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.
You can follow along, if you want...

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Hobbit birthday

I'm going to make this quick.

Over the weekend, it was revealed that back in August, CCP -- via CCP Navigator -- gave 30 of the rare Ishukone Watch Scorpions to the "employees" of SOMER Blink.  Navigator, as you know, is the Community Manager and most often is the Community representative that works with EVE Online Community Fansites (such as the one you're reading now) and other EVE-related websites.  His intent in giving SOMER this gift was to thank all of the people that make this website work for the hard work they do for the EVE community.

First things first: all of this happened before the Somer Blink giveaway a few days ago.  As I said, this happened back in August.  Second, this is not the first time that CCP has given these ships to a group of players that provides a community benefit, nor will it be the last.  Third, the gift was given to SOMER employees in secret.

As you may or may not know by now, this has created a mini rage storm about continued CCP favoritism, a potential conflict of interest, and disgust over CCP giving gifts to the members of an organization that takes in billions in in-game profits.  It also created a (now 36-page) threadnaught about the matter.  But I couldn't help but notice that there seems to be a good deal of jealousy in the threadnaught, as well as a lot of accusations directed at CCP Navigator personally (with a few people flat-out accusing him of going "t20").

Accuse me of white-knighting CCP if you must, but this is one of those situations where while I understand player discontent over this matter, I don't agree with it.(1)


Mike Azariah gets credit for the title of this blog post, and for reminding me of an amusing analogy.  Early in the first book of The Lord of the Rings, a birthday party for Bilbo Baggins takes place.  The inclusion of this scene in the book caused J.R.R. Tolkien to devise an entire set of customs around hobbit birthdays.  One of the key customs he devised is that the hobbit celebrating a birthday -- if he or she is old enough, rich enough, or well respected enough -- actually gives gifts to those attending the birthday party.  The size and nature of the gift is the choice of the hobbit celebrating the birthday, as is the list of people who will receive the gifts.  But in the case of Bilbo's birthday (and the fact that he doesn't care for one of the guests), this creates a situation in which one of the hobbits invited to Bilbo's birthday party decides she wasn't given a nice enough gift.

So she goes scrounging through his house looking for something she'd like better.  And this causes people who didn't receive gifts at all to follow her into the house to correct this obvious miscarriage of justice and so to take something from the house too.

Let me make my position clear on this situation: CCP has the right to reward any community site they choose to.  They also have the right to reward the site with nearly anything they choose to, as long as it doesn't break the lore or history of the game in some way.  In this case, the Ishukone Scorpion doesn't.  Hell, the ship has but one and only use: to be given to EVE players as a reward for doing something.  If any mistake was made here, it was that CCP decided for whatever reason to keep this gift private.

And yet some people are freaking out about it and it's hard not to feel like they think the hobbit should have given them a gift too, and a gift at least as nice as the one SOMER Blink got.  It's a hobbit birthday in all its glory.

All that said, I myself would not have given SOMER Blink this gift.  While I do recognize the enormous benefit they provide to the community, in terms of their donations to a dozen or more community events, they are also a for-profit site that receives tremendous rewards (as well as massive advertising) from the community for their service.  But that was not my choice to make.  CCP had a choice to make, and they made it, and I respect their right to reward the community sites that they choose to.  As Marlona Sky put it in the threadnaught:
Oh calm the hell down. You really should do some fact checking before sperging out things like 'SOMER doesn't create content for EVE'. They are constantly donating to events such and RvB Ganked nights, all my events as well as countless others. Those sponsorship help those player events actually become a reality. Somer is not the only site that sponsors player events either. Many do.
Yes.  But mostly the first bit.  So SOMER Blink's employees got some rare Scorpions out of this.  They weren't the first, they won't be the last.  Anyone who is trying to generate a scandal out of this, in my opinion, is barking up the wrong (party) tree.


(1) And for the record, no, I have not been given an Ishukone Scorpion nor any other in-game gift by CCP.

98 comments:

  1. "They also have the right to reward the site with nearly anything they choose to, as long as it doesn't break the lore or history of the game in some way."

    Huh, t20 didn't break the history or lore of the game either, so that was OK too? You are disgustingly whiteknighting CCP on this, my friend. And then you play the "umad bro" card against people who are upset and accuse them of being jealous? Have you lost your mind?

    For me it's nothing to rage about. I don't do rage for the most part. But I do get fed up and this revelation is just one more straw on the camel's back. I was due for a break and this latest stench emanating from Iceland is just the excuse I needed for taking that break.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. t20 acted alone. Navigator did not, and anyone who fools themselves otherwise is being silly.

      Delete
    2. who was he acting with then??

      Delete
    3. So, you're saying that, had t20 acted with the full knowledge of the higher ups at CCP, you would have been fine with it?

      CCP Certainly has the right to give anything to anyone, but the players have the right to get pissed off when CCP (whose job is to be neutral moderators to a cutthroat game) starts playing favorites. Especially when they try to keep it a secret.
      If they want to start a program of giving out IKW Scorpions for whatever reasons, that's fine, why didn't they just announce the program like they have with other giveaways?

      Jon Lander as much as predicted this reaction when he gave an interview about Burn Jita. And CCP TorfiFrans wrote about CCP's role as neutral moderators in the same interview.

      "It’s very funny. We’re the custodians of a virtual world, we’re not really game developers. We create this world and hand it over to the players. This is why, if we do bad things in that virtual world, the players take it very personally, because it’s theirs. It’s actually not ours anymore."-Jon Lander
      "We are respecting the mechanics of the game, and our role as developers is to provide tools, toys, and mechanics, but it’s not our job to write the story. The story is written by the players."-CCP TorfiFrans
      http://www.pcgamer.com/2012/06/12/eve-online-interview-betrayal-at-fanfest-burn-jita-virtual-reality-and-the-president-of-iceland/

      Delete
    4. So if t20 had an accomplice it would have been okay?

