EVE Online has one of the most dedicated communities in all of videogames, and CCP is reciprocating that with some dedication of its own. Whereas most massive multiplayer online titles have a few large updates a year at best, CCP just revealed at the EVE Online keynote at Fanfest that it's now aiming for ten a year.
This new strategy goes into effect on June 3, 2014 with the release of the Kronos update. Kronos will focus heavily on the industry side of the game, allowing for building of massive scale and for new players to more easily break into the world of EVE.
Because it's the first update in the new program, CCP wants to make sure that it's a landmark occasion. According to senior producer Andie Nordgren, Kronos marks a transition period between semi-annual releases and the new format, which means that it will be quite hefty. That's about the best position that players can be in.
However, it shouldn't be expected that every update will be of the same scale that Kronos is. Because of the logistics of a development team trying to release ten revisions per year, some will naturally be less monumental. Nordgren commented that they will be simultaneously working on several at a time, and they'll release whichever one makes sense whenever it makes sense.
While the content of each update will definitely be tailored to different facets of EVE Online, they'll still affect players of all walks. Because of the way that all aspects of the game are so integrally tied together, no one will find an update that doesn't at least pertain to them indirectly. For instance, just because one release may focus on mining, any changes that are made will influence the economies of EVE, which in turn impacts politics, relationships, etc.
The move to more frequent updates comes from a desire and need to "keep the game healthy," as Nordgren put it. By constantly evolving EVE Online, there's continual progress toward the developers' ultimate vision which is to essentially eliminate all NPCs and hand the entire game over to the players. This end-goal was something that CCP revealed at Fanfest 2013, and considerable strides have been taken in just one year.
To complement and advance this vision, CCP has recently created a new role -- EVE universe architects. These architects are tasked with being the glue that holds everything together. Kjartan Emilsson is one and he described his duties as identifying the gameplay mechanics that need to be centralized, and then implementing it. For example, it takes time to move an item from place to place in EVE Online. If they were to allow items to be transported instantaneously in Dust 514, it would break the rules of this world. Emilsson ensures that details like this remain consistent across all of CCP's projects.
At a cursory glance, it might seem a bit excessive, but it's the type of attention to detail that allows players to get so incredibly involved in the EVE universe. Emilsson commented that the transition to more frequent updates will actually make his job easier. Instead of being forced to wait and make a large number of changes at once which was "a nightmare," he can now continually tie everything together, making for a much more cohesive experience.
When you think about it, it's fitting that each update for the first year in this new structure will be named after a Greek titan. After all, it's a gigantic notion to roll out this many changes annually. It's apt that Kronos kicks things off, as he was the youngest and the leader. CCP's acting as a leader, too -- not only by aggressively moving toward the future it envisions for EVE Online, but by maybe changing the post-release landscape of MMOs as we know it.
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