The Great Betrayal

CCP.

Once the developers of what many would class the finest MMO ever made.  A company who dared to be bold, different and innovative.

No longer.

CCP have chosen – and let’s stress this – have made a concious deliberate decision to screw over their most ardent supporters.  CCPs ‘bizdev’ department (a name so laughably ironic that its hard to type) at some stage sat down and thought how to monetize those Apps made by players, for players.  Apps and sites like Eve Fitting Tool, EVEMon, EVEFiles, EVETycoon, EVECommander, DOTLAN Maps and many many more.  These ‘BizDevs’ thought it would be a good, no GREAT, idea to levy a $99 fee against those players; the vast majority of whom get little to no reward in return.

This act is irrevocably an out right betrayal of EVE’s community.

And yet it doesn’t stop there.  Once we were promised that nothing would be injected into EVE Online in the form of Micro Transactions that would compromise the sanctity of competitive play or EVEs player driven market.  How quickly that promise was proven to be nothing short of a lie.  Now we learn that reskinned ships, whole and functioning, will be available for ‘Aurum’ (CCPs thinly veiled term for a cash payment).

It is by now abundantly clear that CCPs supposed love of EVE is nothing more than a façade.  A façade constructed upon marketing spin and smiling front men.  Once we had promotional videos of actual in game footage – now even these are tarted up with fancy ‘UI’ graphics that simply don’t exist within the game itself.  We have senior developers claiming that players love EVE so much that they choose to run multiple accounts, whilst conveniently forgetting that in order to play many aspects of EVE from capitals to scouts it demands additional accounts.

The next expansion, the much vaunted ‘Incarna’ consists of little more than a single dressing up room and a mirror whilst the real expansion to EVEs Universe carefully placed behind a pay wall of the PS3 and yet more micro transactions.

None of these things should bring much joy to any of us but they sit atop a mountain of broken promises:

CCP promised to iterate upon Faction Warfare. Have they?    No.

CCP announced they would revisit Sov Warfare. Have they?    No.

CCP claimed they would revamp the bounty system. Have they?    No.

CCP declared we would see a new contraband system.  Have they?     No.

CCP said they would rebalance and fine tune ships like the B Op BS.  Have they?   No.

PI, for example, was described as a mechanic that would let us rule worlds, command peoples and contest continents: but it is little more than Moon Mining with pipes.  RMT and bots run rampant across much of EVE as alliance warfare in null sec stagnates to the point of tedium.  Low sec remains as unloved as it did 5 years ago when I started playing.

Perhaps you feel differently and see hope and great things upon the horizon for EVE but I, for one, do not.  My account lapses in 67 days time at which point, barring some fundamental shift by CCP, I will be nothing more than a digital echo in New Eden.  At the very least I, and my money, will be out of reach of the clawing grasping hands of those ‘BizDevs’.

I will most assuredly leave bitter, angry but most of all disappointed at the lost potential of EVE Online and it’s once great development team.  That most blatant attack upon those players who have worked so hard to cover EVEs flaws was the final straw.

Perhaps CCPs CEO  Hilmar Pétursson still has the sound of those at FanFest, deluded by marketing spin, shouting ‘F*ck Yeah!’ ringing in his ears.  Well here’s a new cry CCP –

F*CK OFF.

C.

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19 Responses to “The Great Betrayal”

  1. It hurts a bit to read this entry, though I can understand the reasons and sentiments contained.

    What worries me, are two things.
    1. CCP these days makes abundantly clear that the question is not about whether the road is taken, but at what pace.
    2. They persist in a strange and repetitive approach of “the customer misunderstands us”.

    I do think that the soup will ultimately not be as hot as it was intended to be served at that point in time, but I doubt it will be a result of the right reasons and considerations. In light of their statements on MT (see point 1) I cannot help but wonder how that will end up like.

    It is a shame. The base concept of enabling monetisation while securing IP for and through third parties is very powerful. But this approach, simply costs too much. Not dollars, but belief and trust. And a missed opportunity.

    CCP could be the company they once set out to be. Something great, something different. A company delivering experiences that make you want to share them. It’s as if something has diverted them from that path (with the exception of their messaging).

    I hope they can turn it around. Every enterprise faces the challenge to reinvent itself. Quite often actually, it is what distinguishes those that conquer worlds from those where a few merely cash out.

