Eve Vegas Wrapup


Last weekend was EVE Vegas, one of the two largest events each year for EVE Online. This year’s EVE Vegas was of particular importance as it was the final coming together of the developers and the EVE community prior to the Ascension expansion and the launch of EVE: Free.

Going into it the pressure was high. Although CCP has demonstrated that much of the content coming in Ascension was solid and have gotten the majority of the playerbase behind this monumental transition, there were two major questions left to answer: How will this product be sold, and what comes next.

EVE Vegas was centered around those questions, and for the most part they were answered in two events – The Keynote, and the Design Panel. However, these two panels and also these questions have very different audiences. While often Keynotes are designed to encompass nearly all of the big news for a convention, in this case there was so much news and for such different audiences, that CCP opted to split the content cleanly, making the Keynote all about the 15th, and the Design Panel in the second day focusing on the question of ‘what’s next’.

If you want to see me talk through each of the two presentations (note: videos are several hours long), each breaking down nearly everything said in both presentations, you can check them out below. 

The Keynote

While many people, myself included, expected to see some teases of what’s next here, the goal behind this presentation was clear and two fold.

  • Communicated to the gaming media and launch their advertisement campaign for EVE: Free.
  • Whip the player base into as much of a frenzy of hype as possible and provide the key points for players to sell the product to their friends.

Overall the Keynote was exceptionally well done, both on an individual level and on a macro level. Each step of the Keynote worked together to walk the audience through the message. Ascension has a lot of features coming up and a huge concern has been that it hasn’t felt like a cohesive expansion. The keynote was used to walk through the feature-set one by one and it was not only to get people excited by the features individually but also to wrap it all together into one package, ultimately culminating in the feature tour and trailer.

This presentation was tight and well produced, obviously coordinated by an overall marketing team. Each presenter knew their place and showed off their message well. You also didn’t have to look far to find examples of the gaming media taking this presentation and lapping up the details, broadcasting CCPs message for Ascension.

The Design Panel

The second day was strikingly different than the first, the hype behind Ascension having been locked in, it was time to talk about where we were going next. The overall vibe was extremely optimistic, yet cautious. While many expected in depth teases and details about Drilling Platforms, CCP opted to curb that enthusiasm and focus more on how they are going to make the things we have work better. CCP Fozzie in particular was extremely careful to caveat much of what he said, but he did give us some pretty good ideas of what we are expecting to see in the next few months.

It seems that the message CCP wants us to take is “we’re listening to you” which is a very good narrative to reinforce. Much of the panel appeared to more be a “heads-up” to what they have been kicking around, to get feedback early. The most shiny demonstration was the rework of the defender missiles to counter bombs, but even then CCP Larrikin described it as his side project and did not commit to it coming to TQ. Overall it felt a bit more like the design panels of old, designed to get our dreams working while at the same time being rooted in topics that were actually deliverable (looking at you ‘ring mining’).


Everything else

If nothing else, EVE has become a game about stories, and that fact struck me more watching Vegas streams than even the previous Fanfest. Each presenter not only presented their topic, but also their story. Whether that was by design or happy accident, the impact was profound. The entire lineup of presentations, from the inspiring story of a young player learning to survive in the harshest areas of EVE to J Mcclain’s sobering tale of PTSD and redemption, shined as an example of amazing presenting, moving tales, and exciting information.

It wasn’t all sunshine and roses, however. The presentation was plagued with audio issues. Mostly in the discussions between presentations with many times the filler guests  struggling to fill the time, but even the presentations were often difficult to hear or having inconsistent volumes. This is evidenced in my videos, in spite of my best efforts. Such things can be forgiven as the entire production was predominantly supported by volunteer effort. What CCP did demonstrate was that they have the chops to be a ‘high tier’ game development studio.

While we all knew Vegas was a gamble, it looks like it paid off in spades.

Tags: Ashterothi, EVE Vegas, vegas

About the author


Ashterothi has spent the last five years learning and teaching EVE Online. He is a host on the highly successful High Drag and Hydrostatic Podcast.

  • Kael Decadence
  • Bill Bones

    I’ve been reading and following the *written* contents about EVE Vegas and the takeaway is like “talked about a lot of things but didn’t say anything, really”.

    Yeah, of course, I could watch fucking HOURS of video, surely they talked a lot, but it’s not as if t them said anything worth writing home about it. Just babble and babble and babble about things we know and things that really don’t matter much.

