In a bi-lingual DevBlog on Tuesday, CCP announced the end of its six-year partnership with Chinese distributor Tiancity for maintenance of the Serenity server.
While CCP stated that “Tiancity and CCP have collaborated to deliver the best experience possible for our Chinese capsuleers playing on the Serenity cluster,” not all Eve players agree. Serenity has its own storied history in parallel with that of the Tranquility server, including the most costly single engagement ever recorded in New Eden – known simply as “The Slaughterhouse” – in March of 2014. But its history is also a troubled one, particularly with regard to the maintenance – or lack thereof – provided by Tiancity over the past several years.
CCP said that the partnership with Tiancity officially ends 30 September. While hinting at talks with “potential Chinese business partners,” the post was largely unclear about plans for the server after that date. CCP stated that they will “keep Serenity running as normal until we are ready to take EVE in China to the next level,” but with no new expansions on the server since 2016; a lack of content in the form of meaningful competition against the server’s single, dominating faction (PIBC Coalition); and the migration of many Chinese players and coalitions to Tranquility, Serenity’s future seems to be in doubt.
The Devblog’s implication is that CCP will find a new distributor to manage Serenity, keeping the server in maintenance mode past 30 September if necessary. Whether the player base will cooperate with that course of action, however, remains to be seen. Concerns from the Eve community center around whether this move will prompt a mass population shift from Serenity to Tranquility. While most commenters on CCP’s post acknowledged that the vast majority of Serenity-based capsuleers simply want to continue playing the same Internet Spaceship game we all know and love, there was concern about the proliferation of botting and Real Money Trading (RMT) for which Serenity is notorious, as well as the impact that an influx of players from Serenity could have on Tranquility’s already steep ISK-PLEX market.
Ultimately, while CCP is not officially shutting down Serenity, Tiancity’s handling of the server over the past few years has prompted quite a few players to find ways to migrate to Tranquility anyway. Now that they have become invested in their new home and have – in true Eve fashion – paved a way for others to follow, it may prove difficult for CCP to retain the momentum needed to make Serenity a functional home for its remaining capsuleers after September.
As it always does in New Eden, time will tell.