Vegas, baby!

This time next week I'll be in Las Vegas hobnobbing with fellow EVE Online enthusiasts at the EVE Vegas convention, sponsored by CCP Games. I can't wait.

I went to EVE Vegas four years ago when it was a player-organized event, and had a good time, though I felt a little out of place, as I was a director of education at EVE University at the time. The vast majority of attendees were blood-thirsty null-sec dwellers, who regarded me - a high-sec resident in a neutral training institution - as an odd curiosity, at best. I was glad I attended - it's hard not to have fun in Vegas - but after doing so, I decided that Fanfest's larger and more diverse audience was a better player gathering for me.

But after five years of pilgrimages to Reykjavik to attend Fanfest, I've decided it's time to return to EVE Vegas, and see if going there instead of Iceland for my annual EVE player meet-up makes more sense. Since my first sojourn to EVE Vegas, CCP Games have taken over the event, and with the company's return to more substantial update releases, a pattern of two big announcements each year - at Fanfest in the spring and at EVE Vegas in the fall - is emerging. Certainly, this year's EVE Vegas is shaping up to be fascinating, with promised details on the November 8th Ascension update to be revealed in full.

When I attended EVE Vegas four years ago, the content was disappointingly unsubstantial. There were several player presentations, mostly consisting of aggressive posturing by various representatives of null-sec alliances, all with mostly good-natured hoots and catcalls periodically exclaimed from the audience. This was entertaining, but not very informative. I watched CCP Soundwave try to explain that he is not evil incarnate, which he accomplished, to a degree. But on the whole, there wasn't a lot of news revealed to the couple of hundred attendees. Candidly, the most interesting thing that happened there was the pub crawl.

This year's EVE Vegas promises to be much different. For one thing, the crowd will be much larger and more diverse. I'm looking forward to meeting Mynxee in person, and hanging out with fellow counter-culture, peace-mongering Signal Cartel pilots. And the agenda is jam-packed with pithy, newsworthy content. I think we're going to hear a lot of interesting details about Ascension, and about CCP's plans for the future beyond the November update.

My EVE Vegas Plan

CCP released the official agenda for EVE Vegas earlier this week, and I immediately organized my schedule.

Thursday, October 27 - I will land in Vegas in the mid-afternoon, and will check in at the Cosmopolitan, across the street from the official venue for EVE Vegas, Planet Hollywood. There's a pedestrian bridge that connects the Cosmo with PH, so it's convenient. I have a ton of Marriott points, which I can use at the Cosmo, so I've splurged and upgraded to a corner suite with a wrap-around balcony - certainly more than I need, but I've decided to indulge myself. I'll probably grab some Secret Pizza and then try to find some fellow capsuleers to get into some mischief together.

Friday, October 28 - One very nice thing about the agenda for EVE Vegas is the relaxed pace in which it is organized. I'll wander to the registration desk in the afternoon, and then join the official welcome event at 4:00 pm, followed by CCP Seagull's keynote address. I am hoping to see an updated roadmap vision for EVE Online development there. CCP has organized a social event at a local pub with vintage pinball machines, but I think I will pass, and have dinner and a pleasant evening with some Signaleers instead.

Saturday, October 29 - This day is packed with some really good sessions. Here are some highlights:

  • Balance Roundtable - CCP Fozzie and CCP Larrikin will talk about ship and module balancing. I suspect we'll hear more about T3 Destroyer changes - and maybe something about the new Rixx Javix Modified Warp Core Stabilizer with +10 strength. (Sorry, Rixx!)
  • Game Design - CCP Fozzie and CCP Larrikin carry on about game design principles in EVE Online, always an engaging topic.
  • Clone States - CCP Rise will discuss Alpha and Omega clones. This should be an interesting presentation, as I'm curious to hear how CCP and the CSM arrived at the current policies, and how they may change.
  • Player presentations - there are a lot of good ones this year. On Saturday, I'm attending the sessions on wormhole life, EVE media, cultivating a counter-culture in New Eden (by Signal Cartel leaders Mynxee and Johnny Splunk), being a nomadic EVE player, and becoming a content creator. There are also two other good player-delivered sessions - EVE's role in a social support network and how to be an EVE Online streamer - but I'll probably attend the CSM Panel instead, as I want to thank them for a job well done (so far).

On Saturday night, there's a big party on the Chateau Rooftop at the Paris Hotel. Permaband is expected to perform, and I can't miss that.

Sunday, October 30 - lots of interesting stuff scheduled here, too. I'm planning to attend:

  • New Player Experience - I'm really looking forward to this one. CCP Ghost is an interesting fellow, and I'm keen to see what his team have created for their new "Inception" NPE.
  • Scaling EVE's Social Cliff - I'm not exactly what this session by EVE streamer Manic Velocity is really all about, but I'm curious to find out.
  • Lore Roundtable - I'm an EVE lore junkie, so I have to go. This one was a hard choice, though, as there is an EVE art panel and a roundtable on the NPE scheduled at the same time. But I need to hear what plans CCP Falcon and team have cooking for lore developments.
  • Scamming in EVE - it's always good to know what the bad guys are up to.
  • The Solar System - not EVE-related, but promises to be fascinating. To be delivered by Charles White, from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, but far better known as Max Singularity, a.k.a. the Space Pope.
  • Closing Ceremony - CCP Falcon and CCP Guard will do something entertaining to end the event, I am sure.

This is a lot of content, but there is still a lot of time for just hanging out with fellow EVE players, which is by far the best part of a gathering like this. If you see me there, please say hello!

I'll also tweet out bits of news, and submit summaries of proceedings to Crossing Zebras for publication each day, so if you aren't joining, be sure to read the live tweets and updates.

It all promises to be a fun event. I expect to be quite happy when I'm flying back home on Sunday night. If nothing else, my enthusiasm for EVE should be significantly reinvigorated.

Fly safe! o7