CCP shuts down VR department

VR hasn’t become the success CCP was hoping for apparently and it’s closing down 2 studios related to VR development. The timing is a little odd, in september there was still a presentation for Valkyrie at Eve Vegas.

The press statement also stated that ‘Eve development won’t be affected by this lay off’. But strangely enough even CCP_Logibro, a name even I recognize is laid off as well. He might be a community manager, who probably isn’t typing C++ every day, but to say Eve is not effected when 100 of your 350 employees are fired is a little odd.

Does VR still have a future ? The uptake is very low if we have to believe the Steam hardware survey (0,12 % with the oculus rift being the most popular). The price and the need to have a good video card doesn’t exactly help. Furthermore I believe that most people don’t really want to be lost in a game, completely shut off from your environment. Also the heavy device on your head doesn’t look very comfortable to me. Anyway, we’ll see what the future brings, don’t think VR is my cup of tea, but maybe I am just getting old ;).

Links :

Blog Banter 80 – Only a pawn in their game

Welcome to the continuing monthly EVE Blog Banters and our 80th edition! For more details about what the blog banters are please visit the Blog Banterpage.
Blog Banter 80 – A Voice for All Players?

CCP Seagull ecourages you to get involved in CSM12 and put your name forward to be a Space-Politician. On his blog Neville Smit noted that CSM11 had done a good job with minimum of drama. However he said he’d not be covering CSM12 like he has in previous years as he sees no point. The power-blocs will vote on who they want and unless Steve Ronuken manages to get on CSM12 it is almost certainly going to have every seat taken by the big null-sec blocs.

Is Neville right? Is the CSM moving more and more into just a voice for 0.0? Is this a bad thing? Are the hi-sec, low-sec and WH players going to lose out badly or is it really not an issue as its the same game? Could a totally null-sec dominated CSM 12 give a balanced voice for everyone?

Ever since the CSM was introduced, I always thought it was not much more than a marketing ploy. ‘Oh look in our game the players have their own council etc.’. And in the course of time (11 installments later), not much has changed my mind on this.

One could argue that this backfired with various scandals, although Eve being what it is, this was hardly surprising, and might have attracted more publicity. And there is no such thing as bad publicity ;).

As stated above,  at the moment only power blocks from 0.0 seem to get a seat in the CSM. Is this a bad thing ? I would say yes. A lot of players don’t play in 0.0 or in one of the big alliances. But hardly anyone cares for the CSM any more. And if only 0.0 blocks get voted in, than it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy as people don’t see the point of voting any more, since their vote doesn’t matter anyway. All in all a sad state of affairs.

Contributors:-
Jack Jomar – BB80 – Is CSM Worth it?
I Care A Lot – BB 80: A Voice for All Players?
Neville Smit – Blog Banter #80: A CSM for All?
Inner Sanctum of the Ninveah – BB80 – Voices.
The Ancient Gaming Noob – BB80 – Oh That Crazy CSM Thing
Jakob’s Eve Checklist – BB80: Is it feasible to have a FW representative on CSM 12?
Eve Hermit – BB80 – Who is Listening to Who?

Blog Banter #78–The Big Reset

Welcome to the continuing monthly EVE Blog Banters and our 78th edition! For more details about what the blog banters are please visit the Blog Banter page. This months topic comes from Talvorian Dex.

Blog Banter 78 – The Big Reset

Just for a moment engage your “willing suspension of disbelief”. Imagine that CCP, at downtime today, reset everything in Eve Online. Everything! When you logged in you were in a starter system with your character… but now with less than a million skill points, a mere 5,000 ISK and a noob ship (now with civilian afterburner!). Markets are pretty empty other than a few seeded items. All Sov is gone. All player structures are gone. All PI infrastructure is gone. No corps or alliances exist. Nothing remains. New Eden is suddenly a completely level playing field and the next great goldrush is on? Or is it? What happens now?

Banter on…..

