Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Looking Ahead: When's The Next Expansion?

I probably am not looking in the right places, but the sites I do visit tend to contain people wondering what CCP is planning for EVE Online. One frequent complaint is a lack of news about the direction for the game. I'm not too worried about that. I figure the next few months will go something like this.

The lead-off to what is in store will occur when the EVE media and other assorted folks get their hands on the minutes of the CSM summit that concluded in Reykjavik last week. Expect the minutes to take a couple of weeks to make its way through the typing and approval process. I figure two weeks would push the process, so figure a release on 14-15 March. Those will give us an idea of the hot issues coming up over the next six month or so.

The next event in the timeline is Evesterdam on 23-24 March, as the EVE Online World Tour kicks off in Amsterdam.
"A keynote presentation will kick off the tour and give insight into what lies ahead for EVE, players and developers will speak, battle in spaceships and of course explore the Amsterdam nightlife."
I expect April will see between 2-4 dev blogs along with the beginning of the CSM campaign season. Last year we saw the campaign kick off in April at Fanfest. This year I expect the results to be announced in Toronto in June, so we'll hear plenty of talk before then about what CCP should do.

April also brings us an update on the 23rd of the month. I personally expect the release of the 64-bit client in April along with quite a few quality of life features. With the official start of summer in Iceland this year falling on 25 April, CCP could lay claim to delivering the product during the winter. Also, I suspect the developers wouldn't want to release a new client on the same day as its upcoming expansion.

That's right, I'm calling for an expansion. The date? May 28th. The timing makes sense as CCP will want some sort of draw to keep players engaged and in space into the early summer. The traditional time for the summer expansion was always the end of May or June. Add in that the development cycle results in no June release and that means if CCP is going to have a summer expansion, the last Tuesday in May is the most likely date.

But don't expect a dearth of news in May. The month leads off with the second stop on the World Tour, St. Petersburg, Russia, on 4 May. The following day, EVE Online celebrates its 16th year with an event yet to be announced. Finally, expect dev blogs between then and 23 May, the beginning of EVE Down Under in Sydney, Australia. For those who haven't noticed, EDU is listed as the longest event on the 2019 World Tour. I expect the final hype to appear in the presentations over the weekend before the launch of the expansion.

What do I expect CCP to pull out of its hat for the expansion? First, if POS were not removed from the game in April, the old structures and the infamous POS code will disappear with the introduction of new Upwell structures that will replace the remaining function of serving as a place to serve as a forward base or home for a supercapital. I also expect to see a balance pass for capitals.

For high sec, the final replacement for the war dec system should come out at the end of May. The current system of requiring ownership of a structure is only a placeholder until the devs complete work on a new system.

On the PvE front, I expect new content featuring the Triglavians. I don't know if that means new ship classes, like destroyers, allowed in sites, or if the Triglavians will expand their war against the Drifters outside Abyssal space into the known universe. Whatever happens, I expect improved NPC AI to make an appearance in space. We hear reports of NPC battles. I expect NPC activity will increase, to include more rat on rat conflict.

What about low sec? I don't expect to see any love thrown that way. Which, in my case, is probably a good thing. Less activity in low sec means less interruptions in my day-to-day activities. But CCP is always capable of throwing a surprise or two our way. I just hope they don't yank NPC stations from low sec. Those are so useful.

Those are my expectations for the next few months. I could probably get more clicks by declaring EVE Is Dying!but I did that back in 2014. Instead, I'll hold out a more hopeful vision of the future. The home for insane negativity is the EVE sub-Reddit and I don't want to intrude on their territory.

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