No, not the end of the world.... what Eve might have in store for us next year!
2011 is drawing to a close. The 2011 Winter expansion was a success although when you look at it, there wasn't a lot of content in there. I'm hoping 2012 will give us two content heavy expansions as well as all the fixes and improvements we need. It has been said the day of the "Jesus Feature" has ended. But Eve needs expansions with big content. Expansions that fix stuff are popular with current players, but it does little to attract new players and does not make the headlines.
I know people want more Crucible style fixes, so do I, but we need to be careful. We need to retain players AND attract new ones. You are not going to attract new players with fixes (although you might temped ex-players back). You need new content as well.
There needs to be a balance. Fixes to appease the most bitter of bitter-vets and new content to keep others happy and to attract new people to the game.
Below I describe how I'd love to see the theme of the 2012 expansions. Fixes, little things and the like should still feature heavily - but we need some heavy content to make people notice the game.
Eve Online - Ger Off My Lawn!
The Spring expansion is about the space we live in. Hi-sec doesn't really need much loving and thus does not really feature in this expansion other than in the risk vs reward balancing. There are two main elements to this expansion. Low-sec and null-sec. Firstly I'll quickly look into null-sec.... erm I don't have a clue. I've lived in NPC 0.0 and sov holding 0.0 but I'm no expert in what needs fixing. In fact I only know it needs fixing as Hilmar's open letter/apology says it needs fixing. And as he said faction war also needs fixing in the same letter (it does!) then I believe him that 0.0 needs fixing! Anyway in the Spring expansion they fix what needed fixing in 0.0 and make the improvements people want but I have no idea what they are. Clear? Super!
OK now onto the other part which is low-sec. Obviously from FW fan boi here I'm going to talk about faction war. So here is how I hope it's going to be....
Low-sec is going to be made more about the Empire wars storyline. However, the changes will effect everyone who lives or does their "thing" in low-sec from industrialists to pirates. As the faction war militias battle for control of low-sec the effects will be felt far and wide. The sovereignty of the system will have consequences for everyone. Basically low-sec becomes, as it should be, "0.0 lite". It is still the Empire's who hold sovereignty in these systems, but it's the players who conquer the system for their Empire. Holding a system results in good stuff for the Empire (militia) who owns it. But it could also effect other players. Just like the outposts from each race focus on a different industry, could the stations be effected by sovereignty? If the Caldari occupy the system the station there gets extra research slots, if the Gallente occupy it then refining and reprocessing fee's are cut. Suddenly non-faction war players who live in low-sec are interested in faction war.
"Mmmmm if I covertly help the Gallente (or Caladari or Minmater or Amarr) I'll make a lot more cash on......"
Also, as was mentioned as a possibility in a recent VandV podcast, the Incursion mechanic is used for faction war. I can see some fantastic ways this could work. Suddenly hi-sec systems bordering the low-sec areas are hit by Faction War Incursions. The aggressing Empire neutralise the defenders NPC Navy leaving the fight to the capsuleers to lead. The agressing militia can make good LP's attacking the sites that now spawn in the enemy's hi-sec incursion systems. But they are vulnerable to the counter attack of the opposing militia.
I asked on the SOTF forum what they wanted to see in 2012 and it was Faction War fixes and also more Faction War fixes. Oh and Eelis wants a "crotch bulge slider". These ideas/fixes have mostly have been shouted from the rooftops for a long time but generally include:-
- Standings hit for remote repping GCC/-0.5 militia members.
- Plexing and system capture meaning nothing. Need to make it mean something.
- Faction War PvP as an ISK sink (Bounties/LP's for offensive plexing?).
- Issues with LP's for missions against LP's for player kills leading FW to be full of farmers in stealth bombers. Needs rebalance and to reward PvP in FW not carebearing.
- Faction NPC balance (jamming) in Plex's.
- Move the story line along.
- High-Sec FW "Incursions"
- FW Pacts. "Alliances" using slightly different mechanics (i.e. cannot hold sov in 0.0).
- Highlight allied militia members (i.e. Gallente-Minmatar and Caldari-Amarr) with colour tags
In the end, all the three categories of space line up as they should. In hi-sec you get X ISK per hour doing "stuff". In low-sec you get X+ ISK for doing the same stuff. In null-sec you get X++ ISK for doing it. The higher the risk the greater the reward.
This could be done in a variety of ways. Prices and taxes for services at stations could relate to the security status. Reprocessing, repairs and the like are linked to the security status. 1.0 systems are hugely expensive (Central London) whilst those in the middle of nowhere in a 0.5 (Norwich) are much cheaper. However, in order to tempt people into lo-sec 0.4 (Grimsby) it is even cheaper still and the risk vs reward becomes tempting. And all the way out in the back of beyond in 0.0 where few people want to go (Boston) the most money can be made.
Yes you can stay relatively safe in hi-sec, but you'll make more money for the same time and effort in low-sec, just with a tad more risk.
Eve Online - Incarna mk II, We Did It Proper Like This Time!
The original Incarna that kicked off the summer of discontent wasn't really an expansion. It wasn't walking in stations, it was a slow amble in a single room. We know the problems Incarna caused but lets move on. Eve needs Incarna to attract more people to the game.
So, it's December 2012, doesn't look like the planet earth is going to end and proper Incarna is here. The station is open for business. You can wander down the promenade on the Capsuleer decks. Why not visit Drack's bar on level 6 where you can get a beer and watch the Gallente dancers working the poles for tips. Or may be you need to meet the shady capsuleer's from Uppers and Downers in the dark corner. They have some top-of-the-line contraband boosters to sell. Else just hang out and interact with your mates until the scheduled corp fleet in 30 minutes. Could "relaxing" in the bar act like a booster? Think Skyrim and sleeping in a bed to get the rested bonus.
You could visit the lower decks, there are shady people down there who have very rewarding missions to give out.... just don't forget your gun when going down there.
May be you're a bit ISK poor, a trip to the gambling den may sort you out. But if you see S810 jr at the table I'd move along if I were you!
Space Barbie is still here but now has a larger selection of items and more reasonably valued. For a start, new fashion designers have been brought in to "sex up" the clothing line like a British dossier on WMDs.
Remember the older artwork for Eve, few people wore brown and grey head to toe! Obviously we don't want people walking around in lingerie (OK may be I do) but lets give people some choice. Someone who roleplays as an officer in the Amarr militia is going to dress very differently to someone who rp's as a 0.0 pirate. And of course Gallente outfits are the best.....
Anyway, the NEX store is fixed and properly stocked with a wide range of gear at a range of prices. Think MICRO in MICRO-transaction please CCP. Now people can choose to spend their hard earned cash or hard earned ISK on VANITY items, if they so please. The additional financial stream for CCP is active, giving the company more money and allowing them to move forward towards the future vision of Eve. It also acts as an ISK sink keeping in-game inflation under control for those who want to spunk out on a monocle. That also lets us more easily identify "those type" of people in game!
Customisation generally has also landed with a hefty bump. Want a dancing pole in your CQ (dancer not included, unfortunately)? Want a different paint job on your Scorpion? Corp logo's on your ship and on your clothing? What's that tattoo'd on Tekitha's forehead? Surely that's inappropriate and against the EULA!
So there you go. That's what I want to see in 2012. What about you?