Incarna shall always be considered CCP’s “almost-NGE” and will forever be immortalized by all vets, both those still playing and those that left. The Mittani, the current CSM, aptly wrote about the causes of this back in November in his Ten Ton Hammer blog: http://www.tentonhammer.com/eve/spymaster/69. However, it seems that there is going to be a rather large debate coming up about whether or not there should be a Walking In Stations aspect to Eve at all. CCP probably won’t be getting into this discussion any time soon until it wisely has fixed a lot more things than what was dealt with in Crucible. The Eve Community, on the other hand, is already starting to form the battlelines (again) in regards to this topic, the first being this one: https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&t=42035&find=unread (there is a thread about having bouncing boobies and all sorts of more “realistic” features added to Incarna, of course, but I think you can get that by just starting at your character and bouncing up and down.. if you are actually that desperate…)
So the problems are out there that need to be addressed?
- Overpowering Graphics – The first problem seems to deal with the graphics engine used. Rumor was that if you got more than a few people together at any one place, your computer would suddenly combust. I think that is probably not true.. probably. This has lead to speculation, as well as confusion, about why they didn’t use a third party graphics engine (like Unreal for DUST 514) and just spent that time and money figuring out how to port it to Eve. CCP developing their own “walking” engine has lead to some basic problems.. like forgetting to add running, or having movement that looks like you recently had a colonoscopy.
My Humble Suggestion: Stop throwing good money after bad, and see about porting the Unreal engine to Eve. This will reduce time and effort in re-inventing basic movements as well as keeping development costs down.
- Things to do – The next biggest problem facing Walking in Stations is making it gameworthy. Three “desired” additions, Gambling Halls, Bars, and Strip Clubs, seem to showcase that whatever Incarna eventually morphs to, it had better be dark AND have a reason to go there. Doing this right is the second greatest factor of Incarna’s future success. Having player owned houses, player own businesses, as well as a variety of locations where both noble and dark deals get agreed upon will bring a sense of realism to the game. It is also one of those things where CCP can’t act too big. Stations should be huge, and this means that there are going to be large areas just to mill around in, as well as dark, dank corners where you can find shady mission givers or contraband dealers. If CCP can’t do this well, then Walking in Stations will like be dead in the water.
My Humble Suggestion: Have a serious plan for this, and make it very, very big. Phase One: Put in Gambling Halls w/ gambling games and Bars and big congregating areas. Put them all on one floor w/elevator access. Phase Two: Make Agents have their own offices (with secretaries and back doors). Develop incentives to physically visiting agents, like more lucrative missions or quicker faction raises or better rewards. Put those on their own floor with elevator access. Phase Three: Have Player owned stores/bars/resturants. Phase Four: Player own homes.
- Things to wear – For being the elite, the amount of clothing options has turned out be rather limited (less than even the pitiful Global Agenda options) as well as outragously expensive (virtual shirts costing more than real shirts, for example). CCP has acknowledged quite a bit of this fault and since then there has been a considerable amount of additional clothing added, with rumors of price drops as well. However, the NeX store still isn’t up to part because all of the looks are “military-style”, with the only variety being the location of chevrons and the color of your shirt. This seems to be odd because some of the early testing videos showed long, flowing dresses and hats.. things we have yet to see. In addition, CCP has not hinted at allowing players to “make” their own designs and have them imported into the game. Player designed good are looked on favorably by the game community when added in other MMOs.
My Humble Suggestion: Announce loudly, once WIS is back on track, that players can make their own clothes, and give them a fairly strong set of guidelines they have to adhere to. But you will get a lot of non-Eve players making high quality and popular items for Eve.. for free..
- Storefronts – Although some of the Devs have hinted on this possiblity, there seems to be a real strong player desire to have storefronts. The big problem with this that the current marketing system doesn’t support this. Why go to a store when I can buy whatever I want in space and it will be delivered to my hanger at no charge? And what makes one Tech 2 Autocannon made by one person any different than any other Tech 2 autocannon that is put up for sale? These are real hinderances. Storefronts are big factors in making an MMO more immersive. Changing this will require a lot of work.. and maybe too much work to do it really, really well.
My Humble Suggestion: This is a tough one, and really, there aren’t going to be very many ideas that are going to go over well. I can think of two that should work, but won’t be well liked. First idea: Once storefronts are introduced, add a “Shipping/Transit” Charge for making purchases in your CQ or in your spaceship. You can avoid the shipping/transit charge by visiting the storefront in person. My second idea is rather deep and I am still pondering all the implications.
- Property – This is the central reason why there should be avatars at all. If you can’t have a “house”, where people can visit, where you can really make fancy, then there is no point to Walking in Stations.
My Humble Suggestion: This is the big one that CCP’s devs should be focusing on. They should offer at least five different suites that you can rent out and customize for each race. These would range in size from double the size of the current CQ (Current CQs would still be the default) to huge multilevel mansion type rooms, with giant windows looking out into space. Should you choose to no longer rent, then all your items are packaged up and left in a cargo container in your hanger.
Now all this stuff is wishful thinking, but it may be a good idea to get your thoughts in order during the next year because CCP has put far too much money into developing Walking In Stations for them to throw it away. But, with all the mistakes made when it was first released, CCP might not go as boldly as they need to either. The success of Crucible as well as the disappointment of SWTOR (instead of a ground breaking MMO, it turned out to be Space-WoW) have also helped give CCP a much needed reprieve and time to get their house in order. Hopefully, CCP will sit back, take in ideas from the community about what WIS can bring, and release it back into the Eve Universe with the same anticipation and excitement that followed the Crucible Expansion.