      Delete
    5. Acting alone or not was not one of the criteria given for determining whether a giveaway is good or bad.

      The fact that the giveaway was done in secret tells us that CCP wanted to conceal what they were doing.

      Delete
  2. Say what you like Jester, Peter has a few questions to answer. He and his community goons lord it around and appear to answer to no one. The more scrutiny the better.

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  3. CCP has the right to shutdown all the servers if they want. What they have the right to do is not the point.

    You state you wouldn't have given Somer Blink employeess 30 IW Scorps. Why would you have not done so? That's what you're supposed to stand for, that's what you represent. Fight for why you think it was wrong.

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    1. I can disagree with something without thinking it's wrong or starting a rage storm about it.

      I don't like Miley Cyrus. Millions do. I disagree with her being famous or respected. Doesn't mean I'm going to start a rage-storm over it. If she wins a Grammy I'm not going to pick up a torch and pitchfork and storm someone's gates somewhere.

      I could list a couple of dozen other similar examples, but that one should serve.

      Delete
    2. Eve is a fantastic game, and a lot of this is because it is 'player-driven', as much as is possible. The more hands-off CCP are, the more this is true, and the more we as players determine the reality of New Eden. Interventions, such as creating new items and giving them to players, go against this grain. The problem isn't that 'I want one too', it is that anybody was given them at all.

      Yes, there is precedent for this type of giveaway, but it should be clear by now that the player-base would like this practice to stop.

      Many of us are hoping that CSM members will use their position to represent this view to CCP.

      Delete
    3. Except that in this case, you're on the committee supervising the grammy awards, Jester.

      The whole point of the CSM being set up in the first place was to provide some kind of player-side oversight of decisions made by CCP & staff. When they do something you disagree with, you say so. "I don't like you replacing my Sleipnir with a badly decorated Hurricane." "I don't like you allowing players to own POCOs in hisec while the cost to wardec an alliance being based simply on how big that alliance is."

      You have an opinion, voice it. Why don't you like Miley Cyrus? Is it just opinion about her singing? The songs she's singing? The way she performs on stage?

      Why don't you like the Ishukone Scorpion giveaway? Is it the blatant favouritism shown to a group that operates purely for their own self-interest? Was it the fact that it was done in secret, thus making it harder for Somer Blink to release those ships through lotteries? Was it just that you didn't get one?

      In this case, my opinion may not be worth much but that opinion is that your Miley Cyrus example is irrelevant because in the CSM you ARE the grammy award committee. That means you should have some reaction to it, and the players need to know what you stand for.

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    4. Mara, that analogy makes no sense whatsoever. You seem to think that the CSM can make CCP do something or not do something. I assure you this is not the case. We can influence here and there, sometimes, when CCP is in the mood to be influenced. And sometimes, we're not even told something is happening when it happens, which includes BOTH cases involving SOMER.

      Delete
    5. All we can ask is that you are clear on your opinion, and CCP is clear on your opinion, and that you are voluntarily withholding your opinion for fear of upsetting CCP.

      I am not of the opinion that the CSM can make CCP do anything. You seriously misinterpret my statement. By "oversight" I don't mean "holding the reins," I mean, "has access to the decision making process and can express an opinion about decisions as they are made, to the people making the decisions," in the way an ombudsman has oversight of particular government or commercial business.

      The people awarding Grammys don't get to dictate what songs are sung or dances are danced or clothes are worn by Miley Cyrus, but they do get to voice an opinion and present awards.

      Delete
    6. This is a very clear and concise analogy. The fact that jester isn't grasping that makes me feel like I should stop reading this website. If the dude can't get a simple comparison like this, well why am I gonna take his advice on fitting a ship or a new game mechanic?

      To be honest, I don't care what CCP gives away because ship rarity is not something I'm interested in or pay attention to.

      What I am interested in is intelligent analysis of the game I like to play. Jester clearly can't provide that.

      TL;DR:
      Wow dude, way to expose yourself as a mouth-breather. Cya.

      Delete
    7. The analogy itself is badly flawed. But let's say it's not. The implication that Mara is making is that I am somehow frightened of angering CCP or am somehow hiding my opinion.

      I assure you both that this is not the case. As I said in the post, I understand the anger that a small group of players has over this. And with pieces of it -- the fact that these gifts were given in secret, and that they were given to SOMER Blink specifically -- I disagreed with and said so *right in this post*. But the rest of the player anger over this, I disagree with and said so. That IS my opinion, and it's shared with a lot of players.

      Know how many angry EVE mails I've gotten about this? One. And that one wasn't even all that angry.

      Delete
  4. I have no problem with CCP giving out ships to content-creating communities.

    What I have a massive problem with is that, once again, CCP chooses to not inform the wider community in anvance, nor do they publish their review process. With the system currently in place, abuse would be far too easy. In all honesty, who outside of CCP would notice some really game-influencing items being dropped, if both parties are smart enough? Right, nobody. Of course this whole affair is far from t20 (although I had some great fun with the comparisions), the system currently in place makes it quite easy for someone like t20 to mess with the sandbox.

    Principiis obsta.

    And if SOMER gets a bunch of Scorpions, the entirety of Goonswarm should receive a gold-plated Rifter, as they, in all honesty, create far more content than any other individual party in the game.

