Eve’s CSM Fight Back, And Some Thoughts

By Jim Rossignol on September 6th, 2011 at 3:30 pm.


When Eve’s Council Of Stellar Management (CSM) was formed, it was a bold move by developers CCP. The creation of a player-elected ombudsman was intended to deal with what was seen as a lack of communication between the playerbase and the company, as well as providing a forum to address issues such as perceived instances of corruption, instances like the one that sparked the CSM formation in the first place. In the light over the controversy over Eve’s cash shop, the CSM met with CCP again, expressing player concerns. Following a series of apologies and concessions, not too much seemed to come from this, but now the CSM chairman, infamous Goon boss Alexander “The Mittani ” Gianturco has spoken out, concluding: “We will not stand idly by as an alliance while our subscription money goes to waste, watching the game we pay to play spiraling into entropy due to the folly and neglect of CCP’s management. It is not yet time to start a fire, but get your gasoline ready. “


What this means isn’t entirely clear, but it seems that Gianturco is ready to wage a PR war to pressure the company into behaving in the way that the player expect it to. The way he and other players like him think their subscription money should be spent is probably a little different to how CCP think it should be spent. And that’s going to be a tough issue to resolve. As one of the most influential factions in the game GoonSwarm are not to be taken lightly. Whatever they decide to do could ultimately yield massive pressure on CCP, although whether it can actually change the course of what is now a global corporate juggernaut isn’t obvious to me.

Whatever the result, those flames could end up reaching pretty high. Unfortunately for CCP, players like Gianturco are much better at this stuff than they are. The company has been prone to devs saying the wrong things, as well as making some catastrophic design errors along the way. Of course that’s almost always forgiveable because things can change, and the game is a work-in-progress. It’ll evolve. It always does. But CCP are increasingly unable to come away from misjudgements or battles with player-opinion while also looking like a winner. This will be their most difficult challenge yet. And I believe that’s because this is the most fundamental battle they are ever going to face: a battle over how to run both their game, and their company.

What is being fought over is fundamental because it’s about what paying a subscription for a game actually means. The subscription model of gaming is a cash-machine the likes of which gaming has never known, but it is in decline. It’s being experimented with in Eve, which is adding a “cash shop” for extra income. You still have to pay a sub to play, but not you can buy a few extra bits and pieces if you have the money spare. It’s a milder version of the system that now powers dozens of free-to-play projects. This isn’t the issue at stake here.


What Gianturco is upset about (and by extension the players he represents) is that rapid and dynamic development of Eve’s core game – flying about in spaceships and blowing stuff up – seems to have been stymied thanks to CCP’s other projects. At one point this was the focus of every single expansion, but no longer. These other projects include both extending Eve via “Walking In Stations” and Planetary Interaction, and the two new games: Dust 514 and World Of Darkness. Gianturco and his allies believe that these are not things they wish to be paying for.

Clearly CCP were always going to have to pay for the development of their new game via the earnings from their first. This should surprise no-one, least of all Eve players. CCP have been a one-game company for a very long time indeed, and it was inevitable that they would want to branch out. Sadly this enormous growth seems to have coincided with poor expansions for Eve (some of them having little at all to do with “flying in space”) and a downturn in player numbers. As Gianturco points out, the expansions should yield a spike in players, but Incarna did nothing. And what a surprise: the kind of people who are interested in Eve’s cold, brutal spaceship wars aren’t lured back by avatars or rooms or trinkets. They want space war. Better space war.

What people are going to argue is that if they are still expected to pay a subscription, then the service provided had better be exemplary. If CCP still want to charge monthly, then players had better see the fruits of what they are paying for. Not just in new projects for CCP, but in better things for what remains the most interesting, innovative, and important MMO in existence. CCP have created a service, and that has created expectations. They are not being met.


Sure, make your new games, CCP, but don’t starve the golden goose. Or try to transform it into a cow. It’s my feeling that CCP should have invested doubly in Eve, and forgotten their baffling PS3-only F2P shooter project. Eve should be polished to the sparkle of a diamond by now, and the expansions for Eve should now be coming thick and fast: wormholes should have been an incredible new frontier for the game, ripe for the kind of etching in of detail that we’d already seen in the main galaxy. Combat and spaceship tech should be continuing its gradual evolution, and the most exciting aspects of the game – alliance functionality and territorial control – should have been given repeated passes. Players expression should have been facilitated, making that pirate dream more real, or allowing even more elegant tactics to be invented. Layering in irrelevant tech is evolving the game into a realm indifference, rather than excitement.

I personally felt the spark of the game disappear quite some time before all this, when changes to territory war did nothing to allow smaller factions to stake their claim. Coupling that with the ludicrous use of super-capital ships, the enjoyment I’d got from running small factions, skirmishing, and operating hit-and-run combat, was eroded to the point where I could no longer sustain interest in the game that I had loved more than any other. I’m not bitter, because those five years were incredible, unrepeatable, and massively valuable to me as a person, but I fear the current arc of development within the game is going to have a similar consequence for many other players. And I know how sad that can be. There will become no reason to pay a subscription to sustain the evolution of something that is changing in a way that is unappealing.

I hope there’s a way back for CCP, but I always said that Eve’s exciting and dynamic evolution could lead it into a dead end. Perhaps that is what is nearing. I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

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102 Comments »

  1. Silverel says:

    All good sandbox games eventually cash in their chips and walk away. It’s like some terrible curse.

    • HexagonalBolts says:

      I can’t personally think of any other sandbox games that have ‘cashed in their chips and walked away’…?

    • Respen says:

      @HexagonalBolts

      Ever hear of Ultima Online?

    • Snuffy the Evil says:

      Star Wars Galaxies, on the other hand, shoved its chips down its throat and choked to death.

    • Premium User Badge

      Daiv says:

      Nah, Star Wars Galaxies held on to its poker chips in a grim death grip, and then declared that it was bored of Poker and would henceforth be playing Snakes and Ladders and anybody who didn’t like it could just go and find another game.

    • Gunstar Zero says:

      Dunno if i just became a bitter vet in both eve and uo, but i feel the same about both @respen.

    • Josh W says:

      Most things end, if you wait long enough. The question is whether other people are able to set up successors.

