During Fanfest CCP released a wonderful little wrap up for the Retribution expansion, detailing that it was exceedingly successful. Numbers back this up, with retribution going on to give a massive increase in players (citation needed I know, I swear there was a follow up to this post by Jester where retribution got a record-breaking final statistic, but I just can’t find it). Since the retribution expansion, CCP have been following the same recipe for effort pretty closely, as I detailed in my post “You say goodbye” looking at CSM recommendations and this recipe.
So with the numbers from that post in mind, I think its time for me to give some predictions about the Winter Expansion. Firstly the “Expansion Theme”. I’ve given up hope of a Nullsec orientated theme anytime soon, the fact of the matter is that Nullsec players are already hooked on the game. Why develop cleaner drugs for the addicts when you can make cocaine infused lollipops to get new customers? So I won’t be predicting a Nullsec theme (no matter how much I want it). Instead, from what’s been going around, and reading in-between the lines of the CSM I predict that this expansion theme will be:
PvE content (specifically a revamp of missions).
Most eve players start their lives as mission runners, and quite a few end them as one. And let’s face it Missions are pretty much as out of date as it gets in the PvE department, I can’t think of a MMO with worse PvE than eve at time of press. A mission revamp would have three clear advantages for CCP going forwards:
- Bringing new players to the game
If eve can get back to the curve with PvE it might do a better job of recruiting more new players with promises of more traditional MMO content for the masses. I’m not saying raid bosses are coming, but having the equivalent of 5 man dungeons might bring more small groups into the game.
- Player Retention
Missions are not fun, and players want fun content. Simple as that. Make missions fun, and people might stay around long enough to learn something, and get hooked into PvP.
- Player progression
Leading on from above, Missions could (but aren’t currently) be a great way to Segwaying players into PvP without the current jump-into-cold-water-from-a-sauna level of system shock.
With that core concept in place lets look at the break down of content I expect to see this winter (% numbers are based purely on the retribution recipe):
6% UI improvements
I expect to see maybe a bit of drone UI work here. But I am not sure just how much. I suspect this will be a “nice to have” feature for the expansion and may get dropped for a 1.1 or later. Mostly I would expect this to be around the corporation management (enabling the content creators after all), and the mission UI. Wouldn’t surprise me if the Agent system gets another go, if it exists in any form anymore.
8% new ships
I expect there to be some new ships (around 1-4), but I really don’t know what form they will take, something linked to missions of course. Personally I would love to see a salvage frigate which could be used for ninja salvaging, but really that’s just a pipe dream.
The big part, Missions get a thorough going over. Best hope is that it’s something close to the way CCP did exploration, completely overhauling the dynamic and perhaps even going far enough as to scrap the Agent system for something more dynamic.
18% code revamp
The smaller half of the expansion, this is being done partly because it needs doing, and partly because it opens the door to the POS work next expansion (gosh am I doing two expansions worth of predictions now?).
10% ship rebalancing
Obvious predictions is obvious. We already know about marauders. Not sure what will be next . Perhaps assault frigates? More likely is a begin on the Navy and Pirate factions ships, they are favourite for missions already.
49% minor features
These are really hard to predict as what is a “Minor” feature is hard to tell. I expect a lot of life improvements run outwards from the corp code revamp. I also expect a second revision on the Exploration content pushed out last patch, maybe some new modules etc. Perhaps even so far as trading of hacking powerups. I also predict some more ginger toes going into the sea of CREST, alongside other minor tweaks.
As I said before I would much rather a Nullsec revamp, but I just don’t think it’s on the cards. I almost would begrudge missions getting a pass though, it is without doubt the most outdated section of the game (well perhaps baring the UI). Better mission content could make for better, or at least fun, money making prospects for individuals, so let’s see. Of course this is purely working off gut feeling mixed with some interpretation, and I expect to be entirely wrong about the expansion.
Fly like Mystic Meg (wrong),