Eve Online's laughably expensive pretend clothes drama seems to have settled down - officially-speaking, at least. Last week, developers CCP flew the Council of Stellar Management (a collective of player-elected Eve, er, players) to Iceland for crisis talks about what the hell to do about all the online screaming. Both parties have reached some accord, and as far as I can tell it didn't involve locking the CSM in a dungeon and slowly flaying all the skin from their bodies until they whispered "Yes, charge for everything - the clothes, the ships, the ammo, additional starfield colours... You're right. You were right all along. Kiiiiiiiill meeeeeeeeee..."
What seems to have been determined in the wake of of this "perfect storm of bad luck, bad planning and bad communication" for sure is that there will be no pay-for-unfair-advantage microtransactions, that lower-priced vanity items are necessary, that more communication is needed and that there are tech issues which need a-fixin' asap. The problems were "a perfect storm of bad luck, bad planning and bad communication," apparently. Watch a chat between two very tired-looking representatives of both sides below...
Much as I'm sure you've been floored with admiration for my impeccable copy and pasting skills, I should observe that all of this originates from the Eve site.
Here's Arnar Hrafn Gylfason aka CCP-Zulu - author of the notorious 'virtual clothes=real clothes' misfired apology - and CSM representative The Mittani (who seems a whole lot less sadistic than he did in our interview with him last year) chatting about the agreements they've reached after two days of evidently knackering debate.
"It's been no party" indeed.
Upshot: the CSM have been shown what CCP are planning, have argued the toss about what should and shouldn't be done, and they've come to an "adequate resolution" but things aren't entirely "hunky-dory" as yet.
Here's the official statements, first from CCP's Gylfason:
"Following the series of events surrounding the launch of Incarna, CCP invited the Council of Stellar Management (CSM) to an extraordinary meeting in Reykjavik to discuss and address a variety of topics ranging from ship spinning to performance to virtual goods strategies. The discussions were very productive and both parties came to an understanding and agreement on key topics. That meeting has now ended and a firm resolution reached by both parties.
CCP acknowledges that the reaction following the leaked internal communication could have been handled better. Good communication and trust between CCP and the EVE community has always been a fundamental priority for CCP and will continue to be so.
It is CCP‘s plan that the Noble Exchange (NeX store) will be used for the sale of vanity items only. There are no plans, and have been no plans, as per previous communication and CSM meetings, to introduce the sale of game breaking items or enhancements in the NeX store.
The investment of money in EVE should not give you an unfair advantage over the investment of time. The CSM, under NDA, has been presented with CCP‘s plans for continued evolution of the business model and agrees that nothing they saw breaks this principle. CCP has committed to sharing their plans with the CSM on this front on an ongoing basis.
CCP acknowledges that communication surrounding the launch of the virtual goods store should have been better. To address that, we will write up dev blogs that explain the pricing strategy of the NeX store and the price tiering system. We will also communicate that we intend to put the focus on further fleshing out the lower price range and give visual examples of upcoming items.
The CSM raised concerns with performance running multiple clients after the Incarna launch where the minimum hardware spec will only support one client logged in when in a station environment. CCP will work on creating a minimum hardware spec that supports multiple clients, but wants it to be clear that the current minimum specification aims at single client with low settings.
The CSM helped CCP understand the emotional connection players had with „ship spinning". They vehemently demanded the return of the feature, which CCP committed to introduce in some form at a future date. Until that functionality is added back in, the option to load station environments will remain in the Settings menu.
We are very happy with the results of the meetings and appreciate the commitment to EVE the CSM members have shown by attending the meeting on short notice."
Then there's The Mittani, speaking on behalf of CSM 6:
The CSM came to Reykjavik for this extraordinary summit to address the cloud of suspicion and fear which has descended upon CCP and the EVE community in the aftermath of the Incarna expansion and the various internal leaks.
The issues we have addressed and discussed with CCP are:
Captain's Quarters: We discussed the hardware and lighting issues within the CQ and we were satisfied that they were being addressed. We were pleased when Torfi announced that the current "Disabled Incarna Door" will be replaced with an environment that will provide similar functionality and performance to the pre-Incarna Hangar, and this environment will be available until Incarna performance is similar to pre-Incarna performance. While the final details and timelines have not been worked out, ships will once again spin all over New Eden.
Noble Exchange Rollout Debacle: We were shocked and appalled to discover how badly the planning and implementation of the Noble Exchange was executed. Despite the fact that they did not have enough assets of the right types to do a proper rollout, they launched anyway. The CSM believes that if CCP had properly communicated the details of their vanity goods pricing strategy and had sufficient low-tier items available at launch, the controversy would have been greatly reduced. CCP will issue a dev blog in the near future explaining their vanity goods strategy and how it will be implemented in the Noble Exchange.
Game-affecting Virtual Goods: We are convinced that CCP has no plans to introduce any game-affecting virtual goods, only pure vanity items such as clothing and ship skins. We have been repeatedly assured that there are no plans for ‘gold ammo', ships which have different statistics from existing common hulls, or any other feared ‘game destroying' virtual goods or services. We have expressed our deep concern about potential grey areas that the introduction of virtual goods permits, and CCP has made a commitment to discuss any proposals that might fall into these grey areas in detail with CSM at the earliest possible stage.
The Fearless "Greed is Good?" Leak: We accept CCP's position that Fearless is a deliberately controversial internal publication and does not represent the policy of CCP Management or of CCP Zulu, the Senior Producer of EVE Online, nor the direction of game design.
The Leaked Hilmar Global Email: We were appalled by the leaked Hilmar email and the atrocious and out-of-touch messaging it contained. We sympathize and agree with those players offended and disgusted by it.
Arnar (CCP Zulu)'s Angry Friday Blog: We were disappointed by the tone taken in Arnar's Blog, but we understand that he was in a state of extreme agitation and reacting to the leaks coming from within his company, which he saw as a breach of trust. While we may disagree with some of his decisions, we are united in our support of Arnar as the Senior Producer, and were pleased with his followup Apology Blog. We hope that his statement today will begin to restore your trust in his leadership and vision.
We believe that the situation that has unfolded in the past week has been a perfect storm of CCP communication failures, poor planning and sheer bad luck. Most of these issues, when dealt with in isolation, were reasonably simple to discuss and resolve, but combined they transformed a series of errors into the most significant crisis the EVE community has yet experienced.
We hope that this meeting will be the first step in the restoration of trust between CCP and the EVE community, and we will keep the community informed as to CCP's efforts in delivering on the commitments they have made to us and to you.
Whether the players themselves are happy remains to be seen, of course - around 6000 people claimed to have cancelled their subscriptions in the wake of the Incarna shouting match, and all we've really got from this 'extraordinary meeting' so far is promises rather than action. There's much talk of compromises being reached, but I'm not altogether clear what those are (unless CCP really was planning on pay-for-advantage stuff) beyond CCP acknowledging that they've been a bit lousy at explaining their thinking.
Still, it sounds broadly positive, and a sign that CCP are now trying very hard to listen to the needs of the many as well as the needs of the few's wallets. Hope it works out well for all concerned.