Header Art by Cryo Huren
The days right before the New Year holiday can be a very special time. It’s the period where middle managers and petty bureaucrats look back over the year, looking at projects and deadlines missed; looking forward to more grand ideas for 2022 that also never quite make it to the finish line. While I procrastinate on finalizing my MRM for the year, I am taking time to ponder what this process must look like at CCP headquarters. I wish I could be a fly on the wall for those close-out meetings between the forces that want gameplay and feel the sting of player criticism, and the forces that ‘know’ they are right, and it is the players who are misguided.
In the absence of Jeff Goldblum and a Telepod, I have instead reached out to the various space-famous people I do know, to get their ideas and speculations for the new year. INN had experts and activists who looked very closely at the year past, so I only asked them about the year to come. Specifically, I asked for their “Predictions and Hopes for EVE in 2022”.
The Warrior Poet
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate NFTs.The Mittani
Thus spake the Mittani, God-Emperor of the Imperium.
Boy, heavy stuff to jump right into Yeats. I’ll try to whistle past the graveyard of revelations, and the second coming, but there are some key points to address in Mr. Mitten’s chosen stanza. Things in EVE Online and the world are kind of messy right now. It has been hard to keep our collective eyes on the ball.
When the players cried out for improvements, they received promises. The players collectively spoke to say the waste mechanic was bad, so CCP took it back and promised a better mechanic. This was returned as residue. Same mechanic, just a different name. There is also the question of bad actors within the playerbase, taking advantage of the chaos and desperation. Just watch ‘red shirt’ episodes of The Meta Show a few times and you will be able to see where Mittani sits on the galactic balance of justice.
The Fitting Poet
I didn’t want this to be TOO heavy of a write up – focusing on CCP’s actions in good (or bad) faith could occupy a write-up unto itself. Instead, lets see what some other famous folks had to say. Arrendis, GSF’s fitting director and INN staffer, had this to say:
Soon shall the winter of our discontent
be made glorious summer by CCP.
And all the doubt that hung o’er our game
by deep glaciers shall soon lay buri-ed.
Now are our brows bound with such joyous wreaths;
Our battered fleets no more shoot monuments;
There’s about an 80% chance they fuck it up horribly by managing to get everything wrong, but just close enough to right that it makes people madder.
But I really hope they don’t.Arrendis, The Imperium
Holy Richard III. That wasn’t as light as I had hoped, but I will roll with it. Arrendis makes us remember that we should temper all of our hopes with the fact that we are counting on CCP to be involved in making our 2022 hopes possible.
The Editorial Desks
In classic fashion, INN Editor-In-Chief Rhivre answered directly and with an eye to word count.
Maybe 2022 finally brings the unveiling of the Grand PlanRhivre, Imperium News Network
Truly a worthy hope from any of us, but a great concept from the director of a multidollar media empire. With a plan in hand, analysts can scrutinize events, comparing what is promised to what has occurred. Goodness knows that is what at least half of my end-of-year paperwork is about. I started the year committed to do so much. Did I get any of it done? And if not, do I keep my job? Wouldn’t it be nice to hold CCP to that level of accountability?
While Rhivre stayed short and to-the-point, my personal editor Dirk Stetille went a different route. He often discusses the value of the word count, but then provided me with this verbose statement:
CCP, our Pow’r Supreme, whose mighty scheme,
These woes of groups fulfil,
Their changes, we rest, they must be best,
Because they are Dev’s will!
All we want (O CCP, do grant
This one request of ours!)
Since to enjoy, CCP does deny,
Assist us to resign.
In terms of speculation as we move into 2022, I have both hope and fear.
My hope is that we see positive shifts in the game and in player experience – game changes that are both needed and wanted. A revamp of Faction Warfare, the long-awaited amalgamation of Upwell structures and Aegis sov, a real fresh focus on a more holistic ship balance model… If this happens, EVE could see a resurgence of engaged and positive player sentiment.
My fear is that we see more of the same from the Hilmar/Rattati/Burger triumvirate. More punishing game changes dressed up as “The Age of Prosperity”, more tedium dressed up as “engaging complexity”, and more shoehorned monetisation dressed up as “a bold new endeavour in the world of blockchain”. If this happens, EVE will continue to spiral, perhaps even to the point of colony collapse.
