Longtime players of EVE Online have often commented on the disappearance of one of CCP Games' most-liked devs, Executive Producer Nathan "Oveur" Richardsson. He's been noticeably absent from developer-player interaction for a while, which he addressed in his latest dev blog: "Unfortunately for you, the rumors of my death have been highly exaggerated. I've seen the occasional post inquiring about my demise. While flattering, I think most people have forgotten all about the old nerfs and more vividly remember some random jokes while I was flaming some poor soul on the forums."
Despite his light-hearted way of breaking the silence, his dev blog "I can resist anything but temptation" is packed with info about the future of EVE Online, which he kicks off by invoking Wilde. Read on to learn about some of the substantial changes coming to EVE.
EVElopedia, Social Networking, and the EVE API
Oveur discusses some of the new features coming to EVE Online, such as the EVElopedia, which will be a central repository of information for players, leveraging the item database with player-created entries. "EVE player history will be centrally located and further down the line we will leave room for players to contribute to the backstory of solar systems and other locations," Oveur says. In addition, the EVElopedia will be a place for the game's developers to publish information and have access to what others have done before them, establishing a 'persistent, permanent record.'
He addresses CCP's initiative to fully embrace social networking. Oveur states, "Our social networking and communication tools, which have been in development for 2 years, will be showing up next year. They will provide you with everything you need, from your blog on harvesting Veldspar (I'm looking at you Chribba), corporate front pages, alliance tools and our secret weapon, a screenshot of you." Oveur asserts that the beauty of all of this is that it's being built on the existing API service, pointing out some of the ways players have found to leverage the EVE API, particularly the iPhone apps that have recently arrived on the scene.
SCRUM and Recklessness
Oveur discusses the 'cowboy mode' with which they've been deploying performance improvements, largely boosted by Stackless IO and EVE 64... with more than a few Brokeback Mountain references worked in there for good measure. Ultimately, his point is that their development process has "blasted us forward more than a year's worth of development in a matter of weeks and we realized it only by having all our changes running live on Tranquility."
Changes to ETC secure transfers as a way to combat RMT companies
He goes on to detail some major changes to how EVE Gametime Codes (ETC) will be used in the game. Oveur notes that there are problems with the system as it exists today, although more than 30,000 players use it on a regular basis. He outlines the changes that are on the way, but essentially it will be possible to convert ETC codes into 'CONCORD 30 Day Pilot Licenses' which can be sold on the market or via the contract system.
Fully anticipating the kind of response this might provoke, he explains their decision to try the new system:"Giving players a more robust system to exchange game-time for ISK is something we also deem necessary as a result of abuse, exploitation, fraud and hard core companies trying to sell you ISK directly. In the end, this only hurts you the customer and therefore the universe of EVE. We must continue to battle this and it's time for a new strategy. We see what the secure trade of ETCs between players did and we want to investigate ways of making that easier by enabling all players to trade amongst themselves directly. If the key to battling RMT is to allow players to casually and securely exchange gametime for ISK, thereby neutralizing RMT companies as a necessary supply, then that is an acceptable, necessary evil."
While he lays out the numerous benefits of the new system, he also cites the drawbacks, not the least of which is "It's pure evil." The system will launch with Quantum Rise or shortly thereafter, and run for a matter of months, when CCP will then evaluate how effective this is and decide upon the future of the new ETC system.
This is the gist of what Oveur conveys in the dev blog, which has quite a bit of information contained within. While we've summarized some of his statements in this post, EVE players will want to check out his full dev blog and perhaps give their views in the forum thread connected with Oveur's announcements.