As far as I know, the Big Reset has been at least once in an MMO and that was the infamous NGE update in Star Wars Galaxies. It’s still referenced to, for example I found this on an elder scrolls online forum. In case you want to know more here’s a nice write up, albeit a little long.

What it came down to, the game changed so much, due to a new combat system that a lot of gear and skills were worthless over night. What made people really angry though, was that the whole thing was extremely buggy. Mobs would move at twice the speed, you couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn with your guns etc etc.

reset_button

Besides the bugs, a reset is the last available ultimate tool an MMO developer has to try one last time to revitalize interest in their game. It comes with a lot of press attention, and probably a lot of new players who want to see what the hype is about, and who want to seek out new opportunities. In eve’s case, maybe that piece of 0.0 space you always craved for. On the downside, most of your old veteran players will leave. And they wont leave silently, they’ll make a fuz. They’ll camp Jita and suicide gank etc etc. You get the picture Winking smile. It would be interesting though, everybody mining for trit in a simple cruiser or frig, running level 2 missions for a few isk. Though it would be a bit much for people who have already gone through the whole thing.

So the reset would only happen if CCP would be extremely desperate and they’re about to go under. I assume we’re not at that point just yet Winking smile.

Contributors:-

Eve Hermit – BB78 – THE MORE THINGS CHANGE, THE MORE THEY STAY THE SAME
Jack Jomar – BB78 – The Great Reset
Inner Sanctum of the Ninveah – Blog Banter 78 – The Big Reset
The Ancient Gaming Noob – BB78 – Can The Slate Ever Be Made Clean Again?
Ghost of Eve – BB78 – The Big Reset
Space Cadet Online – BB78 – What if EVE was Reset?
SCASS – BB78 – Worse than Brexit

Eve goes a little Free 2 Play

Announced in a devblog on august 31st, Eve will get a free 2 play component. The regular subscription accounts will stay though, the free 2 play accounts will have limited access to the game.

The Alpha Clone State is the new base state for all clones and it will be available to any character in New Eden at any time. Clones in the Alpha state will be able to train and use a specific set of skills including tech one Frigates, Destroyers and Cruisers for your faction along with essential weapons and modules. Alphas will also train skills at a reduced rate compared to Omegas.

That is pretty much stuff you do in the first few months of the game. Doing missions and mining in a frig or cruiser. From what I read above any specialised ships are out, so if you want a real mining vessel or go out exploring in a Buzzard, you’re out of luck. But I am sure it’ll bring in some new players who can play longer now without having to spend money on a subscription, but how long they’ll stay I don’t know.

This seems very similar to what other MMOs do, for example you can play World of Warcraft all you want for free, up to level 20. There are restriction just like the ‘Alpha Clones’. You can only earn 10 gold and talk in /say or wisper your friends. This is of course to limit abuse for gold farming / selling etc. Since Eve is a very different game focused on PVP there are of course dangers in free throwaway accounts. The ancient gaming noob is going deeper into that. Since Eve players are very creative, I am sure they’ll come up with more loop holes CCP will have to fix ;).

There’s also a big thread on this on reddit, you can find it here.

Blog Banter 77 – The Malaise

Blog Banter 77
Is there a malaise affecting Eve currently? Blogs and podcasts are going dark and space just feels that little bit emptier. One suggestion is that there may be a general problem with the vets, especially those pre-Incarna and older, leaving and being replaced by newer players who are not as invested in the game. The colonists versus immigrants? Is this a problem? Are there others? Or is everything just fine and it’s just another bout of summer “ZOMG EVE IZ DYING!”

This topic had to be addressed at some point in a blog banter I assume, but the topic is as old as Eve itself ;). But there might be some truth to it at this point in time. Let’s face it, Eve isn’t getting any younger. And without any major expansions, as of the last few years, it’s not attracting a lot of new players. The gaming landscape has changed a lot, as have the players themselves since Eve started. It would only be natural to slowly fade away.

Now let’s look at some numbers, you can check eve-offline yourself, also the other participants of this Blog Banter have probably linked the pics by now. You can see a decline (including the usual summer slum) for the past few years.

