Number Crunching Exploration

CCP Bayesian breaks out Excel to run the numbers on Odyssey now that the expansion has been out for a few weeks. Specifically, the Data and Relic site activities performed by players.

All of this has been made possible by a push towards gathering a lot more metrics from the game. Team Data, our dedicated metrics guys have given us some really powerful tools to crunch logs and generate the information below.

Ruined Guristas Monument Site

It’s pretty clear from these three graphs that usage and completion of these sites has increased immensely since the launch of Odyssey.

Other than winning the 2013 Captain Obvious Award, CCP Bayesian’s series of graphs does prove that player interest in exploration content has been not only initially strong, but has backed off to a level which continues to be significantly higher.

The entire point of the expansion was to put exploration on the table in front of as many people as possible, and almost everyone I’ve heard from has tried it at least once. Most people have figured out that the sites are basically free ISK, with the minigames not being a huge barrier between pilots and the exploding pinata of loot. Hell, even in empire space I’ve made fifty million ISK in a single site; while this isn’t a huge fortune by any stretch, it’s almost effortless to obtain and the grind is fairly fast.

Scatter Ratio

We can see within a week of release that the player population had generally worked out what was and wasn’t worthwhile to take. This graph also shows that quite a large number of cans are going uncollected, losing whatever value they happened to contain. We’ll have to do some more digging to see how much value is represented there.

Yep. It didn’t take long for sites like Neural Boost to provide handy loot distribution information for folks to figure out what they should be focusing on.

As for what digging to CCP needs to do, here’s a freebie from me to you: ditch the scrap containers. They’re ignored by everyone except for the newest of explorers, and provide nothing for the effort. Get rid of them and ponder the distribution of loot in the remaining cans.

One of the things NOT touched on by the blog is resulting value of the items dropped in the sites.  I can imagine the next economic report blog will be an interesting read with regards to this.


Taking a look at the image above, see if you can guess the point where the expansion was released. Decryptor values have nosedived almost across the board, and there’s plenty of people and organizations in the game who have invested in them pre-Odyssey that saw the value of them disappear within a week or two. I’m no market nut, but I’m willing to bet the folks who deal with Invention have a thing or two to say about it.

Like any other mechanic and economic pot-stirring feature introduced to EVE, values and opinions will stabilize to a level that everyone will eventually accept. For now it seems that plenty of people are at least giving this a try, and that CCP are paying attention to how we’re trying it. Hopefully this means that future iterations of the features refine things for the better.


The Sounds of Change

If you look back through the history of EVE’s dev blogs, you’ll find hidden gems strewn throughout the patch previews, feature discussions, and other more mainstream dev bloggy type of writeups. Blogs like The EVE Cluster gave us some inside information about the hardware infrastructure that drives a single shard sandbox games.  There was the cool one where CCP strode along the at-the-time bleeding edge by switching their database storage to a solid state SAN solution that drastically improved ingame market performance overnight.

The list goes on, but now we’re lucky to be treated to a day in the life of CCP WhiteTrashNoise, one member of Team Klang who are largely responsible for me turning back up the volume slider in the settings menu after years of space silence. The audio in EVE has evolved massively over the last couple of years, and with Odyssey things continue to be tweaked and improved; this new blog shows us how these changes were accomplished.

To create a whole new jump sequence when the actual jump is performed I was greatly inspired by a feature I had previously made sound for, the micro jump drive module.  It has a charging period, a jump and an arrival which is different depending on whether you are the ship actually jumping or you are a 3rd party witnessing a jump. I took apart the old jump gate sounds and began manipulating the sound when being fired away through the jump gate and used those waveforms to design a sort of traveling sound, which could then be used to morph between the jump gate sound and going through the wormhole.  In this way no matter what jump sound is used, we are certain that the sound of traveling will always fit the actual jump as well as the arrival.

The complexity of the audio system EVE wields is quite impressive. Instead of just playing the same audio asset no matter what, thought is put towards contextualizing its use for the player and also the observers. The reuse of existing sound assets for new audio means that new sounds will situate themselves naturally with everything else.

The audio team is working hard to get more “Information” in EVE’s soundscape.  This doesn’t mean that this information is a game or experience changer, but more that this is sound that is adaptive to the current situation; it may be very small changes but they are, none the less, important.

Such changes could be that the undocking sound is faction dependent, so depending on your ship’s faction and the type of station you are in the sounds will generate differently.

It’s not so much that they put these little details everywhere, it’s the forethought to leave it open to even more depth to be added later, such as the above point about having faction specific undocking sounds.

