Flight of the Seagull

This entry has been written from an ‘out of character’ perspective to discuss EVE’s new Executive Producer and the progress on that roadmap of hers.

Ok, this is  the one where we catch up on the Executive Producer thing and roll on to the more up to date happenings.  Because I said I would.

EVE-Online finally has a new Executive Producer!  This news reached us about a year later than expected but I’m happy with the result.  CCP’s Senior Producer Angie Nordgren has finally been recognised as the right person for the job by CCP management and has been promoted.

But why the wait?  And didn’t CCP want to hire someone external?  Yes, they did.  Jon Lander (CCP Unifex) stood down as EVE’s Executive Producer back in April 2013, and Hilmar had this to say.

For our next Executive Producer of EVE Online, we will be looking outside of CCP. We have been actively interviewing candidates and plan on a smooth transition over the summer. I am letting you know now so everyone can plan on buying Jon a lot of beers at Fanfest, but also because we have had a lot of really talented people join CCP from the EVE community over the past decade. Jon himself is in fact one such example. It might very well be that some of you have what it takes for this job, or know someone that does.

Feel free to make wild guesses about what happened to those candidates.  Over a year later we now have EVE’s then-senior producer getting the job after all.  I don’t why none of the candidates Hilmar was talking to a year ago didn’t pan out, and it may just be one of those things, but in the year since CCP Seagull has gained experience and demonstrated what she can do and brings to EVE.  Furthermore, CCP has suffered some painful setbacks over the past year in the form of Dust514 failing to meet expectations, World of Darkness being cancelled and EVE itself failing to sustain its traditional growth.

Why then do I think Andie Nordgren is right for the job?  Because I don’t think that her efforts have much to do with any of these problems.  Certainly Dust514 & WoD were not her doing.  As for EVE, I think the much debated decline in activity is due to the sort of legacy issues that she herself has identified and developed a plan to tackle.  Time is finally catching up to EVE, but fixing these old design flaws takes, well, time.

The good news is that CCP Seagull is already a year or more into her long-term roadmap and vision for pulling EVE out of its current rut.  Even better, I’m starting to see a little light on the horizon.  As disenchanted and worn down as I have been feeling lately about EVE, this lady is starying to make me think that she might be able to pull this off.

The switch from two large expansions a year to ten smaller flexible releases was a bold move that made a lot of sense.  It is intended to both let CCP release features as they are ready and to take the time they need for more complex projects that don’t fit well into the old expansion model.  Some of the legacy issues currently dragging EVE down, such as the arcane POS code, are prime examples.  CCP can’t rebuild the whole POS system from start to finish and make it awesome with less than six months to work on it.  Nor could they complete the Industry revamp in that time frame.

The Kronos release was made up of content originally planned as a traditional expansion.  It was meant to include the Industry revamp too, but Fanfest feedback showed CCP that they weren’t in a good place yet to ship it.  The new release schedule allowed them to take an extra six weeks and deploy a much improved version in Crius instead, which is cool. My issue with this new model however was that sooner or later we will get an underwhelming release with not much in it.  I thought that release would be Hyperion, but it seems I’m wrong.

Hyperion is going to include the largest update to Wormhole space (Anoikis to we lore junkies) since they were first put into the game.  This I did not see coming.  I am very impressed that CCP are doing so quickly on the heels of both Kronos and Crius.  I am particularly impressed that CCP Fozzie’s huge blog detailing the suite of changes in this WH revamp is apparently not even the sum total of what is going to be in Hyperion.  CCP Seagull has a blog of her own coming out with yet more stuff in it!  Those devs are certainly cranking out the content at the moment.

For 2014 then we still have four more releases slated.  Hyperion on August 26th, Oceanus on September 30th, Phoebe on November 4th and Rhea on December 9th.  If we are going to have a smaller release, then I’m thinking it will probably be Oceanus.  CCP Seagull’s recent AMA had a few interesting comments in it, one of which being this one.

 [–]MagCore 44 points 9 days ago

I really get a sense of your enthusiasm and passion when you talk about the game. When you talk about “re-imagining sov” it gives hope to us 0.0 players. Are you able to give any kind of generalised timeframe/progress on this?

[–]ccp-seagullCCP[S] 58 points 9 days ago

We will start this year, with changes in one or more of the remaining releases this year. Those will not be changes that will be the single solution to sov, but rather changes rolling out continuously to make things interesting. And as we continue work on new structures, and new corp and alliance functionality, we will be able to do more and more interesting things, especially about connecting smaller group actions and ownership of space or structures to the bigger picture warfare in new ways.

Hyperion is shaking up Wormholes, not next year but a fortnight from now and I don’t think many people would have guessed that was coming so soon.  With changes like this coming so soon after all the stuff that was in Kronos and Crius I would expect that Oceanus may be the lighter release of the year.  But I suspect that we might start seeing changes made to null sec soon after in Phoebe.

At this point my hope for the end of the year is that CCP will have taken their first crack at revamping corporation management, a tangled mess of headaches that could come close to rivalling industry for complexity.  I certainly think we will get the Invention overhaul as it just makes sense to press on with it post-Crius.

It will be interesting indeed to see where EVE will be by January 2015 and how many of the ‘legacy road block systems’ have been tackled.  Whatever may be, if CCP can maintain their current pace then CCP Seagull will have made a believer out of me.

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2 Responses to Flight of the Seagull

  1. Sir Prime / Bjoern says:

    Well we know they always had difficulty recruiting to Iceland and therefore offered a good benefits package to persuade people. They withdrew it and replaced it with a far worse version. CCP have also received a lot of press over mismanagement recently and has been under a lot of pressure (allegedly) to reduce costs from their investors so can’t look a good bet as a long term employee. Not surprised they can’t get good senior managers.

    CCP Seagull’s only “quality” is that she is Icelandic. From what they announced at FF 2 years ago she was a recent graduate.

    Can’t get past how appaling her speech at FF was back then. She literally just told us what project management was… During the key note speech of all things. As if we didn’t know. No details of the project itself just the theory of the process. A lot of us fed that back politely and from speaking to CCP people since they took it on board.

    Last time it was a lot better but still not great for the speech that is supposed to send all the most dedicated players out to proselytise about eve to their friends after FF.

    To this date I don’t think she’s once defined the goal of her five year plan in a practical way.

    Come back Jon Lander!

    • Ugleb says:

      I’m pretty sure she is Swedish actually! I think the main issue she has had so far is that she hasn’t held a job title this big before and is having to grow into it. In that first Fanfest presentation of hers she was clearly nervous and we’ll outside of her comfort zone. This year she was much better but still obviously not used to it yet. I think it is a skill she can learn and to be honest I’d prefer an executive producer to be a project manager than a showman. I also think there is a lot of positive in that Seagull is so wary of over promising. CCP have been guilty of it for years and are now suffering for not delivering more. They can’t afford to promise yet another grand scheme that doesn’t pan out.

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