range;
  • the announcement of the upcoming rebalance of blockade runners and deep space transports;
  • the new T2 mining frigate, the Prospect;
  • the graphical updates to the Moa, Condor, and Typhoon models;
  • the new warp-in and warp-out graphical effects;
  • the massive updates to sound customization including the ability to turn off the jump gate animation sound(!);
  • addition of faction stations and more new ship skins; and,
  • more and more and more stuff!
And remember, none of that is even the focus of the next expansion, which is of course all the changes being effected to industry. Hopefully now that all six dev blogs are out about that, some players will calm down and stop over-reacting about it. Yes, some things will be cheaper to manufacture in null-sec (CCP Seagull was very careful to point out that one of the goals of the thing is to balance risk and reward) but it definitely is not the end of the world for high-sec, either.

All of it was handled very well, with almsot every presenter doing a fine job of giving their material and making it clear how excited CCP is about this new direction for their game. CCP Scarpia had a bit of trouble delivering enthusiasm -- someone remind me to tease him about this at the Party tomorrow night -- but that's certainly not a fatal flaw. CCP Fozzie and CCP Rise in particular did great jobs with what they had to present.

Of course, the big news of the keynote was CCP's switch from a two expansions per year schedule to a much more drawn out schedule of somewhat smaller expansions. In a lot of ways, this should probably not surprise EVE players too much. After all, the last few expansions have been driven by a more or less similar model of larger and larger point releases associated with the summer and winter expansions. This new direction simply formalizes the de facto process that's been running for the last year or so. It also further reinforces Jon Lander's development direction: it gives the EVE devs a lot more freedom to try for more ambitious changes to the game without having to meet the arbitrary deadline of early June and early December.

Instead, new features can be delivered when they're ready to be delivered. Yes, this makes marketing's job a little bit tougher. But it should also help break CCP out of the feast-or-famine cycle that a lot of EVE players put them through. Every year, we see big dips in the logged-in player count associated with the two or three months leading up to an expansion. I'm sure there are similar dips associated with subscribed players (though CCP has never made this data public and hasn't even shared it with the CSM).

Under the new structure... sure, players might unsubscribe, but they won't have as prosaic an excuse as "I'll be back for the next expansion" to throw around. Either EVE players buy into the game long term or they don't and it will be as simple as that. Sure, we might see smaller dips associated with the smaller expansions in the cycle but these won't be the yo-yo like swings that I've come to expect looking at the PCU data.

The interesting question will be can CCP keep up such an ambitious schedule? That, I have my doubts about. Point releases ten times per year, or about every three sprints, might be a little bit over-ambitious. Even if that turns out to be the case, though, point releases six or eight times per year should be totally adequate, particularly if there are occasional ship or module balancing passes here and there in between.

Finally, two cute bits. At one point toward the end of the keynote, the twitch.tv stream dropped out for a few minutes. That didn't stop Seagull from using the opportunity to troll EVE players a bit... And I got a kick out of Kirith Kodachi's reaction to the new Moa. Dude's been bitching about the look of that ship for years (so have I, truth be told). The last time he complained, the CSM had been shown preliminary sketches of the plan a few days before but of course I couldn't say anything. Still, if I recall correctly, his post at the time complained that the CSM hadn't done anything about that particular pet peeve of his...

So, all in all, good stuff! I'll have more to say about the day in general tomorrow. For now, it's pretty freakin' late and I'm gonna go get some sleep...

47 comments:

  1. I couldn't help but laugh heartily when the feed dropped during CCP Seagulls presentation. Far too good a troll to get mad over.

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  2. Not the end of the world for high sec either....sure.

    I am certain that all the industrialists in high sec will be thrilled with chasing the razor margins on large size, T1 items, having to move operations every few months to stay ahead of increasing fees, while the cartels lock down station access to specific player groups manufacturing specific products, which happen to be the low size, high margin items.

    Though I KNOW that CCP won't do it, would love to see how many DCII's are built today in the game, what percentage are made in null sec now, and how many 6 months from now.

    Same with any capital ships in low sec and null sec today, and 6 months from now.

