For this week’s Massively Overthinking, I’ve asked the writers to do something most of them hate: brag! We’ve tried to isolate our favorite personal work from the year and talk about why we think it matters, then identify our favorite work from somebody else on the site this year and do the same. I always tell them it’s easy, but it never is!
Studio: CCP Games
Launch Date: May 6, 2003
Genre: Sci-Fi Sandbox
Business Model: Hybrid Free-to-Play (Optional Subscription, Cash Shop)
Massively Overpowered’s end-of-the-year 2017 awards continue today with our award for Best MMO Business Model, which was awarded to Guild Wars 2 last year, the first time we’d given out this reader-proposed honor. This award is intended to recognize a live MMORPG of any age that has demonstrated an exemplary business model specifically in 2017, regardless of its past performance. Don’t forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end!
The Massively OP staff pick for Best MMO Business Model of 2017 is…
Happy holidays, EVE: Valkyrie fans! Enjoy a shiny box of… wait, why are you hyperventilating? This isn’t a shutdown notice. (Which, you know, was a logical thing to expect based on recent events. You might have good reason to be jumpy.) Stop. Take a deep breath. There’s an update. There is an actual patch. See, there’s even a video down below covering the features. The biggest addition is the new moon refinery map that’s letting you blow things up in the midst of a mining operation on a moon. Not Earth’s moon, just a moon.
Do you need to sit down for a little while? Here, we can cover this in text. Have some hot chocolate. The update also adds in a new spectator mode so you can watch other players shooting at stuff without being in the match. Yes, other players. You can even set up custom matches with those other players specifically, if you want. Are you doing better? Can you watch the video now? It’s just past the break.
Massively Overpowered’s end-of-the-year 2017 awards continue today with our award for Most Improved MMO, which was awarded to The Elder Scrolls Online last year. All live MMOs, regardless of release date, were eligible for this award, provided they made improvements this year. Don’t forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end!
The Massively OP staff pick for Most Improved MMO of 2017 is…
As if CCP Games isn’t struggling enough right now, the studio announced today that it’s lost one of its own: an EVE Online developer and graphics programmer known to the community as CCP Blaze. If you’ve ever warped anywhere or switched on the tactical overlay, you’ve seen his handiwork.
“CCP Blaze, one of our Senior Software Engineers with our Audio & Graphics team, passed away suddenly at the age of just 35, while on vacation in London celebrating his recent engagement. He is survived by his fiancée and one year old daughter here in Reykjavík, and leaves behind an amazing legacy at CCP from his 8 years at our headquarters working on EVE Online.”
The company says it held an internal fundraiser for Blaze’s family over the past few weeks since learning the news, and as of today, it’s also releasing a special fundraising item for the community: a brand-new “Blaze” squadron SKIN set that will be sold for one week only as a one-off for the Armageddon (100 PLEX) and for a five-hull bundle (495 PLEX). Blaze has been written permanently into the lore for the ship skin.
Don’t despair thinking that the entire EVE universe is collapsing into a single title just yet; the black hole theory has yet to be proven, and CCP’s virtual reality offshoots are still flying. In fact, Gunjack 2: End of Shift just made the jump to a new platform, announcing its arrival on Samsung Gear VR this week.
The virtual reality shooter, which puts the player inside a capital ship gun turret to blast EVE universe ships, now is available for $9 for Gear VR players. It’s also still available through Google Play.
Fly — and shoot — on, CCP!
We’re now about four months away from the five-year mark on that vision, and many parts of it have now been completed, but no battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy. We’ve seen some big feature drops such as the release of citadels, the industry overhaul, and the recent moon mining overhaul, but that deep space colonisation gameplay still seems far off. Some players feel as if EVE is currently in a holding pattern, with everyone waiting for the next big feature or overhauls to their favourite part of the game before deciding what to do next. So what does come next?
In this edition of EVE Evolved, I break down the progress toward Nordgren’s 5 year vision so far and talk about the possible next steps I think CCP could take to make it a reality.
As we do every year, today we’re going to peer back into the depths of last year’s staff predictions for the genre and the games within it to determine just how we fared. After all, what would be the fun of making predictions if we couldn’t have a laugh at how wrong we were a year later? So let’s dig in and find out whether we nailed it or failed it!
Think of all the wacky things devs have said in public in front of gamers and journalists this year.
Now imagine what gets said behind closed doors!
For this week’s Massively Overthinking, I’ve asked our staff to select the best (and worst) developer quotes from the year and reflect on what we’ve learned from them. Let’s dig in – we’ve got some whoppers.
Develop has a fascinating interview with CCP about how the studio uses strategies from urban planning when developing its space MMO. Citing “unproductive” development around 2004 following the game’s rise in popularity, CCP drew its community into talks about what it wanted to see for EVE Online, which in turn led to the formation of the Council of Interstellar Management. Through all of this, CCP started seeing the game’s growth through the lens of city planning.
“EVE is more like a city than it is a game,” said CEO Hilmar Pétursson. “If you are doing urban planning in a city, getting feedback from the inhabitants is important. You might have to bulldoze away some houses to make a highway, or you might have a garbage collection problem, and it’s impossible to know all this. We have no way of knowing all the things in EVE Online that the hundreds and thousands of people who live there every day do. They have way more information about it. So factoring in all the information about the game, their input on where the game needs improvement, putting those two things together is what the EVE team does every year.”
As Counting Crows told us, it’s been a long December, although the fact that it has also only just started being December speaks to something unpleasant in the makeup of this particular month. But it also means that this is a good time to check in on the overall health of various MMORPGs and see which ones look to be in the healthiest state at the end of the year.
This is, I hasten to point out, not a scientific process; last year I pointed to Marvel Heroes as a not-quite-MMORPG title that was still in a very healthy and robust place, and it later turned out that this was entirely not true and had been built upon a foundation of lies. But we’ll cross that bridge if and when we come to it in 2018. What are the healthiest games running right now?
This update also brings in a new event celebrating these new piloting options, new visual improvements, new daily skill injectors for free players, resource war adjustments, and lots of other fun things all around. You can jump in right now, if you so choose (or at least you can once you’ve done the requisite patching and so forth). Unfortunately, this update does not include the free ship fairy visiting everyone, but perhaps that’s something to ask for when the winter holiday comes around.
Last weekend, Brendan wrote a great column on how to stay safe from gankers in EVE Online, noting that the newbies are commonly given what he considers bad advice to just stay in high-sec; indeed, he smartly quoted Shedd: “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”
The article prompted a discussion in our work chat about risk-taking in MMORPGs. “After every one of Brendan’s (excellent!) tips, I keep mentally adding, ‘or alternatively, don’t play EVE,'” Eliot joked. And they’re both right. If you’re dead-set on being a “ship” in the risky gameworld of New Eden, staying in “harbor” defeats the purpose of playing EVE. But this is a real world where you don’t have to be a ship – you don’t have to play EVE. You don’t have to risk it all just for some pixel gratification.
For this week’s Massively Overthinking, I’ve asked the writing staff to dish on risk-taking, in EVE or elsewhere. Are they into it? What kinds of risks are they willing to take, PvE or PvP? What do they think about risk-vs.-reward in MMOs?