And the EVE-O forums take off in an unusual amount of nerd-rage. CCP just announced the next fanfest. Looks like there may not be a 2010 fanfest but the 2011 fanfest is going to be in March. Admittedly this will come as a possible shock to some people. Not to mention the possible PR implications of not having a full blown fanfest in 2010.
The above announcement definitely has the tea leaf readers going into overdrive. Mind you I can see how CCP is between a rock and a hard place on this one. Lets look at what CCP wants to do:
- Put out DUST 514 (for consoles initially)
- Connect up DUST 514 to EVE in a meaningful way
- Put some more new things in EVE (formations, T3 frigates, T3 modules)
- Finally get Incarna out the door so people will stop bitching about it's absence.
- Continue development on on some WOD property (still nothing "official" on this one but perusing the CCP Job pages one can do a little reading between the lines and figure out at some point there will be an announcement).
Add to this the gleamings of the previous fanfest presentations and one can see that CCP has a lot on their plate. You also have the situation that they are transitioning from a single title development house to a multi-title development house, they are also still in the throws of dealing with the constant company growth over the last few years.
I think their vision outstripped their ability to schedule everything and they are now in the mode where they need to deal mountain they want to deliver. This also impacts their ability to actively fix the issues that are irritants to their players. This is because they suddenly realize just how much they've put on their plate, and if they want to deliver a decent product they need to throw developers at said new stuff. Which lowers the pool of developers available for existing issues.
Throw into this mix the fact that everyone and his/her 90 year old grandmother knows that Tyrannis is a "put some support structure in place so that we can hang DUST 514 onto it", and the PR side of CCP has it's work cut out for it. Don't get me wrong, I can very much see this expansion being one of the bigger industrial expansions of EVE. It's ability to put more of the market action under player control is something I can only be for, not against (the indy side feels a bit neglected at time thanks to the louder PvP guys). It does remain that the average EVE player may get the impression that this particular expansion is a "placeholder" expansion. Which leaves them looking for other nice little goodies they feel should be there to placate them for the rest of the expansion being "aimed at DUST". Not to mention the higher ups tendency to want to keep things close to their vests until much closer to delivering so the KNOW they will be delivering.
Slight side track: CCP, Even with agile development, where there is no guarantee that you'll get exactly what you're planning (see the whole mothership/supercarrier issue), letting the players know the general priority plan would make things a little smoother. Updating the "in development/future development" page would be a nice thing too. It should be updated after every major announcement and it would be nice if it got updated when related items suddenly have dev blogs...
So with all of that, what do I think of the announcement. I think it will hurt a little that there is no fanfest in 2010 (at least that's what it's looking like). I don't particularly mind that Tyrannis will be laying the foundation for the DUST Tie-in. It has to happen and they are giving us control of the NPC goods markets. Can't complain there. Not knowing the general plan for DUST and Incarna yet just leads to Internet driven FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt), which IS hurting things a bit. The timing of the next fanfest is, I think, telling, since we'll have Tyrannis, then the un-named (yet) winter expansion, followed by the fanfest and the 2011 summer expansion. Somewhere in all of this they also have to get DUST out there.
One big un-answered question is whether the rolling out of DUST will correspond to one of the "twice a year" expansions or one of the "smaller patches". I think it will depend on how much foundation they are able to lay down in Tyrannis. We'll see.
What I think we'll see:
May 18, 2010: Tyrannis (the DUST foundation expansion with EVE Gate).
Winter 2010: T3 frigates and modules and formations and other stuff that is more EVE centric.
Summer 2011: Incarna OR DUST
Winter 2011: DUST OR Incarna
What I'm assuming is that the expansion around the time of the DUST release will simply contain a lot of DUST related changes to EVE. We'll probably have to wait until 2012 before any concrete news on any WOD stuff. I'm also assuming it'll take at least until the 2nd product is out for CCP to solidify it's internal structure to handle things efficiently.
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