Google trends is interesting. It shows a peak at 2010 or so and a little decline from ten on wards. Sadly from 2015 or so the trend is at an all time low.

googleTrends

Eve Online Search

I know not a lot of people play Eve through Steam, but we’re looking for trends here, not actual numbers.

steamcharts

Eve Online Steam Charts

You can easily see the decline from about mid 2015 and onwards, with a very interesting peak in May 2016, because of the big war going on. So apparently interest is there, (unless these were all alt accounts, I assume though people playing through steam play usually one account), but people don’t know what to do (any more ?).

So to answer the original question, yes there is a decline, and it’s been faily obvious. To get out of it you’d need a big expansion of some sort to catch media attention and some hype around the game again IMHO, otherwise it’ll just slowly fade away.

You can find the other participants at the Blog Banter 77 main post.

Blog Banter 76 – Bull’s Eye

At fanfest CCP Fozzie proposed a potential new ship class. Let’s call it the fleet commander’s flagship for now. This is to try and prevent “FC Headshotting” where the opposing fleet knows who the FC is and alpha’s them off the field leaving the rest of the fleet in confusion and disarray. Fozzie mentioned a ship with a great tank but no offensive abilities. Is this a good idea? Is FC head-shotting a legitimate tactic? If CCP do go down the route of a “flagship” how might this work? Also is a new ship the answer or is there another way of giving an FC the ability not to be assassinated 12 seconds into the fight without letting players exploit
 

My experience in fleet warfare is mainly limited to the days when Factional Warfare started. The FCs indeed did get shot at first. Factional Warfare those days was a somewhat tight club and it was well known who the FCs were in most big skirmishes. If I remember well, most flew around in something agile and nimble or order to try to not get caught or a very heavily tanked battleship. I might have seen a damnation, but those were expensive ;).

So do we really need an FC ship ? There are already options, but in big fleet battles once you’re the primary target probably no amount of tank would help. Maybe some sort of ship that has a siege mode, which will mean huge resistances, but no mobility and no offence ?
The flagship suggested in this BB is kind of like drawing a big Bull’s Eye on one ship in your fleet and waving a flag while screaming ‘Shoot me Shoot me’.

Arrow Bull's Eye

Now if we think outside the box a little, it would be cool if the FC could co pilot or even be a passenger on one of the other ships and concentrate on his FCing from there. Sort of like the Star Trek Bridge ;). I am afraid in order to do that, the game would need some rewriting in order to make this feasible.
Another option, though not as cool as the above one, would be to simply remove the names and give them more generic names in order to still be able to call targets. Not my idea, but I think I read that in one of the other responses to this BB. Of course there are in game targeting tools as well, but they might be laggy in case of a large scale battle.

Anyway, there are some option to tackle this problem, I don’t think the ‘flagship’ one is the best one though.
Other participants:
Grimmash on Gaming – Blog Banter 76: Whither Flagships?
The Wormhole – BB76 – Tanky McTankFace
SCASS – BB76 – The FC’s Flagship
Inner Sanctum of the Ninveah – Blog Banter 76 – Flagships
YADOT – A CAPSULEERS ADVENTURE – BB76 – The FC’s new chariot

Blog Banter 75–Dust revisited

Welcome to the continuing monthly EVE Blog Banters and our 75th edition! For more details about what the blog banters are please visit the Blog Banter page.


What Does Project Nova Need to Be Successful?
At Fanfest CCP showcased their current iteration of the FPS set in the Eve Universe. Following on from DUST514 and Project Legion, Project Nova is shaping up to be a solid FPS with CCP taking the decision to get the game mechanics right first. However with so many FPS out there what will Nova need in order to stand out from a very large crowd and be successful? What are the opportunities and perhaps more importantly, the dangers for CCP? How can Nova compete against CoD, Battlefront and Titanfall to name a few?

bf1943-2

First of all I have to say I am a little surprised CCP is even trying to take on this project. After DUST I was expecting them to do something different, but I guess they didn’t want to waste all the experience from DUST and they want to give FPS another go. I tried to like DUST but I never really got into it. The incredibly hard to read text and awkward menus (maybe that changed later) didn’t make a good impression from what I remember. The gameplay was so so.

