Bittersweet Incarna #2: Mass hysteria and the media


icon17_03In the wake of the email leak by EN24, I want to highlight onto one point that I already touched upon in my previous article: Quoting out of context and sensationalism are making things a whole lot worse than they should have been. Let me start by outlining two real world examples that are important to know before I elaborate on this.

People jumping off of buildings to end their life. It’s a most horrific way to choose to go, as it leaves many innocents who happen to be around possibly scarred for life. What is less known however is that when the person considering the suicide is discovered, for example standing at the edge of a roof contemplating the decision, or just so caught up in fear he can neither go back nor go forward, there is a phenomena that keeps repeating itself: The gathered crowd may start to cheer on the person and encourage them to go ahead with the act. WTF, you think, who in their right minds would do that? Well, the truth is, many of us who feel we are very rational thinkers outside of crowds can get caught up into the anonymous power state that a crowd brings. When waiting for a time, often not allowed to leave because this could jeopardize a possible rescue operation already underway, irritation can reach new heights and people may resort to the only “solution” they see. And people have this thing for doing what the rest of them around them is doing, because only few like to be the outlier. This is what can cause a crowd to force a person to do something that later on, when the act has been done, and the crowd disperses, they feel very guilty and wrong about. Luckily, experienced teams know of this phenomena and will split up and remove a crowd to keep this from even starting.

Another example is that of sensationalized TV. You take something, and you leave out some details, or you make use of the flaws and uncertainty, and you put it on screen. I don’t even have to give examples because it happens all the time, even on the most reputable of news stations. Or, a related case, that of the reports on the EHEC bacteria, causes misinformation or acts not being thought fully through to result in major damage. Just look how many vegetable farmers are now in money problems because someone said “oh it was a cucumber” and the next day we blamed something else. I kept buying cucumbers all through it, because the ones suspected were of Spanish origin, and the ones at my local store happen to come from Dutch soil. So why would I suddenly stop eating cucumbers, if we’re not even remotely sure that’s what causing it, and the whole infection is so isolated to an area quite a ways away from me? Because the news said so? Because everyone went “OMG cucumbers will kill you”? Bah, I can still think and decide for myself, you know!

Ok, why are these examples important? Because I feel that EN24 is deliberately blowing the whole situation out of proportions for the sake of  more readers, and people are following into the trend. Now, there is a chance they didn’t remove pieces from the newsletter. And they did say they are not 100% sure of the validity of the email. But they are still publishing their articles in an very anti-CCP way. They could have handled this very differently. They could have urged for calm, or rationalized upon what was written, but instead they continue to feed into the hysteria that is gripping our beloved internet spaceships game and the belief that “EVE is dying, so we best all quit right now”. Of course, there is also the chance that they too are in turn getting sucked up into this hysteria wave. But this is not what should be happening to a news site. Imagine the bigger and respected sources like Massively or Kotaku to do this. I’d instantly take them out of my daily reads. Because true or not true, that is not what you should be doing. You should keep an objective and neutral stance, consider all possibilities and most of all urge for calm.

That is what I want to ask of the EVE community as well. Calm the fuck down. The world is not ending. As for EVE, we will just have to wait and see. And if you really must go and quit, well, I’ll take your stuff. I’ll be here another while until we have a final verdict. And should it be all bad, well, then I’ll pass your stuff on to the next generation. But honestly, unless at this time you really mind some people are spending a stupid amount of ISK on a monocle, EVE is still very much the same as it used to be. And if they ISK of a few is going to keep the company afloat, well why the hell not? Again, as outlined in my previous post, as long as CCP only sells vanity, which at this time is the case, I don’t see any particular reasons to panic.

Related posts:

  1. Bittersweet Incarna: My thoughts on the expansion and more
  2. Blog banter #23: The Incarna effect
  3. EVE bloggers guide to social media
  • @MaeveTrinity

    I approve of this post! <3

  • Unshra

    I approve as well and didn't bother reading their article just the supposed leaked e-mail. I deal with enough sensationalized media here in the USA when it comes to our government so much so that I tend to follow BBC. I don't need the same for the games I play, all I want is for the devs of those games to be honest and blunt which is one of the reasons why I have come to respect CCP.

    On the topic of the e-mail, honestly if this letter is real and complete I admit that I would have much preferred it to CCP Zulu's dev blog as it presents the level of transparency I had come to expect from CCP. Over all I liked the e-mail, it covered what I wanted to know… now I am off to find Unshra's pillow (yes that's become somewhat of a gag for me now.) ;-p

    I am looking forward to next week after the dust as settle down a little bit.

  • Mark Raynor

    I'm not saying your're wrong. In fact, on a lot of levels I hope you're right! But the thing for me is, if things are being taken out of context, and we are all overreacting… why hasn't CCP said so yet? It wouldn't take long for someone to get onto Twitter and say "Hey guys, we're still working out how to address everybody's concerns, but short answer: no plans for non-vanity microtransactions." Or post that in the forums. The fact that they have not for some reason worries a lot of folks, including me.