    • Shodex says:

      Reply fail. D:

  2. wu wei says:

    It was never about the presence of vanity items themselves that was the issue last time either; it was exactly this, that the money we were spending on subscriptions was going towards pretty much everything but the core gameplay itself. So many of the basic mechanics are incomplete or just break randomly after updates. It’s nice that turrets have pretty animations now, it’s just a shame major classes of weapons are utterly useless.

    It’s worth repeating: CCP have stated outright that they’d rather add new features than fix existing broken ones, because new features bring in new players.

    • Kefren says:

      Surely players pay subscription money in order to play the game? In the same way that you might pay a fixed sum for a finite-length PC game? In neither case are you paying to have a say in what a company does with your money.

    • PopeJamal says:

      Indeed. You HOPE that they will improve the game in ways that you like, but you are very much paying for the game as it is in it’s present form. If you don’t like it, or don’t like the direction is moving (or not moving as it were) then you stop paying them money.

      It really can’t get any more simple than that. Paying them $15 a month and then pissing and moaning about it is really sending them mixed signals. Because you’re still paying them, it’s obvious that you aren’t unhappy enough with the current state of affairs to stop the cash, so no need to rush.

    • Scinadier says:

      No one is telling CCP what to spend their money on, people are simply saying they are going to stop giving CCP money if they don’t clean up their act.

    • qrter says:

      Surely why anyone pays for an MMO is so their experience will become infinite – the only real way this can be achieved is if the devs keep adding new content. That is what you are paying for.

      This player vs. dev war is about what ‘new content’ actually means.

    • qrter says:

      Excessive italics! How embarrassing.

      I forgot to mention – people have invested years of play in the game, that makes it incredibly hard for them to say “I’m unhappy, so I’ll unsubscribe”.

    • Kefren says:

      “Surely why anyone pays for an MMO is so their experience will become infinite – the only real way this can be achieved is if the devs keep adding new content.”

      I beg to differ, Sir. Surely the infinite experience comes about due to the actions and interactions of other players, creating stories. That is the one advantage of an MMO over a single-player experience. [It can also be its disadvantage, if the other other people are nobends.]

    • Captchist says:

      I’ll be laughed at for making the comparison but – it’s like a relationship.

      It’s an unfair dichotomy to say – Either you’re happy or you should break up. It’s more complicated than that. There is long term investment, attachment, habit, memories etc etc associated with it. If you have a grievance the smart thing to do is try to resolve it, not walk away.

      If I’ve been playing Eve for 4 years I don’t want to either (a) Continue paying for a game I’m unhappy with, or (b) Walk away. I wan’t a third option (c) Get back the game I enjoyed and was happy to pay for.

      I think it’s heavily unfair and rather short sighted of people to say – “You shouldn’t get a say in how the money is spent. You should only have a binary vote of pay or don’t pay.” That’s how it would work for a game I’ve never played before and I’m considering buying, when I’m in the shop with money in hand. For a game I’ve invested in for years it’s a more complicated relationship.

      And the ironic part is – that’s what being a Fan is. That’s what companies want!

    • qrter says:

      There are plenty games that offer multiplayer experiences where you don’t have to pay a subscription fee – I still say the subscription is to pay for generating extra content, not just to keep servers running.

    • Josh W says:

      But what if there is a game where the stuff you actually play is defined by rules, the “content” is generated algorthimicly?

      In that situation, touching up and rebalancing the code that generates the game is adding content, so long as it allows interesting stuff to happen that didn’t happen before.

      In the same way, adjusting the way the game deals with territory, or shifting weapons around, or doing other stuff to make strategy more complex and interesting, or open up new ways to play it, will add “content”; it will change what happens in the game and what you can experience, as well as what you have to think about.

      I mean maybe you’re a PvE only person, in which case the above is partly untrue, although adjusting the mechanics of space combat may have spinoffs in that area too.

      But in a way that’s academic; although it may add content, I suppose you’re the only one who can decide if that content would be what you were looking for or not.

  3. Zetetic says:

    “I personally felt the spark of the game disappear quite some time before all this, when changes to territory war did nothing to allow smaller factions to stake their claim.”

    Isn’t this the real kicker for why Eve can’t hope to attract new players? And indeed why the CSM is only going to make the situation worse. In practice, the CSM represents the massive existing corps and affiliates, like Goon Swarm, who have little to negative interest in promoting the viability of new corporations and fun for noobs.

    Furthermore, even if we believe the guff put out by the various CSM members about representing the interests of truly independent and new corporations, the large alliances have traditionally held much greater sway over the developers and certainly have much greater interaction with them.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Yes. I don’t think the CSM can do anything other than make things more difficult for CCP. I believe the root of the problem is in CCP’s plan for developing the game. Not an easy problem to deal with.

    • meatshit says:

      Ultimately what Eve needs is a reboot or a sequel, preferably the latter since the game has a lot of fundamental problems that won’t be fixed without a complete rewrite.

      I played with Goonfleet back when it was a group of nobodies in Syndicate and was a very, very small part of its transformation into a major player that could take on the top alliance in the game. It was an amazingly fun time, but I don’t think something similar could happen in today’s EVE. With sov4, the proliferation of super caps and the general build up of wealth and power in the hands of a few, there’s just too big of a hurdle for a group of new players to overcome, and as a result the game is stagnating.

    • Ovno says:

      Oh god not this again…

      The last thing eve needs is a reboot or a sequel, it does however need some noobs to grow some balls, stop whining about a reboot or sequel and actually try and do something….

    • James says:

      @Jim

      That’s not dismissive at all, don’t worry about it. There’s absolutely no practical function for the CSM besides complicating the lives of CCP. Thanks for being clear.

    • Xercies says:

      I think EVE missed a tric with there factional warfare thing that got me into the game and made me have a lovely EVE experience util everyone kind of just realised that there wasn’t any point to it. They could have definitly expanded that and made it into a kind of stepping stone to the 0.0 territorial sector thing, it could have given smaller corps a thing to do and it could have gven newbies like me a stepping stone to the real war or have something to do.

      But like every EVE expansion it seemed to be fll of half baked good ideas not given the extra push to make it really shine and be abandoned to the wasteside.

    • Psychopomp says:

      EVE’s mechanics make it rather hard for newbies to do something in 0.0.

      Roll in with a small fleet?

