Somergate: Round Two

The past 24 hours has been some of the busiest for CSM9 in it’s term so far. For those of you not keeping up to date, there has been a second outcry regarding Somerblink attempting to RMT. In this case however, the claim that this was fully vetted and ratified by CCP before commencement. You can read one of the original posts on the subject on reddit here and in the past hour, CCP Falcon has made an official statement on the forums here. CSM first brought this issue up with CCP around 2am yesterday morning, had more or less instantaneous responses from both CCP Falcon and CCP Leeloo and they have both been up since then until the past few minutes – around 22 hours. In that time, there have been two proper meetings with CCP and CSM9 and a new channel set up on Skype to discuss the situation with more or less continuous discussion. Now many of you will remember how angry I was over the previous Somer situation from a year ago. I was pretty ticked off and made sure that anyone who listened to or read CZ knew about it. I want to make it crystal clear to everyone that I am incredibly pissed that this situation has come around once again – it seems absurd that we would be in an almost identical situation 12 months later. Unfortunately, for the moment that anger must remain directionless and as such I must remain patient. What we have is a situation where Somer are claiming CCP allowed an RMT loophole. This truth in this claim must exist somewhere in the following: – Somer is outright lying and CCP gave no such permission. Given Somer is a very successful business and the outcry a year ago when a similar scheme was hatched, this seems unlikely to me but when offered a loophole to jumpstart a business worth tens of thousands of dollars a year, not impossible. – CCP gave full permission for this to happen with the full knowledge of all relevant parties within the company. Again, given the tone of Falcon’s post and that if this were true, it was an agreement made with Somer only and the implications there, I’m thinking this is unlikely. I’m confident in giving CCP the benefit of the doubt on this one but sure, not impossible. – Something else. Someone gave permission and shouldn’t have/is keeping mum or a department gave permission without speaking to everyone else or ‘something’. Sure this is a bit of a catch-all ‘option C’ but it does seem the most likely. CCP is not a monolithic entity which speaks with one voice despite what the players may think. Some departments are more customer facing that others as you may expect in a game based on social interactions and with many devs who are so open with the playerbase. I’m also pretty confident than in the normal day-to-day runnings within the company, some groups speak to others on a fairly infrequent basis. I’m also pretty confident that in a game so heavily dependant on community, those groups probably don’t speak often enough. The tl;dr on this one for the moment is that someone fucked up and fucked up hard. But until we know who that is, it is imperative that everyone remains calm. Trust me when I say, no-one is more frustrated at trying to maintain a calm exterior throughout this time than myself but lashing out at the wrong person or group is only going to make the situation worse. I do not speak for the rest of CSM but I can tell you the general feeling is not one of sunshine and rainbows. Also know that there are people within CCP who share this sentiment as noted by Falcon in his post from the forums I linked to above: ‘They’ve been very clear, direct and unified with their opinion on the situation, and this is a sentiment that I share with them.’…it’s quite clear that this is an issue that the community is taking seriously. It’s also something I feel incredibly strongly about.’ Be under no illusion that both CSM and CCP are working very hard on this right now and the situation will not be left to fester like it was a year ago. Hopefully we’ll have more information on this tomorrow from CCP. Once we know what happened with all the information available to us all, we can act accordingly and I’ll be in a situation to give you more details on the way ahead.
Tags: falcon, rmt, somer

About the author

Xander Phoena

The good looking, funny, intelligent member of the team, Xander set up Crossing Zebras with Jeg in April 2012 mainly because he was talking too much about Eve on his other podcast. Playing the game for almost five years, Xander still has absolutely zero clue about how to actually play Eve but somehow still manages to talk a good game.

  • Danikov

    I get the feeling half the outrage over this new fiasco is that CCP continues to be secretive and non-communicative, despite that being a critical flaw that should have been addressed the last time this happened.

    What probably doesn’t help is I’m sure Somer weren’t a passive participant in this and were deliberate in whom they talked to and didn’t talk to due to the nature of what they were doing.

    Whether the underlying activity constitutes RMT is not straightforward (if you think it’s simple or just believe everyone who’s saying it is, you need to sit down and really think about it) and I’m a little wary that people are jumping to hasty conclusions based off of previous reputations and creating a furore not based on facts.