The new experience will be that you are dying. And I mean really dying like only a frozen space corpse can.

The sound of the explosion is now much more prominent (to complement with the new visual sequence of the players body floating in space) and is accompanied by the sound of the defeated capsuleer choking in the vacuum of space and taking his or her final breath, along with a re-spawn sound which is race and station dependent.

Name another game where you’ll see the equivalent of “Dying now sounds more realistic” in their patch notes.

…the entire soundscape is changed once entering the hacking interface.

A combination of soothing sounds, atmospheres and interaction sounds will take over, with each type of node has a unique interaction sound depending on the result of the node once clicked.  Every type of tool or object picked up has a sound.

The most important and coolest audio feature in this case is the ability to hover over the yet-to-be-clicked nodes and, as part of the soundscape, hear very subtle changes to the sounds of the computer you are trying to hack.

Having been messing with exploration a lot lately, I started to notice these little sound cues and I honestly figured they were totally random.  For the most part I’m trying my best to be quick about a hack before someone else scans down the anomaly and goes after cans I’ve not checked yet, so I never really fully paid attention to the audio details. Thinking back on it though, I can remember there being a lot of different and interesting audio cues going on for both hacking and archaeology minigames, and I’m definitely going to be paying more attention to them as a hinting detail.

These behind-the-scenes glimpses are pretty rare in the games industry. I can’t think of any other game which delves into this kind of detail about how specific aspects of the game was developed.  The history of EVE’s dev blogs show that CCP is like a proud parent, always willing to point out the achievements of its creation, big and small, and the role they took in its development.

EVE’s always been full of these tiny meticulous details in places you’d never imagine, even though for the most part they’re completely unnecessary. That said, I still love that they are there.  They’re like little signatures made by the developers, indicators of the care and attention brought to the game by the individuals working on it.


Dev Blogs Galore

It’s been a busy last little while for dev blogs so I figured it would be a good idea to do a single wrap-up post about the new ones. I won’t go into meticulous detail on each, however links to the blogs themselves are at the bottom for further reading.

Probe Scanning and other Goodies for Odyssey

There certainly has been no shortage of drama over the upcoming scanning changes. It seems that with every new release of information, be it official or unofficial by folks trying it out on the test server, there are more worries that the changes are reducing the complexity of probing too much. CCP SoniClover gives a giant infodump of details just ahead of Odyssey’s arrival.


Rather than delve into all the details, lets explore a few of the more interesting highlights.

The recall and expire options have been changed a bit – recall is now instantaneous and happens automatically on system jump or dock. Probes still have a timer, but instead of being lost when the timer is out, they automatically recall instead. The system remembers your last probe setup before they were automatically recalled so they can be quickly deployed again in the same pattern (by activating the launcher).

I’d like to chalk this up as a streamlined process, and sure it will save people’s time, but words like “instantaneous” and “automatic” scare me when referring to things in EVE.

We changed the terminology of some of the exploration sites:

  • Radar sites become Data sites
  • Magnometric sites become Relic sites
  • Gravimetric sites become Ore sites
  • Ladar sites become Gas sites
  • The Unknown type has also been split into Combat and Wormholes.

Updating the terminology makes a ton of sense to be honest. The current system doesn’t make a ton of sense when you consider that probes don’t have an explicit sensor type like ships do. This way you know what you’ve got in your results list right away so you can make an informed decision about which scan hit you want to pursue.

As part of the work Team Five-0 is doing, Ore sites (aka Gravimetric sites) are being made Cosmic Anomalies instead of Cosmic Signatures, meaning you no longer need probes to find them.

Every so often someone hints at the current mineral system of asteroid belts becoming scannable anomalies. While this isn’t being applied across the board, could this be a hint of things to come? With ice fields no longer appearing as belts with Odyssey, things could be getting more interesting in the future for miners.

Alliance Tournament Rules and Format

CCP Bro is probably going for a word count record with his Alliance Tournament blog. There’s way too much information there to comment on explicitly, so hit up the blog in the link below. They do want folks to pay attention to the following:

Major changes from previous years that you shouldn’t miss include:

  • Tournament format has been converted to one 64 team double-elimination tournament, with no pre-qualifying or group stages.
  • Minimum entry payment has been reduced to 5 plex, as we pass our cost optimization improvements on to you.
  • We will be providing a dedicated tournament practice server for competing teams.
  • We have a new tiebreaking system that takes advantage of time dilation.
  • Several ship point changes, remote reps allowed on T1 Support Cruisers and Support Frigates, and a limitation of one remote energy transfer module per ship.
  • Number of identical ships allowed reduced back to three.
  • Hardwirings beyond 3%s are not allowed (Leadership mindlinks are an exception)
  • The ship banning system from the New Eden Open is being introduced into the Alliance Tournament during the second and third weekends.
  • Flagships are immune from banning.