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    1. By all means, go into CCP's house and choose a birthday present to suit you.

      Delete
    2. The present I'd like is being able to trust CCP to administer their game in a fair and unbiased way. Do I care that people got shiny ships? Not one little bit. But I do care that CCP is giving players items in secret - not just 'not making an announcement about it', but that the recipients are actively being told 'keep this quiet'.

      Why? What *possible* value is there in secrecy? Choosing to do *this* in secret raises the inevitable spectre of 'what *else* aren't they telling us? Who else out there is getting what?'

      Screw a bunch of Scorpions. Ships get blown up. Any item in-game is either temporary, or completely fails to impact the game at all. CCP's behavior and insistence on not being trustworthy stewards of the game experience they expect us all to pay for is.

      Delete
  5. I regret that I gave you my vote for CSM. It looks like all you use your chair ist to fly to Iceland, here about the future developement of Eve and come back, telling your voters: "Haha! I know what could happen in Eve in future! But I don´t tell you. Haha!"

    I mean, the CSM is satisfied with the reaction of CCP last week, as Somergate started. The CCP-Statement translated for me to: "GTFO! We do what we want. Don´t need a fucking CSM or anything else.! And CSM is celebrating it...

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    1. Your post makes no sense at all. Take a few deep breaths, then try this again. What are you saying?

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    2. So your take is the CCP should not be able to do as they please with their game that they wholly own? I hope one day you own a company and have to deal to people as small minded as these.

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    3. I think what Anonymous is saying, is that CCP are capable of defending their own position. The job of the CSM is to represent the views of the player-base, and to serve as a check on this sort of behaviour.

      Further, Anonymous is suggesting that you are using your position on the CSM to get free trips to Iceland and participate in guiding the development of the game. Whilst this is, no doubt, interesting for you, and a helpful thing to be doing, Anonymous would rather you stand up to CCP and get them to stop this kind of behaviour from happening.

      Delete
    4. Translated to non-mouth-foaming English for your convenience:

      Why did I vote for you Jester/Ripard Teg? It appears that you are just a whitewashing yes-man. Rather than provide some player-side overview of game design and operation you just go to Iceland to see what's going on and earn the right to crow about cool stuff coming down the pipe that you can't tell us about.

      I am not satisfied with your performance in the CCP-oversight role as a CSM member. You rolled over for CCP when the CCP sponsorship of Some Blink for EVE Vegas blew up, and now you're rolling over again when CCP was behaving unethically with regards to giving players free stuff.

      The above, of course, is to be interpreted as an angry opinion of someone who feels betrayed.

      Delete
  6. I wrote and rewrote several responses to this. But each time, I felt like I was spitting into the wind.

    I'm disappointed in your responses. I feel certain all of EVE would be having a very different conversation if Mittens and TMC had received several hundred billion in benefits from CCP.

    You seem resigned to it, but haven't given the issue the analysis you normally would. You've made no arguments about the effects on the game or its integrity. Not even an analysis in which you came to the same conclusions you've made here. Something's changed, and not for the better.

    BTW, do you get a free subscription for this site?

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    1. This issue didn't deserve deep analysis. See my responses below. And yes, I receive one free EVE account for being a community fansite, and a second for being a CSM member.

      Every CSM member receives the latter. Every community fansite operator receives the former.

      I would disagree with TMC receiving ships for exactly the same reason that I DID disagree with SOMER receiving ships. BUT if CCP had chosen to reward TMC or EN24 or any other for-profit EVE-related enterprise, I might grumble and I might disagree, but I'm not going to start a rage-storm over it. Those sites also provide community benefit.

      The choice of who to reward is CCP's.

      Delete
    2. TMdC is a general gaming/popular science news site and not a dedicated EVE community news site. EVE News 24 and riv should get the Ishikune Scorps.

      Delete
    3. Just an idea: if the ship is useless anyhow and only a token of appreciation, how about enforcing that? That is, make it non-tradable and non-contractable.

      Then the ISK value would have no part in the discussion anymore.

      Delete
  7. Around 80% of posts on eve-o / reddit / tmc etc. about this take the form of jealousy / hate toward Somer. If you ignore those posts and the misinformed, you end up with a small minority who raise a couple of valid (imho) points:

    1) Why gift Somer employees the ships when they are already rewarded through payment by Somer?
    2) There are more deserving cases out there of people who aren't on a payroll*
    3) Why do this on the quiet? It makes it feel like CCP is hiding this on purpose for some reason.

    * Though we don't have information yet as to whether any of these people have also been gifted anything.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Why should the rewards that a corp/site gives to its' employees or voluteers influence any rewards that CCP might decide to give? Is this a case of "Well, they are rich already and that is all the reward they should expect or need!"?

      Delete
  8. So let's say that something crazy was happening.

    I dunno, maybe goons were fighting test. Let's say that test was cash-strapped, but really close to holding off the goons, if they could just lay their hands on 500 or 600 billion. Let's say ccp navigator then decides to give test 30 Guardian Vexors as a thank you for all the content they provide. Let's say test then sells them off, and nets 500 or 600 billion from the sale, and uses that money to hold off goons until test's friends can get their shit together, and help defend test space, changing the course of a war, and ultimately, the face of null sec.

    Would that be OK?

    BTW, I am well aware that test had zero chance against goons. Insert the name of any corp/alliance you choose. The concept still stands. This concept of arbitrarily handing massive wealth to an in-game entity is flat out nuts. It can be game changing.

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    1. And in this scenario of yours, which community wide, open-to-all, service/site was TEST being rewarded for?

