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10Sep/12Off

Expansions. Are they really expanding EVE?

I've recently stumbled upon an article by Poetic Stanziel about Expansions. Are They Outdated?, and as long as said article goes, I agree that trying to see the impact of one change while introducing several changes to the same module does not work too well. I do however see the direction CCP has chosen, and I think they don't want to introduce changes step by step, when they believe entire feature (say, Faction Warfare) doesn't work as intended (and here both devs and players usually agree).

Stanziel's post however is not the main reason why I write mine. It's one of the comments under said text:

Anonymous September 7, 2012 9:21 PM

There hasn't been an "expansion" since Incarna, and there hasn't been a "successful expansion" since Incursions.

An "expansion" means that you are *expanding* the game, with new content, and hopefully new players. Tweaking existing content and/or fixing long-standing bugs is called "maintenance".

Crucible and Inferno are nothing more than "maintenance" releases, at best, as is the upcoming Winter release.

But, with the dumbing down of many aspects of the game, such as research agents and item naming conventions, as well as the ongoing and terrible homogenizing of the ships, you might also consider that these releases are actually contracting the game, not expanding it.

While the definitions mentioned by the Anonymous seem quite strict, they make more less sense. The question which immediately arises is

Does EVE need more new content, or does it need more maintenance?

Mining Barge blueprints in Inferno 1.2EVE Online is a very big and rather complex game. Even though Anonymous says it is being dumbed down, I disagree it's only bad for the game. I might not entirely like renaming of the items I've known for years (I still type "Siege" into search when looking for Torp Launchers), but some systems in the game were unnecesarily overcomplicated. For example, agent quality seems a sensible mechanic at first: the better  the agent, the better the reward. But wait a sec, didn't we already have agent levels? Agent quality not only added an redundant layer of complication, but it also caused overcrowded mission hubs and additional lag.

I also disagree, that ship rebalancing is a source of homogenity. To the contrary! Each ship will now have a dedicated role, making underused ships a valid choice. No, CCP is not introducing new content here. Instead, they make old content better, so you have more ships to choose from in the end. Is that a bad approach?

Based on player perception nicely captured by the Blog Banter 36: The Expansion of EVE, the game needs both new content and maintenance of existing one, but CCP should not focus on either for too long. Even though Incarna has introduced a gigabyte of new stuff, players didn't like it, because old content seemed abandoned. At the same time, Crucible brought nearly no new stuff, and players rejoiced. The voice of the Anonymous, however, is coming from yet another "we're tired of maintenance releases, give use new toys to play with" trend. On a sidenote, players who own a PS3 will actually get a new toy to play with pretty soon 😉

New releases should address global community needs

I am a bit disappointed that Winter 2012 expansion will bring no "Jesus features" (it was mentioned this way in the original transcript of CSM7 minutes), but Ring Mining will eventually arrive, followed by avatar-based exploration, which sounds just as good. In the meantime we will get DUST integration, which brings a whole new gameplay for those who like shooting bunnies: Orbital Strike, not to mention whole new playerbase to scam and kill play with. Miners will get a new frigate, and PVPers will get new shaders for explosions. Even though there is no huge features coming this Winter, there will still be plenty to play with.

I think if CCP times the maintenance and content releases right, playerbase should remain more less happy with the way EVE evolves.

29Apr/11Off

New Expansion for Galaxy on Fire II

Yesterday Galaxy on Fire II, an iOS game for iPhone and iPad (which I have reviewed here), has received a paid add-on named "Valkyrie". Another new feature is ability to obtain a player owned station, where it is possible to store multiple ships (before this, player could only own one starship at a time).

The new Valkyrie add-on costs 3,99 EUR (paid as in-app purchase) and brings a new storyline centered around Valkyrie station in Herjaza system. That is of course not all, which the expansion has to offer:

  • New ships
  • Loma, the black market system
  • Guided missiles
  • Scatterguns (AoE guns)
  • Automatic turrets
  • New blueprints
  • Opponent signatures
  • Time extenders
  • Weapon modifiers (similar to weapon upgrades in EVE)
  • New booster
  • New tractor beam
  • Emergency system
  • New thermo weapon
  • Mines

The amount of new content makes this game even closer to the single player EVE-like experience. By the way, dear CCP, when do you release EVE Online for iPad?! (or EVE offline, it could just be a game in EVE universe - money waiting to be made here)

Player owned station can be either bought in-game for 30 million credits and 50 tons of Buskat, or as an in-app purchase for a mere 0,79 EUR. The station is located in Shima system.

EDIT: I found a bug. If you don't buy the add-on, every time you undock, a character named Cornelious will contact you to offer a mission, which is not available until after you bought the expansion.