CCP came back from summer vacations and opened up the throttle on the communication and the hype. The real test, as always, will be the delivery but there are some obvious and not-so-obvious major news items in the latest flurry of communication.
First off, big points to CCP Seagull for these video blog entries. Close-up, looking straight into the camera, earnest and every bit the leader that I think many of us were so impressed with when she first hit the stage.
Secondly, the team is laying it all on the line with the Eve Updates page. Not just items for next release, or even the release after that. We have teasers to pique your interest clear out to Fanfest. The risk here is that anything that is even mildly delayed will stir up every little rotten pit of negativity in the community. This is a change from the previous approach of having rapid patches which can get announced mere weeks before the work hits the servers.
Is this a sign that CCP is being responsive, or that they're very deeply worried, or both?
"We heard you" might be the theme from the capital rebalances to the careful steps around the use of Entosis links vis-a-vis citadels. Right up front is the change to the Jump Fatigue limits. We'll see if this means that big players will reach out farther, willing to make big strikes on the weekends knowing they can reset again by the next weekend. Structure changes for nullsec includes the passive wind-down of attacked nodes if the attackers don't stick with it. This seems like a good change to slow down trolling without inhibiting true attackers.
Crimson Harvest? The return of the Drifters is a fix for the briefly-implemented invasion of the Throne Worlds that I personally hope will have the potential to spread across New Eden if left unchecked. But the Crimson Harvest - a new Blood Raider incursion?
Sneaky Fundamental Eve Changes
So kill marks on your ship for each final blow that this particular hull has scored - cool right? But this feels like something far more fundamental has just slipped in. In the past we've often talked about how each ship is very generic in being an entry in the database. The only thing really different was the name that was assigned to it. Now there is also an integer value which not only is driven by other game mechanics, but which feeds through and changes the behavior of the rendering of the skin. Similarly we have reports of how dust and debris will accumulate on ships based on usages, or rust if they sit in hangar. I think these are potentially signs of something deeper going on in the implementation of Eve, something which allows each database entry to be a bit more distinct. We'll see - maybe this is just a bit extension of the uniqueness of the ship name or maybe it is something more.
I didn't even cover all of the things. D-scan on the probe window? Ice mining frigates? Players who are of a positive mindset will climb on the hype train, and those who are deeply embittered will find a way for each new thing to represent disappointment to them. Find what you love about the game and I think you'll find something to love in all of these announcements.