CCP have pulled back the curtains and openly communicated with the players in a long, revealing and insightful July Update Devblog. Key activity for the future is highlighted, along with the end of scarcity (huzzah!) that is scheduled for Q4 of 2021. Many players have been lamenting at the difficulties facing EVE Online, citing the drop in PCU, disastrous MER figures and general feeling of discontent between developers and capsuleers. This Devblog will be a welcome communication from CCP in troubling times.
To the Future
The main piece of news that everyone is eagerly anticipating is the end of scarcity or ‘Shortage’ as CCP calls it. “Scarcity firmly ends in Q4 2021” is the loose answer. The aim to redistribute resources and industry is aimed to be completed by then and although many months away, this will be the light at the end of the tunnel for so many. In addition, there are sneak previews at other changes linked to resources:
- Increased quantity of all resources across New Eden.
- Introduction of moon goo and gas compression.
- A balance pass for all mining ships.
- Additional specialized holds for gas and ice.
- Rework of the industrial index including greater choice over the distribution of resources.
There is exciting news with changes coming to Null Sec PvE content coupled with the ESS Key release. These changes will include capital ratting anomalies to get those bigger ships out in space and trigger some excellent content. This has been highlighted in many discussions, especially during CCP Rise’s conversation with Pando on FC Chat. The intent from CCP was to set the conditions to create content and balance the risk/reward ratio in all parts of space. This is especially true with capitals.
Remember the Present
One of the key features of this Devblog is a clear and vibrant reminder from CCP about all the changes that have taken place throughout the past year. It is obvious that they have to force players to see they are constantly working on new content and changes. Led by Team Talos, “an unprecedented pace of balance changes being introduced to the game is currently being maintained”. There have been 36 updates since October 2019, and CCP has included graphics as reminders throughout the blog.
Warp Drive Active, Fleet Formations, Rapid Fire, Surgical Strike, Hunter’s Boon – the list goes on. Some of these have received characteristically angry objections from the players, and others have seamlessly fit into the fabric of space without disruption.
Is Anybody Listening?
One of the major gripes that has been afflicting EVE social media has been the lack of acknowledgement by CCP of any player feedback or suggestions. The Devblog attempts to make it very clear that CCP are listening, and despite some unhelpful comments by some staff, ideas are taken on board. Of particular note is the very recent post pertaining to Structure Mechanics by Snuffed Out CEO Hy Wanto. CCP make a clear reference to the ideas, but especially to the number of FC/content creators who signed up to back his rhetoric.
The recent structure manifesto put together by EVE’s dedicated content creators is a clear sign that although structures have been focused on for several releases last year, there still remains a lot of potential there, starting with structure module balance.
In addition, there is recognition by developers that player feedback often leads to updates or additional changes, such as hardened cloak booster extensions in Hunter’s Boon, and the Pacifier & Enforcer changes following community pressure.
A New Start
The Devblog concludes with a long passage about upcoming changes to the New Player Experience. There is a tongue-in-cheek reference to player feedback, where initially the ‘1.3million new players’ statistic has been criticised as being mostly alts. But it is clear the the NPE is high on their agenda, with unrevealed plans due to come into fruition in the latter part of the year.
There is a continuing theme in the post where CCP highlighted an area of concern, stated actions they have taken to alleviate those concerns, highlighted where player feedback has resulted in positive changes, and then moved on to express that there is still work to do. This pattern of communication will be music to the ears of many who have consistently complained about CCP’s “tone deaf” approach to the player.
A Welcome Change
Overall, the devblog is a welcome change to normal proceedings. It is abundantly clear that the player outrage over the Alliance Tournament Announcement and continuing discontent on r/EVE and the forums has forced their hand into a new form of engagement. Credit must go to the new CSM as well, who have been in a difficult position having to hear the constant gripes of players whilst also dealing with harsh truths from CCP.
There will of course be those amongst the community that want to see action delivered now – especially an end to scarcity. But by opening the doors and letting players into their thoughts, CCP have crossed an important bridge. They are listening, they want the players to know they are listening, and above all, they are looking to keep EVE Online alive and healthy.