I’ll finish this with another verse:
The seventh sorrow, is the slow goodbye / Of the face with its wrinkles that looks through the window / As the year packs up, like a tatty fairground / That came for the children.Dirk, Froggy’s Editor
A most excellent contribution (for padding my word count). But I think Dirk’s hopes and fears are shared by most of us. We want not just a reversal of the recent
punishment changes, but also for CCP to improve on those many areas on the game that have been neglected for so long. We also share Dirk’s fear of the monkey’s paw that has been beating us so much lately. That they would go back to FW, for example, and fix it by making it full of tedious NFT-generating bot-magnets.
The Exiled Leader
In an effort to not be completely insular and only ask within my space tribe, I wanted someone who could speak with an independent voice. Someone standing outside of the Imperium. I wanted someone who could stand as representative to the opposing party of the last great war, while not being some wrapped in the “grr gons” nonsense that they would spit back in my face. Mr. Dunk Dinkle was willing to engage with me, speculating on the future of EVE Online, and I thank him for that. I asked Dunk about 2022 and got his thoughts:
Eve Online remains on of the most unique video games around, from galaxy spawning intrigue and diplomacy to the complex and player driven economy to gigantic fleets smashing into each other. With the year+ long war in the rear view mirror, the new year brings realignment as grudges, new and old, begin to play out. For CCP 2022 brings the challenge of motivating existing players to try new experiences and to bring new players into New Eden to the forefront.Dunk Dinkle, Brave Newbies
I think Mr. Dinkle hits on a couple of very important parts here. First, that the game’s grand nature must always be part of the narrative. Its not CCP’s stories that get folks contending for supremacy, economic, social, military, or otherwise. It’s the players telling those stories. Anyone who has read much by me knows that I think this is the single most important part of this horrible game we all love/hate. The mechanics are just the set and lights on the stage. We are the players who sing the songs and act out the dances of our people.
Leaders of the Space Tribe
Next, I wanted to ask some Imperium leaders about their thoughts for 2022. This could be a good way to see how well the members of the Imperium family aligned with one and other, and with EVE players altogether. Carneros spoke to me as the leader of The Bastion, and he provided with three distinct predictions.
2022 will be the year that the majority of players realize it’s in everyone’s best interest to have good, healthy, respectful communication between developers and players. It won’t happen in 2022, but at least people will eventually come to understand its currently a problem and it’s important.Carneros, The Bastion
A great reminder to most of us, and especially to my fellow redditswarm propagandists. Healthy and respectful communication is very important when we are talking about any transcendent existential crisis. Dropping the act and sitting down to the table in good faith is hard sometimes, but it is worth doing when that communication can lead to real progress. We have many problems, and while I love the fun of creating memes and getting people worked up over them, that is not going to SOLVE any of those problems. In fact, it can make it harder to bring people to the table in good faith. On the other hoof, when people continuously act in bad faith, take them at face value.
2022 will be the year that Eve industrialists will be able to resume building capital ships.Carneros, The Bastion
Confession time; earlier this year I wanted to write a series on the building of a Nyx, from the ground up. I wanted to talk to the professionals and distill all their information into one concise travelog on building caps that anyone could pursue. Then the industry changes happened. That dream died instantly when faced with the facts of moving multiple-frieghters-worth of PI around, and then going hunting for all the other bits and bobs. I hope Carneros is right, but I fear CCP will triple-down on punishment of capital industrialists in 2022.
Battleships will rise in popularity, but Heavy Assault Cruisers will nevertheless retain most of their popularityCarneros, The Bastion
This last prediction is especially interesting to me. I don’t mind HACs Online too much, but I do miss battleships in general, and NApocs in particular (bring back the golden fleet). In 2021, those battleship fleets just don’t have any reason to exist, other than on a keepstar grid. Between lack of mobility, bombs, and tackling issues, there just isn’t any reason to have them in space. Once we add in the price changes due to punishing industry mechanisms, one is left with the obvious conclusion that HACs are superior by every metric. I don’t know what the future of fleets holds, but I miss battleships in them, especially given the current lack of escalating capital warfare.
I then askED the same questions of Karmafleet’s leader AND the face of the Rampage Inc. livestream, Merkelchen.
