One of those “note the time and date” posts, Massively OP reported earlier today that CCP was backing away from development of Virtual Reality games, closing their Atlanta office and selling off the studio in Newcastle responsible for now VR-optional Oculus Rift launch title EVE: Valkyrie. This will mean a job loss for as many as 100 CCP employees world wide, including 30 in Iceland.
EVE: Valkyrie in stasis
CCP says that they will continue to support their VR products but will no longer be investing time into new development for EVE: Valkyrie, EVE Gunjack, or the recently launched Sparc. That sounds nice, but once you cut the development team restarting on a VR project won’t be easy.
Hello VR captain’s quarters?
In addition to a renewed focus on EVE Online… because what else is making them any money… CCP will continue with development of the shooter known as Project Nova as well as the EVE Universe themed mobile game Project Aurora, which was demoed at EVE Vegas earlier this month.
With regards to EVE, it’s kind of bittersweet that this puts us in a more solid position going forward, as a lot more focus is back on EVE Online, its services and all the technology and support around it.
The EVE Online development team was not impacted at all by these changes, and remains the same size, working toward the same goals and features that have already been announced.
While that may be so, one of the losses with the Atlanta office is CCP Manifest who was the PR and social media lead who paid a lot of attention to the EVE Online community. Likewise CCP Logibro who minded the fansites and worked with the CSM appears to be on the list. They will be missed.
We shall see what this means in the longer term. EVE Online remains the only money making video game for the company.
It is that time of the year again and BlizzCon looms, just a few days off. I am now in the midst of my internal monologue BlizzCon Virtual Ticket debate.
Virtual Ticket Decision Time
The Blizzard watching portion of online gaming journalists seem to think it is pretty much a lock that the next World of Warcraft expansion will be announced on Friday. If that is the case, then I definitely want the Virtual Ticket. As I have said before, there is often as much in the way people say things as the text they are speaking.
I have found, in years past, the quick transcriptions and summaries of video game journalists to not only fail to deliver the “feel” of a presentation but to occasionally boarder on near deceitfulness, albeit unintentional, when passing on information.
A problem of journalism in all areas of the press. I used to swear at the local paper because every story I had first hand knowledge of would invariably contain errors in material fact.
Anyway, if there is to be an announcement about the next WoW expansion, I want to get the Virtual Ticket so I can watch and re-watch key presentations.
And certainly such an announcement seems likely, if only because of historical precedent. Every other BlizzCon tends to be an expansion announcement, with the off year being the year the expansion ships. The only exception this decade has been WoW Legion, and they had to announce that before BlizzCon in 2015 because Blizzard so badly fumbled content pacing for Warlords of Draenor that they needed some good news to off-set the record loss of subscribers they had to announce just two days before. (They subsequently stopped talking about subscription numbers, except for that Tom Chilton slip.) They didn’t even have the cinematic set to go, a standard part of past announcements, which I found indicative of their haste to find good news to spread.
So aside from that exception, BlizzCon on odd numbered years seems to be a pretty likely time to hear about the next bi-annual-ish expansion.
The problem is that there hasn’t been the usual smoking gun. Nobody who has been dumpster diving in the game assets has found a map of a new area or splash screen with a new name, just some sporadic items that could be part of a new expansion, but might not be. And it is awfully early for Blizzard to be putting assets into the live game files for something that is likely to be at least a year off. That makes me think all of that speculation is just finding the black cat in the dark room that isn’t there.
Meanwhile, Blizzard itself hasn’t screwed up and accidentally posted the new expansion page on their site early again or had somebody on the team leaking information, the usual harbingers of an expansion announcement. Of course, the week is still young. There is time yet.
And the BlizzCon schedule itself doesn’t exactly scream “expansion coming!” with extra WoW sessions with vague titles.
The kick-off of the BlizzCon 2017 schedule
Yes, after the opening keynote the next thing on the big stage is an hour of WoW, but aside from pride of place, that isn’t much different than the Overwatch or Hearthstone panels on the main stage. (Well, Hearthstone doesn’t get a full hour because even *I* can tell you “what’s next” there, more card packs to buy lest you fall behind the meta.)
So while logic and my gut both agree that an expansion announcement is highly likely, but I haven’t seen anything yet that guarantees it.
And, without that announcement and the subsequent discussions wallowing in what details Blizz cares to share, is there anything else I want out of BlizzCon?
Overwatch – I don’t play it, so any announcement there has naught to do with me.
Hearthstone – Play it occasionally, very casually, with the free cards, so the inevitable new card pack announcement isn’t going to mean anything beyond being beaten by newer and more powerful decks.
Heroes of the Storm – Hahahaha!
StarCraft – I don’t care so much about StarCraft II and we already got the remastered version of the original StarCraftearlier this year, so not much for me there.
Diablo – Blizzard has said there won’t be anything for the Diablo franchise. The schedule only shows two presentations, one about visual effects and one about community. There is no “what’s next” panel. Last year was the 20th anniversary, which got us a special event, and we got the necromancer mini-pack earlier this year, so unless they have news about that Diablo II remaster that came up back in 2015 (along with the StarCraft remaster which, as noted, we got!) it would be hard to come up with something that would interest me much.
So what do you think? Expansion announcement or not? Sounds like an excuse for a poll.
There is a poll above this line, which might get eaten by AdBlock. I pay not to have ads here, so blocking them is mildly futile I suppose.
As I said above, I am inclined to believe there will be an expansion announcement, not only because of past history, but also because I am not sure how WoW goes forward for another year without one. How could they NOT have an expansion announcement? But one might also ask how they could let some past expansions molder for as long as a year with no updates.
I will probably get the Virtual Ticket.
But if there isn’t an announcement, will there be anything else worthwhile?