Posts Tagged ‘predictions’

Winter Patch Predictions

During Fanfest CCP released a wonderful little wrap up for the Retribution expansion, detailing that it was exceedingly successful. Numbers back this up, with retribution going on to give a massive increase in players (citation needed I know, I swear there was a follow up to this post by Jester where retribution got a record-breaking final statistic, but I just can’t find it). Since the retribution expansion, CCP have been following the same recipe for effort pretty closely, as I detailed in my post “You say goodbye” looking at CSM recommendations and this recipe.

 

So with the numbers from that post in mind, I think its time for me to give some predictions about the Winter Expansion. Firstly the “Expansion Theme”. I’ve given up hope of a Nullsec orientated theme anytime soon, the fact of the matter is that Nullsec players are already hooked on the game. Why develop cleaner drugs for the addicts when you can make cocaine infused lollipops to get new customers? So I won’t be predicting a Nullsec theme (no matter how much I want it). Instead, from what’s been going around, and reading in-between the lines of the CSM I predict that this expansion theme will be:

 

PvE content (specifically a revamp of missions).

 

Most eve players start their lives as mission runners, and quite a few end them as one. And let’s face it Missions are pretty much as out of date as it gets in the PvE department, I can’t think of a MMO with worse PvE than eve at time of press. A mission revamp would have three clear advantages for CCP going forwards:

 

  1. Bringing new players to the game

If eve can get back to the curve with PvE it might do a better job of recruiting more new players with promises of more traditional MMO content for the masses. I’m not saying raid bosses are coming, but having the equivalent of 5 man dungeons might bring more small groups into the game.

 

  1. Player Retention

Missions are not fun, and players want fun content. Simple as that. Make missions fun, and people might stay around long enough to learn something, and get hooked into PvP.

 

  1. Player progression

Leading on from above, Missions could (but aren’t currently) be a great way to Segwaying players into PvP without the current jump-into-cold-water-from-a-sauna level of system shock.

 

With that core concept in place lets look at the break down of content I expect to see this winter (% numbers are based purely on the retribution recipe):

 

6% UI improvements

I expect to see maybe a bit of drone UI work here. But I am not sure just how much. I suspect this will be a “nice to have” feature for the expansion and may get dropped for a 1.1 or later. Mostly I would expect this to be around the corporation management (enabling the content creators after all), and the mission UI. Wouldn’t surprise me if the Agent system gets another go, if it exists in any form anymore.

 

8% new ships

I expect there to be some new ships (around 1-4), but I really don’t know what form they will take, something linked to missions of course. Personally I would love to see a salvage frigate which could be used for ninja salvaging, but really that’s just a pipe dream.

 

9% revamp

The big part, Missions get a thorough going over. Best hope is that it’s something close to the way CCP did exploration, completely overhauling the dynamic and perhaps even going far enough as to scrap the Agent system for something more dynamic.

 

18% code revamp

The smaller half of the expansion, this is being done partly because it needs doing, and partly because it opens the door to the POS work next expansion (gosh am I doing two expansions worth of predictions now?).

 

10% ship rebalancing

Obvious predictions is obvious. We already know about marauders. Not sure  what will be next . Perhaps assault frigates?  More likely is a begin on the Navy and Pirate factions ships, they are favourite for missions already.

 

49% minor features

These are really hard to predict as what is a “Minor” feature is hard to tell. I expect a lot of life improvements run outwards from the corp code revamp. I also expect a second revision on the Exploration content pushed out last patch, maybe some new modules etc. Perhaps even so far as trading of hacking powerups. I also predict some more ginger toes going into the sea of CREST, alongside other minor tweaks.

 

As I said before I would much rather a Nullsec revamp, but I just don’t think it’s on the cards. I almost would begrudge missions getting a pass though, it is without doubt the most outdated section of the game (well perhaps baring the UI). Better mission content could make for better, or at least fun, money making prospects for individuals, so let’s see. Of course this is purely working off gut feeling mixed with some interpretation, and I expect to be entirely wrong about the expansion.
Fly like Mystic Meg (wrong),

 

Hark

Large fleets, impressive but stagnant?

While I was at Fanfest I had the fortune to actually be seated on the front row during the ship balancing round tables, watching the interaction between CCP fozzie, CCP Rise and CCP Ytterbium, was great, each of them are very different people with differing opinions, the three of them together I feel are going to give us the most well thought out ship balancing I think eve has seen.
The Grid

The Grid

I could go on for some time about the many topics that came up but one particular area interested me: Fleet Boosters. I should say from the outset that I am pro boosting ships being on grid, I feel that no role should be so dull or easy that it should be done effectively afk. I suspect this will get me flack from the many people who like to fight solo (even though they are fighting with at least two ships); I even enjoy flying solo myself, but Eve at its heart is a mmo, if you want to fly solo that’s great, but in general flying with friends is what makes this good game great.

That personal opinion aside one of the ideas that was floated was that boosting ships could be changed so that they effectively boost ships within a sphere around them (kind of like a hictor bubble), this would mean that the pilots of these ships would require actual flying skills to place themselves in the correct places and large fleets may even require multiple boosting ships, it would also mean that your average grunt would need to check their position relevant to the boosters as well as the logistics.
This to me sounds like if it was implemented that we may actually end up in much more dynamic mobile fleets where actual flying skill would be needed. It would mean that highly skilled pilots (or budding pilots) would be able to aspire to roles within fleets that could make or break an engagement, reliant on their flying skills.
This however started my evil mind turning and led me to have a conversation with the CCP devs after the meeting finished and here I will outline where my evil thoughts went…
Boosting Radiance Ships? Maybe not...

