EVE: A New Regime

By Alec Meer on December 23rd, 2011 at 6:04 pm.

It was all this t-shirt's fault

2011 has been an excellent year for videogames, I’d say – but one videogame it has not been an excellent year for is EVE Online. The space MMO has been through the wringer in recent months: leaked internal memos, poorly-received updates, a misguided move towards microtransactions, protests, fan-angering dev blogs… More recently, devs CCP announced they would be sadly pruning their ranks, refocusing on the core EVE game and trying to win back their fans’ ardour. Part of that, it transpires, involves occasionally notorious senior producer Arnar “CCP Zulu” Gylfason handing the captain’s chair to someone else.

Gylfason was something of a public face for CCP when it was trying to defend itself during virtual clothing-gate, authoring some rather contentious statements on the matter. Eventually, he confessed to “hubris” and promised action to correct it. Here is that action, I guess: falling on his sword. In a brief farewell, he claimed that:

“This has been an incredibly intense time. The EVE team here at CCP has certainly been pushed to the limit and beyond and we as a company learnt quite a few harsh lessons. It‘s been a tough time but I know we will use this as an opportunity to improve, to grow and to mature.

To ensure and facilitate that happening properly I‘ve decided to step down as Senior Producer and Jon Lander, previously the head of our Carbon Technology group, will take the reins while we transition the EVE project into a better and more efficient organization.

Lander, aka CCP Unifex, has been quick to make reassuring noises to the playerbase:

“We are changing EVE’s internal project structure to bring it in line with a product that has nearly 200 people working on it and making sure that everyone is concentrating on delivering a game which has real value for our players. As well as changing the project organization, we will also be spending time on improving our internal tools, pipelines and processes to improve our efficiency and effectiveness for the future.

Finally, we will be concentrating on those features we already have in the game after 8 years of development. Yes, we will be iterating (it‘s not a dirty word) on those features which need some polish, balance, fixes and general love. The releases throughout 2012 will be an extension of the type of release we had with Crucible with the addition of a theme to help us scope and tie the work into a really compelling and coherent package. The first theme is going to be War and everyone is getting very excited about it.”

It’s war! Hopefully war spells good news for the beleaguered spaceships game – certainly sounds like they’re trying to make their wheel spin more efficiently instead of reinventing it.

Also, they’re firing a special pod containing the names and avatar images of all their players into space at the next Eve fanfest, which is rather lovely. Unless it’s all a ruse, and they’re actually going to fire all their players into space to stop them moaning. That wouldn’t be lovely.

More details on the regime change and SPACE POD here.

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56 Comments »

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  1. nootron says:

    I speak for all space nerds when I say that 100,000 feet is not space!

    Still, pretty cool. Can’t wait to see the footage

  2. JFS says:

    “War” as the first theme? Bravo! We haven’t had that in a long time.

    • mmalove says:

      I’ll second this. “War” in EVE has been badly in need of a rewrite. I’m not sure what it should look like, but I can say most EVE veterans are at best complacent with the war mechanics in EVE, and at worst view it as one of the space opera’s biggest opportunity areas.

      To outline it for the non EVE crowd:
      “War” in it’s current state only impacts “high sec” (npc ville) space. Player controlled “null sec” space does not recognize war mechanics at all, it’s entirely determined meta game by which players hate who.

      “War” mechanics are often skated around using alts in non-allied corporations, providing untouchable resupply/logistics by cheesing game mechanics.

      In terms of null sec space, “War” boils down to attacking your opponent’s space structures, or “POS’s”. The problem with this is each POS represents a fairly large investment, and comes with tons of hitpoints and plentiful powerful defensive turrets, effectively requiring a sizable siege force, usually dozens or hundreds of capital ships, to dismantle in reasonable time. Unfortunately, when two opposing forces of hundreds of cap ships meet, and all launch their 5-15 drones and a dozen+ interdictor bubbles, the battlefield turns into a frustrating lagfest. This, combined with the lack of any real alternative to the all out assault, makes null sec warfare a very draining, time intensive affair.

      Still not really thinking about returning, but I’m kinda interested to see where they go with this.

    • President Weasel says:

      I applaud them for iterating their existing half finished shiny stuff instead of being distracted by new shinies.
      I also applaud them for working on war, which is annoyingly broken (mechanics wise) in high sec.

      See me clap you, CCP. Bravo.

      Still not signing back up yet though…

  3. dontnormally says:

    I just want WoD…

    • IchigoRXC says:

      I second this.

    • Alikchi says:

      It’s been put on indefinite hiatus, a lot of the staff was fired, and it’s probably dead forever.

