BB77: To Die Is to Live
Sunrise Aigele

Blog Banter 77 – The Malaise

Is there a malaise affecting Eve currently? Blogs and podcasts are going dark and space just feels that little bit emptier. One suggestion is that there may be a general problem with the vets, especially those pre-Incarna and older, leaving and being replaced by newer players who are not as invested in the game. The colonists versus immigrants? Is this a problem? Are there others? Or is everything just fine and it’s just another bout of summer “ZOMG EVE IZ DYING!”

Both of my readers may be right to wonder why I am returning from a long absence to reply to this blog banter. You may expect pessimism. But I am full of surprises!

Splatus writes:


Lastly, there is CCP’s big problem of talking about their vision without falling into the Incarna trap again.  Seagull fixed many issues in the game and allowed a complete overhaul of Sovereignty, Capitals, wormholes and industry to happen in – by CCP standards – record time.  Whats next?  The next big thing?  Sion asks and he asks rightly.  CCP tells us the next big thing is… VR (virtual reality).  With “Arena” and “Valkyrie”.  Great.  /slowclap.  Whats in store for us?  Is there anything in store for us?

Splatus: stop whining. ^^’ The answer is right in front of you. EVE is a universe. It was always intended to be immersive, huge, “forever”–better than your real life, Hilmar once claimed. The universe is not the MMO and the MMO is not the universe. If that were true, The EVE universe itself would be, as Wilhelm puts it, “middle aged.” But only EVE Online is showing its age.

Everything is changing. There are tablets available right now with the computational power of $1000 Intel laptops at 2/3 the price, which means that it is only a question of a year or less before phones have that level of power at less than half the price. Augmented reality just went from a curiosity to the obsession of millions of people overnight. There is no Pokémon GO for virtual reality right now, but everyone, including CCP, is trying to write one, and there is already a serious candidate: Minecraft, which sells ten console and phone/tablet installations for every PC version despite the fact that the non-PC versions are not feature complete and have not even reached version 1.0. But what does this have to do with EVE? Everything!

CCP has always wanted EVE to be a fully immersive universe. What better medium exists to express that than virtual reality? EVE is not necessarily to be experienced in a hot, ugly room on an ugly desktop, crammed into a flickering screen. That was merely the medium available at launch. But the computers of the present are increasingly looking more like the oft-imagined computers of the future, and less like iterations on designs codifIed in the 1980s and early 1990s. Microsoft is no longer dominant everywhere. Increasingly, watches are computers.

Gunjack is EVE. Valkyrie is EVE. DUST was EVE, and its successor will be EVE as well. Gunjack and Valkyrie are also test platforms for the teams to learn how to do virtual reality, because the rules in the new medium are completely different and somewhat undiscovered even now. The new games’ simplicity fits their near-term role, it does not represent a new design direction for CCP. As CCP learns the rules of the new medium, expect them to broaden and deepen their offerings. It is already happening with Valkyrie. And CCP already knows how to connect games, so they will not be forever isolated.

And what of EVE Online? It will change, too. As maddeningly vague as CCP Seagull’s “roadmap” is, it points clearly to a “new space”–effectively, a new game. Certain parties have claimed that CCP made the bold choice to go with large alliances fielding large fleets, but in fact their game engine, which was essentially a number of design anti-patterns whorled into a Gordian knot, required them to make that choice. They have done heroic work rebuilding it to become flexible and capable, but when you are reworking fundamental code you can’t help but ask, what features you want the new code to enable? And once you ask that, you can take all of the design tradeoffs that you made for the sake of the old engine and put them under lights. This is how the game is, but is it what we want the game to be? You can believe that CCP has been asking these questions, because the eventual answers will add up to “new space.” But while they are rummaging around in the guts of the game, what else might they decide to change? Perhaps not soon, perhaps not at all if this push for virtual reality fails to take hold as hoped. But it is coming.