      Delete
    2. That's actually quite easy - for all the promotion of Eve that's been done through Reddit. Which has brought a hell of a lot of new players into the game (something Somer Blink doesn't actually do.)

      Delete
  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  10. I apologize if this has already been pointed out, but one amusing part of this episode is that the Ishukone Watch Scorpion is not simply a T1 Scorpion with a rare paint job.

    It's a pre-tiericide T1 Scorpion with a rare paint job.

    And the nerf-bat didn't even touch the T1 Scorpion, which means that the Ishukone Watch Scorpion is actually inferior to the current T1 Scorpion, meaning there is no practical reason to actually fit out one of those things and fly it out of its hangar. It's not like this is a tournament ship like the Etana or the Chremoas. And it's certainly not like giving out Tech II blueprint originals to one side in an ongoing war.

    Doesn't make it really right. Just makes it amusing. Not that I'd ever get within shooting distance of an IW Scorp anyway...

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    1. Yep. The iScorp is completely valueless except as a collectible. It would not surprise me at all if CCP were directly trying to give out lots and lots of these to decrease their innate in-game value except as something to put in your hangar and smile at.

      You don't sell a Presidential Medal of Freedom, no matter how rare it is.

      Delete
    2. Problem: Prior to yesterday, almost nobody was aware that IshuScorps were given out, in theory allowing anybody who received one to play the market and make quite a lot of ISK (but quite frankly, if 20ish billion are a lot of ISk for BLINK employees is debatable). And then there is the question if CCP has assured to not reward alt accounts. One would of course assume that any competent company would assure that. But then again, CCP has proven again and again that from time to time they take the lazy way.

      Delete
    3. Heh, this is my view exactly. They gave them actually inferior scorpions, that are useless except as collectibles. Meh, get over it people.

      That said, I would absolutely get within shooting range of an IW Scorp - I'd love to land about 70km in my tornado with its guns pre-heated just waiting for that sweet sound of target locked.

      Delete
  11. "...CCP has the right to reward any community site they choose to. They also have the right to reward the site with nearly anything they choose to..."

    But in that case i would ask...
    Why was T20 bad in this case, if CCP can reward anyone(you limit it only "community site" but in reality that means anyone) "they choose" "with nearly anything they choose" ?

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    1. That wasn't CCP's doing. That was an individual dev. Anyone who thinks Navigator can do this sort of thing on his own is kidding themselves. The t20 comparisons are -- quite frankly -- just stupid.

      Delete
  12. Your blog post pretty much summed up my thoughts on the matter. The rage storm seems to be largely eminating from the self entitled and jabber ping brigade.

    With hindsight, if I was CCP, I'd have probably made the gifts public knowledge to head off any potential accusations and rabble rousing by the usual suspects.

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    1. Yep, that's the main thing I object to here. CCP should be shouting to the rooftops the communities that they gift the iScorps to, and why they're receiving them.

      Delete
  13. Perhaps the 'Voices from the void' person, Arydanika ragequit wasn't as unjustified as I first thought.

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    1. Dani quit for reasons that had nothing to do with this.

      Matter of fact, Dani was originally going to be given a $150 gift as a thank you for her work for the community but the gift was withdrawn when she started attacking individual CCP devs.

      Delete
  14. If you believe this is jealousy (and this really does explain the csm's reaction if they share this thought) Then at least in my case your wrong. This should not be happening to anyone giving out anything more than a plex or a free account is seriously game changing unless they've done something to earn it in game like win a tourny. I'm really sorry you feel this way and I think your missing the point.

    This isn't about somer either but I'll use them as an example. If they now take the profits from selling these ships and from the lotteries from the other give aways they can potentially use hundreds of billions of isk (if not a trillion) to fund an alliance or a coalition and break the balance of eve online. While this is content creation and would be good for the game in the long run it is unfair that ccp has anything to do with this. I'm not a member of one of the big coalitions I'm just a scrub in a lowsec corp atm. This won't effect me in a really big way but its not fair or part of the sandbox that ccp should be affecting it like this. People need to work hard in game for in game benefits. If they want to support these sites then give them out of game loot, Support for running their servers or a special non sellable item which can't be transferred or a in game medal which means they have some bragging power not some game changing items.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I most certainly understand the principle you are demonstrating with comparison of Bilbo's Birthday and the Hobbit customs portrayed within, but Tolkein's clear purpose in writing those was to demonstrate just how different Hobbit behavior is from Mankind.

    It was satire and is only meant for humor, and the reason it works is it's charming depiction of the little Hobbit's attempts to make the make the concept work, and it usually backfires, as it does for Bilbo.

    It's NOT how things are done. That's why it's funny.

    Although fiction is a great thing, one should not in most cases use examples from it as applicable in the utmost to dealing with real life situations, most especially when the principles are embedded in satire.

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    1. What blog do you think you're reading? ;-) I use comparisons from fictional sources all the time. There's nothing wrong with it.

      Delete
    2. If you use them to reflect accurately the situation, yes. If what is described is applicable as a real Life Here On Earth situation, yes.

      Using a pointedly reverse and satirical example to compare to real life is not only inaccurate, it gives folks cannon fodder to use as it is indeed satirical and ridiculous, and not applicable.

      Besides, EVE players don't even have a metaphorical Bag End to directly go into and look around for a nifty self-sifting.

      Delete
  16. The problem is that since EVE is a game, it's by definition zero-sum. If CCP would double the ISK amount in the wallet of everyone, they would simply inflate all prices to their double. If CCP would double the ISK in circulation by giving it to a few selected players, the prices would still double and your ISK would worth half as much.

