Thursday, June 30, 2011

CCP Zulu: What he should have said

A LOT of this incarna controversy comes out of the bad PR containment from recent devblogs. This is what CCP Zulu's devblog should have said:
To say the launch of Incarna has been controversial is an understatement. We at CCP appreciate the passion that many of you have for the game and are always listening to feedback. Let me address some of the big issues that you are having below.

1. Video Card Heat: Our engineering teams are looking at this one closely. For now I suggest setting the card to interval 1 as that may reduce the heat without affecting game-play. Expect more on this later.

2. NeX Store Prices: In many ways we are finding the uproar over the high prices amusing. The issue here is clearly poor communication from us and we take all of the blame. What happened here is that when this was first developed a lot of the functionality you see in the character creator was going to be restricted to the NEX store. Piercings, tattoos, jewels on the forehead, etc were all going to cost small amounts of Aurum. Instead, after feedback from the Incursion character creator, we decided to make most of these items 'free' leaving only the most expensive ones in the store. We did not fully realize that this would make our store look a little unbalanced in the eyes of the players. Rather than nickle-and-dimeing (plexing and Auruming maybe) the players for low cost items, we only placed the premium items in the store and leaving items that we deem to have a lower cost to be free. In the future expect to see more less expensive, and more expensive, items appear.

3. The Hanger View: As many of you noticed the static view of the door when the station environment has been turned off is far from ideal. We are aware of this and are working to improve functionality for users whose computers are unable to take full advantage of CQ. Rest assured we at CCP are committed to giving the best possible gaming experience to as many possible hardware configurations as possible.

4. Fearless: This internal newsletter contained a great discussion about micro-transactions though a point-counterpoint series of articles. CCP Soundwave was assigned the task playing the parody of an 'Evil' game designer trying to push microtransactions to a ridiculous level. He even went so far as to pull material out of a 2008 April Fool's joke devblog about gold ammo. We are stunned that anyone would take his statements in the newsletter as actual policy. Rest assured that we at CCP understand the market based principles that make EVE special. If anything we suffer from an overabundance of caution at disrupting this. I can not go into details here as to microtransaction plans, however were not going to kill our golden goose to make a quick buck. Since many of you found the newsletter to be interesting reading, we are going to release portions of several other back-issues that players may find entertaining. But please don't take what is said in there as company gospel because it is very definitely not.

Instead CCP decided to blame us players for their problems. It may be too much to ask for definitive declarations of CCP policy while they are doing damage control. But they really need to work on diffusing situations, not feeding the fires.


  1. There i no doubt CCP could have avoided most of the problems last week with better communication.

    But I can't see where they "blame the players" for their problems?

  2. I wouldn't say they blamed the players necessarily, but the tone of that first devblog definitely came across as "I'm sorry that you just don't understand how much sense this makes, dumbass."

    If they had published something like your example, I have no doubt things would have gone much better for them.

  3. You missed the bit where he said CQ would remain optional and not shoved down out throats, and that MT would only remain the province of vanity items.

  4. LuckyLuigi: I don't think they actually knew that your latter point would be a problem if they properly explained the 'Fearless' newsletter. Which is part of why the next one out of their offices not only apologized for the one this blog entry tries to correct, but stated "there are no and never have been plans to sell "gold ammo" for Aurum" ... which, unfortunately, wasn't clear enough for the majority of those already raging about the issue, but it was sufficient enough for me to think that maybe there has been a misunderstanding of epic proportions.

    I'm watching rather closely today, as much as I can, to see if that stance is indeed true, or if my corp needs to vacate the premises.

  5. I honestly feel like this entire episode has been a giant misunderstanding, which was fed by some pretty big PR mistakes. The content of the Fearless newsletter was pretty badly misunderstood by a bunch of the playerbase, and rumors and hearsay started flying. And I'm sure the devs are (understandably) frustrated with the small percentage of players who were making genuinely hurtful emotional attacks against them. Zulu's follow-up post after the one linked here makes his frustration and emotion pretty apparent.

    I'm willing to give CCP some benefit of the doubt, and I genuinely think they know what to do to fix this and will do it. We'll see what comes out of the emergency CSM meeting today.