This has been a long pet peeve of mine, and I wrote a bunch of stuff in the past, mostly on other venues, and never got around to populate the stub for it on this blog, dating back to Oct '08, because there was so much to rant about at the time I lost track of this particular item.
Anyhow, the changes look good and, together with the other recent reworks, clearly show that CCP finally gets how much players care about better usability and user control over information services in and around EVE.
A summary of promising (some of it already delivering somewhat) stuff:
- EVEgate is looking good.
- (much, much) better evemail that is actually useful.
- Next logical step would be imap, which I don't see happening, unfortunately, but expect some community made API gadget to fill the gap soon enough, to enable at least evemail => realmail forwarding.
- Calendar is promising, too, and I can see how over time (once the contracts system is properly redone), it could eventually enable player-created missions. As for mail, one can only hope to see the thing tied through API gadgets with more popular third-party calendars, such as Google/iCal/yfoc.
- EVE Voice in EVEgate: Woot woot !
- This is a big one, obviously.
Ever since EVE voice got added to the game (back in 2006), its adoption by the players has been hindered by a fatal flaw in its implementation: it's integrated into the EVE client.
- Integrated voice/fleet management is sweet, and comes with lots of side benefits, but none of it is worth the price of losing your voice comms at the worst possible time (ie: during a client lockup/crash/disco), so anyone using voice comms anything mission critical in the srs bzns of interweb spaceships is sticking to TS or Ventrilo or iChat conference call… anything but EVE voice.
- Now, if Vivox is running in your browser, and you still get the benefits of seamless user/channel management in-game (via the fleet interface)…
Generally speaking, the last crop of tools is already a tremendous improvement, especially for small corps/alliances that don't have their own IT department to manage private forum/TS/calendar, etc.
This was a warm and fuzzy-feeling only post, so I'll wrap this one up, and return to the normal rant program in our next installment: EVE Online: What are your reasons?