Monday, October 7, 2013

Necessary Force

Only three things in Eve are certain.  Death, taxes, and rage.

Ok, death and taxes may not actually be certain, I'm not really sure.  But one thing that can always be counted on is player rage.  This week's ragefest has been a nicely simmering stew of CCP missteps, player reaction, and CSM posting.  If you guessed that I am referring to the Ishukone Scorpions, you win a tritanium!

Up front, I don't give an Ibis about what CCP did, if it is favoritism, or any of that.  But the facts of the story and the apoplectic response to it are fascinating.  Here is my best understanding of what happened:

CCP decided to give some ships to SOMER Blink's staff and some tournament organizers as a way of saying thank you for their efforts in creating content in New Eden.  CCP did this secretly and SOMER advised their staff to keep things on the down low to not draw undue attention to the gifts, as they presciently assumed it would rub some players the wrong way.  CCP has also given comparable gifts to other various players and organizations.  Some CSM members, due to affiliations and relationships in game, knew about this either during or after the fact.  The CSM was not, to take their word for it, made aware of the gifts before the fact.  Some CSMs were not particularly eager to talk about it, for a wide variety of reasons.  It is worth noting that while the ships given are not particularly useful in-game, they are rare and therefore are worth a lot of isk on the Eve market.

The player response to this has been rather wide ranging, hitting on all the usual levels of response.  I just don't understand it.  For a few reasons, in no particular order:

Everyone who received a ship has done something to drive player created content in New Eden.  Some did it for profit, some did it for fun, and I imagine many did it for both.

The entities involved in receiving the ships were mostly capable of affording whatever they wanted to buy before the ships were given.  The ships given are also so valuable that anyone who wants to buy one and has the means to probably couldn't care less about the sums involved.  No rank and file player is really affected by the sale of these ships.

It is true that some people were given gifts and some were not.  The rest of this paragraph is hypothetical, I'm not saying that I am in any way a large figure in Eve.  I'm just thinking out loud.  For example, I have written an Eve-focused blog off and on for the last few years.  When active, I have tried to support in-game content to varying degrees of effort and success.  CCP has never offered me anything, and I could care less.  I would wager that CCP has never offered most community members
anything.  There are hundreds (thousands?) of people actively contributing in some way to driving the Eve community, either by writing, by organizing in-game, or by just playing.  Honestly, if CCP starts rewarding players for driving content any number of Nullsec entities should be at the top of the list to receive goodies.

What just happened is nothing like the T20 debacle of the past.  The order of magnitude of difference between giving out gifts and actively altering the course of the game is not comparable.  If you cannot see the difference between the events, I'm not sure anyone will be able to explain it.

The point is that gifts are gifts.  Anyone who has been in an environment where gifts are given should be well aware that the way the giver sees the gift and the way recipients and non-recipients see the gift can vary widely.  If you have a job, you have probably seen your boss give somebody something, and been completely floored at who got what, or why, or you have wondered why one person got something instead of you or someone else.  But your boss or the corporate heads probably just thought they were being nice and showing the rest of the company that the leadership does in fact value hard work or some sort of positive contribution.  I'm fairly certain that CCP was thinking along the same lines.

It doesn't help that the Eve player base swings between manic support and rabid rage at the tip of a hat.  So it is even understandable that CCP would not go out of their way to publicize what was essentially a "Nice job guys, we appreciate what you are doing" moment.  there may have been better gifts to choose (cheaper ships) and there may have been better ways to go about giving those gifts (announcing it).  But looking at intent can give a healthy dose of perspective.

CCP quietly gave some people a nice present for helping build something they care about, and a large mob heard about it, smashed down the doors and started tossing the joint.  What a great way recognize a group of developers trying to reward players actively contributing to the game.  I encourage you to stop, consider the scope of what happened and the perspectives of those involved.  Take a few minutes to think about how this affects your individual gameplay.  Then go about whatever it was you were doing before this.  If you are still angry, or feel that you are owed something, I suggest creating your own in game events or organizations on par with those who received the gifts.  Unfortunately, there may not be any more gifts after this latest festival of rage.