For 2022 the players are counting on a MAJOR turnaround from CCP. 2021 could kindly be called a disaster for the firm with player sentiment and PCU at nearly all time lows.
CCP will have to get back to their roots and deliver new, fun, refreshing content to the players or login numbers will continue to dwindle while subscription numbers slip.
CCP has had their backs against the wall before and it will be interesting to see how they try to right the ship after one of the most awful years on record for player sentiment. Will they develop features the players are interested in or continue with the “developer knows best” approach that got them here in the first place?
I know which one I’m pulling for.Merklechen, KarmaFleet
I am under pressure to mention that KarmaFleet is, in fact, recruiting. That said, Merk hits on another important topic that deserves focus and long discussions; the PCU is falling. It has been dropping since the height of the war, and the slopes seem to be getting worse. If CCP was going to pick only one metric to care about, that would be the one I would pick.
We in the Imperium are blessed to have a trained and seasoned politician on the CSM, in the form of Brisc Rubal. Brisc stayed pragmatic in his predictions, balancing a number of factors in the game, CCP as a company, and players outside of the game.
I expect that we’ll see CCP focus a bit more on player desired things, after spending two years doing what they thought was right, and hopefully that will be received well by the community. I hope that Fanfest stays on, and that we get to see an old-school Fanfest keynote that will get players actually excited again. Oh, and I hope I’m not completely full of shit either.Brisc Rubal, The Initiative
Brisc touches on many of the key points mentioned by others. The hope that CCP-to-player communication takes place, the hope that both parties listen in good faith, and that conversations produce positive changes for EVE Online. Perhaps my time in the propogandist trenches of reddit have left me scarred, but I am skeptical.
I suppose that’s just another reason I would never want to be on the CSM. Cynicism is a useful tool for scourging an opponent, but not one for building bridges and making things profoundly better. I will leave that to those good faith actors on the CSM who represent me.
Lastly, I took input from perhaps the most space-famous person of all, the grand strategist of the Beeitnam war, one Fountain Frank, Esquire. While George was nowhere in sight, I could feel the watchful eyes of the grand saboteur upon me. To be completely honest, that damn monkey scares me – who knows what he might get up to, and in what part of space. Frank, however, was as jovial and approachable as ever. When asked about his 2022 thoughts, he provided a hint of his plans for the future, and perhaps some insight from George’s unparralled spy network.
I hope that I’ll still be living in Fountain by the end of 2022. I also expect Vily will find a way to destroy Horde from the inside.Fountain Frank, Supreme Imperium Strategist
His use of the word hope took me aback somewhat. Typically, I would have expected more grand assurance – that he is safe in his ancestral home, leaving no room for doubt. After all, the usual cycle for these ‘grrr gonz’ wars is several years between one conflict and the next. Is Frank giving us a warning that a future conflict could happen sooner than we expected? Only time will tell.
As to Vily, Mr. 4th place, his abandonment of TEST speaks for itself. TEST has lost more than a thousand players and multiple corporations in the time since their recent town hall. You know the one – where TEST made sure to tell everyone that Vily was still around (he wasn’t) and that he wasn’t leaving (he was).
What the Mittani termed as the zone of rot seems to have taken a toll on the figurehead of the previous war. For better or worse, I am waiting for the grand reveal of just who Vily was working for – the last however many alliances and corporations he has ground into the dust of history await his vindication.
The Year’s End
You may have noticed that I have not commented on what I would like to see in 2022. Duh, I am not space famous; who cares what I think? Then again, why shouldn’t I be allowed an opinion? I can (and do) bloviate and pontificate with anyone who will listen, and many who won’t, and isn’t that qualification enough?
Would I want to see CCP listen to players, producing a real plan for the future? Absolutely. Would I want CCP to understand what defines a healthy game, and how to keep the company profitable? Probably though I disagree that NFTs and gold ammo is the way to do it. Do I hope to see people in space telling stories and struggling against each other to create a narrative? Duh – that is my line, all the time.
My first instinct was correct; I should not interject my thoughts (anymore than I always do) and make a statement. After all, any commitment I make can then be measured against deliverable analysis, and that is never fun. Then again, that was kind of my point, wasn’t it?