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Role Playing (Games)

EVE Online Answers Your Questions 249

Posted by Zonk
from the i-have-been-podded-someone-help-me dept.
Last week at GDC I had the privilege of sitting down to speak with a representative from CCP, the folks who maintain EVE Online. The week before, we'd asked for questions to pass on. I had the chance to put them directly to Magnus Bergsson, CMO at CCP. He very directly tackles the recent scandal involving a CCP developer, the reason why EVE's hardcore gameplay is so appealing, the balance between casual and hardcore players, and some information on the future of the game. Read on for his answers to your questions in a transcript of the interview, as well as audio live from the GDC Expo floor.
Note: This interview was recorded live on the show floor of GDC 2007, at around 2pm on March 7th. The transcript here has been edited to eliminate repeated words and 'umms', and to provide a clear reading experience. If you'd prefer, the full, unedited audio recording is available for your listening enjoyment. (reduced bitrate: 48 kbps, 32 kbps)

Slashdot: So, for the record could you say who you are?

Magnus: Magnus Bergsson, the CMO at CCP.

Slashdot: Excellent. Thank you sir. The way that we got these questions, basically, was we spoke to the Slashdot community, and the way that we do interviews is we ask people what they're interested in hearing. So, most of these questions are basically directly from the readers, what they want to know. So, if they're bad questions, or you get angry, don't get angry at me. (laughs)

Magnus: I don't get angry.

Slashdot: That's good. There was that scandal thing ... (laughs) Unfortunately, I'm going to start with that one. There was that scandal thing that happened recently. Could you sort of ... explain to folks I guess, what happened, so we can hear directly from you what your take on the situation is?

Magnus: Ahh ... people need to know when the issue with this one developer happened, which was last summer, all of the management team was actually on a summer vacation. And the people in charge then they basically decided to handle it the way they handled it. And they just made a really bad decision the way they managed that whole thing. But they did the best they could, because we had never done anything, nothing like this had ever come up. And this goes so much against the CCP mentality, and the corporate culture that, in our naiveness, we never really thought that anything like that could actually happen. Because CCP is our baby, and this basically is like hurting your own baby, which you just don't do. And the person that did it, which I know really well, he doesn't understand himself, it just doesn't make any sense. Anyway, they mishandled it, absolutely, and we've stated so in our blogs. From that came a number of rules that we have now for our own employees. We have an internal affairs department that does nothing but monitor our employees, to ensure that nothing like that will ever happen again. But some still think that CCP as a whole is trying to help one alliance in-game. And, it's so ridiculous for anyone to think that. Why would anyone at CCP want to do something like that? So, we just mishandled it and we tried to correct it, and we I think we handled it as best we could, and that's what it basically was. We made a mistake, we'd never dealt with something like this before. It's part of growing up, getting a bigger company, we have people in shanghai, we have people in Atlanta, we now have all these rules and regulations in place that we've set for our employees, they're good. People have to realize that we're working on EVE because we have a passion for the game, we will be playing the game. It would be horrible for the community and the game if CCP employees were not playing. Because the game gets created in the hands of the players. It's critical for us to have people playing the game just to know what's going on. We actually did a survey, and we found it's an even distribution of CCP employees in the top ten alliances. And those people would never allow somebody to be working against their alliance, so ... it's a mess, in the end we came and did the right thing. People know at the company, people know that if you were to do something like that you'd basically get fired. We couldn't double judge in that case, you know, double jeopardy if you want to compare it to that. You know, and that's basically the short of it.

Slashdot: Well, thank you. Thank you for going into that. I know it's probably not something that you guys want to touch on a lot right now. Do you think with the internal affairs department set up right now, and the action you've taken against the people involved, do you folks consider this matter closed right now? I just know that some of the comments were in the area of there is still some mixed -- and since it's still so fresh in people's minds -- there's still some mixed feelings there. Do you consider this matter closed at the moment?

Magnus: That case, from our end, is closed. I mean, we've done all the investigation, we know it was only one person and not the whole company like some like to believe, and ahh there's nothing more that we feel can be done, um it was just an unfortunate case, and in the overall scheme of things it didn't affect the game in that like some people like to thing. And, in the end, we're just damn sorry and it hurts our feelings to see some of the players say some of the things about us; we love this game and we'd never do anything to hurt it, and to have people think that this is a widespread thing within CCP: that's as far from the truth as it possibly can.

Slashdot: Right, okay, so I think one of the things that people were really frustrated by with that, is I guess, the hardcore ... EVE has this reputation as a very 'tough' game, and obviously there are a lot of people who really enjoy that. Why do you think the hardcore nature of the game appeals to so many people?

Magnus: Uhhh wow, that's a big question. EVE can be very hardcore, and it can be also a very casual game. It really depends on how you play it. But most of these people who are commenting on the forums and so forth are the hardcore players, they've been with the game for many years. If you live in 0.0, it's very hardcore. It's a very you know, dog eat dog world, and I for one, I live there, I am one of those hardcore players. You know, it's just the threat the, big death penalty and the amount of strategy you have to employ and the amount of thinking you have to do, and I think it's a big big challenge, and I think these people really enjoy the challenge.

Slashdot: Yeah, um, so you in your estimation the fact that it's not more like a World of Warcraft, where death is not really a big deal, you guys see that as a definite strength for the game?

Magnus: Absolutely. The reason that people team up in corporations and then corporations team up in alliances is because there is this inherent big threat of dying and losing a lot of money. You can lose months of work in 30 seconds, and this forces people because of human nature, to band together and form relationships. I'm saving somebody's life, saving their three, four, five, six months of work, so you create very strong relationships, where you don't have an opportunity in real life to rescue your friends from death.