    CCP can't give anything to a player without taking it away from others. This time those who invested into the rare Ishukone Scorpions (luckily not me), got their investment halved.

    This is a flat-out t20 case, a group of players got something worth hundreds of billions just because they are in the good graces of some CCP employees.

    PS: and SOMER is NOT a community site, it's a simple gambling site. It creates no information, events or content. Simply sucks money from those who are dumb enough to gamble. Of course that is OK in EVE, but giving them CCP gifts would be equal to give it Goonswarm to celebrate their relentless effort of recruitment scamming.

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    1. while i disagree with giving a profit organisation presents for what they are doing (thats like giving red frog free stuff since they "help" everyone), somer blink still creates content and publicity outside of eve.

      you should know that eve itself does not have anything worth to play. i mean every player vs game enviroment mechanic available is boring as hell.
      every guy who forms a fleet and invites some people to fly with him creates content. not only for him and his wingmates, but also for every other eve player they meet somewhere in local/on grid.
      the same goes for those gamble guys. they create content. they deliver you something you want to spend your isk on. and if you dont have isk they make you to go out and make some isk so you can spent it.
      so this random gamble site creates more content(interesting content, not the boring scrap from ccp) then ccp has done in 10 years or will ever be able to create

      Delete
    2. Gevlon nails it. If you ignore CCP and look solely at the effects on players, the problem is clearer:

      The value of everything you have right now has been subtly deflated by the introduction of new goods into the game economy.

      Delete
    3. First, EVE is not zero-sum. Games are not zero-sum by definition, that is merely a possible Characteristic of a game. The value of ship is irrelevant to this being zero-sum which is about utility. There is no utility lost for anyone here just perceived value of a single ship, a ship that is only different from the base version in the texture used on it. Yes people trying to use the ship as an investment had their stock depreciated, but this is not zero-sum the only thing truly lost was their expectations.

      Second, This is not T20 this is not even close. T20 wasn't about the ISK it was about a game changing items and insider trading; the scorpions are not game changing by any stretch they are simply normal scorpion with a coat of paint. They can be sold, but that requires a market and a desire to sell the things; this is hardly the same as receiving items ( T2 BPOs) that allow circumvention of standard game mechanics ( Invention). While this whole event is in bad taste, calling this event T20 is both hyperbolic and dishonest.

      Finally, They are a community site, they are part of the community that is the only requirement not spreading information ( which last I checked they do not do in any form), and neither creating events nor content (both of which they have a hand in). They are both a gambling site and a community site the two are not mutually exclusive.

      You clearly have opinions on this subject, but I really do have to ask: do you even know what you are talking about? Your first two paragraphs are based of false definitions, and the rest is completely laden with false comparisons and the omission of vital facts about the situations.

      Delete
  17. Sort of goes hand in hand with the people who get pissed when they give away something at Fanfest "I can't go, so why should someone who spent a bunch of money on tickets/airline/hotel get something that I can't get". If you want some special benefit (even the free account some blogs get) you need to put some extra effort into the Eve Universe (and not just flying an extra mission).

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  18. Unprecedented free stuff from CCP to auction of and generate billions of isk of profit with
    Secret personal gifts worth 10s of billions (and being kept secret ensured the perceived value didn't drop by others becoming aware of the giveaway)
    At what point does this stop just being CCP Navigator throwing piles of isk at Somer Blink? The auction items were wrong, and this is wrong. It's a gambling site, it generates trillions in profit yet somehow ccp thinks it needs more.

    Still, nice to see you're doing your job on the CSM and holding CCP to account for...ohh, wait, no you're not, you're dismissing it and don't actually see a problem with the obvious bias from CCP Navigator towards Somer Blink.

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    1. Where is it written that I'm required to disagree with this or hold CCP to account for it? Some players are aggravated by this, others are not. The CSM as a body is representing the player base. Some of the CSM were angry over this, and we had an argument about it. But not every single CSM member is required to be angry about it, and I am not. In that, the CSM exactly represents the player base.

      Delete
  19. But why keep it secret? It makes it difficult to trust CCP.

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    1. I agree it should not have been kept secret.

      Delete
  20. 'Second, this is not the first time that CCP has given these ships to a group of players that provides a community benefit, nor will it be the last'

    One of those groups given those ships was the SCL, an organisation very deserving of those ships but nevertheless, one you are heavily involved with. And you don't think that is a massive conflict of interest in you writing this piece?

    You have got this one very, very wrong Ripard. Incredibly so. Sure, CCP can reward whoever they wish in game but to do so so generously and in secret to a for profit community site and not expect other members of the community (who contribute huge amounts of time and effort and do not receive the anything other than the standard media account that all fansites get) to feel aggrieved is astounding. Yet you simply dismiss it as 'jealousy'. wow. Just wow.

    This is pretty much the first piece I have ever read on Jester's Trek that I consider to be really, simply 'bad'.

    'Hobbit birthday'?! Other people such as yourself or Eve Uni or whatever who put in thousands of hours should somehow get over the jealousy because a for profit organisation making plenty of $ as well as ISK is being given free stuff secretly behind the community's back as well as been given obscene prizes to further increase their profit making capabilities?

    And it's all ok because a small % of their profits go back to sponsoring events (which in itself is essentially advertising as I am sure you are aware).

    Wow. Just wow. I am shocked at this post simply because of how good a blogger you normally are Ripard.

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    1. I didn't receive an SCL iScorp but I was very pleased that the other guys did.

      But let's put it on those terms: you seem to agree right here in this comment that the SCL guys should have received the ships. Yes? So what was your objection to SOMER receiving them? Just that they're a for-profit site? And if they hadn't been, you would agree with the gift?

