Saturday, November 9, 2013

CCP Eterne screws the pooch

Breaking news! CCP welps a carebear fleet. Tears are harvested

video

RISK MANAGEMENT AT IT'S WORST
I don't believe in 'risk management.' If i did i'd be playing a single player campaign where i don't have to deal with risk because i have a 'save game' feature and the fact there's no PVP, at all, in a game that isn't a mmog. Anyone who says differently is in denial they are 'risk averse' and trying to control consequences that cannot be controlled. This is a game where your competence is directly related to your gameplay experience, no matter how much confidence you fake...Eve-online is not a game where you can fake it until you make it. And this game will certainly continue stagnating (since Apocrypha) until CCP realizes that as well, and take steps to fill the gaps in their gameplay. The question I pose the gentle reader is how much does CCP understand the customer base and it's various gamestyles and mindsets (if CCP even considers there to be any other mindset than HTFU)?
"Those who fail to learn history
are doomed to repeat it;
those who fail to learn history correctly--
why they are simply doomed."
Achem Dro'Hm
"The Illusion of Historical Fact"
C.Y. 4971
 WHAT WAS CCP THINKING WHEN WELPING THIS FLEET OF CAREBEARS?
  • there is only one way this can look good:  That CCP organized this event during their calender scheduled new player training sessions to outline the immensity of pvp to the server and how TiDi and poor FCing (ignoring the lame idea that CCP used twitter to announce the start of the move to initiate a trickle of players over 25 systems to avoid massive congestion at a single gate) contributes to a failed event...even one held by CCP...For in a few days CCP will be hosting the next new player training session about "teamwork" then "fleet pvp."  Talk about being unclear on the concept.
  • What most likely is the worst case scenario is that some parts of CCP, influenced by some bonehead rapid pvpers who actually believe the crap about "how pvp is the core of [insert mmog]", got jealous of the new player training session dudes enjoying themselves and decided to cut off their collective noses to spite their faces out of sheer immature grandstanding. Look, NPE guys, Events matter too! derp!
  • The more pragmatic view is that noone at CCP has ever bothered to learn about FCing (and all the other multitude of social oriented aspects of 'their' *snort* game) and they might actually think this clusterfuck idea will actually help them learn how to FC and, as a bonus, show that to have fun you have to die like lemmings at a LOLWUT  welp event. riiiiiiight.
  • The least likely scenario is that CCP actually thought holding a live event that was a welp fleet would be a brilliant way to precursor Rubicon's official story arc of capsuleers breaking away from the empires.(source)
HOW I THINK CCP SCREWED THE POOCH
I believe instead that November 7th was a boneheaded last minute WAI that showcased how utterly deficient event planners are at the Seven P's* and how mad customers can get with a their business model, post-incarna.
What will most likely happen to CCP's mindset is...nothing...i doubt they can even compehend the:
  1. Massive public relations disaster on their customer base by showing how CCP obviously has swallowed the "pvp is the core of this game as our original vision" hook line and sinker (you know the one, 'takes a few cracked eggs to make an omelette.) 
  2. Lack of understanding what constitutes proper [combat] pvp other than what you saw: a total welp fleet  
  3. CCP really doesn't have a clue this is a 'game' they haven't really tried understanding as such because Griefers** have managed to convince them they don't need to understand...just code MOAR SHINY THINGS to blow up. Anything else is just smacking down lazy scammers and exploiters just like their permaband video portrayed.
  4. Lack of understanding what constitutes 'pvp' in a mmog (you know, that everything carebears and griefers do, risk averse or not, in this game...metagaming is another kettle of fish)
  5. Lack of understanding what risk aversion is and how the consequences in this game shape the mindsets of those engaged in all aspects of play in a mmog with no 'save game' function...mindsets that are truly unique and don't translate very well between player types (yes, i refer to bartle's types)

