Friday, 13 April 2018

Fanfest Keynote 2018: Wut?

OK so as predicted, the Yulai in game happening stopped happening. But to be fair nothing was promised this time around so I will let that one pass. Will it be the end of Luobote's travels for another year? Did Fanfest do anything to rekindle his enthusiasm? It was the Citadel Fanfest that killed it in the first place so there is always the potential for facts in space to change. 

So Fanfest. It is always hard a judge an any public event from a distance. Eve fanfest is a case in point. It is a fan gathering but it is difficult to get the sense of that across the ether. But it is also a platform for CCP to wax lyrical about their product. Usually, that part does come across more clearly to the remote viewer. It is CCP's moment to shine.

However, this time around CCP seemed conflicted about how to utilise this opportunity. You sense there was a powerpoint slide in some strained middle management meeting late on a Friday that had a list of buttons they felt they had to push. On the following Monday morning after senior management got wind of their efforts there was a corresponding list of things that mustn't be mentioned. The navigation of that rather awkward presentational minefield was what we ended up witnessing in the keynote speech.The subtext seemed to be something like this:

Message: We are 15 years old! Thats cool!
Counter message to avoid: 15 years but just pulled out of the VR market and only have Eve Online as our revenue generator
Message: We are building new games!
Counter message to avoid: Development for these games will be at Eve Online's expense. Again
Message: We are committed to Eve - see new the new deadspace PVE instances and ships and stuff. Not like World of Warcraft honest
Counter message to avoid: ...and we will monetise it in the following way.
 
Perhaps I am exaggerating but the cocktail of positive yet defensive messages didn't really set the juices flowing. There are tweaks or iterations here and there that some will hate/like but this is all small beer. At the strategic level, the routemap has been replaced with 3 pillars. This is progress of a sort as it suggests there are some underlying principles behind their decisions. It's essentially a promise of goodness. It's hard to criticize goodness because badness is bad and unlikely to recover from that reputation. But it is not a vision. Eve will be tangibly better how? Dealing with RMT/bots is (or should be) the day job, not a new feature.

So I am really not sure what to think. My lines in the sand resulting from the Citadel release haven't been challenged but I didn't expect that  to change. But what CCP have in store for Eve isn't clear. Whether that is just down to CCP being untogether about the message or whether that is because they can't decide is perhaps the bigger concern.

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