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Monday, May 28, 2012

Blog Banter 36- Trial of Fire

  As many of you know, the blog banters have been taken over by Seismic Stan over at Freebooted. I'm glad they have been and Stan has been a great facilitator. I have not had the opportunity to actually sit down and participate in these until now, so here we go.

"With the Inferno expansion upon us, new seeds have been planted in the ongoing evolution of EVE Online. With every expansion comes new trials and challenges, game-changing mechanics and fresh ideas. After nine years and seventeen expansions, EVE has grown far more than most other MMOGs can hope for. Which expansions have brought the highs and lows, which have been the best and the worst for EVE Online?"

  First off, it always blows my mind to think about Eve's history. It's so easy to get caught up in the next big scam or laugh at null sec politics as they shift month by month. Eve has been going for nine years and that is a feat of brilliance in today's MMO market. We watch game after game come through with hopeful IPs, only to turn FtP within months of launch. Eve has not only driven on with the passion of an Amarr religious zealot but with the determination of a Minimatar ex-slave through the years. 

  Sappy analogies aside, I have been with Eve since the end of Dominion. I was just getting used to my implants when Tyrannis hit. As such I can't really speak on the majority of expansions since I don't really know what half of them brought in to the game. 

  So, in my experience, the worst expansion in terms of player reception and overall game enhancement was...Incarna. Although it made turrets a whole lot cooler in a cosmetic way, the debacle of launching Walking in Stations set a dark tone in Eve for months. Player backlash, CCP's PR fumbles, CCP employee let go's and the pure lack of Flying in Space content made a nasty combo that pushed many players to cancel their subscription. Not a shining moment for the game or developer but one that has been weathered and many lessons have been learned. 

  The Incursion expansion wasn't well liked either, but I think that the absolute ISK-mine that it became helped the initial bad-taste-in-mouth. But enough of bad, let's look at the good parts of Eve's evolution.

  First off, we will say Trinity was a great expansion for the game. It updated the games graphics and 20 ships got a face lift. Which was awesome, since when I got to the game I immediately thought the Scorpion was one of the sexiest ships ever. Still kinda do, but in a different way than before since...well I've seen what she can do if you know what I mean. :P

  The next great expansion, I'm not going to lie, I have to say would be Crucible. Now this isn't chronologically the next best, but as an expansion it helped the game in many ways. The developers showed the player base that they knew how to listen and knew how to task their priorities. Tier 3 BCs, time dilation, and so on made the game feel like a bottle of Febreeze had been poured all over the place  to make the game fresh as a daisy. You can't help but give CCP props on the amount of content additions as well as openness with which they developed those additions. SiSi has become used more and more not just as a playground with cheap toys, but as the platform for CCP to get player feedback on possible tweaks and additions. But as I said, this was not the best expansion in my opinion. 

  That would have to go to Apocrypha. Surprise, right? Now I may be rather biased about it, since it added the home I now love and want others to love. But it is for more than just my love of wormholes.  The expansion was seen as more of a mini-expansion since it had too much to be a patch but was not considered enough to be a full expansion. It added the training queue, which made everyone's lives far more convenient since they wouldn't have to wake up at 2 am to keep it going. 

  But, of course,  it also wormholes and with it Sleepers and T3 ships reverse engineered through Sleeper technology. But adding an entirely new space to the game was a bigger deal than I think CCP realized at the time. Players were never intended to live there, but to simply explore and traverse space through wormhole chains. Human initiative and determination being what it is, however, meant that this new environ was a whole new experience for living. It meant you live out of a communal POS and rely on those in the wormhole with you. You can harvest Sleeper loot and engage in true small gang combat, fighting for your space like no other place in Eve. There were no iHubs to break down, no security status to worry about and no titans to blob your space. Still aren't. And that's how we like it. 

  That's quite a bit more than I thought I had to say about all this so I'll leave it at that. What do my readers think? Best/worst of Eve and for yourselves?

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