Thoughts on Incarna

Ever since Dominion, I have criticized CCP’s “new content over quality” mindset. At the time, most others remained highly optimistic, but it seems that the majority of players are finally in agreement with me. But there is no point in beating that dead horse, as major media outlets have already noticed.

With that said, what new content is CCP so excited about? What do they see in Incarna that is worth neglecting the rest of Eve and infuriating the players for? As far as I can see, nothing. But before I delve into that further, let me explain why I play Eve.

I (and I am sure most others) play Eve because of its unique features. For me, those include the rewarding complexity of PvP, the potentially massive scale of engagements, the immensity of the universe, the sandbox aspect, and the high average intelligence of players. Only in Eve do you spend hours and hours just tinkering with fits for a single ship. Only in Eve do you see thousands of players fighting over one system or one POS. Only in Eve do you truly feel small as you travel 30 jumps from one place to another. Only in Eve does the endgame not consist of simply hopping into a Titan and officer fitting it. All ships have their place (except maybe the Burst. That ship is awful).

But what about Incarna? The limited information CCP has released has shown characters customizing their appearance to a certain degree, walking around in a station, and visiting a player-made shop. For reasons I cannot seem to grasp, CCP (and some people) seem excited about that. Nothing in Incarna is remotely exciting or innovative. If you want an amazing character customizer, go play All Points Bulletin. If you want to walk around in a scifi environment, go play Star Trek Online. If you want to actually do something while walking around in a body, go play World of Warcraft or LOTRO or any of a billion other MMOs. And why devote 70 devs to Incarna when, according to the Eve backstory, capsuleers dislike how frail and powerless bodies are?

If I am missing something, enlighten me in the comments. Because all I can see is CCP wasting resources in the wrong areas. All I can see is lowsec being ignored, the UI stagnating, modules remaining imbalanced, lag worsening, players quitting. If anyone from CCP is reading this, please change course. I love Eve. I don’t want it to fall apart.

  1. I’ve long considered myself a big proponent of Incarna, and I’ve made many public comments to that effect.

    I still want it, but my faith has started to waiver. CCP has told us that we will have significant gameplay in Incarna, to the point that (once we’ve gotten used to it) we’ll wonder how we ever played without it.

    But they haven’t told us anything about that gameplay!

    I’d like something — some general statement about the sorts of things we’ll do once disembarked. They made a reference at a recent Fanfest about “things I don’t want registered on any network,” but we don’t know what those will include.

    Here’s hoping CCP proves me right and doesn’t leave me hanging for a fool.

    • So the only difference between us is that I have lost faith while you retain hope. Because neither of us know anything of what is so special about Incarna.

      • You’re exactly right, and I definitely share your concerns because they haven’t told us much. Now that their vacation season has started to wrap up, we’d better see something concrete, and SOON.

    • Nomad 6886
    • July 30th, 2010

    I couldn’t agree with you more.

    • Damon Future
    • July 31st, 2010

    What it comes down to is that CCP is a business, whose primary concern is to its shareholders, who want profit growth and dividends every year.

    Unfortunately, in the software industry, you do not grow a subscriber base by iterative fixing of bugs, but by adding shiny new features.

    As an example look at the differences between MS Word 97 and MS Word 2007. Ten years has seen a massive growth of features for a product that at its core is a word processor.

    The subscriber type where most growth can be found is in the casual gammimg area or as I call them, the Farmville crowd; people who will log on for an 3 or 4 hours a week, do their thing and leave.

    From that point of view the choices are inspired. P.I will bring in the Farmville tribe, DUST 514, will bring in the Counterstrike crew and Incarna for all those people who love Second Life.

    Of course some subscribers will leave but, I bet my ass that a risk analysis has been carried out and the number of subscribers gained, will more than cover the number of subscribers lost.

    The only way we can get CCP to change their priorities is to go for the weak spot that all businesses have. Their cash-flow. If ALL CURRENT EVE SUBSCRIBERS cancelled their accounts for three months, the time span of 18 month for bug fixes, would shrink to 18 weeks.

    Since this is not likely to happen, we have only two choices:

    A) Put up and shut up.
    b) Walk away and take your wallet with you.

    As I love Eve, even in its broken state, I pick A.

    • I understand “new content for more subscribers” mindset you outlined. But even with new content, if it remains as poorly finished and buggy as all the other content CCP has created, no one will want to subscribe.

      How many people do you think will actually subscribe to Eve just for PI? Unless you were already interested in the internet spaceships part of Eve, it is far less appealing than Farmville or similar games.

      And unless Dust exceeds the Call of Duty and Battlefield series in quality, who will play it unless they are interested in internet spaceships?

      Basically, where does CCP expect to get these new subscribers from when their products are worse than those of their competition?

      So far I have been staying on the CCP failtrain just because I like Eve, but my growing dissatisfaction with CCP is making me question that.

    • Damon Future
    • August 1st, 2010

    I want DUST 514 and INCARNA to be unsuccessful. My greatest fear is that DUST 514 and INCARNA is poorly finished and buggy, but is a great success and gets 10 million extra subscribers. In 18 months, when its time to deploy developers for bug fixing, which product will get fixes and enhancements and which will be left to rot? If that happens then I will leave EVE.

    • jacobs
    • August 2nd, 2010

    Incarna might be one of the dumbest decisions in MMO history. It’s a 3D chat client, but since it wont allow people to dress up as furries and sell cyber sex it’s not going to drag anyone away from second-life.

    PI was another bad implementation of new content, I mean, when it arrived everyone on my contacts list including myself set up shop. A month later and none of us use it anymore. And PI makes you good money while you’re offline… Incarna is just going to be a 3D chat that makes interaction with station services take longer and be more trouble some.

    But since they’re devoting that many resources into it they’ll likely use parts of the engine for World of Darkness or DUST.

    • Adam Ross
    • September 14th, 2010

    Hi there,

    I’m relatively new to the eve scene, but the promise of incarna and dust are what keep me interested.

    Don’t get me wrong, eve as it is in my view is an already brilliant game, I just think the idea that you can do more than just fly is incredibly promising.

    Eve, as it stands does not cater well to new players in my view. Now I’m not saying it should be dumbed down at all because I like the fact that it’s complexity sort of filters out the true idiots. I’m saying that incarna may act as an better relating ease into that complicated side rather than being thrust upon you.

    After all, flying, pvp etc, are still going to be there, it’s still going to be required to do. It will just be giving everyone a choice.

    Personaly, I can see no negative points to incarna. Only that they keep us waiting :) but, I’d rather them get it right the first time and it be finished and great than have to return to mess about with it, like Sony online entrainment did with SWG

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