    • xanderphoena

      ‘CCP continues to be secretive and non-communicative, despite that being a critical flaw that should have been addressed the last time this happened’

      I couldn’t agree with this more. Especially the second part of the statement. This should never have been allowed to happen again.

      While you are correct that Somer may have went out their way to ask the ‘wrong’ person in this situation, there’s no way if someone gave permission for this, they shouldn’t have checked with pretty much everyone before giving the ok.

      While I agree that the concept of ‘RMT’ is actually fairly grey and different for different people and different interpretations of the rules, for me this is a clear-cut attempt at RMT. Whether it was sanctioned or not is an entirely different matter.

      I do however agree that it is imperative that no-one points anger at anyone until we are in full possession of all the facts.

      • Danikov

        Where the crux of the issue lies, I feel, is with Somer’s payout %age vs. kickbacks. Consider the thought experiment:

        Is it RMT if Somer had a 100% ISK payout on their regular activities and offered no kickbacks on PLEX sales?

        Is it RMT if Somer had a 200% ISK payout and did/did not offer kickbacks?

        Is it RMT if Somer had a 0% payout, with or without kickbacks?

        • Frans Bovens

          The symantics are irrelevant. There is clearly an intend to turn isk into cash. Intend matters.

          • Danikov

            Resellers clearly intend to make money from selling PLEX, so we’ve established that there’s legitimate ways to make money- as long as it isn’t selling ISK. It’s more a question of whether Somer is anti-competitive in that market.

            Not that it matters any more, at least until the next SomerGate 😉

          • Frans Bovens

            Official resellers add value by selling plex for cash and evading sll sorts of world wide issues with money, currency traffic and pr, we both agree there. They are not selling isk, we also agree there, and selling isk is illegal. Left or right, its creative pushing of envelope with the main underlying goal to turn the trillions of isk into cold dollah, add several breaches of eula alot of people mentioned , including revealing communication, commercial activity, rtm and so on. Is this the last? Hell no, shoudl the fact there are others and will be stop us this time, no

  • Althurus Vendrius

    But what will hapen after this is resolved to CCp or Somer ?
    Noting has usual or someting?

  • Graic Gabtar

    The blame rests solely with CCP Falcon. Completely failed to manage internal and external stakeholders while strutting about in the bully role CC Navigator gifted to him as king of the “rent-a-cop” ISD crowd.

    Wind back to the Somer ship scandal then a billion ISK scandal within weeks.

    Failcon’s response not a year on? Completely take his eye’s off the ball. Have no clue at all about the happenings at the source of one of the biggest PR threats to CCP’s meta gaming / Commentariat / Twitterati perceived reputation in recent times. Now cue mock shock and anger as a response and use the CSM as meat shields.

    Somer Blink is too big to fail and CCP needs every cent it can scrounge. This all could have been managed effectively without the outrage if someone employed in the role was competent and had of followed through with the 3rd party actions committed to by CCP last year. However, you get what you pay for and now we all suffer for someone asleep at the switch, living their little EVE job dream where the only qualification appears to be accepting a low wage.

    • xanderphoena

      I’m not sure of your background with Falcon and to be honest, I’m not sure what mistakes he has made in the past. What I can tell you is that not only does Falcon have no blame in this current situation, he has nevertheless been working like a dog to fix it.

      • Graic Gabtar

        A curious comment, but anyways.

        If the alleged Community Manager has not developed any relationships with internal teams and discussed/agreed issues that should be bounced off the community team or the CSM then they are wilfully blind or completely incompetent. CCP is not a large company. If the community manager has not been managing this awareness internally of what’s critical to CCP reputation then he deserves the same shot in the neck CCP Navigator effectively copped.

        The fact that the person in question has already conceded they were ignorant but had concerns about Somer Blink makes the current arse covering exercise laughable.

        Why the CSM is mistaking tireless work at job protection as a great outcome for EVE at large is a complete mystery.

  • coldwar

    Shouldn’t Somer Blink activities be freezed while investigations from CCP are in progress ?


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  • GrammarPeeves

    “Be under no illusion that both CSM and CCP are working very hard on this right now and the situation will not be left to fester like it was a year ago.”
    So if that’s the illusion, then the reality is that none of you are working on it at all, and the situation will most definitely be left to fester exactly like it did a year ago?
    I think you might want to rephrase that. 😉