    • mmalove says:

      Source? I hadn’t heard WoD was dead, and while I’m a little pessimistic as to how it would work as a fun MMO, I too was looking forward to seeing it implemented. The WoD genre in general is possibly the last RPG IP that hasn’t seen an MMO, heck I’m not sure it’s seem a gaming implementation since Vampire: the Masquerade (which I still owe a fair deal more playtime than I’ve been able to commit)

    • Clash says:

      You can thank CCP for playing drama queen on that one. Their playerbase is a bit discontent so they sack half their staff. It’s like the equivalent of falling behind in a chess game and sweeping all the pieces across the room in a huff. I know they explained it some other way but that doesn’t cover up how juvenile the move seemed.

    • Hoarr says:

      Bitch, please. Get off your knees and wipe that sparkly stain off your chin. Everyone currently using CCP’s products applauds their move to concentrate on internet spaceships (which is a vrry srs bsns).

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      @Hoarr: Yes, I’m sure everyone is applauding their current move to make an FPS of a PC franchise a console exclusive (because there aren’t ’nuff console shooters out there already). Instead of spending those resources on a WoD MMO.

      I mean, c’mon! An F2P MMO on vampires and werewolves (except, good) would print money.

    • RakeShark says:

      All things considered, I’d rather them make more EVE games than MMOs.

      I’d love an EVE Adventure game.

    • metalangel says:

      @RakeShark:

      You are standing above the POS reactor bay. The only way down to activate the auxiliary fuel tank is 50 feet below the catwalk.

      There is a length of spacerope here.

      >PICK UP ROPE

      You cannot pick up the rope yet.
      MISSING SKILLS:
      -Rope Collection IV
      -Opposable Thumb Operation V
      -Crouching Down Specialization II

    • Konil says:

      I imagine they came to a realization: Building their own IP on a project that may not be interesting to their players made more sense to them than a product their players may find interesting but who’s property they probably could not explore much.

      I would love to get in the EVE universe, but after several failed attempts flying in space proved too time consuming/complex for me. Given the opportunity, I would try to play in that universe in a different genre, even if it’s in a awkward platform

  4. kyrieee says:

    Eh, in the end 2011 was a good year for EVE because the shitstorm was just the release of lots of built up discontent and now they’ve finally started addressing things

  5. ALJA says:

    I think 2011 turned out to be a good year for EVE in the end. I think EVE is a better game now than it was a year ago.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      It’s quite possible, yes. In the sense that this time they really noticed the displeased players and finally took action to improve the (important aspects of the) game they were paying and playing. Eve. And not just walking in stations while other things need fixing and improvement.

      For those who play Eve and for CCP itself, it can be hoped that this was rock bottom.

  6. Batolemaeus says:

    “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out”

    • Batolemaeus says:

      Since I can’t edit my post in my browser:
      Not like I have anything personally against Zulu, but he was in a spot where he shouldn’t have been. He’ll be somewhere else now. He’s also one of the people who actually do play Eve, unlike some of the higher ups who were responsible for the shit state Eve is in.

      On the other hand, I couldn’t help but make a door reference.

  7. Symbul says:

    Icelandic last names are not family names by and large. Ones that end in “-son” or “-dóttir” just note their parent’s (usually the father’s) first name and Arnar Gylfason (whose father’s name is Gylfi) would never be addressed or titled as “Mr. Gylfason”. A minority have last names like you’re used to but they would still not go by “Mr. Haarde” (except in jest).

    • P4p3Rc1iP says:

      Sooo… how would they be addressed?

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      Gylfi Jr? Lil’ Gylfi? Gylfikkins?

    • JFS says:

      Mr Arnar, or simply Arnar, I guess.

    • Kadayi says:

      Yeah essentially Iceland is a small place in terms of population (100k and a landmass as big as England) so they don’t really do surnames. He’d just be called Arnar by most people who know him. You’re just not running up against enough repetition in names to need to have to distinguish using surnames Vs say job titles or location.

    • Hogni Gylfason says:

      320k pop. Patronyms.

      No native would call him anything but Arnar to his face, except as confirmation (“Arnar, Arnar Gylfason, right?”).

      The only times I get called Mr. Gylfason is by foreigners, and I’m quick to inform them in a friendly manner of their mistake. The form of address (Mr. Mrs. Ms. etc) hasn’t been in use in Iceland for some decades now.

      On topic: I hope the best for CCP, they represent 1/3 of dot.IS IT export revenue :p
      Even for all the dumb shit they’re doing with Dust tech-wise.