      Get hotdropped by supers.

      Roll with a big fleet?

      Get hotdropped by more supers, and a blob.

      Roll with a big enough fleet to actually do something?

      Get hotdropped by entire alliance.

      I’m not exaggerating. I have seen these things happen again, and again. Unless you have more supercaps than the enemy, there is nothing you can do to take sov, or even just poke around and harass.

    • Nallen says:

      My last small gang roam was hot dropped by 40 motherships.

      Not logged in since.

  4. airtekh says:

    I’m not an Eve player (I played it for a month and got enough enjoyment out of my short stay in Eden) but I do find CCP’s behaviour truly baffling.

    Surely their number one priority should be to serve their existing playerbase? Instead they just keep making decisions that only seem to infuriate them further.

    • oddshrub says:

      They’re using eve to develop the world of darkness engine. It’s as simple as that really, it was a gamble and it probably won’t pay off unless they somehow manage to regain the subscriptions they lost doing the summer.

      Right now they’re holding on to dear hope that it was indeed summer itself that caused he drop, and that people will come back once it starts to rain again (although it has been bloddy raining for two months here in denmark already).

      I doubt it though, if you look at the eve blogging community almost every major blogger quit. The guy who ran tweetfleet quit and won’t be updating it anymore so the twitter community is in dismay, and while the guy who did the major eve blogroll didn’t quit the game he still quit updating the blogroll.

      Maybe it won’t matter much but I actually think it speaks volumes because one of the things that has always sold eve is it’s own players, and if the “lol I’ll spam all forums/webpages telling everyone Eve Online is the best game ever” stop CCP isn’t going to get a whole lot of new people joining their game.

      Personally I hope they crash and burn. That internal mail of theirs stated that they had plans to add things like golden ammo and ships, and no amount of PR will ever convince me those plans aren’t still their intend.

  5. Merus says:

    I’m baffled that CCP are putting any effort at all into promoting social features like station bars and what have you. The sorts of players who are interested in socialising and community-building in a virtual world consider EVE anathema – a game where you’re never safe, where you can be betrayed at any opportunity and your only option is to grimace and pretend that everything is fine? EVE players would make sport of those kinds of people.

    Surely CCP are aware of the Bartle player types? They have a game that’s almost all Killers and Achievers – and that’s fine. It’s a stable configuration. With so many Killers, adding Socialiser features like walking in stations is a waste of resources. They could spend lots of effort giving Explorers something to do, or they could shrug their shoulders, decide that EVE is the Space Battle Game and not the Capitalist Space Opera Game, and make World of Darkness a little more civilised. This is the risk you run with open PvP.

  6. Premium User Badge

    sonofsanta says:

    It’s not like this should be news to CCP either; Walking in Stations has been talked about since what, 2008? And it’s been an open secret since then that it was the alpha for World of Darkness and that no-one in New Eden wanted it.

  7. Theory says:

    I personally felt the spark of the game disappear quite some time before all this, when changes to territory war did nothing to allow smaller factions to stake their claim. Coupling that with the ludicrous use of super-capital ships, the enjoyment I’d got from running small factions, skirmishing, and operating hit-and-run combat, was eroded to the point where I could no longer sustain interest in the game that I had loved more than any other.

    I think this goes to show how valuable Eve was. Transformation is common in life so it should come as no surprise that a real, self-sustaining virtual world shows the same traits. Removing this weakness from Eve, that is to say artificially restricting its growth, would remove it’s greatest strength.

    But then again, I only played it for a month.

  8. Lobotomist says:

    Its a fine balance. One small mistake and whole gameplay ecosystem can go awry.

    I think these gamer groups are to quick to jump the gun and blame CCP.

    Do they have actual sugestions, or just “Make it better” requests ?

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Player-driven analysis is unbelievably in-depth. But opinions differ. CCP have a hard job, but they are also simply working on things that are irrelevant to the core game – such as the avatars.

      The explanation for this is “well different teams do different things”, but someone set up the teams in the first place.

    • slight says:

      Indeed, and only a small fraction of those teams are working on ‘flying in space’ which is the main focus of the game. This has been the case for some time now, since the beginning of development of Incarna (avatars) and their other games, only a tiny fraction of CCP are working on features that the people paying for that other development want.

    • Lobotomist says:

      Can you tell for sure how many developers are working on “space” portion of the game. And was their number reduced ?

      On the other hand. I dont see “Incarna/waking in stations” going well either.

      It is taking ages. And the thing they released (as expansion) is, well laughable.

      One room , and no interaction whatsoever with other players.

      They were better off not releasing that at all, and just wait until all was ready. IMHO
      It only enraged the community because its usless for both groups ( pilots and roleplayers )

    • Blush Response says:

      I don’t think walking-in-stations used up many resources, like you say it’s just 1 room

  9. diamondmx says:

    If CCP turned about, they could definitely rescue the game – they’ve driven many of the most invested players away, but these same players are more likely to return, given a strong reason to do so. However, they’d need to admit they’ve made a huge error in judgement of what’s best for the game and it very much seems like this poor judgement is coming straight from the top layers of the company.

    They may also be tied into an agreement to produce Dust 514, but WoD could certainly be put on a back-burner while Dust 514 is finished, and a genuine effort can be made in EVE development.

    It makes sense that CCP would want to branch out (although they could instead simply reinvest in EVE and put more effort and development into it, than any other MMO created) but they have spread themselves too thin, to the extent where the EVE players feel completely abandoned.

    For example – the station environments are currently minmatar quarters in all stations, effectively placeholders for over 3/4 of the galaxy. This was supposed to be fixed by August. It was also promised to be included in the original expansion. It is now behind even the most conservative schedules. It’s pretty difficult for the players to believe it can take such a long time to design 3 small rooms unless there are very few staff being assigned to EVE related activities.

  10. Dominic White says:

    Just to put things in perspective, subscriber numbers aren’t dropping. They just aren’t growing as fast as they usually do – it’s not like the entire game has imploded. Most of the sound and fury comes from a very small percentage of players.

    This isn’t defending the thick-headed actions of the developers, but the doom-and-gloom is rather exaggerated.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that Eve has lost the dynamism that made it interesting. Personally I don’t care about player numbers, I care about good game.

