Blog Banter 42– An EVE Year in Review
“A gaming universe as vastly unique as EVE Online is constantly evolving and the experience is different for every participant. Conventional games review techniques cannot possibly hope to provide an accurate measure of every aspect of EVE’s gameplay. However, with a community initiative like the Blog Banters, we have the resources to deliver the most thorough and up-to-date review ever.
By combining the experiences of contributors from across the EVE metasphere, we get a wealth of opinions from veterans and rookies alike. We’ll be able to combine input from faction warfare specialists, wormhole residents, null-sec warriors, missioners, pirates, industrialists, roleplayers, politicians and more to paint a complete picture of the health and progress of EVE Online in its current Retribution incarnation.
Who better to review EVE Online than those who know it best?”
2012 was my 6th year in EVE. I concentrated more on solo pursuits, continuing my Backwater Trading, PI, T2 invention and Manufacturing, Exploration, and more than my usual amount of moving through Low Sec, NPC 0.0 and Wormhole space.
The year started out ok with the aftermath of the Crucible release, new Tier 3 Battle Cruisers, and new dynamic backgrounds.
It then seemed that the general feeling within the game took a turn. There was still a lot of anger from the Incarna debacle; with strong opinions bantered about on what needed to be done to fix things, and the types of players who were to blame for the malaise in game. I noticed remarks from CCP (CCP Soundwave in particular) and the CSM that seemed to target Solo Empire Players as needing to be forced to play the game differently. (Steps that haven’t really taken place as yet.)
Inferno came along in a staggered release over April and May, with more graphic and sound effect updates, a War Declaration system overhaul which was soon gamed by the players, a Mercenary Marketplace (it is used?), and a Faction Warfare Overhaul which was gamed even harder by the players. The UI was improved with effect bars and various aesthetics, and the Inventory system was further patched. It was easy however to feel like there wasn’t much in it for you, particularly due to bugs, overview resets, and the feeling it lacked polish.
One area that was really noticeable about Inferno was the impact it had on my client performance. Incarna had seen my reasonably spec’d desktop go from being able to comfortably run 3 clients at the same time down to only two. Inferno knocked it from 2 clients down to only 1. As I almost always dual boxed, the game had become unplayable.
While a steady stream of patches saw that improve somewhat, I ended up buying a new custom desktop to make EVE viable again. If I hadn’t, I would have given away the game at that point. As it was, there didn’t seem to be anything new in game that was interesting, and overall it just lacked cohesiveness.
It was probably the ship rebalancing which saved the game for me. Here was change that you would have to review, plan towards and adapt to. CCP’s communication in general was better in the second half of the year, and there was plenty of things for people to debate, muse over, and look forward to.
The Mining Barge changes in August highlighted to me the value of moving from a Tier to Role based approach for ships. It was also a sign that CCP was willing address pressing issues outside of Expansions.
CCP provided a whole series of discussion threads in September looking at the Frigate, destroyer and cruiser changes. For the first time in an age, there seemed to be a sense of positive progression in the game.
October and November passed with small patches and plenty to look forward to. Retribution finally arrived, with its Bounty Hunting, Crimewatch, New Destroyers and Mining Frigate, all the ship rebalancing, UI and sound improvements, and finally an Inventory system which started to behave somewhat consistently. The game client itself suddenly came together, and managed to feel relatively coherent.
At the start of the year I would have rated EVE at around 68%. By mid-year it was down to 45%. But over the last 5 months CCP has managed to turn that around to finish 2012 on a high. The sounds, appearance and effects look markedly better, the UI – while not wining any awards, now fits together and mostly seems to work. Areas like the aggression system – previously a complicated and mostly hidden aspect of the game, is now more visible and easier to understand. Much shorter down times, much shorter session change timers, market order highlighting – just change after change that really seemed to add up by the end of the year.
So as of now, I would rate EVE at 85%. Given its age and my bitter vet status, that is more than respectable.