CONSEQUENCES OF CCP'S RISKY BUSINESS
Realize that CCP doesn't believe for a second they screwed the pooch on this event. to them it's a shiny showcase about how Eve-online is the greatest pvp adventure of all time... until they've actually managed to kill off all the 'explorers', the 'socializers' and the 'achievers' by buying into the really stupid idea that "pvp=blowing up shiny new ships" and the mindless tunnel focus on such ignores very valid points that other socializing, achieving and exploratory aspects of the game have their own unique mindset (that differs wildly from a 'killer' point of view) in the player base - I should say, 'customer base' - who, you know, have actual real life wallets that go a walking ...silently. Unlike the rapid, vicious and loudmouthed 'killers' who really never want anything but easy, risk-free ganking for tear harvesting and who have no shame in their game when it comes to elitist prick asskissing of anything 'official' and being utterly condescending to n00bs and 'carebears.'
Oh, don't get me wrong, i love drinking miner tears. i really really love slurping on the whiny behavior of players who think i have to let them play the game the way they want to just because they haven't a clue they don't have a clue.
Problem is, the developers can't stoop to my level because the consequences are way more freaking epic than my humble risky actions could ever conjure. Especially since CCP really have shown the entire server how little they walk the talk with all their vaunted HTFU. nah. it's nothing but LOLWUT LET'S WELP CAREBEARS TO HARVEST TEARS AND THEY'LL ENJOY IT LATER
Sets a bad precedent, doesn't it? This whole gamble CCP has unknowingly taken on is based on a simple single assumption: that the silent wallet carrying customer base who are 'carebears' is a myth and that Bartle had it all wrong when he talked about the types of mmog customers out there. That there are only killers and each one of us is a vicious supercompetitive paranoid spying thief just waiting for a chance to strike.
That's a risk CCP is taking...a really stupid boneheaded lazy unthinking action they don't believe has any risk let alone consequences. Consequences to CCP for subconsciously assuming the killer mindset translates easily into the explorer, socializer and achiever mindset (because, you know, if we all HTFU we'd think just like ccp, amirite?)

The corollary is CCP has never learned what 'risk aversion' is and, having shown it's incompetence and flagrant facile 'confidence,' we all know they never will understand that 'risk aversion' is directly proportionate to how lazy you are.
Laziness isn't just a hallmark of "OMG CAREBEARS LOL TEARS" who don't 'htfu'...it's an equal hallmark of risk averse griefers who like to gank easy targets. And laziness by CCP itself collectively and individually.
If CCP cannot step back and realize their are two lazy, risk averse, camps (carebears vs griefers) they will fall into the trap of assuming 'pvp' is blowing shit up, theft and spying and not actually realizing that pvp is risk, and that lazy players come in all shapes and sizes and just because you steal, cheat, lie and fornicate doesn't make you HARD.
Want proof? Just look at the way they welped that fleet they clusterfucked: CCP probably considered themselves to be very HTFU oriented just because they had the cajones to welp a fleet.  That's not learning from the consequences of a risky action in a mmog. Far from it. It is the customer base who will learn this lesson, adapt or leave quietly amid the hailstorm of joy from lazy griefers in denial about their lack of majority in this game.
One wonders if their permaband video actually betrays a subtle prejudice CCP has towards anyone not playing the game their way:  scammers and RMT = lazy risk averse carebears? Is this what is the bias about what's the core of being a carebear? That the core drive of carebears is to cheat the system?

CONCLUSION
In closing, all aspects of risk are a major selling point for a mmog, including making it risky to blow shit up, thieve AND spy. During this fiasco, there was no risk to the "defenders" so i don't consider this event a showcase for pvp/rubicon/NPE as much as risk free gankathon of lemmings for tears by griefers run by griefers for griefers. It's actually kinda pathetic. I think i'll try to listen to the new player calender scheduled events just to see how incredibly naive CCP really is.

*-Seven P's: proper planning and preparation prevents piss poor performance
**-clarification:  look, most of us veterans know and love the risk aspect of a mmog and how everything and anything is about pvp (competition, market stuff, mining out a field, etc are all 'pvp') except veterans have seen more than one MMOG (including sci-fi ones) succumb to the idiocy of devs actually believing they know how to play the game cuz they designed it...piecemeal...from patch to patch...not really ever once having a grand vision that lasted more than said new patch or in twitch reaction to some boneheaded loophole they ...finally... slammed shut...which never existed until some ingenious player discovered a way to make a poor game mechanic work in a way the devs never intended.
I am a 'killer' type even if i consider myself an 'explorer' type. A killer type well aware that his target selection has been stagnant since Apocrypha. I want more 'socializers' and 'achievers' in this game except CCP doesn't consider this to be a valid model and has been fooled into oiling the squeaky wheel instead...for over a decade. A squeaky wheel that has every motive to inflate it's 'killer' percentage of the customer base beyond all reasonable proportion to reality...who have probably lied successfully to portray high sec as just a place for null sec alts.

