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Sunday, May 4, 2014

On the EVE of Fanfest

There will be so many armchair reviews about what was said (and not said,) at Fanfest this year, I doubt I could add anything others will not say a thousand times over in the days to come. I think I'll simply blog the every man's reactions to some of the various things I saw. Things that stuck in my head as being significant to me as just another EVE Online player. If some of my opinions match your's, great! If not, well, at least you have an opposing point of view to troll. :P

The first thing I'll bring up is this: I don't care about DUST 514. I didn't watch the DUST 514 keynote. I don't own a PlayStation console. If I did, I doubt I'd play DUST 514. I'm not much for first person shooters (FPS) unless it's a LAN party. The last time I really, really enjoyed a FPS was Unreal Tournament about 15 years ago. You could get a dozen people together, plug into a switch, open a beer and have six hours of social mayhem. But life moves on, that company no longer exists, and when it went so did the FPS group I belonged to. The Internet-based FPS is a pale comparison to what we had with those LAN parties. The idea of playing such a game with potentially hundreds of campers whose only goal is to ruin my game does not appeal to me.

That said, I think CCP is going the correct route with the EVE Universe. There has been a lot written this year and last about the death of the PC platform. It's all a bunch of crap, but that's not a debate we need to have here. Suffice it to say we need to get real ladies and gentlemen: the PC is not dying. It will be running the best games on the Internet for at least the next decade. Believing anything else is wishful thinking. Making business plans on such wishful thinking is dumb. CCP's current flagship program runs on the PC. That is why, as they seek to streamline development costs, they must leverage it. And it seems they've enlisted Intel to help (or Intel enlisted them, same difference.) Remember that little black box CCP CTO Halldor Fannar held up; the one that won't run very many instances of EVE Online at one time? Yeah, that's the future for CCP folks, not a myriad of platforms forcing them to hire multiple employees to fill essentially the same position.

And it'll be just fine, because unless I miss my guess, the current ARM architecture of consoles is going to be supplanted by the coming low voltage, high power chips coming out of Intel. I know a few people who work at the Intel R&D campus in Hillsboro, OR. They are excited for the future. It's coming fast, and I think CCP is wise to get into bed with Intel at this juncture. I'm sure there are lots of people gnashing their teeth over that statement. They'll point out all the "competition" to the Intel platform. Again, get real. Intel has been on top for three decades. Others who'd hoped to supplant them have come and gone the way of the Dodo. I don't see that changing for at least the next decade. CCP is thinking straight here.

As for DUST 514, it was ambitious, but technologically and politically questionable. "Why politically questionable," you ask? It was dangerous to the future of CCP. Sony doesn't have partners, just yes men and bots. I've no doubt Sony did everything they could to force Valkyrie on to their platform to the exclusion of all else. That's the way Sony is. After all, they do have a VR headset of their own. If CCP had caved to that, then I would have worried. Being a "junior partner" to Sony is an oxymoron. Sony has no real partners. It's Sony's way or the highway. I for one am extremely happy to see CCP avoid that trap. Sony has a lot of money and sings a beautiful song, but in the end it's just another vulture that would pick CCP clean and leave their bones drying in the sun. Why no, I am not a fan of Sony. I haven't been since Star Wars Galaxies. Would you like EVE Online to end up like that? I didn't think so.

The second thing that grabbed my attention is the new release schedule. I love the new 6-week (approximately) release schedule. I believe every good thing CCP Seagull said about how it would make developing the future of EVE Online easier. It will also give us things to look forward to more than twice a year. That should help to keep interest up. That also seems to be the way subscription games are going in general in the gaming industry. After all, us subscription gamers do seem to need reminding fairly frequently what our money is buying. ;-) And now that we know CCP is an EVE Universe company, it will make all those other plans easier as well. It is a smart move made by smart people. I am very glad someone listened to them.

As for Kronos, well, it is what it is. I don't love everything about it, but I also don't hate it. CCP seems to have well thought out reasons for what they are doing, and have good discussion points on those reasons. I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. At least they aren't doing to the rest of industry what they did to PI. Lone wolf industrialists still seem to have a place in Kronos era industry, though we may not have as cheap a ticket as before. That's life. I can live with it so long as I see it benefit the game as a whole. I am over the 50% mark that it will, so play on. Time will tell.

Of all the things CCP currently has in development, I am most pleased with how ship skins are coming along. During the broadcast I tweeted a question. CCP Fozzie gave me some good advice on the question.

It seems CCP has made a lot of progress on ship skins. I still don't know if they've solved the unique item issue or if they're simply purging the database on a regular schedule, but they seem to be full steam ahead nonetheless. That's excellent. I remember post Incarna me and several other bloggers writing about things we would actually pay a micro-transaction fee to get. Customized ship skins was at the top of the list. Obviously CCP heard the plea, for ship skins are here and getting better (as in more ships available as well as customization options coming) as the weeks go by. I just love ship skins. It's a silly thing, and I'm sure it's a bleed-over from my theme park MMO habit, but I can't help but agree with the world's most interesting man when he says,

[caption id="attachment_2476" align="aligncenter" width="225"]Panache Panache[/caption]

There is another thing announced during the EVE Online keynote I absolutely, without reservation, love, love, love, love, love. Here it is.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="1033"]The Expedition Frigate - Click Image for Dev Blog The Expedition Frigate - Click Image for Dev Blog[/caption]

This is the new Expedition class frigate. It has significant mining bonuses. But better than that, it can also fit a Covert Ops cloaking device and is Covert Cyno capable. Hot damn, where do I sign that PL hot-drop contract?! I think I have a new favorite ship. It is so sick. I am terri-bad infatuated with it, and I've not even flown one yet!

