Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Are CCP and EVE Online back on track?

There is no doubt that EVE Online’s biggest crutch has been its own developers; CCP.  First it was CCP employees giving unfair advantages and preferential treatment to certain in game corporations (aka guilds/clans).  Next it was the micro-transaction debacle and the community unanimously agreeing that CCP was being greedy.  The core community around EVE was starting to crumble and CCPs only answers seemed to be projects completely unrelated to the core of what made EVE tick (Dust 514, virtual monocles, other games like World of Darkness).
This culminated in CCP finally realizing they were overextended as a company.  So they shut down a studio and fired a bunch of people.  They also figured out that it was about time they started to focus on the core of EVE Online before continuing with any of the peripheral nonsense that had gotten them in so much trouble as a company.  The direct result of that refocus is the Crucible expansion.
With the Crucible expansion CCP is returning to the basics of EVE, such as introducing new ships, squashing bugs, and improving the “it’s more like a spreadsheet than a game” user interface.  And that is just a brief overview of what is getting worked on with Crucible.  CCP appears to be digging down deep to work on many of the long-standing, yet minor issues that have plagued the game while at the same time taking a hard look at polishing things such as starbase management and fleet vs fleet engagements.  Graphical flair through engine trails and updated space backgrounds are also featured.
Most important to note is that nothing is mentioned about virtual monocles, console FPS spin offs, or Iceland’s volcanic history.  Crucible is aimed 100% at the core of EVE Online and CCP is selling this as redemption for their past missteps. 
Reading over the notes and feature set for Crucible I can only draw the conclusion that CCP is committed to getting EVE Online back on track.  There are several excellent improvements going into the game with Crucible, some that should have been fixed long ago (like the damn UI font).  I’m sincerely hoping CCP has learned their lessons and they will take better care of EVE Online going forward.
EVE is still the MMO that I’ve always wanted to play and these are the type of changes that will continue to interest players like me.  Unfortunately, I can’t justify a monthly subscription for an MMO with my very limited play time.  Also, I’ve already experienced the gambit EVE has to offer: massive warfare, getting ganked, “rat”ting, and watching your corp implode as the corp leader robs the coffers bare.  Someday I hope I can return and just be a lonely jackass pirate ganking newbs two jumps outside of Jita.

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