CZ Minutes: Oceanus

With the piecemeal rollout of Oceanus onto Singularity the EVE community is settling in on what the 5-6 week release cycle means in practice. This release isn’t exactly packing an ocean of features (see what I did there, brilliant) – while it does provide some very crisp graphical updates it can be argued that the actual mechanics features are a bit on the thin side. Is this what you expected from the new release cycle? Is closing the gap of time between development and deployment to the point where a release gets rolled out to Singularity feature by feature a good thing? Are the players forced to do what an in-house control group should be doing, or are they being let in closer to the event horizon and setting the stage for the progressive evolution of a an EVE where the community has a more direct and profound influence? Hendrick: There is a notion that, because the past two expansions (Crius and Hyperion) were “underwhelming” this new production method CCP are taking EVE Online towards is producing poor results for the player. This can be in several ways, one of them being that CCP weren’t honest with the benefits the new model would have for the game, and it’s community. At Fanfest, when the new model of expansions was announced, CCP stated that the point releases from the previous model were sometimes just as important and useful to the game as the “set expansions.” With that in mind, CCP wanted to also get “core changes” come out just as regularly as they were already doing the point releases. Thus we have an attempt at “best of both worlds” approach by CCP.. So sure, Oceanus won’t have any big balance tweaks, mechanic changes, new gameplay tools or the long desired fix to Null Sov we’ve been clamoring for. However, we had plenty of point releases under the previous model full of graphical, quality of life changes etc. Under the current model, we’re getting those but with a name and a faster turn around time from concept to implemented change the players are toying with. Isn’t that achieving what CCP’s stated goal of the new model is? Apoth: Vive la France. CCPers seem to be in love with the new release system, claiming it makes their job easier and allows them to allocate their time more where they want to and where it’s needed. I think having the people who make our game work in a style they find helpful is a good thing. 02 Niden: I think people who are ‘underwhelmed’ by Oceanus are confusing it with a time gone by. The new releases are not releases per se, they’re just dates into which features can be fit, as part of an overarching road map. It is a much more natural way of development, as anyone who has written a line of code will tell you. Taking the somewhat meagre offering of features in Oceanus as an omen of CCP not delivering on their promises is short sighted in my opinion. This brings us as players much closer to the aforementioned event horizon and allows us to be much more closely tied into the development of the game. Over the years I’ve been playing this ‘game’, I’ve come to realise that we are EVE. The game itself and the community that populates it are so intertwined that one cannot exist without the other. That relationship also means that our understanding of the health of the game is far deeper than you find in any other MMO. With this in mind it strikes me as nothing but natural to bring the players closer in to development as it actually happens.
That releases like Oceanus are on the road towards a grand evolution of EVE Online is something we’re going to have to take on faith, and it’s precisely that which some players, especially those that have been around for a while, are having a hard time with. They see no reason to put faith in CCP, having essentially been made cynical by unfinished or broken systems that have been untouched in years. While I see the reasons for this, I do not agree, especially since CCP Seagull took the helm, I have faith in the future of EVE Online. But on the other hand, I love the game already, so I guess that makes me a naïve scrub you shouldn’t listen to anyway. Be that as it may, but I have fun in EVE pretty much every time I want it, that, and the belief that we’re actually headed somewhere good, is all I need. I feel sorry for those that don’t get to experience that and truly hope they can some day. Tarek: I will be frank and say that purely speaking for myself I dislike the current release model just as much as I disliked the encroachment of point releases previously. The main issue I have with it is the constant low-intensity barrage of changes. In the past, there was an expansion and a large number of changes came along with it. One could sit down on a day and read the patch notes and adapt over the course of six months. Now there is a devblog with announcements and a forum thread every few weeks and before you get around to acquaint yourself with one set of changes, the next one hits already. Instead of having all changes neatly in one long set of patch notes, it is now necessary to look up a whole series of them to keep up. Maybe I am just getting too old for this. Anyway, with that being said, I am not saying CCP should necessarily do it differently. I can see how this probably works much better for them internally, and if that benefits the game’s development so be it. I am not the kind of guy who gets all worked up about this or that feature and participates in lengthy forum discussions about it. There are usually things I like and things I don’t like, but in general I don’t have strong opinions about it except if CCP does something really stupid. To complain about the lack of content in one six-week expansion is a bit of an overreaction as far as I am concerned. In the light of my own views, I am actually happy if there isn’t too much change this time.  
Tags: ccp, cz minutes, oceanus

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12 year EVE veteran, Snuffed Out scumbag, writer, graphic artist, producer, Editor-in-Chief of Crossing Zebras and the second most influential player in EVE, according to EVE Onion.