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    1. dude. Hi-sec is only going to be more profitable. Period.

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    2. Will you quit the game and stop posting if you're wrong?

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    3. Making decent profit in the industry game is not going to be as simple as it used to be. The profits will still be there. Still be there in high sec. It just won't be as simple to achieve as it is at the moment.

      For some people this is going to mean that they won't be able to make money from industry. This leads to wailing and gnashing of teeth.

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    4. You can still make profit in high sec, but it is going to take more work and more daily vigilance (if using a POS).

      A lot of casual players simply don't have the RL time to invest in the additional effort, so we'll see them unsub those industry accounts.

      Although the ones I spoke to still plan to keep their PVP accounts for the weekends.

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    5. @Xaeroflex:

      Precisely how do we measure the huge losses that high sec takes in industrial profits? I recognize that is a double-edge sword. I say high sec gets screwed, you say prove it.

      Let's look at this 6 months from now. Let's see what the PCU is like, and what kind of null sec industrial traffic there is, but it will be impossible to measure.

      Like I have said, there is zero chance that CCP will publish baseline stats of Eve's industrial output today, and what it is 6 months from now.

      But frankly, null never needed a buff. That has always been a lie. The doctor of economics stated that 70 titans are being built in null every quarter in eve, let alone supercarriers's.

      Once again, there is zero chance that CCP will release the numbers, but if all the minerals soaked up in super cap manufacturing was compared to all the mins soaked up in all sub cap manufacture, people would quickly realize that poor poor null needed no buffs.

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    6. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof, Dinsdale, it has always been that way. You have provided zero proof for any of your theories over the last few years. You point to a few outcomes and say you predicted them, but all of those cases fall under the "correlation does not equal causation" umbrella. You have, in fact, shown no direct proof that any of your conspiracy theories hold water. Classic CT. That's why even those who might otherwise take an interest in some of your ideas cross the street when they see you coming down the sidewalk towards them.

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    7. Dimmy... if, if, if... Tell ya what, IF the PCU doesn't drop by, say overall 20%, which would show a 'real' decline based on your constant "Teh sky is being pulled down by :goons:" ... Then will you PLEASE quit and stop posting?? Cause I and many people I know who follow the EVE blogs are really quite tired of you. You add nothing to the debate except tinfoil and CT... just :noise:

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  3. RE: Moa: I'll let you guys and gals on CSM8 take credit for getting the art dept on the Moa redesign. ;)

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    1. Next, the Blackbird-class. Some models from Freespace seem higher quality than that poor thing.

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    2. pretty sure the firefly people should have the credit ;)

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    3. I was very careful NOT to say that. The art team deserves full credit.

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    4. agree, still the similarities are hard to ignore

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    5. RIP suitcase brontosaurus :(

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  4. So what's with this symmetry rubbish on the new Moa? Did they forget that it's a Caldari ship?

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    1. What's up with all these obvious cockpits the new ships and redone ships have, will we have actual ingame ship crews soon CCP, instead of being written about in books or websites ?

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    2. The ships are designed for, and do have crews - by plugging a capsuleer directly into the ship's systems they do away with the need for much of them.

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  5. For you shalt fear the flying flounder.

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  6. "... all the changes being effected to industry. Hopefully now that all six dev blogs are out about that, some players will calm down and stop over-reacting about it."

    I don't think anyone is over-reacting, even those who are already planning to unsub their accounts.

    First off, the changes negatively affect a large number of casual players, who like industry because it currently does not require daily attention and can be played in sessions as short as a few minutes. These players don't have the extra time which CCP feels they should invest in this new game play.

    Second, null-sec industry players know that they won't need as many high-sec accounts as they do now. Jast as when CCP introduced dual/multi-training, account consolidation is to be expected.

    These two groups include plenty of older players, who have played the game for years and understand the game mechanics better than the devs. Many of these players plan to keep one, or a few, accounts - ie. they are not abandoning the game entirely - but CCP is going to lose substantial revenue from the unsubs of the extra high-sec industry accounts, which players no longer have time to play or no longer require to support null sec activities.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for not writing, "... is going to loose substantial ..."