QUOTES FROM JESTER'S TREK & OFFICIAL FORUMS
 "If anyone needed more evidence of what CCP thought of its high sec subscription base, this event speaks far more eloquently than any words." ~Dinsale Pirannha
"The inaction of CCP to respond to this is just as eloquent as the incident itself.
Actions, or inactions, mean so much more than words.
CCP has complete disdain for their high sec subscription base, and clearly does not expect, nor really care, if a small quantity quit.
As every hour passes, the more convinced I become that this was a test case to see how many subs they truly lose over this, and that will influence their plans on handing high sec to the null sec cartels. If they lose relatively few subs, then they go blasting forward with Seagull's plans to wipe out high sec as we know it today. If they lose a larger percentage of subs of the accounts that got awoxed by CCP, then they may have to rethink their plans."
~Dinsale Pirannha
"Pathetic that there is a hidden threat of 'well if you don't like an atrocioulsy run event then we won't fix it and we won't have more events and you obviously are starved for some new content like events aren't you, well then you better like the horrible ones you got and be happy with that'. " ~Anon
"This was not an 'op' we weren't going to the kills or the action. We were going for the story. However there was no story. The action and the kills mean nothing. Yes I died, do I care? No ... I expected to die. I am upset at CCP's failures for leading the event NOT the outcome of the event.
Please stop trying to take credit for tears that are not yours."
~Aerieth
"To defend CCP a little (albeit yes they screwed this event up!) They did manage to run successful live events after Aurora. Note, Aurora got disbanded due to internal corruption. The scale didn't matter, the fact it did happen warranted the disband at the time.
Examples:
The Nation Invasion Live events: they happened in High, Low and Null. They're regarded among the best live events CCP did, as they involved all timezones and all players. It also showed alot of highsec folks don't mind the dying.
The Caldari State Storyline + Minmatar tribal storyline: They were generally well received, as they mattered in how the story unfolded.
Even in Caldari prime, which got a lot of flak, the event itself was good, and if you couldn't be there, there was still plenty of event actor stuff to listen to + streaming vids so you could at least watch it in real time. CCP issue here was that too many players showed up and they weren't ready for it (this issue repeated itself this event however, with the added insult that the event itself was crap)
There's some more like the Serpentis bombing and the Angel relief effort who were smaller but happened in low that got good approvals.
The above events mentioned were all received well overall by the attendees. It's part of the people's anger at this event actually, as CCP showed they can do better in the past."
~Aerieth
"We're not upset about the people who decide "we'd rather blow up the live event people then help them" that's called living in a sandbox. It's when the people who you pay real world money (aka NOT sandbox money) tell you that they will be doing something fun in the sandbox and would like you to come along then fuck you over that's when you get upset." ~Aerieth
"You probably missed the news article this all started from. The empires asked for capsuleer help. I'll rephrase this for you: empires were going to do something and asked capsuleers to lend a hand. To reincorce this impression, they also sent two imperial FCs, who in turn attempted to look like they were organizing this.
If from the start people were told that "system A has an object that needs to be destroyed, and we ask you to do it however you can", so that there are no false expectations of imperial leadership and support, then people would have taken full control in their hands and done the organizing by themselves. But instead, CCP gave an illusion of leadership, which people followed to their doom.
Could it have been prevented by not trusting CCP? Yes, of course. Is it a good thing? Hardly."
  ~Colman Dietmar
"CCP actors made very little effort to interact with the players or to play their role, to offer story content character description or any of the other frills we expect from an event setting, in some cases CCP actors blatantly broke character stereotype and racial mentality for those they represented, this is true for both the pirate and empire teams, i wanted to fight beside empire commanders and kill off cartel commanders, I may as well have been shooting dev toons for all the effort CCP put in."  ~Wedgetail
"I showed up at the muster point an hour in advance expecting a CCP employee to be playing as a CONCORD Fleet Commander who would give me orders I could act upon. That was my only expectation other than I would surely loose my ship and probably my pod." ~ Harrison Tato
"What they did expect was some form of event happening, some sign there was an event actor around. This was not the case, the event actor jumped himself from one of the staging systems directly into the event system. The rest had to catch up, passing trough a bottleneck of nullsec gatecamps, inexperienced people vs experienced gatecampers. If the event actor had travelled with them, it would be much more accepted to die.
The main gripe of most folks who complain is about how the event was run, not the fact they died (yes they complain about the death, but not as the dying itself, but rather that it was 'meaningless') Also keep in mind, most players actually never even reached the lowsec/nullsec camps before the event was called over (despite the fact these travelling players left the stagingsystem at about the same time as the actors, but wanted to stay together, and thereby got caught up in TiDi)
I've been part of older live events going into low, and yes yes, the highsec folk tend to die horribly, but they usually were happy about it as it was part of an event. They saw the Nation carrier raiding a planet, or notice how event actors commented as pirates enganged them. That's what they came for, an event, then they died, and it was good because they died being part of that event."
~Jandice Ymladris
 "I was there and it was kind of a disaster. But, I actually think CCP shouldn't be put off by it. Instead, just press ahead with more events, trying different ideas. Keeping doing and learning and I bet you'll eventually find something that does work. Maybe try to involve top player FCs to help you plan stuff that's more feasible. Jump bridges is a great idea, do that! Spreading things out, also great. Isolated/moderated chat streams - essential (the trolling was out of control). Don't give up, don't stare at your navels too much. Just keep trying stuff and be honest about it being an experiement (set expectation low). Tell people to get into a clean clone first. It would be great for the game if you could get live events to be consist and enjoyable. I'm sure EVE has all the tools you need; we just need to figure out what works." ~Bill Marrs
"Well, I don't think anyone could say it was not a clusterfuck.
There is obviously new lore being written here, but the execution and planning of this event overshadowed it.
I look forward to how that develops, but just leading fleets to what can only be an inevitable slaughter is not smart or clever.
Titan bridges to the destination, where a great battle takes place, concord and the empire navies abandoning the capsuleers to their doom, would have told the story, and made it clear the navies hold the eggers in contempt.
CCP leading hisec into a nullsec trap said that they hold their subscribers in contempt...probably not what they wanted to say.
I am not asking for anyones head, but for gods sake hold a post failure analysis meeting and make sure this never happens again." 
~epicurus ataraxia
"I'm sure this event will make sense from a storytelling perspective, but from a game design perspective, it's very poorly constructed.
The first thing you have to consider when designing these events is 'what is your target audience'.
In this case, the people that showed up came from all walks of Eve-life, both null-sec veterans where involved as well as people who've never gone there before.
Though live events have a legacy, a reputation, that draws in a lot of high-sec players.
If you're designing a large scale null-sec event, and you 'inherit' this high-sec crowd from previous events, you're exposing players to a situation they're not equipped to handle and leading them to gameplay that would deter many from venturing into hull-sec again.
I don't mean to say that events can't take place in null-sec and still be fun, but you should be aware of the type of crowd you draw into your event and what gameplay best suits them. If you want to have an event that's a battle in null-sec against players who know what they're doing, then market the event that way, set expectations right and draw in the crowd that finds this to be fun.
If you want to get players to taste of null-sec through live events who have never ventured there before, design the event such that they have a good shot at having a good time.
Having newer players solo or in small groups venturing into null-sec looking for hidden clues over a longer period of time, rather than a specific, predetermined time, is a good example of a type of null-sec event where a new player has a reasonable chance of success.
Live events aren't just a vehicle for the story of Eve, they're a game in and on themselves, and need to be designed that way."
~Aynen