    • slight says:

      There’s still a lot of fun to be had, but there needs to be new PVP (in spaceships, in sov, in the market) oriented content that people care about. The game looks increasingly like a reclic. They still haven’t even managed to roll out the new font have they? Or is it so similar to the old one that I didn’t notice?

  11. JustOneWay says:

    I have found the same thing as Jim and Zetetic. The greatest the game ever was, was when we had small wolf packs of players grouping up and going out for small scale skirmish warfare of their own choosing. When this kind of thing was not too difficult while being fun and rewarding.

    The game seemed to move away from this, favouring bigger and bigger player organisations and squeezing such play out.

    If there was anything I wish that CCP would do it was to put substantial effort into re-creating those possibilities. Perhaps the much discussed and never delivered bounty hunter system overhaul, encouraging players to take each other on in small groups to go hunting for individuals. A revision of the territorial claim mechanics to better facilitate small holdings and discourage large groups from eradicating them simply because they can.

    I think eve would be a much better place if it was a huge diverse mess of small factions, rather than defined by the wants, desires and wars of a few mega groupings.

  12. SirDimos says:

    “the expansions should yield a spike in players, but Incarna did nothing.”

    Yeah, I was one of those players who left Eve around May of this year, and I can safely say that there was nothing in Incarna that made me want to go back. I was hooked by one of the most numbers-intensive, unforgiving, and complex games in recent PC history and you thought a 3D avatar and cosmetic items would re-ignite my interest?

  13. kyrieee says:

    CCP has lost it. Hilmar has lost it, just listen to him!!
    Jesus

  14. Aemony says:

    I’m a Swede and I hate the word “ombudsman”. There I am, reading the text in plain English until I comes to “ombudsman”, stumbled on my feet, hurt my ankle, hit my head, landed on my elbow and broke practically every rule one could do when falling.

    That word… That DAMN word… “Smorgasbord” I can live with, but “ombudsman” hurts me, both physically and mentally… How can I seriously keep my English accent when reading it with that Swedish word? I just can’t! I’m physically incapable of seeing it as an English word!

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      Heh. Try being a native English speaker and speaking any other language that’s borrowed tons of words from English. My German accent isn’t too bad, but I can’t quite bring myself to pronounce English names and words the German way without smirking.

    • Starky says:

      Yeah I hit the same wall when I decided to make a (now failed) attempt at learning some Japanese.

      It has so many English loan words (gairaigo), that I could just not bring myself to say in the Japanese manner.

      As an electronics guy, saying electronics in Japanese always made me cringe – Erekutoronikusu

      It always makes me feel like one of those dick-heads that when speaking to someone who doesn’t speak English, just speak English loudly in a foreign accent.

  15. neuwildberry says:

    Reroll the servers to 2005, I`d subscribe again in a heartbeat.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      I didn’t want to say that. But if they did day-zero it and remove super-capitals, I’d be okay with that.

    • neuwildberry says:

      A bunch of people migrated over to the chinese server because it supposedly plays more like old eve despite running tyrannis, might be worth checking out. It’s probably quite fun if it doesn’t lag too much.

    • Hoody says:

      Started in 05 as it was the closest thing i could find at the time to Elite. Would love to go back to how the game was back then, when you could roam around in a handful or rocket kessies and pwn BS’s. Game started going downhill for me when they introduced cap ships, at which point it started to become blob online rather than a small gang fun game.

    • Premium User Badge

      Wanoah says:

      Same. So much of the promise of the game I saw in ’04 / ’05 simply hasn’t been realised. There were so many details that looked like they were just waiting to be added to; so many skeletons in need of a little bit of meat on their bones. By 2007, though, I was starting to think that an Eve II was necessary: an ideal Eve Online where they’d learnt from all those difficult-to-undo mistakes from the initial launch and subsequent expansions. The problem with continuous development is that it is so very hard to undo mistakes once players have years of investment in them.

      I still have an Eve-shaped hole in my life, if I’m honest. Literally no one has stepped up to compete with CCP: I’m positive that this is a major factor in Eve’s ongoing success. CCP have become horribly complacent as a result. They need some genuine competition to provide them with some much needed realism.

  16. Brumisator says:

    “[...]don’t starve the golden goose. Or try to transform it into a cow.”

    Wow, this is the best metaphor I’ve seen in a long time.

    • Durkan says:

      If you must mix your metaphors they should be shaken and not stirred :D

  17. EvilMonkey81 says:

    Id have given up on Eve a long time ago with all the politics and nullsec blobfests if it wasn’t for Apocrypha, W space gave everything a smaller skirmisher wanted. Anyone that wants smaller fleets and good groups of players should try it.

  18. ChromeBallz says:

    Please don’t link to the kugu site… Mirror anywhere?

  19. Kattullus says:

    CCP’s problems are much more interesting and complicated than any other developer’s. They’re running into the age-old problem usually only suffered by autocratic governments. If you create a democratic political body in an attempt to quell dissent that will create a powercenter whose legitimacy is derived from radically different sources than your own. Some autocratic governments throughout history have managed to delegitimize or shut down these democratic bodies, but the long-term damage has usually been already done. CSM was underutilized by players as a tool, but it was there to be exploited by someone like The Mittani. It’ll be interesting to see what happens, how this age-old struggle plays out in an MMO. Of course, unlike autocratic real-world governments, CCP has complete control of the reality of New Eden, but on the other hand, EVE players can leave the game a lot more easily and with fewer consequences than when people flee their homes.

    • sebmojo says:

      That’s a really interesting point. And Mittani is very slick at working those levers.

      I suspect he’s playing chess and they’re playing some weird Icelandic game with rocks and string.

  20. Kelduum Revaan says:

    From reading between the lines in patch notes and what they have been focussing on for the last five years, a LOT of the problems CCP have had introducing new things were to do with the UI and old code from way back in the dawn of time which was thrown together quickly but not documented.

    In the last few years at least, they have been taking the code behind the scenes, and splitting it off so it can be re-used for WoD and rewriting it so it can now be maintained.

    “Carbon UI”, the whole new UI system (which looks almost exactly like the old one, but means they can actually make new user interfaces now) should help a lot – the first attempt at really using this seems to be the new recruitment interface, which is an improvement on a massive scale, and something which should have been done years ago.

