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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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Discuss: Establishments

Right.  I've been thinking this for six weeks.  I'll bet others have, too.  But since nobody else seems inclined to say it, I'm going to.  Here goes.

The winter expansion is not going to include Establishments.  Whatever idea CCP had for this feature isn't even close to ready.  They tried, and failed, to put something together that EVE's players couldn't break in 30 seconds flat.  When the Establishments team tests four or five toons walking around together in one room, their test machines catch fire.  It isn't ready, it isn't going to be ready, and CCP is in panic mode.

That's why we haven't seen so much as concept art for what the Establishments will look like this year.  That's why they're suddenly so open to a 180 degree change in direction.

The winter expansion will include the three remaining racial CQs, whatever mini-features we've been seeing that CCP can scrape together in time for late December (new cynos, time dilation, super cap nerfs, ship spinning, logi warp speed, new font, Dram nerf, a few other rebalances hastily thrown together), and that's... pretty much it.  This expansion won't even get a name, other than an Incarna version number.

The Zulu devblogs will hurriedly and very apologetically explain that there wasn't enough time to put together FiS features or additional Incarna features in time for this year.  But instead, there will be an actual, new-content new expansion sometime in late spring with all sorts of great FiS features that players have been asking for for two years.  So please please please stick with them as they take the game in the direction we want it to go.

That's it.  That's my prediction.  No Establishments, at least not until next summer at the earliest.



  1. That wouldn't bother me that much, I'd kind of like it actually, except for the nothing till spring bit.
    In fact FiS in summer would be nice too.

    Maybe CCP should just wait the 4 to 5 years Nvidia actually said it would take for what CCP want to do with Incarna to possible on the average gamer rig. Or would that be overly sensible?

  2. Check to a large number of decimal places.

  3. I hope you are wrong.... but I know you might be right :(

  4. If that is all we can expect from the winter expansion, the downward spiral in PCU numbers will continue. And by induction, subs with it. I hope you're wrong, Jester. I really hope you are wrong. But I wouldn't be surprised if you're right, and that does not bode well for EVE's future.

    When can we get some sort of update on CCP's loan that they need to roll over in October? How is that going to go with 3 straight months of declining subs and PCU under their belts?

  5. I think Carbon doesn't scale well enough to be run in low settings (let alone high) on current hardware.

    Summer is far too early we are talking 2 - 3 years for the kind of technology to be available to handle even a modestly busy station of 100 or so players let alone 4-4. And if it is that far out for high end machines it will be even more for general populace.

    Add into that multiboxing (which at first won't be possible) and their only possible answer is no way. They have to scale it back, the fidelity is too high.

    I dunno I get the feeling CCP is trying to get a square peg in a round hole with the technology they are using.

    Game feels like Crysis did tbh, only when Crysis broke your machine you were having an awesome time killing stuff. Only thing you kill in the CQ at the moment is time, and maybe the will to live.

    There will be no establishments in eve till winter 2012, more likely winter 2013. If there is it will certainly be a horror show, unless they decide to basically have a hugely pared back version of the engine running CQ.

    Now if they realised this early enough, it means we may get a winter expansion with a few decent things. I doubt it, foresight isn't exactly CCP's strong suit atm. Like you I suspect what you are seeing at the moment maybe with a few other minor things is what we are getting.

    We have been told that the rest of the CQ's are coming to TQ end of October though. Not end of the year so maybe I'm wrong.

    Personally I would rather ditch the whole summer winter thing and just go with a period of fixing stuff when it's ready. I would much prefer things work and get released in February then them try to rush it out for November and screw the pooch again.

    Maybe that's just me though.

  6. "When the Establishments team tests four or five toons walking around together in one room, their test machines catch fire."

    Where is your source?

  7. I agree with one exception: they will come up with one more fis flashyfeature to throw in to tryand hide the fact they don't have the resources or ideas right now. If we are lucky, it mightbe something useful (but i doubt it).

  8. Agreed. If it has a name at all, it will be named "feature iteration awesomeness" or possibly "Placo" (Latin: to placate/appease). In addition to the above it may also contain some low-hanging items from the crowdsource.

    "See, media oops I mean players, how we at CCP listen to you?" they will say.

    At some point between now and then, the CSM will screw up and overstep the line. CCP will close the CSM experiment, saying it was a shame that a concept with the best intentions to forge a link with the community was hijacked and perverted by a small group with only their own interests at heart.

    Some in the gaming media, prodded by ex-members of the ex-CSM, will respond with "waaaaaaahhhh where's the Establishments, CCP fail".

    Bittervets will bittervet.

    The other 80% of the playerbase will blissfully mine, rat, mission and pvp, unaware that a patch has even been applied other than the fact that they had to wait for a download.

  9. You a douchebag, I checked with my sources. Discuss...

  10. Now that you mention it, that does seem pretty likely.
    They're behind on Incarna features due to NIH syndrome and are looking for a way out. As you said, what better way to get out of it without losing face than "oh hey guys, yeah we totally didn't have enough time to finish WiS, because we listened to you and have decided to focus our efforts on FiS. This is what you wanted... right"

  11. If you're right it's devastating news. Not because we want to walk around our cubbyholes with a couple of other players (and still be able to do nothing).

