Walking in Stations: Revisited

Was Walking in Stations an idea ahead of its time? Or an ill-conceived "look at the monkey" concept that died an appropriate death? Is it dead and gone, or could it be revived and restored? Will we ever get the chance to open the door to our Captain's Quarters? So many questions with so few answers.

WiS was surrounded by questions like these before Incarna was released and it most certainly was after Incarna. Many of those questions remain unanswered, unresolved and buried in development that never happened and likely will never happen. Walking in Stations, rightly or wrongly, got wrapped up in other issues at the time of the Incarna release that doomed it to the dusty shelves of half-forgotten and abandoned theme development. This cannot be denied. So we know what became of WiS, but what is it and will it ever be addressed again?

The current revisionist upswing in interest in WiS is primarily being driven by the upswing in new subscribers. New players, discovering Eve for the first time, are rightly curious when they hear about Walking in Stations. I imagine many of them are wondering what became of an idea that sounds so perfect? This curiosity is, and should be, a little uncomfortable for us older players. Frankly, we have some explaining to do.

Let's go back to my own pre-Incarna concerns over WiS. Before the proverbial crap hit the fan. My own concerns, raised here in these very pages, landed primarily in regards to the "point" of it all. Despite trailers heralding the integration of Eve and Dust, mini-games, potential store-fronts, meeting places, and other wondrous in-station activities, my fear from the beginning was potential hallways full of avatars jumping up and down screaming "penis!" all day long. The thought of which still tempers any potential enthusiasm I may have regarding opening my CQ door and walking out into a hallway.

We were never given a clear vision for what part WiS would play in the daily lives of our Capsuleers, or what (if any) point there would be for walking in a station. This vagueness did not help things when Incarna was released. Initially, some of us tried to separate WiS from the other elements of Incarna that caused such uproar, but after a few days it was impossible to keep WiS from being swallowed by the crowds.

(My initial opinion about Incarna, on the day of release, sums it up nicely, or my subsequent warnings about jumping to mass hysteria.)

New players are wondering what the fuss was all about, and some older players are having short-term memory loss. There are plenty of posts, here on Eveoganda, as well as other places about that. I don't want to spend time talking about Golden Ammo, expensive clothes, monocles, and everything else. I'm trying to stick to WiS.

And, like I said before, WiS got swept up into everything else. It happened for good reason, CCP had failed to share their vision with us. They were stung by the reaction to Incarna and have spent the last few years trying to make good on a Space-First vision of Eve. More spaceships, prettier stars, asteroids, more content, more stuff in space! This was clearly the lesson they learned from that Summer of Anger. It is, after all, what we wanted them to learn. Me, just as much as anyone.

Ok deep breath.

So is WiS dead? And, if so, should it be?

In my humble opinion yes. It is dead and it most certainly should be. There is still no compelling reason for walking in stations. If you want to walk in the Eve universe we have Dust and soon Valkyrie to sate your need to move your legs. We are, after all, left with the same problem we had from the beginning - no reason for it. Eve Online remains a game about spaceships. About space and the actions of our characters in space. There is nothing inside the station that I can do that I can't do without WiS.

Except one. I can't walk thru my door. And that darn thing continues to loom rather large in the minds of players both old and new. So can we imagine a world in which that door squeaks open one day? I can, so imagine with me for a moment.

On the other side of that door and down a small hallway is a large room, much like the one in the header image - with windows!  There players from my own Corporation and Alliance can gather, people I know and share common interests. (To keep down the instances of Goonery!) No strangers allowed. Each Alliance/Corporation has a room like this in their Home Station, or maybe in any Station(?). It serves the same purpose as the Lounge on Comms does, a meeting place, a gathering, planning, sharing and plotting place. There could be mini-games. Item sharing. Fleet comp planners. The available benefits could be rather extensive and upgradeable. But it would also serve as an additional reason for people to log-in, sate the need for WiS, show off our avatars and create additional Corp/Alliance spirit.

I could stomach one additional room. Would that take away from development of Null Sov, or the POS Mechanics, that Eve still needs? Would it open the door, both metaphorically and in reality, to additional hatred if done wrong?

I don't know the answers. CCP has come a long way since Incarna, but so have we as players. There are so many new faces, young faces, that didn't live thru the Summer of Discontent. Maybe some of their enthusiasm and optimism should be rubbing off on us older, more bitter, veterans.

Or maybe these kids should leave well enough alone.

Once, long ago, the idea of Walking in Stations was greeted with loud cheers and intense enthusiasm. It really was. Maybe, just maybe, it is time to think about it again - in a different way.

What are your thoughts?