The initial post wasn't the one the made my heart skip several beats though. It was the the responses from CCP Karuck. I have to quote them.
All our show demos so far have been exactly that, an experience tailored to get a fun introduction in a very short time. We've only really shown two prototype builds of the game so far.. the Fanfest one (which we also took to E3) and the Gamescom one (which we've been showing lately, with a few updates).
The actual game we're making (which is now in pre-production) will have a lot more depth and does touch on many of the things you mention, so we're looking forward to showing that to you all :)
The other points you make, about being more aware of what is happening etc. are all things we are working hard on getting right. Quite a few of those will be shown to players very soon, so stay tuned!
The next poster commented that the term pre-production was confusing to him. So CCP Karuck clarified.
Hah don't worry, and no this isn't a planning stage :) Our game is a bit unconventional since we've had a working demo since before it became an official game. But you really didn't think that what we've been showing on trade shows is the actual final game did you? ;) Stay tuned, we have some exciting stuff to reveal in the next few months.
And a little further down he gave out more details.
There will be joystick support, no worries :) We have quite a few at the office, including the Saitek X-52 HOTAS setup.
(An X-52 HOTAS did he say? N I C E. Adds it to Mabrick's wish list.)
So taken all together, here's what I take it all to mean. They are well into developing a more rounded game than is evident in the demo. That even though they are calling it pre-production, the game is unconventional because the demo has already taken care of much core production code. Things are proceeding so well, they will have something substantial to show everyone at Fanfest, which happens in "the next few months." If I was a betting man, I'd wager we'll all see the first late alpha or early beta unveiling of the game itself. Those who will be in Reykjavik are some very lucky EVE Online players. They will have the first opportunity to try their hands at it. I already envy them. I'll have to wait until EVE Vegas. :-(
When it is revealed, I'll be curious to see if it is more like Wing Commander or League of Legends. Will pilots be flying as part of a military organization in an ongoing war filled with tactical and strategic objectives with the history and lore of the EVE Universe behind it, or will it be match play like Alliance Tournament with equal teams going after each other with a simpler objective in mind? I personally would favor the Wing Commander approach. However, that would be harder to implement.
Setting up a game similar to League of Legends would be simpler. And I have to admit, in today's gaming environment and from what I've seen of the demo, I'd have to say a League of Legends approach would be the safer bet. Instead of champions, players would pick a fighter to use that could have various statistics that are "tweakable." The more you fly, the more models you'd have access to. Balancing will be critical to this approach. No fighter can be seen as being inherently superior to any other. It should all come down to how well you fly it and how well your team works together. This would lend itself well to tournament broadcasts and that would be an excellent marketing opportunity for CCP. Of course, if you follow this option to its logical conclusion you will have a free to play game with microtransactions built in to more quickly gain access to various fighter models. Teams might have to pay for things like custom unit insignias.
But back to the Wing Commander style game. There is a model out there for how that could work. Look to games like Assassin's Creed IV for how to implement such a thing. There would be a "limited" multiplayer mode that would allow for the dogfights. But they would be in the context of a greater community of many such "cells." Lets call them squadrons. :-) Each squadron could be hosted on an individual carrier in the greater fleet. CCP could inject community goals into this system that would bind capsuleers from the various races together in a common purpose. The goal could be something like, "destroy 10,000 Caldari fighters in 24 hours." If all the Gallente Valkyrie pilots together manage to do that, they would get a reward. Eventually such a community system might be integrated into EVE Online itself - into the Factional Warfare system for example. The reward given these Gallente fighter pilots could mean the difference between winning or losing a system. This sort of thing could also be applied to a revamped sovereignty warfare system. Things these squadrons accomplish in concert would in that way affect the persistent EVE Universe - without actually having to be in it. Now, if you really did want to bring them into it, someone would have to provide a carrier in EVE Online for them to fly from, and if it were destroyed... now wouldn't that be something?