Sunday, June 29, 2014

Three Into One?

We've been living in our own little pocket of null security space for a while now.  Our routine seems to have settled into ratting for ISK and occasional PVP, at least that's what I see from my time zone.

This is not particularly a bad thing as I don't miss the endless mandatory strategic operations, endless moving, very late nights waiting to see if anything would happen, and often it wouldn't.

The timing of DT (Down Time) is still a hard limiter on our activity, it is usually shorter these days but I suppose a mental barrier still remains for many people.  At one stage CCP mentioned the complete removal of DT.  I don't know if this is still on the table as an option but maybe a reduction in the amount of DT's could be made?  Perhaps down to twice a week for a full shut down and for the rest of the time the required functions could be done while everybody is online.  The time zone that DT occurs in is quiet so the extra server load shouldn't hurt those still online.  Of course that's why DT is placed in that time zone, it's quiet and a convenient time for CCP to perform what needs to be done.

I've been playing Eve Online since 2007, in that time CCP had the market almost exclusively to itself.  Lately though I've seen two options start to break the skin of the chest cavity and burst forth into the world.

Star Citizen is certainly the most hyped, seems to be the best funded and has yet to impress me at all.  From what I can see though it probably has the best chance for growth and change and will probably end up as a direct threat to Eve Online given enough time.

Elite Dangerous looks more impressive, it's funding level is probably lower but that's based more on educated guessing than hard figures. It certainly has a vast universe but also appears to be a single player game with some occasional multi player and MMO elements.  I have a huge soft spot for the original Elite and David Braben, and of course Ian Bell, but I'm concerned it doesn't have the depth.

It will be interesting to see over time how much these games, and perhaps others I'm not aware of, influence CCP.  It certainly means they don't have the genre to themselves any more and some real competition may spur them into a higher gear.  However the CCP juggernaut is slow to change, doesn't deliver well on promises and lately has been losing staff.

As a slight aside we hear about the staff leaving but what about the new hires?  I'm assuming of course that new hires are actually happening but if those leaving staff are being replaced, maybe the new blood is better than the old?  Time will tell.

Can the niche space MMO market support three games?  Are disgruntled Eve Online players helping to fund Star Citizen to somehow spur CCP into action?

We now have "expansions" happening every six weeks and not twice a year anymore.  The next expansion is on the 22nd'ish of July but is mostly content held over from the previous one at the start of June.  Which makes me wonder what was slated for the July expansion that has now been pushed back?  Was there anything at all?

It's going to be a time of change, change can often be good, but not always.

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Guardian and CCP

A very interesting article about the inner workings of CCP, Eve Online, DUST514 and World of Darkness.

Some selected quotes from the article are below.

"The massively multiplayer online game World of Darkness had spent nine years in development but was being cancelled, and its production studio CCP Atlanta slashed to a sliver of its former size. Fifty-six people lost their jobs."

"There was another problem. Several members of the WoD development team told the Guardian that this early bump in the road was exacerbated by extreme disorganisation on the part of CCP’s Icelandic management. Very shortly after initial development began, the company started blurring the lines between the World of Darkness and Eve projects."

"I once saw him looking over the shoulder of a programmer at some bit of User Interface the poor guy had hacked together. He straightened up, put fingers to lips and said, ‘No, this isn't it at all. Make it more...psssshhhh’ He hissed on his fucking fingertips, like the air coming out of a bicycle tire, and then just walked away."

"But development of Incarna was not going smoothly. “As little as a few weeks out from launch, the lead designers were still trying to add features to the Captain’s Quarters,” says Blood. “But without the time or resources to properly do so, many things were left half-delivered, to be iterated upon later – which never happened. CCP has an extensive track record of promising to return to features and never doing so. There was little discipline to the process.”"

"Speaking to Rock Paper Shotgun during the annual Eve Fanfest in May, CCP CEO Hilmar Veigar P├ętursson, showed some acknowledgement of the company’s mistakes over the past few years. “I would say we’re re-focusing on simpler strategies and smaller teams,” he said. “I think that helped make us successful: EVE was made like that. And maybe we scaled up our teams and our ambitions too rapidly.”"