I kept believing but …

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”. 74bT2Cb 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. U8S4Xei 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.

icelandinyouImage 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
Tags: Fanfest 2015, tarek

About the author

Tarek Raimo

Former nullsec spy (no not under that name of course) and current failure at lowsec solo PVP, Tarek spends his time not logging in to the game as much as he keeps thinking about its social and metagame nature and sharing some of those thoughts with the CZ readers.

  • Bram Ridder

    Hear hear! Next you will tell me that some players offered CCP employees drinks during the pub crawls, making us pay for their sustenance and entertain as well. Where does the madness end!?

    • Kamar Raimo

      I have indeed seen such scenes play out before my very eyes. My brain still has not fully comprehended the shamelessness of those CCP people.

  • Kurbanis Araeleus

    Ok I’m a little tired so that took a while to click, but a really nice piece Tarek.

    • Kamar Raimo

      I wanted to write a different sort of post-fanfest piece 🙂

  • PB J


  • MukkBarovian

    I don’t know that CCP stating a policy of listening to players is exactly a bad thing. As a group we clamor long and hard for CCP to listen to us. When CCP listen to us about small technical details the results are generally good. On the other hand CCP has to make high level decisions on their own. Those kind of decisions are very vulnerable to being turned into political campaigns by special interest groups.

  • Rhavas

    “the tinfoiling crackpot Rhavas” e-Fame victory achieved! o/

    PS The Drifters are coming for your corpse, Tarek. MARK MY WORDS.

    • Kamar Raimo

      Why should I believe your conspiracy theories? (last words before getting podded and drifterised)

  • tronbanger

    Well when Incarna was released we saw how hard it can be for a game developer to make decisions when there are 200k+ players in your sandbox… It is no longer CCP’s game but rather its players… so the logical thing would be to listen to your players and do what they want because the other way obviously was not working? Of course CCP’s job is to maintain a standard in the sandbox, f.x to prevent pink ships of entering the game and a Panda bloodline for every race. What else can they do?

  • Niden

    I _cannot_ believe how many people took this piece for anything other than irony and satire, even though I explicitly state that it is. God damn.

    • Well it was a god read.

      BTW as a razorite, who was the razors you talked?

      • Kamar Raimo

        I don’t remember their names but it was only two and they sure as hell weren’t leadership 😀

        • kara

          Well my corpies were there and those were cool duderz..
          and tarek, keep goin mate

          • Kamar Raimo

            They were really nice indeed. We first thought about trolling them but eventually it became a really friendly conversation albeit with some Galmil smugness.

            Then again, being smug is what being Gallente is all about 😀

          • Agreed 😀

    • Seraph IX Basarab

      It had to be satire right from the part about the voices.

      • xanderphoena

        True story – this is the point where I ‘got’ it too.

        • Kamar Raimo

          As Xander said, if someone is slagging themselves off (irrelevant lowsec scrubs like myself) it becomes sort-of obvious.

    • Smokey

      I’ve been here before and read most articles, so it was fairly clear that you were ironic. But i guess most readers never develop a feel for a writer, so the confusion is plausible imo.

      The assumption is always that the article is for realzies here, in opposition to something like eve onion. Maybe the note at the top of the article would cause less confusion and allow everyone to properly enjoy the article from the start.

      • Kamar Raimo

        “Maybe the note at the top of the article would cause less confusion and
        allow everyone to properly enjoy the article from the start.”

        But that would spoil all the fun 🙂

    • derp

      I didn’t think it was irony because of the way CCP’s been going lately. They seem to be developing into nothing more than a group who bends their knee to whichever cog-wheel whines the loudest. See: Fighter assist, ISBoxer, and Bomber decloak, to name a few.

      • Kamar Raimo

        If you really think like that then the joke of the piece is partially on you, sorry 🙂

        • derp

          Well, when a company doesn’t listen to reason, logic, or facts, and refuses to listen to it’s player-base after explicitly asking for opinions and statements from the players, I tend to become a little bit pessimistic.

          • Angus Adalwin

            They are in fact listening to their player base – it’s just that your opinions are unfortunately in the minority, and so the changes haven’t been to your liking.

    • Desra Mascani

      To be honest, I don’t like where Eve is heading past two years or so, after the “evil email” incident. I’m still not convinced there is some plan that I would like if I knew it. So based on that, I was not really sure, even if Tarek is in my corp and we talk here and there. My view of Eve is very limited and I don’t get a lot of the inside jokes. You might consider that CZ is read by some people, who just don’t have a clue and are not such huge nerds. So yeah, don’t be offended by my (our) ignorance. Some people are just like that.

      • Kamar Raimo

        Nobody’s offended. Surprised would be more the word. As for the development of EVE, I can tell you that several people in CCP have a very good plan and they appear confident that it will come to fruition. It may (and likely will) take time but we are bound to see gradual changes to our game world coming with every expansion.

    • Zappity

      What was the point of the article? A waste of time and a good example of why cz is hard to take seriously. Even the opinion pieces aren’t ‘real’.

      • Angus Adalwin

        The point? It’s a humor piece. If you didn’t enjoy it… that’s unfortunate?

        • Zappity

          I stopped reading after a couple of paragraphs because it was negative and it wasn’t clear it was satire that early in the article. Just tag it as satire up front.

    • Druik Arbosa

      I admit, I thought this was serious, I kept reading and began thinking this was a trolling of EVE24.

      I was chuckling by the end, at myself, I take things way too seriously.

  • Clearly Stupid

    It’s almost embarrassing how long it took me to realise you were taking the piss.

  • Saint Michael’s Soul

    Haha, great trolling 🙂

  • Holy hell, this is the most amazing thing I’ve ever read 😀

    • Kamar Raimo

      Haha, glad you like it. Niden was worried that someone at CCP might misread it and feel offended. In all honesty I love the way you and Affinity want to approach things and I also had a very interesting conversation with RedDawn on the concept of procedurally generated PVE over a few smokes outside.

      • CCP RedDawn

        This article made me feel like a total asshat for a minute there. o7

        • Kamar Raimo

          Heh, well, I would see the inability to build a perfectly predictable sequence of NPC spawns as a positive thing 😉

        • Angus Adalwin

          I love and support every part of CCP’s new direction, by the way 😀

  • Glad it is so ‘brutally obvious’ this piece is irony and satire because I only realized it was a fake article when I read ‘Razor & emancipate’.

    Most people probably miss your point because it’s hard to read until the end before falling for it and posting a rant without noticing the disclaimer.

  • Angus Adalwin

    I didn’t realize it was satire until you started referring to the player voices – especially that line about “tinfoiling crackpot rhavas.” I suppose that means it is excellent satire 😀

    Going by the comments, it’s astounding how many people are both terrible at picking up satire and bad at reading.

  • Dermeisen

    Irony with rust or dirt, anyway, wise words I will unsub in protest at all this change – the golden age is over, thanks Tarek oh and don’t forget to switch off the lights.