The playstyle got me to win EVE. The UI made it a much easier decision.

(Yes, I have won. I have a couple of posts queued up but haven't pushed the button yet, because reasons. Soon, I promise.)

As I said in my old post, the answer to all this is expensive ($50-100M) but awesome. Build a second UI option. Leave the dumpster-fire UI to the players who "love" it and commit to 5-year full support for it. The "new UI" needs a bunch of things that will both drive experienced players to it over those five years and make the New Player Experience exciting instead of horrifying:

  • Direct Manipulation centered. The day of the Windows-Icon-Menu-Pointer is drawing to a close. The Overview, the pile of menus on the left, the plethora of special-purpose dialogs, the horrible right-click menus (seriously?), it's all gotta go. At this level of complexity the UI is going to have to be modal, and for in-space play there are going to have to be two views running simultaneously: a control panel and the space view. All the modes should be DM-centric. There's a lot I hate about the Elite Dangerous UI, but they at least got this part more or less right.

  • Automated. MMO players seem to love their million-click fiddly do-the-math-by hand interfaces. I think that's part of the reason why traditional MMOs are in decline. The automation plan is really pretty simple: Identify every long sequence of actions in a typical workflow and replace it with a single action. This is a huge pile of work, and will probably never be complete, but at least try.

    • Provide an autopilot that is actually useful.

    • Provide some combat automation: "approach", "orbit" and "keep at range" are not quite adequate. Manual piloting should be even more rare and elite than it already is.

    • The "improved" Planetary Interaction is still the worst Farmville game ever. Make it fun.

    • In-game ship fitting has now reached the level of third-party tools: hooray. Now add an AI assistant that actually does a good job of suggesting ship fits.

    • Route planning is just sad: build an in-game Google-maps-level route planner that is actually useful, not just "shortest route". (I started on this before I won: it actually doesn't look that hard.) Fix the unusable in-game map as a side effect: why is it worse than Dotlan?

    • Instead of fighting it, build an in-game eTrading system with API support that removes the "fun" of watching the markets 24/7.

    • Go one step further and provide in-game robotic support for missioning and mining. The economy will have to be adjusted to keep all this from being a gold-farmers' paradise: hire a freakin' economist back already.

  • Cross-platform. The client is written in Python using a 3D graphics API. There's no great reason that can't be fully supported for Windows and Linux. Go look at the Steam store and see how many games in this style do that. (A lot, and the number is increasing.)

  • VR-ready. No game in the history of games has cried out more for VR. EVE is what VR was made for. Again, ED got this right. The difference in feel between my expensive and fiddly monitor setup and actually flying around in space is hilarious. I had fantasized that this is where EVE Valkyrie was heading, but alas it was not to be.

It ain't gonna happen. Pearl Abyss didn't buy this game to invest in. But it might, just might, grow the EVE playerbase again by replacing boredom and frustration with actual fun. Imagine "spreadsheets in space" and "second job" being something that you actually could laugh about. "Yeah, I remember those days, let me tell you a story…"

It might even attract enough of a civilized playerbase that I would lose EVE again after all.