Whether you plan on competing in the event or viewing it, some or all of the following dates will be worth keeping in mind.

Alliance Signup Period – June 3rd until June 9th at 23:59 UTC
Live stream of the 32 team random draw – June 11th
Silent Auction Period – June 12th to the 16th at 23:59 UTC
Participating Teams & Schedule Confirmed – June 19th
Tournament Weekend One (Non-studio, no banning) – July 20th & 21st
Tournament Weekend Two (Studio, Banning active) – July 27th & 28th
Tournament Weekend Three (Studio, Banning, Finals) – August 3rd and 4th

U and I made some changes: Odyssey UI changes

CCP Karkur spills the beans on a fuckton of UI fixes coming, most of which centered around maintaining player sanity and improving quality of life for players.

The blog included the following screenshot of the right click menu improvements made to the Watch List.


This is the kind of thing that smacks you as a no-brainer for anyone designing a UI, and calls into question the decisions behind the “Before” layout. My guess is that while implementing the new radial menu changes, all of the right click menus came under intense scrutiny in order to identify most frequently used items.  However I do have to giggle a bit at an initiative designed to remove UI clutter, at odds with one designed to reduce menus within menus.

So we made a small change so now when the ship is popping off your target list because it’s dead, it will blink a few times before it disappears so there should no longer be any confusion about whether the ship went down in flames or managed to warp away. Tl;dr: It blinks: “He’s dead, Jim.” It disappears: “She got away, captain.”

The fleet window also gets some love, with current features being improved as well as copy-pasting of fleet compositions. Hit the blog for all the details on these and other changes.

I realize of course that UI is the front and center part of EVE for all of us so there are certainly efforts by other teams to improve other less in-your-face aspects of the game. However, these guys have really been impressing me with what they’ve done to the front-end of EVE. Their team is one whose blogs I look forward to reading.

EVE on Steam: Past, Present and Future

EVE’s been on Steam for quite some time now, but soon its presence will be a bit more than just a basic game storefront on the Steam Store. CCP Spitfire gives us some details about what’s coming.


Coming soon you’ll not only be able to log in to EVE with your Steam credentials, but you’ll also be able to pay for your game time through Steam’s billing service.

First of all, tomorrow you might notice a new Steam icon on the EVE web login page. This means that you no longer need to manually create an EVE Online account after buying the game activation key on Steam; instead you use your Steam credentials to log into the game and the websites. This has been made possible by the Single Sign-On (SSO) technology developed by Team GForce.

Furthermore, players who have bought EVE Online on Steam from May 31 will be able to pay for their subscription on a recurring basis and buy PLEX packages directly via Steam, thanks to the back-end work done by Team Mammon.

One of the most compelling future possibilities was mentioned as well:

Other aspects of Steam we are potentially very interested in are the Community Hub and Steam Workshop – our community team has already started looking into the possibilities here, and we would love to hear your feedback on this as well.

Now those who’ve played other popular Steam games such as Team Fortress 2 will have already perked up their ears about this point. For those who don’t know, Steam Workshop opens up a whole world of community-created content possibilities for games. Who knows what kind of interesting things CCP could enable through this, but the success of the Steam Workshop with other games proves that it’s a viable platform for fan made content.


All in all, this has been a really busy week for dev blogs, not entirely unusual as the Odyssey expansion is right around the corner and major feature development has probably been frozen for a while.  There’s a lot of cool stuff coming, and it’s always nice to have the sneak peeks.



Hacking in Odyssey

CCP Bayesian brings us a new Dev Blog, detailing the upcoming changes to the Hacking and Archaeology sub-professions in EVE.

Team Prototyping Rocks has been working hard on improving the depth of gameplay that explorers will enjoy in their day to day lives. The devil is in the details and until this release the details behind Hacking and Archaeology have been very sparse. Our brief was to make the tasks you do in sites much more immersive and interactive.

Now I’ll admit that hacking/archaeology in EVE has never been one of those things I’ve fiddled with a ton.  It’s not that there’s no reward for doing it, it’s just that the activity itself isn’t awfully exciting. With the upcoming Odyssey expansion, CCP is hoping to change that for the better.

Instead of the current mechanic of shooting all the NPCs in a site, and hitting locked containers with your specialized module until they open, and looting the contents when it unlocks. If you’ve done salvaging then you can see the similarities here. With Odyssey will come a new minigame, pitting you against the device you’re trying to unlock.