    • Eloquently written Virt, you seem to have a good deal more faith in CCP than I do now. I simply feel crushed and broken by the path CCP have chosen to take. I simply don’t buy into their claims that they’re ‘misunderstood’ or are just seeking feedback. Nothing gets put out now by CCP without thought and consideration with a liberal coating of sugar from their supposed ‘marketing’ team: their intent is clear.

      My lost subs will mean nothing to them, but it is the last gesture I can make in a probably futile hope for change.

      C.

      • It’s not that I have faith in them. I recognise the potential of CCP, as a commercial venture. But, the reality is in spite of best intentions not the same as the reality.

        That does not change that I have fun in and with EVE, even if I’ve kinda migrated to EVE in China (http://ceve.tumblr.com) =P Though I must admit that the continued growth of divide between presentation and delivery offsets my recognition of the abovementioned potential.

        What really does bother me is their messaging, particularly the angle of “we’re misunderstood”. Sure, there was emotion in that feedback thread. Not a surprise, considering emotional connect is one of the biggest principal reasons for EVE as a product to function and grow – it’s not rocket science that there is a relation there.

        It’s just, it piles up. I cannot help to look at it from my corporate background and see not simply opportunities missed (which can happen in any company) but a structural imbalance in organisation, its presentation and it’s consistantly visible habits of self validation.

        The vision really is not the problem. The communication and the execution are. It has brought CCP into a position of replicating and following, rather than the innovator and dominator that it could so easily be.

        But yeah, that is easy for us to say. We’re looking at both the gears and the machine they constitute. They, are in the trenches.

      • Btw, I do not think that CCP “the company” intentionally shoots itself in the foot so often. But it is clear that they do create their own trends which cause them to all too often end up in a ratrace where it is too easy to get lost in prioritising between focus on either quality in delivery or that of presentation.

        Why? Not for us to say, in my opinion. We’re customers, and even though CCP is part of the dynamic they created, it is their right and their job (in more ways than one) to tackle that. They have to, because it is people’s livelihoods and because every company – as I said – has to regularly reinvent itself in order to conquer.

  2. Excellent post. I have a feeling that the decision will be taken out of my hands, as I have always run EVE on a fairly old machine, and I have a sneaking suspicion that, come Incarna, EVE will finally have moved on beyond my graphic cards capabilities.

    I will sigh, cancel my accounts, and go do something productive with my life. I might have considered updating the PC, but as EVE is the only thing I would require it for, and as you have pointed out, CCP have gone out of their way to destroy what was good about the game (the community) there seems little point.

    The RMT doesn’t hurt me too bad, as long as it’s only for cosmetic things, as I can just opt out. Monetizing the apps such as EFT and EVEmon however, shows such a blatant disresepect and disregard for the players that I am frankly left speechless.

  3. NotAsBitterYet Says:

    Can I haz your stuff?

  4. Great Post. As I run EVE on a Laptop *very* prone to Overheat a lot of the time, I will likely be cancelling my accounts. Swear at one point CCP explicitly stated that WiS would remain optional.

    • Have you looked at sisi at all?
      I ran it and found myt currant g-card would not run all the facy instation graphics, but there is an option to turn off the extras in station.
      Even without turning it off I was able to use the usual side menu to play as normal.

      I agree CCP have become somewhat “lost” in thier approach to Eve. I personally believe they have a list of possible improvements and go with the fastest to impliment/easiest.

      They could also do with getting rid of the “our logs show nothing” comment and do some proper investigation on petitions. I lost faith in CCP a while ago, but remain the ever hopeful optimist.

      • I have been on SISI and, as far as I could tell, my laptop was able to run CQ to a reasonable degree of quality. However I was left rather bemused as to what I was supposed to ‘do’ in CQ apart from dress my avatar and view the admittedly stylish screens (which simply bring up menus you can access elsewhere at any rate).

        I rather fear my suspicion that those screens are intended primarily to sell Aurum items will prove to be correct (they already ‘advertise’ existing ships for example). Sitting watching adverts is something I can already do in RL from the comfort of my sofa – why I should want to do that in a virtual environment escapes me.

        C.

  5. Khamelean Says:

    Apparently the Milo’s laptop is not the only thing prone to overheating.

    Aurum is not thinly veiled term for cash payment. It IS a cash payment no one is trying to make you think otherwise. But you can also buy get aurum with isk. So you can still get access to all the same benefits without paying a dime.

    You won’t be able to buy ships with Aurum alone. You can use Aurum to upgrade a ship you have already acquired on the market. And it’s only a visual upgrade at that. No combat benefits at all. Just sweeter tears when it inevitably get destroyed.

