We are announcing big content updates for fanfest. it’s the largest one we’ve ever done probably.
-CCP Paragon, Discord Q&A about the announced subscription price increase
Fanfest is just a week away. Read all about it.
Last week we got the announcement from CCP that they will be bumping up the price of a subscription for EVE Online from $15 to $20 per month. (Yes, I will keep rounding up to full dollar amounts, though that actually makes CCP looks ever so slightly better because the price went from $14.95 to $19.99, so I am cutting them some slack on the extra four cents.)
At least they had the guts to put the price hike on the launcher, even if they call it an “update”
They chose to make the announcement at the end of their business day on Friday, which is the traditional weaseling hour for public relations and marketing. You want to announce late enough in the day that it misses the main news drops and hope that nobody notices or that something else shows up over the weekend to push your bad news down the list of topics on Monday.
Anyway, CCP dragged out CCP Paragon to stand up in front of the angry virtual crowd and speak about the price increase. I don’t know what sin he was accused of, but this surely had to be penance for something.
Several things were mentioned by him… only one of which was in the official announcement… as reasons for why CCP needs to raise the price of a subscription, along with a statement of mitigation, which is the quote at the top of the page.
To lay that out, CCP is going to announce some big things at EVE Fanfest next week that they think will soften player outrage about the 33% price jump.
That, leaving aside all the general ugliness around the price bump, gives us something to speculate about.
I usually don’t speculate about CCP announcements because they tend to be a surprise and often unfathomable before they become public. But now we have a blank slate and a promise that something huge will be coming. It is time to throw some bad guesses at the wall and see what ends up sticking.
If I am correct with any of this I will be shocked or dismayed… or possibly both. I certainly have no special insight into this. As I understand it, even the CSM is completely in the dark. But CCP Paragon’s words about the scale of the update makes me wonder what it could be. What would be bigger than, say, adding wormhole space or super capitals or magic sovereignty entosis wands or Upwell structures? Those were all kind of big updates to contend with.
So here are a few things that come to my mind, with what I think are the likely player reactions at EVE Fanfest, where the much of the very vocal core of the player base will be.
I will also put my impression of what non-EVE players will say, if anything, largely because CCP has been working on attracting new players for the last couple of years to little obvious success.
My initial, go-to, most likely scenario when I started thinking about this was that we’re not going to get anything at all at Fanfest aside from a vision of something they hope they will be able to implement in the coming years. “EVE Forever” once more.
And then I realized that this was going to be true no matter what they announced. So this is really a stand alone guess. We’ll get nothing, no features ready to go, just a plan for a plan
It will sound neat and impressive, or it had better, but will be vague enough both in scope and timeline that we’ll all be left projecting our own biases upon it. This has worked on us before. Dedicated EVE Online players have a history of buying into these sorts of visions. We want to believe.
However, the current reality with the mishandling of the New Eden economy, the flirting with crypto, the recent price increases, and the disdain for users that the current production team has shown, there is a significant hazard here. We might not fall in line and cheer for the vision.
Expected EVE player reaction: The more optimistic will buy in, but disdain and resentment will be a much more common reaction.
Expected non-EVE player reaction: At best, somebody might ask when it will be a thing. There won’t be an answer for that.
So, given that general prediction, what do I think the actual content will be?
- Upwell FPS Game – Don’t Call it DUST
The title formerly known as Project Nova will loom back into our range of vision. The last time we really heard about it was back at EVE Vegas 2018 and they were talking about it being an FPS title within EVE Online, possibly with fighting on structures, being able to disable services with your squad, and having influence on New Eden. It wouldn’t be “in” EVE, but connected to EVE. There was much enthusiasm by CCP on this and it sounded like a done deal, something coming soon.
And then shortly after EVE Vegas the whole Project Nova thing got postponed, renamed, and CCP vowed not to speak of it again until it was closer to being ready for prime time. It has been almost 3.5 years since that happened. Is it ready yet?
Expected EVE player reaction: Poor. There is probably a way they could make this magic work, but the ghost of DUST 514 sits there and reminds us where this madness may lead. Also, this is a game for somebody else, not a content update for EVE Online.
Expected non-EVE player reaction: Is it a good shooter? No? Fuck off.
- Walking in Stations 2.0 – This Time for Sure!
