This entry has been written from an ‘out of character’ perspective to discuss EVE’s current release(s).
When I wrote about EVE’s last release, Oceanus, I felt that we had reached that first instalment of the new release cycle that was light enough on features to be declared ‘universally underwhelming’ as a named update. And sure enough it prompted quite a few people to start muttering their doubts over the new(ish) smaller-but-more-frequent release cadence. I was hearing speculation here and there that the plan wasn’t working. We were not getting more stuff faster, just a steady drip of the same.
I felt that this was an inevitability. The first two updates, Kronos & Crius were big chunky things benefiting from containing most of what would have been a traditional expansions worth of content, meaning that the new release plan was starting with an ‘artificial’ amount of content built up over months. Hyperion surprised me a bit by containing yet more stuff including Burner missions and a surprise first pass at revamping and rebalancing wormhole mechanics so was much more substantial than I expected it to be. I think Oceanus was the release where the ‘back log’ of stuff already in the works largely finally ran out and we had a much less significant release containing mostly graphical updates.
So the day after Oceanus was deployed, CCP went and dropped the mother of all bombs by announcing the jump drive nerf that knocked everyone sideways in its scope. While I think everyone expected CCP to do something about force projection, I don’t think anyone expected anything so comprehensive, far-reaching and frankly so dramatically bold. While the most punishing aspects have been toned down a bit (Jump Freighter jump ranges, capped jump fatigue) in order to avoid crippling EVE’s economy, it remains a very bold move on behalf of CCP and is being hailed by many as the most significant change EVE has seen in years.
Personally, I consider Crimewatch 2.0 and Factional Warfare’s iterative overhaul to be pretty huge, the main difference being that they were less significant to null sec than this will be. People also dismiss ship tiericide too easily I think. Frankly I think it takes more work to comprehensively rebalance almost every sub-capital ship in the game than it does to reduce jump ranges and add a fatigue timer. But yes, the jump nerf will have a more dramatic impact on null sec than buffing Mallers or nerfing jet can shennanigans. And it means people should be more confident in using capital ships in low sec too.
In Phoebe we are also getting the Invention overhaul, a major sensor overlay update that adds bookmarks viewable in space, updates to exploration sites, multiple market sell order creation and the much hyped unlimited skill queue amongst a bunch of other things. This is going to be a very strong update!
So strong in fact that I was wondering what would would follow it. Sadly I tuned in a little late to watch the EVE Vegas stream today and just missed CCP Seagull’s keynote! Think I got my timezones mixed up a bit there. :S
What I missed was the announcement that Rhea is going to feature a new ‘tug’ ship class for moving other ships about (a freighter with ship bay apparently) along with Tech 3 Strategic Destroyers! According to twitter:
So that is pretty cool. Not totally surprising given the event that has been running for the last week, but I hadn’t guessed it would be destroyers. Years ago CCP declared their intention to create T3 Frigates so I was leaning towards those or some sort of T3 modules. This honestly sounds better.
But most importantly, I think CCP are now clearly demonstrating the value of the new release cadence. We are seeing more stuff. We are seeing more ambitious and daring stuff. We are also starting to things slot together and how things are being delivered in sections much more reliably than before. We got the main industry revamp in Crius and now we are getting the Invention revamp. We are getting the force projection nerf next with planned sets of null sec changes coming in the next few releases in a much more dynamic fashion than before. Between all that we have seen wormholes being shaken up in unprecedented ways.
I think the new plan is working and this bodes very well for the next year and for CCP’s ability to advance the development roadmap more quickly than ever before. It will be very interesting to see how Phoebe and Rhea really shake things up as the year draws to a close. And of course, what else CCP manage to fit into Rhea! 😉