News – EvE – Skill queue coming soon!

Really no introduction needed, I’ll catch you afterwords for a reaction.

More Queue Queue – by CCP Eris Discordia

QueQue more.

Skipping a nicely written intro that will entertain a few readers and cause others to lose interest I´ll come straight to the point:

We´re developing a skill queue. I´m expecting that the bearer of good news is praised and flattered. The CSM was happy to hear we were developing a skill queue, but their songs of praise were rather short. I expect haikus.  You may want to read on and make yourself familiar with how the queue works and the early UI mock-up.

About time!

Yes, it is about time isn´t? There were good reasons why we never did it before, though.

 We are proud that we are realistic and nice (or cool) enough to know that people have a life outside EVE (shocking, I know) and while they are not playing EVE you can still advance your character.

While it´s cool that you can advance your character when you are offline, we did worry that if we introduced a skill queue some players might just set a queue for a year and become less active in EVE. That´s not what a massively multiplayer ONLINE game is about. EVE is a social game and we want you exposed to other players so you can start making legends out of you or corporation and strive for domination. A long abstinence from EVE would ruin this for us.

And yet, we know people do have lives outside of EVE and you don´t really want to set your alarm to change skills, or worse lose out on skill training because you couldn´t make it home in time. And it´s always the shorter skills that fall right between a day and anything less than that which are the hardest to fit into your schedule.

more….

So here we are, nearly 7 years after EvE has been released, and they are just now changing their minds on skill progression? I find that suspicious to say the least.

One thing I’ve always thought about CCP (and Square for that matter) was they stick to what they’re known for. EvE is a space simulator that is boring and terrifying at the same time, it has a steep learning curve and never compromises design to the majority. Or at last that is the perception they would like you see.

The reality is, CCP is a business just like SOE, Mythic, Turbine and Blizzard, and for all businesses the mighty dollar (or Euro) speaks louder than words. The demographic of mmorpgs are changing, no more are they only restricted to high school geeks or college drop outs who have unlimited time on their hands. The pendulum is shifting toward business men and women, families, and even a social network replacement. Blizzard was one of the first companies to realize this, and even then it took them two years to change their ways with BC.

This is old news, “we all” knew the mmorpg revolution was upon us when “our” healer had to leave unexpectedly to cheerleading practice. Of course that’s an exaggeration, but not too far outside the realm of possibility anymore. (On that note I did once have a tank who apologized for his poor play due to him being in meeting O.o)

2009 will be an interesting year for CCP. Looking at the changes down the pipeline, they all cater to budgeted gaming – get in, do something cool, get out. With the skill queue, again they are bringing an unnecessary reduction of tedium to an otherwise intentionally tedious game. Doing so reduces the barrier to entry for new gamers, and increases their audience size. Perfect business sense right?

While I love the idea and think it is well balanced against a 24 hour clock again, just like Square with FFXI, they are looking for a market that just is not there. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, third generation gamers just are not interested in overly complicated, tedious, time consuming, and slow rewarding mmorpgs. The game this generation is looking for is checkers, not chess.

Maybe at the end of the year, if they come out with Ambulation, epic quest chains, customizable t3 ships, worm holes and god knows what else to bring back small gang warfare, we’ll see a much more sizable increase in EvE’s subscription rate. As is, this appears on the surface to be an attempt at keeping it’s current majority player base happy through a tough economic time, even if it does sacrifice a little design integrity.

-D^t

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