Dev Blogs Past: January

Every month, I’ll be taking a look at the vast sweep of Eve Online history through the eyes of old devblogs.

January is, for many people, a time of renewal. Resolutions are made, commitments are reaffirmed, new projects started, and gym memberships go through the roof. Let’s see if CCP as a game developer is in that same boat, shall we?

Back in 2004, CCP Hellmar (the man himself) posted a devblog rejoicing at the success of EVE Online’s concurrent player count, stating that “With this keeping up, together we will claim the world record for most players in the same world in no time at all.” Later that same month, Hellmar sounded optimistic as he said “we are sure are looking good for toping 7k next Sunday.” Yep, that’s right, CCP used to be really excited about hitting 7k concurrent, and that used to be a world record!

January of 2005 was a quiet month for CCP, with just two devblogs popping up. CCP at that time was gearing up for the release of some new ship classes: Freighters, Carriers, Dreadnoughts and Titans (CCP Oveur was really excited about this: “Yes, you read right. T-I-T-A-N. Titan. I’m wetting my pants just writing it.”).

In 2006, there was a period of time when every dev will a little bit of free time was thrown into the rather inglorious duty of answering petitions – the queue had swollen badly in the wake of a mass password reset/email updating fiasco, to the point that CCP’s 20 GMs couldn’t cope with the flood. Meanwhile, the New Eden cluster was moved onto new hardware (64-bit processors, tyvm) and CCP Arkanor loudly proclaimed that cheating was bad and you shouldn’t do it.

2007 saw CCP in the warm afterglow (read: exhausted aftermath) of shipping Revelations, Eve’s largest expansion to that date. The E-ON Awards were announced, invention was falling a bit flat in the crusade to implement player-driven T2 production following the T20 scandal, and something called the Eve Corporation League was unveiled – an attempt at providing smaller entities in New Eden the opportunity to participate in a smaller scale Alliance Tournament-esque setting. Oh, and CCP returned from a meeting with their new compatriots, White Wolf, with the promise of new exciting developments in fleshing out Eve’s backstory thanks to the expertise of those fine folks. Let’s just say 2007 wasn’t the best in terms of foreshadowing.

With the Fifth Alliance Tournament around the corner, CCP started talking about implementing player-created advertising during the tournament’s broadcast in January of 2008. Tweaks were being made to clones – clone grades Tau through Omega were announced, bringing the skill cap up to 450 million skillpoints – and the Amarr’s ability to PVP (it didn’t really have much use for awhile there). In addition, CCP began to dream of a better asteroid belt – a dream that still really isn’t around.

CCP finally started catching up to the modern day, at least in terms of how their game was going to look, in 2009. January of that year saw the company announce the death of the ‘Classic’ client, which was capable of running on just about any computer that had a graphical interface, and its successor ‘Premium Lite’. Prior to this, CCP had maintained two distinct versions of the client in order to cater to those less fortunate souls in the world who still had to make due with a GeForce 2 graphics card (which stopped being supported before Eve even launched). CCP also inked a deal with Atari to bring Eve Online onto physical shelves in retail stores – one step forward, two steps back.

The planets themselves were overhauled in January 2010, with classes being assigned to them and new graphics deployed. Supercarriers were about to make their entrance onto Tranquility (ruining everything forever) and CCP instituted the PLEX for Haiti program, which would go on to raise funds to help that country in the aftermath of one of the worst natural disasters in recent memory.

2011 was a banner year for devblogs, with 18 published in the month of January alone. These covered everything from the pending release of the new character creator (and what CCP was doing to preserve our old, awful portraits); CSM5’s December Summit minutes; customizable API keys; the coming CSM6 elections (where everything was ruined forever again); and details relating to the last of the Incursion expansion point releases.

Three years ago, CCP Diagoras was merrily chipping away at the vast mountain of analytics available to CCP to find meaningful numbers about our ganking habits. CSM6’s winter summit minutes were released and CCP Soundwave (rip) treated us to a Picard meme in one of his devblogs – undoubtedly the highlight of his tenure with the company. Overall, it seemed that the whiplash effect that the summer of rage had in 2011 was still being felt, as the devblogs were mainly community and fun focused. No really guys, Eve is a fun game and you should totally keep playing!

2013 was a much better year (at the time). In January, CCP announced that Dust 514 and Eve Online would begin their coexistence on the Tranquility cluster, a moment of great fanfare at the time (I’ve seen some plaques, they were really stoked about this). CCP Unifex talked about bringing Eve into its second decade and we got our first real glimpse at CCP Seagull, his future replacement as Executive Producer. The biggest story, by far, of the month was the Battle of Asakai, otherwise known as ‘Boat’s Big Mistake’.

And finally, just last year, CCP marveled over their wonderful playerbase with many, many community spotlights; CCP Eterne┬áreminisced about B-R5 and Nick Fuzzeh’s airhorns; the Rubicon expansion was getting wrapped up; and everyone’s favorite Canadian developer started talking about mobile deployable structures.

There you have it, every January ever in Eve Online’s history, as told by devblogs.