Slashdot: Right, hopefully.

Magnus: Yeah, hopefully, but you get to do that on a daily basis. And that's what creates these really strong feelings, the really strong relationships, that are such a big part of this game. And because it's so totally open ended, so totally different from a game like World of Warcraft, which is a really structured game experience. A great game, but it's just different. So when people have done that type of game, it's kind of a natural progression for them to step into something that's heavier and deeper, and more rewarding in the end.

Slashdot: Totally. So, another thing that came up a lot in comments were the um, the sort of backseat designers ... you mentioned the folks on the forums who have been playing this for a number of years now, and they obviously have very strong opinions on where the game should go. How do you balance making those folks happy with attracting new players, people who might be looking at the more casual aspects of the game?

Magnus: Well, we have to satisfy most people, so it's always a balancing act, sometimes we take an upgrade, and we say now we're going to focus on this part of the game because we haven't done it before. And often when you dive into one part of the game, there are a lot of associated things that come with it. So sometimes we might actually be focusing a lot on the newer players, sometimes we might be focusing a lot on the hardcore players, but we try to do our best to have our expansions so that they touch on something for everybody. But sometimes we do more for the other, we always try to do something for everybody, it's a balancing act, and there's a big group at CCP that discusses this on a daily basis. Of course, we get input from the CCP employees that are playing the game at every single level. We have empire dwellers and people living in 0.0, let's call them Carebears, I like to call them that. Everybody has their input, in the end some features get selected as the best ones, it's a long process and a difficult one.

Slashdot: Could you point out a feature that was added recently, or with the last group of features, that you thought was really good for the more casual players?

Magnus: Yeah, the new player experience, which we spent a lot of time and effort on. That was just for the new players, just to make it easier for them. We are still working on adding a lot more to that, we have a team that is just dedicated to that aspect of the game.

Slashdot: Really?

Magnus: Yeah, so we're always trying to improve that part. Because, when you get thrown into a game like EVE, which is so open-ended, and there's no hand holding you really need to ahh, help those people. Those people are going to see a lot of new things this year. There' s a lot of new things were working on helping them getting into the game and understanding it. Of course, you don't really see it - you get thrown into this world, and if you don't already have a friend that's already playing it can be a little tricky.

Slashdot: Yeah, that's interesting, because a friend of mine was recently trying out some games and she tried out your game, and she was a little offput because EVE has this reputation for being such an intimidating game, but she found the new player experience very intuitive. In fact she said it was more intuitive to her than like an EverQuest 2, which is ... well, it's directed, but in EVE it's like a step-by-step thing. So this is going to be a focus in the future, is there's going to be a team that stays on the new player experience?

Magnus: And it's been on there for a long time, this team. So we are always extremely aware of, and we're always trying to make it easier. It's not easy trying to make those first steps real easy without making them real boring. But I think the new player experience is really good, it takes people in the right direction. It shows them a lot about the game, but as with EVE in it's nature you have to bring something to the table. You have to take some action, you have to take responsibility with what you're doing, just as in real life. There's no manual for this side of the screen, so we'll do our best, there's a lot of things we're going to be doing from now on to get people in ...

Slashdot: Can you give an example?

Magnus: Ahh, for instance, just helping people in the tutorial, just pointing things out to them in the email. Ahh, staying in touch with them, that's a huge thing because right now you might skip something in the tutorial but there's nothing that really pulls you back, nothing that points 'you why don't you check this out?' So we're going to be tracking what people are doing and sending them appropriate notifications about, hey you should be trying this out.

Slashdot: Okay. I guess just to pull back and deal with, obviously Slashdot's a very technology-oriented site, and some of the questions were very much on the technology. There's been PvP wars in the past few months that in the opinion of the posters highlighted some server limitations, some hardware limitations. Are there any plans in the future to change the scale of the world at all? Perhaps move to multiple servers?

Magnus: No, we will not move to multiple servers. What we are doing right now, there is actually and has been for the last four or five months, all of the developers are focusing on one thing right now - the need for speed. In EVE you have larger battles than in any other MMO. We had the other day, not too long ago, a battle of 1000 in the same system, and we want to continue supporting that, allowing them to have these large battles, but we also want to create incentives to create smaller engagements, which in the end are more fun for the player.

Slashdot: Right. They're certainly more understandable.

Magnus: Yes, but having 1000 people combat in the same system, is a massive requirement on the servers. Today they weigh two tons, the whole cluster weighs two tons. There's still a lot of work being done, we're still implementing new optimizations for the client and the server, and the hardware it's running on, we can't get any better hardware, so we have to focus on the code, so there's a lot of effort to allow people to have these big battles.

Slashdot: Excellent. I know you're probably disinclined to give out exact details, but for the technology nerds, for the server nerds, can you give any details about what you're running the game on. You mentioned the weight, I mean what are some of your specs?

Magnus: For instance, the we don't have hard disks on our database server. Those are solid-state harddisks, which are only previously only been used for military applications, those are extremely high output, they're called RAMSANS, and that's one applications. We're now moving everything to 64 bit architecture. Everything is running on IBM hardware. IBM has been a really great partner for us to work with, so we get the latest hardware from them as soon as they can possibly deliver it. We're always updating the hardware so we invest and have invested many many millions of dollars just on the hardware side.

Slashdot: And uhh... i'm not sure this is a question you'd be all that interested in answering, but there was one gentleman who was very interested in Stackless Python, and how that's worked out for you? Do you find that it still meets the demands of the many thousands of players that are playing the game?