So first of all to make any sort of good impression, the game needs to have solid mechanics. First impressions are what count, people don’t have a lot of patience these days, so that has to be good right from the bat. Second it needs vehicles Smile. I love vehicles in these games. Well to be honest the FPS I last played somewhat regularly was Battlefield 3. I am not getting any younger, so you need to rely on street smarts and well tanks and helicopters to get your kills, not so much on reflexes.

bf1943-1

From what I remember I loved Battlefield 1943 on the Xbox 360. You could fly planes and also drive around in tanks and jeeps it was awesome. Not sure which game came up with that first, but I remember that game for doing it right.

Will it have to tie in with Eve somehow ? DUST tried, but it was never really implemented well. Not sure they should even try this time around though. Eve players don’t really want their game influenced by a bunch of Free to Play players (assuming it’s going that route ?) or whatever that hardly know what Eve is.

cod2_4

Anyway, I don’t think just solid mechanics and ‘fun’ will do it though. They’ll have to come up with something  special to get people’s attention. It’s a hard market to break into, but it’ll be interesting to see what they will come up with. If the project will actually will see the light of day …

You can find the other participants of this blog banter at http://sandciderandspaceships.blogspot.nl/2016/05/blog-banter-75-what-does-project-nova.html

Citadel

As we speak Eve is updating to Citadel, the new expansion that will bring the new POS like structures, or maybe as POS were originally intended Winking smile. You can get your Medium, Large or XL structure blueprint at the moment and a select number of modules. I can imagine the sub components needed will sky rocket the prices in the market, but things will settle down eventually as they always do.

 

Meanwhile Blog Banter #74 is going at the moment. It’s about Fanfest and what people thought was the biggest reveal. Well I didn’t notice any. So I decided to not dedicate a post to it. But I felt obliged to post this here though, since I usually love the blog banters.

The official announcement blog post is over here.

Great guide can be found here : Citadels the ultimate guide

Blog Banter 72–Road to nowhere

Blog Banter 72 – This is the Road (map) to…..

This month’s suggestion comes from Jakob Anedalle.

“What do you think about using Sugar’s recent blog post as a kickoff for a Blog Banter. I think it’s a great open-ended topic:

http://www.lowseclifestyle.com/2016/02/your-ideal-roadmap.html

I am writing just as the  new dev blog is causing a bit of a shit storm over at reddit and the official forum. Anyway, I feel a bit like an outsider looking in, as I haven’t been actually playing, but I look at this subject as someone who’s still following the game and reading about it. What would draw me in again ?

Judging by that latest dev blog, CCP is a little desperate to get people back in. Granting amnesty for people who bought ISK in the past. I am afraid, they don’t have any money / staff at the moment to pull off something big, that would bring in new players and pull back in, those that haven’t played in quite a while.

First of all we got the skill injection thing so returning / new players can ‘catch up’. I think what would bring back in those players CCP so desperately wants is a new big expansion. Something like the Wormhole expansion, Apocrypha. All these sprints and little improvements / new ships are all nice, but they aren’t creating any new headlines. A new hyped up expansion that would add a new PVE element that’s actually fun to do (solo and in a group) would be nice.

road-to-nowhere

So I’d put that on my roadmap. What exactly would that be you might ask ? I have no clue to be honest, I am sure some smart people can come up with something. Bit of a bad roadmap this, come to think of it Winking smile.

Also 0.0 space would need some love and they way it’s conquered.All you ever read about the sovereignty rules are complaints, so that needs (yet another) rewrite.

I do realize my roadmap is a little vague, but the point is that CCP needs to come up with something big otherwise Eve will just bleed out and slowly disappear. Is this going to happen ? I am afraid not, I don’t think they have the resources at the moment.

Other participants can be found at the main blog banter page over at Sand Cider and Spaceships !