I am not only concerned with virtual reality. I will stick my neck out and say that in many ways, the game’s poor new player experience is made worse by the game’s encouragement of large, disciplined player groups. These groups have their own ways of supporting new players, which they guard jealously for the competitive advantage they offer (meaning, of course, that the game’s own tutorial would present an unfair advantage to “weaker” alliances, if it was any good). Some are so comprehensive that there are a shocking number of EVE Online players who have never been exposed to parts of the game that have always been routine for me, such as buying a bare hull, working out a fitting for it, and then flying around to pick up the parts for sale around various nearby systems. So much is given to them, and so much is reimbursed. I am not convinced that it is good for EVE that so many of its players are isolated from its nature. And while a steady number of new players will join large alliances such as Goonswarm and Pandemic Horde, anyone who does not want to is faced with scaling the learning cliff starting from the bottom–or walking away, which the overwhelming majority do. CCP has cut itself–painfully–down to a lean fighting weight. It has recapitalized. It is preparing for a renewed push as quickly as it can, which of course will not be quickly enough for us or for CCP. And we know that there is a new emphasis on the new player experience. What else will change to accommodate it? Whatever has to.

I will flit in and out, as I do. I have never seen myself as part of the core player base of the game, always as an outlier and dilettante. But whether I am there to witness it or not, adaptation is the only way to ensure the survival of the EVE universe.

EVE. Forever.

BB75: Going Super Nova
Sunrise Aigele

Kirith Kodachi has put up the latest blog banter:

What Does Project Nova Need to Be Successful?
At Fanfest CCP showcased their current iteration of the FPS set in the Eve Universe. Following on from DUST514 and Project Legion, Project Nova is shaping up to be a solid FPS with CCP taking the decision to get the game mechanics right first. However with so many FPS out there what will Nova need in order to stand out from a very large crowd and be successful? What are the opportunities and perhaps more importantly, the dangers for CCP? How can Nova compete against CoD, Battlefront and Titanfall to name a few?

That got my imagination going! If only I had more time. I will do my best.

Start with the given, that CCP Shanghai will nail down the fundamentals of a solid FPS first. What would make Nova stand out? The most obvious things, to me, flow from EVE Online itself: its lore, and consequential gameplay.


We already know that they will attempt to reproduce stations and ships faithfully. That is good.

It is not enough merely to have levels take place in a Chimera. Place the Chimera in a likely context: It is ratting, and the rats have breached the ship and are attempting to neutralize it and steal the technology/take slaves/harvest blood/etc; your mission is to neutralize their threat while the capsuleer concentrates on the attacking ships. Rogue drones have compromised a capsuleer ship that is rescuing a cook or a janitor from an unstable wreck. Get on board and remove them and restore the ship’s electronics to a working state. Sansha have come to a planetary colony to harvest slaves; repel them. You can have scenes from EVE shown through the ship’s windows. The NPCs can have lore-appropriate attacks and goals. The Serpentis want to capture the ship’s technical crew. The Blood Raiders want blood, and prefer clone blood, and have the tools to extract it. The Sansha want slaves, and have the tools to get them. They could have analogous EWAR and weapons to their ship-piloting counterparts.

From there, the step to PVP is simple:

Invert the PVE scenarios: there are now two player teams on board the ratting capsuleer ship: one hired by the pirates to scuttle the ship, one by the capsuleer to defend it.

Or, set up a pure PVP scenario: the target ship is part of a massive fleet battle. The enemy commander has hired mercs to take out a ship that is tanking his fleet. The friendly commander has hired mercs to stop them. Or it is not a ship, but a citadel, or one of the forthcoming industrial structures, or a PI colony. Perhaps the defenders cannot allow any explosions or breaches, because they will betray the ship’s weakness to the enemy fleet, which will focus fire anew and destroy the ship.

