Kremlin-Watching in Iceland

Close reading of CCP tweets can backfire, but can also lend hints of what is to come, and when.  Stoffer’s tweets (@ktouborg), for instance, gave the first non-CSM confirmations that a supercapital rebalance was incoming, and even lent some information about what form that might take.

So I read, with interest, the following exchange on twitter, today.  It’s time for some close reading:

@kirithkodachi: Blog Post: Seven Things CCP Can Do To Revitalize Eve: I started composing this post before the dev blogs about t…

After the link was fixed (I have done so already, above), CCP Fallout responded:

CCP_Fallout @kirithkodachi good post. Item 6 won’t be touched upon until maybe Fall 2012 though

Note how oddly specific this is.  Not “we hope to get round to at least Item 6 by 2012” or “hopefully we’ll get some of that done by next year” or anything broad like that.  The implication of specifically warning that Item 6 – which had not been picked out for discussion earlier in the exchange that I can see – would remain untouched until the Autumn 2012 expansion is that other items on the list might very well not have to wait so long.

I’d recommend visiting kirithkodachi’s blog post at the link above, but to recap in precis form, the items he had on his wish list were:

  1. Supercap rebalancing
  2. New ships
  3. Fix blasters
  4. Update incursions
  5. More live events
  6. Update faction warfare
  7. More space

Not a bad list by any means.  We know that item one is on the way (and I’d expect to see a dev blog about that extremely soon, on the basis of previous expansions).

“New ships” covers a multitude of sins, and could be taken to mean anything from another lowball item like the Primae all the way through to a new range of racial ships filling a novel role.  Given the lower art costs of a reskin I’d suggest that something not unlikely would be the addition of a another set of four ships using existing T1 hulls but T2 in nature, in the same way as the Cerberus or the Kitsune use the Caracal or the Griffin.

“Fix blasters”: this has been hinted at already for next year by CCP.  I just hope that they do it by making gallente ships better platforms for MWD (agility and MWD tweaks?) rather than just turning blasters into faux-autocannons.
“Update incursions” – rolling out different faction incursions would add new “raid” content (the Sansha ones already being min-maxed to “farm” status amongst organised groups) while utilising existing development, AI and graphic assets: I would be surprised not to see this next year in some form.

“More live events” – you would be amazed the depths and degree of both my disinterest and my ignorance on this one.  Sounds pricy in terms of staffing or risky in terms of probity (who remembers BoB and LV and their unfortunate associations with Aurora?), but not difficult per se.

“Update faction warfare” – Faction warfare isn’t costing CCP much, it keeps a few hundred souls tied into the game and CCP are traditionally not the best at revisiting systems post-release: I can see why this would be 12-15 months away at the most optimistic.  On the other hand, before that is even a consideration we are talking about considerably greater resources being thrown at Eve.  Which is hopeful.

“More Space” – CCP have said before, both in the context of the drone regions release and the more recent Black Rise and Wormole space additions, that they can procedurally add additional space with only manageable effort.  Given that their figures show that something like 10% of their subscribers have at least tried Wormhole space (that’s not bad at all; and compared to some calculations Goonswarm members did about PI takeup recently that is a stellar success) and that the majority of class 2+ wormholes seem to be either occupied or farmed-out at any given time, I would expect at least new Wormhole space.  Were I to speculate, i would also suggest that some additional, more conventional space devised as nursery areas for new alliances would not be unlikely: perhaps cynojammed NPC systems?

I would therefore suggest that Kirithkodachi has managed a fairly high hit rate on CCP’s plans if the faction fighting for more Eve investment win out.  To these I would add an expectation of a revision of nullsec – with changes to sovereignty and wealth creation high on the list – and at least one revision of moon mining.  The latter may even occur in two passes: tech rebalance then redesign.

Oh, and blah blah more Captains’ Quarters whatever blah blah.  Who cares?

This would be a formidable list, and most of this depends on Eve being moved from the position of exploited cash cow to growth status.  But I am optimistic.  For now.