      Well, I agree with you there: I would not have given SOMER the ships, and I said so. But I'm not going to bitch and moan to CCP Navigator because he felt SOMER deserved them. He has more information than I do. He knows all or close to all of the contributions are being made by this organization, and the value those contributions have to CCP. You don't, and I don't.

      Delete
    2. Way to ignore pretty much everything I said.

      YOU HAVE A STRATOSPHERIC MASSIVE CONFLICT OF INTEREST IN THIS POST THAT YOU ELECTED SIMPLY TO OMIT.

      My objection to Somer getting the ships is two-fold. Firstly, they are a for profit website both in terms of $ and ISK. Secondly, in my opinion, (and I'd love to see a community poll on this but I'd put my house on it that I'd not be alone here), there are infinitely more deserving entities and individuals in Eve. SCL is one. E-Uni is another.

      'CCP Navigator because he felt SOMER deserved them.'

      Why not? Would you bitch and moan if CCP started giving out BPOs to E-Uni because someone in CCP felt they deserved them? Where's your personal line here Ripard? Surely your job as a CSM is to represent player concerns? A huge swathe of the community seems to be pretty concerned about this. But because you 'think' Navigator has more info than we have, it's all good?

      This post is amazing. I just don't even. Even beyond the massive conflict of interest implications you just conveniently chose to ignore.

      Delete
    3. You just earned yourself a point-for-point rebuttal.

      Delete
  21. Really think you're wrong about this Jester. This is blatant and unapologetic favoritism, and it's wrong to do.

    I would be much less concerned if the gift had been game time. In other games I've played with a community program the typical reward for content generators is a free year, and then the contribution is reevaluated when the time would come to give the next free year.

    Giving in game assets is a dangerous choice to make. What happens the first time we find out the gift recipient decided to cash out, taking the up to $700 in real money their gift is valued and disappearing from the game? Or worse, a recipient thought to be trustworthy decides to awox and laugh at CCP making it all possible.

    Gifts of account time avoid and discourage this sort of scenario while encouraging the player to keep doing what they were rewarded for in the first place, making the game better for their presence. And that's why I think you're wrong.

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    1. I get a free EVE account for writing this blog. That's worth about $250, and it's a much easier conversion since I'm not getting an in-game asset first. Is that favoritism?

      Delete
    2. It is not favoritism unless you are the only one (or one of a very small minority) receiving the gift.

      It does, however, explain a lot about your attitude toward CCP's behavior.

      Delete
    3. Of course not, and is a proper response for being a content generator. I have no problem with CCP gifting a free sub to a fansite I'm all for it. It's the in-game asset gift that is favoritism. I thought my comment said as much.

      Likewise, if the free sub were in the form of gifted plex rather than just a free flagged account I would have a similar issue. You can say Navigator operates with the approval of his managers all you want, it doesn't make a gift like this any less problematic or open to abuse.

      Delete
    4. Sjonnar, that's just silly. Go back through posts tagged CCP around here and you'll find just as many attaboys as flat-out attacks. I've never sat down and run the numbers, but I suspect I run around 40% approve, 60% disapprove of CCP's actions.

      Delete
  22. It isn't donations they make, it is sponsorships.

    But anyway I hope CCP will give this ships to all the Jita isk doublers while they're at it. They create content too.

    Oh and the plex contract scammers.

    And the phony super-cap middleman.


    Ah, in case my sarcasm is missed I don't believe any group should get items created for them. No matter how successful their scam.

    By the way it is very common for scammers to give donations to positive, legitimate events IRL too.


    It is a real shame you think this behavior is fine.

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  23. Yeah man we so jelly. That's the only reason people are complaining about gifts handed out _in secret_ to players.

    FYI, most of the "give me free stuff" people are not serious. Led by the goon example, where we said that GSF deserves things because we run a large community and sponsor events. That was sarcasm. It's been picked up by people who are perhaps not so adroit with their posting.

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  24. I believe that a lot of this mess could be cleaned up if CCP Pokethulhu would hurry up and come out with those guidelines about 3rd party sites he said they were working on.

    Brad314

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    1. Keep in mind that this happened before he said that, more than a month before. But I do agree with you.

      Delete
  25. Yes CCP has the right to give anyone anytime EVE stuff. Should they? Absolutely not. The other part of the problem is the secrecy in which it was done. Now I wonder who else has been
    free ships. How about T2 BPOs? (See where I'm going with this?).

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  26. Using you analogy, this is not a hobbit giving away his second best bed, but buying a bed with A's money and giving it to B without telling A, as a reward for B taking A's money too.

    It is moot why a for-profit organization should be awarded by CCP, no matter the amount of "nice guy" charities it sponsors, but when it turns that CCP is de facto handing out everybody's money to SOMER Blink as a reward for SOMER taking player's money the thing just is shameful.

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    1. I agree that I would not have given a for-profit site such a gift, but other than voting with our wallets to play another game, what right do we have to say who CCP can and can't reward for doing good things for the community? They weren't your iScorps.

      Delete
    2. False dilemma.

      They can do whatever the hell they please. Nobody claims that this was illegal, or even immoral (though there is a morality argument to be made about promoting a gambling site). And the thing we can do other than voting with our wallets is to *tell* them that we don't like it. Which we are. Loudly.

      If everything comes down to "like it or quit" then I'll quit. But some things are less dire than that.

      Delete
    3. You can make that "argument" about everything CCP does with eve.
      Every gameplay descision they make. It's their IP/servers etc.. It just doesn't invalidate criticism of their actions. I think it was morally wrong what they did, even if it is their very right to do so.

