Which is good to see. The company has had some major set backs in the last few years. The failure of World of Darkness, the coming death of Dust 514, and the general stagnation of Eve itself have just made it feel like CCP is struggling to find itself in the current landscape of digital existence. Add in the fact that the company has taken some pretty big risks with its flagship product over the past year, with things like jump fatigue and skill point trading, and its safe to say that the foundation was looking shaky at best. But, the gamble on virtual reality seems to be paying off with Gunjack and Valkyrie being legitimate hits for the new technology. Eve itself is getting a massive update this week, complete with a killer new Permaband song, and coupled with the hype surrounding the current war, enthusiasm for the game is at a significant high point.
As a part of Signal Cartel, I encounter plenty of people new to the game. Exploration is considered to be a fairly newbie friendly career to pick up, and we've worked hard to be the name people think of when it comes to that career path. And I've found it interesting that as people move on from being "Signaleers" they still retain a certain kind of enthusiasm for the game at large. I think a major aspect of enjoying this game is finding a group to enjoy it with, and Signal has done a lot to grow this sensibility in our ranks. And I think that is a sentiment that can carry over to CCP's growing arsenal of titles. Think of it, four individual games united under one universe (five if Arena gets an Eve tie in). There is massive potential there, but only if we can make the flagship as accessible as possible. We don't need to do away with the learning cliff, we just need to give more people grappling hooks to scale it.
The potential growth of the Eve universe, and growth that is being missed, is the biggest thing I took away from Fanfest 2016. Much as it was a celebration of where New Eden stands today, it was also a glimpse at where it could be even a year from now. There's work to be done in making that happen, sure, but there was an incredible amount of work involved in getting to where we are now. At the end of the day, I'm more optimistic about the game now than I have ever been, and its fun to play in the only universe where this kind of thing would even be possible. But those possibilities are tied to numbers, and not just warm bodies. There's clear evidence that Eve can draw outsiders in. We just need to find better ways of keeping them in without losing the identity of what makes Eve EVE. This includes bringing in folks who check out Eve because they tried one of the other titles in the universe, such as Valkyrie or Gunjack. I don't have the answer on how to do that, but I'm confident it can be done and CCP Ghost has made me hopeful that he's the guy to do it.
We'll see what happens over the year though. The Citadel expansion is another big gamble by CCP, Valkyrie and Gunjack are still riding high on "novelty" aspects, and Nova and Arena may very well go the way of WoD. But after this weekend, I see no reason to not be hopeful about the game itself, and as such I see no reason to not be hopeful about the appeal to new players. A good game will simply draw people in.
Also, faction capitals look cool as shit.