    Its pretty clear a fair chunk of resources have been redirected to DUST/WoD related stuff, at least on the art side of things (where are the other captains quarters? more clothes? etc?) but from a tech standpoint, it seems to be benefiting EVE as well.

    The main complaint seems to be “where’s my new stuff?”, and its right – there haven’t really been any big gameplay changes since the start of the year when Incursions were rolled out, and Incarna (while its nice and all to have legs finally) is still very much underdeveloped so far.

    Also, as the leader of one of the largest corporations in EVE, and the largest one based in (but not limited to) hisec space by a long way, I plan to run for the next CSM. You heard it here first. Or maybe second. Possibly Third…

    • diamondmx says:

      Best of luck to you, Kelduum. We lost something when DV was no longer able to run.

  21. Moonracer says:

    When I played MMOs I think this was my favorite part. This sort of tense existence between the player base and the company running the show. It’s somewhere between a simulation of that sci-fi distopian world-scape where corporations are the world powers and well, the real thing.

    You are basically trying to exist in a world run and crated by a corporation that is profiting off you, and you are constantly fighting for rights to a fair existence. And your only real power is the treat of leaving “suicide”. It’s a dark, wild ride.

  22. Alexander Norris says:

    As an aside, I’m somewhat intrigued/amused/puzzled/despairèd that this has failed to generate one single, smug cry of “those gamers, eh? So entitled!” which normally pop up anywhere players demanding a decent service from the people they pay is mentioned. :(

    It’s nice seeing that people are willing to discuss something like this without immediately dismissing it, and I wish the same courtesy would be extended to boycott efforts and the like.

    • Thants says:

      It’s JUST like an entitled gamer to want a reasonable, intelligent discussion! You should be happy that you get internet comments at all! There are starving children in Africa!

    • Dave Mongoose says:

      I think the real problem for CCP is that the CSM is something they’ve always encouraged and supported. When you start ignoring the official representatives of the entire player-base, you’ve got no excuse.

  23. jakonovski says:

    For a while there I was like whoah, Eve has Chaos Space Marines now?

    No, I have nothing constructive to add.

  24. Devec says:

    Having played since 2006 I enjoyed quite a good chunk of time in Eve where epic space battles were had. However I too noticed that over the year the game started stagnating. New features being introduced and the game actually involving kept me in the game and I loved it for that. The first time setting foot into wormhole space just showed what ccp are capable of producing.

    However in later expansions the newness became less and features were introduced which were absolutely either imbalanced (new sov warfare) or utterly pointless (PI, Door expansion) in their released form. Yes the players were given a boon from time to time (such as new models, ships, team BFF) but it just wasn’t enough. Too little progress was actually made with the core game and it showed.

    For me the biggest mess up was dominion in which supercaps and the silly sov system were introduced. This completely changed the 0.0 landscape and in time I found myself moving to npc 0.0 where fun fights where had. However here too you could find the influences of mega alliance/corporation pacts as all they did was steamroll over the good fights you tried to have with each other.

    These reasons eventually led me to bittervet and stay subscribed for the last six months until I decided that nothing was changing and I’d best just give up the dream of a progressively changing eve for the better. It is sad to say this but unless things change, I won’t be heading back any time soon as it used to be one of my better wastes of time in quite some time.

  25. PopeJamal says:

    People are unhappy with the “King of Griefing Simulators”. Odd. I never saw this coming at all.

    • Seth says:

      Your remark doesn’t really follow. Rather, people are unhappy with the “King of Griefing Simulators” failing to repair broken mechanics and committing resources to areas that do not contribute to its royal status as the King.

      Their complaints are not driven by the nature of EVE as a brutal place.

    • Premium User Badge

      mpk says:

      The griefing in EVE was never simulated.

    • FunkyBadger3 says:

      Their complaints are not driven by the nature of EVE as a brutal place.

      Rather by the type of people that enjoy said large scale griefing.

    • Thants says:

      PopeJamal: By all means, don’t let the fact that none of the complaints in the article have to do with griefing stop you from getting your zinger in.

  26. rasputinsownbear says:

    I don’t know, I’m a noob and I like Incarna a lot. It’s my third trial (previous two were in 2007 and 2009), and looks like I’m finally going to stay. Avatars are one of the main reasons. Well, I guess I’m too much of a fluffbunny.

  27. Seth says:

    reply fail

  28. Tams80 says:

    What CCP could do to attract new players without upsetting some of the current subscribers is have some better PR for the game.

    I’ve never played Eve, though I am interested. The trailers make it look interesting, as do the stories. However the gameplay videos around all seem to be awful. They give me no idea about what you actually do in the game. With almost every other game, I can pretty quickly see what a game is like from the gameplay trailers, but not Eve. You could say I should play the free trail, but that is rather a large commitment of time, which is not helped by the pressure of the time limit.

    Or maybe Eve just isn’t for me.

    • mmalove says:

      I’ve been unimpressed by the direction EVE’s turned, and as a result chose to spend my time and money elsewhere.

      To those asking what it’s like: it’s a super massive sandbox game that attempts to simulate combat and logistics in space. It plays more like a simulation than an action game, and tends to reward a well prepared ambush over keyboard and mouse “skilz”. It’s the kind of game that’s fun to read about, but boring as hell to watch.

    • DarkByke says:

      Do not be fooled by the game trailers. They are NOTHING like the actual game. It’s essentially a data spreadsheet where you worry about managing money and game items. It feels more like a second full-time job to me… and that is not cool with me. I play games for fun, not to do more work.

      I’m also one of those casual players that do PvE because I hate assholes in games.

  29. Kapitol says:

    Six years ago people were begging for Incarna and WIS.

    People want that ambiguous “dynamism” back but are never willing to accept that the game is inevitably going to grow in players and content. In many ways Eve’s players/core game mechanics are its own worst enemy. Development at CCP has been slow and sloppy. Tyrannis sucked. Opinion on that doesn’t vary widely.

    But some forum warriors have totally blown their lid about *avatars*. One person likened it to playing the sims, in which case any game which featured a 3rd person point of view would also qualify. I think people have lumped all of the generalized anxieties of late into their criticism of walking in stations, not the garbage DLC/vanity program CCP have freakishly birthed.