OFFICIAL SOURCES
original news article (and followup)
missing is the news article calling for pirates to rally
aftermath news article 1
aftermath news article 2
devblog about the event

plus the NewPlayerTrainingSessions (teamwork then fleet pvp came after the event)

FINAL ANALYSIS
Taken as a whole, ccp has demonstrated how thoroughly unprepared it is to host official events (they call anything ingame they do official as an event) in eve-online, and their "CCP community developers [read anyone with blue text ingame]" are simply individuals with their own personalities with zero policy and procedures for actually running a particular event.
Treat any such event as merely a dev roam. with whomever is typing in blue text to be using their own judgment without guidance. period. without any official competent consensus from CCP as a whole (note that the main gem i gleaned from the blog about the event was "we expected empire to win". LULZ)

*shrug* I've never paid attention to roleplay chronicles and such...they never seem to capture the mood of the times nor convey anything meaningful players can interact with and influence a story arc of any form...and if they could..well, one merely has to pay attention to what happened long ago with the Tetrimon Cult arc. sheesh. CCP's official line on such things is to keep it ephemeral and blah blah emergent gameplay that might impact the game's vision (like they ever fucking had any, nor will)

[what i wish they'd say] "okay, we understand that everything in a mmog is pretty much PVP* (based on us saying things like '[intended] emergent gameplay') and that anything we official do as a story arc ingame turns quickly unintended, we realize that all player actions are pretty much 'unintended' since it's clear we really don't have the capacity to be objective (being developers) ...since we react in a way that negatively impacts the player base whenever we try something that turns out to be an uncalculated risk based on our misunderstandings of what actually occurs in this game of ours, therefore we have to concede that 'emergent gameplay' is all about 'risk' and 'pvp*' and really any activity there's a mechanic for is 'unintended'...since if we intended it we'd UNDERSTAND player mindsets easily enough for we'd have already anticipated such in developing that mechanic.
So, yeah, even carebearing is a risky business where ore/ice fields can be depleted by someone else, the 0.01isk game doesn't go a carebear's way, a laboratory/manufacturing slot queue is a week's long pending, anti-social morons who are arrogant and don't really talk much in local, etc.
Was that our vision? It must be. CCP must have had a vision where pvp* = risk that goes beyond a single player 'save game' option, and how we coded in different zones of the universe has always been our vision. Our vision encompasses a social aspect too: for both high sec carebears AND null sec griefers**. We strive to reduce risk-averse activities for that gives a bad name to both carebears and griefers** alike.

*- PVE isn't part of our vision unless it is tied directly to the social fabric of eve.
**-of course, i'm sure using the word 'griefer' is taboo but very very apt.

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