Sunday, July 3, 2011

Veni, vedi…

Vici ?

So went the CSM to the land of melting glaciers and anti-airliners volcanoes, had a sit-down with :teamawesome:, smoked the peace calumet, and returned happy enough to tell their people the sky is not falling, after all.

"How do I tell Hilmar he looks like a fool in this costume ?"

Although CCP has both clarified and mollified their position relative to for-pay content, it's all very contrived and timid — we're a far cry from the kind of heart-to-heart rendezvous with the community that would have been required to turn the situation around.

I can't say for sure what the CSM agenda was, going in, but if they got what they hoped for, they missed the mark by a mile and a hair, imo.

The video they posted along with their joint Dev Blog / declaration illustrates perfectly why I believe the CSM is wrong not to push CCP to address the root of the issue. What's worse, they're allowing themselves to fall in line with the overly cautious, indecisive tone set by CCP.

It looks more like they're playing nice at a custody hearing, 
rather than having a spirited debate about how to raise their kids…

From the CSM part of the Dev Blog:
The Fearless "Greed is Good?" Leak: We accept CCP's position that Fearless is a deliberately controversial internal publication and does not represent the policy of CCP Management or of CCP Zulu, the Senior Producer of EVE Online, nor the direction of game design.
That's utter horsecrap, as anyone who's read the reference material can tell: you'd have to be a pushover or an idiot to fall for this poor spin.
Furthermore, endorsing the "hypothetically…" justification undermines the CSM credibility: expecting the players to buy it is not only insulting to their intelligence, it makes the CSM look like CCP's lapdog.

The Leaked Hilmar Global Email: We were appalled by the leaked Hilmar email and the atrocious and out-of-touch messaging it contained. We sympathize and agree with those players offended and disgusted by it.
That's it ?
Seriously… you people had to take three days off, cross an ocean or two (probably in coach) in order to slap some sense into CCP and get answers to the "why are you trying to commit corporate suicide ?" question, and you end up sympathetic with the people who didn't like that the CEO of CCP is channeling Jack 'Douchebag' Tretton ? That's so far off, it hurts.

I understand that's a polite way to say "we are offended and disgusted, too", but what's damning here is you didn't report on your efforts to get some sort of explication or apology from the guy who pissed in your soup. At least something like "unfortunately, Hilmar locked himself in the ladies' for the duration of our stay at CCP HQ and wouldn't come out to talk to us…" would have given us a hint.
And yes, I grok you don't want to make things worse, but while it may be your burden to give CCP pointers on how to not shoot themselves in the foot, it's not on you to save them from their own stupidity if they insist on doing so.
When in doubt about whether CCP's shafting its customers, the CSM loyalty should go to the players first, the game second, and CCP third.

The real issue here, beyond jeopardizing the CSM credibility with the community (which was hard enough to gain in first place) is that the players won't settle for less spin anymore, and demand a strict "no bullshit !" policy be established if any semblance of trust is to be restored between CCP and its patrons.
I usually enter a restaurant reasonably confident I'm not going to get food poisoning for my temerity of eating there, but if I'm nice enough to return after being sick once, I sure won't be cool with the cook cracking an uneasy smile and announcing most of their products are fresh, nowadays.

As pointed in the first entry in this series, CCP has to commit to end the spin-fu, and talk to their player community (also their only source of income) as trusted partners, ideally using the CSM as filter and relay. 
Since they really, really suck at it, they should stop posting any public communique altogether at this stage, and just ring he CSM guys on skype whenever they want to talk to the people, then let the CSM write their copy, and just stamp the company logo on it once they're happy with it.

Not that this first joint dev blog was glorious, but if the CSM grows some nads, and CCP let them, I can see that working.


As parting words, let me give you an example of the kind of tone I'd expect from a reformed CCP.

Remember this sorry excuse of an excuse, that summoned the CSM to Iceland a few days ago ?
Here's how it should have read, if CCP meant it:

"We spat in your face, and we deserve everything that's been coming at us since for failing to apologize in a timely fashion. That we were intending to spit in the wind is immaterial. 
Just know that we are deeply, truly sorry, and we're going to do everything we can to sort our mess, and show you that you can trust us with your playtime and monies. 
We expect the CSM to arrive momentarily in our offices, with some meds and a clear head, because obviously something got into the water here at CCP HQ, that made us lose all common sense for a bit, and neither you nor us want that to happen again. 
We'll keep our trap shut now, for everybody's sanity sake, talk to you after the pow wow."

That's how you apologize for broken family glassware without looking like a weasel.


[*No hard feelings, I love your logo. And I'll get back to that Plex=P2W misconception.]

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