CCP bad at PR you say? Surely not!

I’m going to do something rather unfashionable – not to say unpopular – today: I’m going to defend CCP Zulu’s infamous devblog.  As a reminder, the text was as follows:

Intrepid pilots of New Eden!

Over the past days and weeks, CCP has been doing extensive and intense introspection and revitalization. The result of this is a refocusing and reprioritization on a scale unheard of within our company.

These are indeed defining times.

Torfi’s most recent dev blog provides some indication of what’s to come. We have decided, to focus our collective efforts on the areas you have asked us to focus on.

We will reveal more over the coming weeks. As certain details are prone to change, we want to make sure we have absolutely concrete information to give you. You’ve often told us that we promise too much and deliver too little, and this time we want to be certain that doesn’t happen.  We are listening to you, we have heard you, and plans are already in motion.

Watch this space.

My first reaction was that this was classic Sir Humphrey Appleby from Yes, Minister.  What he was saying was that, having considered the issues, CCP were amenable to the idea of appointing a sub-committee to look into the possibility of nominating a working party with the task of suggesting potential terms of reference to the committee itself within which a taskforce could operate with the ultimate goal of, at some future point, writing another devblog.  Erm…

However, as certain leaks from Illuminati (the Goonswarm Federation directorate channel) showed, I wasn’t certain that this was the hammer blow that everyone – including all but the Mittani from the CSM group – felt that it was.

Remember that Arnar Gylfason – aka CCP Zulu – is the senior producer of Eve Online.  Eve Online is only one of the three products under development at the moment at CCP, and Gylfason’s job is to compete against those others (Dust 514 and World of Darkness) for resources from CCP.

My suspicion is that this devblog was effectively a triumphant post from an elated division leader who had succeeded – thanks largely to the activities of a motivated player community – in securing much greater resources for his product.

I likewise suspect that the link to the recent far-from-earth-shattering devlog about shipspinning (which is, after all, what you do when there is nothing better available in Eve) and revised visual effects was a mistake: CCP Zulu wasn’t saying “look at this great stuff this is what I was talking about.”  But he didn’t make that clear enough, and many of us thought that the result of CCP’s mescal-fuelled spirit journey was a change to the alpha values in the largely-shunned and widely-loathed Captain’s Quarters.

What Gylfason should probably have said is something like this:

Intrepid pilots of New Eden!

Over the past days and weeks, CCP has been looking at everything we do. The result of this is that we are changing the balance and focus of our whole organisation.

These are exciting times!

Torfi’s most recent dev blog provides some indication of what’s to come.  But that is not We have decided, to focus our collective efforts on the area you have asked us to focus on: flying in space.

Having made this decision, it will take us a few weeks to come up with final announcements on what new and fixed features you will see, and what order they will arrive in.  As many of you know, developing software is a complicated business, and we have to reshuffle developers, artists, testers, more developers and, of course, their pointy-haired bosses!  But I am confident that you will love the series of exciting announcements we will make over the next couple of months.

We are aware that we have occasionally been carried away by our enthusiasm for the game of Eve Online, and have promised more than we could eventually deliver.  You have expressed exasperation at this, and we have listened, so I cannot go into specifics today.  But I can tell you that I am so excited by the future of Eve Online that it is hard not to start listing things now!

Watch this space.

Why didn’t he?  Well, maybe he was a bit excited.  Maybe he was a bit the worse for wear after one of those infamous CCP beer-in-the-office meetings.  Or maybe it’s just that CCP aren’t brilliant at communicating with their playerbase (I am available for reasonable fees!).

Edit: Seleene has posted something very similar in its conclusions, here:

  • Trigona

    This is a crucial time for Eve, if it continues to alienate its player base it’s going to end up dead. This would be tragic because it is the only MMO that exists on one server, with a player dominated economy and politics reminiscent of medieval Europe.

    I have faith in the current CSM and hope that Eve enters a new era of renewal and growth.