Closing Fanfest 2013

I think we have ended our spate of posts from Fanfest now, and I guess its tie to try and sum up my feelings for the event, as well as its comming effect it could have on the game. The event itself is the easiest bit, it was great. We all had an excellent time and cant wait to do it all again.
To elaborate further the event was pretty much what I had imagined  based on the live stream from last year and my trip to Iceland in October. The presentations were great and the round tables were very interesting (as were the people we met). The venue itself was very interesting, nestled on the shore in among the rocks and jetties; and for the most part it served it purpose well. My only complaints were that the larger round tables could have benefited from a microphone system (for CCP and the questioners), and even better, an electronic “Hands-up” system. It seemed to me that asking a question was at the mercy of the eyesight and vocal ability of the devs. But lets face it, that’s a pretty minor niggle.
For us as the players part in the round tables the community needs to learn some patience and politeness. I lost count of the number of grumblings I heard about people not getting asked a question for a long time (yes it annoyed me too, but there is no need to start swearing about it). Worse were the one question wonders: People who seem to turn up for a round table and ask a question, then disappear of to do their next thing. Seriously if you care enough  about a section of eve to want to make you opinion heard, maybe you should put in the effort to listen to others who care as much as you? Instead of sperging your load over the Devs before running off to try and correct another part of the universe. Worst of all were the  people who spent an age telling CCP how to fix the game and then not even bother to listen to the response.
Needless to say I did meet as lot of very interesting and informed people during the round tables, as well as hear some perspectives which I found new and interesting. So enough of my whining, let talk about the presentations. Starting with the Dust 514 Keynote: I want a ps3 now, if only it didn’t cost an arm and a leg. Enough said? No? Ok well it was a pretty good presentation which gave a good idea of where CCP is going with dust and how they intend to make it popular. Certainly. As a side note I managed to sneak past

a cordon at one point and try a Dust with a Razer keyboard and mouse for a few seconds before I was politely turfed out. I was pretty amazed at how good it felt tbh. This was pretty important especially as any hope I had of getting it on PC were dashed with the announcement of dust mobile on the psp vita. It looks like Sony and CCP are getting pretty far under the sheets together (as evidenced by the PlayStation logo all over Fanfest), and I really doubt Sony would appreciate a competitor to Planet Side from a partner.

How about the eve keynote then? Well first off I was enthralled by the history lesson from Hilmar. I did a little light research on the games history back when I wrote this piece on an alternate vision of eve. Hearing it from Hilmar was great however, and it really told me two key things: CCP has never really known how far the rabbit hole goes, and that the people who run the company are not all that many miles from me or you.
In terms of actual content, I feel like we have a mixed bag. Lets say upfront that the new gate animation is sexy as hell. Soundwave prefaced his demonstration of it but telling us we were all about to get nerd boners, and he wasn’t wrong. Even having seen it the day before at the art panel I was amazed by it. Sure gate animations aren’t the most important thing in the world, but its just a little thing which makes the world more immersive more tangible, more real. Loading bars break the immersion; and when you have to jump 10 or 15 jumps to a destination your going to spend less time immersed than not with just a loading bar between gates.  So good job on that one.

The exploration mechanics were also pretty awesome. We saw in the prototyping session that the original idea was to give the mechanic to miners who could increase their yield by being active and catching rocks while mining. But i think its been well placed in the exploration area as well. I certainly intend to give it a go at some point post release.
But the fact of the matter is that I was really hoping to see more to shake the nullsec snow glob. The resource rebalance is a great start, but really I don’t think its enough. I could be way out on this, I think we will see some jostling between the CFC and HBC to gather up a roughly even value of R64 moons, and then they will get back to swimming in cash ala scrooge mcduck. It will be an interesting proof of who was telling the truth about why Nullsec is quiet at the moment. With no changes being made to structure grinding if we do see major combat for a prolonged period of time: it will prove that the “Why fight when you can just collect cash?” camp was right, and the “Structure Grinding is to hard”/”We have perfected Sov warfare” camps were deluded or lying.
The final keynote was the CCP Presents session, which was apparently another name for “Dust 514 Keynote Part 2”. We spent far to much time listening to Dust stuff which would have been far better placed in, well, the Dust keynote. I seriously don’t get the whole expansion, wait 1 week, then go live with another patch thing. Why not put all the features together, label them uprising then go live with the expansion at the same time as releasing the game all on the 5.14 date they clearly wanted so bad?  I just don’t get it. In all honestly, if I didn’t know better I would have said they were filling time. After what felt like hours of intricate details about Dust stuff we could have guessed (well golly gosh CCP you released a Minmatar and Caldari pistol and you intend to release a Gallente and Amarr one too? Strike me down I didn’t see that coming! You’ll tell me your releasing all the suit sizes for all the races next!) CCP Seagull came out and pretty much said “all that stuff we told you yesterday is still true and still mystic, woohoo”. I guess its pretty hard to follow an hour of facts about a release, with just the incorporeal plans for the next 5 years.
The merchandise stuff was pretty cool (if presented with a good dollop of American cheese). I did feel that they left the biggest question unanswered which was “can I upgrade my main character to a collectors edition?” I’m guessing so as he hinted it was all done through codes (but 150 Euros is a lot of money to gable on a guess). All the books and comics sounded great, I will certainly be trying to sneak a copy of eve Source onto our coffee table, or failing that into the magazine rack in the bog.

Our coverage wasn’t exactly how we expected it to be. We were hoping for some more Round Table video, as well as some chats with Devs along the way. Sadly although we secured all of these things on a HD video camera, some kind of overheating or firmware issue caused it to corrupt all the video we captured. Needless to say that recorder will be going back to the shops some time soon. We did we some pictures and video via a camera phone, and I cant thank Lore enough for putting the effort in to pull us out of the fire. But with the best will in the world, a camera phone will never quite match a proper HD recording device. Still I believe what we got was very worth while.

Well its almost touch down time now so I’d better sign off. In closing Fanfest was great fun, and I cant wait to go again. I’m still pretty disappointed with Odyssey, not so much for what in it, but more for what is not. Lots more to talk about resulting from this so expect a fair few more posts from us soon (although maybe not at the rate we have been chucking them out). Without the pressure on to get things out as soon as possible, we may even start proof reading out posts now (did we ever?).
Fly home,
Hark

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