It all seems to be falling into place for CCP Games. Now approaching the ten year milestone (May 6th 2013), EVE Online is one of the elder statesmen of MMOs and probably the only one of its peers which feels as if it is still on an upward trajectory.
Undoubtedly EVE Online‘s success is down to a rabidly loyal but ferociously critical core playerbase. The relationship between developer and player has been at the centre of many of EVE Online‘s defining historical moments and CCP has become adept at using this relationship to their advantage.
The strength and variety of player opinion is equal to the diversity of EVE’s gameplay choices. To please all the people all of the time is an impossible task and for the last eighteen months CCP’s development direction has been very much about appeasing the core playerbase with quality of life improvements to the fundamentals of EVE Online.
The new expansion, Odyssey, marks a change in development strategy; with broader goals and grander ideals playing as much a part as technical improvement. There was little to go on with the initial announcement, but EVE players are no shrinking violets and are never hesitant to deliver an opinion. Here’s a few snippets of early comments from across the community:
The Mittani, a prominent EVE player, Goonswarm Federation CEO and former CSM Chairman had this to say in his Odyssey article on TheMittani.com:
“I was hoping for something a little more exciting in the initial announcement, but perhaps devblogs coming out will spice it up a little… Eve’s PvE is garbage and desperately needs fixing, so if CCP can actually make Exploration into a viscerally fun process, it’s a major step up for a game which has no fun PvE at all.”
RKAnon, a commenter on rival news site EVE News 24 shares what seems to be a popular train of thought:
“Nice…just enough information for me to start fearing the worst.”
Divisive EVE blogger Poetic Stanziel criticized CCP’s decision to hold back on details:
“First of all, CCP should learn to manage expectations. The build-up to the announcement was made to be a lot bigger than what we got.”
So as you can tell, the average EVE player isn’t going to be satisfied with a few vague notes and some hazy screenshots. It wasn’t all negative though, many players are excited by the possibilities. A discussion thread on the Failheap Challenge forum community stayed on topic long enough for Longdrinks to offer;
“im feeling optimistic about the “discovery scanner” and spacechanges.”
…and LoKiPP speculated in the absence of solid information…
“Nerfing afk empires would change 0.0 politics over night. Ring mining would own so hard. Honestly this sounds like a rebalance of 0.0 isk opportunities which was needed for a while now. Need more info ahhhhhhhhh.”
On his EVEOGANDA site, blogger and artist Rixx Javix ruminates on many things, including the mysterious journey implied by the title:
Odyssey is an interesting choice, as it conjures visions of a journey. An epic journey no less. So where are we going? Beyond space? The other side? The other side of what exactly? Whatever is over there, we’ll have to face it. At least that is what the ad copy says.
Jove? Maybe. Or maybe something darker and more mysterious?
There is a key segment of EVE’s player community who are likely very happy at the moment. There are those who spend there entire time exploring and uncovering the mysteries of New Eden. EVE Travel blogger Mark726 was so excited, he could only tweet in capitals for several hours.
GUYS. GUYS.IF THERE’S ANYTHING I DO IN GAME.IT’S EXPLORATION.
— mark726 (@webspaceships) March 23, 2013
Fellow explorer Rhavas managed a more cogent analysis on his Interstellar Privateer blog, specifically sifting through available art for some visual clues.
“…to lore enthusiasts, particularly travelers like myself and EVE Travel‘s Mark726, there is a lot to see here. Granted, most of it could be the art department mashing unrelated crap together (Retribution has floating spinning asteroids like the Shattered planet rocks floating with a Gallente space station, for instance, which makes no sense whatever), but for the moment let’s indulge the urge and see what we might guess if the art is indicative of the content.”
The official EVE forums are a mixed bag at the best of times, and a thread discussing news of Odyssey is as good an example as any, with opinions ranging from Derdom Utida‘s enthusiastic…
“YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES
As a full-time explorer, this is the best possible news to me.
CCP I LOVE YOU SO HARD”
…to Falin Whalen‘s more pessimistic angle…
“Oh, hey look, more buggered, useless, exploration sites, some useless stuff for highsec industrialists to wet their panties over, and they will totally screw up the loot table yet again.”
The overall consensus (other than the obligatory “EVE is dying” and “fix first” cries) was one of vaguely positive interest coupled with a disappointment at the lack of details. Speculation is abound about many things, not least the enigmatic mention of “a new spacescape”, which could impact on everyone.
There will undoubtedly be a few devblog releases over the coming weeks, but all spacelanes lead to Fanfest in April, when the real meat will be announced.
On the EVE Online Facebook page, Ned ‘CCP Manifest’ Coker responded to pleas for more information and a trailer with the following statement:
“Don’t worry, we’ll have more info in the coming weeks and months and especially at Fanfest. And yes, we will have a trailer, but we have to wait for the assets to be done in client before we can use them!! ~CCP Manifest”