Magnus: Absolutely, Stackless Python because it's a stateless environment is one of the keys of why EVE is actually capable of supporting all these users. And we have been working very closely with the Python community, we had a Python convention in Iceland that CCP actually orchestrated, and we've supported the PyCon conventions. We want to see more development on that end, and there's some interesting things happening there, so we will continue using that.

Slashdot: Okay, so looking back you definitely wouldn't have done it differently?

Magnus: It's one of the best things that has happened to EVE in the beginning, was to actually select that.

Slashdot: Okay. Do you feel that way about MSSQL?

Magnus: (pause) It has actually worked really well for us. We have worked really closely with Microsoft and ahh, it has performed really well. So that was the right decision, and still is. There are no issues with the database, and no other database would be able to perform better, in our opinion. So there are no issues there. And Microsoft has been really good to work with.

Slashdot: Excellent. Um, so as I was talking about a little earlier ... White Wolf. I know a lot of people are very very interested in what you're planning. I know you can't talk a lot about plans right now because you're very much in the initial phases. First of all, can you shed some light on why you folks got together? What was the rationale there?

Magnus: White Wolf has some assets we didn't have. They are extremely good storytellers, they have a lot of expertise in physical distribution, they can create board games, they are now writing the EVE manual, the EVE strategy guide. They're going to help us getting EVE into physical distribution, into stores, Then they have this fantastic IP, which we are converting into an MMO. But, ahh, I don't have any more information on that because it's early stages. We're still designing the gameplay and everything else, but we're very committed to making that into an MMO, so that relationship has been fantastic. The team at White wolf is actually working on some aspects of EVE online. To add more storytelling missions, and so forth.

Slashdot: That's very interesting, do you know when we might see that stuff in the game?

Magnus: I don't know the release schedule for the missions and so forth, but the strategy guide and the player guide which is badly missing right now, that is an ongoing project and should be ready as soon as possible.

Slashdot: I know you really can't .. you're already in the planning stages, but I have to ask. Are there plans to use the whole World of Darkness license or, is right now thinking moving more towards one of the specific parts of the World of Darkness, moving there?

Magnus: We just don't know yet, this is exactly what we're doing right now, is thinking about how the game will play, so anything I would tell you about that right now would probably be a lie. I don't want to make a liar out of myself.

Slashdot: I appreciate you not lying (laughs).

Magnus: That's something we are working on right now, we just don't know yet.

Slashdot: Okay, ahh, I know you folks, you spoke with Brent from VirginWorlds the other day, and I know he was very impressed with some of the Avatar elements you folks are putting in the game. Do you want to talk about that a little bit?

Magnus: Sure. The project is called Ambulation, and what it does it will allow the pilots to step out of their spaceships and walk in the stations and in the stations you will have corporate meeting rooms, you will have services like recruitment centers in certain stations, people will be able to make and sell items like clothing. We are not going to turn that like into a first person shooter, people will not be able to shoot each other in the stations, that's a whole different game. But the gameplay in the stations, works well with what happens outside of the stations. We put a lot of work in Iceland into behavioral analysis, they have a specialized team that has been studying that for years. And our AI is going to be quite interesting, you won't see avatars going through a routine of animations when they're standing still. They're actually going to be emulated out of human nature, human behavior, so we are doing everything we can to make the avatars as human like as possible. We're going to put a lot of work into making them realistic. Hopefully we'll be something of a breakthrough in avatar development. At least, we have some ambitious goals for it.

Slashdot: Okay, alright, when you talk about gameplay on the station, does that mean there will be more than just meetings and recruitment, there will actually be gameplay elements as well?

Magnus: Yes ... we're still deciding exactly ... some of them have been determined. Until it's finalized it's better to let the designers and developers have some leeway to work with, but yeah there are definite ideas of what will be allowed in station. There will not just be you stepping out into the station and that's it, there will be something else in the stations.

Slashdot: Good deal, usually, when I do an interview in person I like to ask, is there something that you want to say to the people you're working with, the customers, is there something about EVE that you find particularly interesting that you want them to know about?

Magnus: Well, I think anybody looking for a game experience that is, let's call it smart gaming without sounding arrogant, if people are looking for something like that, I think they'll find eve quite interesting, it's a very strategic game, some people hate it but I hope more people actually love it and try it. It's the type of a game that you grow with, it's probably more of a commitment than most other MMOs right now, and it's the type of a game that leaves a lot behind. It's quite rewarding because all of the things you accomplish in the game are the results of your actions. It's more than a game in that sense. We at CCP then don't really consider ourselves so much as a game developer, we are more like a service provider. We are providing a sandbox, or a universe for these people to live in and we are very much a hands-off company on what happens in game. We don't want to be caught up in what users do , we just want to influence a little bit here and there and respond to the users.

Slashdot: Alright, great. Well, I think that pretty much covers it, so thank you very much for your time, I really appreciate it.

Magnus: Thanks! Good questions!
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EVE Online Answers Your Questions

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  • by LordKaT (619540) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @02:04PM (#18365269) Homepage Journal
    Dear Slashdot,

    We don't need a literal translation of every sound made during the interview.

    Thank you,
    LK
  • cancelling (Score:3, Interesting)

    by superid (46543) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @02:16PM (#18365431) Homepage
    Kind of a coincidence for me that this article came out today since I'd already planned on canceling my account tonight. I skilled up to get a retriever and whooot I can strip mine now. I've got 50 days left to get my Covetor and then....what exacty? I have found no meaningful group activities and mining is boring.

