Is this satirical image just the work of a bitter vet, or does it really mark the "beginning of the end"?
That is pretty much my summarized feelings on the release of Incarna and the days after. This sure isn’t how I had imagined -the- expansion to be. Although, to be fair, Incarna is just an expansion, and I should really adopt the term “Walking in Stations” for the bigger picture. Wouldn’t suggest using that for an expansion name though!
But I digress. We have gotten some pretty awesome stuff. New turret models. Holy hell are they nice or what? ….what do you mean you’ve not even looked at them? Yes, sadly, the whole awesomeness has been gone obscured by the gigantic clusterfuck – for lack of better words – that has been the last few days.
It started with the release day. Fair enough, server down some longer, extra optional patch, whatever. CCP is handling things. Not even other MMO companies run out perfect patch cycles all the time. We’re the EVE community, so we suck it up and we deal with it (and spam Tweetfleet while waiting). But uh oh, what is this! I log in and hello there performance lag. Yep, should have known better really, CQ as it was did not run smoothly on SiSi, and likewise does not on TQ. I admit I hadn’t been on the test server in a while, because I’ve been busy way over my ears lately, but this isn’t quite what I’d expect from a finished product. Fair enough, some tuning and tinkering done, take off SLI, and I have two client running at 20-30 FPS. Q9600 and 9800 GX2, so not bad for something a little dated, eh? Maybe we’ll see a performance patch if everyone is indeed having such terrible issues. Until then, suck it up and keep going!
Oh yes, new clothes! Let’s go to the Noble Exchange- JUMPING JESUS ON A POGO STICK you want how much for a monocle? *faint* So ok, I did see those prices on the test server. And I did notice you got three PLEX to work with. But never did it occur to me that the pricing they had on there would be anywhere remotely near the real deal.
So I get to thinking, maybe it is because I am poor, or maybe it is because these are exclusive items, even though it really sucks that they not moving with your jump clone (for the price, even when exclusive, they should go on all clones). But I’m not the only one who’s going “WTF MACRO-TRANSACTIONS?!?!”. Well meh. Ok, maybe if enough people dislike it the prices will go down, or we’ll see some other changes. If everyone disliking boycots it, CCP will be forced to lower prices, right? That’s how how them evil marketing dudes, who are probably behind all these shenanigans, work, right? Riiiiight?
So, by that point I was already a bit miffed. So I pull up a turret ship in my hangar and go watch it spin to console myself with. Except there are a lot of poor suckers out there who cannot do that. And what did you give them? No, not the hangar view, like was requested, you gave them a door to stare at. Ok, fine, so it’s a nice door. But I don’t think someone thought it through that this can also be seen as pretty damn insulting or slap-in-the-face. Staring at a closed door. That’s just taunting people. And at this point, you’re taunting players who are about to overheat as bad as their video cards.
And sure enough, when the first video cards fall, so go the first player subscriptions. The former I am still apt to write off on user error, a card under heavy stress should not melt unless your system is not ready to be under stress. And no, I don’t care it runs Crysis 2 fine and you don’t have heat issues. Because Crysis 2 is probably properly fine-tuned, just asks for very high specs to squeeze out pretties + performance.
But moving on. Now here is where things got bad. Like really bad. Because someone thought it was a good idea to leak “Fearless”, CCP’s internal newsletter. EVE News 24 claims they had it for a while already, yet what we get from them is a version that is missing a few vital pages, like the clause saying that these are not CCP’s views. Good going, you wanted to get a community that is already grumbling to grab the pitchforks and torches and go on an all out revolution? This here is exactly how you do it. Now, I am not saying EN24 is alone in this (even though I find they really thrive on sensationalism). Someone on the inside did decide to leak this. Not sure with what intentions, but without the whole context, which we only got in a devblog late today, this newsletter can really be seen as something different than it really is. So whoever is responsible either did this knowing what it could unchain or did it to warn us of what might just be but did not realize we lack context. Not that it really matters. Ever since it’s seen daylight it’s spread like a wildfire and left a trail of destruction and emo in its wake.
quickly state my personal opinion here, it is my blog after all: I do not feel that straight PLEX to ship / ammo / modules is a good idea, as it takes industrialists out of the equation. I’m neutral on the idea of selling faction standings. If you have them, you still need to make them work for you, and well, faction boosting services did really die when CCP had to go and break the displaying of them My opinion on clothes and other vanity articles is found earlier, I couldn’t care less, because I can just not buy them. So my personal biggest gripe is the potentially taking both the sandbox and the economy away from the player. And if that were to happen, that is where the line is for me. I love creating things, even knowing someone will sooner or later blow it up. I love the idea that the hull I dropped off to the market today might tomorrow be the one that turns the tides of battle somewhere. It pleases me to see the market go wild with speculation, even more when I can profit from it. But I will not stand for it being taken away so someone can pull out their credit card, buy a GTC, get two PLEX, and turn it instantly into whatever the hell they fancy flying today. The PLEX should always go to another player in turn for the ship that you wanted and they have for sale. We, the players, make the EVE market. Not the EVE marketing department.
