CZ Minutes: Phoebe Roundtable

It will have escaped few that a roundtable on the long term effects of the controversial Phoebe jump changes was held recently. Some players using the roundtable as a forum to voice thinly guised (or not at all) frustrations rather than constructive debate turned it into a somewhat heated affair. What was your impression of the roundtable? Do you think it was constructive or not and why? Had you been there, what would you have said? Were you surprised at the tone of some of the players or the topics and criticisms they brought up? Niden: Let me start by saying that the fact that I live in lowsec and love Phoebe may make my opinion on the matter very skewed, even ignorant. However, while I thought that both the moderation of the roundtable and the way CCP conducted themselves were quite fine, the “questions” from some of the players present ranged from narrow minded to downright toxic and grossly unproductive. It sounded more like old dogs that are QQ-ing about learning new tricks than people interested in taking EVE to the next level. And this is sad because to my ears it renders any opinion they may have had as baseless. Change is painful to some people, and that’s all I heard at that roundtable. Mizhir: I haven’t really paid much attention to the entire deal but it has certainly made /r/eve a toxic place full of NaCl. CCP may handle things badly, but as mentioned in my bad game mechanics article, they are trying to deal with mechanics that are deeply integrated into the game and can be hard to deal with. Even if their solutions are far from ideal we should as player attempt to provide as good feedback as possible rather than the spergfest this entire deal has turned into. Dunk Dinkle: First, there are some real issues with capitals and null sec that exist.  Those that say ‘everything is fine’ and ‘adapt or die’ are likely not involved or experienced in what’s it’s like operating in these conditions.  That said, the amount of anger in players over these issue is a bit over the top, like any group of MMORPG players. I listened to the recording of User Joined Your Channel after the session was over, just hearing what was said, not seeing any of the stream or chat.   The CSM were trying to help, I assume by showing that what they had shared with the Dev Team previously was more of what the general populous felt.  Unfortunately, the combination didn’t work out well as the audience expected some damn answers, and the Devs were expecting a more respectful audience, like the CSM members themselves.  Obviously, the whole thing went sideways as emotions emerged, with Dev Team seeming dismissive of the concerns and players being downright hostile. A better idea might be the CSM members choosing a small group of players outside of the CSM to act as panel for similar feedback discussions and to have those discussions not broadcast in realtime. Rather than a discussion that went back and forth, it was run more like a press conference.  Maybe Eve Vegas would be a chance for something like this. Of significant concern was that the CSM did not take the opportunity to ask about SKIN status for Scythes, which remains a glaring hole in the entire effort, with nothing but teasing on Twitter by CCP for answers. MukkBarovian: The table was set up as a Q&A session but CCP were unwilling to answer questions. I accept that CCP have every right to refuse to answer questions. But in that case why not use a different format? Tell community figures they are simply allowed to make statements, or let CCP ask questions for prominent figures to answer regarding their feelings, preferences and experiences. At the very least if it is going to be a Q&A session, CCP should have known and had a chance to formulate a response to the prerecorded questions. In my opinion the process crashed and burned because it was set up to put CCP in the spotlight and then have them fail. As to player anger, we seem to be rapidly splitting the player base into two camps. One camp is angry with the way the game is going. The other camp is happy with the way things are turning out, believing the first camp to be responsible for many of the problems facing EVE. This is actually a typical experience that happens when EVE faces balance changes. The great nano nerf comes to mind immediately. In the grand scheme of things, as long as the balance changes are even handed, people making a lot of noise are just a regular part of the game. This is not business as usual though. This month the average concurrent user count was 21K. From my perspective that is deeply troubling. I do not have CCP’s metrics. I do not know what is going on. But if there ever was a time for CCP to pull all the stops, and put their hearts and minds to looking for solutions, it would be right now. Tussling with angry alpha nerds may or may not bring them closer to those solutions. But the angry alpha nerds, whether they are right are wrong, are entirely a sideshow when compared to the story the concurrent user count tells as it steadily bobbles along. emerging2 Gorski Car:  I’ll mirror Nidens thoughts on this. Phoebe has been awesome for lowsec. I like fatigue even though I know it can feel very frustrating for people. But it isn’t flawless and without problems. When people use self destruct as a way to get past fatigue and travel there is something wrong. I would probably want to lower the cap on fatigue drastically or increase the jump range. But enough of that stuff. For the round table itself, I was not part of the group that organized it and I wasn’t there. I checked reddit from time to time on my phone at work and watched it turn into more and more of a shitstorm. I saw threads with quotes and some real quality pictures of titanic with fozzies face. It was very frustrating sitting there watching all the shit and not being able to moderate anything. Anyway when I got home I finally got to listen to it and well it was as I expected. The roundtable turned into a Q&A despite CCP saying that they wouldn’t announce anything and was just there for feedback. I saw a lot of people lose their cool and get emotional with their capital stuff and raging at CCP. There was some really disrespectful shit said. I love that CCP stood their ground and not being apologetic and reverting all Phoebe changes. I think the entire round table could have been handled better and the number of people that showed up was massive and I guess that was part of the reason why it turned sour quick. A lot of people got really salty and I think its time to HTFU. Adapt to the change or gtfo don’t sit there like a crybaby. Tarek: I agree that the whole thing was set up in an awkward way. It would have been much better to declare it more clearly as a feedback session and potentially a forum to engage in discussion. That being said, I doubt that it would have helped. For example, it was stated during the round-table that devs can neither commit to any announcements at that point nor discuss any definitive changes or upcoming mechanics. Still people kept asking questions aimed exactly at those points. I reckon it does not matter how you present things, there will always be stubborn people who simply refuse to listen and just want to vent their frustration. That it went this way is really sad, since there are indeed sore points with the Phoebe mechanics and the sov system. Mechanics are however only a part of the problem. Player attitude is just as much of an issue. Over the course of ten years, a certain “right way” to do things has emerged especially among the larger organisations. Strategies and tactics have become so optimised and specialised that it either became very hard to think out of the box or in doing so an organisation would have to rebuild their whole collection of tactical assets. There is however a very strong case of the “Sunk Cost Fallacy” at play here. Groups who have existed and thrived in nullsec by applying existing methods have invested so much time and effort into it that they are now very reluctant to throw all of that away and rebuild from the ground up. As Fozzie said during the discussion: The complaints come mostly from larger established or nomadic organisations in nullsec. Personally I do not see that as an indication of a problem. It is long overdue that those organisations fade away and make room for something new. EVE has become calcified at the top level. Will it cost subscriptions to antagonise those long-term established players? I am sure it will. However, those who unsub because some mechanic is making their established playstyle difficult or impossible are very likely the exact self-entitled and passive-aggressive individuals who have behaved in intolerably rude and unconstructive ways during the roundtable. I really can’t find it in my heart to feel bad if people like that leave the game, even if it ends up bringing us to 2005 levels of subscriptions. After all, back then CCP was also a growing company and doing fine. Niden: I think Endie summed it up very well in his post on reddit. Pitchfork mentality smothering real feedback and debate.
Tags: cz minutes, fatigue, jump drive changes, phoebe

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12 year EVE veteran, Snuffed Out scumbag, writer, graphic artist, producer, Editor-in-Chief of Crossing Zebras and the second most influential player in EVE, according to EVE Onion.