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CCP Games blunders with Eve Online expansion

CCP Shows us How NOT to Treat Customers – by Jordan “Doomhammer” Kahn

"Finally, i can see how big my ship REALLY is... oh, and I can see my character too!"

It’s almost amazing how rapid a company can go from praised to shunned. For CCP Games, it took less than one week. June 21 marked the release of Incarna, a graphically impressive expansion to the 9 year old MMO known as EVE Online. While the expansion itself did little to expand the game universe, it did make significant changes to the look and animations of weapons on ships. Incarna also added the long-sought captain’s quarters, finally giving players the ability to step off their ships and walk around, an important first step towards the upcoming addition of letting players walk inside of stations and interact with other players.

However that same week an internal newsletter, known as “Fearless”, was leaked to the internet. This newsletter, which has been confirmed as truth by CCP, is a discussion on topics about the future of EVE Online. The problem? Well the topic at hand was how to expand the Micro-transaction market that was introduced with Incarna; namely the possibility of adding game changing items such as new ammo, ships, and turrets, among others. This would essentially bypass the in-game economy, one of the most important parts of the game, and have powerful items that could only be attained via real money.

This alone would have been enough to drive the EVE community into a rage, but to put some icing on the cake, senior producer at CCP Zulu wrote a blog on Friday in which he attempted to justify the newsletter and even went so far as to talk down to the community, essentially telling them ‘it’s just a debate article so deal with it.’ Now I’m no business major but even I know that a company’s customers are its lifeline. Taking care of your customers concerns and treating them with the utmost respect is not only a good idea, its damn near essential. Instead, CCP Zulu took the route of ‘open mouth insert foot.’

The in-game protest in Jita… and it went on for over 2 days!

While this isn’t the first time CCP has been guilty of a lack of communication and loyalty to their community, this event sparked a fuse unlike anything I have seen, causing a massive protest in game and on the forums. Players have been demanding answers to community questions and a promise that Micro-transactions will never be used for non-vanity items in EVE. Sadly, some members of CCP wanted to wait and see what actually happened prior to making a decision…a pretty poor move prompting the community to respond with a massive wave of subscription cancellations.

The actions of the community seem to have gotten through, causing Zulu to respond in a follow up blog last Sunday apologizing for his words in the previous blog and setting up a meeting with CCP and the community representatives, the CSM. While this meeting doesn’t take place till June 30th, hopefully CCP will be open minded to the concerns of the community and take the proper action, that being the one best for the players.

This leaves CCP facing a situation that no company ever wants to face. This next week will be one that could decide the future, or lack thereof, of the company known as CCP, and as a player of EVE and an avid MMO supporter, here is hoping they make the right decision.

Article reproduced with permission of the author and vVv Gaming. All rights reserved.