    A couple months of shit development because CCP are making another game, a faction of loud people on the forums go berserk over the jealousy complex, and you have a full-blown bandwagon that’s threatening the existence of my main hobby.

    Never enjoy talking about this.

    • Ovno says:

      @Six years ago people were begging for Incarna and WIS.

      What? No they weren’t I was there, everyone was shouting about how they didn’t give a shit about walking in stations and what they wanted instead was for ccp to fix the lag, fix the bugs and work on the actual game….

  30. DarkFenix says:

    I wonder what Goons will do this time, maybe start DDOS’ing again. They already cheat and exploit like crazy in game so not a whole lot they can do there differently. Hell maybe the entirety of Goonswarm could quit Eve altogether, two birds with one stone there; get CCP’s attention via revenue loss and clean out most of the Eve community’s worst twats in the process.

  31. Premium User Badge

    Erithtotl says:

    Ultimately I think CCP is dealing with the problem that even if they do keep adding content to keep their existing players happy, over time attrition will reduce that player base (people get lives, get bored, find new games or new priorities for their money…), and the influx of new players is less than the outflux of old ones. So they need new revenue streams, especially if they want to grow like most businesses rather than just maintain the status quo.

    The problem with EVE is that, to modify the cliche, it’s ‘Incredibly difficult (and generally unpleasant) to learn but hard to master’. It’s so un-noob friendly that I’m guessing a huge percentage of those who are big-time players now, if they actually transplanted their 2006 selves to now and started playing EVE for the first time (getting ganked ever 10 seconds, feeling 4 years behind the top players, etc), they’d never get going.

    Despite this talk of the recent expansions focusing on noobs, I don’t think avatar chat rooms are going to get new players past the first few months learning curve. And the vanity item store is absolutely not for new players, but rather for hardcore ones (who else would spend $70 on an eyepatch?). I think CCP is just trying to keep getitng as much money out of their cash cow while they attempt to branch out into new areas to increase revenue, because they realize that their core playerbase is so opposed to easing the game’s punishing startup curve or levelling the playing field that they could never institute the changes made to widen appeal, not to mention that the game already has such a strong reputation as ‘Lord of the Flies in Space’ that its unlikely there is anything they could do to attract those users anyway.

  32. FunkyBadger3 says:

    Self-entitled whining – appears no different to the persistent turdspout aimed at Notch about him being a lazy so-and-so for having the gall to take time off from developing Minecraft.

    • Thants says:

      And there we have it! The official Entitlement comment, come to shut down any discussion. Move along folks, FunkyBadger3 has invalidated your opinions.

  33. buzzmong says:

    It doesn’t help that CCP have lied about a number of things over the past year.

    The biggest two are the cash shop, where a CCP employee is on record in June 2010 saying that, no, there’s NO plans whatsoever for a cash shop, not work is being done, just no. Which was backing up what both the CEO and the producers had said previously, and the idea of a cash shop is something that the EvE playerbase as a whole expressed their outright loathing of.

    The player base were *incredibly* annoyed when 8 months later, the cash shop was put on the test server for public beta, as obviously knowing CCP, it had to have been planned for longer than 8 months.

    The second one involves Incarna and the sole Captains Quarters. Again, CCP made a promise. It was to be optional. Lead producer on record saying no-one would be forced to use it and no matter what happens, it would only ever come out if it was as efficient in player-time as the then-current hanger view. Hits test server, murmors are raised as it’s not optional and doesn’t actually do anything, assurances are given by a couple of CCP’ers that it’s only non-optional for the test server.

    What happens? 1/4th of the expected content hits the live server, it’s non optional, it totally replaces the original hanger view, has less functionality (can’t double click or right click on ships anymore), takes a hell of a lot longer to load than hanger view (15-20 seconds compared to the previous 2-3 seconds) and to top it off, it’s not only purely a vessel for the despised cash shop, but it’s got shit poor performance as well, going so far as to cause overheating on certain graphics cards.

    The emails and the leaked internal discussion/devils advocate newsletter (Greed is Good) fanned the flames.

    But mostly, people are 1) Rightly pissed off at being outright lied to and 2) Do not like being overtly treated as cash cows 3) Upset that the once previously brilliant two way communication between the community and devs had gone down the pan (quite a big marking point towards a game failing).

    Obviously, this is compounded upon the game’s core problems.

    I still think CCP could save most of the game and its player base if they manned up and just out and out removed all supercapitals then revisited sov systems (removing supercaps would fix 80% of pvp off the bat, the other 20% is nerfing pulse lasers and autocannons to retract the buffs they’ve given them, and buffing all hybrids). They also need to get rid of the cash shop (which amusingly, has failed spectacularly, CCP even going as far as stopping publication of the QEN in order to hide that fact).

    Do that, and they could pretty much save EvE and get back loads of the vets as well.

  34. sebmojo says:

    I think CCP would be wise to read Mittani’s thoughts on war (nothing original in them to be sure, Sun Tzu/Clausewitz at a guess):

    What is War, Really?
    War in EVE is not about battles between fleets or even capturing territory. Battles between fleets and territory changing hands are byproducts of war, of course, but the real purpose is to annihilate the enemy’s capacity for resistance in all forms. Once resistance is eliminated, what battles remain can be won easily and territory taken as an afterthought. Many wars begin with a stalemate of battles won and lost and systems traded until one side finally breaks their enemy’s will, whereupon the enemy implodes.

    Hold Nothing Back
    Breaking the enemy’s will takes many forms, both inside the game and outside of it. This includes attacks on logistics, attacks on sources of income, propaganda wars, the espionage metagame, scamming, griefing, character assassination, major fleet battles as well as small gang harassment. Any alliance going to “war” but intending only to fight in battles and contest territory, ignoring the other aspects of war, may still be able to defeat an inferior organization and shatter its will, but will be hamstrung against an equal opponent who is willing to use every available weapon.

    Attack the Weakest Link
    When choosing targets to strike, always attack the place where the enemy will have the least defense

  35. Dolar says:

    I think that one of the things that really hurts eve is the way the skill system int he game was designed. A new player can never catch up. In order to properly fly those big ships it takes about 2 years real world time to train the skills. It is hard to bring in new people if you have to tell them upfront you will never be as good as that guy.

