Fair warning: you're about to read one of those posts that gets me yelled at. Buckle up.
A year ago tomorrow, I wrote a little post that I called "Reinforced". Go give it a read. I'll wait.
Bit like waking up from a dream, isn't it? Bet you forgot about that whole "Jita riots" thing. And that whole "Greed is good" thing. And that whole $99 commercial licenses thing. And that whole forums thing. And the Scorpion for Aurum thing. And the "Door" thing. And the space-pants thing. All that stuff was only a year ago. Only a year. The EVE Online tower was reinforced. But the battle was won and it's been saved, repped up, and is now operating more or less normally. July is passing quietly, the anniversary of the Jita riots unmarked.
Which is funny to me, because conditions this summer are nearly identical to the conditions last summer. CCP is just handling it about twenty times better than they did last year. Their communications and marketing strategies are working wonderfully.
Don't believe me? Consider: CCP is currently in another :18months: cycle. They're committed to their current development direction... and that development direction has almost nothing to do with spaceships. Oh sure, there's some "tiericide" going on, a few new mods, mining barges are getting tweaked, we're going to see a new mining frigate, and factional warfare got a nice unintended bump. But the age of the "Jesus feature" is over, remember? So we're not seeing new capital ships, new tech three ships or mods, no wormholes or incursions or new missions, only the slightest modifications to the horribly broken T2 production cycle... Unless the CSM Summit Minutes reveal some remarkable new strategy, there's nothing major coming down the Pike.
...except DUST 514. You know... space-barbies and space-pants... paid for with Aurum. Heavily armored and heavily armed space-barbies and space-pants, to be sure. But they're not exactly spaceship-shaped.
Meanwhile, everything that's happening in EVE is really not much more than well-excecuted smoke and mirrors to hide the fact that the Kama Sutra position 43 is exactly the same as position 42, except with pinkies extended.
But the EVE player base is just fine with that. One guy on Failheap even said that the minor Inferno patch coming on 8 August is better than what we got from Incarna and Tyrannis... put together. If that's not a good demonstration of good communications and marketing, I don't know what is.
Check out this Gamasutra article featuring an interview with Jon Lander aka CCP Unifex, another really smart guy. Again, I'll wait.
It's kind of an interesting article in this context, isn't it? Check out this quote in particular:
And even though some players have criticized aspects of Inferno, says Lander, "participation goes up, because it's not about giving players a feature to play through; it's about giving them tools to do their own stories."It's a really smart insight into what makes EVE EVE. As I've said before, the players are the content.
I'm not sure I have a point to all of this -- that's why I'm going to get yelled at. And I'm not feeling negative about the game at all. Quite the contrary, I'm as charged up about EVE and EVE's future as I've ever been. Guess I'm just as committed as CCP is. ;-) But it's really fascinating to me how little there is that is concrete for that feeling to rest on. Others are certainly feeling differently about it. EVE News 24... you know... EVE News 24... has said that they're going to start covering games other than EVE. Because they feel like EVE is stagnating.
I think it's wrong to call it that, and I've written as much. But certainly, a lot of the EVE community is hanging out, watching, and waiting to see "what comes next" with this game. Same as they were last year. But they're a lot quieter and more relaxed about it than they were at this time a year ago, even though conditions haven't changed all that much.
How long will that commitment last?