For two years, CCP has been focused entirely on Walking In Stations, World of Darkness, and Dust 514. The focus was so laser-like that little, if any, real illumination fell upon their flagship product, Eve Online.
That was until the gamers revolted, in masse. Some unsubscribed, others vented via blogs or through the CSM, still others just stopped playing Eve.
November 29th, 2011 will be the culmination of CCP taking a hard look at what they have been doing over the past two years. You have to be a fool to think that they didn’t pull out all the stops over the last six months. New ships, new CQs, major game mechanic changes.
But most importantly…
a visibly changed attitude.
I dunno who all they got rid of, but clearly they got rid of the person who was causing PR disasters day after day. Instead of cryptic messages about what “might” happen in the next expansion, CCP allowed (shoot, I wouldn’t be surprised if they leaked it themselves) data dumps to be released to the public. Instead of worrying about new clothes, they grabbed four player designed ships and are bringing them to life. Instead of making wild, often wrong, guesses about what players wanted.. devblog were put up hoping..neh, demanding that players comment about the problems with their ideas and suggesting new and better ones. Tasks, simple ones, that had been put off for literally years were picked up and finally attended to.
The very public mea culpa along with a clearly changed way of doing things has not gone unnoticed. Jester’s Trek has a blog up regarding increased PLEX prices: http://jestertrek.blogspot.com/2011/11/pic-of-week-tanstaafl.html. While it may not show whether people are in fact subbing, this.. along with this thread: http://failheap-challenge.com/showthread.php?4436-Turret-Misses-on-SISI&s=5b787141832672a0ce75f5f25c7f22cc indicates heavily that many old players are getting back in the game again. This, of course, is a good thing. A point should be made in that this expansion was clearly for the veteran player, the ones who recently left because they thought Eve Online was slowly becoming Space Barbie’s Funtime Malibu Space House with Space Zulupark accessories (CCP Zulupark in a bikini = revolting shivers). It is doubtful that we’ll see very many new players this time around. However, fixing the issues that have plagued Eve thus far, does alot to retaining those that do come.
Probably one of the concerns will be, “Could things go wrong at the release?” Actually, I think that unless it kills the game outright, then no. CCP has done everything right from a PR perspective and have been open about everything and what they are doing, everyone wants. And CCP is doing all they can to minimize any unpleasant surprises, both from a gameplay standpoint and from a release standpoint. November 29th could very be a CCP-wide holiday.