Issue 8 (titled “To Serve and Protect”) is in the final stages of testing now – from comments on the Test server, apart from a respec bug that is being worked on, it’s mostly ready to go.

Which means that I should be getting excited about it. It’s got some very interesting things in it – the Veteran Rewards, the rebuilt Faultline, Safeguard missions – that will certainly add to the CoH experience. CoV side… well, I guess I get Veteran Rewards there too… but anyway, it’s a new issue, and such things should be exciting and involving, right?

And yet, I’m pretty non-plussed by I8. It’s a filler issue. I know it’s a filler issue because Cryptic keep telling me so in their own posts.

It started off with Statesman commenting to a PM or interview or something (went for a look and couldn’t find the quote I remembered) that Issue 9 was the one that he was really excited about. This lead some players to dig and ask further questions, from which more information about I9 – notably that it will contain the Inventions crafting system – was obtained. But hey, it was Statesman who made the comment – he’s working on several different Cryptic games right now and has, in the past, made mention of systems that take a long time to appear, if they appear at all. I take his comments with a grain of salt since I know he isn’t the one who is managing things on a day-to-day basis.

But then other posts have appeared, especially in the last week. Lighthouse made a post saying how I9 was “going to add a whole new dimension to the game”. The departing Captain Mako said the new stuff Positron has planned for CoH/V is “fantastic”. These type of comments, especially coming from red names, really make I8 seem trivial. There have been other comments and insinuations from other dev posts that I’m not going to link – suffice to say that I’ve seen this “Issue 9 is greater than Issue 8” message from several different sources.

I’m sure for the devs I8 is trivial, since they’ve been playing with it internally for at least four months in one form or another. It’s old news to them. But letting that attitude slip through isn’t good form in trying to manage and build the community. Whether they recognise it or not, the impression created is that I8 is of minimal importance, since all the “good stuff” comes with I9. Rather than players being given an Issue worth of content to play with sometime before Thanksgiving, instead such comments put all the attention on the next major update which will erode player interest in I8 that much quicker.

The message shouldn’t be “I9 is going to rock!” at this point. Instead, the focus should be on I8, since that is the content that is just about to come out. Two to three weeks after I8 launches is the time to start pimping I9’s wares. Pimping I9 now just makes the wait seem that much longer until CoH/V gets a real update.

So Cryptic just needs to get this apparent filler Issue out the door – I9 appears to be the Issue that players really should be excited about.

[i] – UnSub (@UnknownSubject) unsub@warcry.com 15 November 2006

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