    Hopefully, we're all panicking about nothing, and come Monday things will get settled down and we'll all go back to the pew-pew.

    • Myrhial Arkenath

      I think they don't want to outright say they don't do it, because then if they do it, even if just stuff that doesn't directly ruin the sandbox (standings) then they have to take that back.

      • Mark Raynor

        So they don't rule it out entirely – "no plans right now, but it's something we may kick around internally and bring up to the CSM again as we rework the idea to try and make it more acceptable to you." I don't think a lot of us would be really happy about it, but it would be a fair bit better, to me, than simply ignoring the figurative elephant in the room.

  • BOB

    However CCP not saying they are not doing something, and everyone emo raging that they may do something seems s little silly (there is no evidence even the alleged leaked documents dont say hey lets charge people for an advantage). Hell they day you can pay $$$ for a Jove ship that wtf pwns and is the only way to get it ill be sad but till then i think it is wise to give the benefit of the doubt that CCP will continue to make a gr8 game that we all enjoy playing.

  • manasi

    Myr…I understand your points and while I no longer have a dog in this fight…too many anecdotal things have lined up to prove that CCP simply is not going to change what it has said it will do, no matter how mad/upset/angry irritated people become. As a person I will not tolerate someone who will not even listen to me if I try to offer and opinion, the one thing that EVERYTHING has shown is that CCP ahve been deliberately duplicitous starting with Teadaze ( who honestly started the ball rolling) continuing through the forums..culminating at FF2011 where CCP simply said. “it will be good and you will like it.”

    It isn’t good and people do NOT like as i think people ahve said.

    simply put CCP track record, end e–mails, and memos and everything they said at FF2011 convinced me they were going off the edge of a cliff I could not go off of.

    I miss the people and feel bad for the individuals, as for the company CCP have harpooned themselves in the foot are now walking in circles trying to understand why WE do not seem to like what they have done.

    in any case I wish you well

    ~The Mule

  • ljwitch

    My real beef isn't with the NeX and never was. I don't care if they want to sell monocles for $400 USD. My problem is the implications that have come out in those leaked documents. The blatant lack of respect for their customers and the language and arrogance they use. Granted, the internal magazine wasn't even supposed to be seen by us, but that doesn't excuse how they appear to view us behind our backs. The fact is, I just don't trust the company anymore. Will I ever again? Doubtful, but I don't have a crystal ball and can't predict the future. I want to see EVE survive, I don't really care about the NeX in and of itself. I'm calm……just pissed. It's sad to see a game this unique go down this road if that's what they have in mind. The reason people are panicing, is because they love EVE. It's just that, some of us aren't sure we should extend any benefit of the doubt to CCP…..because of how they've spoken about us when we weren't looking.

  • bguk73

    lol the discussion about a monocle has increased out hits on our site by over 1000 today!

  • @TFProleteriat

    Implications, whether they come to fruition or not, will not be the downfall of eve. From what I have seen from looking back over the extensive life of eve online, is that most of the big problems have been fixed. CCP is listening, but now they are reacting the way most people do when they are yelled at continuously; they are covering their ears.

    I, myself, will not quit playing EVE, as I have high hopes for it, and thinking about, this sort of thing HAS to happen(the whole mt thing) in order for it to stay around and morph into what I hope it will. This game, above all others, has such high potential for staying power that it would be a great shame for it to fold.

  • Jev North

    It's a bit of a tempest in a teapot, I agree. So far there's nothing to blow dollars on other than the not-so-microtransactions for the NeX junk, and a bunch of rumors about what CCP might be doing in the future. Sixty-dollar monocles made me smile, weakly, thinking about the people crazy enough to buy one, and think, briefly, about how many might've been sold if the price was slightly less insane.

    All the rest isn't here yet. I guess I'll sit and do some good, hard thinking if it does arrive.

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  • Unshra

    Read about how Perpetuum received an influx of players in such mass that they had to limit the number of players (I believe the issue now fixed). Now I can understand why some are upset however there on some on the EVE boards using Perpetuum as a form of protest so they are basically leaving one MMO because of its cash-shop for another MMO that will be adding a cash-shop in the future, this is just a weak attempt at attention grabbing in my opinion.

    I am curious to see how those numbers hold after the trial period ends. Though this might be a good time for though interested in the MMO as there will a larger population to play with. I for one took a look and liked the MMO but not enough to drop any MMO I currently play. I also think this is nothing but a good thing for PO as they will get some new subscriptions and some free PR. ;) As I have a soft spot of indie developers I might sub for a few months even if I don't play.

    Oh and has an article on the influx:

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