Monday, April 29, 2019

Is The May Expansion Moving To June?

Back in February, I tried to predict the timing of the next expansion for EVE Online based on the studio's Agile development cycle. A funny thing happened on the way my predicted date of 28 May 2019. CCP switched from a five to four week release cycle and I didn't notice. Meaning, just based on the normal production schedule, a May expansion should come out on 7 May, three weeks earlier than predicted.

A release date of next Tuesday would really have made next week exciting. Ka-bam, EVE Russia on Saturday! Ka-pow, the 16th anniversary celebration of EVE's launch on Monday! And then, for the grand finale, expansion launches on Tuesday! Woo hoo! Only one problem with that scheduled dream week. I haven't heard any hype about a May expansion recently, and the Updates website doesn't show information about a May release, much less an expansion.

No updates for May on the Updates page as of 1200 29 April 2019
I have to admit, I'm not terribly heartbroken about the prospect of no expansion on 7 May. The next scheduled release after that is 4 June, or one week after my predicted date. When CCP started rolling out their plans, I thought they were ambitious, so the crew in Iceland taking an extra week on the content is a good move in my eyes. Also I like the new public relations path this opens up for CCP.

First, CCP announces the name of the new expansion Saturday in St. Petersburg, Russia. Given the history of the Russians in EVE Online, a very nice move if the scenario plays out like I envision. Combined with the 16th anniversary of the game on the following Monday, releasing the name of the expansion at EVE Russia might ensure wider press coverage. Next, CCP takes the opportunity to spotlight and publicize the finalized version of the expansion at EVE Down Under in Sydney from 23-26 May. A lot of players probably have not kept up with the news throughout the months so a summary of the contents of an expansion would create a buzz. Did I mention Streamfleet is broadcasting all the events on the World Invasion tour? So players will have the ability to watch the news for themselves, either live or later via VOD or YouTube.

If the expansion really does come out on 4 June, the new content would come out on the 6th anniversary of the Odyssey expansion. While not one of my favorite expansions, I imagine the coincidence (if that's what it is) could play as a look back at the journey the game has taken in it's second decade of existence. I can see two tie-ins between the upcoming expansion and Odyssey.

Just looking back at the trailer for Odyssey, we see the story of capsuleers searching down the unknown. With the latest expansion, we'll get to see the latest in what the explorers have found in Abyssal space. Or maybe we'll see what's found us. I've added the video from November's Onslaught expansion below to show what is currently in the game.

The other running theme is structures. The Odyssey expansion was the last major revamp of the old POS system before CCP decided to rip out the old code and institute a new, modern system. First announced in the spring of 2015, the last of the old POS code may finally hit the recycle bin with the expansion. If so, I hope CCP films a Viking burial ceremony for the long-standing code.

Personally, I hope the expansion doesn't launch until late May or early June. Perhaps I am engaging in wishful thinking, but I really like the idea of expansions for MMORPGs launched in June. Giving the developers an extra month to work on the content (or 1 week longer than my original estimate) is just icing on the cake.

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