"With the Winter expansion possibly being named 'Crucible', it certainly is a melting pot of refinements and tweaks aimed at making the EVE experience smoother and more wholesome. If the developers suddenly found themselves some spare resources and approached you for an additional feature to include before release, what single concept would you pitch them and how would you implement it?
For bonus points, the one thing lacking from this "patchwork" of iterations is a cohesive storyline to package "The Crucible" together. How could this expansion be marketed to potential new customers?"One idea that I've had rolling around inside my head for awhile has to do with standing. There are many ways to gain and lose standing. As most pirates know, about the fastest way to lose standing is to attack someone in Empire. I would not change how this works. I've never heard anyone call it unfair - except the poor noob who gets blasted. However, the equation is unbalanced and nature demands balanced equations.
I would recommend that CCP devote their spare resources to balancing this equation. I'd point out to them that the cruel world that is New Eden requires noobs have someone to stick up for them. But some noobs don't want to rush into a corporation they know nothing about. Other's can't meet the requirements for the corporation they really want to join. Others, like myself, just prefer the lone-wolf lifestyle. That doesn't mean they don't want help from time to time.
Therefore, any player coming to the assistance of a true neutral (defined as someone not in your alliance) who is under attack should get a boost to their standing with Concord . This boost should be equivalent to eliminating the same ship class rat. If the Good Samaritan is in a militia and the pirate they attack is their mortal enemy, Concord doubles the standing increase. Furthermore, should a player lose his ship in such a rescue attempt, Concord should double the insurance payout for the lost ship (providing the ship was insured.)
There should be no limit on the number of increases a player can receive in a set period of time as with rats. That is the bonus for taking on a pirate. They are generally very good at what they do and the deck is already stacked in their favor - they chose the place, time and manner of the attack.
In accord with my own code of conduct, no increase should ever be given for popping a pod.
As to how you sell Crucible to potential new customers, I think that's OBE (overtaken by events) with the Eve Online Newsletter vol. 68. However, there are trailers to come. I think they should harp the, "where players really do make a difference" mantra. CCP should take their capitulation this summer and turn it into a positive. "The players rioted (cue Jita monument footage) and we listened. Your actions will not only shape what goes on in the game, it will shape the game itself!" Now, I really don't think that's going to get a lot of new players. However, it should bring back some lapsed players and that'll give CCP some breathing room. It's the best of a bad situation. Next year will be better...
Yeah, right, who am I kidding. I'm a cynical optimist: I hope for the best but know the worst is yet to come. Until the bitter end!