The window shows the user the computer system mapped out as a network of interconnected nodes. One of the node’s contents is already visible as this was the penetration point of the activated module. Users hack a system by exploring the nodes adjacent to the nodes that they have already explored. Their goal is to find the core or cores in the system and taking them over by destroying them.

If all this sounds a lot like something you may have seen before, here’s a screenshot from Deus Ex: Human Revolution for comparison.

Deux Ex Hacking

Deux Ex’s hacking was an easy to grasp concept that could still present challenges as the game progressed, and I feel it’s an excellent thing to draw inspiration on.  The addition of a minigames to EVE in order to spice up the hacking and archaeology processes is a fantastic one in my opinion, adding an element of randomness and interactivity to what is a mostly passive process right now. The blog also speaks of future enhancements which will bring more variety to this in the future.

Your success in the game is rewarded with a kind of loot piñata of sorts, whereby the contents of whatever you’re trying to get into spill out into space and disappear after a few seconds.

Once the core is destroyed the system has been hacked and the module forces the site to scatter its contents from the cargo hold into the vacuum of space. The hacker, his friends and anyone else around can then collect the scattered contents. We’ll be releasing another devblog shortly that will go into details of how the contents of the site are distributed and how they are collected.

It looks awesome when it happens, and I like their concept of teaming up with others providing a benefit to collecting the loot. Most people will probably do this solo, and I’m willing to bet someone will come up the perfect ship setup to collect it all without needing others, but CCP’s sentiment with this is a good one.

Odyssey is proving to be an interesting expansion for me. Playing around with some of these features on Singularity gives me that sci-fi nerdy feeling of exploration that wormholes did when they first came on scene.  There’s just something cool about jumping to a new system and having a sensor sweep light up the anomalies for you. In systems you frequent, it’s a little like discovering a new room in your house you didn’t know was there.

Since it was first introduced, very little has been done to keep things fresh and interesting; hell, I’m sure there’s a huge percentage of people who didn’t even know it existed, much less gave it a try or focused on it as a profession. My hope is that making this kind of content more front-and-center to more people gives CCP incentive to continue to develop it.


DUST Merging with EVE

It’s been a long time coming, but CCP is about to make good on the promise of an integrated MMO and FPS this coming Thursday, January 10th 2013.

On Thursday the 10th of January, following a slightly longer than usual scheduled downtime, we will be migrating over players currently participating in the DUST 514 closed beta from Singularity to Tranquility.

This is not only significant for those of us who’ve been playing EVE, but for the gaming industry as a whole. This simply has never really been done before, and in true CCP style they are taking slow baby steps to make sure the delicate balance of both games aren’t going to be totally ruined.

While you won’t be able to send billions of ISK to your DUST characters yet, you will be able to drop truckloads of searing hot plasma on them from orbit. Bombardment is a go folks, for now limited to low security systems involved with faction warfare.

Personally I wish I didn’t have to coordinate with DUST soldiers at all, and just be able to pull into orbit and provide random gameplay enhancement to the soldiers on the ground. There’s a weird quote from the dev blog where they mention “the first flavor being the Tactical Strike”. That implies other flavors, and I hope one of those flavors is Random EVE Asshole Messing With DUST Players.

With local chat integration, ISK sellers will be able to reach more people now since we can openly communicate with DUST mercenaries.

Actually that alone should make things interesting since the beta is still closed and the NDA is still technically in effect.  They will be dealing with NDA violations left and right so I can only imagine that it will be lifted soon. I’d love to post my thoughts about DUST.

With this integration now happening so soon, how are you going to participate in DUST related activities – PC or PS3?


A Box of Goodies for Christmas

HolidaysChristmas is once again upon us, and the giving spirit of CCP has emerged from its gross cocoon to terrorize the universe once again. This time the festivities are spread across the next couple of weeks.

Just in time to ring in Acadian Remembrance Day, you’ll be able to log in and smack the Redeem Items button. Your reward for doing this will be a brand new snowball launcher and a pile of snowballs to use with it. Anyone who was around the last time CCP did this knows that this is a terrific tool for fun AND griefing of the unsuspecting. In other words, perfect for EVE players.

Hilariously timed to interrupt the festivities of International Human Solidarity Day, arrives your mystery box. Fuck knows what’s in it, my guess is a new ship, however others have thought it might have something to do with all the Special Edition Assets items visible on the Market these days.