    I really love EVE, I think it is a very interesting game. But it is hard to justify some of the decisions CCP has made over the years. The ps3 only shooter is example number one. Why make a console game, a shooter no less, that will be all based around a cash store. Why make a game like this when your fanbase is on PC? I see this as the move of a doomed company I have to be honest.

    • DarkByke says:

      agreed on horrible skill system.

    • cptgone says:

      skill system is fine IMO.

      new players CAN catch up, even pvp wise.
      - a newbie, flying the cheapest and smallest ship, can be (and has been!) the undoing of even the largest ship (the titan class).
      - esp. in small scale pvp, player skills > character skills.

      some character skills take a lot of time to acquire, true that, but there’s only 5 levels (with diminishing returns!) for every skill.

    • Dave Mongoose says:

      @cptgone

      That is true to some extent, but low skill-point players are often forced into unorthodox roles (jamming/disruption) which may not be what they joined for.

      On top of that, most pvp-oriented alliances often have skill-point total minimums to try to keep out spy alts, so you may need to train for a month or two before you can join.

      I would agree about skill levels though: a newbie that specializes can quickly overtake a generalist veteran, especially if (s)he ignores the non-combat skills like mining / industry / PI / etc.

  36. bill says:

    Creating such a player driven “council” was a colossal mistake on the part of CCP, and I expect it’s one they regret daily. Frankly they should just abolish it and do what the hell they want.

    Players have NO rights to say what their subscription money should be spent on – CCP can spend it all on ferraris if they want. (and imho they should do, as if i were them i’d be fed up with trying to please the whiny entitled playerbase). Players can choose to pay the subscription for the game that’s available, r not to. That’s how business and the world works.

    there’s a reason other companies don’t set up this kind of thing – because it’s a PR disaster, and will lead to endless complaints, conflict and a feeling of entitlement.

    • Dave Mongoose says:

      Yes, which is why politics is a mistake. Governments should just run countries how they want, and if people don’t like what their taxes are being spent on then they can emigrate. They should be grateful you even let them live there!

      … Of course, if you want people to keep paying taxes (or subscription fees), maybe it’s a good idea to listen to them and at least give them some of what they want? It really depends on how long you want to keep your job really.

  37. Premium User Badge

    It's not me it's you says:

    The most pressing thought this story brings to mind is that stuff about the playstation shooter, Dust. Has anyone figured out a scenario yet in which that game will not tank and be a massive financial burden to CCP until they eventually take it out to the shed and send it off to the farm? (but likely not before stringing it along for way too long and losing even more money in the process)

    I can’t see anything but negative impact on both Eve (a game I have played at times but mostly prefer to admire from afar) and WoD (something I’m actually keen to see come to fruition).

  38. 0WaxMan0 says:

    For me the drive to quite was a mix of 0.0 and the active choice of CCP to limit the eve play style and restrict the future of the game.

    The failure of 0.0 to provide a dynamic home and good fights to defend that home, out side of 50% of the server picking on a target and wiping them out over and over, where are the small corps fighting over expanding their territory by a single system and holding it, yet still being able to do stuff there ( I miss 0.0 of 2005).

    And the fail that is NEX and dust514, I love the idea of expanding the eve universe and walking around as an avatar is right up there on my wish list. But what is eve, and how does that expand to a static world of a few rooms and a little chat. Incarna needs economy and market, production and conflict, territorial control and politics, this could be so good in incarna but turning the economy, market into ££ and removing production fails there. And with out those the rest fall flat as well, we could see fantastic eve game play (with out combat) in stations, drive for territory (stores and corp areas) productions and marketing of new goods and new ways to play with old markets (implement some new marketing functions accessible as an avatar) all there for the enhancement of eve.

    Dust514 is similar but replace the non direct conflict WIS with direct conflict fps and make it accessible from eve as well on PC’s (fps suck on consoles any way).

    My love for the game was broken with incarna only slightly due to the miss direction, lying and failure to manage player expectations but mostly by seeing CCP chase $ and in doing so massively cripple any future game play. MMO’s live and thrive on horizons Eve in particular, when those horizons are cut short buy mountains of cash and no way through I don’t have the heart or the motivation to continue.

    As such I have taken my 5 acts and now I sit here desperately trying to find something to take the space that is now for rent in my life (and I don’t particularly need to do more stuff in the real world that is full enough) but this time around I wont be going back.

  39. Aska says:

    Clarification : I don’t play this game (I used to play it, years ago – so am familiar with the community)

    Doesn’t entitlement come down to what you are paying your subscription for?
    Is it for the game you currently play, or do you pay it for the promise of what it will become?

    If it is the latter that CPP pushes for then, yes, I think players are right to feel entitled – they are not paying for the game they play now but for the promise of what it will become.

    Normal MMOs (except beta/release day ones) sell subscription based on the game that exists now, with grand promises – the feeling I always got from CPP when I played years ago was one of “The game is incomplete now, but we have grand visions of the future – follow us there!!!”.

    Well, that future has so far failed to materialize from all I can gather.

    What players got for their money is a forced PC-upgrade, broken GFX cards and one room to walk around in to look at their nifty clothes instead of a more fun, diverse space-ship pew pew game.

  40. Shodex says:

    They’re trying to make the Ender’s Game beta, which is a good idea. Who wouldn’t want a game, with literally no limit to possibilities? Everything from ground based, infantry warfare, to large scale fleet wars. A virtual world encompassing every medium of entertainment in existence. Completely controlled by the players.

    It’d be incredible, but CCP made one mistake. They started EVE off by marketing it as a Space MMO with lots of pew, pew. People took on this “barbaric” beginning of their real ambitious dream game and they fell in love. As CCP tries to evolve the game in to something more, they do not realize they’re now committed to the Space MMO they created. And when you try to change the fundamentals, people latch on to the old and demand you still work on it.

    DUST 514 is an incredible idea, but EVE’s player base just wants their Space MMO. Not what CCP surely had in mind from the start, even if it was just a dream. So I hope Gianturco gets what he wants, but I also hope that in the process, CCP’s vision of EVE’s future isn’t snuffed out.

    And that’s coming from somebody who never played EVE and never wanted to, I just follow it’s politics because of how entertaining it is.

    • buzzmong says:

      Actually, CCP have been pretty forthcoming with their plans, they’ve stated for years that they want to make EVE a general Sci-Fi sim, and tbh, I’m behind the idea and it’s one I bought in to until July.

