I recently got together with Senior Brand Manager CCP Rax and Marketing Specialist CCP Alpha, hoping to grab some much needed information after the drought. NetEase has gone dark since the end of January, leaving many people wondering what is going on. Thanks to CCP, that drought is over. The answers below are from both CCP members.
Q: How are you liking the progress of Echoes so far?
It has been very satisfying working with NetEase on developing EVE Echoes. We are very impressed with NetEase’s development team, their speed of execution, frequent releases and incorporation of player feedback during beta testing. We look forward to adding additional features to the game and we can’t wait to get the full version into the hands of our players.
Q: Is there anything you would like to see in Echoes or changed from the current plan?
We are happy with the current roadmap. We believe we are working on fundamental features that will improve the overall gameplay and player feedback has played a significant role in shaping this roadmap. We continue to listen to player’s feedback and if necessary, we will adjust the roadmap further if we believe it will lead to improvements.
Q: Have you seen an increase in playerbase since the beta of Echoes has ended?
If you are referring to EVE Online’s playerbase we are seeing frequent indications that players from EVE Echoes are giving EVE Online a try.
As for EVE Echoes there were a lot of latecomers who wanted to try the game and we continue to see a lot of interest through pre-registrations. This is also evident from a media standpoint. For example, EVE Echoes being picked as one of the top 10 most anticipated mobile games in 2020.
Q: I’m curious to see how much input CCP has on the overall game, or if their role on the Echoes project is just more of subtle input/testing/brainstorming, can you go into detail about this?
We are in constant communication with NetEase and host frequent meetings on both development and publishing to help ensure players are given an authentic EVE experience. CCP has participated in play tests from the start and provides ongoing feedback.
We share knowledge openly between the two companies and work together on interacting with our community, PR and marketing, as well as other topics.
Q: What is your opinion on a no-PvP high sec?
Very normal for a mobile game and given current game mechanics, it would be hard for players to gank in high sec even if this wasn’t the case. Best it remains this way.
Q: If given the chance to re-make EVE from scratch, what would you do differently? What would you implement differently? Are there any genies that you wish had never been let out of the bottle?
In hindsight it’s often easy to point towards certain things that could have been done differently. Some are simple to spot like certain UI changes, while other are difficult to identify and might for example derive from legacy code.
Some players have debated that EVE is too hard to get into while others love it for that specific reason. This is what has helped shape EVE Online into a unique MMO and gathered an amazing community around it. There are certainly a lot of things we would like to do differently, and we have a grand vision for the future of EVE. We would, however, much rather show that to our players rather than speak to it at this point.
Q: Has Echoes given CCP any ideas on design or implementation of features in Eve Online?
EVE Echoes has and continues to provide CCP with excellent feedback on how we can improve EVE Online. There are, for example, certain aspects of EVE Echoes UI & UX that are very intriguing, and our teams are looking into how they could be implemented.
EVE Online has been developed over such a long time that a lot of features and experiences have been added to and removed from the game during this period. EVE Echoes has tried to capture the best features while altering others to create a unique experience on mobile.
Q: With the popularity of Echoes, showing 400k account sign ups just for the beta, could this be used as a test for having a new EVE on PC? Or at least a wiped universe?
This is a topic that surfaces every now and again and is in many ways a discussion on competitive advantage. New players feel that veteran players have an edge on them. This should of course hold true to some degree but preferably not to a point where it discourages new players from entering the game. We are constantly looking into options of improving our new player experience while satisfying our veteran players and everyone in between.
One thing to also keep in mind is that for some players the idea of a fresh start is very intriguing, but we are not only capturing old EVE Online players that want a fresh start. We are also reaching a new audience on mobile that has never played EVE Online and is equally excited about the Universe as our veteran players. That is very motivating for both CCP and NetEase.
Q: NetEase has expressed that they wish to adhere to the monetization of EVE Online. With EVE Online getting closer and closer to the lootbox monetization, do you believe Echoes player’s will have to worry about the sale of SP not generated by the player?
The fundamental reason for skill points being sold as a part of Value Added Packs in EVE Online serve the same purpose as the login bonus skill points in EVE Echoes. It helps new players play with their friends faster. The exact execution of monetization for EVE Echoes has not been determined but we are looking to EVE Online for inspiration.
Q: Are CCP and NetEase watching Second Galaxy closely and how player response has been towards it with the microtransaction backlash, as well as the artificially injected paywalls placed within the game to squeeze more money out of players – such as boosting higher-tiered ships to ridiculous strengths that places unfair advantages between serious paying players verse lower spending players and f2p players?
We have done market research on many mobile games in the MMO category and are monitoring the numbers available to us to make educated decisions. We have a long-term vision for EVE Echoes and giving players a fair playing ground is of importance to us.
Q: Can you give us any good news to contrast this with how EVE Echoes will handle this as well as those that have unlimited funds to throw at a game?
It’s important to have a fair sandbox MMORPG, be it on PC or mobile platform, we think EVE Echoes should adhere to the fairness in EVE Online.
Q: What are your feelings on the chat censorship. Is this something CCP will talk to NE about?
We want our players to be able to immerse themselves within the EVE Universe. New Eden has enough politics of its own without needing to bring real-world politics into play. All we ask of our players is that they are respectful towards other players opinions. If they want to discuss real life politics, there are plenty of platforms designed for that sort of thing.
Q: The decision to close down the Open Beta up until soft launch has been considered to be a bad idea by a lot of the playerbase. And you can see that the hype train has indeed reached the station. Discord is dead. Views on videos have dropped. I don’t hear as much excitement anymore. Can you go into any details on why this happened?
We can understand that many players were hoping to play the game from Open Beta until launch. The original plan assumed that there would be about 50,000 players accessing the Open Beta while the reality was closer to 10-times that. Consequently, the game almost felt as it was live already.
Maintaining a live game takes a lot of time and focus from the core development team, so giving them this period to focus exclusively on game development will improve the overall experience significantly. In addition, views & discussions might have slowed down, but the excitement is still there. Pre-registrations continue to pour in, and we are certain that once we can share more news people’s focus will be turned towards Echoes again.
Q: If you had the choice in Echoes to make two servers – one for the east and one for the west – would you do it? Just like Serenity?
We think we would benefit from having one server. More players would mean more content for everyone. Other problems like language barriers will eventually be solved through technology. However, due to real-world conditions, outside of our control, this isn’t always possible.
Q: If Eve Echoes does become a microtransaction disaster will this not affect CCP’s image negatively?
The performance of EVE Echoes will of course have an impact on CCP’s image.
We don’t think microtransaction are the problem, per se, but rather when content is sold for real money that give players an unfair advantage. Seeing the passion NetEase has for the game and how hard their development team is working towards creating a fair playing ground for EVE Echoes we are not concerned.