Finally, celebrate the creation of the Constitution along with the citizens of North Korea with the final gift from CCP. The description suggests we will be gifted with some fireworks to mess around with, items which have also recently appeared in the game’s Market. As fun as fake explosions are, the real ones are always more fun. Hopefully using these in densely packed areas of the game leads to someone’s demise.

All in all, CCP has a lot planned for us this year now that Retribution is live. If the campaign banner is any indication, space will be sparkling like a Cullen in the sun.


Ship Balancing for 2013

Now, when CCP first introduced the concept of their ship revamps months back, I was a bit skeptical they’d be able to pull it off properly.  EVE’s delicious soup of ships allowed for creative fittings to be employed by pilots. This sometimes resulted in some really interesting uses for some ships, and hilariously shit ones as well.

In a shocking feat of organization and forward thinking, a team of monkeys at CCP has been sorting the ship pile into the following buckets:

  • Combat – killing things
  • Attack – killing things… too
  • Disruption – stop killing me and my friends
  • Support – the wind beneath your wings
  • Exploration – finding new places to die
  • Mining – everyone’s dirty little secret

After working their way up from the smaller supporting type ships for the Retribution expansion, CCP’s rebalancing meatshield Ytterbium details their plans for battlecruisers and battleships.  (Yes, I’m getting caught up on oldish dev blogs.)  The major details of this can be found in the dev blog itself, but there’s a couple of parts that bear attention.

Refactoring Skills

Throughout the entire series of ship tier related changes over the past year, CCP has been messing around with related skills. As we get into 2013, these changes start to take form in a really interesting way.

Historically, new players have bitched and moaned about not being able to catch up to veteran players that have years of skill training advantage over them. Truth, as the Vorlons say, is a three-edged sword:

  1. They’re right, it will take them years to acquire the skills veteran players have built up, surely the game must be changed to accommodate them
  2. They’re wrong, because they’re new players and too uneducated in the ways of EVE to understand that the game relies more on player skill rather than character skill
  3. They’re both right and wrong. Because.

CCP being CCP has chosen to run with the third option because it’s their game and can do with it what they please.

  • Make ship progression more consistent over all sizes, instead of having a mix of racial and generic skills
  • Allowing for faster tech2 specialization, and slower multi-racial diversification. In EVE Online, while you as a new player will never catch up with the total amount of skill points a veteran has, you can still be on the same level by specializing. This is precisely what we want to promote here. For instance, currently one needs Amarr Cruiser and Battlecruisers 5 to fly an Absolution, after the change the same pilot will only need Amarr Battlecruisers 5 (on top of the other skill requirements).

This is actually not a bad solution, at least on paper. Everyone currently flying nicer ships can still do so, and anyone getting their asses blown off by a veteran flying a ship can fly that one themselves sooner (in some cases). I’m a big fan of Tech 2 ships myself, and while I’d love to have more people flying them faster, CCP runs the risk of once again marginalizing Tech 1 ships — things they’ve just spent a considerable amount of time and effort making interesting again.

Tech 3 Confusion?

I remember when the Tech 3 ship concept was pitched to players for the first time. It was basically the metaship, the thing you could make into whatever matched your play style, with bojillions of combinations of everything available to you for an arm and a leg, constructed from a totally new and interesting economy of its own. While this is certainly not changed, the focus this time is on bonuses to warfare links.

  • Tech 3 ships to be able to carry more gang links at once than Command Ships, but with less effect
  • Tech 3 ships to be able to carry some gang links while still maintaining some combat capability
  • Command Ships to carry fewer types of gang links than Tech 3, but with stronger effects (specialization over generalization) – if fitted with gang links, they have less combat capability than Tech3 hulls.
  • All Command Ships to have a combat role on the field on top of having the possibility to be fit for a pure fleet commanding platform.

The focus of this particular effort is in battlecruisers and battleships. The fact that Tech 3 stuff is being talked about at all while they manhandle the warfare bonuses of Tech 2 battlecruisers tells me two things:

  1. Tech 3 stuff is so awesome in its current state that they’re more appealing than Tech 2 battlecruisers for warfare link related tasks.
  2. CCP doesn’t know what the fuck to do with these ships.

The reason I say the latter is that with the complexities of Tech 1 and Tech 2 ships alone, it’s a bloody miracle that CCP won’t completely break the game’s delicate balance. Well, Tech 3 ships are designed to be wildcards. In my opinion, they need to have their own separate and well-thought-out attention devoted to them but only after the rest of the ships have had their roles defined and tested to be appropriate.

Anywho, in general I welcome the proposed changes to battlecruisers and battleships. They make a lot of sense with the previous changes, and definitely do a lot to unify ship styles with their overall category and race traits.


