Posts Tagged ‘CCP’

Blog Banter 31: One does not simply review EVE, but can certainly make a decent try

Dec
22

Welcome to the thirty-first EVE Blog Banter, a community conversation between anyone and everyone with an interest in discussing EVE Online. For more information on how this works, check out this link.

“As any games journalist would probably tell you, a true and complete review of a Massively Multiplayer Online game is impossible. MMOs are vast, forever evolving entities with too much content for a single reviewer to produce a fair and accurate review. However, a collection of dedicated bloggers and EVE players (past and present) with a wide range of experience in various aspects of the game might be able to pull it off.

This special ‘End of Year’ Blog Banter edition aims to be a crowd-sourced game review. Using your gaming knowledge and experience, join the community in writing a fair and qualified review of EVE Online: Crucible. This can be presented in any manner of your choosing, but will ideally include some kind of scoring system.

With each Blog Banter participant reviewing the areas of EVE Online in which they specialise, the result should be a Metacritic-esque and accurate review by the people who know best.”

Before we start the actual review, I’d like to mention that I was recently interviewed by a friend (link is in Dutch) for an assignment about internet journalism. Since I’m a blogger who’s been at it for several years, and generate a nice bit of traffic for something quite niche, I was more than happy to answer some questions. The very first question is “What is EVE Online all about?”. As I tweeted while writing my response, one does not simply describe EVE, because it’s massive even for an MMORPG. Unlike the general and as close as possible to neutral introduction given in the interview, here I will try to captivate EVE as close to my experience as possible.

EVE Online is one of two MMORPGs that for me became a life style. Unlike the other game, World of Warcraft, which I played in a competitive fashion and where I engaged in large timesinks such as raiding and the collecting of achievements, it was the social aspect that gripped me and pulled me in. Not to say that World of Warcraft did not have this, as the last guild I was part of has many out-of-game meetups and landed me friends who continue to care even though I’ve long gone. It’s more that this is an integrated part of the gameplay for me when it comes to EVE. From the things I do ingame, as a CEO, alliance executor and Angel Cartel loyalist to using Twitter, Facebook and Google+ as well as writing this blog for an enhanced social and community experience. And then there is, on top of that, attending Fanfest as well as other player meetups which takes the game right into meatspace.

You see, EVE Online is a “sandbox” MMORPG, where as World of Warcraft as well as the majority of others are “theme park” MMORPGs. The latter means there is a mostly-set leveling path, with areas for each level bracket, quests that lead to more quests so you can quest for quests, and a tier system of equipment. You’re constantly fed with objectives that yield rewards, which are then used to get other rewards and so on. EVE however only has this in very limited quantities, and most of it is optional in one way or another. Don’t feel like doing missions? Well, there’s a ton of other ways to get rich, which draw on a variety of skills and go beyond the scope of what the game offers. You like mining asteroids? You can do just that. You’d rather use your skill as an artist? Well, some do just that and are well loved by the community for it.

The concept of leveling is done away with as well, and while you might not shine from day one, there are those who have challenged this concept and scored great results. Time put into the game is also not required for success, as skills you select will train while you’re logged out. Within days (or even less), you can be a tackler for a fleet, pinning down targets while they’re getting shot down. Also within days, you can be a trader, a salvager, start your first missions or become rich by tricking a careless player with a clever scam.

Scamming, I say? That’s right, EVE Online offers a lot more freedom into what you can and can’t do within the rules of the game, which is a make or break for many players. While some argue it promotes what is called griefing in other games, and that we must all be a big bunch of sad jerks who thrive on the misery of others, actually those scenarios are really a minority. While there is always a risk, and EVE at its core is all about the risk versus the reward, clever players can protect themselves. Not putting all your eggs in one basket, checking that contract really does offer a faction ship and not just a regular hull, not making yourself a target by openly linking your various billions worth ship fitting, doing a background check on who you let in your corporation ect. Some of you may feel this is a drag, that it makes play into work, and then indeed EVE may not be the game for you. But others are thrill seekers, or enjoy that risky things bring such large rewards they are unheard of in all of MMORPG history up until now. And then I don’t just mean some of the record scams, but also iconic players like Chribba, who’s services to the community are living proof that being a good guy in a universe ruled by the shades of grey is very well possible. And then not just by roleplaying a white knight.

