Earlier this week, CCP Hilmar posted a tweet along with the latest EVE “news” teaser. The tweet in question reads “All these NPCs just casually walking in stations…”, which was followed by a Scope video about the latest NPC lore events. This caused quite a stir within the community – What could this mean, are CCP bringing Captain’s Quarters back? Is this the plan for this year’s Keynote at Fanfest?
These questions have caused huge speculation across the EVE sphere, but my biggest question: is this enough? Would this justify our recent 5$ price increase? So many questions stirred by a single sentence in a tweet.
Today, I want to look at the history of the Captain’s Quarters, and by the end, I want you to decide… If CCP re-introduced this feature, is it enough for you? Is this good content?
A Brief History of Captain’s Quarters
Captain’s Quarters was a feature CCP first wanted to implement way back in 2006, although the tech to make this possible within EVE’s underlying engine proved more than difficult for them. After literal years of work, CCP Chiliad posted a devblog on February 2011, discussing the now infamous Incarna expansion.
The Incarna expansion is now (rightly) looked down upon as riddled with problems, and this mirrors a lot of player sentiment now, post-Triglavian Invasion. In this devblog, CCP talked about the introduction of the Captain’s Quarters, a feature where players could exit their ship and walk around space stations in fully-fledged rooms. These lounge spaces included a TV that can access the local market, the (now dead) in-game browser, and even a closet to deck out your character in all that sweet clothing you spent so much ISK on. The space also included a huge balcony to see your ship in the docking bay, to give a scaled representation of just how big your [insert ship here] really is. To someone who started in 2016, reading back on these features sounds something of a dream, and takes me back to my days playing in the Hub of No Man’s Sky. Being able to sit and chat with other space pilots sounds awesome.
Being the first release to include a racial variant of the Captain’s Quarters, Incarna became infamous for the introduction of micro-transactions and the $70 USD monocle, which ultimately resulted in the Summer of Rage and the first Jita Riots. In this writer’s opinion: Captain’s Quarters were thrown under the bus as part of the general player rage and hate towards the other changes being made.
Flash back to current reality, and in 2017 CCP ran some numbers. Doing so, they realized that only 3% of all EVE players actually used the Captain’s Quarters, and upkeep on the feature was taking an incredible amount of dev time. Couple this with the start of the transition from 32- to 64-bit clients, and well, the old game engine code for captains quarters wouldn’t compile right within the 64-bit client. Alongside the fact that the newest introduction of Citadels within space, they did not offer the captains quarters in them, only NPC stations had Walking in Stations.
The feature seemed outdated, and CCP was not interested in maintaining it for any longer. So on July 12, 2017, it was announced that in August, the feature will be removed from the game, and that was the end of it.
Looking At Captain’s Quarters, Today
Nowadays, EVE faces a crisis much like Incarna all over again. Two years of nothing but balance changes, no new features, no new shiny ships to blow up, and a pure lack of player trust in the company. EVE is truly in the darkest days. As most of us know, right before Fanfest, CCP announced that they will be increasing the cost of a one-month subscription by 34%, which is devastating for more and more players.
Along with this, CCP promises us that the upcoming Keynote Address will hold some of the biggest content updates that we have seen in the games 18 year history – yeah, right. But then this week’s tweet from Hilmar causes quite a stir on Twitter and Reddit. Player speculation has been incredible, from people posting hawkeye’s “Dont Give me Hope” gif, to Mad Max’s “That’s Bait”. So this introduces a question: if CCP re-introduces Captain’s Quarters again, does that make you excited? Is this enough to revive EVE from its dark days?
I don’t think so. There needs to be more. If this is the only feature they have planned, then players are going to rage out en masse. I would honestly be happy if I could walk in stations, but only if it’s like every other hub within space games – a place where I can physically see my fellow capsuleers. Being able to sit down in a bar in the 1DQ1-A Keepstar on a Saturday Night Swarm sounds like a fresh change, and something I would love.
It might be a good addition to what we hope to be a good, solid, and well-thought-out expansion to the game. Otherwise, this feature will be doomed to fail with another terrible, riot-inducing expansion.