Saturday, June 25, 2011

CCP's Defining Question

The defining question that is behind the riots that are going on both on the forums and in the game is a simple one:

"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.


  1. Totally agree. It's hard to believe that CCP continues to ignore what is happening, I hope the protest doesn't die until our subscriptions do. I am sticking to protesting until my 3 subs expire in the coming weeks.

  2. 100% right - No-one cares about anity items. It's the utter disrespect for the community and plans for play-to-win that makes people angey.

  3. From the latest(now confirmed) Hilmar mass message leak, his "stay the course" means he intends to.

  4. Very well said sir! Thank you for doing what we elected you to do.

  5. That IS essentially the question everyone's trying to get an answer to...the future direction of this game AND its foreseen impact on the current status of it. Interesting times.

  6. Nicely summed up, I agree wholeheartedly.

  7. Part of the problem also seems to be the total disconnect between CCP management and this issue. They don't seem capable of recognizing what is important to the player base, even with the CSM telling them.

    Communication will always be a problem with them. More than likely its a big problem on an internal level as well. The big picture questions is, will it be what drives the game and the company into the ground?

  8. I think CCP sees its role in the game industry as one of "redefining expectations", so I believe they want to be the first to successfully sell P2W, and have the gaming industry look at them with awe and envy. Unfortunately, it will instead be CCP's NGE moment, rather than an event that changes the gaming industry.

  9. I hope CCP listens to the CSM for once! I really do. You guys are doing a great job. I hope you get the message across to CCP.

  10. Assuming Hilmar's email is legit (and it seems it is), the question has been answered, surely.

  11. I like how the memo specifically addresses any confusion as to whether super items would have to be bought or we would have to exchange items of equal status for stuff like paintjobs. Nope, they want to sell super-ammo.

    But who are we to judge. We, the typical EVE player, will buy a $500 leather jacket to match our in-game ship.

  12. I feel they've looked at F2P market trends and based on what the results were from the recent user survey (which no one seems to have mentioned during all this) that asked about such things as how much we spent on gaming and other hobbies, they determined what their new target player would be and damn everyone else.

    So what if they lie to us and stir up a huge shitstorm, resulting in several hundred (or thousand) players dropping? It's a calculated loss. What was one of the things that kept new players out of the game previously? Lackof a player avatar -- so what do we have now? What was another thing? That new players could never catch up to older players -- so whatwill we have eventually?

    The CCP of 100 devs working in isolation in Iceland on something super nerdy and cool is over. This is now the CCP of 600+ employees on four continents with massive overhead and two new games still in development. They have different goals now, and those don't necessarily include placating the current player base because we only pay $15/mo (or many not at all as they earn enough ISK to not pay any $) and whose presence is viewed as a marketing obstacle to new player adoption.

  13. While the choice between craptastic CQ and door infuriates me, in the longer term you're dead right it's the question of non-vanity MT items that decides Eve's future.

  14. I don't mean to rabble rouse, well not intentionally. But I, hand on heart, swear that in the final seconds of the EVE radio stream (which was already cutting out) I heard Mittens say "That's it Gold Ammo is comming" and then the Jukebox.

    Now I might not like the Goons but I do respect Mittens and if that is what he said I think it's Game Over.

  15. I'd also wonder if the 18months thing cost them 35k subscribers (not all of whom came back) according to the graphs I've seen but only 100 or so ragequit on the forums: what has this cost them?

    We're up to what? 1000 accounts being closed openly on the eve-o forums, potentially more if you include failheap & others (some cross over).

    So that's what? 100k accounts out the window and now buring their remaining game time?? If it's anywhere near that figure then that's got to be well beyond EVE's breaking point.

  16. I greatly appreciate all of these comments. Just a quick note to let you know that CSM is working very hard on this issue. Hope to have an update for you soon.

  17. @MadOverlord,

    Frankly I'm not sure you or the other CSM delegates can take what CCP are telling you as being the gospel truth.

    Look, CCP Shadow (who may not be managment but is/was a company employee) said last year: No microtransactions in EVE. Yes, I realise what we have no bears little resemblance to "microtransactions" but...

    We have a cash shop, we have an expansion who's sole reason for existence is, I feel, to push you towards that cash shop. We can't get CCP to give an honest answer to "MT for gold ammo?" and instead they've spent 4 days squirming.

    The only way back from this is frankly removing the NeX store, refunding people their ISK and then remove PLEX as well; I'm sorry but Hilmar's tweet shows he/they consider that to be a microtransaction as well so whilst it will be painful for the player base it too must go.

    There is zero chance of CCP removing NeX no matter how badly they botched it. We all know this now.

    Instead I would respectfully suggest the CSM ask a very different question: Just how messed up is CCP financially? And if they give even the slightest whiff of it being farked company... LEAK IT.

  18. Hilmar Veigar Petursson – CEO of CCP Games, since 2004, to attend Games Horizon Conference, 28-29th June 2011, Gateshead, UK.

    I've emailed the BBC's "Click!" program to suggest they may want to ask him what all the the in-game protests are all about.

  19. Trebor,

    Please hold CCP's feet to the proverbial fire on this one for us all...

    1. NeX must be for vanity items only, no golden ammo.
    2. A realistic plan for protecting their intellectual property, not to include an annual tax for those who only take ISK for services. If reeal money is transacted, they pay $99 per year. If they only take ISK, then they should be able to pay the fee in ISK. (CCP has already set rough conversion rates for ISK/PLEX/Aurum, so it should be a simple process and still show that a transaction has train place to protect their IP.)
    3. Show us the love... Go back and fix some of the things we have been king for. (New PVP ships, hangar view, Faction warfare...). Represent that Players can be allies in building a great brand, if they will listen.

  20. Hey there Trebor good luck with tomorrow - you've probably seen these anyway but could you please took over these threads and raise the issues at the meeting if possible. all the best and good luck - we're counting on you!

    Jade Constantine

  21. @Tir Arsil

    Have to agree with everything you said there and would like to maybe add some more related to it...

    So it looks like CCP might be looking to dump the old player base and at the same time take on a newer player base attracted by walking in stations and SP purchasing and micro/ macro transactions all at the same time... However the reality of the situation is that while WiS might attract a broader new player base at first, they will soon realize that eve is terrible game that is still about internet space ships and then leave. Unless CCP puts allot of effort to fix some of the many issues of eve (just look at the backlog) this is what I'll think will happen... And history shows that ccp isn't really interested in doing this at all.