    It's back to DaoC for me while I wait for Warhammer.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      gawd was it really 50 days for covetor? no wonder my character still sucks :(

      seriously though... what you are describing is the same experience you would get in DAoC if you never left Mag Mell in Hibernia... the game is 'open ended'... it is what you make of it... so if you choose to farm rocks solo in a mining barge then that is what you get.

      that being said... skilling up for other ships/mods and running some different mission types should feel very different... and there is always lo-sec and no-sec... wh
      • by AugstWest (79042)
        Privateers aren't going to be much fun for a miner, it will just make him a target.

        Find a corp and join it. If they suck, find another. I went through 3 or 4 before I found the one I'm in now, and I've been with them for 6 months and am having a blast. If I'd stayed in empire screwing around, I would have missed 99% of what makes this game fun.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by coolGuyZak (844482)

        As an experienced eve miner, I can say with a modicum of certainty that he's leaving something out. Either the OP quoted an aggregate value of all training before that (including the high Mining and Astrogeo skills to use the Strip Miners), or he doesn't have his learning skills up to par. I did Barge V (required for covetor) in just under 26 days (tier 1 learning skills to 5, tier 2 to 4, +1 implants across the board). The whole array of skills required to get that far took 40 days at most.

        I agree that h

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by PopeRatzo (965947) *
      My corporation and alliance has just moved to an area of 0.0 security space in the North. We're pioneers racing to build a station and setup manufacturing operations in order to try to have something a little bit permanent before the "BoRG" take over all of 0.0.

      Plus, I've finally figured out how to use rigs and Invention to create TechII blueprints which will give us a chance at a more even playing field with the alliance that used illegal activities to build their strength. I've got 5 R&D agents work
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Voltageaav (798022)
        Um... I just feel I have to say something, cause people have been REALLY overtstating this. The guy gave himself 1 T2 BPO. BoB owns like 50 T2 BPOs. Yes they are relitively rare and are expensive, but BoB was a superpower before the entire thing happened.
  • People need to know when the issue with this one developer happened, which was last summer, all of the management team was actually on a summer vacation. And the people in charge then they basically decided to handle it the way they handled it. And they just made a really bad decision the way they managed that whole thing. But they did the best they could, because we had never done anything, nothing like this had ever come up. And this goes so much against the CCP mentality, and the corporate culture that,

    • Re:Scandal? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Nananine (967931) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @02:29PM (#18365627)
      It was originally published in The Escapist [escapistmagazine.com]. There's three parts to it.

      Basically, a player gained access to the private forums of one of the top alliances in the game, Band of Brothers. After sifting through chat logs and tracing IPs, he then alleged that the head of BoB's Capital Ship force used to be, in fact, a CCP employee. He also claimed that the same employee gave himself valuable Tech 2 original blueprints which he eventually donated to his corporation after he left.

      After a big brouhaha that resulted in the "hacking" player's banning, the employee in question revealed himself as T20, one of the developers of EVE Online. He also confessed to have illegally spawned the Tech 2 blueprints for himself.

      Eventually, CCP set up an internal affairs department headed by an impartial and well-regarded GM, Arkanon and placed the improperly spawned blueprints into the lottery pool (Tech 2 blueprint distribution relies on a lottery system which I'll skip explaining). The "hacker" remains banned, T20 remains employed at the company and the profits that BoB gained from the blueprints have yet to have been stripped.
    • by epiphani (254981)
      I know nothing about this scandal, but one specific thing comes to mind when reading this:

      What company has ever allowed the entire management team to go on vacation at the same time. I cant book vacation at the same time as a co-worker in my team. Nevermind managers trying to book vacations at the same time.

      This answer wreaks of bullshit. Someone fucked up when someone else was on vacation. So they fucked up. Leave it at that and be done with.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by ThosLives (686517)

        You're obviously not familiar with European - especially Scandanavian - vacation practices.

        It's quite common for an entire company to go on vacation for the same several weeks of the year.

        I experienced this directly several years ago with a simulation (physics simulation, that is) software company based in Sweden.

        • by Crizp (216129)
          Companies that have customer contact and depend on having their systems up and running usually have a skeleton crew that can handle things while the others are away, i.e. both sysadmins in a company are not on vacation at the same time.
    • You ought to search for the article, but here is the situation as I understand it (as a non-player). Basically a CCP employee spawned in some ultra-rare recipes for making items and gave them to his company in exchange for being promoted into a management position. CCP only got busted when a non-employee player got access to the SQL logs and found some incriminating conversations. CCP proceeded to attempt a cover up involving massive post removal and player banning.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by joelleo (900926)
      The scandal that blew it all into the open has already been posted. However, Magnus insinuates that this was an isolated event - a single dev doing a single naughty thing. Unfortunately, that is not true in the least. There have been numerous incidents of CCP employees' favoritism exhibited in-game, some of which have been noted by the eve playing public - scorp with all officer equipment spawned by a gm for instance that was blown up by a player gatecamp for instance.

      I, personally, have been involved in
    • Can someone explain what the actual scandal was?

      Someone figured out what the scam was, exposed it [slashdot.org], and the mods (company employees abusing in-game advantage) smacked them down for it:

      Moderation -1
      20% Flamebait
      40% Funny
      20% Troll
      Extra 'Flamebait' Modifier 0 (Edit)
      Subscriber-Bonus Modifier +1 (Edit)

      Total Score: 1

      I've seen this happen so many times I could script it in more than one language.

  • by PoderOmega (677170) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @02:21PM (#18365491)
    I would never allow this excuse to come from any company where I am paying from something.

