Monday, 5 October 2015

Roadmap: Erm...What's Next?

This is entirely unfair but the new roadmap announced by CCP does beg the question. What is next? It seems a bit ungrateful to ask to be honest. Nevermind, let's go there anyway.

The current roadmap takes us to spring 2016. The date isn't specific but I would imagine CCP marketing would want it around fanfest in late April. This would only really give 3 months before the summer break. Part of that will be refining, balancing, fixing, call it what you will, of all the things released before that period. There won't be a lot of developer time between now and this time next year essentially. Maybe 12 to 16 weeks worth. That's the first thing to bear in mind.

The next thing to consider is the roadmap graphic presented by CCP (see below). 

The bit that is missing from all the current announcements is "Alliances and Corporations". Now I got confined to bed last weekend. Having abused my backbone, it retaliated and froze. To mitigate my misery, I tuned into Sugar Kyle's and Corbexx's Question and Answer session. As an aside, it was an excellent session, but they didn't have a clear idea about what CCP were planning next either. But Sugar speculated that "Alliances and Corps" were a possibility. So lets run with that assumption and say that by this time next year we will be experiencing the new Alliance and Corps features whatever they may be.

Why am I dwelling on this? On one level this is all very good and exciting. But as has been pointed out by others, it can be interpreted as the ongoing appeasement of Nullsec to the detriment to the rest of the game. That is a little unfair given that structures will be used across New Eden but only a small proportion of people set up a POS in Hisec, and if my unscientific survey of Lonetrek is any indication, even a smaller proportion of people actually fuel them. So most of the big ticket changes have most likely gone over most people's heads outside of Nullsec. Alliances and Corps on first sight might seem like more of the same.

Now of course, it depends on what CCP intends to do with Alliances and Corps. Is it just a refresh or is something more radical afoot? If it is the former then Eve won't have changed much, if at all for a lot of players for 18 months or so. Those players don't form a naturally coherent constituency so won't wail in unison if they don't like it. They will just leave or put up with it. So the way the cards are stacked, it is hard to imagine CCP doing something radical. No one is really asking for it with any passion.

But if CCP were to do something more exotic, what could they do? Corps are currently "one size fits all" entities. They are vehicles for command and control. Great if you want to be commanded and controlled. Tiresome if you don't. In real life you have a much broader range of entities. Cooperatives, partnerships, sole trader, trade association, and trade union to name a few. Why couldn't we have these or something like them in Eve? Rather than surrendering yourself to work for someone, why not have the opportunity to work WITH someone on your own terms? 

If I were a miner for example,  it would appeal to me if I could join a trades union AND join a corp. CEO cracking the whip to push up the system index? On strike lads! Give us better terms and conditions! That would make me want to bother asteroids. Who knows, the CSM might become more representative with union candidates, or you could manipulate the market, or offer non profit buyback services for your members or hire mercs to clear the Uedama pipe or, or,.. The block alliances would hate them but the "meta" would be different. Ok back to reality. I don't expect any of that in 12-16 weeks available. At best Wardecs might be slightly tampered with if there is to be any impact at all outside of Nullsec. That is probably the best we can expect if my assumption is anyway near correct. Which it probably isn't.

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