Let me explain.
No, there is too much. Let me sum up.
-Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride
I am back from EVE Vegas and my brain is full of stuff.
Lots of things were said and shown over the course of the event, too much for me to lay out in any detail in one post… at least if I want to get the post done today. We haven’t unpacked from the trip yet, save for essentials.
As I wrote on Friday, I went to Vegas with the hope that CCP would give us a vision as to where they are headed. A plan. A roadmap. And the keynote is where you set that sort of thing up. You can have other sessions for deep dives into details, but you have to lay the groundwork at the keynote. The keynote is important. This session easily had the most people in the room. Even CCP seemed to agree about its place in things. They got the keynote up on YouTube that night.
All the other sessions are still just part of day long video files on their Twitch channel, but they keynote is readily available.
So did they set the right tone, one enough to give everybody hope?
I spoke with quite a few people that evening about the keynote contents and either we’re a bunch of cynical bastards or CCP held back too much. To me it felt like a promise for a promise. They did, in fact, use the word “Roadmap” on a slide, but they didn’t have an actual path charted out in any but the most vague, hand waving way. There were many nice thoughts, but not enough detail to satisfy. Afterwards out in the meeting area there was some grumbling and a lot of comments about CCP needing to have something to back their statements up.
One odd thing that stood out from the keynote for me was the brief pass by plans for the EVE Portal phone app.
CCP has taken the mobile app development in house and has some plans for it. CCP Burger specifically mentioned the ability to “trade PLEX in Jita” from the app as one of the goals. I am not sure the ability to trade PLEX from your phone is something people are dying for, nor necessarily a good idea. And I hope he meant “in game” rather than specifically “in Jita.”
EVE Core and Team Talos
Saturday morning at 11am was the EVE Core presentation, which was done by CCP Rise. CCP Rise is serious and low key at times, but he presents well and you can sense his passion for this game as he talks. If you have to pick one session to watch, this is the one. It is the first one up on this video on Twitch. Lots of information about what CCP would like to do and plans to do.
Part of what came up was the new Team Talos, which is a small group which is doing special updates every two weeks. The warp speed increases from two weeks back was their first project, and this week’s Howling Interceptors changes was theirs as well. They sketched out the next couple of updates as well.
Overall, lots of good things were said here which backed up the keynote. People were happier after this presentation. However, there was also skepticism if CCP could pull this off. We found out later that Team Talos was just three people and some items on the bigger list felt more like things they want to do rather than items they have committed to. We shall see.
The EVE Variety Hour
Worst name ever for a presentation, which may account for the room emptying out quite a bit after CCP Rise’s talk. It was mostly about new player retention, the things CCP has been doing and is planning to do with a look at what impact the changes have had. It was full of good info, if that aspect of the game interests you.
Billed as “Data & Botting” it was mostly CCP Larrikin throwing fun and interesting bits of data at the audience. I have to go watch this again full screen to grab some of the charts. He may have inadvertently given us a bit of data to help figure out how many people in total have played EVE Online in one of his graphs. It was Americas only numbers, but still a starting place. That is a figure that companies like Daybreak specifically won’t say publicly.
There was also quite a bit on income inequality and people deemed as “cheaters,” those who bot or use other illicit means to gain ISK, what ship classes generate the most, and what impact the blackout and the cyno changes had on things.
There is a lot more like that in the presentation, as well as the odd fun bits, like Goonswarm Federation pilots having been on the most kill mails.
However, the most common kill was a Mobile Tractor Units, at 32,466. I was surprised to see TNT made the cut for top ten, though I am usually surprised when anybody mentions my alliance at all.
This was the first presentation on the Sunday video if you want to dig in right now and see more.
CCP Ghost gave a presentation about the social effects of being online. If you want to feel good about spending many hours of your live logged into EVE Online, this will help. It turns out we build real, deep friendships through the game and, in turn, develop resiliency in ourselves by playing. This comes up in the video after CCP Larrikin’s talk.
This year the even was held at The Flamingo Hotel and Casino. We checked in on Friday and ended up with a room with a great view.
I sat at the bench by our window and watched the Bellagio fountain show over and over. Of course, not everybody got that sort of view. Also, in the foreground on the lower right is Drai’s night club, where CCP held the party. Our room was nice, though we had what was perhaps the busiest set of shower controls I have yet run across.
