24 June 2011

Wow, What a week!

  In the understatement of the century, this is a big week in EvE.  Walking in stations (or more accurately, walking around a room trying to figure out why you are there like a frat brother on Monday morning) was already slated to cause some "discussion" among the EvE community.  Then, in a comedy of errors, the situation has escalated beyond anything that could have been imagined.  For the sake of brevity I will just hit some of the high notes for you:

This CCP internal memo was leaked, it's "Interesting"

This was confirmed as real by CCP Pann

CCP released some news about 3rd party apps that upset about everyone

Amazing unrealistic prices on the new store (for items no one wants anyway) have left many questions in the commnunity

Incarna has been *reported* to cause graphics cards to overheat, even acceptably high quality cards **Note that this did happen to me on a formerly stable system with no overclocking**

Helicity Boson has been banned -- although I am a bit happy to see his tears as the organizer of Hulkageddon

CCP Pann is the first to come out of hiding

Some of EvE's major community contributors are up and quitting:  Here and Here and others but I didn't feel like looking everything up.

  As you can see, there is A LOT to talk about here.  I don't think I can cover all of this and I don't even know how much I care to.  Instead I want to talk about why there are so many problems with the changes and why so many people are upset, at least in my opinion.

  The first and most obvious problem was that there was some misdirection leading up to this launch which I can only assume was meant to keep the "bitter vets" on a low key as CCP was actively courting new types of players into New Eden.  I'm not sure what CCP thought would happen when everyone realized they had been lead down an alternate path, but I think the reaction was more venomous than they expected.  This lead to CCP making the decision to circle the wagons and try to wait out the storm by not really making any public reaction.  They probably couldn't have made a worse decision short of just posting on the forum HTFU and locking it down.  The player base worked themselves into a fury as only EvE players can do, and the fire was far too hot to put out by the time CCP broke out the water buckets.

  The second major issue I see is that EvE is a very (very!) complex game and even casual players have put a lot of thought and effort into being a part of it.  No matter the intended direction CCP has allowed a feeling to creep into the community that they want to make this game "easy" now; so that they can get new people to play.  Their actions leading up to this release have all been geared at getting players back into high security space: from the nerfing of null sec anomalies to the incursions that basically serve as hisec anomalies.  CCP has seemingly made a point of stomping out emergent gameplay in the past few months.  EvE is a game that is about as boring as watching paint dry when played by the original CCP rules, so you can imagine the backlash to losing the "fun" things to do in the game. Now, I don't know if this was CCP's intent at all, but they allowed that feeling to grow from the initial seed into a terrifying force in the community without ever stepping in to clarify.

  Another big issue was the claim that was stated over and over again: Incarna was something that the EvE player base REALLY wanted.  In truth most of us understood that it was necessary for the growth of the game but I don't think many of us actually cared whether or not we ever got it.  In fact I believe most current EvE players would have chosen a single new ship for each race over being able to see our bodies in the game.  When you first start in EvE it takes about a week to get used to the idea of a spaceship avatar, and then it's over, you never care about not having an avatar again.  In my opinion if CCP had been honest and told us that they had to do this to keep the game relevant or risk us all loosing it forever: everyone would have been happy to help, most would have even been nice about it.  Instead they chose to try revisionist history and tell us that this is something we always wanted.

  At this point the overall fire has reached a pretty serious point and there have been a lot of mistakes from both the players and CCP.  I'm not sure where this is headed but I do know I've already turned off my station graphics so that I can get back to playing EvE.  For me, Incarna is a non-issue until they take away the option to leave the station off.  I'm not going to quit EvE, even though I did consider it for a moment, but I'm also not even going to open the new store again because I really don't care about my avatar having a monocle that could buy me a new carrier.


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