CCP Investigates, Finds the Evidence Lacking

EVE Online Dev Blog, 2007.05.29 – Selected highlights:

To begin, we address the allegation of CCP Sharkbait joining a player corporation to spy on their alliance. As you are about to read, this allegation is FALSE.

Next is the allegation of the Aurora event team rigging an event arc. This has also been proven FALSE.

Last, there is the allegation of the unfair dismissal of an ISD member from the volunteer program. Again, this has been proven to be FALSE.

This concludes the investigations into these allegations. We will continue looking into other allegations of misconduct, as well as following up the leads we have received from our players over the weekend. Further updates will be posted as they become available.

In summary:

It is worth restating here that there is absolutely no categorical CCP preference towards anything that transpires in the EVE political landscape. This notion is quite simply unthinkable to so many of us who have spent the better part of our lives investing time and our futures into building a company and a game (CCP turns 10 years old next month, and EVE just celebrated her 4th anniversary). The very suggestion we have done this only so that we can decide who “wins EVE” makes no sense, not morally and certainly not from a business perspective.

CCP’s goal was always to design the game to be as self-moderating as possible. That’s why if you are not happy with how things are transpiring in game, the game is built so there are ample opportunities to address it yourself or reach someone who can address it for you. CCP staff is generally easy to reach, we have designated IRC channels, we read the forums, and we host open developer chats, to name but a few avenues players can use to contact us when needed. In times of need, the aforementioned petition or email route is also available.

While it’s somewhat understandable that the participation of CCP staff in EVE is being questioned once again, our answer must once more be that our involvement is vital to the development of EVE. Barring CCP employees from the game would effectively stop EVE in its tracks. EVE is such a complex application that it is impossible to understand it without participating, playing on the test server is not the full EVE experience, nor is it possible to replicate issues involving our server structure or large amounts of players using it.

There is simply no way to develop a world as complex as this without experiencing it firsthand. You cannot develop it by proxy, evaluate fun through statistics, or make judgments without fully understanding how it grows and evolves, especially when nearly everything we create and place in EVE can be used by players in ways that were never anticipated.

In order to do justice to our game and to meet your expectations, we must share your frustrations, joys, successes and failures. One cannot fully appreciate the investment of time and effort that players make without trying it one’s self. Every employee at CCP should know what it is like to work themselves to exhaustion for something you, the EVE community, believe in and love, in game and out. At the same time, each and every CCP employee is expected to exercise their judgment while doing so and treat EVE, CCP and our customers with the respect they deserve. Nothing else is acceptable, not to you and certainly not to us.

Thank you for taking the time to read this statement and for your support of EVE Online.

– Ethic

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I own this little MMO gaming blog but I hardly ever write on it any more. I'm more of a bloglord or something. Thankfully I have several minions to keep things rolling along.

19 thoughts on “CCP Investigates, Finds the Evidence Lacking”

  1. I am glad to hear that it has been proven to CCP’s satisfaction that no one at CCP did anything wrong. Snark aside, that is a perfectly possible outcome to an investigation.

    I might note that encouraging players to use out-of-game methods of conducting in-game war might lead to this sort of thing. And hey, the company returned fire at its customers. That could be an interesting fight.

    I do not see a serious answer to what I considered the most significant issues, both of which were connected with banning the volunteer. The lesser to me is that someone can get an effective dev response in less than a minute. I can see how it would suck to have >week waiting times when an opposing alliance has a direct line to QA.

    The greater issue is the removal of the volunteer. That petition was the final straw? Is it charitable to assume that its author is not a native speaker of English? I know EVE has a large international audience. Can CCP check if someone bumped a ship? I have spoken highly of how much they track, but that is a pretty specific thing. So we have a mostly literate petition and unclear allegations of previous misconduct and/or bad attitude. I can understand why you would not go through the entire laundry list, but that is what you expect to satisfy everyone?

    Oh, and anyone can feel free to talk about BoB or Goon lying to try for some temporary advantage. I’m not going to defend the motives of the accusers. But given the level of trust that CCP has, you need a bit more against them.

  2. To me, the biggest issue is the claim by BoB leaders to have MSN chat connection direct to the devs. I think that is just asking for trouble. I do think they glossed over the volunteer firing as well.

  3. It’s a catch 22 sort of thing.

    If the devs are on your server, and play your side, happy days. If they play the other side, you accuse them of only nerfing your side. Most MMO’s have a multitude of servers and it’s hard to find out on which ones the devs play, so this problem rarely rears it’s ugly head.

    In eve, its a single server, and there are no obvious lines (ie. Alliance vs Horde), it’s about player politics.