Do We Have an Accord?

This is coming a bit late now but in case you haven’t been following things, CCP met with the CSM members on June 30th to discuss the recent troubles surrounding the recent addition of the Noble Exchange to the game. You can catch up on the background on the post here with the totally-not-inflammatory-title How to Destroy the EVE Community, but for now lets look at the output of the recent meeting.

We’re treated to two very different statements, one from CCP and one from the CSM. First, the CCP statement:

Statement on behalf of CCP from Arnar Hrafn Gylfason, Senior Producer for EVE Online

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.

Arnar Hrafn Gylfason
Senior Producer of EVE Online

And then we have the statement from the CSM:

Statement on behalf of the Council of Stellar Management from The Mittani, Chairman 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.

First off, I have to say that I’m entirely impressed with the current CSM. When the current group was announced it was easy to see that this CSM would be an effective one, and this kind of thing really shows that off. Their statement really is indicative of the feelings of the players that care even the tiniest bit about the game. In my opinion, this is what CSM is all about.

The CCP statement is a mixed bag for me. It’s a combination of “we think we get it now” type of stuff, mixed with a baffling lack of focus. I don’t know about the rest of you, but there are a hundred other things I’d rather like to see their development focus dedicated to resolving before even considering looking at ship spinning. Get a grip.

There is also a distinct lack of  attention paid to the elephant in the room: Hilmar’s e-mail. I’m just going to put it out there that no response to that in the CCP statement is unbelievably irresponsible. To be honest, I don’t think one can possibly ever undo that kind of thing anyway, but a response to it in some capacity would have been nice, rather than just a generic “derp, we suck at communicating” thing. Maybe a statement about the issue from the man himself is forthcoming, who knows.

In conclusion, I think these statements reflect that the emergency summit actually did manage to accomplish a lot. I think the point has been driven home to CCP that they need to connect more with players about these kinds of major changes to the game, although time will tell if we will see some actual beneficial changes to the way this interaction is carried out.

It should also show the players that their voice can count in times like these, and that this is totally unlike other games out there where your feedback will generally stop at the meatshield level (community forums and the people who moderate them). In no way do I intend to diminish the efforts of previous CSMs, but I have to really salute The Mittani and the rest of the current CSM with their ability to represent that feedback in an intelligent manner.

Click through to the dev blog to watch the video where the statement is discussed, and admire Mittens’ beard grooming skills.


Tone and Demeanor

The newest Dev Blog from CCP Zulu has some things to say about the recent events in EVE Online…

The tone and demeanor of my blog on Friday did not correctly portray my emotions towards the community and player base at large. I love and respect EVE and its community on a level that’s hard to really do justice in words. However I let my frustration take charge of me, fueled by emotions that had built up due to a breach of trust we at CCP have been experiencing over the past few days. I know that sounds ironic considering those are the exact same feelings you have been having towards CCP.

For that I am sorry.

Having cooled off a bit and taken a solemn look at the situation, I see it’s clear we need to strengthen the deep mutual trust and respect that’s been so unique and descriptive of our relationship. There are certain questions you want answered and there isn’t room for more error in our communication on those topics or our perception of the root causes.

Therefore we have asked the CSM to join us in Iceland for an extraordinary meeting June 30th and July 1st to discuss the events of past week, to help us define and address the real underlying concerns, and to assist us in defining and iterating on our virtual goods strategy.

The result of this meeting should be mutual agreement of how virtual goods and services will evolve in EVE. Other issues may be brought up and we urge you to contact the CSM with your comments and concerns so that they may be addressed at this session.

However, just to prove the point of the Fearless newsletter and give you a further understanding of what it is then there are no and never have been plans to sell “gold ammo” for Aurum. In Fearless people are arguing a point, which doesn’t even have to be their view, they are debating an issue. This is another example of how information out of context is no information at all.

Due to the volatility of the topic we want to refrain from any further comments on this matter until after meeting with the CSM.

Thank you for your patience,

Arnar Hrafn Gylfason

Senior Producer of EVE Online

You know what, lets try something different… lets word cloud this thing and see what we get.

Yep, that’s what I thought… words.  To be honest I don’t know if this says much other than there being a distinct focus on the future. If one were so inclined, one could whittle the whole blog down to “lets just forget about that stuff and move forward”. Honestly that might not be such a bad idea… if EVE Online was similar to World of Warcraft in its complexities.

But it’s not.

I have to tip the hat to Zulu for apologizing, and chasing after getting a CSM meeting going on such short notice. Based on comments I’ve seen around the interwebz, I think the CSM have the greater community’s needs in mind and can represent them effectively.

