Another Jester-lead post for today (GW2 thoughts are brewing, but I can’t quite place my finger on them just yet. Something-something themepark though), this time about the next EVE expansion, and expansions/patches in general.
Jester is worried that much like last year, EVE players are going to be slowly simmering (or perhaps raging) due to a lack of focus on spaceships. I’d have a hard time arguing with him given the current unknowns about the next release, and the potential for it to be little more than “hey Dust is here”. While significant from a tech perspective and good long-term (assuming Dust does well, which I believe it will), if all you care about are spaceships, it’s not a lot to write home about short-term.
But really, if you take a step back, what has the last year done for EVE? How game-changing were Crucible and Inferno? They both included a lot of nice updates and changes, but nothing to really get excited about like the addition of wormhole space or incursions. To me they represented CCP doing some long overdue housecleaning. It’s not glamorous work, but it’s something you need to do and once done, allows you to finally move on.
The problem now is that the ‘move on’ aspect seems to be focused mostly on Dust, and as stated above, core EVE players that only care about spaceships are not going to find that all too exciting. Furthermore, Dust connecting to EVE is also not a game-changer for someone not currently playing EVE and looking for a reason to sign up or return. What CCP needs now is… wait for it… a Jesus feature.
Or at least something major that gets current players excited to play with something new, and potential players to notice and go “hey, that sounds interesting, I need to go check it out”. Which is basically how I regard other MMO updates I read on Massively; unless it’s some major feature that sounds interesting, updates and tweaks don’t interests me at all and I move on. To grab my attention, you need something major. I’m sure I’m not alone on this.
The key to me is striking a balance between keeping your MMO current and in-shape, while also attracting new players or getting former players to return for another go. We have seen far too many MMO devs panic and give up on their current base to chase a mythical “other group”, and one of the major reasons CCP has been so successful with EVE for 9+ years is they have stayed true to the games core and allowed growth to be more natural rather than buying into feature X bringing in a totally new crowd (if we ignore Incarna anyway).
So what Jesus feature should CCP ‘add’?
Redo how Player Owned Structures (POSs) work, turning them from something everyone hates but tolerates into a major goal almost everyone strives for. Because let’s be honest, does anything strike the “pride of playing” cord stronger than owning MMO property in a virtual world? I loved my house in UO, loved owning property in Darkfall, and SWG players will gush about their player cities. Does any EVE player write lovingly about setting up a POS, or how they love hanging out in their high or lowsec POS ‘home’? Does anyone even call it that? Hell even in WH space, we identify more with the current WH we occupy than the POS we live out of.
Redo the feature so it functions more like the housing in UO, where a player can customize the look and function in a modular way (I believe CCP has hinted at this already, but they should be making a full-court push IMO), and make it so its intuitive and easy rather than a strong contestant for most painful activity in EVE (which is saying something).
Make it so owning a small POS, even in highsec, is an achievable goal even for newish players (6 months or so), and something Corporations can collaborate on to gain additional benefits or comforts. Make them look cool, provide something wanted, and perhaps even integrate them into a form of gameplay around avatars like Incarna should have.
Oh, and do it sooner than ‘soon’.