    What is sure and certain is that I still can’t see a reason to play EVE Online again, and not even a reason to care about whatever CCP does develop next year. There’s simply nothing for me in all what they’ve been spewing.

    I might be the wrongest bittervet ever, but I think that what’s true for me, it’s also true for other people who quit the game. We quit because either we didn’t liked it or didn’t enjoyed it, or stopped linking and enjoying it, and thus as long as it’s the same game we don’t like nor enjoy, it’s a dead limb for us, and also for everyone new who will come to it as F2P and will find out what freaky beast it is.

    What is EVE about? “Making friends by griefing” seems to be the ultimate answer. It’s not a good game but hey, some people made some really nice friends about it. Tough luck to those just wanted to play a game…

    • Ghost Rider

      Pretty much same here. After playing for about 3 years I had 5 accounts but I let them all lasp just over a year ago and so far I haven’t seen or heard anything that would bring me back.

      I don’t see F2P working, I don’t see hoards of new joining.

      6 months from this point I doubt anything will have changed

    • Viince_Snetterton

      Agreed. I would love to by what kind of warped logic anyone can believe that “CCP is listening to us”, unless you are talking about the null sec CSM. The vast majority of the player base has NOT been listened to, hence the dive off the cliff when looking at sub numbers. And that crash in numbers has resulted in the desperation move to F2P.

      This latest release is the final nail in the coffin for independent manufacturers, another significant component of the the high sec playing base. Couple that with Gankers R Us coming with alpha clones, and CCP’s PAYING sub base will be smaller than it is today.

      • Provi Miner

        three things hammered subs the two botting eula ban hammers and then jump fatigue both of which prolly accounts for the vast majority of missing subs. Add to that CCP has found a money maker (best profits in years or so the numbers say) and the end result is….. more for the person to do less for the machine to do

        • Bill Bones

          The good news are that EVE is a profitable game. The bad news is that it’s been losing subscribers for years and even after being liberated from the burden of developing World of Darkness and DUST 514, 2015’s record profits were due to selling the WoD franchise to Paradox and financial activities rather than increased income.

          Estimates are that EVE currently haves some 220,000 subcribers, down from 500,000 in 2011, and CCP haves 330 employees, down from 600+ in 2011. So the game may be better than ever, but the better CCP makes it, the less and less people is left to agree on that.

    • Jare

      Can confirm stage 4 bittervet syndrome. Prescribing 4 months of a different game. Additional help in the form of a reality check is advisable (Eve is in the best shape its ever been in)
      The Stoned eve players coalition


      • DireNecessity

        Excepting you and me Jare, what a bunch of sullen, spoiled brats eh? EVE is very much a mirror. Bring acidic, receive bitter. Bring pleasant, receive honey.

        • Bill Bones

          Well, the game was quite pleasant during 2008-2011, then turned sour in the most abrupt manner in May 2011 when I realized that Incarna was in no fucking way ready for prime time. During 2011-2013 I did my best to suggest to CCP ways to improve the game, but by 2014 the Rubicon plan was set and the game had became almost unbearably bitter. So I quit for a few months, then returned and played all the way to 2015, then left for another sanity break, then returned for a few months more until June 2016.

          God knows I’ve given it time and effort -and money. But I’m done with what CCP is doing to EVE. I never made a lot of friends ingame, which is a reflection of my real self, and all those friends where players like me, members of the 85%, the misfits of EVE, just they had way more friends than me as they all multiplayed in one way or another. All of them burned out or were driven away by CCP’s design decissions. It’s tough to see all that people gone because CCP did A instead of B, all the way for 8 years.

          I may be the wrongest bittervet ever. But I hardly have met anyone as manic passionate about EVE as I’ve been until I buckled and admitted my defeat. CCP wins and EVE will die their way.

          • DireNecessity

            You tried a game but it turns out it wasn’t as long lasting fun as you hoped so you (eventually) stopped playing the game but much to your chagrin other people continue to play and enjoy that game which really seems to have torqued you off. “If I’m not having fun nobody else gets to have fun either!” grumbles Bill Bones stamping his feet in red faced frustration. “Don’t they know that it’s my temper tantrum the matters!? No, no fun for them!” Dude, you display the petulance of five year old. If you’re done with CCP and their lousy game then be done with it. This malingering is most unseemly. Grow the fuck up and move on with your life.