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    2. Yeah, and Jester says he'll be surprised if this is more than 5%. Given the current population distributions, I'd be surprised if it is less than 20%.

      Not looking forward to CCP's post-expansion announcement about more layoffs.

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    3. I fall into the first category, but I am not feeling ragey or butt-hurt. Thanks to hints provided by a popular blogger who likes to post about RMT (see right column), I was able to cash out to the very sweet tune of $20K cash. My wife is *very* happy with me. And, I'm very happy with CCP.

      I'm keeping one account live for PVP in RvB, just for grins - and because I kept enough PLEX for a year.

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    4. I said 15% of hi-sec alts will not renew their accounts, maybe the mid-April PLEX market destabilization is a first sign.

      source: http://jestertrek.blogspot.nl/2014/04/traitor.html

      Regards, a Freelancer

      PS: that or NCdot bought enough PLEX to buy everyone a beer at Fanfest :)

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  7. Under the new structure... sure, players might unsubscribe, but they won't have as prosaic an excuse as "I'll be back for the next expansion" to throw around. Either "EVE players buy into the game long term or they don't and it will be as simple as that. Sure, we might see smaller dips associated with the smaller expansions in the cycle but these won't be the yo-yo like swings that I've come to expect looking at the PCU data."

    Er... yeah... a steady and continuous drop in subscriptions is much, much better.

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    Replies
    1. Sure, and there won't be those annoying large upward spikes in subs, when new players sign up after hearing about the next big Jesus feature from the press at GDC and E3. Game companies absolutely hate those spikes.

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    2. And these spikes are only this, spikes. Afterwards the PCU drops much more. There is not enough to keep new players in the game. And after the keynote I don´t see anything in the near/middle future, that will change this.

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  8. I just love how Ripard tiptoes around the downside of the ten-patches-a-year approach.

    "Under the new structure... sure, players might unsubscribe, but they won't have as prosaic an excuse as "I'll be back for the next expansion" to throw around. Either EVE players buy into the game long term or they don't and it will be as simple as that."

    Exactly, Ripard, exactly. Which means that players will not stay waiting for the next expansion, which means that quitting the game will be easier than ever. The expansions were not an excuse to quit: they were the last excuse to stay!

    Apparently you and CCP read the change as "quitters gonna quit, we don't need them anyway" and I read it as "we didn't want those subscribers anyway, let'em go".

    I wonder who's gonna win, in a clash between a company claiming how they don't need the customers who leave, and customers leaving a company that used to get their money.

    Meanwhile, I've read that Tranquility just lost like 4,000 players compared to last year. But CCP didn't need them anyway, right?

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    1. Well, other games use a similar model to the one CCP is transitioning to, and it work fine for them. People still come and go depending on when a new major headlining feature drops. Small new features get small bumps, large new features get large bumps. It's no longer the expansion as a whole that's a draw. It's each specific feature set.

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    2. @Halycon - would like to give some examples of these games which are showing any sustained "small bump" growth? The MMOs which have stopped doing the Jesus features, mostly due to financial difficulties, are still bleeding players. Maintenance releases don't attract new players.

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    3. I agree with you that this change is going to be a bit of a crucible in that regard.

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    4. Why I'm currently unsubscribed has honestly nothing to do with what CCP has or hasn't done. It has everything to do with the evolution of my social ties in the game and my RL situation and decision to try to reward myself into getting something done by limiting gaming and specially EVE until it is done.

      I do feel that new more frequent releases have harder time building the kind of themes that the last few releases have had, but maybe they can be built on top of them somehow with one theme having parts of released in subsequent releases and things from 2-3 themes being part of a single release.

      I see lots of benefits from development workflow point of view which they have had already with the point and pre-release-releases and in general think that this is good move.

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    5. @Halcyon

      Maybe you think that someone who's unsubbed will keep checking news on EVE as to notice that there's something interesting coming with the next patch?

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    6. Anon625 has it right. After I quit playing WoW and SWTOR, I never bothered to keep up with news on those games. My full attention tends to get absorbed by the current game I'm playing.

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  9. Did they happen to announce the patch date for the summer expansion?

