Alliance Touranment X

Alliance Tournament X Kicked Off

First blood was drawn this weekend in New Eden, as the tenth Alliance Tournament began with first round qualifier matches.

As is usually the case with these events, CCP is presenting everyone with a plethora of web and social options for staying informed on the outcomes of the matches.  In addition to the official site (linked below), you can follow the results and ongoing community discussion on Twitter, hashtag #at10eve.

If you’re interested in a match-by-match summary, the folks at Definitive eSports has put up recaps for both days from this weekend. They’re worth a read if you want to get caught up quickly. Those with much more time on their hands who may have missed all (or some) of the fights can catch the full match videos as they go up on CCP’s YouTube channel.

One of my biggest complaints about the tournaments of the past has been nicely handled this year, and that’s the “what the fuck is going on?” factor. Lets face it: not everyone’s an expert at EVE, and there are plenty of folks watching the tournament who haven’t touched the game. At minimum, having some sort of UI overlaid on the action that shows some metadata from both sides in real time should be a requirement, and finally we have that.

It’s more eSporty this way, which in my opinion at least, is a good thing. More interest in these tournaments means more likelihood CCP will continue to put on the show and support them as well as they have been. This year’s streaming has been flawless for me, and the quality is entirely serviceable.

So far the commentary’s been above average, and since this is the qualifiers I’m hoping for good things as the tournament progresses.


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.


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.


EVE Online DDoS’d

Breaking news here, but it appears that the guys responsible for the recent swath of hacks has taken out EVE Online. Here’s hoping the damage is not permanent, but the site and game is currently down.

We just wiped out the login server for Eve Online, and it accidentally took their website out at the same time

It’s also going to be an interesting day on Twitter for @EveOnline, writing:

EVE Online and related services are currently offline, to return ASAP after investigation of some issues

More on this as it develops.

UPDATE (correcting post title too)

Looks like the game’s back online, and there’s this handy update from CCP’s COO:

A message from our COO.

At 17:00 UTC today, CCP became aware of a distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS) against the EVE Online cluster and web servers.

Our policy in such cases is to mobilize a taskforce of internal and external experts to evaluate the situation. At 17:55 UTC, that group concluded that our best course of action was to go completely offline while an exhaustive scan of our entire infrastructure was executed.

While some may feel that such a drastic reaction was not warranted, it is always our approach to err on the side of caution in order to ensure the best possible service for our players and the security of their personal, billing and account information.

We understand the effect this disruption has had for our players and apologize for not having been able to explain fully to the community what was going on. In these cases it can often be counterproductive to containment to give out information while we are in the process of evaluating the scope of any potential problem.

Our taskforce concluded at 22:05 that neither the game servers nor the CCP infrastructure had been breached. Further, we can also confirm that no personal details such as users’ credentials or credit card numbers were exposed through this incident.

The servers were brought back online at 23:00 and we will continue to monitor the situation closely.

Again, we sincerely apologize for this disruption.


Jón Hörðdal

Chief Operating Officer

Nice job. Disruption of service sure, but at least CCP has some monitoring in place to know what was done. Kudos.


Incarna Countdown Clock Live

Incarna is coming on the 21st of June, and CCP is celebrating this by unleashing the new Incarna feature page upon the internets.

Incarna represents a pretty significant set of changes to EVE, and the site largely ignores that fact and instead takes it as an opportunity to shove social networking and marketing before meaningful content. Inexplicably, there is yet another countdown clock on the site. I’m beginning to wonder if this was some super expensive component or something, that they have to use it on every marketing site from here on to recoup costs.

Ok so there IS one redeeming page in the whole site, and that is the actual feature descriptions page. It’s largely a mix of content and links dealing with existing dev blogs on the subject of this coming patch, but it serves as a handy summary for those looking for a one stop shop.


DUST 514 Revealed

The countdown is over.  The world is now shocked to find that the site that previously held a countdown clock is in fact a marketing site for a first person shooter set — get this — in the EVE universe.

No, seriously! Check this out, I’m not making this up:

DUST 514 is a PS3-exclusive persistent shooter focused on intense infantry combat augmented by powerful vehicles. Uniquely, it is set in, and directly connected to, the thriving player driven universe of EVE Online.