    It's devastating because this Summer's Expansion was essentially a non-Expansion. We got nothing. Oh Monoclegate was hilarious drama but only a tiny tiny amount of people actually bought an item and even then it's marginal. Compared to some of the better features previously added like Wormholes and Incursions even the few who like cosmetic clothing must have felt disappointed overall.

    And that reflected in their numbers. The traditional post-Expansion spike didn't happen because there was nothing to come check out.

    If they have a second non-Expansion in a row they'll have people so long out of Eve they'll have forgotten about it. Lot of good games coming this Winter: SWTOR, Prime BFD, Diablo 3. If Eve vets don't come back to check out the Expansion they'll get hooked on something else.

  12. Pretty much what I was thinking. Honestly though, I'm glad there won't be any game breaking material beyond that though. CCP doesn't thoroughly test their products enough, and what they really need to do is simply hire a testing team that will try to break the game in every way possible, which will expose flaws and the things that cause those behaviors.

  13. @Anon0325: well put, particularly with the Crysis analogy. Hadn't thought of it in that direction, but you're absolutely right.

    @Krutoj: ahhhh... very nice ad hominem attack. Actually, no. It was shit. Would you like to speak to my actual point? Or just call me some more names? I'm open to either, but the latter does not do much to address player concerns.

  14. "I dunno I get the feeling CCP is trying to get a square peg in a round hole with the technology they are using."

    Given the technology they are using, I think the analogy is that they're trying to fit a fractal peg in a round hole.

  15. Clearly the geeks are running the assylum. Has anyone else noticed that most everyone in a lead/producer role came up within CCP? Where is the outside talent that cares mor about fun than shaders, more about 'done' than cross-product architecture?

  16. "Given the technology they are using, I think the analogy is that they're trying to fit a fractal peg in a round hole. "

    @ Doyce Oh how I chuckled, now I know I'm a geek.

    Python isn't exactly the right tool for this sort of thing, I know they are using there Carbon tech but it is still Python.... They would have been better off renting an existing proven technology engine such as unreal...

    Amusingly I doubt the load times would be any longer if they terminated the eve engine switched to a new engine in memory and loaded station!

  17. I was hoping they were saving that as an Ace up their sleeve, and were going to surprise us with the other areas of stations. (perhaps as an F-U for people who doubted them)

    But your guess is probably right, and I won't be surprised if plays out that way. I am pretty sure it's Dust514 that is creating the big development black hole we are experiencing too- since dust isn't even going to be on PC, I really wish they would shit can the project and get back to work on EVE.

  18. Near as I can tell, the three other CQ should go live within the month. Aside from a few relatively minor bugs, they seem to be more or less release ready. Hopefully CCP will also overhaul the way clothes are presented in the NEX, since the current NEX is rather awful as a way of selling a large variety of vanity items, but that may require art team resources that they currently do not have. The cyno effects and such should go live along with the racial CQ.

    After that, I'd sadly have to agree that we most likely won't see much significant iteration on Incarna for at least a year, and possibly longer, unless CCP manages to somehow significantly reduce the amount of resources required by the Incarna engine. The alternative would be to create two separate hardware requirements, and warn players that the Incarna environment requires high-end hardware.

    While I agree that Establishments won't be released this year, the Winter expansion might not necessarily be devoid of content. The Winter expansion will most likely focus on nullsec sovereignty mechanics and industry, if the devblogs on the subject are any guide. If CCP can change nullsec sovereignty and industry to attract more players and reduce the incentives for large coalitions, then we may see an increase in player activity, as players are forced to adapt to new circumstances. If CCP can make large coalitions less attractive, and large territorial empires with few developed systems much more expensive, we may see much more conflict in null.

    But much would depend on the exact changes CCP has planned, and whether it can allocate enough resources to properly implement them. Unfortunately, CCP's most recent nullsec changes have been mostly counterproductive, if their goal is to encourage player activity in null.

  19. Is this a guess or does this come from the Darius leaks?

  20. I've been hoping for a while that CCP would switch from 2 full on expansions (in theory) a year, to 1 full expansion and one balance/fix expansion (summer). They just don't seem to be able to do 2 expansions a year, or even one lately. I don't have any issues with no establishments for a while. But CCP does need a legit PR generating, customer happy making, expansion sooner rather than later. What's more unless Dust is delayed they also need to do something more with all those planets in EVE, soonish. Otherwise Dust will be as half assed and as much of a flop as Incarna has been.

  21. good delay it for 5 years until ccp is ready, until the average gaming rig gets there,

    just don't dump it out too soon and force it down our throats

  22. I couldn't give less of a rat's ass about establishments or Incarna in general, the only time I've turned on CQ since it was released was to make a blogpost about how I can watch ponies on the screen in my quarters, and I'll probably turn it on once more to see the other races' headquarters before going back to ship spinning.

    But if this winter expansion doesn't have anything major I'm quitting. My subs run out right after the winter expansion comes out

  23. This comment might not get read, since this blog was a few days ago- but another possibility for content we might see sooner than later is a change to incursions...as in a different faction besides the Sansha doing them, they could possibly even make it so incursions matched the regions they occurred in.

    Not sure tho, it's just a wish of an idea....but one that would not take very much effort on CPs part.They already have the ships for other factions,minus another pirate MoM, and they already have the incursion system in place- it would just need to be tweaked to include other pirate factions- they would only need to code a system for making the incursion match the region.


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