Monday, September 30, 2013

Eat Your Cake

I spent Friday and the weekend trying to formulate my thoughts on the announced features in the Rubicon expansion fully. I've read a lot, I mean A LOT, of impressions and opinions on other blogs that range from mildly optimistic to downright frustrated, trending more towards the latter than the former.

Why is that?

When Incarna arrived and the playerbase erupted into righteous rage due to the gameplay being non-existent and existing content left to rot (and I'll have more to say about Incarna tomorrow), CCP over-corrected with Crucible, an expansion that was nothing but little fixes and improvements. Since then, we have seen the following expansions and major features:

Inferno - Revamped war declaration system, factional war overhaul, and new missile effects
Retribution - New Crimewatch and Bounty Hunting
Odyssey - New Probing system and Hacking minigame

Doesn't seem like a lot, does it? Now, there have been a lot more to those expansions as you can see here which have included fixes, iterations (including Tiericide), new ships and modules, etc (seriously, have a look at the list of stuff in each expansion, it is eye opening to be reminded how much is in there). The expansions have not been lacking in the amount of work CCP has dedicated to them, but each one has been consecutively less well received by the playerbase.

Again, the original question I asked: Why?

The quick and simple answer is that players want their cake and to eat it too.

They want existing features to be iterated on and improved and brought up to date. They want ships rebalanced and for each one to have a role. They want weapon systems made unique yet balanced. They want POSes to be less evil to use. They want annoying and broken little things to be addressed.

But they also want the 'Jesus' features. They want slews of new ships, new weapons, new space, new mechanics, new sov system, new POS system, new wars, new ring mining, walking in stations... and they want it NOW!

While the playerbase was so burnt out on new content while old content rotted that they celebrated Crucible and Inferno, and to a lesser extent Retribution, we can see in Odyssey that the fickle players are feeling the blahs of seeing old content recycled and presented as new expansion material, even though that is exactly what CCP were screamed at for not doing in the years prior. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Which brings us back to Rubicon.
Obligatory Expansion Image

This no-win situation was summed up perfectly in a blog post at Sand, Cider, and Spaceships by Drackarn called Eve Rubicon - An Open Letter to Eelis Kiy:
So there you go Eelis, the quick guide to the features (so far announced) of the Rubicon 'expansion'. Yes, I know there doesn't seem to be a lot. Yes, it is an 'expansion' in the loosest possible terms when compared to something like Apocrypha. Yes, there is nothing to re-invigorate bored players or bring back ex-players... but those SoE ships do look nice! And you have to remember that the development resources are needed to rescue DUST. But didn't you see in the above, Interceptors will be immune to warp bubbles!!! Apparently for some, this five second coding change suggested by a player on the forums makes everything all right and elevates this from a point release to a full blown 'expansion' of awesomeness?

Have I convinced you to hand in your ex-player-bitter-vet card and rejoin Eve Online? No? To be honest I didn't convince myself here either.
This post, more than any other, echoed my feelings and put them into words I can read. And seeing my misgivings in letters and actual sentences forced me to face the truth. I am being unreasonable. Eve players are being unreasonable if they think they can have massive new development from the ground up that is fully functional and feature complete AND iteration on existing features that is meaningful and useful. Not in six month release cycles (and we'll talk more about that Wednesday!).

Being forced to face my greedy self interest I came to the conclusion that CCP gets this round and one more expansion to show me the direction of this 3 year plan before I start passing out torches and pitchforks. I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and go to bat for them one more time.

Bring on the Player Owned Platforms! (We'll talk more about them Thursday.)


  1. :o)

    If CCP said outright "Look guys we are working some awesome new content, yes this winter expansion is a bit light, but we have most of our resources working towards the summer release which needs all hands on deck as its huge and awesome." then I'd never have written that post. I'd have said, "meh, but OK, I can live with that.".

    I mean look at the in-game character select screen and the news on the right. Rubicon's the top news story, and what is the first thing they say? Rebalancing of Marauders, interceptors and interdictors. Headline feature? Who is working on this expansion? Fozzie, Rise and the guy who makes the tea?

    In my mind I see most of CCP slaving away on saving DUST514 and neglecting flying in space. Mmmmmm have we been here before? I might be waaaaaaay off the mark, but without any other details, that's what I'm thinking.

  2. What if CCP was like Blizzard used to be?
    They promise the next expansion will fix everything POS-related. Then they delay the expansion 5 times because they want to give us a finished product and we get the expansion two years after the original release date.

    It does get harder to bring new 'jesus' features into a game. Do we really need more regions, modules, ships, POS alternative or would iteration of POS, ships, modules, low-sec space be a better option?

    I like the argument about when to you call something an expansion. With expansions I expect new gameplay and jesus features and will be dissappointed if CCP does not deliver.

    If there was like one expansion every two years with three upgrades/patches in between I would be more satisfied because I wouldn't expect much more as iterations/ship rebalancing from a patch.

    You don't get happy customers by giving them what they want, they always want more. You get happy customers by managing their expectations and exceeding those.

    1. Anonymous4:53 pm

      CCP was that way lonnnnng b4 blizzard.......then after that they hyped up shit and didn't deliver culminating with incarna....tbh ccp just needs to find a happy medium why does every team have to be working on little fixes u can rebalance a ship class and have a Jesus feature hell if they would have released t1 rebalance with incarna players would have been fine