Ah yes, roleplay, we’ve got that covered too. There’s a large variety of channels, player-run forums, an official forum section, and the brand new and totally shiny fiction portal which is part of the EVElopedia overhaul (yep, we’re even covered on having a wiki). There’s a few books, and of course the live events, where some players — including me — were recently welcomed into the ranks of those digitalized into prime fiction. And then there’s players shaping the game beyond what could be foreseen, such as the Jita riots leaving a permanent mark with the monument being replaced by a destroyed model.

So is it all sunshine and rainbows? There are features that need to be iterated on desperately, and there are interfaces which are still horrible. And sooner or later, despite all the many things you can do, you can reach the point where the game holds little to nothing new. It’s also a game that has less staff and less funds than some of the large titles out there, which comes with it’s own unique drawbacks. Overconfidence as well as a bursting economic bubble meant that broadening the game from just internet spaceships to dressup dolls online resulted into have to reduce what bases were covered. It happens. It’s a business like any other and sometimes wrong calls are made. But for what it is worth, EVE has proven to be surprisingly resilient thanks to the many people who were, and those who continue to be, so driven to make this game a winner.

To end on a positive note, one amazingly cool feature, and I forgot this in the interview I did, is that EVE is single sharded. There’s no servers per region, or multiple servers to pick from while you have friends scattered all across them. Just one server, with zones of increasing lawlessness, and that’s it. Sometimes, this isn’t so nice, because if the server goes down, well, it’s not like you can hop to your alt on the other server. It also creates unique challenges for lag. But this is something that the developers embrace and strive to perfect, with massive leaps being made where other MMORPGs can draw lessons from.

In short, EVE Online is a pretty amazing and unique game with its own quirks and challenges. It’s got something for nearly everybody, and if it doesn’t, well who knows, maybe at some point it will. You’ll never know if you never try.

Thoughts and feelings on the CCP layoffs

Oct
19

icon46_01So, I was making a bit of a start on a post on the recent dev blog about PI, but instead I’ve opted for a topic change, because this honestly is higher on my care list right now. Yes, I am talking about the layoffs at CCP. If you didn’t read it already and just felt your heart skip a beat — my initial reaction when I saw a tweet linking it — please go and read up. Now when you’re up to speed, I’ll go over some quotes from the article.

At CCP we have been working hard to expand the gaming landscape by applying the knowledge and expertise we’ve built up with EVE Online to create a new experience within the EVE Universe in DUST 514, as well as a new video game franchise in World of Darkness.

During the last few months, as evidenced by our interaction with the community, we made some missteps on that journey.

As we reexamine our outward relations, we are also taking time to reevaluate our internal goals. In doing so, we have come to the conclusion that we are attempting too many things for a company our size. Developing EVE expansions, DUST 514 and World of Darkness has stretched our resources too thin.

Emphasis mine. Not to say “I told you so”, and it should really be “we, the community, told you so” because I’m sure not alone in this sentiment (thank goodness!). That is as close I’ll go to saying it as well, because today is a black day where gloating is not in order, nor is that sentence meant to be read as gloating. Things have not been going well, we’ve felt it, and numbers have shown it eventually. This may have all worked well a few years ago, in a better economy, yet even then it already seemed like something you’d want at least two whole companies for. I think that even industry behemoth Blizzard wouldn’t chance to do this had they the staff size of CCP. I’ve always had high respect for CCP for being unconventional, but you have to keep your feet on the ground and pick priorities and be realistic about what you can and cannot do.

Rather than allowing this to persist, we have made the decision to sharpen our focus. Sadly, this means reducing our staff. We estimate that around twenty percent of global positions will be affected by this process. These will be predominantly in our Atlanta, GA office, although select positions in our Reykjavik, Iceland office will be affected.

We are very sad to lose some of our talented and dedicated colleagues to this necessary process. Naturally we are making every effort within our means to help them find alternative employment. Decisions like these are difficult for all those involved and extraordinarily sad for all of those whose lives are affected.

This makes sense, for lack of a better word, when you read on further that WoD is getting the biggest cut. But at least one CCP’er — the lovely CCP Fallout — tweeted what looks to be a goodbye. This makes me sad, she was a great community representative and did so much for us. I’ve seen her help players over Twitter without probably even needing to do it as part of her job. Not to mention I adore her for being a proper cat lady. I had a bad feeling already a while ago when CCP Zymurgist — who is also lovely, don’t get me wrong! — took over the community mailings that us fansites get. I had hoped this meant Fallout had either been shuffled to another team, or was on vacation, or maybe even sought to leave of her own accord. While the latter is of course still possible, and would have been sad news none the less, it just hits me personally because despite all CCP staff being a crucial part to the whole, one does grow fond of particular individuals. And with CCP recruiting for their player base, there are a few CCPers I know from before they were on the staff, and who’d I be especially sad for if they got laid off, because I know they enjoy their job a lot. Yes, no job is perfect, and they likely have off-days too, but motivated individuals who do their work other than for the money, are rare and should be treasured. Thus, it is a shame when a mix of economical weather and company decisions makes it that they have to move on. I’m crossing my fingers and toes here, but with 20% staff layoffs, chances are others I know (better) may turn out to be hit as well.