There are even bullet points, just like any good console game marketing site should have:

  • A Galaxy of Battlefields: check
  • An Immortal Soldier: check
  • Conflict is a Way of Life: check
  • An Economy Fueled By War: check

Yep, it’s an EVE game.

Ok seriously, now…  The site’s got a bunch of new screens, and a new trailer, so we can get a slightly better feel for how the game will play than the videos shown before. And you didn’t read that wrong: it’s a PS3 exclusive.

This part actually baffles me, since the larger market for multiplayer online is clearly the Xbox 360. Then again, the PS3 has been a platform more welcoming to developers that take risks, and is a much less closed ecosystem than Xbox Live. All the better to integrate a game with a third party online service, say like the CCP servers for DUST.

Noticeably absent from class: a firm release date. He’s probably out back having a smoke with World of Darkness.


  • DUST 514 (now with 100% less countdown clocks)

Counting Down to DUST 514

There are times when countdowns are bad things.  Thankfully though, you’re not  a secret agent tasked with disarming a nuclear bomb. This time you’re an EVE player or fan, and E3 is just around the corner.

The game industry is no stranger to this concept — sometimes there are announcement countdowns, and there are even more ridiculous times where the result is a tweet about a new game. This time I’m thinking we’re all in for a treat: a spanky new marketing site all about DUST 514, and along with industry folks at E3 we will finally see some more concrete and interesting details about the game.

Clicking below will only let you watch the clock for now. But very soon I think we will be welcoming a bunch of new players to EVE via consoles.

Or, just playing it ourselves. No worries either way.


Best Live Game Gets a New Box

It’s been a fairly news-heavy day today from CCP. First up, EVE’s been awarded the Best Live Game award at the GDC this year. This is fantastic news in my opinion, since this award is a pretty significant nod from CCP’s peers.

The Best Live Game award recognizes the best currently-operating online game, having been launched in North America for at least 12 months (before May 2009), and distinguishing itself by that exceptional new content through expansion packs, patches, or other updates in the last 12 months, as well as a vibrant player community, high-quality community management and network operation during that period.

Congratulations to CCP on this win, it’s well deserved.

Hot on the heels of that announcement comes a press release of a brand new boxed edition of EVE, coming to retail stores near you.

This latest boxed edition will include an exclusive in-game item, the Cerebral Accelerator, which is a military-grade implant that significantly increases a new pilot’s skill development. While they are a very strong boost to nearly all abilities, these bonuses are temporary and are only effective for the first 30 days of a pilot’s life as they get up to speed in the universe.

The Commissioned Officer Edition also includes a CD key for starting a new account, 30 days paid game subscription time and an EVE poster with helpful hints and tips for getting started on the reverse side.

You can check the press release link below for some more details, there’s no official release date there but apparently it’s ready for pre-order.

I would also theorize that the super special implant the boxed copy comes with has about as much use for an existing EVE player as a small clump of belly button lint.


Winter Expansion Page Now Live

CCP has put up an announcement page for their winter expansion, titled INCURSION. I can only hope some beefier content comes to the page in the coming days, for now it’s basically a pretty press release.

In summary, the expansion will feature:

  • Incursions into EVE space by the evil scary Sanshas, providing some random-but-possibly-interesting new PVE content.
  • New character creation, letting us all have new portraits.
  • New ships, missions, effects, etc.
  • EVE Gate improvements.
  • Hardware and software upgrades which may, or may not, improve performance during fleet fights (that’s my internal bitter vet speaking).
  • And possibly the most important improvement in the history of EVE: new forums.

I’m interested in seeing how the incursions aspect of this plays out. I’d commented here and there after playing Tabula Rasa that random, violent NPC encounters could spice things up a bit. I’m interested in seeing if they’re only going to be massively large scale in nature or whether the lone wolf pilot doing some random business will have a smaller encounter tailored for one or two people.

My guess is: No.

That being said, the Carbon character thing is proof that the tech teams for Incarna have actually produced something usable by EVE players before the world ends in 2012.