    • Symbul says:

      What “Mr. Gylfason” said. I tried to respond but the bot filter was having none of it.

  8. ukpanik says:

    They will push the boundaries of player chat to a new level…..war chat

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      Complete with the new custom emoticon – warface!

    • Arbodnangle Scrulp says:

      Salvage drones! Yay!

      /me trolls.

      I came back to eve on their $5 deal after emoragequitting over monoclegate, and it is much better now, but there is still way too much to do. They need to realise that a significant portion of their playerbase are carebears and do something for them.

    • The Almighty Narshe says:

      @Arbodnangle Scrulp

      And what you have to realise is that unlike pretty much every other MMO available today, EVE is a PvP game, it always has been and always will be. If you want your MMO to be built with the needs of carebears in mind, then go and play ANY other MMO.

  9. Jae Armstrong says:

    You know, even after all the shit, I liked Zulu. I knew Zulu. I knew Zulupark.

    Unifex? Who’s Unifex?

  10. James says:

    You should have left the MMO/memo thing in, it worked. I logged in specifically to comment about it, imagine my dismay and sadness. :[

  11. 0positivo says:

    Kind of a bummer. I, for one, was looking forward for the Dust 514 integration. The idea of two so different games that can change each other’s universe, it’s rather compelling to me. Judging from what they say, “focusing”, it seems all other projects might be more or less gently put aside..

    • Hogni Gylfason says:

      From what I’ve read (and heard), they’re dropping World of Darkness, but continuing development of Dust 514. The why is beyond me.
      On the one hand they would be competing in an underpopulated genre that has been done to death and highly publicized in other media (vamps/weres/etc), while in the other they will be competing against every other semi-futuristic FPS out there (BF3, MW3, etc etc), while having one hand tied behind their backs (PS3 exclusivity).

      I’ve stated to their faces and will again. That’s idiotic. Both the FPS and PS3 exclusivity parts.

    • Vander says:

      The ps3 exclusivity is for a very simple reason: if they put pc players and ps3 players on the same server (and they cant really do otherwise), console players will get spanked. Not a question of skills, but just because a pad cant compete with the combo mouse/keyboard in term of efficiency.

      And from the small experience that i have with the multiplayer on ps3’s fps, i dont think that the two community have much in common. And if i am not wrong, the games are made so that the players from both games have to interact…

      Well, if not like its going to impact me, i dont play anymore at EVE: not enough time, and when i pay a subscritpion, i expect to have the full content at my disposition. Sad, was the only MMO that i ever liked…

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  13. Hoarr says:

    If this isn’t all just marketing speak, I’m extremely excited for 2012 in EVE. This sounds like CCP is serious in continuing the direction that Crucible set and not just trying to use it as a placating gesture to the current fanbase. The pod idea aside (which is pretty awesome, btw), it appears that CCP is going to be spending most of their time trying to polish the the current product instead of trying to add extraneous features onto it. I’m extremely excited for the future of internet space pew.

  14. Morte66 says:

    Hmm.

    I do like the noises coming out of CCP, but I fear nothing will reverse the two things that stopped me playing:

    – Small gang PvP just ain’t like it used to be now there are logistics everywhere. Once you could go into a scrap outnumbered, get some kills, and say “we did well considering the odds”. Now you just get wiped without killing anything through reps, which means not taking fights unless you have the numbers, in which case the other side won’t want to fight, which means no fights…

    – My old corp were great — big enough (200 pilots over 3 TZs) to get gangs instead of soloing, always willing to fight, and not interested in fleet/sov/politics stuff. But they became bourgeois, started holding space and setting blues and so on, all the stuff that usually happens when corps get that big but they’d avoided for some years. And there doesn’t seem to be anything else like them in EU TZ. Rote Kappelle would be cool but they’re US TZ.

  15. Bagpuss says:

    There’s no point to Eve any longer, it’s entirely lost it’s focus… not to mention that the big summit they had… just words, they have failed to address any of the concerns.

    They should have stuck with a loyal but niche market which contained it’s own inherent longevity… with this “new” diection they’ll trade longevity for a fast buck… in 5 years no-one will remember what Eve was, it’s already hemorrhaging players.

    Why these idiots ever thought it was a good idea to aim this type of PC game at consolers I just don’t know… Eve deserves to be put out of it’s misery.,

    • ALJA says:

      not so sure that EVE is losing numbers to a massive extent, there was definitely a dip in summer, but it seems to be back where it was pre incarna. There is no way of telling because they don’t publish sub numbers any more, this is just going off the current number of people on tranquillity at the moment. The Crucible expansion is definitely a step in the right direction.

      as for the console hate, Dust is nothing like EVE game wise. it just shares the same universe and a weird not fully explained link through planetary interaction. The whole point of dust was to see if they could connect two polar opposite groups of gamers which I think is pretty interesting.