At first glance I thought it had two USB ports. They were, in fact, spray nozzles. However, water pressure on the 27th floor was pretty weak to start with, so turning those on reduced the shower head to little more than a dribble. Oh well.
Overall The Flamingo was better than The Linq in almost every regard, save for not having a nice central bar to congregate around. The price of a poolside cabana was so high that the Open Comms crew went back to The Linq to hang out. It was right next door. Pools aside though, Planet Hollywood was still better in almost every regard. Heart Bar, best bar.
This year the party was held at the Omnia, a club at Caesar’s Palace. Overall it was not as good of a location as Drai’s. A huge number of people turn out for the party, and we filled up the Omnia. It was crowded. However, for a tight club experience for watching Permaband, it was pretty good… if you secured a spot downstairs within sight of the stage.
Permaband did an excellent set. Having ex-CCP Guard back was great, though many say it was CCP Tara who stole the show.
A good party, though it was crowded and tough to find a spot where you could have a chat, though I can’t hear anybody in those circumstance unless they shout, so it might just be me.
There was the usual, last minute “Oh, there is a dress code!” panic though, as usual, the dress code seemed to only apply if you were going to hang around after the club opened up to the public. I saw enough people in violation to feel pretty sure on that point.
We left just before the general public was going to be let in and there was a line through the casino and out the front door of people seeking that honor of being in Omnia. Given that Dirk and Dreydan were talking about the club charging $60 for a vodka and Red Bull once our time was up, I am not sure I get the appeal. But I was never in the “love to club” group.
I spoke with a bunch of people. I almost only ever talk to players for whatever reason, but there were lots of familiar faces as well as a few new ones. Among the new people I got to talk to, if briefly, were Katia Sae and Olmeca Gold. Katia had a Signal Cartel coin for me, which I greatly appreciated, and Olmeca was mellow and fun to talk with, as most players tend to be in person. It is on social media where we’re all jerks.
I also got to meet some of the Liberty Squad people, including Cainun, Zed Starshine, and Mapache Doom, and handed out buttons with the Liberty Squad bee.
That big button was a special for Zed, who is from Canada. Drakes are also the ship Cainun refuses to FC, so that was a natural for the flag shape. As usual I made too many buttons, so put some on the swag table every once in a while, so hopefully they spread far and wide. I saw some of the bigger Liberty bee buttons around.
The only time I heard the audience go really negative was during the closing ceremonies when CCP Dopamine mentioned next year in San Diego. It wasn’t really people “booing,” but there was a loud, low, grumbling “ooooooo” that was clearly a negative reaction.
CCP hasn’t adequately explained why they chose San Diego, and “trying something new” doesn’t really cut it. It is tough to hear about Vegas being the biggest meetup outside of Iceland in one breath to hearing CCP is giving that up in the next. And San Diego, as nice as it is, still seems like an odd choice. There are lots of other nice conventions towns in the US. Even LA, 90 minutes up the highway, has more attractions and better transportation options.
But plans are well under way for a fan run event in Vegas next year, as EVE Vegas was before CCP stepped in. There was even word that the group organizing Vegas for next year had already negotiated with CCP in order to keep the two events far enough apart on the calendar. That is good for both sides, as it would be shitty for CCP to be seen stepping on a player event with their own, and embarrassing if that player event drew more people all the same. And if CCP is smart they will send somebody to Vegas no matter how things go. They were sending people to the Vegas player meet as far back as 2009.
I am still waiting for more info before I make plans for one or the other or both.
Three nights in Vegas are enough for me. I’d happily hang out with the players longer, but I want to get away from the smoke and noise and prices… dinner on the strip is much more than dinner in already pricey Silicon Valley… and back to our house, cats, and extra firm mattress.
I’ve been to five EVE Vegas events in a row. I suppose that says something.
As I said above, there is still a lot of information to process and presentations to watch over again. There may be another post or two based on all of that. If nothing else I have to get all my swag together for a picture. I also need to see what pictures my wife has on her phone. My phone was in the process of crapping out last week, so I took very few pictures myself. Oh well.
A good time seemed to be had by all. We will see what happens in the coming year.