Integration. Integration with EVE is, well, not simple, but by design there are many options to choose from, because each Nova mission has been carefully placed in the context of a plausible scenario within EVE Online. Linking the missions to actual scenarios in EVE Online then becomes at least potentially transparent. Citadels are especially amenable to links, because both attacker and defender can schedule their plans around a known time, which means that both the capsuleers and the mercenaries can be in place at the right time rather than waiting around for someone to call. With that said,I like the idea that the connection is so seamless that it’s impossible to know that you’re defending a real fleet ship in a real fleet until you’re actually there! If the interface makes every match seem like an opportunity that has just arisen, then it becomes possible to include live opportunities that have just arisen. If there are none, the scenario is scripted, but the PVP is still real.

Consequence: This is obvious, yet in a way it is not. Notice that I have set asymmetrical goals for all of my scenarios. This is because there are so few scenarios in EVE play that work out to be as even as a capture-the-flag playing field in any normal FPS (1v1 at the sun!). If the game is designed around the asymmetrical scenarios that are common to live events within EVE, then it becomes easier to make Nova mercenaries impact the game, because the game has already taught them how to have an impact. It is harder to balance, of course, but so is EVE.

Miscellany: The current 16v16 plans center around large ships like carriers. Battleships, Orcas and freighters could also accommodate 16v16 easily. But it opens up other kinds of play: 8v8 in cruisers ad barges. 4v4 or 2v2 in destroyers. White-knuckled, melee weapon only 1v1s in the cramped confines of a frigate or shuttle.

I have not mentioned any of the gameplay modes that were used in DUST514, such as Planetary Conquest, because I take it as given that they will be included in the new game. The lead has said as much.

And I will give a shout to Roc Wieler’s request for destructible terrain. I am not sure how they would accomplish this, but it would be truly novel if they did.

To Live Among the Stars [Updated, More Pictures]
Sunrise Aigele

I may not see a personal use for the new structures yet, but I will give CCP full credit for a good effort. Those of you who remember what Player Owned Stations looked like will be particularly struck by the contrast. The first two shots were taken at 1500km and 500km, respectively:

Astrahus at 1500kmAstrahus at 500kmAstrahus against a lava planet [PNG, 2MB]


Astrahus Against Nebula

So Many Little LIghts

Everyone at CCP who was involved in making this happen, take a bow. What a beautiful thing! I flew all around it. And this is the medium one!

Naturally, the tiny corporation which anchored it is under a declaration of war from a much larger alliance. This magnificent home may not still be there in a week. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Tip of the day
Sunrise Aigele

“More fun in EVE – Join an active corporation!” the launcher tells me.

I did, originally. The circle of players I belong to even now is some 30 people, and one of our corporations, Knavery, once appeared on the fastest-growing list (and ate a war dec for the privilege). But of them, I am the only one left who logs into EVE regularly. Everyone else has left for a great many other games, some of which I cannot play, some others of which hold little interest for me.

This is why, contra some of the angry or uncomprehending pushback against Neville Smit’s “Occupy New Eden” post, I must continue to support it. I am glad that other people have had better luck, or that they happened into some form of gameplay that is more actively supported by CCP, or that they joined one alliance or another which is large enough to self-sustain. We tried. We honestly did. Now there is only me. So why have I not left? I discovered Minecraft.

All Minecraft is is a series of self-appointed, self-motivated projects to which you set your attention. There is a fig leaf of a plot, but hardly anyone cares. At my age, this attention comes in small intervals, so a project of any size may take weeks to complete. And so that is how I play EVE. I have my little projects. Some of them may take weeks, or months, or years. I log in every so often, and putter around for the allotted time, and that is good enough. Is it the full experience? No, of course not. Nor do I ask that CCP pay as much attention to it as they do to the other styles of play. I understand what EVE is, and I accept it. The parts of EVE that have my attention, for now, are some of the oldest and most neglected parts of the entire game. I could “just move and look for something new,” turn off the lights and lock the door to BadWrongFun. But the new is sovereignty, which holds absolutely no interest for me, and capitals, which hold slightly more than no interest for me. At least I have trained some of the skills for the latter.

