EVE Vegas 2019 – Three Little Birds

They say “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” and I really wish all the negativity around CCP’s latest event had stayed there, and not immediately spilled onto /r/eve. I think I’m the only one who actually looked at the Keynote, the talks, and CCP’s plans with optimism and hope. I accept that the future of EVE is still somewhat uncertain with challenges in the industry and within New Eden itself. However, I will say that the first steps towards improving gameplay should come from the players.


Don’t Worry About a Thing

What am I really saying then? I’m saying that often all it takes to improve the game for yourself is to change your own outlook. Sitting and reading the complaints and, well, whining of other players drives away any enthusiasm in the same way that extremist groups radicalise people. Reading constant messages about how much the game sucks and CCP is not changing one particular feature are an easy opening for the rest of the toxicity we see these days on forums and on Reddit. The formula goes like this: Thread is opened with catchy/witty title or meme about something that can be generally agreed upon and is somewhat bad. Initial responses and upvotes come in to reinforce the opinion. Toxic comments are posted by a know-it-all about how this particular thing spells the end of New Eden as we know it and how it ties in to literally everything else CCP have done. Replying commenters are wooed by the charisma and supposed intellect of this new opinion. New, more-toxic opinions threads are created about how the end is nigh and everything is shit.

WHEN HAS GAME DESIGN VIA REDDIT EVER BEEN A GOOD IDEA?

The response to Vegas was very much along these lines, except it seemed to propagate from both Twitch and Reddit at the same time. The general opinion has been that the keynote was terrible, nothing good was shown, and the changes that we all wanted are nowhere to be seen. At the time of writing we are in the “new intellectual posts” phase, where people are posting threads (and comments) about how everything would have been so much better if they were done differently. Armchair-dev hindsight is a thing of beauty, isn’t it? I think a large portion of the vitriol could be alleviated if expectations weren’t so high. In my humble opinion this stems almost entirely from EVE being a 16 year old game and New Eden being one of the largest sandboxes ever seen. People have lofty expectations and big ideas about their own niche. Sure, it might sound great to make big changes to the structure of nullsec or to the stats of all supers, but when has game design via Reddit comment ever been a good idea?
Barghest & fleet over Earth

Every Little Thing Gonna be All Right!

This post is about Vegas, though, so let’s talk Vegas. There were several key talks spread across the weekend and several of them overlapped. Let’s go over the main points, big changes, and stuff to look forward to. I’ll preface by saying that much of it was talk about “could be” and “what if”, but at the very least it shows that CCP have awareness of the key issues surrounding parts of our game. Additionally, I won’t be covering every single little thing. Many of the upcoming changes are small and look to modernise the game for newer players coming in. I recommend checking out the Keynote itself!

Fortnightly Updates

One of the most exciting announcements of Friday evening was the introduction of Team Talos and their balance passes every other week. The first of which will be occurring very shortly on the 30th October with a buff to all combat interceptors, hoping to bring back the wolfpacks of yesteryear. This has been a sorely missed feature over the past decade and, if done correctly, it should be pretty effective in creating the shakeup that we always seem to need. The target they need to hit is going to be in making old ships feel new again and I’m confident they can do it.

A brief schedule for the immediate future looks a little like this:
Howling Interceptors – ~25% damage buff + fitting for Raptor, Crow, Crusader, and Taranis. -10% base velocity to all assault frigates.
Beat Around the Boosh – Jump dessies will only be able to carry 25 other ships at once. Signature radius increase to bosons. Dromi web -5% effectiveness. New Upwell flex structure minimum anchor from structures to 500km.
Rapid Fire – Some kind of buffs to autocannons (likely 650mm Artillery, too?) and a likely Muninn nerf


Factional Warfare – Cleaning up the mess

It’s no secret that FW has been on the decline for some time now. Some of the larger FW and lowsec powerhouses have quit, disbanded, or otherwise. Some others, such as 90% of Galmil, have moved their operations mostly into nullsec for the content that it can provide. Where there was no clear gameplan for how FW is going to be fixed, it was good to see a focus on it with some good starting points in mind. Namely shifting things away from mission running, updates to citadel mechanics in hostile systems, and a change to how plexes work. Altering ship classes in each plex was given a brief mention, as was the fact that there is a lot they can do here. Perhaps we’ll see plexes with vastly different capture mechanics, not just the simple ‘king of the hill’ style game as it is now.

