In a recent comment I wrote that I don’t like much Eve’s current direction. I’m done commenting game design so I won’t go in detail, but here some meaningful quotes.
The first comes from a dev blog and demonstrates I wasn’t so wrong:
Invention was supposed to be the revolutionary feature of Revelations and should have changed the entire science and industry genre as we know it, with the potential side effect that could change the biggest part of the player economy; Tech 2.
However, the effect that invention was supposed to bring has not yet been seen.
Only a couple players had managed to build an interface.
Then we can pass to give a look at Eve current development schedule. For reference you can use the previous battleplan and the E3 news.
The biggest disappointment to me is that the main feature of Kali seems completely GONE from their plans. Not delayed, gone. They used to describe the whole expansion as:
The upcoming expansion to EVE Online—codenamed Kali—will introduce an innovative Advanced Reactive Content System (ARCS), in which the political landscape and physical borders of nation-states within the game can be altered dynamically through the collective outcome of player actions, thus directly controlling the game universe destiny and resulting storyline.
This was in the form of “Factional Warfare” that I described throughly, analyzed in design potential and praised as one of the most interesting thing ever.
In their dev blogs there aren’t anymore references to Factional Warfare. The Kali patch isn’t anymore named Kali, but “Revelations”. And the three chunks (Spetember 06, December 06 and April 07) once again delayed. Oveur:
The engine itself is a bit different, depending on whether you are talking about our optimizations to our DX7/9 engine or the optional Vista engine – or the actual combination of both which is the big package. Currently, the big bada-boom is in Revelations 3 at the end of the year.
“End of the year” almost surely meaning you won’t see anything till 2008 and later. Another full year delay on top of the year delay on their 2006 plans.
Don’t mock me when I think of Vaporware when they talk about walking on stations with models turning their head dynamically toward noise to simulate human behaviours. From a dev blog:
This brings us to an area of computer graphics called dynamic avatar human-to-human interaction. It tries to apply knowledge derived from years of research of human body language into the actions of computer generated avatars, so that their behavior mimics human behavior without the user or NPC controller micro-managing every little twitch of the body or glance of the eyes.
This is one of the areas that we intend to research and apply to our animation system.
V – A – P – O – R – W – A – R – E
But I was writing about Factional Warfare. You would think that CCP has OODLES of time if they waste it on this kind of TOTALLY USELESS (and very, very pretentious) shit. Oveur says that Revelation 3 at the end of 2007 will be the engine upgrade to Vista. So Factional Warfare is for Revelation 2? From a dev blog:
Following Revelations 1.4, we’ll be refocusing our efforts on Revelations 2. It was covered at fanfest, that we have the hots for warfare in Revelations 2 on all levels. But what does warfare & the increased emphasis on improving current content rather than adding new stuff really mean?
So “Warfare”. No more “Factional”? Why? Just playing with names? Not adding more “new stuff”?
Uhm, no. It looks like the “increased emphasis on improving current content” means that the “Factional” is gone. Or at least that’s what I understand when they describe the new “Warfare” without the “Factional”:
We want to improve the goalsetting in warfare, by improving and adding options to player buildable infrastructure. This means improving Starbases, Outposts, Stations and Sovereignty. However, Warfare also needs something to fight with, so we want more tactical and strategic components there.
As you can imagine, this isn’t only for the people shooting, this creates goals for everyone, a fighter can’t survive without his industrial backbone. The industrialists must build the infrastructure and the merchants are there to supply the essentials you can’t acquire yourself. It’s all interconnected.
Then they go commenting fleet combat changes. Uhm, that’s a blatant U-turn. Factional Warfare was about everything but combat.
The orginal Factional Warfare was NOTHING about big ass fleet combat and uber guild PVP. It was instead a “bridge” between casual players and those big corps. It was a way to make the NPC empires an active part of the game. The kind of work that Eve needs from a very long time. See the quote above about the “Advanced Reactive Content System”. Or the bottom level of the Factional Warfare right from their own description:
The initial idea is that players can elect to take on missions as mercenaries – in which case the reward will be mainly monetary – or as enlisted soldiers, where they will be rewarded with increased standings and discounted ships and equipment. With the contract system in place alongside it, FW can be something individuals or even alliances can sign up to, with contracts for single missions or for the duration of a long-term campaign.
Whether through trade, bounty hunting, resource allocation or even combat, FW is entwined with the very EVEness of Eve itself. It is where the rich background of Eve will come to life.
This is all gone. Now “Warfare” just means a patch that will affect fleet combat. It’s a combat mechanic patch. Nothing about the original plan. Not even close. It’s a completely different direction.
Which couldn’t be put more clearly:
all Warfare improvements in Revelations 2 are aiming for the same thing. Even though it’s improving current features, it’s encouraging gameplay which not only is more fun and easier to jump into, it’s also good for the general performance of EVE.
Time to backfire on CCP? Is this the result of TomB replacing Lekjart as Lead Designer? Quoting myself at that time:
Of course these are all early claims with no substance. Yet. But mmorpgs are long term projects and the shit that happens *today* is crucial for tomorrow. When everyone will have already forgot what happened and what brought the change of pace.
Of course all these delays also mean that CCP staff is so idle and bored that they decided to keep themselves busy by working on a new MMO.
And to conclude, subscriptions news that you can compare with my previous report:
less than 20% of the EVE community have 2 or more subscriptions. The other 80+% are single account users.
We have just over 156k subscriptions and an average of 15k active trial accounts as of the reported metrics at the beginning of the month. There were 34,420 players logged in on Tranquility Sunday afternoon.
Sir Bruce, the owner of mmogchart.com is a great guy.