I could join another corporation, but this points to one of the reasons why so many people have gone: we tried to join larger alliances, to add our numbers to coalitions. It never worked. What we wanted was fundamentally not what many players in EVE want. (For one thing, not having to hear “jew” as a verb, or “retard” as a pejorative, is something we actively sought), but EVE’s gameplay only supports the corporation size we were comfortable with up to a point, and then it becomes assumed that your merry band will assimilate into some much larger culture. CCP will not even let your alliance have a logo until it has 1,000 members! I cannot imagine 1,000 members. I would never want to join comms.

I have not ruled out either low security space or wormholes as a change of venue. The main issue is that everyone assumes that a good neighbor is always available to PVP, and I would not be a good neighbor.

I have my little projects, and my little windows of time in which to advance them, and the additional thrill provided by the possibility that someone will come along and interrupt me. That is good enough.

Occupy New Eden
Sunrise Aigele

I see that citadels are blowing up and left and right. The Astrahus is hapless in high security space. Any fleet large enough to merit the support of two Guardians can defeat it, even if it is optimally fit and manned. It is just one more thing that is useless to me. This “creates content”–that marvelously non-specific, reductionist phrase–but it is all the same, and it all has the same result. I will never miss setting up, fueling or onlining a POS, but at least POSes were dangerous and unpredictable.

There are two parts to any relationship: wooing, and maintenance. Maintenance, of course, involves wooing. You do not stop courting the person you love simply because you are bonded. EVE has never had any difficulty wooing players. They wooed 1.5 million people last year. They have failed to get commitments out of the vast majority of them. Therefore, the problem EVE faces is not attracting players, but retaining them. That is much harder work. CCP has, to date, only succeeded marginally in null sec. I am delighted that the PCU has exceeded 40,000 as new players come in and old players return, but even that local maximum pales in comparison to the number of people who try EVE and then walk away.

This does not only concern high security space, but it does concern high security space. I have covered most of the problems recently, but there is another one: The blinkered outlook of some PVP pilots, where they see nothing other than other players and those mechanics necessary to directly engage them in combat. This is epitomized by kil2, as CCP Rise, expressing open astonishment at Fanfest 2014 that new players were interested in interacting with planets. Has he ever read or watched any science fiction? Of course they are interested in planets! Never mind science fiction, look at NASA! EVE is advertised as a living sci-fi universe. If you are only looking to roam in a ship looking for kills then EVE will not disappoint you. But if you are looking for anything resembling a living sci-fi universe then it will. The first impression you get of EVE is that everything is an inch deep. This is a false impression of the game, or I would not still be here after three years. But it is the first impression. And it is not inaccurate as a description of high security space–there is depth there, too, but it is not obvious. And that is a problem, because everyone starts there. And also because the alternative is no longer Star Trek OnlineNo Man’s Sky is around the corner, and every other science fiction game is scrambling to catch up to its immersive depth, except for EVE. As long as CCP fails to even recognize what the problem is, they will never solve it.

The easiest first step would be for CCP to realize what high security space currently is. It is one of those preserves which release fat, tame pheasants into an attractively manicured area for the wealthy to “hunt.” The most important rule of high security space, as currently defined, is that the prey be kept segregated as much as possible, so that they are able to be isolated and killed by anyone so inclined with few to no consequences. What would happen if that rule was revoked? We have already seen it: When Goonswarm declared war on The Honda Accord, and the war system allowed for unlimited allies, things got hot quickly for Goonswarm as hundreds upon hundreds of corporations allied themselves against them. This was the “prey” gathering itself into an overwhelming herd and trampling the “hunters,” as happens in nature, and it was entirely in line with the statement in “A Future Vision” that honor is how you deal with consequences. Goonswarm had been tormenting high security dwellers for years. They had earned their comeuppance. Sadly, because this herding and trampling violated the most important rule, it was quickly nerfed. Now the same thing is happening in null security space and CCP is championing it, and it is all over the news. And so all of the things that EVE is celebrated for–the butterfly effect, player-enforced consequence–are deliberately biased to the benefit of a small percentage of the population. The first thing any new player hears about is the freedom of null sec. The first thing they  experience is the artificIal game preserve of high sec.

