Wednesday, June 11, 2014

2 to 10

So no more two expansions a year now for Eve Online, now we have ten releases per year.

I get the reasoning. Rather than being committed to releasing a specific feature on a specific date, they always have the option of moving it six weeks back. I can see benefits doing it this way. But I can also see negatives.

The Good

NO MORE INCARNAS! I think CCP has admitted Incarna wasn't ready when they released it, but they were committed to that release date. They had to release something. So we got a dimly lit room that melted your graphics card. Now if its not ready, like the industry revamp, they can just slide it to the next release. So no more half finished features that only shipped because there was an arbitrary date set!

Seagull said that the new system allows them to work on bigger projects. With the old 'two per year' they had basically a six month window. The winter expansion had less than that as the summer holiday season was within that window. Obviously now they are not looking to work on one thing, release, work on the next as there is only so much you can get done in six weeks. Now teams can take a year or even 18 months to work on a feature. One example of this that I've heard whispers about which I blogged about on Monday is the POS revamp which is happening, we're just not being told about it. Originally suggested at Fanfest 2012 (modular POS and individual 'space houses'), shot down later that year when the Devs looked at the code and simply said "Nope!", thought to be dead by the majority of the player base. The code is slowly being rewritten. First the industry and science elements. Then the corp and alliance elements. Once these are done the birds-nest of code that is the POS code should be fairly de-tangled so that can be addressed and we'll get space houses finally! Not sure if this 100% true but the rumours I've heard seem to suggest it.

The Bad

Coming this September... Eve Online - Tweaked. This is a potential problem given that major expansions reinvigorate the game (Odyssey ect were not major expansions btw). When a proper Eve Online expansion hits then the bitter vets become 86.32% less bitter (Fact!). Those who have totally 'burnt out' suddenly find a hidden stash of fuel behind a red sofa. Those who are bored become significantly less bored. Quiters re-sub. Ragers calm down. Whilst every so often we'll get a true expansion under the new system, I foresee most of these releases being small stuff. The majority of the 10 each year will be balancing, fixes and 'little things' improvements. All good, all needed, but nothing to get the players excited about. Will this 'little and often' have the same effect on players or is going to be like not having any expansions and just patches all year?

A great example of this is long term players who live in Wormholes. Would you still be playing Eve if not for Apocrypha. I know that without the Empyrean Age expansion I may have quit years ago.

The Ugly

Coming this September... Eve Online - Tweaked. Hang on Drack, you already did that one! No, this is same reason, different audience. The press. Whilst events like B-R bring new players into the game, expansions are more consistent at advertising Eve. The gaming press will cover a major expansion launch. Gamers will get to hear about Eve Online, some might even try it. However, these small releases are unlikely to garner great interest from the gaming press. Whilst the "big ones" are like Kronos and also the next one (but only because the industry revamp slipped to the next one, what else is in July's release?) may catch the interest of the gaming press, but the others? At least with two expansions a year there was hype on the run up. Now? I don't know

I have no idea how the move to 10 releases per year will affect the game compared to the traditional two expansions per year. The above is simply some of my guesses. Time will tell.....

1 comment:

  1. Note that under the new system, it is entirely possible to have a major release (expansion). It just isn't hard-wired to any particular season.