What is CCP to Eve Online?Jeg Elsker
There is a shitstorm in the community. CCP has made a few slip-ups lately and, as usual, all hell breaks loose. This post covers what I think is going on and why I think CCP needs to reassess their relationship with the playerbase and stop screwing with the sandbox.
Lets start with the title of this post. What is CCP to Eve Online?
The obvious answer here is they are the developers but that hardly begins to cover the depths of their responsibilities. CCP are there clearly to ensure the integrity of the sandbox is perhaps a closer stab but again, that is far from a full answer.
CCP are all of the above but more importantly they are the sandbox police, the sandbox designers, the sandbox government and, dare I say it, the sandbox gods. They have the ultimate power in the game so when CCP say something, the playerbase must sit up and take notice (the threadnoughts alone tell you that). It is this that we need to take notice of most of all.
Lately CCP has started using this power highlighting various communities in New Eden, Crossing Zebras included! They have been giving out prizes for unofficial tournaments in order to encourage and make them more successful. They have been driving traffic to podcasts, blogs, information tools and various other initiatives that the community at large are doing for the benefit of the game. Now it is the turn of Somer Blink. (As I understand it there are other examples and Somer is just the latest in the list but for the purposes of a shorter article lets stick with Somer)
This is where things get a bit frustrating.
I can’t talk for every community website, however I can talk for Crossing Zebras, and would imagine that there is a similarity with most other blogs and ‘fansites’. This website costs myself and Xander money. Direct costs include web hosting, podcasting equipment and backup media. Indirectly the costs are vastly more; website development costs me time that spans over 100 hours to date, server maintenance and setup, not to mention the actual time spent recording and Xander editing. This is all time that could be spent working to earn real life money, or playing EvE online to earn ISK and DIAF (Die In A Fire).
We do not ask for payment of any sort, we do not bombard our visitors with advertising (beyond our supreme podcasting status), we do not solicit sponsorship (we have received some sponsorship from a few members of the community but this wasn’t asked for and was a genuine surprise) and only recently we have started to merchandise with Crossing Zebras t-shirts and bags, simply at demand of the community at large.
Somer (and others, again, I am only highlighting Somer here because of recent developments) also have significant costs. They will have costs associated with hosting, web development and server costs, as well as costs to actually run the service in hours lost. The key difference here is that these sites are not for community benefit. They are lining the pockets of those people who run them. In the case of Somer they even heavily encourage you to purchase PLEX via their commission links to (presumably) earn a substantial amount of real life cash. Sure, they throw money into the community, but most assumptions would be that the vast majority of the money made by the site goes to lining the pockets of the people who run it.
So what is my point?
Let’s assume that your prime minister / president / whatever in your country decided to make an announcement regarding a group of people who run a scheme that teaches disadvantaged children how to read and write (Eve University could be a parallel here). Presuming it is positive publicity of course, this surely would be measured as a good thing. The public may even make calls for your “prime minister” to support this group somehow to make it easier for them to succeed, and it would be highly doubtful if any head of state made a decision to do so on his own accord that there would be public outcry.
Now lets take that same prime minister / president / (CCP?) figure and get them to start singing the praises of some online casino – eschewing the gambling aspects and focusing on their (unproven and potentially untestable) record for reliably paying out and being trustworthy.
Then, take it a step further and think about this. Which of those two entities would be acceptable to reward? Would you think it acceptable if your head of state handed over millions of your local currency to a casino with the proviso that they should keep it a secret, along with millions more to allow them to advertise the links between you?
Would you be happy if they did the same for the charity in my illustration?
There are further issues with this whole thing. CCP arent even handing Somer money, they are handing over incredibly rare in game items that cannot be created. That is a whole other argument in itself and one that I will leave for you all to chew on for a while. Myself and Xander cover that point in Crossing Zebras Episode 30.
Suffice to say, I personally take this whole situation to be a slap in the face to what I do, and more importantly, it tarnishes any message of ‘Transparency’ and ‘Trust’ that CCP has worked to develop with the community and playerbase. I look forward to hearing the official CCP announcement on this as well as any official statements from CSM8 and Somer, but it will take a huge turn of events to turn this around in my head.
As a closing note, I am avoiding the inflammatory BoB T2 blueprint comparison the community has made surrounding this; Somer already have a method of effectively printing money, and this is not really giving anyone an unfair advantage in game.