    For example, what if there was a major server issue where the replacement management had 2 choices
    1) Cut the capacity of players in half and queue the rest
    2) Allow all players, but the performance of the game would be reduce

    Well since management is on vacation, and since this "never" happened before, the replacement management thought #2 was the best option. It doesn't really matter what they pick, the community is going to be pissed. Then management gives an interview afterwords, and tries to use the excuse they were on vacation? Are you f-ing kidding me? No matter how this "cheating employee" issue was handled, a big chunk of the community will be pissed. The worst thing you can do is blame on it summer vacation.
    • by cowscows (103644) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @02:41PM (#18365755) Journal
      CCP has repeatedly handled this whole issue in pretty much the worst ways possible. Basically their response has been excuses for not handling it properly at first, and assurances that it's been handled properly this time. Not much specific information, just a "trust us, it's fine" attitude, completely oblivious to the fact that they have already lost credibility with much of their player base.

      And in this interview, he sets up a nice little strawman argument about how it's not CCP's official policy to unfairly favor one particular alliance/corp/group. That's not what people think or are upset about. We're concerned about individuals within CCP unfairly favoring particular groups, and CCP's (un)official policy of not giving a damn.

      He then goes on and talks about how hardcore EvE is, and how 30 second events can determine the results of months of work. That being the case, why won't he understand why even a single individual at CCP cheating within the game is so damaging and frustrating.
      • by AugstWest (79042) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @04:31PM (#18367331)
        The absolutely worst part of the whole thing, imho, is that they tried to cover it up.

        THEN, when one person refused to let that happen, he spent months digging information out of chat logs, web forums, etc. until he had actual hardcore evidence of the wrongdoing.

        CCP then tried to shut him up.

        Then the whole community got pissed off about it and made so much noise that CCP was finally forced to deal with it.

        Then CCP banned the guy who found all the evidence from the game.

        Nice job, guys. Way to build trust.

        • by zerocool^ (112121)

          There's more grey area there than you are allowing for.

          For one, it was overhanded that CCP baned him for his out of game actions, but the fact is that CCP provide a service at their discresion, and can cancel anyone's account for any reason.

          For two, he didn't do a bunch of sherlock holmes deducing of the situation, he HACKED INTO SOMEONE'S WEBSITE AND TEAMSPEAK SERVER and got the website forum's IP logs and used them to determine that T20 was a CCP employee.

          Also, guys, the total profit from a Sabre Blueprin
          • by cowscows (103644)
            Most of the people in serious 0.0 alliances (the smarter ones at least), aren't that concerned with the isk from the illegitimate BPO's. That's just what the empire dwellers and such understand, as you noted, and one of the easier things to prove. More upsetting to me is that if this guy was willing to cheat in a manner as blatant as spawning extremely rare items and giving them to his buddies, then it's hard to imagine him not sharing information at least as freely, because there's all sorts of ways that h
            • by zerocool^ (112121)

              It goes well beyond a few BPO's. And everyone's a little extra pissy because BoB has historically been very snarky and judgemental towards pretty much everyone else. No one doubted that they're some smart, experienced players with lots of resources, but they didn't need to be such douche bags about it. Doubly so because they've had some unfair help (whether they needed it or not), and at least their leadership knew about it.

              Oh, definately agreed.

              I haven't seen any evidence that they got any more help from T20 / CCP than the blueprints, but having one scandal come to light certainly means there could be others.

              All I was saying is that I still see tons of outrage at BoB over this, but I see not nearly enough outrage at the asshole who hacked forums and databases to get private convos and IP addresses. That guy is a true douchebag. The ends don't justify illegal means, sorry.

              And then, the guy outed The Enslaver, who I have act

      • by Andy Dodd (701)
        For example - It later came out that a person whose ingame name was The Enslaver, a leader of one of the game's major alliances and one of the first 3-4 titan pilots in the game, had been hired as a GM. Let's face it, no matter how impartial a person might try to be, someone THAT connected to an alliance cannot be trusted not to subconsciously favor their alliance in any disputes that may involve it. Yes, The Enslaver left his leadership position in his alliance, but still, one's connection to an organiza
    • Uh, we were on vacation...uh, it was only one guy, honest!...uh, it won't happen again!

      Excuses, excuses, excuses.

      And I think their claim that "it was just one guy" and "everyone in management just happened to all be one vacation at the same time" are about as credible as Karl Rove saying "Scooter Libby did it all by himself! We didn't know about it!"

      -Eric

  • ELIZA online. Why, I think I corrected at least two neuroses today!

    For you Scientologists, that would be "engrams".
  • Magnus: "Absolutely. The reason that people team up in corporations and then corporations team up in alliances is because there is this inherent big threat of dying and losing a lot of money. You can lose months of work in 30 seconds, and this forces people because of human nature, to band together and form relationships."

    That was the prevailing mantra in fantasy based MMORPG's. And then WoW and GW came along and defied that mantra. ... and kicked everyone else's asses.

    Its pretty clear that from a market/b
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Its pretty clear that from a market/business/popularity perspective that the "You can lose months of work in 30 seconds"-thing lost-out in a huge way to the "safer", "nice-warm-bath" approach.

      It's pretty clear that from any perspective there is room for more than one kind of game in the market. If EVE were doomed it would have died already.

      It's not the investment in time, it's the array of people who WANT the life-or-death experience, or don't. Those who don't will jump ship. Those who do will stick arou

    • by merreborn (853723) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @02:36PM (#18365713) Journal
      There's always gonna be a market for "hardcore" MMOs. I don't think EVE is in direct competition with WoW -- they're different subgenres, really.

      There are MMO players out there that *want* death to matter. You're right, they're the minority, but they're out there, games like EVE cater to them, and that minority isn't going to dissolve.

