Friday, July 23, 2021

An End Of Year Expansion For EVE Online Is Taking Shape

A day after releasing the monthly economic report for June, CCP announced the end of the scarcity era in the final quarter of 2021. I think most players will latch onto the following sentence.

Scarcity firmly ends in Q4 2021 with additional resources as well as player choice for what resources to distribute in your sovereign space.

Witnessing the in-game numbers over the last six months, I've thought CCP was aiming for an end of year expansion sized release. What would such an expansion look like? I believe today's announcement provides a framework.

First, comes industry. CCP listed 5 areas of change upcoming to EVE:

  • Increased quantity of all resources across New Eden
  • Introduction of moon goo and gas compression
  • A balance pass for all mining ships
  • Additional specialized holds for gas and ice
  • Rework of the industrial index including greater choice over the distribution of resources

In addition to the opening of the ESS reserve banks coming to Tranquility in August, a revamp of the of existing null sec anomalies is planned. CCP plans to add a new type of capital anomaly because CCP wants players to bring their big toys into space.

While big leaps have been made in the balance around capital escalations with changes to cynos and super umbrellas, the current risk vs reward for putting valuable assets in space is off and needs work. New types of objectives are being looked at to get big ships back on grid, so that there will be something to hunt and fight over.

What else is up for discussion? Structures and sovereignty. CCP directly referenced (although did not link) a thread on the EVE sub-Reddit about structures.

The continued improvement of the experience around foundational systems like structures and sovereignty is also a priority. The recent structure manifesto put together by EVE’s dedicated content creators is a clear sign that although structures have been focused on for several releases last year, there still remains a lot of potential there, starting with structure module balance.

Null sec is not the only area of the game CCP is looking to conduct a structure revamp.

A large change was also made to the dynamics in Pochven by unlocking the conduit loop for everyone. This had a huge effect on the activity in Pochven, more than doubling the number of characters visiting the region daily ever since. That’s great news but it also helped highlight the need for continued iteration. ‘Seagulling’ is being cleaned up and benefits to loyalty are beginning to be added back towards Pochven residents by shifting NPC behaviour, but work on changes to structure mechanics in Pochven and other adjustments to make it a unique and rewarding place to call home are also underway. [emphasis mine]

The potential for a big content drop exists. What about timing? Most of the items appear to take some significant effort and CCP is famously out of the office from mid-July to the end of August.  The dev blog also indicates the changes will come in the final quarter of 2021. I still think combining most of the changes into a single patch, probably in the second half of November or first half of December, makes sense. The 800-pound canary in the room for CCP doing so is the release of FFXIV's Endwalker expansion on 23 November. With the momentum that game has built, anything that happens in EVE will be dwarfed by its next expansion.

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