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Careless Whispers

I am very bad at using song lyrics to emphasis a point. That has never stopped me from doing it anyway. Over the past two years my understanding and frame of reference for Eve has changed. I am prone to musing about topics that have little to do with game play. They are formed from nothing more than my own opinion and understandings.

Last week during the summit I said that the Producers had asked us to give them their ideal road maps. I took this outside of the summit room (with permission just saying) and brought that here to the blog. From there I got a heap of interesting responses and even a blog banter on the topic. My information sourcing mind is very happy and I expect that I will spend tomorrow and Friday starting a summerization of things.

Of course, as often happens with such topics, the responses developed a life of their own. In my ideal mind everyone would give me a nice little road map. I'd bundle that up, slap a bow on it, and hand it over. For some unknown reason, my ideal situation only partially happened. People took the topic and responded to it in many different ways.

What I started to see was not just an ideal road map, but an ideal image of things people wanted from Eve. Inside of that, I started to see something that at first made me squint in exhaustion before I reflected on what it meant.

People listed wants more than road maps. It is as if each person is an individual and interpreted the topic in their own way. But, this isn't about the interpretations so much as a steady pattern that I began to see. This all leads back to George Michael as well.

In the song, George Michael is apologizing for, I guess, cheating on whomever he is dancing with. Or something. Anyway, he fucked up and it got out and we're all really sad. While not quite the same, I've spent a good bit of time over the last two years coming to understand the cost of CCP's years of player interaction.

In the 13 years that Eve has been chugging along, CCP has made a lot of promises. They have not fulfilled all of those promises. That is understandable. Often times the promises were grand and reality snickered at their efforts. Other times new projects and problems came to light. Some things upon creation did not match their original inspiration. There are reasons why everything has happened. Lots of reasons. But those first made promises, many of them made for years, left a bad taste when they were not fulfilled.

Now CCP of 2013 who is not CCP of 2003 has to pay for those careless words whispered on the dance floor over the years. They are paying for words said by other people. It is a rather terrible situation that they are in. No matter what they do or bring to the table, those past promises bubble up to the surface again and again.

It is one of the larger wounds that never seems to heal between CCP and the player base. At first, I thought I could solve it by just explaining it. That makes sense to me. However, I've been knocked off of that bit of rational thought. It doesn't work because those careless promises were so provocative. Love at first sight or maybe lust. Whichever it was, it caught the imagination, set roots, and sprouted.

I don't think CCP wants to spray weed killer on everything.

The age of the community has worried me for a while now. How do we entertain people for over a decade? Can we expect that people can and will continue to be entertained? But then, I have to add onto it these cuts and hurts that makes things that much harder.

My belief is that they can be healed, somehow. I'm not sure how but I believe it anyway. When I look through the roadmaps I have been given I see a lot of frustration. It has adjusted how I plan to write my summary. Which is a good thing. We dig for gold and sometimes find platinum.


  1. "Now CCP of 2013 who is not CCP of 2003 has to pay for those careless words whispered on the dance floor over the years. They are paying for words said by other people. It is a rather terrible situation that they are in. No matter what they do or bring to the table, those past promises bubble up to the surface again and again."

    Mai I remind you of CCP Hellmar [ceo], date of in game birth 2003/06/03

    Regards, a Freelancer

    ps: as head of the Company he is responsible, including what his staff does

    1. You can remind me and you can blame him but he isn't the one leading the development and making the every day choices as to what is going out. Once he did but it hasn't been like that for a while. But, it does just add to my point, so thank you.

  2. I love your blog, much respect. Anonymous has a good point. The old boss is still the boss. I think the game is fine. It's the stuff around the game that have people feeling negative. The CSM, gambling sites and TMC seem to be the source of much negativity in the community right now.

    1. The funny thing is that I get negativity from a lot of other different places. There has rarely been a lack of negativity which has always fascinated me. It leads me to wonder if or how much people enjoy it but that is another tangent.

      Yes, Hilmar is the CEO. I guess we could stand there and just blame everything on him for being the CEO. That wouldn't get anything solved. It wouldn't change development. It wouldn't help figure out how to heal the unintentional harm left by people who are no longer employed by the community.

      I've come to develop a better understanding of what the CEO does but he isn't in the trenches designing the game any longer. He isn't putting his stamp on every design before it goes out. There is a fair bit of autonomy that has both given us amazing things and frustrations in the same hand.

      I don't think there is anything productive to blaming Hilmar, but I appreciate your supporting Freelancer. It gives me more to think about because that isn't the answer I'd have developed on my own.

  3. Heh, I was a little worried about what responses you might get when you asked for roadmap ideas in your post. When it became a blog banter topic... well... I just reprinted the tidbits I had for you in your post and then waxed on about how we ought not to get too worked up about visions of the future until we start getting dev blogs about them.

    And then I felt I had to follow that post up with a post about the realities of an MMO in middle age where you can't just ignore your current loyal base to chase theoretical new players with, as Hilmar once called it, a "Jesus feature."

    But we will remember the things we want and forget what is inconvenient and simply be who we are. At times it is like a sports radio call-in show and all us Monday morning quarterbacks who don't have any real skin in the game are ready to tell the team what they should be doing.

    But it is still fun for all that.

  4. I can’t help but wonder if some of the ongoing player antipathy originates out of the game itself. Eve, by design, is an uncompromising (loss has meaning) imaginary world (being an MMOG). Eve, by design, incorporates the ‘negative emotions’ like avarice, malevolence, resentment and spite as they generate content. At the same time, being an imaginary world, saying it makes it real because, like all imaginary worlds, declaring it so is precisely how the world is built. Combine these two tendencies and you end up with a player base that treats not only ‘promises’ but also ‘aspirations’ as established fact (because declaring it makes it so) worth being unforgiving about (because Eve is uncompromising). This double whammy (there’s a punny reference here :) hands CCP a difficult to navigate customer base that’s both stunningly steadfast and astoundingly resentful at the same time.

    In my particular case, the best way I’ve found to break free of the uncompromising tendency to hold resentments close is actual, face to face meetings with players and devs. Face to face interactions bust through the limitations imposed by avatar to avatar communication. Keep in mind that most of the time our interactions with CCP are avatar based both for ourselves and CCP. I’ve no idea what CCP Affinity’s real life name is but fleetingly face to face chatting with her imbued my Eve experience with more depth than mere avatar to avatar communication could easily generate.

    It’s difficult to forgive an avatar. It’s much easier to forgive a real life, complicated, awash in life's complexities human. I don’t think it’s random chance face to face meetups are sprouting like wildfire (Fanfest, Eve Vegas, Eveterdam, Eve Down Under). Successful real life meetups (and most participants want them to be successful) utilize the ‘positive emotions’. And so Eve grows. Sure the negative emotions are still there and still important but they’re no longer the only game in town. Alternatives develop. People are refreshed.

  5. From the forums:

    Q: "What's your ideal roadmap?"

    Answer #1: "Walking in stations and citadels"
    Answer #2: "Open the door!"
    Answer #3: "Get rid of skill extractors"

    I'm not making up those, true! Sometimes I pity those CCP bastards... XD

    1. The sad thing is, every large multiplayer game is like this. I've been playing Elite for a while, for example and this kind of mental retardation shows up in their forums, too.

      Or look at how people pay thousands of dollars for a picture of a ship for a scam that will never be released, sometimes you start to think Einstein was right, human stupidity really is an infinite resource.


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