This is my number one persistent bad idea for the game. It has failed once already, yet I fear CCP has not learned. Hilmar said something about this a while back on Twitter, but he has said a lot of regrettable things over the years. Still, it could happen. Maybe they have turned all of that Project Nova work into a space station barbies project.
There is a theoretical magical mix of features that could make this work. Even a bitter old vet of the game like me thinks it could be made to work somehow. The problem is that the history and reputation of CCP. It is a small company that struggles to keep the ships in space part EVE Online going and viable, so can it handle a feature as huge as this would have to be in order to be viable? I say no. Somebody could make this feature work, just not CCP.
And unless this is suffused with magical unicorn farts from top to bottom, it will neither attract new players nor retain old one.
Expected EVE player reaction: Something between a minor riot and the full bore sacking of Reykjavík.
Expected non-EVE player reaction: I love housing in games. This is what the game really needs. But I won’t be playing it because $20 a month is too much and I hate PvP games.
This is the easy guess, one of the most likely big announcement options in my opinion. Another empire… Jovians, Whovians, whatever… shows up. New space dynamics, new ships, new weapon types, cool new logos to make, another story line they can drag out for 12 to 24 months, some special new materials for ship manufacturing, fresh PvE challenges, the options here are pretty generous.
Expected EVE player reaction: Mixed. The problem is that EVE Online is an amalgam of so many different play styles that it is hard to please everybody. Pissing off almost everybody to some degree is easy, as we saw last week. But pleasing them all? Impossible. Still, it will please some people, and could please a lot of people if the ships are interesting enough.
Expected non-EVE player reaction: Meh.
- Play to Earn without NFTs
Yes, CCP said that “NFT” stands for “Not For Tranquility” for the foreseeable future, and I trust that when they said that they could see at least as far ahead as EVE Fanfest.
But that doesn’t mean they couldn’t do a play to earn scheme without NFTs or crypto. In fact, one of the primary objections to crypto being injected into schemes is that it adds nothing and is just rent seeking by outsiders pushing buzzwords. It can all be done cheaper, faster, and better without crypto.
And we still have that statement from CCP from the post-Prospector Pack blowback that they want to source any future packs from industry players rather than just summoning hulls out of thin air. So, as I noted at the time, that could be the basis for a new Play to Earn scheme.
Or maybe there will be something that will let players offset the subscription hike.
These seems less likely than it did before, but it could happen still, within certain parameters.
Expected EVE player reaction: Dangerous, depending on the details. If could range from “meh” to another few weeks of rage.
Expected non-EVE player reaction: Can I earn money at anywhere close to minimum wage in my location? No? Buh-bye.
- Major Change to Game Mechanics
Maybe there will be something game changing in the announcement, but I hesitate to speculate as to what they might do after a couple of years of wrecking the economy only to start undoing that.
It isn’t so much that I can’t pick something that isn’t broken enough to think it might be due for an overhaul as I have a problem figuring out what CCP isn’t so invested in that they’ll actually consider changing.
Completely new faction warfare? Redoing skill training and attributes? A fresh new way to create and administer corporations and alliances? Security and standings revamp? There are a lot of things in the game that could be improved by some focus.
Expected EVE player reaction: Would really have to push the right button for a good response
Expected non-EVE player reaction: Yawn
- A Batch of Minor Things Dressed Up as a Big Effing Deal
I started with two ideas for this post, the first one about vision, and this one, which I would categorize as “things they should have done already.”
Add your favorite small feature here like Alliance SKINs, Upwell structure SKINs, cat ears, attribute remaps for PLEX, name changes for PLEX, or whatever else you can come up with and bundle them together and pretend it is the biggest content update ever or something… though having written that, I do have to say if it is all monetzation features after the price hike, it will not go down well.
Expected EVE player reaction: Very poor.
Expected non-EVE player reaction: Non-existent.
- Something Actually as Good as Promised
It could happen. Maybe it will. Maybe CCP will hit it out of the park this time, painting both a vision and delivering on at least some of it right away.
Expected EVE player reaction: Rejoicing and throwing money at CCP.
Expected non-EVE player reaction: Maybe I should try this game after all.
Anyway, those are my guesses a week ahead of EVE Fanfest. I give myself an extremely low likelihood of being right on any of them, but we’ll know the answer soon enough.
This is the part of the post where I might consider adding a poll just to see what people think but, as I mentioned some time back, WP.com completely broke polls in the classic editor and the block editor is cancer.
Still, if you have another idea about what they might announce, drop a comment.