Following this reorganization, we must do a better job by focusing on these priorities:

  • For the immediate future, our mission is to enrich the vast EVE Universe by strengthening the continuous development of EVE Online while preparing to bring DUST 514 to market on the PS3. We do this in order to realize our ambitious and challenging plan of joining the two in a cross-platform, truly massive online world.
  • World of Darkness will continue development with a significantly reduced team. This team will continue to iterate and expand on the gameplay and systems they have designed. We will also redeploy creative teams in Atlanta to support the launch of DUST 514.

This will enable us to accelerate timeframes for new features and increase our ability to respond to community needs. The fruits of this realignment will be seen as early as this winter with the upcoming EVE Online expansions and the launch of DUST 514 private trials.

I know it is not feasible, but personally, I’d have rather had WoD than DUST. Of course, I am a biased non-PS3 owner who isn’t really looking forward to having to buy a console if I want to play a console game that links into my favorite MMO. I think some WoD fans may rejoice a bit as they weren’t too happy with certain aspects of the game thus far, but things like perma-death and all really had me interested. Money has to be made however, there is a deal with Sony which can’t just be broken, and who knows maybe DUST will really start new trends and hopefully bring CCP the funds to continue doing great things. Time will tell.

This will enable us to accelerate timeframes for new features and increase our ability to respond to community needs. The fruits of this realignment will be seen as early as this winter with the upcoming EVE Online expansions and the launch of DUST 514 private trials.

I am glad CCP came to their senses before it is too late, and they business-wise made a hard but sound decision here, but I hope it will be worth it. I didn’t get around writing that PI blog today, and I hope that is just an isolated thing I don’t agree with, but more on that soon. There are some good changes coming, finally all the racial quarters are ready to be implemented, we’re getting user-friendliness in the form of a new font, cap ship issues are getting addressed in what I as the person either getting hotdropped or shooting at them feels is fair without trying to be too biased about it, so it’s not all bad and we shouldn’t let this spoil the game because then it will indeed have all been for nothing. Some goodies, like the return of ship spinning as an integrated part of the experience rather than just an alternative, are already deployed, too. Yet, I remain critical, both in the positive and negative sense, and I hope to continue to be able to write about EVE in months from now, and would be especially delighted if I could write something (mostly) positive then and look back upon this as a though medicine that saved the patient rather than the beginning of the end.

First, EVE Online is in good health. Our subscriber numbers are higher today than they were a year ago. Unlike many other MMO’s on the market, we have continued to grow year-on-year since launch in 2003. However, over the past two months, our subscribers have gone down from their peak this summer. We attribute this to our own mistakes and poor communications with our players. We are correcting that now.

Second, World of Darkness lives on. Its concepts are revolutionary. CCP continues to believe that it will alter the landscape of the MMO as significantly as EVE has done but we need more time to continue to develop them before dedicating the substantial resources required to bring this experience to market.

As an innovator in the industry, CCP has never shied away from tough decisions, remaining agile to allow for shifts in production, technology and gaming trends since even before the launch of EVE Online. While our decision to refocus is a solemn one, it will benefit our players through a renewed commitment to the EVE Universe and its fans.

Honest words, despite the positive let’s-not-cause-panic wrapping around it. I am glad that CCP continues to recognize this has been the worst summer everĀ  — both my own experience and official numbers confirm this — and that they are learning from it. I’m going to start repeating myself at this point, so for now I’ll go back to being glued to Twitter, and carry those that worked hard and now have to move on within my thoughts. I am grateful for the work they did, and I wish them the very best in what their future brings. One door closes and another opens, I am sure of it.

Addition: And there goes CCP MaidenSteel. Having known her as a player and remaining good friends until this day, here is where it really felt like a kick in the guts. I can say for certain she gave her very best for that job, and I know the struggle she made to get there. My heart goes out to her, as she is such a talented writer. Bah, this makes today even sadder than it already was.

