Recycling Incarna

This entry has been written from an ‘out of character’ perspective to discuss EVE’s development.

The Incarna vision of 2011 might be dead and buried, but somewhere in CCP’s development vaults lies an indeterminate amount of finished or mostly finished content that they had been working on for months or even years.

This week I have noticed two examples of CCP rolling out such work.  The first is obvious enough; the unreleased NeX Store items.

Overview of new clothes available

It was common knowledge that there is a large amount of unreleased – but already finished – vanity items that CCP put on ice following last year’s controversies and scrapping of their Incarna plans.  Since then a load of stuff has been sat in the client but not seeded, and probably more of it waiting to be added to the database.

In his blog earlier this week, CCP Unifex has laid out CCP’s response to vocal player interest in these items and the new pricing and distribution plans for it all.  The prices for the new items look to be reduced by as much as 90% in cases, the current cheapest items in the NeX store cost 1,000 Aurum, where new items will cost as little as 100 Aurum, and up to 500 Aurum.

If CCP had launched the NeX store with these prices and a half-decent selection of items then the rage over NeX might have been much reduced, ‘merely’ leaving the considerable Captains Quarters issues.  As it is, they are at least finally making micro transactions reasonably affordable.  That just leaves the issue of if you think its ok to have micro transactions in a subscription game or not, I suppose.

I am actually ok with it as CCP have said in the past that the revenue generated by MT items can be used to fund the creation of additional items in future, dependent on demand.  So long as that actually happens, I think this is a reasonable approach.  The alternative would be to see development resources diverted from core game play/spaceship art to create vanity items, and I don’t see that being a very popular situation.  Given that it is still entirely possible to acquire these items purely through ISK without using your credit card, this is fine by me.

Watching the reaction to this dev blog was interesting.  I came across a comment saying how sad it is that CCP felt they had to hammer home the point that these vanity items are already completed work, and have not diverted any efforts from Inferno.  Then a few posts later there was some guy raging at CCP wasting their time on making this stuff when they should been working on Inferno.  Some people are just determined to be angry for the hell of it, I’m sure.  I suspect that second poster had read the blog but decided to go rage regardless.  Oh well.  Most of the feedback seems fairly positive, if cautious.

On to piece number two.  A seemingly random Dust514 blog entry on how to play ‘Slay’.  You might be wondering just WTF this ‘Slay’ is.  Well, Slay is, or maybe I should say was going to be, this;

That is a screen shot from some time ago of Incarna in development.  Slay was to be one of the mini games we would be able to play in Incarna’s establishments.  It was supposed to be demoed at fanfest a few years back but I’m pretty sure was pulled from the schedule as I never did see any evidence of it when I was there that year.

It seems that CCP have found a use for it in Dust514’s PlayStation Home Game Space in which you can apparently also talk to a virtual bartender, who will refer you to a recruitment officer, who in turn is a source of Dust514 beta codes.

So, a year on and CCP are utilising some of the development work that went into Incarna, and apparently rolling out a very diluted form of the Incarna vision in Dust514’s portal.  It is interesting to see a few things emerging from development limbo at last, and good to see CCP making use of the work already done.

It does make me wonder though, what sort of progress is Team Avatar making on their WiS prototyping behind closed doors, and could a new strategy be quietly emerging?  Time will tell.

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