The holidays are rapidly approaching. This is traditionally the season for gift exchanges. We already know what we are getting this year from CCP. Retribution is the name of the game. And it is true that some of what is in Retribution I have wanted for some time. But it isn’t even close to enough to keep most player’s interest long term. That’s kind of the way it’s been for a year now.
It seems to have caused a general malaise within the EVE community. I made comment on it with my last post. A lively discussion kicked up on that post on whether interest in EVE Online was declining. EN24 picked it up on syndication and the discussion continues there unabated One thing is certain, the numbers are inconclusive but my gut tells me the decline is real. One fact folks bantered about was the reality EVE is 10 years old next May. It is a bit long in the tooth and wears its age poorly in this new decade.
New games like Elite: Dangerous and Star Citizen will soon start development. What can CCP do to rejuvenate EVE Online and meet these upstarts head on with overheated blasters? Reading through the descriptions on Kickstart for both new projects, they look good but lack the breadth of possibility that is in EVE Online. In this post, I want to touch on some of those possibilities. These are the ones I think CCP needs to shore up/enhance/create in order to fend off the coming competition.
Walking in Stations
Stop, just stop; get over your Incarna prejudice you bitter old vet. That rebellion was more about CCP not listening to players on what was broken in EVE than it ever was about full body avatars. But I do not mention this because I want to lounge around some virtual bar in high-sec. I want CCP to combine Dust 514 tech with EVE Online tech and create fighting in stations! That’s right, dock your ship and fight the bastards hand to hand. Every corridor becomes a battlefield. Every hatch becomes a portcullis. They have taken the first step with this concept in Dust. When Dust goes into null-sec, planets will no longer automatically switch loyalties with sovereignty. Mercenaries will have to conquer them. The same needs to happen with stations and outposts. CCP cannot port this to another demographic of players. This needs to be capsuleer stuff in order to keep people interested in EVE. Without EVE, the rest fails.
There’s that Incarna prejudice rearing its ugly head again. And again, that rebellion was more about the (mistaken?) assumption that EVE was going pay-to-win rather than simply pay-to-shine. Anyone who follows the gaming industry knows microtransaction business models trump subscription based business models hands down when done properly. Many of you have already proven this. How’s that you ask? What’s your cyno alt for? What’s your scout alt for? They allow your main character to be more successful. You already participate in pay-to-win you ninny. Let’s stop the posturing and the fear mongering and get down to business. Having zero barrier to game entry is the best way to get new players. Free trials are still too much effort and 21 days are not enough time to grok EVE Online. Custom ship skins will help CCP make the lost revenue back IMO. There is demand for that aplenty. I know I’d buy them. The only question would be whether they were expensive and permanent or inexpensive and blown up with the ship. I’d lean toward that second one myself. Not because greed IS good, but it provides a more constant cash flow and that is good for business. It also broadens the demographic of those that can afford them. Lastly, the upstarts are going to be using the free-to-play model. If CCP doesn’t – EVE is dead. Given a choice of free-to-play or buying a subscription for a new game, which would you choose?
Eliminate Time Dilation
More accurately, this should be “eliminate the need for time dilation.” I just wanted to get some blobber blood hot with a sensationalistic title. This is a tall order. The capital investment in hardware alone may be out of CCP’s reach. However, if they could create a playing experience for giant fleet fights as quick paced and action packed as a first person shooter, they would have a real winner IMO. Currently they are at an unhappy compromise. No one really likes the system but it is better than crashing the node or worse, stalling it out so some get their actions carried out and others wake in clone vats. If you think about all the epic EVE videos you love to watch, you know the ones, the movie trailer like videos that have been heavily edited to remove the lag – that is what CCP is selling. That is not what they are delivering. That fact adds tarnish to EVE like fingertips on silver. For those that aspire to this…
Right of Refusal
This is my pet desire and doesn’t hold the promise of the others but I have to mention it. I’m an industrialist after all. Let’s say I am in a single person corporation. Let’s say my big mouth tends to get me in trouble. Let’s say the largest corporation in the game declares war against me. I am not a PvPer. I will never win that sort of war. But I have friends. Why can’t we boycott this corporation? I don’t mean stop buying stuff from them, though that would be shiny. I mean stop selling stuff to them. Far fetched? Okay, forget the war stuff. Let’s say they simply start ganking ice miners while simultaneously buying all the isotopes on the market. They are going to corner it. How do you stop that? You reverse embargo them! Some ice will still get to the station. To stop the market play you need to restrict who can buy your isotopes; exclude the manipulators. They can gank all they want, but it will lose them ISK because the market now has teeth of its own. When it comes to market manipulation you can certainly fight fire with fire, but halon is much more effective.
What else do you think CCP could do to move EVE Online into the next decade?