What if we unpack that? What is the secret to it? The secret is that the level of organization, or the lack thereof. It is part of the fabric of high sec that its players are atomized into vanity corps, NPC corps, and everything from tiny groups of friends to large, well-organized alliances. This will not change, and so any attempt to bring increased interpersonal connection to high security space must respect it. If there were any inclination among its denizens to gather themselves into well-organized corporations and alliances, they would already have done so (many of them have, on their mains). The ways of connecting people must be ad hoc and decentralized, as the infinite-allies mechanic was. That is what is brilliant about NPC stations: they are no single corporation’s responsibility, and they allow use and transactions to everyone. That, more even than a pitiful lack of defense, is what Citadels are failing to offer.

Push Button, Get Beacon
Sunrise Aigele

I remember reading a summary of a meeting with CCP Affinity. I believe it was in the CSM minutes. CCP Affinity was asked about a certain kind of PVE, and she replied that hardly anyone ran it. I do not remember CCP’s name for the PVE, because I had never heard of it. Aha! That is what all those beacons are! They are not merely sites with interesting names. They are not merely pretty. Some have rats! Some have agents! You can see how CCP was attempting to have some equivalent of the quest lines that you stumble across as your half-dressed elf strikes out into the pastel wilderness.

I find myself in an area that is thick with them, and now I am running the missions. They are funnier, more varied and often more picturesque than the standard missions, and they have the benefit, once, of novelty. I had warped to similar beacons before, but I assumed they were just decorative, or decorative and sprinkled with rats.

More than three years on, I have found a new thing. And it was right in front of me all this time.

Paths and Horizons
Sunrise Aigele

Virtuozzo has a couple of interesting posts over at Failheap Challenge (1, 2).

There currently is no room for what players consider “vision”, for many reasons. I agree that it will have to be reestablished, reaffirmed. But what is a horizon if you have no path towards it.

What, indeed? The executive summary is that EVE’s success rests on three pillars: Customers, the product itself, and its custodian, CCP. CCP, scarred from Incarna, had retreated from its role supporting the ecosystem. Now, slowly, perhaps painfully, it is returning. The senior CCP staff have always seemed astonished when their attempts at highlighting the lore are received enthusiastically, but they are. Yes, we want to know what is in our spaceships! But this is not just about the lore. A custodian has many responsibilities.

Introducing the Game

I do not need to dwell on this, but leaving more than the most indifferent introduction to the game to whoever happens by–a recruiter for a passive and indecisive mining/missioning/exploration/PI/wormhole/maybe eventually PVP corp, or a bored griefer, or nobody at all–is insanity. The traditional riposte is that players are responsible to sort through innumerable web pages, find the right wikis, and read and read and read. That is why EVE has a retention rate of around 4%. CCP no longer finds that acceptable, and that is for the better.

This is not about attracting people to the game who would not otherwise consider its brand of sandbox play. It is about giving new players who would enjoy the game the chance to discover that they would, and to find out how they would.


Given the extent to which EVE Online depends on player interaction, you would imagine that CCP has provided a robust set of tools for players to communicate with each other. You would be wrong. What there is is rudimentary. There are chat channels for every interest, but no way to discover them short of word of mouth. There are hundreds of player-provided services that I would never have imagined existed if I had not acquired the habit of reading the biographies of randomly selected capsuleers while in warp. Advertising is limited mostly to chat bots in trade hubs. There is no channel for ships on grid with each other. Direct player-to-player communication is announced with a modal dialog, as are invitations to fleet, making them among the more effective griefing tools. The dialog provides no significant information about who is inviting you. Despite the beautiful work of the art team, nothing is graphical, and integrations with the game are haphazard and mostly confined to links in text. It would have been impressive twenty years ago.

CCP should make updating in-game communication tools a priority. There should be enough in-game integration to make the use of their tools appealing relative to the use of third-party tools. Did you know that EVE supports in-game corporate forums? Why would you use them when you already have a hosted forum? When Signal Cartel needed a forum, they chose Reddit!