Blog Banter 29: Immersion in EVE

Oct
10

Time for another blog banter. This time, Seismic Stan has something a little less political for us to discuss. This is a topic that is straight up my alley, since being a roleplayer means you really get into the game and your character, through acting out what your experience rather than through controlling a character from a third-person perspective.

EVE Online is renowned for it’s depth. Its backstory, gameplay and social aspects are all qualities that draw players in. What does immersion in EVE Online mean to you?

I think the biggest immersion factor for EVE Online is that every action has a reaction, or the freedom to get one. We see this in security status, standings that drop when others go up, and the fact that scamming, theft and suicide ganking are not banned as they are in more “friendly” MMO’s. Likewise, players have the tools and freedom to strike back against this. And there is the playerrun market, which just like the real market reacts to what large groups of players do. A recent example of that is the new Goonfleet campaign in highsec. Isotope prices — which are the main target — are going up, and PLEX seems to be following in this due to market panic. That’s stuff that makes EVE feel real, because it is real. Yes, there is some form of control, exploits and bots are not allowed (and for good reasons), but you can really ruin or make a players day, and someone else can affect you just the same.

A close second immersion factor for EVE is roleplay as a whole. We might at times feel the backstory progresses slowly or not at all, but it has some dynamic to it and has been build upon since the game release. Yes, in the early days players had a much larger impact, but this is far easier to manage with a smaller playerbase. Still, live events have started again and players shape these events. As admitted by CCP Dropbear at Fanfest 2011, the events don’t always pan out as foreseen either. It might seem like all part of the plan on the outside, but that is only because you don’t see behind the scenes. Also, I was initially critical about the recent Arek’Jaalan event arc, but after deciding to give it a try to test the validity of my beliefs I can now say that credit is given where it is due and that nobody likes drama, and that when it threatens the event it is dealt with, where if players can or want to do it they are always given the preference, which stick true to the principle of the sandbox.

There are some other minor and sometimes subtle ways where immersion happens, sometimes without us even realizing it. Have you ever tried looking up characters from the backstory ingame? Prominent figures, such as Heth, lead the corporations they belong to. And they were even given unique sculpted models rather than the random generator that created the mission agents. It wasn’t there right of the get-go, and that sparked such an outrage, and it is lovely to see that this was taken seriously enough to step in and give the important figures the care they deserve.

Now, Incarna was a bit of a lackluster expansion, and the drama surrounding CCP in the last few months really didn’t do it much good, but I think the Captain’s Quarters balcony is a stroke of sheer genius. We already had a sense of scale in the way that flying a frigate next to a battleship, not to mention something as huge as a titan, makes you feel really small. Old artwork showed us that frigates were already bigger than large commercial airplanes, but now we can stand next to our frigates and see them tower above us. Yes, the sense of scale is a bit skewed because larger ships go further back into the hangar, but you have to realize that hangar is way larger than your little hangout spot.

A last thing that a friend mentioned when I asked around for inspiration is the warning noises on the interface. What, a user-friendly — the ear-friendliness of it being debatable, but it sure makes you pay attention! — UI feature that adds to immersion? Why yes, indeed. We all know warning noises from the real world, if an alarm starts there usually is a reason for it. And yes, there is no sound in space, and EVE has some game mechanics that don’t simulate space as it would work when it is real, but when you regard the game and the interface as a simulation that your character sees to make sense of what is going around him or her, much alike to augmented reality, the pieces quickly fall in place. And that is how you can best explain the Neocom (name of the UI framework) in an in character way. Arguably, science fiction MMO’s have an easier time with this than fantasy MMO’s due to technology being a way to explain a lot, but nothing wrong with getting the most out of what you have. After all, fantasy MMO’s tend to be high magic universes, where magic can explain a lot too! I’m not of the opinion that every last bit of game mechanic should be able to be explained in character, that’s a foolish pursuit as it never totally works, but the less substitution or not mentioning has to happen, the more immersive everything will feel as it all comes naturally.

Blog Banter 28: CCP, the CSM, and the future

Sep
13

With CrazyKinux recently retiring his blog and hanging up his coat as the “blogfather”, several cornerstones of the blogging community were relocated to a new home. Rixx Javix took it upon himself to maintain the Blog Pack, and now Seismic Stan stepped up to keep the Blog Banters going. That makes Blog Banter 28 the first set up by our new host, and right off the bat we’re getting a very hot topic to discuss:

In recent months, the relationship between CCP and it’s customers has been the subject of some controversy. The player-elected Council of Stellar Management has played a key role in these events, but not for the first time they are finding CCP difficult to deal with. What effect will CCP’s recent strategies have on the future of EVE Online and it’s player-base? What part can and should the CSM play in shaping that future? How best can EVE Online’s continued health and growth be assured?

