Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
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Friday, December 30, 2011

Silence is olden

A couple of people have asked me if I have any comments or insights into the replacement of CCP Zulu as Senior Producer with CCP Unifex.  The answer is "maybe".  I've had something swimming around in my head for the last week or so on this and while I keep dipping tempting lures in the hopes of catching it, the "something" is proving quite wily and -- to date -- uncatchable.

However, I have two immediate thoughts that are worth putting out there.  First, from time to time in the past, CCP Zulu has proven himself rather tone-deaf in his communications to players.  His few paragraphs in this devblog continue (and hopefully, end) this glorious trend.  Put yourself in the head of someone who has un-subbed from EVE (if you haven't, or didn't), then read his part of the devblog from that perspective.  When in that mindset, it's a hoot.  If you have a hard time getting into this mind-set, here's a hint: take a drink every time Zulu uses an adverb.(1)

Second, I am going to throw the gauntlet down in the direction of the nearest CSM6 member.  People are asking my opinion of CCP Zulu stepping down when I've never spoken to the man.  ;-)  CSM6 had direct contact with Zulu and I have not.  The fact that none of them have weighed in on this is rather interesting, to say the least, particularly after all those private meetings they had with him this fall.  Seleene was good enough to say:
Zulu is still going to be Doing important stuff, he just doesn't have the management background needed to steer CCP through the current reorganization. They were very specific that this wasn't a 'demotion' just a needed change.
...but that's been it.  No other CSM member has weighed in that I've seen.  No opinion pieces, and no statements of whether they feel this is a good thing or a bad thing.  It's not quite a disgrace, but it takes this CSM's lack of a communications strategy to an interesting new low.  I'm having a hard time believing it to be coincidence.(2)

About CCP Unifex, the CSM has been a bit more open.  Here's Seleene's take:
Jon Lander (CCP Unifex) is the fucking MAN. He's non-Icelandic (British) and is exactly what is needed right now. This is one of the things that I wanted to talk about in the blog I did about the CSM December Summit but couldn't until they announced it. Oh well, I'll just do a short blog about this tomorrow to clarify why this is a good thing. Actually, it probably won't be a short blog because there are some funny stories to tell about this man.
No follow-up to this that I've seen yet.  I'd be particularly interested in Seleene's opinion why a non-Icelandic member of CCP is what is needed now.

Here's the full thread on FHC about this devblog, where you'll find both Seleene quotes, plus much shorter ones about Unifex from Trebor and CSM6 alts Two step and Prom (Trebor: Unifex is "a professional", "a player", and "seems to know how to manage and delegate").  The thread rates a whole three pages, which surprised the hell out of me.  You'd think the community there would take this more seriously.

That's all for now, but if I catch the thing swimming in my head about this, you guys will be the first to know.

(1) Those would be words ending in -ly, as well as emphasizing words like "well", "new", and "very", or other words that emphasize verbs.
(2) Please remember that overall, I have a very positive opinion of CSM6's overall work this year.  But their lack of communications to the player base has been both bad for the community and could arguably be taken as a cynical political move, which stinks.


  1. Wasn't Zulu the dev who tried to nerf supercarriers right before their introduction (i.e. revamp from being moms) and the hue and outcry caused CCP to go with the original concept... which turned out to be overpowered and corrupted null sec warfare for the next two years until Crucible?

  2. Broken clock, two times a day, etc etc.

  3. CSM6 isn't lacking a communication strategy. Their strategy is quite simply to avoid communication with those people they can't identify as having voted for them.

  4. Waiting for the "I got him sacked" bragging post from Mittens.

  5. I am not surprised that there has not been much talk of the change.

    No one know Unifex and with respect to Zulu I think folks have already written him off.

    Zulu's blogs and subsequent posts even AFTER his apology seemed designed to inflame the player-base. He did so much more damage to the already shaky public relations situation CCP found itself in.

    In a word apathy, is what has kept players from commenting on Zulu's reassignment.

  6. @Anon0828: what you say has a lot of merit, but if that's the case, why wouldn't a CSM member just say that?

  7. @Jester: With respect to the CSM I think there could be many reasons why they haven't commented.

    Let me start by saying when I read the "passing of the torch" blog, I was tempted to comment but refrained from doing so. I didn't want to pile on Zulu and much to my amazement it didn't seem like many others did.

    Being an avid reader of your blog I looked for what you had to say on the subject, figuring with news this big you would at least write a blurb in between courses. :)

    You took your time and to date have reserved the full weight of your opinion until "things gel" in your mind.

    Maybe the CSM is doing something similar.

    Maybe they have nothing good to say.

    Maybe they have met Zulu in person and while they may feel he was horrible in his position, they like Zulu the man and don't want to hurt him.

    Maybe they have to work with him in his new capacity and the don't want to "poison the well".

    Maybe they just don't care.

    I guess we won't know until/unless they decide to tell us.

    P.S. Love the blog keep up the good work!

  8. Tbh, Zulu was put in a position he could never succeed in. We don't know much about the wheeling and dealing at the time at CCP on how the torch for that particular job was moved, but at last fanfest there were enough comments from staff that hinted that Zulu being a classic fall guy for Torfi.

    Wouldn't be the first tbh, especially without realising, if that indeed were the case.

    Zulu is a really nice guy btw. Heart in the right place, and he does care about both the bigger pictures and the necessity to "take care" of EVE as more than just money and code.

    But he was in an impossible job at an impossible time. Add to that CCP as a team simply never having learned to really get down to business (which means taking care of customer prospects and not simply pursuing what you want to do yourself in the inner circle).

    Honestly, CCP should have gotten rid of Torfi and that CTO of theirs (the one with his epic quote of "incarna cannot be compelling for people unless it is enforced"). Talk to staff, it's not hard to follow the hints to who really fucked up and who got grinded down in damage control while trying to run things (with them running in your wheels under the guise of awesome).

    As for CSM, virtual politics. Lack of info, abuse of information flow, cool kids under the table. why expect anything from an instrument dominated by people who depend on limiting and controlling both source and flow of any information.


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