Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Winter Is Here, Now What About Summer?

On November 29th (two weeks earlier than I predicted but still on a Tuesday... expansions are always on a Tuesday...) Crucible will be delivered and a new age of graphical and functional improvements will be available to the pilots of New Eden. New ships, new customs offices, new nebulae, new engine trails... and add to that the modifications to super capitals, hybrids, Gallente and Caldari ships... it definitely has been a dream come true for many pilots.

But, as has been pointed out in other place, Crucible is all about making existing for former players happy to shore up the eroding subscriber base and expertise bleed. Its not going to attract new customers very much by itself (although a happy playerbase is a a good draw in of itself).

So its time to start thinking about the Summer expansion. Release planning as they call it in SCRUM circles. What are the stories/epic stories going to be? Here are my suggestions as a stakeholder in the decision process.

1) Establishments

CCP has invested a lot of time and effort into Incarna and I think its important to acknowledge that the concept is valid in that avatars in sci-fi environments will attract certain types of players, and that the avatars and captain's quarters that they have created look amazing (overheating graphics card notwithstanding). CCP may have failed in the roll out and communication and priority setting, but that is in the past and we need to keep this moving forward.

A first basic step would be a story to allow players to visit each other quarters, or perhaps even multiple visitors. It would be cool if there was some sort of minigame they could play on the screen together in the quarters, just hanging out on the couch. Even this limited gameplay would be a huge step from avatars just chillin' alone in the quarters.

The next step is actually leaving quarters and meeting in establishments, but I don't know how feasible that is with CCP current development of incarna assets and we don't want the whole expansion to be about incarna as that is what lead to the summer of rage in the first place. But if two teams over the release can get a basic establishment that allowed up to 6 players to chill in a bar and perhaps play poker, I would call that a huge win. Heck, even playing pong with a mate in my quarters is a win here, CCP. Aim low and surpass expectations (because doing the opposite has not worked out, you know what I mean?).

2) Expand the NeX store

I like vanity items, and I'm disappointed in the NeX store in two regards: not enough selection and prices too high. The latter can be forgiven if CCP is trying to create a luxury market to keep items moderately rare, but the former needs to be addressed at least by four fold.
- more clothes
- more tattoos
- more implants

And not only incarna avatar stuff. Where are my special paint job BPCs for my ships? Where are my customized furniture options for the quarters?

I think its important that forward momentum on the items in the NeX store continue as long as the items in no way give a PvP advantage.

3) New Ships

They don't necessarily have to be brand new hulls like the pocket battleships, but nothing excites the playerbase more or has the potential to change up the optimals in PvP more than new ships. I suggest (as per my ideas post) Tech II versions of the tier II battlecruisers, but even tech II versions of the new tier III battlecruisers (Heavy Stealth Bombers!) or tech II versions of the tier III battleships (Flagships!) would be awesome and interesting. Or perhaps Tech II carriers...?

4) Dominion Redux

Ultimately, the Dominion expansion was not a shining success. Sov warfare went from POS bashing to structure bashing, and the improvements through IHUBs remain lackluster at best. Population per system overall may have actually decreased since the anomaly nerf.

While player owned customs offices goes a good way to providing more terrain for player modification in the null sec battle theatre, there needs to be more. Perhaps more player structures in the scale of the customs offices that perform industrial / logistical roles; for example, a player owned storage hanger that acts like a hanger array at a POS, and a player owned ship maintenance array for making in space modifications and storing a couple ships. Risk versus reward where reward is convenience and the risk is it getting blown up.

In addition, I think its time to make sovereignty of a system and its outpost (if any) dependent on actually living there and not on the number of structures your alliance has anchored. Making reinforcement timers for structures smaller, with fewer hitpoints, would encourage hostile alliances to send smaller fleets while at the same time encouraging alliances to rally to defence of those systems since they can be lost more easily. Also, make IHUBs and their installed improvements capture-able like outposts.

5) Open Up Jove Space

Its time to break that pinata and open it up to a land rush. Story: Jove are gone, leaving behind their empty station husks and a few broken relics. Sansha and/or Sleepers can be the rats of the regions, the Jove technology pretty much lost, many stations gone. Lots of storyline applications here, as well as justifications for some of the other major features.

* * * * *
Those are my suggestions, leave in the comments your ideas for major features for the summer expansion.


  1. Our thoughts seem to align pretty much, although I certainly spent more time on the opening of Jove space and even the idea of adding them as a playable race. WiS can't be completely dumped, the reasons behind doing it were good, just the execution was found lacking. I still like my idea of a Rookie Sanctuary, but it is such a noob focused idea I doubt it'll get much traction.

    Either way, good idears as always.

  2. Any word out on how much damage it will take to reduce a player owned customs office?

  3. I like it. Though I'm more inclined to agree with Rixx, Jove should still be "present", though not playable, in fact probably actively hostile to players... of course as their tech is way advanced compared to the other empires, their rats and complexes should be EXTREMELY difficult requiring fleets for plexes/anoms (nope, not even dualboxing would be sufficient)... but yield some impressive rewards. New items, new BPOs/BPCs, new ships... a "Jove" expansion would be complete winsauce.

  4. Summer is gonna be mostly DUST/EVE integration and a complete revamp of current sov mechanics. DUST is gonna go into closed BETA soon after the winter expansion hits and i think release will be may-june 2012.

    That said, I'd also like more Incarna content, only that I would like EVE Onlyne style gameplay and not f***ing dress up games:
    - Enable an assasination mechanic
    - Revamp the bounty hunter system
    - Introduce a black market mechanic
    - Introduce theratre command centres in player built stations with new designed command and control interfaces for theatre commanders /which can lead feed from the shacles of piloting a ship)
    - make POSes actual dockable starbases which a corp can liv in and walk in
    - Introduce motherships which can be deployed into a forward command centre with similar functions as the stations theatre command centres

  5. @Mord: last I saw on failheap challenge was this:
    "CCP Omen

    =HP scpecification=
    * Customs Office Gantry
    ** Shield: 10,000,000
    ** Armor: 500,000
    ** Structure: 300,000

    * Customs Office
    ** Shield: 10,000,000
    ** Armor: 2,500,000
    ** Structure: 2,000,000
    That's ballpark 15mins for 15 peeps in DPS battleships to reinforce. About right IMO."

  6. The pocket battleship label is bugging me :)

    The new BCs are NOT pocket battleships. They are, in fact, in the vein as the RL battle cruisers introduced during the Great War period they get their name from. Battle cruiserswere intended to hunt down enemy cruiser squadrons and demolish them at range. To that end, they had battleship guns, cruiser speed, and armour somewhere in between. In other words, CCP is finally introducing a ship whose name is actually in line with its RL compatriot.

    Indeed if there are any pocket battleships in EVE, they already exist. Current EVE BCs can be converted to pocket battleships simply by fitting a couple of large turrets. RL pocket battleships were just a propaganda name for what was, at that time, the prototype for a super-heavy cruiser. Truth be told, the current crop of EVE BCs are more closely related to the super-heavy cruisers of mid-to-late WWII than they are any sort of battle cruiser.