    • paterah says:

      Oh I see what you did there. As a matter of fact most of EvE’s playerbase is happy with EvE’s current direction and your bias against Dust seems to be affecting your judgement for EvE just a little bit.

  16. buzzmong says:

    I for one am glad Zulu has gone.

    The Russians who made him change his name from Zulupark, due to the variation they were calling him, were ultimately proved right in their views thanks to Incarna and the NEX store.

    NEX was a debacle (one that seems to have failed as well), and the general Incarna expansion broke a number of promised CCP (mostly Zulu) had previously made, that I certainly had no faith in him.

    I do wish him well in whatever role he’s gone into now, probably back in Content.

  17. benBearz says:

    I’ve always been interested in Eve, but various things have kept me from giving it a go, (time, money, gigantic backlog of games to finish) and now that I’m between jobs and wont start my new one for a couple of months, I’ve been tempted to give it a try.

    But with all these problems I keep on reading here puts me off a bit, so is the game good as it is at the moment, or should I wait for a bit.

    Also how bad does the pvp get, is it like Wow, where you can get level 80 jerks, wandering around the low level zones, murderfying all the venders, quest givers and anyone unlucky enough to show a pixel of their character to them, or are there areas where you can just avoid all that, at least at the beginning.

    • Hoarr says:

      BenBaerz, most of the vitriolic rants against CCP come from admittedly bittervets. There is nothing else around that is like EVE, so if it sticks, it tends to inspire an extremely rabid fan base who desperately try to preserve their vision of what EVE should be. You’ll either get it or you won’t. There really isn’t a way to determine which side of the fence you’ll land on without trying it.

      As far as the PVP goes, it is indeed consensual to a point (well mostly). You can stick to areas of space called “High Sec” where it is extremely unlikely you will be attacked. We can explain all of the mechanics in game at a later point.

      If you feel that you are interested, RPS Holdings is recruiting. Give us a shout on the RPS main forums and we’ll get you squared away. We may still have some 60 day trials to give out. I’ll have a look around and see if I can find one for you. If not, we always have the 21 day trials.

    • benBearz says:

      That is actually quite tempting Hoarr, although I’ve suddenly acquired a what feels like a bajillion games, so I think I’ll wait a few days to let me get my claws into those before inquiring about your offer.

      Another problem is the fact that there is a possibility that I’ll be heading off to America thanks to a job offer from 3 Rings studio in San Fran (still waiting on the USA embassy to tell me when I should go down and do the interview so its not determined yet), so unless the us/uk servers are exactly the same, or I can join a uk server while over there, they may not be much point in me having a free trail, rather than someone who’s interested and would have access to the UK servers for at least longer than a month =P.

    • Vander says:

      There is only one server, benBearz. So its not really a problem. :)

    • benBearz says:

      Haha well that simplifies things, I had an annoying problem with my friends on Wow where they decided to keep on jumping servers all the time, which annoyed me to no end, as I usually didn’t have a whole lot of spare moolah, while they did, its one of a number of reasons why I just decided to quit from Wow forever, which is a shame since when it was good, it was good :/

    • Hoarr says:

      Ok Ben, sounds good. Good luck with your job interview, by the way. Just make sure to shout up if you ever end up being interested in giving EVE a shot. The vast majority of people that have bounced off of EVE haven’t landed in a corp that suited them. Even if you don’t land in RPSH, we’ll try to get you squared away with a good corp.

    • benBearz says:

      Thanks for the luck Hoarr, the main interview with 3 Rings has already been done and the interview with the embassy is pretty much to make sure I can speak english, that I’m not crazy and nor am I likely to do criminal things while I’m over there, but with my record I shouldn’t have a problem, you could clean the floors with my record I’m that squeaky clean xD

      I’ll probably give you a shout a day or 2 after new years day and I’ll just do the 21 free days, as I’m not going to have my pc for a month and a half, so no point in doing 60 days, god I’m going to go crazy without my electronic pride and joy.

      Oh and thanks Vander for the info on the servers, that’s helped change my mind immensely :D

  18. ALJA says:

    If you dont have any spare 60 day trails left, I should have one not used I can give to someone.

  19. SolCommand says:

    I wish all the best to the EVE team. They have created a game which has changed the gaming industry and I sure hope everything works for the best for all of them.