BB #72: What's Your Roadmap?

Welcome to the continuing monthly EVE Blog Banters and our 72nd edition! For more details about what the blog banters are, please visit the Blog Banter page.

This month's blog banter is inspired by Sugar Kyle's recent post on her blog, Lowsec Lifestyle:

In the producer session [at the Council of Stellar Management summit meeting]... we discussed the [EVE Online development] roadmap.

We discussed what 'our' ideal roadmap would be. This breaks down into the individual roadmaps for each member of the CSM. After all, we are individuals and we have different dreams for EVE. We have different goals and features that we want to move forward or go back to.

How close are we to what CCP is looking at and planning? We discussed their safety measures to weigh the value of features. What will this feature do for EVE? It is not enough to have an ideal roadmap of things you want. Those things have to have value and that value needs to be enough to dedicate the time to the feature.

Do you have an ideal roadmap? A path for Eve to head in the next year or two once we move past [the] Citadel [update in the spring]?

I have always liked CCP Seagull's roadmap for EVE Online. When she first revealed it at Fanfest in 2014, it gave me confidence that the future of the game was in good hands. Here's what that original roadmap looked like:

Since then, as parts of this grand plan have come to fruition, the roadmap has evolved, though it is still driving towards new space to explore. The latest version looks like this:

This revised roadmap still depicts an ambitious and exciting direction for EVE Online, and I generally like how it is being manifest in the game. With the Citadel update in the spring, we will see the first of the new structures in space, and capital ship warfare will be redefined (and hopefully, dramatically improved). CCP Seagull's vision is actually being realized, albeit more slowly than I'm sure everyone would like to see.

Some CCP devs have also given us some tantalizing hints about how other aspects of the roadmap are progressing, including changes to the standings system, further refinements of corporations and alliances (including, perhaps, support for informal social societies), development of dynamic PvE content, better NPC interaction, and incorporation of player-built stargates. Beyond that is still a mystery, but we seem inexorably moving closer to unexplored new space.

All this good work is very welcome, but there are a few things that I would love to see added explicitly to the official framework. Perhaps some of these are already part of the overarching plan, but it's difficult to discern, as they've not been explicitly mentioned.

  • Wardec mechanics: After capital ship combat is redefined, I think it's time to also take another look at war declaration mechanics, which haven't been changed significantly since the Inferno update in April 2012. I've written about this in a prior post, and there are some good ideas being collected and debated over on Jason Quixos' blog
  • PvE: I know that CCP Affinity and other devs are working on improving player-versus-environment content, specifically missions, ratting and exploration, among other things, but I think this is perhaps the most important "next big thing" for CCP to emphasize, as it will affect the largest number of players in the game, especially new ones. I'd like to see more unpredictable, dynamic and engaging PvE designed both for solo and team play.
  • Mining and resource gathering: While we're on the subject of PvE activities, let's not forget about mining, please. At the very least, can we please have some other options for finding and gathering resources - like harvesting planetary rings, comets and remote Oort cloud phenomena? And can we get some additional mechanics for team-based mining activities? Finally, shall we take a hard look at the passive ISK generator known as moon mining?
  • Player organizations and social groups: This is already on the official roadmap under "Corporations & Alliances", but I hope that includes full in-game support for corporations, alliances and coalitions, and also for cross-corporation social societies like NPSI groups.
  • Planetary management: This is a pet project of mine, but one that I think would provide a whole new and popular dimension to EVE Online. See my last post for details.
  • More realistic NPC interactions/options: This may sound like a variant of PvE enhancement, but what I mean here is that players need more meaningful interactions with NPC entities. If I start killing off all the pirate anomalies in a system, I should expect to see some increasing resistance and reinforcement against my efforts, for example. And I'd like to see more options for using NPCs in useful ways, such as securing their services for escort duty or for structure protection. They may never match the capability of flying with other players, to be sure, but at least that would provide some interesting options for players. And here's a crazy idea: allow players to hire NPC mercenaries to target other players or corporations, anonymously - imagine the possibilities.
  • Fix the standings system: The current standings system needs a serious revamp. Player actions should have realistic consequences, everywhere, with serious and immediate implications for relations with NPC entities - both positively and negatively.
  • Enable more solo PvP: We need more gladiators in EVE Online! The lone 1-on-1 engagement is becoming too rare in EVE Online. The ability to duel was a good first step, but I think we need some more formal in-game mechanics to enable solo combat scenarios - simple mission rooms that only allow two players in them, for example, with a system-wide challenge issued when one player enters such a room. Formal 1-on-1 (or perhaps even 2-on-2, 3-on-3, or other options) arena combat facilities in various empire systems. Let's make it easier for individual pilots to find and get more good fights, and for small groups to find fights of similar size, too.
  • Expand the NPE framework: The opportunity-based new player experience was a good start, but it needs to go further, and also include links to more substantive tutorials, where warranted.
  • Give Faction Warfare some love: Getting into FW is a little clunky, at present - that needs to be made a lot clearer and easier, especially for new players unfamiliar with EVE Online. Some additional iteration here would be a good thing.
  • Deep space exploration: I don't mean new regions of space here, which is the ultimate goal of the current roadmap, but new exploration content. The present system is basically a variant of mission rooms. I would like to see the option to go into deep space at the very fringes of systems - or even longer-term trips in-between current star systems - using designated science vessels in search of new discoveries: new anomalies, rogue planets, dark matter, black holes, strange new wormholes to who knows where, giant space whales (just kidding - but perhaps not really?). Who wouldn't be interested in the opportunity "to boldly go where no one has gone before", in EVE Online? Perhaps this could be a precursor to the final stage of the current roadmap, leading to genuinely new space, which players could then construct stargates to reach directly.

That's my wish list for roadmap additions. As I said, some of these may already be in development, but we just don't know yet. But I suspect there may be a few ideas here that might be welcome additions. Feel free to take any ideas, CCP Games - I'll just be delighted to see some of them come to fruition.

Fly safe! o7