          • Bill Bones

            Frankly, after having written what amounts to several million words about EVE Online (with 9,800+ messages at the new forums alone, FAI) , I still are amused to see how people like you can’t walk in somebody else’s shoes and figure what floats the boat to people like me. Which is: things that would be benefical for people like me and by extension for EVE and CCP, without being detrimental for people like you.

            I don’t want you to stop having your fun. But I seriously doubt that pleasing you alone is a wise strategy for CCP, given the backwards progression of server population since they focused on a certain way to play the game.

          • DireNecessity

            Oh I see now Bill, it’s bile for good. When you drop drawer and shit on CCP it’s because you care for them. 9800+ public poop drops is not fecal obsession but voluminous expression of healthy love. Thanks for the shoes Bill. Walking past what floats your boat proved . . . interesting.

          • Fearlesslittletoaster

            I was manic passionate about Eve, until I got a wife, a kid, a job.. now its something I do for fun. Might your bitterness be more a symptom of your own personality causing you to make all or nothing decisions than a fundamental and irreparable flaw in the game?

            And this question comes from a massive autist by the way…

      • Bill Bones

        There were more people playing EVE when I started in 2008 than now:

        The second sunday of October, 2008: 39,173 players AND a starry eyed Bill Bones online.
        The second sunday of October, 2016: 33,834 players and NO Bill Bones online.

        Guess you could call that “ample room for improvement”…

        • Fearlesslittletoaster

          So it appears that a lot of the previous PCU count was actually due to the 24 hour skill queue. People would log in, update skills, and not do much. There aren’t specific numbers available, but despite the lower PCU it seems there is more in-space activity and creation/destruction going on now than four years ago. Certainly, Eve does not feel more… empty than it did, and this is from a seven year bittervert.

          • luobote kong

            It is a a little hard to reconcile that view with CCP Seagull s justification for bringing in F2P. The one where she said they had tried everything else possible to increase player numbers but it hadn’t worked.

          • Bill Bones

            Well, certainly there are things they didn’t tried, aren’t them? I would bet that, as of now, the average tenure of PvErs still are 2 years, something that already was true in 2011 and hasn’t changed since.

          • luobote kong

            Well yes. Tiancity demonstrates what other things can be done without going F2P so it is a tad disingenuous of CCP to say that. But the point being that not even CCP are claiming things are heading upwards.

          • Fearlesslittletoaster

            No it’s not. Player numbers have been slipping, just not nearly as hard as the claim that there are “fewer people playing than in 2008” implies. Instead there was some inflation of the 2008 number by people logging in more often than they wanted to just to update their skills.

            TL,DR: A mechanic that forced people to log in even if they didn’t want to/couldn’t play was removed. Therefore a 2008 PCU is an apple and a 2016 PCU is an orange; direct comparison is misleading.

          • Bill Bones

            Subscriptor numbers and revenue also have been dropping. EVE still is very profitable, but certain large demographic keeps leaving the game slowly but steadily and sooner or later CCP will miss that money and go F2P to compensate with increased raw volume… oh wait.

    • Provi Miner

      You nailed it, if don’t enjoy logging in…. I personally want to thank you for quitting. I have found eve to be a place to relax and take it easy, there were a few close calls where I felt like “I had to log in” because of X. This was replaced by the realization… If I don’t log in and something bad happens the worst that can happen to me is moving to another corp or alliance someday. I log in because I want to and because there are a few people I like enough to fly with. Should they stop playing or I no longer enjoy where I am at there is an entire rest of eve with all kinds of play style for me to try.

      • Bill Bones

        Well I’ve played the game for some 6-7 years grand total, so certainly I’ve enjoyed loggin in for a lot of time; i’m not a masochist who enjoys punishing himself to log in some game he hates! But I played that long thinking that, by persisting, eventually CCP would add more food to my platter. It was (is) so self-evident that some aspects of EVE are empty of sand and can be easily improved that I figured it would be a matter of time until CCP spread their love to those aspects… instead, they’ve become laser-focused on well developed, sandy bites of the sandbox, and the not-so-sandy bites have been backburned for literally years. And at some point, even someone who’s mined for thousands of hours (thus proving that mining *IS* enjoyable for some people and purposes), may grow bored of mining…