"Will CCP introduce game-affecting virtual goods, aka Gold Ammo"?
We thought we knew the answer to this question, based on CSM's meetings with CCP in October and December, and CCP Zulu's November devblog:
"The scope will be (and there‘s no design has been done around this, we‘re just talking strategy now) that anything that doesn‘t affect gameplay directly can be, potentially, sold for PLEX or other means."
And yet now, we are barraged with evidence that this is no longer the case: the Ishukone Scorpion trial balloon, the leaks of CCP's internal magazine, "Fearless", and Hilmar's Global Email, and perhaps most damningly, the fact that CCP Zulu's most recent devblog totally avoided this key issue, despite feedback from the CSM that it had to be addressed. This last devblog was particularly worrying to me, because it didn't "sound" like Zulu at all, it sounded like someone was holding a gun to his head and making him recite a message.
All of this points to the fact that golden ammo is no longer off-limits, and EVE players are rightfully concerned. For gold ammo, while appropriate for a casual game with a pump-and-dump subscriber strategy, strikes at the core of the deep social cohesion that makes EVE so special -- we don't play EVE because of its game mechanics and UI, we play EVE despite these things. We play EVE because it's the only game out there that fosters such deep, long-term social connections, and we play for years, not months.
This is EVE's secret sauce, and the players are up in arms because CCP appears to be not only pissing in it, but pointlessly pissing in it.
So forget about the botched NEX store pricing -- that can be fixed.
And forget about eventually being forced to keep the Captain's Quarters -- that's a long-term issue that can be addressed.
The defining question that CCP must ask itself is a simple one: "Are you willing to bet your company on gold ammo?"
And whatever the answer is, they need to communicate it to us quickly, unambiguously, and dramatically.