Ships, Modules, and… Weather?

This was a fun one, although a bit lacklustre in way of solid concepts to show off. The star of the show was a discussion of some sort of “Heavy Bomb” as an anti-capital weapon. Think void bomb style, but with more like a 300,000 alpha strike instead and some radius tweaks. They currently aren’t even sure what is going to launch these and CCP Rise admitted that the decision hasn’t been made yet. It could be attack battlecruisers, regular bombers, or something entirely new just for these bombs!
Tiericide was given a brief mention, although it was more of an explanation for why things have gone quiet on that front. It’s simply not as exciting as other changes possible in the same timeframe. Slightly more interesting was a tease of how weather an environmental effects could be more deeply integrated into EVE. The tagline was along the lines of “If the weather is so unpredictable in Iceland, then why should it be so predictable in New Eden?” Again, just a tease for the minute but it’s certainly good fuel for the hype train.

Stop the Bleeding, Fix the Stupid, Assorted New Player Experience

This is a weird one and I want to let the Vegas slides below do the talking for me. For the most part this was a discussion about how one of the key focuses for CCP recently has been to fix all those little things that we all know about. You know, the 15 little clicks to do something simple that makes your friends think “what the hell is this game?” Seems pretty self explanatory and I’m happy in all honesty. After this we saw another couple of things mentioned. A new (really pretty) wallet and uh… Aura. From the looks of it, Aura has been renovated for new players. My guess would be that this is mostly a Korean/Chinese market thing and could speak of the influence of Pearl Abyss. I’m personally not a fan and I imagine many veterans couldn’t care less, but it is what it is. Perhaps this is the final piece of the puzzle in good player retention. Or maybe not…

New Triglavian Dreadnought! Sirnitra?

While the stats aren’t exactly published yet, we can glean a little from the PLACEHOLDER TRIG DREAD currently on SISI. From the looks of it, it’ll have a slot layout of 3/4/8 with resist and damage bonuses. Those stats and a bit of napkin maths puts potential damage way above any other dread currently in the game with the tank of a Rev, providing you can ramp up. It’s an exciting prospect and I fully expect them to be the wormhole space dreadnought of choice if cap resistance isn’t too much of an issue. CCP also noted that they should only be a little bit more expensive than regular dreads. AKA: Not like rare faction dreads for the megarich.

Hull Mutaplasmids! Maybe?

I didn’t want to make an entire section about something which was only a tease (as most of this seemed to be?), but this could be one of the biggest things to come out of EVE Vegas. Obviously the thought it to create mutaplasmids which can be applied to ship. It remains to be seen if we’re talking purely caps here, but I hope not. Often part of the issue with mutaplasmids is that you either get something ‘pretty ok’ for a lot of ISK, you pay for faction, or your start bricking factions for a 2% damage bonus. There are applications, but they’re usually pretty niche. Having the ability to corrupt an entire ship as a starting point for crazy fits has some interesting solo PvP implications.

Three Little Birds

The point of all this really is to say that everything will be fine. I’m not without my own criticisms of CCP for their presentation of EVE Vegas. I am quite happy with the changes, but I never expected much in the first place. Providing that they can work together efficiently, we could be seeing some the best changes in years over the next year or so.

EVE isn’t exactly on the life support that many make it out to be, but we can think of the changes that they’re making a bit like that. Player retention, little fixes, balances passes. These are things that have been needed for literally years and they are what absolutely must form the foundation for EVE if it is to be forever. To keep building on legacy code and on bug debt is unsustainable and we already knew that this year would be focused on the aforementioned bug debt and related issues.

CCP’s roadmap of roadmaps that was mentioned during the keynote is proof that something is going to happen and all it needs to work is the proper player interaction and a bit of developer love. If this was a battle royale game then we’d be seeing people jump for joy at the possibility of a new, themed update. We don’t need the constant negativity around almost anything that CCP does for the sake of “it doesn’t make me more ISK.”

Seriously, chill out and let things happen. Enjoy the game in a way that you find fun and if you aren’t enjoying things then offer constructive feedback, vote with your wallet, or find something else to do in EVE. Toxicity brings us all down; we don’t need that in our game.

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