*Blog Banter 36: The Expansion of EVE*
*”With the Inferno expansion upon us, new seeds have been planted in the
ongoing evolution of EVE Online. With every expansion comes new trials and
challenges, game-changing mechanics and fresh ideas. After nine years and
seventeen expansions, EVE has grown far more than most other MMOGs can hope
for. Which expansions have brought the highs and lows, which have been the
best and the worst for EVE Online?”*
Firstly, please forgive me for stealing, changing and throughly ruining a famous statement for the purpose of a blog banter. That aside, the question is, nevertheless, perfectly valid when you look at how Eve expansions affect the game we play.
When I joined the Eve online experience, I joined during the Dominion era, so in terms of expansions, I clearly missed many many things. However, Eve seemed to “work” as much as it was likely to, and generally I managed to find my way around. I was also involved in the build up to Tyrannis. In my small Corp, I took the lead and started to explore planets and learn all about Planetary Interaction. I even rolled a new toon specifically to do PI, and with remaps and implants, ensured that he had Command Center Upgrades to V and Interplanetary Consolidation to IV by the time we could all actually use planets.
Tyrannis was my first experience of a patch, and I think those of you who were there can agree it wasn’t exactly smooth to say the least.
I’ll stop my incompetent history lesson of expansions right here, as what I wanted to talk about was the balance between new content and iteration.
If you ignore how CCP actually handled Incarna, and instead look at what Incarna was intented to be, and also look at the Incursion and Crucible updates, you can start to judge the balance between iteration and new content, and how well received it is.
For iteration, I’m twisting the definition a little and including fixing those annoying things as well as moving them forward a bit at the same time. This would cover, for example, new turret and missile launchers, as well as general fixing of a mechanic.
For an update to be successful, I honestly believe that it needs to have a balance of new content and iteration. If you just iterate, then you’re not really offering headlines to attract new players to
get podded by griefers become part of the Eve community. If you just give new content, then all us bitter vets will light the torches and dust off the T2 pitchforks and start shooting random space monuments.
But what is the right balance? If “that door” in Incarna had opened, and you had been able to enter a Corporation meeting space (your Corp office) or an “establishment” to meet other players and gamble your ISK away (really – is that all people want establishments for – to gamble in???), would the Jita monument have burned, despite the macro-transactions for designer monacles and assumed threats of golden ammo for Aurum? I believe that the community would have rejected the golden ammo thing, of course, but with more clothing options and something to actually do, that would have been the only issue I think. OK, melting graphics cards are not good, but you get the general meaning of what I’m saying here.
Conversely, if Crucible had of simply just been about balancing blasters and some other things, with no new ships, how successful would it have been with the community?
CCP have a very fine line to tread with upgrades. They need to iterate with every single one, but I think the balance needs to shift every single upgrade too. For example, if the next patch is 80% new content and 20% iteration, then the next should perhaps be 70% iteration and 30% new content and so on.
Perhaps a far too simplistic view of things, but I’ll end this by simply saying that if CCP had waited maybe a year to launch Incarna and simply given players something to actually do with their avatar, things would probably be very different, although maybe we wouldn’t be flying Tornado’s and Oracles right now.