      The guys who are out there in lowsec space (the most dangerous areas) every day don't *want* to play World of Starcraft. It'd bore the hell out of them.
      • by brkello (642429)
        I disagree. These two are in direct competition like every MMO. It is just too hard to play multiple MMOs well. I am sure there are people who do this, but I know if I am playing one MMO, I don't have time to play another. If I do, that other MMO will be cancelled because it doesn't have enough content to keep me playing.
        • by merreborn (853723)

          I disagree. These two are in direct competition like every MMO. It is just too hard to play multiple MMOs well. I am sure there are people who do this, but I know if I am playing one MMO, I don't have time to play another. If I do, that other MMO will be cancelled because it doesn't have enough content to keep me playing.

          I'd suggest that EVE online and World Of Warcraft are only in competition as much as Honda and Porsche are -- sure, you probably choose one or the other, but the type of people that choose

          • I play both Eve and WoW. I know some other people who do the same.
          • by brkello (642429)
            Not really. Eve likes to make itself out as a more intelligent game for a different type of gamer...but it is really just more of the same. It has a bit more of a learning curve...but complexity has more to do with the piss poor interface because you have to click through multiple menus rather than actually requiring any true intelligence. They seem to confuse making things tedious with skill (but I digress, this is just me venting on how a good game could be so much better).

            In any case, people get tire
    • by Miniluv (165290)
      The death penalty in EvE is one half of the double edged sword of Damocles waiting to smite CCP. The other is the barrier to entry, which they didn't actually "fix" at all with the last upgrade. I spent about 4 months as an active player, with a couple months in the middle not logging in except to change training skills, and still couldn't do much of anything interesting without having to join a corp, do the shitwork they assigned me to at the outset, and maybe eventually working my way up to a cool ship or
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by fitten (521191)

        The death penalty in EvE is one half of the double edged sword of Damocles waiting to smite CCP. The other is the barrier to entry, which they didn't actually "fix" at all with the last upgrade. I spent about 4 months as an active player, with a couple months in the middle not logging in except to change training skills, and still couldn't do much of anything interesting without having to join a corp, do the shitwork they assigned me to at the outset, and maybe eventually working my way up to a cool ship or

        • by Miniluv (165290)
          No, I played hours a night 7 nights a week doing missions, trying to earn enough cash to afford a ship that can survive 2.5 minutes in 0.0 space without having to CONSTANTLY look over my shoulder. I'm well aware that all you have to do is train up and have the cash, but those are both time consuming in the extreme. Yes its a lot quicker now that you get hundreds of thousands of skill points instead of the meager couple thousand I started with.

          Yes, there's lots of solo content. If you don't mind doing the sa
    • by LodCrappo (705968)
      I hear what you are saying.. but what I think makes Eve different is that it isn't just that you *could* lose months of work in 30 seconds, rather it's that almost everyone *does* lose big, and more regularly than they'd like in most cases. I've played game where there were risks of losing, but only in Eve are those risks so ever present and real. And there are so many ways to die :) It's like we've all been through this and so we band together to fight a very real threat of massive loss, not just to mak
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by ifrag (984323)

      Its pretty clear that from a market/business/popularity perspective that the "You can lose months of work in 30 seconds"-thing lost-out in a huge way to the "safer", "nice-warm-bath" approach.

      Having been in that actual situation several times, I can say that's a distinct feeling you cannot find in most other games. Maybe it really is a bad thing, it certainly feels bad when it happens. The extreme sense of loss and 'wasted' time when you watch in horror as a Vagabond with T2 and faction items fitted expl

    • by Andy Dodd (701)
      In fact, I would say that the "high risk of loss" mantra hurts the tendency of players to team up and band together.

      The fact of the matter is that EVE game mechanics breed an environment of distrust and paranoia. Corp thievery is rampant, and as a result corporations rarely trust new members, making it difficult for an intelligent player to reach their full potential. Similarly, it's impossible to group up with a player to "get to know" them - the moment you gang with someone, they can kill you without re
    • It's called a Niche Market [wikipedia.org]:

      By definition, then, a business that focuses on a niche market is addressing a need for a product or service that is not being addressed by mainstream providers. A niche market may be thought of as a narrowly defined group of potential customers.
  • by crabpeople (720852) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @02:33PM (#18365671) Journal

    "And the person that did it, which I know really well, he doesn't understand himself, it just doesn't make any sense."
    What kind of bullshit is that now? He doesnt understand that he gave some of the rarest items in the game to his corporation? Or he doesnt understand how his corporation was subverted to make that all public. Perhaps he doesnt understand why developer cheating is the worst kind of wrong?

    What a statement. Maybe he should take a month long holiday to "find himself". Hes certainly the one WORST affected by this scandal isnt he. The only thing that doesnt make sense is that this guy still has his job.

    And zonk, please, pauses in speech do not warrant a literal "ahh" translation. English probably isn't this guys first language, or he is merely pausing to compose his thoughts.

    • You misinterpreted the statement. The CCP representative was saying that the developer didn't know why he cheated. Obviously he wishes he hadn't done it now, but that doesn't change that facts. It is almost irrelevant to the discussion (see appeal to emotion--we are to feel sorry for the dev.) In my opinion the answer about the scandal was basically making feeble excuses for an even more feeble official response.
      • by AugstWest (79042)
        I love this reaction. Every parent since the beginning of humanity has asked their kid something like, "Why did you set fire to the couch?"

        I can't tell you how many times my parents asked me why I did something, and finished the question with, "And don't tell me 'I don't know'."

