Keeping Up With CCP


I don't normally link to INN articles, but I think this one is worth a read. I 100% disagree with the conclusions drawn up in this article, in fact I believe Eve Online is better today than it has ever been at any other moment in its history. However, that does not excuse the obvious pitfalls, problems, and concerns that remain an important part of its potential growth or failure. As always, I maintain that if you are not having fun playing a video game - you should stop playing that video game. And please, do so without dragging the rest of us through the mud with you.

Having said that, it would also be irresponsible to ignore the concerns brought up by the article. But perhaps I have a slightly different response than most people reading it. And that response is what I'd like to question openly here in this post today. And here is the nut of it -

After 16 years is it time to consider that the openness and communication between CCP and the players of Eve Online ultimately was a bad thing for the long-term success of Eve?

In a microcosm my own personal experiences with CCP and the employees there has been a mad rollercoaster of on again off again weirdness that I have a very difficult time keeping up with. Pardon me while I go back through some of the highlights. I think it will help frame the ultimate point I'm going to try and make here. For the first half of my Eve career I had very little interaction with anyone from CCP personally. I had never met anyone, nor had much call to deal with them directly. And when it happened it was removed by distance, rareness, and corporate communications. There was a distance to it all. I wrote in this blog. I made memes. I had fun at their expense. And I raised Hell during the Summer of Incarna.

And then everything suddenly changed. Within a very short period of time I was having conference calls with groups of them on the phone, over Skype, and for months we worked on several projects together. It was the best of times. The promise of a new Eve Store and projects that would open up to all players. I created an entire line of posters, t-shirts, concepts, and other products that would help kick this new world off. I was invited to private dinners and tours. I had people's cell phone numbers on my cell phone. This is all true and I'm not trying to brag or anything here. Those of you that lived thru this with me here in these pages know what an exciting time this was. And how much potential there was.

Since those days it has been nothing but a rollercoaster trying to keep up with the changes in personnel, attitudes, and constantly changing "We like you, we don't like you" weirdness. One minute you are making videos for the o7Show and the next minute no one returns your emails. One minute they want to make a project with you, the next minute you are getting CnD letters from legal. Oh man, I could tell you stories. It has gotten so bad over the last few years that I've just given up trying. These days I just ignore CCP and do whatever I want based on the community and the people in it.

And that change has also illuminated something in my mind. What if my problems are more widespread than I thought? What if my issues are community wide? And I'm not just asking open-ended questions here, because I already know the answers to those questions. They are without a doubt - community wide. Because I deal directly with event planners, streamers, tournament organizers, pretty much everyone doing anything in Eve - I've seen and heard these things directly from the sources. To one degree or another, I'm not unique.

This makes sense when you look at it from the long view. People come and go at CCP constantly. There is very little continuity. CCP Falcon doesn't know anything about those months of planning and work that lead up to Fanfest 2015 because he wasn't involved. Everyone who was involved? They are no longer at CCP. Seagull? Gone. Spitfire? Gone. Torfi? At Minecraft. And I could keep going. This makes it difficult when the players, like myself, are the only ones with a constant record of events. This puts an almost impossible responsibility on the shoulders of people like Falcon, or Fozzie, or Rise, who are some of the few employees still around.

Which begs the question - would it have been better without that level of communication?

Have we as a player base become used to yelling and screaming about things and expecting CCP to answer. Are we spoiled by the back and forth relationship that CCP itself created between us? You can't blame the players for this situation, this is entirely a self-created environment that comes directly from CCP. And part of that problem is that so many CCP employees, like Falcon, Rise, and Fozzie for example, are also former Eve players themselves.

If you read that article you can see within it the seeds of discontent about the state of those communications. In many ways the off again on again nature of them is confusing to most players. Living with that for any length of time only adds to the negativity of the player base. Doesn't it?

There is no blame here. I'm not blaming anyone. This is just the way things are. But maybe, just maybe, if we truly want them to get better - maybe the best thing is for CCP and the players to evolve into a more standard corporate relationship. And for CCP to be more professional when it comes to communicating with the players.

It won't happen of course. The investment in events, such as this year's World Invasion Tour, are just too powerful. Go to one of these events and just watch the cult of personality at play in them. That isn't going to change anytime soon.

No, we are stuck with what we have. For better or worse, this is the relationship we've each made for ourselves.

Which is why I've made the decision to just ignore it and play the game.

Things have been much, much better in the last two years because of it. I highly recommend it to all of you reading this. Stop trying to be a game developer and focus on being a game player, life is so much better.

And so is Eve Online.

It is a rather remarkable game.




2 comments:

  1. I don't know. a lot of what that article said kind of made sense to me. I have never really followed the ins and outs of it but if what he is saying is accurate then it makes for troublesome reading. Sure as you say there have been good things happen, but CCP do tend to dig their own hole sometimes

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    1. No doubt. A lot of what he said is accurate, it is really just the conclusions I have issues with. Staff changes, things change, and I remain optimistic despite some bad decisions in the past. What the future truly holds remains to be seen.

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