This should look and feel like something from the future. Chat windows do not scream “science fiction.”” You have the ability to render avatars, CCP. Use it!

EULA Compliance

Did you know that EVE Online has a TEEN rating? The game was significantly more adult (and also “adult”) when it launched. The Gallente Pleasure Hub has been demoted to mere mission furniture. But is EVE truly a teen-rated game? There is an asterisk that all MMOs affix to their ratings that states that they only apply to publisher content, not player interaction. But when you have signed over content generation to the players, the banishment of such things as Pleasure Hubs is empty symbolism. Far more explicit things than the original Quafe Girl are posted as links to the average fleet member on a regular basis.  Lazy, alienating language flies freely, even proudly, everywhere. To the extent that EVE is played on third-party forums and third-party voice communication software, there is scarcely a EULA at all. It exists to catch those who are sloppy or foolish enough to reveal themselves on in-game media.

(The white-knuckled terror that certain countries have of sexual content is another matter entirely.)


I was gratified to see CCP Seagull introduce a phone app for EVE Online. With all respect to the third-party apps I have used for years, it was long overdue. EVE Online is so reliant on third-party tools for basic needs that even CCP itself relies on pyfa internally. There is no good reason for this. For one, the lack of robust in-game tools leaves CCP with no way to integrate, and thus encourage the use of, in-game forms of communication. This is a tremendous missed opportunity. And whIle I have become accustomed to pyfa and I find it indispensable, it is neither intuitive nor friendly nor evocative of EVE Online, except in the worst ways. As with everything related to EVE, I heard about it through word of mouth, on an out-of-game voice server.


I have dwelt on the subject before, so in brief: the only consistent metaphor in the EVE interface is the right-click menu, as befits an interface designed when Xterms looked futuristic. You can right-click everything. You can also single-left-click anything to select it. There are no other actions for which this is true, and this cripples the discoverability of the interface. No one wants to play “guess what I’m thinking” with one of the most complicated interfaces in any multiplayer game. If you had any idea how many times I have clicked and held on a name in Local, expecting a radial menu….


I have saved the most controversial, and the most significant, point for last. Sandbox development is impossible without player feedback, which comes in a great variety of variously constructive forms. But EVE Online is CCP’s game. Feedback is neither game design nor direction, and “players know best” is merely a reconstruction of the toxic old adage that “the customer is always right.” CCP should in fact be mindful of its customers, because they may be right about one concern or another. But it should not take direction from them. Now, posit an in-game social group that is far larger than CCP could ever have predicted, and which is organized primarily out of game. Imagine that they are organized and motivated. They will have an outsized voice in direction, that is, in advocating for particular play styles and approaches, because of the implicit threat behind the size of their representation. Even if you assume good faith; even if you assume that the representatives giving feedback are knowledgable and trustworthy; even then, they will have their own biases, and they will reflect only one broad view of the game, and this will distort the process of collecting feedback. Now, look at the incoming CSM.

It is in CCP’s interest to have us split into enough groups across enough play styles that when many of us speak with one voice, it is on a matter of great urgency. In a sense, they must design a game that gives them the freedom to design the game. As they had already defaulted on that obligation, they have a steep and treacherous hill to climb, and it is quite possible that they will not conquer it. Initial results from the current cluster-wide war are promising.

But there is another option: bring in so many new players that the now-exceptional size of the greatest alliances becomes commonplace. And so we return to the beginning.

Sunrise Aigele

An Abaddon Among Avatars

There are more earnest lore fiends than I. Rhavas at Interstellar Privateer astonished me with his four-part series on Caroline’s Star, which starts here. But lore is important to me. It establishes a reason for everything to be as it is, from the golden majesty of Amarr ships to the entire game of factional warfare. It gives me a context in which to define myself, especially at the outset. As it stands, there are three ways to immerse oneself in EVE lore: One is to read several books, multiple blogs and innumerable chronicles. The second is to run a great many missions, and the third is to pay close attention to the large collidable objects in sites, sorting out the significant pieces from the innumerable hollow asteroids, walls and the like. Each has its own satisfactions, but none are satisfactory, especially to the new player. This is a shame, because the lore of EVE is deep and rich. And the lack of any initial exposure to it drives away every trial member who wants to be part of a story.