For those of you who aren’t too sure what this about now — didn’t CCP give us a dev blog in which an accord was reached? — you best read Seismic Stan’s post, as it has a good amount of resources, before continuing on. All read up, or know exactly what this is about? Good, here we go then.

First off, this Banter is a bit on the late side. One of the reasons being my dad getting remarried at the end of the week, so I’ve been out and about to get everything ready for myself, from a dress to makeup to dropping by the tanning salon. The other reason, however, ties in perfectly with this topic. My motivation for EVE seem to have hit an all time low. From experience I know that summer is a terrible period in online gaming, because even the most die-hard players cannot say no to sunshine outdoor activities a nice BBQ. But this summer has been particularly bad, and then not just because most days were filled with rain, though that may have made made have rubbed in the issue a bit extra. There is a big loss of faith in CCP amongst my alliance members, myself included, and that results in activity dwindling. “I just don’t feel like internet spaceships anymore”, several people told me. Others simply filed an absence due to work, real life, or plain out lack of motivation. And sure, some of them will be truthful, there are jobs that are just not able to combine well with gaming, especially if you also have a family and social life to maintain, but if you really like a game you will find the time to play it, believe me. Currently Ghost Festival has about half its members on some kind of leave, and even the core players who are on every day are spending less time logged in on average. And this is a trend I only see continuing unless something is done about the cause.

Normally, I’d not post those numbers, because they don’t exactly help recruitment along. Or people will conclude that I must simply be failing as a CEO / Co-Executor. Well, I can tell you with confidence that this is not the case, or at least what mistakes I am making are not at the core of the problem. I’ve prodded enough members who I know are frank in their judgement and asked them, so unless everyone is out to kiss my behind or dead afraid of me, I think I did my homework right.

I have been discussing the issue to great length in the last few days, and there are certain things that keep returning. First off is the fact that we are a niche corporation / alliance. In fact, just slapping roleplay on anything already cuts your recruitment pool quite a bit, unless you take a really light approach to it, which on a sidenote is the only way to continue going if you reach a particular size like CVA or U’K. Then there is the fact we live out in 0.0, and then not the sov kind, but the NPC kind. That’s right, we’re a roleplaying alliance that bases out of Curse, you know that region most people know as the place alliances go to die, or use as a staging point, or grumble about because it requires an extra cyno to get from here to there. Welcome to niche play.

However, recruitment is not really the issue, we’re overall seeing a decrease in applications made but nothing that we didn’t see every summer already. Nor do people cite any particular issues with how we operate. Yes, we have a new neighbor that lost their sov and is now running around the neighborhood like they own it, but that’s something we’ve seen before. And it’s quite certainly going to be temporary, because alliances who consciously decide to live in Curse are few and between. It’s also my experience that once a sov player, always a sov player, which explains why losing sov can be a killing blow. It’s kinda hard to go back from there. This is just Curse being Curse and we’ve learned to deal with the eb and flow and carve our own path through that.

When going over what I will call “annoyances” like a former sov holder or the unprobable nerf or the summer activity slump, when digging in deeper, the core of the problem seems to be there is a whole lot of uncertainty going on which traces back to the current state of the game. The drama may have well passed, but it still lingers in the back of everyone’s minds. This ranges from performance issues with Incarna — though the recent patch that fixed load times and system temperatures has done a lot, but we did lose people due to not being able to replace hardware — to the NeX prices to there still being only one CQ to patches that patch patches which are fixing patches that broke patches (I feel for QA here) to the stagnant nature of flying in space. And even though we were presented a nice dev blog with 0.0 design guidelines which I wrote about previously, these are only guidelines, and long term at that, meaning that for the time being we have to make the best of what we do have. Fair enough, people knew when they joined what we do, and that would be quite alright, if only people were still motivated to do it. Not to mention that the things that Incarna brought are not things that will keep players entertained all day.

Ok, let me show you some numbers, which you may have seen over at Jester’s Trek and in The Mittani’s Kugutsumen announcement. Unlike the latter, I will link both images, as I feel they must be viewed together to really understand what is going on. Not that I disagree with what Mittens is saying, on the contrary, I just want to broaden the scope a bit to make the point even clearer.