Good, now that’s off my chest, let’s see at what it is doing to everyone else. Or actually, wait, let’s not do that. Last morning, after taking an hesitant look at Twitter, I just had to close it. I couldn’t bear it anymore. It’s damn everywhere all the damn time. Everyone is going crazy. Now, this morning we did not have the dev blog yet, so people were riled up that is was taking a while. Fair enough, I am a veteran EVE player, and I had plenty to do yesterday, so suck it up and keep going. Taken care of everything and log back in during the evening. Oh. My. God. My entire alliance chat, our public chat, every other OOC channel I’m part off, it’s all on fire about the newsletter and the content and EVE IS DYING and RAEGQUIT and EMO and WAAAAAAH. Goodness.
And then my good friend Casiella tells me he’s leaving EVE. Now I am a pretty sentimental person, I can cry over a movie, so no surprise that a little tear ran down my cheek when he told me. Because it’s just so damn sad. He’s one of the most awesome bloggers out there, he covers interesting topics both of what is hot in EVE as well as personal ideas and views. And always written in such a way there’s never really one word too many, or you get bored halfway wondering what the point is. Well, fuck, it sucked to see other bloggers and tweeters throw down the hat but it sure as hell sucks even more when all this recent herp-derp saps the energy out of someone who days ago was sharing the awesome ideas he had for a future within EVE.
And he’s not alone. Well, granted, most people are still up on the fence. Wait a little longer, see what CCP brings. Or let subscription lapse and take a break. And they are not alone. I, too, am up on the fence. Now I admit I am on a short fuse as of late, but even then. I am finding myself with suddenly a lot less willpower to log in and get things done. Just now when everything is going so well. I have notes on my desk scribbled with ideas and all I need to do is turn them into forum posts so we can begin working on them as an alliance. But guess what. This whole combined clusterfuck has shaken my faith.
Now I know this could all end well. I can ask people in our channels to lay off the issue and remain calm. It seems absurd to me that CCP would pour proverbial concrete over the sandbox and take the sandcastles away from the players. But I also notice a recurring trend where CCP seems to be in monetary trouble. Asking $99 for third-party licensing, so-called because a contract needs a monetary charge to be bound? Ridiculous prices for clothing? Even the mere consideration of selling “game advantages”? Now I might be seeing patterns where there are none, it’s human to search for patterns in everything and it can be a true curse, but what if I’m right? We know that Dust requires a heavy money investment, and that Iceland got hit pretty damn hard by the credit crunch. So what if that is at the root of this all? Money? It sounds so simple, and even if I am wrong, it’s probably still a deciding factor somewhere. CCP is needing money for something. And the usual ways are not sufficient.
But I will say this: Having spent a fair bit of my game time trading, one of the core principles I learned is that many small profits can make you rich, yet one bad investment can bankrupt you. Buyers too, are pretty naive. Feed us several small chucks, and we’re likely to buy more, due to the feeling of free will. Yet ask someone to drop down one big sum, and the same person will suddenly be far more hesitant. Dear CCP, if you really need money, why did you not do something else. Raise everyone’s subscription by one euro, perhaps even for just one month. Or give us many cheap clothes to buy. They didn’t even need to be all that fancy. Perhaps faction t-shirt, or replicas from the EVE store. I bet you they’d have sold. You’d have gotten your ISK. I was fully planning on buying clothes for my character. But right now I’m just not even sure I want to anymore.
Yep, that sounds pretty emo too, but that’s how I am feeling right now. I see my alliance members being sad, upset, angry, or any combination. And depending on what you decide somewhere in the future, as we are not being given any more guarantees anymore, I may or may not lose them over something that is completely outside of my power. If I make a shitty call, or if I am not careful and recruit a bad apple, it will be my fault that things implode. If others decide to raze us to the ground, it will be their fault and I can accept that, as that is what makes EVE into the game it is. But when you, the company I’ve held in such high admiration for being bold and defiant, for saying bring it on to the larger studios, and for proving an experience which is until this day wholly unique, do this, well, that stings. Because it is you, really, who has the power to decide if EVE lives or dies. And we, the community, might be critical, and really would you want it any other way? But now, you are pushing us over the edge, and people are responding. Attacking the Caldari memorial, moving from trade hub to trade hub to protest, because even threadnaughts will not do any longer. No, I am not saying it is all right and justified, some people are taking it too far, a community representative should not get spammed on Twitter for example (leave CCP Fallout alone, she’s a dear <3 and the rest of the Tweeting employees for that matter). But I am saying that we, your community, are worried and afraid. Because this reminds us of something in which Sony too was involved, and it ain’t too hard to point at Dust then.
So, in conclusion, I too feel struck by recent events. I keep hoping, but I also worry. I care about my favorite pastime. Because as you said it, EVE is real. I think a whole lot of things could already have been done better. But unless you deliver what I and many others consider the final blow with taking the sandbox away from us, I will be here to see how things work out, and perhaps in a few months we will laugh about this. But let it be said, that should it come to a point where I see so many people leave there is hardly an alliance left to run, or I look at my friends list and all the people who I really cared for are gone, well, then I will leave too and a small miracle will need to take place to ever gain me back. Because I’m not the kind of person to half-ass things. It’s all or nothing. Please prove me wrong and make internet spaceships into the glorious vision it could be
PS: You know what is really damn ironic? Check Valnurana’s bio ingame. When I created her to be my trader, way before she’d be the alliance holder, I had just seen Wall Steet and admired the character that is Gordon Gecko, wanted to do some light roleplay with her inspired on that. Yet with the whole newsletter thing, those words and the whole movie reference feels pretty damn bad all of a sudden.