      Delete
    4. EVE is not a free-to-play game, all players are paying customers. They have the moral right to either the product they were expecting or a full refund. Since mass refunds would probably kill CCP and the game, complaining in forums until this is fixed seems the appropriate action.

      Delete
  27. Has this even been verified by CCP?

    So far, all we have is an unsourced eve-mail which Mittens claims came from a Blink employee. Since eve-mail forwarding syntax is absurdly easy to fake, how do we know that this mail wasn't faked to boost Mittens' page views by fabricating a scandal? It's one thing when a source with a decade-long reputation for integrity and fact-checking chooses to rely on anonymous sources and asks us to trust them. But no sane person will trust a tabloid run by a Goon, which is hardly known for unbiased and accurate reporting.

    Mittens hardly has a reputation for integrity or good reporting, and the handling of this matter only reinforces that. A competent reporter would have first brought this alleged mail up internally to CCP, and have given them a chance to respond. Since over a month has passed since this mail was allegedly sent out, this is hardly time-sensitive news.

    Also, do you check your rgjester@yahoo e-mail?

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    1. Yes, it's been verified by CCP Navigator. Even before that had happened, I could have told you it was true. I knew about two other situations where CCP had gifted community leaders with iScorps.

      Delete
  28. To me its like President Obama giving each congressman a new car for passing a new jobs act. Its not needed at all and actually quite inappropriate. Yes they did him a big favor getting the bill passed, but each side will benefit naturally for their efforts without extra "gifts".

    Its like you CSM Ripard, giving CCP Fozzie $500, for his great work on the re balancing, in secret. Its his job to do that already and just looks sneaky.

    Poor move CCP all around...smarten up and get control of your people CCP.

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  29. Just to get it out of the way, this isn't about CCP's right to do as they please; TOS/EULA happen to be very clear on that. This also isn't about petty jealousies: " why not Chribba, why not me" is a facetious way of pointing out that CCP seems to have a very loosely defined set of standards when it comes to raining stuff on players. There are other things that CCP and SOMER mishandled, of course: SOMER setting up the lottery for CCP furnished prizes in a way that pumps ISK into their site, lottery driven GTC sales, super secret trinket giveaways, etc. All of it smells, absolutely horribly at times, but it's not the main issue.

    The real problem is that after years of very strict non-interference policy, CCP seems to have abandoned their stance as an impartial arbiter and decided to officially start throwing their weight behind select player entities. You're right, this isn't T20 - that was a single developer going rogue to help a group of friends - this is worse, as it signals a fundamental change in the way the CCP runs the game. It is never appropriate for a game developer to play kingmaker, and I won't stick around in a game dedicated to getting an official endorsement and a formal CCP seal of approval.

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  30. You are wrong and knowing CCP talks to players like you explains how they made such a big mistake.

    Most posters don't want stuff, that is sarcasm. A form of communication everyone trying to protect Somer seems to be incapable of understanding. Here is why this is wrong:

    A: Gifts given to a for profit site with competitors is CCP showing blatant favoritism

    B: This is on top of them vouching for the trustworthiness of an organization in EVE which is a huge boost to their profits, undeserved, and against CCP's own EULA.

    C: CCP Navigator use to work for blink and has now twice favored blink with rare bonus items over every other entity in the game with no transparency which makes people suspicious.

    D: His only response to this criticism was to promote their free blinks on the forums which aren't actually free.

    E: CCP Falcon said CCP would not support any event that was controlled by players if everyone in EVE could not participate. Blink bans players for arbitrary reasons and yet CCP gave them items to raffle off. They couldn't even keep this story straight for a month.

    F: The very players elected to stop CCP from playing favorites and spawning ingame items for people is now defending them. If there was any good reason to provide Somer with all these free items CCP would have released their guide to who gets free stuff. There isn't because blink only got the stuff due to favoritism.

    You and the rest of the CSM are starting to look like mushrooms; kept in the dark and fed bull****

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    1. Pretty much this.

      You're a stooge Rip.

      Delete
    2. If there's been a single good thing about this scandal it's been the revelation of what nakedly self-serving shills Ripard, Malcanis and the rest of CCP's personal cheer leading squad really are.

      Delete
  31. Nicely put, Ripard. C'mon folks, lets dump the envy to the side and play the damned game.

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  32. Ripard, I think you're right that a lot of the anger is unjustified and smacks of a feeling of entitlement on the part of players. The SCL was interesting to watch and CCP should definitely support it and other events like it. CCP could have done better, though, by supporting the event directly rather than the event organizer. CCP could offer "prize support" in the form of rare ships or in-game items to the winners of any event which met their basic requirements, much like the support offered to real-world CCG's. If support is to be offered as incentive to the organizers of such events, CCP should publicize it! Having a frigate thunderdome this weekend? Tell CCP, make a few posts on the forums inviting all comers, set up a stream and you can get a set of faction scanning frigate blueprints for the winner and an Scorpion Ishukone Watch to be given away or kept at the organizer's discretion!

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  33. CCP did nothing wrong here. In fact, if they would be choosing favorites if they did NOT reward Somer Blink

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    1. HAHA what !? i cannot even think of an analogy to demonstrate how stupid this logic is. This is my best attempt to use your logic in a real world hypothetical scenario. "The state of Nevada did nothing wrong here. in fact, *if* they would be choosing favorites if they did NOT give Ceaser's Palace tax exemption" see how stupid that is? Yes both create content for their particular administrator, yes both of them have the right to grant privilege, but does that make special privileges to a FOR PROFIT entity that may do some community work to boost its public image on the side ? HELLS TO THE NO

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  34. Nice to read that you know that Somer is not in any way singled out for gifts and is not the first to receive the gifts. Who are the others though? - we don't know and *that*'s the problem.

