last post about CCP and the role of expansions in EVE Online.
I was mainly coming at the argument from the perspective of iterations on existing systems. I still believe that when iterating on existing systems, those iterations should be introduced gradually, so that feedback and data can be more easily obtained on the effects of the integration. Versus, introducing eight or ten or twelve iterations at once, and then not really knowing what iterations had what effect in the event that the system "breaks". This has been proven true with the Incursions update, and then the subsequent rollback. It was proven true with the war declaration update. It was proven true with the faction warfare revamp. All of these systems "broke" and it was difficult for anyone, CCP or player, to determine which specific systems were responsible.
With respect to brand-spanking new systems, such as faction warfare when released with the Empyrean Age expansion, or Planetary Interaction when released with the Tyrannis expansion, you do want to release those new systems all at once. There's the obvious marketing benefit, of course. But also, there's no benefit to releasing partially completed systems to the players.
Walking in Stations [WiS] is a good example of why major new gameplay systems should not be released piecemeal. The final version of WiS was meant to enable immersive social interaction. What they initially released was far from that desired goal. A single room that only allows for a single character to occupy it, well, that does not lend itself to any sort of social interaction. CCP might have had a better reaction to the Incarna expansion had they waited to release the completed social system.
There are also those systems that are rewritten from scratch. An immediate example would be Crimewatch. Whereas it is replacing an old system, it is effectively something brand new. Crimewatch would be difficult to release in a piecemeal fashion. Better to release all at once, then iterate. Those iterations coming in smaller chunks. The planned POS rewrite, another example of a system that could not easily be released in chunks. Release all, iterate after.
CCP has been moving towards releasing iterations in smaller chunks since Crucible. Ship rebalancing is a good example of this. Little point in rebalancing every ship then releasing all at some point 18 months down the road. Better to simply release smaller chunks of ships as they are ready. See what effect they have on the game, iterate on each as necessary. User interface elements are another example where CCP has been good at iterating and releasing as available (the unified inventory being a lone mistake in their interface update record.)
My main point in the previous article was somewhat lost, because I focused only on the cases of faction warfare, war declarations and incursions. I did not bother with counter-examples, because they seemed obvious and out-of-scope of my main complaint.
I still stand by the notion that when iterating on completed systems, those multiple iterations should not be balled up into single large releases, but allowed to trickle out as they are complete. Allow the players to "break" them, see where the weaknesses are, or where their strengths are. An iteration released today may show that another planned iteration is unnecessary, thus CCP can move those resources to other projects. CCP becomes more agile in its development.