        "I don'tknow" is the ultimate stupid, meaningless answer.

  • I quit Eve (Score:4, Insightful)

    by brkello (642429) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @03:03PM (#18366019)
    I quit the game due to the scandal and how it was handled. They just delete posts on forums that are damaging to them. I know a forum isn't free speech, but I have never seen a company so heavy handed about removing people's posts.

    And the group that benefitted from the corrupt CCP employee got a huge advantage by this despite his denial. He is either clueless to how his game works or he is just trying to cover up (clearly the latter). The amount of in-game money these items allowed them to generate made them most powerful alliance in the game and the balance will be forever skewed because of it. The took the items away, but the damage is already done...they didn't take away the money those items generated to allow them to take over a large part of Eve. And since they only have one shard that everyone plays on, the game will be forever screwed for everyone in the game.

    They didn't fire the corrupt employee, they didn't reverse all the damage he did, and I am sure things like this will happen again...they will just cover it up better.

    Seriously, if you are looking for a new MMO, move on. Eve has to be one of the most boring, time sink filled game I ever played. Yes, their skill system is brilliant and removes one time sink...but with losses being so high, you have to spend tons of time grinding to make sure that you can replace what will get blown to bits. CCP is tainted and the taint has not been removed.

    I hope you see this CCP. Thank god you can't delete posts here.
    • by Llywelyn (531070)
      How, in what way shape or form, did the "scandal" affect your play?
      • Dude, you should have seen his play before the scandal. Great actors and actresses, expensive props, and a elegant light show to boot. Then that horrible scandal in Eve happened and everyone became very upset. Everyone stopped pouring their hearts and soul into the show like they used to, and everyone ended up leaving. Fucking CCP.
      • by brkello (642429)
        It changed the whole shape of the galaxy. Whole sections of territory were owned by an Alliance that was able to control it due to the ill gotten BPOs. This is just one instance where they got caught. How much other crap are they doing? What's the point in investing time and money in to a game where the devs can get away with giving their friends and allies whatever they want? Why should I play a game where I get blown to bits by people with unlimited resources because of devs hacking the system?

        Sure,
        • by zerocool^ (112121)

          I suggest you get your history right and look at this post:

          http://myeve.eve-online.com/ingameboard.asp?a=topi c&threadID=487342 [eve-online.com]

          Band of Brothers has owned Delve and Period Basis since WAAAAAAAY back, before the great northern war. The only expansion that they've done in all of late 2005 - current is:

          1.) Beat FIX out of Querious. Then, they recruited FIX, set a non-agression pact, and FIX still lives in Querious under BoB banner.
          2.) Beat the shit out of Ascendent Frontier. But, then, ASCN was a rudderl
          • I am a new player, and obviously dont have the damage history behind this, but doesn't it follow that there is never just "a bit" of corruption? Power corrupts, so who knows what has been going on behind closed doors for bob? How long was this guy with the corp anyway? 03? 04? Who knows what other intel or help they got. As I understand it, devs can evesdrop any channel and teleport to any system.

            Its not worth quitting over, but I am sure if I had more invested into the game, had faught and lost to bob, id
            • by zerocool^ (112121)

              And essentially, that's what's happening.

              To be honest, it makes me sick that the guy cheated and gave BoB an advantage. They should have fired him. His actions reflect very poorly and broke a lot of trust.

              On the other hand, it's over and done with. I think a lot of people are blowing it out of proportion or using it as an excuse to expand their territory under the guise of saving eve from BoB. Plus, I seriously don't think that RA are any better than BoB, and in many cases I think they're far worse.

              So..
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by aafiske (243836)
      "The amount of in-game money these items allowed them to generate made them most powerful alliance in the game and the balance will be forever skewed because of it."

      You clearly have no idea what you're talking about. Most of the BPOs were ammo, which is _not_ that profitable to manufacture. The only stinger was the Sabre BPO, which _is_ very profitable. But you know ... there are at least 19 others out there in the hands of other alliances. And other ships that are more in demand and more profitable are own
    • by Jaeph (710098)
      The group that did this now has the enmity of all other hard-core players in the eve universe. I'm not saying that what happened, and how it happened, were "right", but BoB is certainly not in a good position politically right now.

      -Jeff
  • by silentsentinel (1067234) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @03:04PM (#18366047)
    I flat out refuse to give CCP another cent, ever. They have moronic, technically inexperienced GM's and lousy customer service.

    I played EVE for probably 4 months, and had terrible experiences with their customer service reps.

    To make a long story short, a player thought I was macroing Escrow Missions, and reported me. Well anyone who played EVE with the old Escrow system knows there's no point in macroing it, it just doesn't take that much time to do legitimately. We're talking 2 to 3 minutes of work.

    Basically the scenario devolved into my trying to defend myself, and explaining that I was merely copying/pasting Escrow text-lines from an outside text file. Not a real huge technological marvel, copying/pasting, eh?

    Well, I got banned for 1 month, and every petition I filed was answered with a canned reponse that showed very obviously no one had spent more than 10 seconds reading my extremely detailed account of the situation, and suggesting that hey, duh, if I'd macroed, at the very least the server log timestamps for the escrow submissions would have been on even intervals. They had to have been completely random, in truth, as I myself know I wasn't macroing and I'm not a robot, I was only copying-pasting lines from a text file.

    I re-activated my account about 3 months after that, (this was last September `06), figuring I'd give CCP one last try. I got bored of the game very quickly at this point, and decided to file a NEW petition on the GM that banned me (GM Arkanon, I believe he's pretty high up in the company, whatever.)