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  35. Transparency is the key to such actions.

    If CCP makes gifts to a player run "for-profit" company, they should make it public. But in general I don't see a problem in such gifts. It is an in-game value, and if those ships ever get out in space there are many friendly guys out there in our lovely universe that will assist them to eject the ship.

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  36. Ripard, of course you're correct that CCP can do anything they want - they could close the account of every player in Goons if they wanted, and nobody could do anything about it. However that doesn't mean that they _should_ do such a thing. You yourself said that you wouldn't have gifted those ships to Somer, and as our player-rep you should be telling CCP why you wouldn't, and they shouldn't, have gifted those ships.

    My fundamental problem with this, is that Somer's community support is a side-effect of them trying to increase their income through sponsorship and advertising. It amuses me that Somer's sponsorship of RvB's Ganked Night is specifically mentioned - as something they do for the community. Well those roams took place before Somer came on-board, and Ganked as an event takes place through the work Mangala Solaris puts in. Now don't get me wrong - it's nice to have a sponsor and prizes to give away, but it's a business relationship and Somer gets plenty of promotion in return. Not unlike the way that companies like Red Bull sponsor sports - it's for the brand awareness gains they achieve.

    If you take-away that, there's little Somer actually does for Eve - they don't bring in new players (I doubt anybody subbed to Eve just to play Somer Blink.) The GTCs that Somer sell would probably be sold through other sites anyway - and if people are buying GTCs just to gamble on Somer, then CCP might want to consider the morals of that situation a little more.

    As far as rewarding the Somer staff - well presumably they were being reasonably well rewarded from the profits Somer make anyway. I certainly wouldn't be hauling around prizes etc for them for free.

    I think mostly I'm a little confused about what CCP are trying to achieve with these give-aways. I can understand them wanting to encourage activities that help promote the game and bring in new players. I can understand them wanting to reward "enablers" - players that do things in-game that make it easier for content to happen. I don't understand rewarding things that were setup to make ISK and have become successful businesses.

    So eg, it makes sense to reward the SCL guys - they didn't get into that to make ISK, and are probably even bringing new players into the game. Ditto most of the bloggers out there.

    Dotlan maps provides a great service, and Wollari didn't setup that site to reap in the ISK.

    Whereas, Red Frog was primarily setup as a for-profit busines to make ISK from hauling. And whilst they are an enabler, they're already being rewarded from the profits they make.

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  37. Who. Cares?

    I mean really?

    They get some exclusive pixels to look at in their hangar... Whoop whoop.

    If people spent half as much time playing the game as they do finding things to QQ about, maybe roams wouldn't go on for 30 minutes without finding a single viable target.

    Green is not a pretty colour.

    Get over it. Move on.

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  38. I think you're very, very wrong on this Jester.

    First: EVE is a competitive game at every level. If you give someone a billion isk, my isk is worth less. If you give someone a ship, my ships of that type are worth less. CCP giving away anything causes ripples throughout EVE.

    Second: Given the above, doing this in secret is an enormous breach of trust. It was not an afterthought on their part, and it should not be swept under the rug with 'I do not agree with it, but...' on yours. If CCP had an open and consistent policy on who gets rewarded and with what then this would be almost a non-issue. If you do nothing else, please, please advocate for this.

    Third: Yes, CCP has the right to give out whatever they please to whoever they please and in secret if they please. But I have the right to be annoyed by it and to say so. It's not entitlement to say to a company 'if you do things I do not like, and if you ignore my complaints, I will stop giving you my money'.

    Finally, I really wish you would take a stronger stance on this. It's not about the money. I don't care if CPP is only giving Rifters to Jesus. If they are going to poke their fingers into EVE's sandbox directly they need to do it in a way that is transparent and consistent. Secretly giving away ships because it seemed like a good idea at the time is neither.

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  39. Jester you do like generally to give criticism in a guarded way but on this you have it wrong.

    You should be identifying the ethical problem and shortfall in governance and berating CCP for giving any gifts away without a proper policy, due process and without a public register of gifts.

    In both US and UK there are now strict anti-bribery and corruption laws and these include the need for parties to be seen to be above board.

    What CCP have done falls well below standards expected in any real world business and indeed as value is exchanged these transaction may well even fall under relevant laws.

    It's not acceptable for you to say that CCP can do what they want. If they are obtaining value through bribery or corruption or helping others do so then apart from being unethical and enraging their paying customers. It would also be illegal.

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  40. It seems that I'm getting comments delivered to my inbox you've not had a chance to validate yet. I really wanted to respond directly to one of them. Seems that some folk are taking this issue way too seriously and are going all Allahu Akbar on poor Dumbo.
    That's is their prerogative and if that is what it takes to entertain them so be it.
    Personally I think CCP giving away free ships no matter what they are is a none issue. How about we stop the practise entirely and settle for less destructible crap this Christmas.
    Ridiculous - yes.
    There has been a quick succession of mine-field explosions CCP has blundered into and it is going to take some time for the heat of irritation to bleed off. It's not Jesters job to take the heat for blunders CCP has made through consulting with the CSM. So if you want to go and cool off on your own you are quite welcome to.
    But, if you have an interesting or remotely entertaining point to make I want to see it right here.

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  41. Choosing for best party venue nyc is really a difficult task. I wonder how people select their venue at once. i took almost 3 months to decide which venue would be perfect for birthday party.

    ReplyDelete

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