    The contraband, PI and sov warfare systems are being redone as part of the incarna/dust integration.

    As far as the other systems you want redone 10 mins ago, you do realize that software development takes time? Not to mention that if they DID rush and release all the things you wanted in the next month, non of them would be well designed or thought out and produce even more player discontent.

    THe PS3 is a pay wall? People are already complaining about the system requirements hike for Incarna is to much, how much do you thin they would need to spend on a gaming PC capable of running dust? More than the cost of a ps3, thats for damn sure.

    if your not enjoying the game as it is then by all means stop playing. But bitching because CCP has failed to meet your ridiculously unreasonable expectations is just sad.

    As far as licensing 3rd party devs, i think it’s great that they are attempting to give 3rd party devs some benefits, name one other company that allows players to financially benefit from the extra work they put in? Was their first suggestion perfect? No it wasn’t. But it is only a first draft, nothing is written in stone yet. if your so determined to call CCP liars about all there other plans why would you hold them to this one.

  6. calais thanks for reinforcing what I already believed would happen after my visit to Iceland During FF2011 this year. I fear that EvE will not turn around ( if it can) for the next 12-14 months or so. best wishes in whatever you do.

    • I didnt visit FF11, but if your perspective from that visit accords with my (admittedly external) perception then that is most worrying.

      EVE has always had its doubters and nay sayers, but it strikes me at least that those who are most concerned are actually pretty level headed – even dare I say it – ardent fanbois of EVE. Its when those players start to voice discontent with the path CCP is taking that the developers should sit up and take notice.

      C.

  7. Jartren Says:

    I do believe you aren’t thinking about this.

    99$ is a perfect price to pay to be able to finally earn money for the work the app devs put into their products. Would you pay 1$ for EVEMon with new and better features? Only 100 people need to say yes and it would pay off. This means more apps for the players and better quality

    A ship for Aurum? Outrageous. I mean I certainly can’t pay $15 and get 350mil ISK and buy a ship now. That isn’t Eve…
    Besides that they have changed it to require a scorpion as a price. It is a cosmetic ship skin. Nothing more.

    • Except many of those app developers have no interest in making big bucks out of their services, or realise that whilst useful few players will be prepared to pay to use them. This would shrink the app pool which is one of the jewels in EVEs crown. Further more, in how the original blog was worded even if you charged ISK or accepted donations to help cover server costs you would still need a £99 licence. That hits a whole range of other services. For example if I placed a ‘please donate if you can’ link on this blog I’d have to pay CCP £99 to do so. That’s a NEW charge, and one many players were rightfully angered at not least when CCP claim it would be a ‘notional charge’

      Aurum is slightly more complex. You can pay $15 to by a GTC and convert that into a PLEX and then I purchase the PLEX from you for ISK. But the ship you then buy with that ISK is made by a player from the regular market. CCPs original plan was that they would provide the ship, with no player manufacturing process involved at all. For many that signalled that CCP was reneging on its original promise not to provide ships for Aurum. The fear, not surprisingly, being that CCP was attempting to provide advantageous items directly for payment through the back door.

      The actual ship in question was a minor issue – the situation was one of a matter of principal rather than substance. CCP have back peddled on both counts but when you look at their approach in these cases it gives the perception that CCP is driven far more by ‘BizDev’ marketing plans and less about the hopes and aspirations of the community. Individually these issues are relatively minor – its their effect in combination that is most worrying.

      C.

  8. Whiners like you make me sick. Please do know that we won’t miss you quitting eve, not one bit.

    A lot of the stuff you described will be in later iterations of incarna.
    Do research instead of whining, it’s pathetic and annoying.

    • I’m not quitting. Nice to have gotten that off my chest though 😉

      C.

    • I’d be careful about relying on ‘later iterations’ given that CCP have a history of finding something else shiney to play with whilst leaving certain features to die.

      Five of which are actually listed in the post. Did you actually read it?

  9. Lamthara Says:

    CCP has already shown a very nice sense of humour with the Aurum.

    When i tried the “shop” on SiSi every single item costed 1 aurum. When I converted the plex they got 3500 Aurum… so i could buy 3500 items.
    Fast forward to Incarna 1.0 on Tranquillity… thinking that they’ll give me 3500 Aurum as well for 1 plex now every item cost no less than 2000 Aurum, some of them 12.000 Aurum.

    Now this is funny because they kept the promise that the items sold there don’t change the gameplay… and not only because they are just shirts, skirts and tophats 🙂 but because noone with a bit of sanity would spend so much to buy them.

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