Yes, there are player-made stories, and yes, they are the truly enduring stories. But the way to be part of those stories is not clear. It can be a long time indeed before an opportunity to be part of a player-made story arises (the fight you won on a gate is a scene, not a story). Not all players are ready to jump in with both feet. Some players will never make the jump at all.

What is more, player-made stories are particular to the involved players. I was in game for the Fountain War which was, by all accounts, the conflict that laid the ground for the current war. I was not involved in the Fountain War, just as I am not involved in this one. I may watch from the outside, but their stories are not my stories. The system names and the character names mean very little to me. What in-game lore gives to the players is a shared story, a common story in which to define themselves, and against which to write their own. And, as CCP Ghost has said, those stories can and should be able to change the in-game lore as well. That is the ghost in his machine. It is the pivot that takes a student of the in-game lore and turns them into an author in their own right. I have read great suggestions along these lines, such as using player avatars and voices in the tutorial stories to drive home the point that this is a living universe, and–as with magnificent and powerful supercapital ships–to drive home the point that one day, this could be you.

But it is not only CCP Ghost. CCP Rattati, the man behind Project Nova, has consulted closely with the lore as well. Unlike DUST, Nova will take place in EVE ships and stations as well as planets, and CCP Rattati has said that he wants it to be not only obvious but significant that you know which faction’s ship or station you have entered. All of the concept art that CCP produced for ambulations has found a use: bunny hopping in stations! The irony is sweet, but the appeal of the focus on lore is real.

I have not been so excited to see a new feature in EVE in a very long time. I hope that this new love for the lore is catching at CCP. I would love to immerse myself in it all.

BB #74: The Most Important Thing
Sunrise Aigele

Kirith Kodachi has a toothsome question for us:

The Most Important Reveal at Fanfest Was……
So when this Blog Banter goes live Fanfest will be over. Hungover geeks from around the world will be departing Reykjavik after a five-day binge of important internet spaceships and partying. Whether you were there in person, watched the streams or read the dev blogs on your mobile hidden under your work desk there was probably something in there that gave you a “nerd-boner”. What for you personally was the most important thing to come out of Fanfest 2016?

I cannot answer this straightforwardly. I have a reputation to maintain!

Instead, I will answer this: The most important reveal of Fanfest 2016 is renewed confidence from CCP. They have endured several years of pain and thankless work deep in the muck of their game. If there was a theme from Fanfest 2016, it was this: CCP gets to have fun again. It was obvious in CCP Seagull’s most relaxed and confident keynote ever. It was obvious in nearly every presentation by the developers and designers. It was obvious given the scope and ambition of Citadel. They no longer have one miraculous success now. They have Gunjack and Valkyrie. Their two new projects, Nova and Arena, earned strongly positive receptions at Fanfest. Any anxiety I had about the narrow focus of the Nova demo dissipated when I read this interview. CCP Shanghai is doing everything the right way. Virtual reality is all of their dreams in a gift basket with a bow and a box of chocolates.

Since any optimism is immediately greeted with a few common misgivings, allow me to dispel them:

I am not saying that CCP has slain all of their demons. I am not saying that they have discovered how to consistently deliver on time; CCP Seagull’s timeline has slipped again and again, but Valkyrie and Gunjack were ready when they needed to be. I am not saying that we will never again see an astonishing oversight released on Tranquility, nor that they have magically begun listening to their most painstaking Singularity testers half as much as they should. They are still CCP, for good and for ill. But they have figured out how to succeed in spite of their demons, and they are having fun again.

I may not appreciate much of what they revealed in terms of its impact on my own tiny little corner of EVE, but looking  beyond my perspective I see the potential for great things.