I am concerned about the openness of the meeting, and others have indicated this in forum posts about this. Non-disclosure agreements are frequently employed in situations where exposing strategic business directions could compromise that business. Sorry to say it folks, but this is obviously going to be one of those cases, so don’t expect a live webcast of the meetings to occur. I imagine we’ll get a somewhat informative statement from CCP about it, and some incredibly informative stuff from CSM.

We know there were no plans to do microtransactions in EVE before. That didn’t mean there wouldn’t be in the future, so the same applies to the “gold ammo” concept. The fact that the idea is prevalent enough in CCP to be discussed and not whacked with a mallet like a mole from upper management strikes me that we’re one or two design team reshufflings away from seeing gold ammo in EVE.

Four things are true:

  • CCP is a business
  • Microtransactions = $$$
  • Businesses <3 $$$
  • Players of other games have shown it’s a model that works well for companies that employ the concept.

I don’t expect the concept to go away anytime soon, but I would expect is for CCP to come back down to planet Earth for a few minutes and be made to understand that just because a shirt costs $20 in real life does not mean we should have to pay that for an e-shirt.


How to Destroy The EVE Community

Today has been a day that will live in stupidity. I’m a fairly positive person about things, as those of you who listen to the podcasts can probably attest to, but even I can’t help but be a bit speechless when seeing the events of the last day unfold. The sheer mind-blowingness of the whole thing is force multiplied by a factor of a million monocles when one keeps in mind who are the ones responsible for it all. Lets look at what happened.

It started out with this un-stickied thread by CCP Pann, which grew into a threadnought of biblical proportions almost instantaneously:

Hi, everyone

Some of you who have been around for a while may remember me. I was the original community manager for EVE. These days, I oversee the PR and Community teams. While most of what I do happens behind the curtains, I am still aware of what’s going on front and center. I would be lying if I said that what’s happening now didn’t make me sad, but I’m not here to ask for your sympathy. To be perfectly honest, I’m here to buy time while we try to sort things out. No sense in lying about it so I’ll call a spade a spade.

It’s clear that many of you are <understatement alert> angry </alert>. There’s a lot happening, things are changing quickly and we haven’t been as forthcoming as you were used to in the past. I’m willing to step out front and take a lot of heat for that since I was the one who made the decision to hold off on responding for a while to see if things cooled down once the new wore off.

I was wrong to do that and I apologize. We should have said something much sooner. We should have done more to address your concerns and be forthcoming, even if we weren’t going to be able to immediately give you all of the answers you were looking for or the answer your questions in ways that will instantly turn those frowns upside down. To be even more candid, I cannot answer all of your questions, either, but I am working with the people who can to start getting those answers for you. Again, I know we’re doing this past the expiration date of your patience but I hope you’ll bear with me.

I know that, with very few exceptions, most of you don’t know me from Adam. I haven’t earned your trust or respect; therefore I have no right to ask anything of you – but I am going to try, anyway. Can I please count on at least some of you to help bring the pitchforks and torches down a few notches?

Like I said, I won’t be able to answer all of your questions tonight, but I promise we’ll start getting some info out tomorrow. As I see it, the chief complaint is regarding the high cost of goods in the Noble Market. Second, many people are unhappy about the Captain’s Quarters. Third, there are some performance issues with Incarna. I would appreciate it if you would confirm my observations or tell me what I’m missing, but I do ask that you do it in a productive way. I will remove posts without prejudice if they are counterproductive to the conversation I hope to have with you.

If you’ve read this much, thanks for staying with me. If you have something to say, I’d like very much to hear it.

Humbly yours,

Later that day, probably due to the writeup needing to run through the spanking machine of CCP’s communications and PR departments, we get this bit of damage control. No wait, that’s not it…  it’s just more uncontrolled damage:

Dear concerned citizens of New Eden

This week has seen quite a controversy unfold. In almost the same instant as we deployed Incarna – which by the way is one of our more smooth and successful expansions, not to mention absolutely gorgeous – an internal newsletter with rather controversial topics addressed leaked out. To further compound the confusion there was a clear and rather large gap in virtual goods pricing expectation and reality with a large segment of the community. I‘m going to address both these issues right here.


Fearless is one of our company values. It‘s also the name of an internal newsletter that has been designed and developed specifically to catalyze discussions on controversial topics. One of the biggest elephants in the room these days, not just for EVE but for the gaming industry as a whole, is virtual goods sales and microtransactions.