EVE Logged-in Players (rolling averages)
EVE Online Average Logged-in Players 2011

The first image is a total view, going from 2006 over to 2011, with the red lines being the changing of the year. It’s rather obvious, but I’ll state it extra that means that summer sits halfway in between those red lines. More on that later. The second image is a view of the current half-and-a-bit year. Now, go ahead and compare the two. See how summer is nearly always offset by an expansion releasing, except in 2009 where timing was a bit awkward but where the winter expansion made well up for it. See how Tyrannis shook up last summer. And most importantly, see what didn’t happen right after Incarna. Now ok, the graph doesn’t a whole lot further after Incarna, but if you look at how soon spikes in activity occur after a patch, it should have to have been visible on this chart!

Looking at the second image then, we can see much higher the impact certain things have. What were the only spikes for Incarna? The riots and uproar, and then the time around where some positive dev blogs appeared. Fun fact for the readers, of all the blog posts I made in the last year, the one I did where I called out EN24 on creating / feeding the mass hysteria received double the amount of views any other post this year did. Yes, most of my writing is as niche as my alliance is, and I assume my readers are people interested in some way in that niche, so either that post must have broken me out of theĀ  usual niche (pretty sure it did!) or my usual readers must care a great deal for post-Incarna woes. Likely a mix of both, especially taking into account all posts on Incarna have been doing really well.

I’m not conjuring up these conclusions out of thin air, and neither is it a sentiment trapped within the borders of the usual crowd I play with. Three CSM members have written or blogged about this (Mittens, Seleene, Trebor) and likely more have forum posted, but I avoid the forums like the plague. Yes even the fancy new ones ain’t doing it for me, which shows that design isn’t everything (even though I secretly am fond of the like button). The fact that CCP has messed up, and that the aftermath of that is being felt and has a negative impact on the game, is a reality. And it is one that must not be ignored.

So, to answer the first banter questions, I feel CCP’s recent strategies have a negative impact on the playerbase. As for the CSM, I used to once have faith in the process, but what with CSM members have been revealing about the missing emergency minutes, and Seleene’s account of it, I think Mittens and his (unintended?) media campaign are going to have a much bigger effect. I’m a fan of playing things by the book when they can be done, but right now, I feel a revolution might be more in order. CCP may say that things are going as they should, but honestly, I don’t think they mean what they say. Yes, decisions were made in a past in a very different era (see Iceland’s role in the banking bubble), and it may be hard to let go of great visions that indeed would be truly great when achieved. The question however is if this is still feasible? I have great ideas that would be truly great when achieved for Ghost Festival and Naraka too. It’d be amazing to create the equivalent of what CVA had with Providence, but for Angel roleplayers. But I know damn well enough that such an idea is foolish to chase when you are at a stage where you realistically can only support small gang roams and mission running.

The kicker is that the investments have already been made, that DUST is going to release, that the WoD MMO is being developed, and that we now have Incarna. And yes, sometimes you have to force certain concepts down people’s throats because they will lead to greatness in the future. But that means you have to be able to cope with the losses of those who will simply not take it. And that is just bad when likely your business strategy was built upon numbers from previous years which looked a whole lot more optimistic and may today be a lot more forgiving if not everyone was a lot more prudent about their expenses.

I am of the opinion that at the end of the day, while a company owns a game and is thus entitled to do with it as it pleases, it is still a good idea to develop what players really want. And the Incarna numbers show that either players did not want this, or rather so far it’s been very lackluster. And that is a sentiment I share. While I like my CQ, certainly now it runs smoothly so I don’t have to stare at the dreaded door, I’d have been a lot happier with new things to keep me going through the summer. They’d have given a distraction, and something to work with other players on. Instead we got something we can all bitch about. And that’s a poor ground to build or maintain a corporation on.

So what about the future? My plan is to stick around and do all those things I’ve never really had or made time for before. If EVE is really “dying” then why not make the best of it while it lasts? That should fill up the time until the winter, where I expect / hope / pray that we will see good things again. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for any changes that will improve our situation in Curse, be it directly or indirectly. I’ll take what I can get. Maybe by then CCP manages to restore the faith of players, but that is going to mean that first off this current mess needs to see a definite end (at the very least, the minutes have to be released in a way that the CSM is pleased), and that a move forward must be made. We got a bunch of optimistic dev blogs, but it’s high time we get to see establishments, contraband, and some starting details on 0.0. And what if winter doesn’t bring anything good? Well, we’ll see about it then. There’s SWTOR, GW2 and D3 on the horizon, and maybe it is time for a change of scenery. But damn, that’s not how I’d want it to be. I would like EVE to be part of my gaming diet then, instead of dropped. Though if it happens, I suppose at least I’ll be ready for it.