      They’ve pushed Incarna as the first step towards EVE becoming this grand Sci-fi sim, the problem lies in the fact the “big” Incarna update was a crock of shite.

      If Incarna had been pushed back a year or two and launched as all 4 captains quarters, full station interiors to expore, full in-station player interaction, the new black market (which will tie into Flying in Space as well, with players getting bounties on other players who carry contraband), and possibly having bonus things like corp or alliance war rooms, then it would have been an epic expansion, and people would have been fully behind it’s expansion into a proper sci-fi sim.

      But that didn’t happen, and it’s done far too much harm, and taking it out of the context of EvE and looking at it from a content view, it changed fundamental things in existing content (loss of hanger view, adding a cash shop) and added nothing of value to the game.

      The rough idea behind Dust 514, with players fighting on planets that exist in the Eve universe and therefore affecting the universe as well as being tied into the existing player infrastructure (corps/alliances), is a brilliant bit of game design. It also has the added bonus of bringing in FPS/Action fans into the universe, even if they’d never play a space game or want to deal with the space game’s complexity.

      Being cash shop led and on PS3 only is an incredibly stupid business decision. It should have been a PC game, and unless CCP somehow surprise the bloody fuck out of everyone and announce at release it’s on both PS3 and PC when it launches, then it’s going to crash and burn.

  41. Premium User Badge

    shoptroll says:

    So basically “no taxation without representation”?

  42. Darthus says:

    So wait, an MMO a number of years old tries to enhance the game and perhaps add a new direction by adding new features and the small niche audience that has been playing it for years despite stagnant growth gets loud and upset… have we heard that before? How about every time any MMO changes anything? The main difference here is that CCP has armed the pitchfork and torch wielding mob with an “official council” who can throw their weight around.

    Players have to realize what they want to enhance their niche experience is not necessarily what is best long term for the game. Eve has always been criticized for being a spreadsheet-like niche game that is nigh unapproachable. They’re adding more user friendly features like actually… having a character, more modern graphics, attempting a more modern usable UI and people are decrying “that’s not what we want”! Of course not. It’s not for you, it’s to draw in new players.

    As long as they aren’t noobifying the game or actively removing complexity and depth, the things that make Eve great, then I say stop complaining. There have been what, something like 20 updates, all dealing with new capital ships and fiddly new systems… is that what you want more of? Does that do anything to broaden the scope of the game or make it less niche? No. I’m a person, like I think many others, who loves the concept of Eve, but cannot stand how boring and unapproachable it is. The more they do to alleviate that, by adding modern graphics, immersive interactions (yes, walking in stations) and new types of gameplay (Dust), the better, as long as they maintain the spirit of what makes Eve great.

    This is why I wish more games went the Guild Wars route and could survive not charging a subscription, maybe put out Incarna etc as expansions that have to be purchased. Then people can’t hold the subscription fee over their head like they owe you something in how they develop the game. More new players and diversification of gameplay makes the game more interesting for everyone, including those who want to play the game the old way.

    So yes, I hope they ignore the CSM nearly entirely. I see them as a large boa constrictor around the game’s expansion, threatening to squeeze tighter if the devs try to move someplace new.

    • JoshFromIT says:

      @Darthus: I don’t think you play the same Eve that the rest of us does. There has not been a significant update focused on actually flying spaceships in space (which is what the game is about) since Apocrypha was released back on March 10th, 2009. That expansion brought us wormholes, T3 ships and is generally regarded by the playerbase as the last successful expansion.

      What expansions and features have we gotten since then? Dominon revamped the sovereignty system, and was initially well-received, except CCP never actually finished it! All of the features that were supposed to make the new sov system manageable – like a revamp to the standings system and true space diplomacy tools. Features were promised and never delivered.

      Next we had Tyrannis, which removed a bunch of CCP generated items and replaced them with items created by essentially playing Farmville in Space. Don’t get me wrong, I made tens of billions in isk off of CCP’s poorly thought-out blunder into the Eve economy – my personal benefit doesn’t keep me from criticizing an expansion that did little more than cost many people a lot of isk (from increased starbase fuel costs) while (ridiculously) enriching a relative few people. The one bone we got with this expansion was a revamp of the Scorpion, which does look pretty sweet.

      After that were Incursions. Oh hey, two new spaceships! One literally looks like a gigantic turd and the other ship is geared towards looting and salvaging, which incidentally was nerfed a few patches before. Heh. Again, a patch which resulted in a relatively small number of players making a ridiculous amount of isk while the rest of the playerbase gets ganked on gates by aggressive NPCs.

      Finally, we get Incarna, which was shoved down our throats less than a quarter complete. Instead of all 4 captain’s quarters (one for each race), we get 1 captain’s quarters. There’s a release of an internal memo that basically makes the argument for “gold ammo,” (real cash for in-game advantages) something that was specifically stated to be “off the table” previously. CarbonUI, the new spiffy UI promising to be the best thing since sliced bread was deployed then immediately disabled.

      The players are not against new features, diversity and enhancement. The players would like to see CCP actually complete the content they’ve promised but never implemented over the last 3 or 4 years. Complete the content that was promised, don’t shove content down our throats that’s little more than alpha testing for CCP’s werewolf/vampire game or a shitty PS3 shooter that’s probably going to be one of the last console games released before the next gen consoles come out.

  43. Adam_Jordan says:

    This is a very serious issue, with so many players relying on the game having a future it is of utmost importance that CCP management heed their consumers, their constituents.

    Edge
    Eurogamer
    PCgamer
    GamerZone
    GameSpy
    Ten Ton Hammer
    MaximumPC
    Lum the Mad

  44. viqerfell says:

    CCP really needs to focus on the game we all pay them to play. A spaceship game. Not Dicking about in Stations preparing to be Vampires nor Dicking about on a Barren waste blowing up someones micro transcation driven planet crap. Spaceships and the blowing up thereof.

  45. philihp says:

    As a long-time RPS subscriber, I am enjoying the coverage on EVE-Online. I’ve long thought if I were to design a game, it would look a lot like EVE-Online. It’s kinda sad to see it spiraling downward, but I suppose all things must pass.

    I look forward to reading more about the drama.