Eve Online emergency Incarna meeting: CCP vs. the CSM
Over the weekend Eve Online developers CCP held an emergency meeting with the player-elected Council of Stellar Management to come to a cosmic truce over the controversial additions made by the recent Incarna update.
Grievances discussed included the replacement of the traditional hangar with Captain's Quarters, the addition of an in-game shop selling super-expensive vanity items and the fear that game changing items could be sold as microtransactions in future.
CCP and the CSM did reach an uneasy accord over the course of a weekend of strained negotiations. You can watch the results in the video above. Today, both parties released statements. It's fair to say they take a very different tone. Here's the blow by blow account.
On leaked CCP emails
Following player anger at the release of the Incarna update, an email allegedly circulated within CCP hit Evenews24, claiming that Incarna had been a flawless release, advocating that the company watches what players do instead of what they said, and boasting about the number of monocles sold in the item store. The Greed is Good email discussing the pros of expensive microtransactions also caused a stir. Here's the reactions from the devs and the Council of Stellar Management following this weekend's meeting.
"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."
"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."
"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."
On the Noble Exchange Store
The Noble Exchange Store was added with the Incarna update. It's an item store that sells vanity items, like monocles. Very expensive monocles. In fact, everything in the store was expensive. In game shirts cost as much as their real life counterparts and the best gear costs as much as four months subscription to the game.
"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."
"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."
On pay-to-win items
The Greed is Good newsletter and the botched launch of the Noble Exchange Store led Eve players to fear the dreaded pay-to-win item, weapons or ammunition that could be bought with real money that would give paying players an in-game advantage.
"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."
"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."
On Captain's Quarters and performance problems
The Captain's Quarters replaced the old space station system of menus with an explorable series of rooms. Many players missed the old system, which allowed them to spin their craft around in the 3D view and see it from all angles. The update also caused a number of client performance issues.
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."