Self-Reflection

Contemplating the latest EVE brouhaha, I began to wonder why I did not give CCP the benefit of the doubt. This is not a question of whether CCP lost trust over the t20 incident (and he still works there, right?); I assume the best of people, to a ridiculous degree unsupported by the past several millennia of human history. And it is not as though I am ignorant of who the Goons are. I think it was the firing of the volunteer. I feel rather alone in thinking that is a larger issue than having a direct line to the developers.

I am with Lum on not having an issue with direct developer-player contact. In A Tale in the Desert, my main guild included a GM and the company president’s wife. If you were not in at least one guild with a GM, you were some kind of anti-social hermit who was avoiding the core game. Of course, there were/are running accusations of the game’s being rigged to the advantage of a favored clique.

Yes, I see the huge problem if one side of a PvP war can get its problems fixed in a few minutes while you wait a week on a bug report. But neither that nor the spying claim set me off. It was the claim of unfairly banning a volunteer.

Part of that is having been a volunteer, in-game and IRL. We have seen the in-game volunteers abused in a variety of games. It is like kicking a puppy. I will go on the record as opposing puppy-kicking. So when I hear that a company solicited volunteers then banned them, I (1) react sympathetically and (2) am not surprised. I gave the banned party the benefit of the doubt.

The ISD reporter’s claim was that someone didn’t like his being in the solar system, so he made up a grievance and had a developer-friend ban the reporter. The official CCP response was to show the petition and allude to unspecified complaints and attitude problems.

Digression, can we pursue that one for a moment? Because that is what CCP is facing right now: a complaint and a history of complaints. “There have been allegations in the past” does not mean that any of them have been true or valid, and you might want to go to the bother of saying whether the current one is. Is “he bumped my dreadnought” something that can be checked? If it seems plausible to you that your players have formed a massive social engineering conspiracy to undermine your company, you might also find it plausible that your players will make false complaints to get rid of volunteers they don’t like. If the volunteer really does have a laundry list of problems, this is your chance to air them. He brought it up, he made it a public issue. Nail him to the wall, because if you do not, we assume you cannot.

Does everyone else see the potential parallel between banning the volunteer and players’ quitting EVE? From CCP’s (stated) perspective, they have had a list of complaints against this person (whether or not they are valid), and this latest petition (whether or not it is true) was the straw that broke the camel’s back; even if he did not do it, his response to the complaint in the public channel was inappropriate enough to serve as the last straw. The other side of that parallel is left as an exercise for the reader.

Okay, digression over. As a process guy, I think you really need to have HR/volunteer policies in place and follow them. In my line of work, there are laws about how to fire people, and breaking them means someone may go to jail. Allegations that you violated or circumvented the system are very serious.

And frankly, it is rude to be mean to the help.

: Zubon

I should probably care more about that accusation of GM spying. If I gave you access to a database I have at work, I could be liable for $300,000,000 in fines. We have privacy laws, too.

8 thoughts on “Self-Reflection”

  1. One of the reasons I find this particular setup disturbing is that bumping is something they haven’t shown a history of being able to check, but they used a single claim of one bump to ban an account. On the other hand, once, during a war, I bumped an enemy freighter for over twenty-five minutes waiting for an allied force to build up to come kill it.

    Worse off, they still haven’t even shown an attempt at tackling more game-breaking problems, such as the day-old alt scouts laying in wait to tell ten to fifteen people when to pull a login ambush. IP addresses are rather traceable, and CCP has even started using them to disallow trial accounts from operating simultaneously with paid accounts at one address.

    From a strict business perspective, the question of whether players will quit over this is a good one to ask. CCP should have asked it of themselves. The “offended” players are some of the most dedicated in the game. One dreadnought bump isn’t going to make or break their battle, and they’ll still be there the next day. The fact that they’re flying capital ships indicates their level of investment. A great many of the players I knew, though, have on-and-off subscriptions, and arbitrary dictatorship and subterfuge by the company will affect their likelihood to stay, and their willingness to return.

  2. I have to agree, this is the *one* thing that stinks. Everything else can be explained. Not this.

    When someone I know was kicked from ISD (for good reason), a due process was followed. Not with this guy. It was wham, bam, piss-off man.

    I saw in the logs that even Macayle didn’t know who the “Admiral” was and Macayle is/was a big cheese with ISD. The fact that Macayle didn’t, AFAIK, resign in protest at this obscene abuse of power is what amazes me. What would amaze me even more is if people continue to sign on to ISD or Aurora despite knowing that all it takes to be kicked off is that you annoy someone “in the know”.

    This one incident is the one thing that makes me very very doubtful of their “internal affairs” division – if “Admiral” can do what s/he damn well likes, what is the point?

  3. Login Ambush: many players log in at the same time in one particular Solar system. This causes considerable server lag, which can hinder attackers seriously as they suddenly are almost unable to warp, target or shoot.

    Such ambushes have to be prepared in advance though: the said players have first to fly to the particular solar system and log out there. And you have to take care that it is THIS Solar System where the battle will take place.

    Especially the Goonfleet is well known using such exploits.

  4. As such, it’s a big pack of enemies which can pop back into existence from seemingly nowhere. There isn’t an easy way to avoid it, shy of avoiding systems with any unidentified ships whatsoever in them, or (in the case of smaller wars) buddying all your enemies and tracking their online/offline status.

  5. CCP quote of late:

    Devs on MSN

    CCP employees are allowed to use instant messaging programs and indeed, use them for work related purposes every day. As with everything else concerning CCP and EVE, our employees are urged to exercise judgment in their usage of these programs, but we do not go over people’s buddy lists, nor have we had reason to believe that this constitutes a major problem up until now.

    Having a CCP developer as an MSN buddy is not an offense in itself, nor does it give you any special privileges in EVE. If you have a problem, you file a petition, even our GMs are not allowed to bypass that rule, so you can bet that they are not going to let anyone else do it. No one is allowed to take any action that can benefit their friends or family ingame. We have rules that people are supposed to follow, but we also place trust in our employees and expect them to act responsibly and professionally towards the company, our products and our customers without being subjected to an atmosphere of mistrust and suspicion.

    The assumption that this particular type of contact with our developers can only be a sign of corruption makes little sense to me, I must confess, particularly as there are so many other ways you could get in touch with people. What about email contact, I get a pop up on my screen alerting me of new emails, it might as well be instant messaging, since I can respond to it at once. So, do we forbid our employees from receiving emails from anyone not sanctioned by the company? The Fanfest offers unparalleled and unmonitored private access to the developers, I guess that’s off too, then?

    You see where this is going. We are a company that thrives on interaction, that deals in interaction, for that matter. Cutting ourselves off from the community is not a viable option for such a company, especially considering that interaction and open dialogue with our players is arguably what’s gotten us this far in the first place.

    There are specific rules in place forbidding players from bragging about GM or developer connections, especially implying that you can get people banned or fired, or that your contacts have put you in a position where you are above the law in EVE. If someone says something to that effect to you ingame, please petition it using the “Harassment” category and we will deal with it as harshly as our policies allow. If anyone has evidence of such interaction being used improperly, to further anyone’s cause ingame, I urge them to contact us through the internalaffairs@ccpgames.com email address. We will investigate all such claims to the best of our abilities.

    CCP Arkanon
    CCP Internal Affairs
    internalaffairs@ccpgames.com

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