Therefore we dedicated an entire issue to exactly that topic. It‘s worth mentioning that the topic of the issue was “Greed is good?” as a way to ask a question that would then be debated back and forth and often exaggerated purposefully to draw contrasts and make points. The result of that is now widely available on the internet.

The opinions and views expressed in Fearless are just that; opinions and views. They are not CCP policy nor are they a reliable source of CCP views as a company. The employees who submitted articles to that newsletter did exactly what they were asked to do, write about theories and opinions from an exaggerated stand.

While it‘s perfectly fine to disagree and attack CCP over policies or actions we take, we think it‘s not cool how individuals that work here have been called out and dragged through the mud due to something they wrote in the internal company newsletter. Seriously, these people were doing their jobs and do not deserve the hate and shitstorm being pointed at them.

Pricing structure

People have been shocked by the price range in the NeX store, but you should remember that we are talking about clothes. Look at the clothes you are currently wearing in real life. Do you have any specific brands? Did you choose it because it was better quality than a no-name brand? Assume for a short while that you are wearing a pair of $1,000 jeans from some exclusive Japanese boutique shop. Why would you want to wear a pair of $1,000 jeans when you can get perfectly similar jeans for under $50? What do other people think about you when they see you wearing them? For some you will look like the sad culmination of vainness while others will admire you and think you are the coolest thing since sliced bread. Whichever it is, it is clear that by wearing clothes you are expressing yourself and that the price is one of the many dimensions that clothes possess to do that in addition to style and fit. You don’t need to buy expensive clothes. In fact you don’t need to buy any clothes. Whatever you choose to do reflects what you are and what you want others to think you are.

We will gradually introduce items at other price points, definitely lower and probably higher than what‘s in the store today. We hope you enjoy them and are as passionate about them as you are of the current items that are for sale.

I hope I‘ve addressed your concerns and cleared up a lot of the issues you‘re having. We‘ll continue monitoring the forums and other communications channels and pick up and reply if there are concerns not covered by this blog.


Arnar Hrafn Gylfason

Senior Producer of EVE Online

And now the finale, delivered by none other than Hilmar himself, proving once again that community destroying business development tactics always come in threes:

Date: Thu, 23 Jun 2011 18:16:54 -0400
Subject: ccp ceo global msg sent today
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=.UTF-8.
Message-Id: <>

sent by hilmar to ccp global list-


We live in interesting times; in fact CCP is the kind of company that if things get repetitive we instinctively crank it up a notch. That, we certainly have done this week. First of we have Incarna, an amazing technological and artistic achievement. A vision from years ago realized to a point that no one could have imaged but a few months ago. It rolls out without a hitch, is in some cases faster than what we had before, this is the pinnacle of professional achievement. For all the noise in the channel we should all stand proud, years from now this is what people will remember.

But we have done more, not only have we redefined the production quality one can apply to virtual worlds with the beautiful Incarna but we have also defined what it really means to make virtual reality more meaningful than real life when it comes to launching our new virtual goods currency, Aurum.

Naturally, we have caught the attention of the world. Only a few weeks ago we revealed more information about DUST 514 and now we have done it again by committing to our core purpose as a company by redefining assumptions. After 40 hours we have already sold 52 monocles, generating more revenue than any of the other items in the store.

This we have done after months of research by a group of highly competent professionals, soliciting input and perspective from thought leaders and experts in and around our industry. We have communicated our intention here internally in very wide circles through the Virtual Economy Summit presentation at the GSM, our Fearless newsletter, sprint reviews, email lists and multiple other channels. This should not come as a surprise to anyone.

Currently we are seeing _very predictable feedback_ on what we are doing. Having the perspective of having done this for a decade, I can tell you that this is one of the moments where we look at what our players do and less of what they say. Innovation takes time to set in and the predictable reaction is always to resist change.

We went out with a decisive strategy on pricing and we will stay the course and not flip flop around or knee jerk react to the predictable. That is not saying nothing will change, on the contrary, in fact we know that success in this space is through learning and adapting to _what is actually happening_ and new knowledge gained in addition to what we knew before and expected.

All that said, I couldnât be prouder of what we have accomplished as a company, changing the world is hard and we are doing it as so many times before! Stay the course, we have done this many times before.


I know it’s been said a lot before around the EVE forums, and I’ve echoed the sentiment myself frequently over the past bunch of years: CCP is disconnected from its community. It’s done so in the hopes it can garner more attention from the media and prospective subscribers, to attract more MMO fans over to a wonderful world filled with spaceships, dedicated players, and a fully realized universe driven by the actions of its players.

It looks like the trailers were right after all: the smallest of your actions do resonate and affect thousands of players. Lets see how these ones resonate.