Monday, September 21, 2015

The Return Of Expansions

Perhaps the biggest news in EVE Online last week did not emerge from the CSM Summit. Instead, CCP Seagull announced via a dev blog and a YouTube video that expansions would return to EVE.

Instead of regurgitating the words from the dev blog, I'd like to look at two graphics. The first is the state of CCP's roadmap leading to player-built stargates at the end of 2014.

The state of the roadmap, December 2014

The second comes from Thursday's dev blog and shows the state of the roadmap today.

The state of the roadmap, September 2015
From those two pictures, I'd guess that the major fixes to legacy game systems are pretty much over. As we learned, the Citadel structures aren't just a modification to existing structures, they are a full replacement for the system worthy of an expansion. Perhaps I am too optimistic, but I think the corporation and alliance mechanics will receive a full rewrite that results in the old code winding up on the scrap heap as well.

No one should view the 5 week release cycle as a failure just because CCP is moving back to having expansions. EVE Online needed a huge amount of modernization in a very short period of time, and the faster pace accomplished more than I thought possible. As a reminder, here's a listing of dev blogs and patch notes over the past 14 months:

Crius (July 2014)

Hyperion (August 2014)

Oceanus (September 2014)

Phoebe (November 2014)

Rhea (December 2014)

Proteus (January 2015)

Tiamat (February 2015)

Scylla (March 2015)

  • No Dev Blogs

Mosaic (April 2015)

Carnyx (June 2015)

Aegis (July 7, 2015) And Aegis Sovereignty (July 14, 2015)

Galatea (August 2015)

Why do I think CCP needed to work as quickly as possible? Because a certain space fighter simulator is due out in 2016. No, not Star Citizen. That game probably won't emerge from beta until 2017. I'm referring to EVE: Valkyrie. I expect that once the Oculus Rift launches sometime in the first quarter of 2016, that Valkyrie will lead some people to want to experience more of New Eden and try the parent game. And as we saw after the Battle of Asakai and the Battle of B-R5RB, EVE could only keep a small fraction of the players intrigued enough about the game as paying customers. With Valkyrie potentially emerging as the killer app for both the Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus for the PS4 sometime in the first half of 2016, CCP needed to upgrade EVE quickly. CCP has really improved EVE since the end of 2013. Hopefully enough to entice the curious to subscribe. After all, a game only has one chance to make a good first impression.

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