Right now EVE Online is poised to break CCP's "all-time subscriber record" as the MMO uses a single-shard server where all users share the same single universe.
The Icelandic studio plans to keep expanding the EVE Online universe so there'll still be player run corporations floating in space in thirty years time. DUST 514 is one such expansion.
"We did have some interesting times last year," producer Jon Lander conceded, "but we did still manage to grow the game over the previous 12 months." Last year the EVE Online community was rocked with troubles as the arrival of the Incarna update added avatars to control outside of ships, but it didn’t go down too well. Players organised resistances and even launched protest assaults in-game to draw attention to their displeasure.
Apparently the big plans from Incarna aren't entirely shelved as there has been great interest shown in DUST 514 which isn't about flying space ships, but boots and tanks on the ground blasting one another.
Creative director Torfi Frans Olafsson says the crucial thing is not too lose touch with your base audience.
"You have to eat and sleep. If you're not eating and sleeping, you don't care what's on TV tonight," he said. "We were focusing on things at the top of that pyramid instead of the basics, and now we're doing both."
The New Eden single-shard server is set to hit new heights in population soon, and it's an important moment. The more people online means the more interaction between subscribers, which open up a lot more gameplay opportunities.
"EVE's content is its people. When there's more people, there's more content going on, and if it becomes too saturated, we'll throw in another server. But it's still the same universe," said Olafsson.
The CCP team just keeps on growing along with the MMO. "We have three or four times as many people working on EVE today compared to launch," Olafsson continued. "The development team has grown along with the revenue. We've never scaled down or switched over to a live team or a skeleton team."
Lander added: "We believe in making virtual worlds, and they don't have a shelf life. We want this game to be around in 10, 20, 30 years. We want a DUST 10-year anniversary, and this universe is constantly growing."