Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Goons Finally Wrecked EVE... Fanfest Controversy

So the big take-away from fanfest has suddenly turned overnight from Dust514, ship re-balancing, cruicible, and now everything seems to be focused on a poor choice of words from the Leader of the Goonswarm Alliance/part-time CCP spokesperson/CSM Chairman for life/The Mittani/Mittens. I was there in the audience and in the context of the venue, the context of the discussion and the panel itself it didn't sound so bad. However, taken on it's own this is a huge PR disaster. This is what he said...

"Incidentally guys, if you want to make the guy kill himself his name is ### ###. It's "#" "#" "#" "Space" "#" "#" "#"
He has his own corp. Find him."

This is really bad. It is in clear violation of the CCP Terms of Service, and, much more importantly, in violation of the Laws of the United States if not Iceland. Encouraging a mob to get someone to kill themselves over a social network type situation (and that is what eve is) is not something that CCP or Sony wants to be associated with.

What are the implications?

Firstly for the Mittani who, once sober and reading the above quote realized his mistake it is pretty much the end of his EVE career. He has already gracefully apologized and given his ISK to the victim. He has declared that he will step down from the CSM after talking to them. No Rush Limbaugh here. I suspect there will be a permaban placed on his accounts from CCP in an effort to quell the PR disaster. I don't think that he will face prosecution in the US for his statements nor will he be disbarred, although both are certainly possibilities. It is possible his taking full responsibility and apologizing will reduce the impact but far from certain.

For CCP this is about the worst clusterfuck imaginable. When trying to launch a new product that will be free to download onto the PlayStation network, to suddenly be associated with a case of apparent cyber-bullying is not good. Sony may very well pull out. It depends on the amount of press this receives. Video games have a history of tension between role-playing violence and those who would like to prevent kids from playing violent games. As a result there is a surprising amount of resilience to gaming companies to controversy.

If Sony pulls CCP's chain then EVE has a problem. I would not be surprised if there was a patch preventing suicide ganking in the very near future. There will certainly be clear modifications to the Terms Of Service and EULA coming.

As a reference... here is the first 4 sections of the EVE Terms of Service:
From the terms of service:

1 You may not abuse, harass or threaten another player or authorized representative of CCP, including customer service personnel and volunteers. This includes, but is not limited to: petitioning with false information in an attempt to gain from it or have someone else suffer from it; sending excessive e-mails, EVE-mails or petitions; obstructing CCP Employees from doing their jobs; refusal to follow the instructions of a CCP Employee; or implying favoritism by a CCP Employee.
2 You may not use any abusive, defamatory, ethnically or racially offensive, harassing, harmful, hateful, obscene, offensive, sexually explicit, threatening or vulgar language. (Alternate spelling or partial masking of such words will be reprimanded in the same manner as the actual use of such words.)
3 You may not organize nor be a member of any corporation or group within EVE Online that is based on or advocates any anti-ethnic, anti-gay, anti-religious, racist, sexist or other hate-mongering philosophies
4 You may not use “role-playing” as an excuse to violate these rules. While EVE Online is a persistent world, fantasy role-playing game, the claim of role-playing is not an acceptable defense for anti-social behavior. Role-playing is encouraged, but not at the expense of other player. You may not create or participate in a corporation or group that habitually violates this policy.

TL;DR - EVE Fanfest + Mittani = Drama

Note: The target of the attack is alive and well and is still mining in space mostly oblivious to what is happening it seems.


  1. I'm going to play devils advocate for a second. I'm not at all defending what The MIttani said at the Alliance Panel. But if CCP plans on banning him they should also ban the Mackinaw Pilot who violated the EULA by threatening to kill himself due to the actions of other players that were within the rules of the game. In my opinion that is abusive, harassing, and threatening behavior, and could also be considered cyber bullying.

    I think this is getting blown out of proportion. The Mittani got drunk, said some really stupid shit, realized and apologized for it publicly and in private which the offended player seems to have accepted and like you wrote doesn't really seem to care too much. What else can you really ask for? Is it fair to permaban The Mittani?

  2. In the context of the fanfest and the panel what was said seemingly fine. The problem is that taken out of context it looks really really bad, makes him look like a bully, makes EVE players look like jerks, makes CCP look like a dangerous game publisher and by extension makes Sony look silly to be involved in all of this. Perception > Reality unfortunately.

  3. And I'm unsubscribing from your blog. I don't need to read another parrot who doesn't bother thinking about things. Goonswarm is a roleplaying pvp alliance. He was obviously talking about making the guy biomass his character.

  4. @Powers....
    Of all the many holes in my argument, the idea that what Mittani was actually saying was encouraging biomassing ... ridiculous.

    Have you seen the presentation or watched the response from The Mittani/CCP?.

  5. @Powers

    I, too, hate opposing viewpoints and try to avoid them whenever they appear. I think it's best to get the news we want by filtering out the news we don't want.