    Not sure what I’m trying to say… no this isn’t CCP’s sandbox (or maybe it is) but there are still people outside the core of CCP who didn’t create this game in areas of power, hell, possibly even promoted from players… (ffs, CCP hired the most moronic of community managers from the forums, Pann)

    So whilst I might believe the core of CCP can deny this as not being them, when the entire game happens on a single server, you know devs, GM’s, and QA’s etc are all playing in the same sandbox as paying gamers. It’s not unsurprising that this sort of shit rears it’s ugly head, hell, I’m surprised it doesn’t happen more often.

    Only having a single shard/world (and EVE is the only game of note to exist in a single world) is bound to have its share of shitcakes.

    My main problem in all this is the way it was handled seems like there is something to hide, or something, still not sure what my opinion on this is.

  4. While there’s definitely something funny that has happened, back in the T20 saga, I think this latest round of allegations was deliberately timed for the holiday weekend, and goonswarm have been all over it.

    It occurs to me that the collapse of Eve would be a victory for the Goons in a way that it wouldn’t for any of the other players.

  5. Why do people continually insist you can’t use good project management and testing in games? How many failures have to happen? Working in theater (or having used to), I see the same thing: people saying “this is creative you can’t do it like that” and fail while others who DO use good project management ideas succeed.

    I’ve always been against developers and project managers being the main testers. Usability testing, with actual trained observers actually observing the players, perhaps sitting in on events and having access to reports on what players do in the game (if that is recorded) would probably tell a lot more and be more objective than the devs playing. The most successful projects I’ve ever been in had a clear break between the testers who did real usability tests, and the devs and managers. then you get real results from real users, not a dev playing like a user who only gives feedback on the part of the game he sees.

    I read his statement and am reminded of Brad saying you can’t use regular project management ideas (like milestones, deadlines) in a game when he discussed the utter lack of managment when developing Vanguard. Yeah right.

  6. “Barring CCP employees from the game would effectively stop EVE in its tracks.”

    Starting there at that sentence and all the way to the end, that’s one of the biggest loads of hogwash I’ve read recently. And I do read the “World & Politics” section on the paper regularly.

    I wonder how the rest of the gaming industry manages to exist just fine without having devs so embedded on the player side. Good grief.

  7. ““Barring CCP employees from the game would effectively stop EVE in its tracks.”

    Starting there at that sentence and all the way to the end, that’s one of the biggest loads of hogwash I’ve read recently.”

    That particular sentence is pretty true, though. Read the Auto Assault post mortem that was published recently? They identified one of the key reasons for the game failing is because the devs weren’t playing the game. That means the devs don’t have any personal experience to judge whether something is fun or not.

    If you want substandard games, then sure … insist the devs don’t play. The problem here isn’t with the devs playing the game. The problem is whether or not they are keeping themselves adequately separated from what the players are doing.

  8. Alex: Agreed…. halfway.

    One thing are devs as regular joes, playing their games from normal vanilla accounts when they get home (which is good, and lets them experience the game from the player side) and another is what these guys are doing.

    “Barring CCP employees from the game would effectively stop EVE in its tracks.” is still hogwashy because many, many other games manage to keep their devs separate, or at least ensure they play the game normally, and their games don’t collapse or become suddenly un-fun. Even that assertion was ridiculous and way more threatening than it should be. Stop in its tracks? Particularly a game like EVE that’s all player-driven?

    The problem here is that CCP wants to keep this going as is, business as usual, which was bad back in the middle of the T20 issue and is bad now. At this point it’s pretty obvious that it’s not that they *can’t* separate their devs from the game – they just don’t want to. Otherwise I can’t explain the tone and the piles of stupidity in that last devblog.

    Don’t think I can sum it up better than how I saw it in some post elsewhere: The problem with CCP is that it’s not a company, it’s a LAN party.

  9. Search for “eleuthereus” on eve-search if you want to read a large very well written insider’s report on GoonSwarm.

    As for devs in the game, it enables them to love it. You can’t QA soul.

  10. Julian – you just described in depth what I left to my last sentence. I’m not familiar enough with the EVE scandals to really go into depth.

    I fully agree with your standpoint. Work accounts should be for work, not play. Devs who want to play should be doing so on standard player accounts.

  11. Ok, so I leave for 2 weeks on vacation and all hell brakes loose and the shit hits the fan. Holy crap!

    Having read the devblog and GoonFleet`s response, I’ve got to agree the that CCP needs to put in place processes that will ensure that at the very least the perception of, dare I say, corruption is illiminated, and that any possibilities for corruption are removed or delt with in an immediate manner.

    It’ll be interesting to see how this unfolds.

  12. alegations are false! they must be, CCP said so, and they are the organisation doing the investigating AND the organisation being acused, so they should know! yes, i know i use too many commas, i just like them. ,!


  13. CCP will continue to lie, cheat, and STEAL your money only if you are willing to PAY them for that privilege…be a sheeple and pay to be exploited…

    Get a clue and stop supporting corruption.

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