In the past, there have been many EVE players who have levelled scathing criticisms at CCP for its attitudes and actions. I always felt they were overreacting, and that some of them should immediately get medication for obsessive compulsive disorders, but my opinion about that has changed fundamentally since I went to my very first Fanfest this year.
I encountered so much that demonstrated beyond a doubt how seriously CCP devs lack any concept for the future path their game should take. All I saw was a succession of evasive rhetorics, smirkingly vague statements, and a general tendency to “let the players do the work for them.”
It all began with the “spectacular” and “revelatory” trailer. Clearly too thrifty to pay for voice actors, CCP just cut and pastes player voices into their production. Not only do I have a serious problem with the action itself, but also with the execution. If CCP has to resort to such desperate measures, then at least they should use some important players. Taking voiceovers from irrelevant lowsec scrubs like myself and Phyridian, the tinfoiling crackpot Rhavas, failed CSM candidate Ashterothi, and hopeless lore nerd Morwen Lagann are just the worst pick of the litter. Players need to hear more from grandmasters of EVE like Sion Kumitomo or Manfred Sideous, particularly at a time when sov nullsec becomes relevant again for the development of the game.
In the wake of the EVE keynote, I decided to dedicate my Fanfest time to finding out whether the trailer was just an extreme case, or whether it marks a general tendency among the company’s developer teams to use players as content generators. Shockingly, I found the worst kind of evidence everywhere I looked.
CCP Fozzie appears on stage and sits in panels simply shrugging and asking the assembled players what he should do next. He clearly has no idea of what he wants himself when it comes to balancing, sovereignty or lowsec mechanics. Not even trying to sound apologetic, he simply states “you’re going to help us with those changes”.
The same can be observed with people like CCP’s Affinity and Falcon, who openly admit that they are using player ideas to fill the massive gaps in their lore and PVE concepts. CCP Falcon remorselessly reveals that they did not have the slightest idea what they should call Caroline’s Star. They repeatedly stated that they want us to figure out what is actually going on in the game.
Then CCP Loki is introduced as the dev who is trawling the backlog of player activities to create even more free material he can put into Scope videos. Milking this as much as they can, CCP developers even hint at plans to create more than one video for each specific player-generated event to show the response of the other NPC news services of New Eden.
The art team appears particularly clueless. It’s obvious to me that they have completely run out of ideas, and now use 1950’s sports cars as inspiration for the Gallente tactical destroyer. The man who designed the ship engaged in a conversation with me and an alliance mate asking if we wanted the looks of the ship adjusted and in which ways; like it’s our job to provide him with ideas. CCP Mankiller tried his best to muddy the waters by presenting complex formulas nobody can decipher, just to do supposedly great things like “adding dirt to rust”, as if we are waiting to see our ships turn into flying rustbuckets over time. I suspect that CCP actually wants to introduce this effect so we blow up our ships faster rather than watching them degrade in such terrible ways. That does of course mean we would have to grind more ISK with extra alts or buy more PLEX. Both would result in extra income for CCP.
CCP RedDawn talks about procedural generation of PVE content, and glosses over the fact that he has no idea how to design a properly predictable sequence of NPC spawns which adheres to the simplest of patterns. In addition to that, we in Faction Warfare apparently get to be the beta-testers of new PVE content; as if we didn’t have enough to worry about after the announcement that the Amarr-Caldari and Gallente-Minmatar alliances plan to be broken apart. Just like other developers, RedDawn insinuates that he wants players to do all the work. Furthermore, he apparently has no problem with destroying the validity of the established third-party service, EVE Survival.
Speaking of third-party tools, EFT is co-opted in a particularly underhanded way. By introducing the so-called “ghost fitting”, CCP is not only stealing from EFT, but at the same time dumbing down the game to a level where literally everyone can know what a fit will do in-game, without even having to buy any of the required items or hulls.
In another example, CCP even went as far as having highly qualified NASA scientists who happen to be EVE players come on stage after a devastating pub-crawl because CCP themselves do not know anything about space exploration. Yet again, evidence that the developers unapologetically exploit the player-base to compensate for in-house incompetence.
This modus operandi can be observed at every level. Players like my colleagues Niden and Xander Phoena are shamelessly put to work as presenters on the twitch stream, and when they ask for the most humble reward—an opportunity to record their own podcast on-site—CCP is completely unprepared, and CCP Mimic struggles to construct a microphone holder from an empty plastic cup.
I could name many more shocking examples, but one thing is clear: CCP Seagull has to be the main instigator of this new policy. After all, she openly discussed her brazen plans to involve the players strongly into the development process during a presentation on game development last year, and she did not shy away from restating her intentions on stage at Fanfest.
As if we weren’t already grieving for the game we once loved, they even added insult to injury at the end. For those that had not left the auditorium early from sheer disgust, the real revelation came. In an advertisement spot that was deceptively tongue-in-cheek, we saw the latest manifestation of the Goon RMT cartel when The Mittani and Lazarus Telraven prominently display a game-related clothing line. I am sure that we will soon be able to read on Noisy Gamer’s blog how that deplorable scheme makes the tycoons of the CCP endorsed RMT empire even richer.
I lament the fact that Roc Wieler appears to have become a part of that, but I can only assume he is innocent of any actual wrongdoing. Sadly enough, yet again a Matari has become the victim of insidious and exploitative machinations perpetrated by a powerful empire.
Image courtesy of Roc Wieler
However, I do want to close on a positive note.
The detachment of proud Gallente pilots who have attended the Symposium On Emergent Threats engaged in conversation with several high-ranking RAZOR alliance members, and learned that this group will finally emancipate itself from the Goon overlords they have served far too long. They have not yet decided whether they will join the Gallente Militia instead. As a nullsec alliance, they are worried—and with good reason—that they might not be up for a life in the unforgiving environment of Placid and Black Rise.
Editor’s note: it should be brutally obvious at this point that this piece is irony and satire, we just want to be crystal clear. -Niden