Next, let's talk about this:


This is, as many have already said, the best EVE Online trailer  E V E R. There is so much awesome in this video I want to jump for joy. But what I especially took notice of happens at two minutes and fifty seconds (2:50.) Pause the video there. Now answer me this question. Is that fighting in stations? Is that where Project Legion is taking us? Gods, I sure do hope so. That's another thing other bloggers and I wrote about wanting post Incarna. I have good reason to believe CCP heard those pleas too. Many of the elements in Kronos are seen in the trailer, like warp trails. EVE Valkyrie is obviously represented, as well as many of the 5-year plan concepts discussed by CCP Seagull. Then there is that third figure who approaches the commander. The one who leads the team fighting in the halls of the new gate against Imperial shock troops. If that is where Project Legion takes us, I believe I may need to re-evaluate my opinion of Internet-based first person shooters. It would be an incredible addition to sov warfare if nothing else. :o

Lastly, I just want to leave this little factoid with you. During the EVE Online keynote address there were approximately 8500 viewers at peak viewership. During the EVE of Destruction matches later that evening, the audience peaked at over 12,500 viewers. The EVE of Destruction was an incredible success, at least for us remote viewers. When CCP Guard stripped down to those incredible shorts, he became my hero. I've not had so much fun watching anything sports related in many, many years. Well done team CCP. BRAVO! You may not have won any matches, but you gave a good fight. Thank you for the excellent entertainment. Oh, and about that disparity in viewing numbers. Sure, it could be because the U.S. time zones got off work and tuned in. But shouldn't you also consider whether or not you're actually in the right business? :D

And those are the things from Fanfest that stuck with me. I've seen a few "professional" blog articles on the "riots" both DUST 514 players have launched since the keynote I didn't care about watching... Okay, there are more than two people playing DUST 514. But seriously, CCP is doing the right thing for their business for more than a couple very good reasons. Kronos is not the industrial expansion carebears have dreamed about for years, but at least it addresses many of the issues with industry in EVE Online. If as CCP Seagull evidently said (twitch cut out right at the end of her keynote, grrrrrr,) the next thing to get dev love will be the POS code, there should be a good industrial foundation laid for player built gates. Again, time will tell. And as always, ship improvements and balancing keeps coming. The Expedition Frigate wasn't the only ship getting love, though it was the one that caught my attention most. All in all, EVE Online looks to be in a good position. Now I just need to get over my current EVE Online malaise. I did undock for more than two hours this weekend. I had to do some recon. The reports were favorable. Once I make a final decision I'll let you all know. I may need to contact some folks first though. Until then...

Fly Careful


  1. First off, rumour is UT is coming back. 8th May some announcement will be made. I'm with you, UT is best shooter ever.

    Whilst I agree DUST514 is going the right way, CCP made the announcement the very wrong way. It really was the Red Wedding for these guys. "Come to Fanfest and hear about the future of DUST514!" - "We are here!" - "Oh right, yeah, it hasn't got one really. Its been left on the vine to wither and die, but thanks for coming."

    I went to the DUST514 Keynote simply as there was nothing else to go to. I'm not a DUST514 player but I left thinking. "Is that it?"

    For us Eve players, Fanfest was great and I'm much happier now than after Fanfest 2013. Eve Mojo restored and will be logging on a lot more when I get home later in the week.

  2. Absolutely agreed about the trailer. Love it. Makes me more eager than ever to learn what's going to happen with player created (and destructible) stargates.

    I also think it's a good sign they're going to shorter development cycles. My dev shop has done something similar, and I think it has made us more in tune with our end users and better able to respond to changes in direction. You don't slog away on some huge feature set for half a year, a year, or longer, and then at the end of it find that the world has changed so much that the stuff you've done doesn't anymore.

  3. What is interesting in the trailer is how it portrays Empire factions having an impact - which doesn't gel for me - when the huge direction CCP intends to be player driven. But I guess they need to keep it neutral to appeal to as many parties as possible.

    As for the Prospector? I will be keen to see what the final hull offers. I have heard there is a new skill for it. But since I have most of the mining related skills at five. (except mining upgrades!). And I am sitting on some Venture BPOs. Changes are coming.

  4. I just hope, the next vid they announce will show the same scenery as the end of this one, followed by a swarm of powerfully looking and hostile ships with heavily accented Earth-language speaking and angry captains jumping through obliterating everything except the gate with titles like "We opened the gate, is it time to close it?"

  5. Well, we have Sansha Incursions, and Faction Warfare. The video portrayed an Amarr fleet attacking a combined force that was building its own gate. This could be taken as an alliance or coalition. Could we see NPC empire fleets attack gates being built? How cool would that be?

    I love what they have done with the Mobile stuff - depots, tractor units, etc. I hope that and the gates are leading up to truly opening up NEW space, kind of like the Original Eve Gate wormhole. Build a gate, go through with everything needed to create a new society on the other side. Towers, Mining, Industry, mod and ship building, Warships to protect it all, Clone bays on Rorquals to create new clones, and all in totally unexplored space. What will we find at the other end? A single star system with no gates, where we have to build more to get to other systems? A region of space similar to our own with an existing Stargate system also built by a civilization that came before us? Maybe there will be Wraiths or Gouould There...I look forward to seeing it!!

    Second star to the right and straight on til morning!!


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