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    1. June 3 and it's called Kronos

      And they threw DUST under the bus too. Announced their new FPS project Legion for the PC only. DUST will go into what is essentially maintenance mode. Dusties are really pissed off esp the ones who fell for CCP's big marketing scampaign to lure them to Iceland for FanFest and the "big" announcements. LOL

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    2. Yeah, I'll have a LOT more to say about the DUST keynote in my general day two post.

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    3. CCPgames is Laser Focused on Dust514, btw that Reid fellow already let lose hints during Eve Vegas '13 it would go to PC.

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  10. Destroyable structures - is it wise to allow EVE players to destroy stargates? Couldn't that lead to people getting "stuck" in system if they don't have the right ship/skills/

    New moa... hmmm... Not sure if I like it. It's too different, too symmetrical. New Typhoon is great though.

    DST getting re-balanced? Great, they were sorely in need of that.

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  11. "And in my opinion, that was the finest EVE keynote in a number of years!"

    There must have been 2 keynotes. The one I saw was the most boring and uninspiered one for a long time. Most stuff that was known before, the same vision from CCP Seagull seen over the last year, no big surprises.

    The presentation of NOIR. and the one or two presentations @Alliancepanel were way more exciting.

    And so the blogpost from Stabbed Up (http://stabbedup.blogspot.de/2014/04/only-you-can-save-universe-ccp-seagull_26.html) becomes more true.

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  12. Its still too early to gush over the industry changes .. new ships .. and monthly agile-like releases by ccp.

    How long before we hear that a really cool idea can't be implemented because its too big of a change? Oh wait .. uh

    Jester you really need to stop smoking the ::ccp:: supplied flora

    as to the dust/legion fiasco .. i think we just got a glimpse of whats to come now that we have all those EA cronies fully installed.

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  13. At Fanfest 2013 John Lander said, "This time next year, you will have EVE Mobile in your hand."

    Then Lander put his EVE Mobile hat on. Then he was sent to Atlanta to see what was really going on with the WoD teams. Then he left CCP completely.

    So where is Eve Mobile? More BS from CCP? Watching what they do and not what they say has really been an eye opener these last few years.

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    1. Hilmar stated that it was postponed because of Valkyrie heating up so fast. Which if true was the obvious right choice.

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    2. EVE Mobile was shutdown, along with the Atlanta office. CCP was planning to do that work in the US, due to easier access to mobile developers (which is really why Jon was in Atlanta, not WoD - which was already staked through the heart by the earlier round of layoffs).

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    3. http://cdn1.eveonline.com/community/devblog/2011/cq-door.jpg

      nuff said

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  14. This game is about Internet Spaceships first, and I would like to thank CCP Fozzie especially for his genuine effort all these years to make flying all these spaceships in New Eden attractive again.

    <3, a Freelancer

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  15. Amazing, CCP have gone for the new AWESOME, sorry EVE:Valkyrie. Dust gets canned and their going to create more AWESOME with the PC version of DUST EVE:Legion.

    What a crock of ****. Given CCP's appalling inability to do their job WOD is vaporware, Dust is soon to become vapourware and when they fluff Valkyrie I wouldn't be surprised to see everything else go tits up as well.

    Ripard as another poster said you really need to stop smoking their shit, its doing you no favors. The more I see and hear the more worried I am that the 3 years till lights out sounds more likely.

    CCP is very aware that they're in trouble, the heartfelt pleas made by Seagull how Hi-sec is not going to get lobotomized, really guys trust me! Tells me they're already worried, and frankly so they should be. A lot of hi-sec players are casual and given the unhappy noises that have been emanating from these regions they have a lot to be worried about. I've already let one account go and by July I can realistically see the the two go, but of course CCP doesn't want my money anyway right? Yeah right companies thrive on telling their customers to f**k off.

    Wasn't it bad decisions what killed TSR? (as opposed to the whole D&D is evil thing) Can't help feeling we're witnessing yet another dumb idea writ large.

    Noticed The PCU count recently? don't see it dropping that much that fast ever before, hell even the rage over Incarna took longer to materialise.

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