    I read on the forums that if you believed you'd been mistreated, then file a harassment petition on said GM. I did so. I waited 1 month, and finally got a 1-sentence response from their GM's that said, essentially "there's no way you're telling the truth. You could not have copied and pasted this from a text file. We are banning this account permanently."

    Must not like their customers' money very much. Not another cent, idiots.
  • My question is, why could the devs do this sort of stuff on the production server anyway? For troubleshooting purposes, use the freaking test server. Anything spawned on the production server should be logged. Any time you allow people with infinite power to play with the average joes, this sort of stuff is going to happen. Either A) Remove their ability to play, or (much better) B) Remove that infinite power from the area where regular players are.

    There's no way that spawning multiple T2 BPO's for BoB shou
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Sure there where a 1000 players who where ready to be part of that battle but CCP's servers cannot handle it.

    The entire Lotka Volterra Alliance (2000+ players) lost a titan under construction, an outpost and a very nice system because every member of the alliance who was able to stay up until 3am had to look at a login screen for 4 hours! (guys thats right we as group could not play the game or defend while our enemies where destorying years of work and well over $12,000 USD (in ISK terms) of assets.

    The no
  • by Anonymous Coward
    For me the biggest problem with the scandal was that there certainly was more than the T2 BPOs handed out.

    Information has no price tag.

    Information about which regions are getting the 10/10 plexes (dungeons if you will) before they're in the game. Information about the next 'secret event' so your corp can be ready long before anyone else. Information on where your enemy bases are (whatever happened to the GM ship that was found scouting BoB's enemy system less than 24 hours before BoB declared war on them?
  • 1000 players... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pacman on prozac (448607) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @03:39PM (#18366547)
    We had the other day, not too long ago, a battle of 1000 in the same system, and we want to continue supporting that, allowing them to have these large battles

    Strange example to pick, if this is the battle I'm thinking of then it pretty much finished off one of the biggest alliances in the game due to the server being unable to handle the load.

    The server crash disconnected everyone in the system (the defenders) but when the node eventually came back online it gave priority to people jumping into the system (the attackers). The end result was the defenders lost the system and all of their assets within it and were unable to do anything to defend it. You may think "so what it's only a game" but the assets lost equate to around $20000 at current rates. This was all earned by the work of the thousands of players in that particular alliance.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Nananine (967931)
      This needs to be clarified, because that's actually an inaccurate description of events.

      After a node crashes, there is a queue for players to log in. There is no artificial "priority" for attackers or defenders. The defenders were mistakenly ordered to mash the log in key over and over again, which reset their place in queue.
      • My point wasn't really about the battle between alliances, that has been done to death on other forums (eve-online.com in particular), although I don't doubt what you say.

        It was that the example given of how stable the servers are was actually an event that resulted in the servers dying and the game being unplayable.
      • Re:1000 players... (Score:5, Informative)

        by zerocool^ (112121) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @05:12PM (#18367875) Homepage Journal

        I've also heard that if a node crash is caused by people jumping into a system, when the node comes back up, priority is given to the people that are in the process of jumping - because until they are in the system, their characters are "in limbo" between systems. Appearantly the game tries to compensate for having jumped through one jumpgate and not having come out the other yet, by prioritizing these logins first.

        Which basically means that the way to beat any defensive position where people are dug in is to bring enough people to crash the node when you jump in.

        And yes, it did essentially kill Lotka Volterra as an alliance. But, it has also helped BoB when they fought versus ASCN (and they were the attackers), it's helped Goonswarm when they fought -V- and LV in 1V-LI2, and a bunch of others, too.

        Basically, at this point, I look at it as a game mechanic. It's not going to get fixed any time soon, so I just will go ahead and assume that it's better to be on the advantageous end of it (jumping in) rather than the wrong end (defending).

        ~WX
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by celeb8 (682138)
      Poor pacman on prozac forgets to add that it was the defending corp (Lotka Volterra, currently pirating in low-sec space now hehe) that were attempting to crash the server deliberately in a failed attempt to keep people out. They accused the attacking corp of cheating instead, but once LV's forum logs came to light (where they discussed how to use anchored large bubbles to crash the node)they performed a retrograde maneuver.
  • "We actually did a survey, and we found it's an even distribution of CCP employees in the top ten alliances." I'm sorry, but that's not a reassuring fact. Does that suggest that many of the top ten alliances have devs and GMs in them? Oh, well then surely there can't be any misbehavior going on there! "And the person that did it, which I know really well, he doesn't understand himself, it just doesn't make any sense." And just what the Hell does this mean? "He doesn't understand himself"? What, was he wo
    • by dave562 (969951)
      "And the person that did it, which I know really well, he doesn't understand himself, it just doesn't make any sense." And just what the Hell does this mean?

      I got caught up on this one too and I agree with you that it doesn't make much sense. From what I can figure, the Magmus guy was talking about what happened in the context of the CCP "corporate culture" in which they care about game balance. In that context, the "person in question" doesn't understand why he did what he did, sort of like a compulsive

  • Yo, Zonk (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LDoggg_ (659725) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @04:32PM (#18367335) Homepage
    Every time you get the opportunity to interview a game developer/company you do the same thing. That is, you ignore the highly modded questions about the possibility of game ports to OSX and Linux.

    Why?

    It's a question slashdot reades want to be asked, yet you ignore it every time.

    We can guess that the answer has something to do with market size, but it doesn't hurt to ask.

    This one might actually get a port, why not bring it up or ask about the progess?

  • ...to an Intel Mac near you.

    http://www.insidemacgames.com/news/story.php?ID=14 797 [insidemacgames.com]

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