Boosting Radiance Ships? Maybe not…

As some people who have read my posts before may have noticed I do not understand why most random events in eve are positives, some of the most interesting stories are about when an unforeseen event has occurred and how people have managed (or not) to cope with them. All this talk of ships creating bubbles of “ship boosts” had me wondering, would it not be fair to have ships that do the opposite?

My thought was if CCP want more people flying command ships and for it to be a much more active and responsive role then surely the obvious way to make this happen was for there to be something for them to have to actively counter? At the moment there is a class of ships post tiercide that only has a single ship in it: The Battleship disruption line, and in it the scorpion. This currently has a bonus to ECM burst modules, what if this ship was changed to create a Hic like bubble of effect around it with an ECM effect and balanced against  sensor strength boosting command ships? Suddenly you would have pilots of these two ships attempting to counter each others effects, the command ship defensively while the disruptor would be attempting to fly his ship so he didn’t impact his own fleet but not so far forward he was out of range of his own support, suddenly fleet and even individual positioning within a fleet become more complex, dynamic, responsive and even rewarding of flying skill, not just skill points.
At this point you can expand on the idea, if you stick with current racial ewars then a how about an area effect tracking disrupting Amarr ship? A area effect sensor damping Galente ship? ( think of the effect on logi) How about an area effect target painting Minmatar? (that could mess with AHacs).
I think that if you gave people the opportunity to fly these ships that could negatively impact enemy fleets you would actually reward pilots with the experience and ability to fly well with a whole new class of ships that would really bring something new to fleet combat and that would then have the knock on effect of making command ships much more interesting, responsive and fleet combat much more dynamic. Each Disrupting ship would require a different command ship to counter.
And this idea carries on again, currently bombers have only two forms of ewar covered “lockbreaker” and “void” seems to me that some are missing here but I think you can all follow that idea on to a logical conclusion, I suppose here is the point to say what the devs had to say about the suggestion.

Press F1 for help

The idea was met I feel with guarded interest and support, it appears that the main issue that is holding up what they want to do with command ships (and by effect potential disruption ships) is a system issue. Currently bubbles are a problem, interdiction bubbles work because when a ship attempts to enter warp a single check is made by that ship “am I in a bubble?” if the answer is yes warp fails. currently ecm burst, lockbreaker and void bombs send out a single pulse and ships in the area are effected once. The problem with what they want to do with “boost bubbles” is that the server would need to know which ships at any given time were being effected by positive (or even negative) effects from one moment to the next and as fleets get larger the number of checks on this gets larger as well and can rapidly become a large resource hog, it is something they are looking at a solution for apparently but they could not say anymore at this time.

Personally I am very pleased that they are even looking in this direction and I am hopeful that they will find an elegant solution so that soon we will see much more interesting fleets flying in elegant shoals of death responding to each other in much more dynamic ways than the current “everyone anchor on x at 10km, follow targets and hit f1 in time. I can but hope. [Editors note: even worse. “Every one stop your ships and assign drones to XXXXX”]

Summer 2013 Looking forwards

With Retribution now safely tucked away into the annals of history lets take a look towards the future and the next patch should, and might hold. I’ll split this into two sections; things I think will be in the next patch and things I think should be in the next patch.

So Summer 2013, what would I like to see? and I accept this is a pure wish list, not an expectation!

Modular POS’s – This has been in the works for waaaaay to long now. It is my understanding that the code behind POSs is some of the oldest and messiest code currently check into the CCP code base. And although CCP has publicly acknowledged the need for a serious re-vamp we are yet to see anything hinting at actual work being done on it. Either CCP has been working on this behind the scenes for a while now, or they are avoiding doing it like a lazy school boy. I’ll let you decided which, but either way summer 2012 needs to see these coming to fruition for reasons to obvious and numerous to describe.

Further Ship Balances – pretty standard expectation these days and I’m in two minds as to which way this should go. Either CCP should finish balancing sub capital ships (and giving them a place in Capital warfare) or they should balance Capitals to bring them down to a level where Sub Caps can counter them.

Removal of Structure Bashing – Lots of people have discussed replacement mechanics for sov holding (The best I believe is the “Use the space to hold the space” one). Even the CSM has identified it as a prime example of bad game design. Whatever the method CCP should be encouraging us to shoot each-other rather than static structures.

Bottom up Corp Economy – I believe The Mittani was behind this one, as are many others. I myself have written about it at length in my Blood Money Series and I believe that this needs to happen. ISK fountains need to be removed from the few people in charge of alliances and into the hands of the thousands of members of that alliance. A lot of people have referred to the Ring mining as the solution to this issue.

And in contrast what do I think we will see?

Modular POS’s – I give it a 40% chance of appearing. And I count in that it appearing in a “not quite finished” first iteration way.

Further Ship Balances – Were gona see it without doubt (unless CCP finishes it before the patch), but I doubt it will touch capitals in any way shape or form. The CSM now (at the time when CCP is picking what to hit for the expansion) has made it clear that they like capitals just the way they are, so I doubt any form of counter will come out. I expect instead it will be T2 iterations like the Command ship changes we have already see bandied about in dev blogs.

New battleships – This one I’m going out on a limb with this one. The diagram in the dev blog above clearly shows that there are 4 gaps in the Battleship line up:

I expect CCP to fill this in the summer expansion with a new Caldari Attack ship and new Disruption ships for Minmattar, Amarr and Galentte. I could argue for another two Battleships (support and Exploration) for each race, but I’m not sure that fits with CCPs vision of the BS lineup.

Without any description I think the following are also likely in the next expansion: old code re-factoring and new player experience iteration.

What do you guys think will be in? and what do you want to see?

Fly expectantly

hark¬