CCP Speaks: Ending the Prospector Pack

2022-03-19

A period of frustration from the players surrounding CCP’s Prospector Pack is over. CCP has FINALLY responded, in the form of a statement attached to the official forum version of the Open Letter to CCP from the CSM.

Unfortunately, the response is very mixed. Obviously the statement is only hours old, and subject to review by Brisc Rubal’s Office of Texas Bird Lawyers, but let’s give it a first look. Let’s see what we have won, and what we have lost.

Reviewing the Opening Statement

Right off the bat, the statement leaves me suspicious. CCP, you have given me no reason to trust you and take your statements on good faith. So you should be warned that anything other than absolute, 100% honesty is simply adding gas (and at these prices!!) to the fire that you are trying to put out.

As all EVE players know and remember, being a new pilot in New Eden has many challenges. Some players are lucky enough to make their way into player corporations quickly, where they are shown the ropes and supported by our veterans. For others, however, this path can be hard to find or feel intimidating, so they go it alone.

CCP- Swift

Wait, correct me here, but haven’t we told CCP ad nauseam that the NPE is never going to be effective until we put players in touch with organizations designed to receive and teach new players? How in the world do you think giving out ships for cash is going to teach anyone anything?

We’ve spent much of 2020 and 2021 devoting resources to researching these players and trying to find ways to help them through early content barriers. Recently, we added a whole new chapter dedicated to mining in New Eden to the New Player Experience (NPE), as well as a new tutorial on Invention and T2 Production to our regularly updated EVE Academy.

CC-Swift

So let me get this right. You have identified the root problem (and we all agree it is the right cause) when it comes to new players, and your research into fixing that problem is to create another branch of the NPE and this is supposed to magically fix it? Didn’t you just say you need to get the new players into the hands of veterans, as part of organizations and infrastructure to bring them in, onboard them, and show them where to find fun? How is another empty tutorial that ends abruptly going to do that?

The Statement

Ok FINE! Let’s just take that on faith as far as it goes. Let’s suspend everyone’s collective disbelief and go with the premise that a new branch in the NPE is going to fix everything and teach people to fit ships, fly them effectively, and then go crash them into walls in fun ways. Under that premise, what in the name of Zeus’s shiny oiled buttocks does cutting out steps in the process and selling people a (poorly) fit mining barge have to do with getting people trained?!?

Part of our experimentation in the new player journey has included the introduction of various packs and sales that give new players strong but limited options to jump forward and catch up with their peers. The destroyer-themed starter packs showed that there is not only an appetite for this kind of option but that these pilots transition into bona fide EVE players; they have aspirations, desire to interact with others, and contribute to EVE’s thriving ecosystem – they become tenured and impactful citizens of New Eden.

The prospector pack expands this concept to offer a more significant upgrade for young pilots in theme with our updated Mining NPE. While we hear your worries about the continued escalation of this kind of sale, our design is and will be, directed towards new players finding their footing in New Eden.

CCP-Swift

Oh wait, you told me the problem was getting people into groups. Now you want me to believe that the problem is lack of ships that keep people from crashing them into walls. Where have I heard that before?

OH WAIT, I KNOW! That is the post-industry changes that made things too expensive to build and sell them. That has put spaceships (other than Retrievers and destroyers) which are used in the end-game out of reach for most players. CCP: NEWSFLASH, if that is the issue, then lets go back to making ships cheap, easy to get, and getting them back in space as well.

In fairness, CCP has started walking back some of the things that make ships expensive, and make the economy difficult, over community frustration. But CCP have a long way to go in my opinion. Those changes were only just released, and it will take time to get hard figures.

Economic impact and the integrity of the player economy are a top priority. We have limited this pack to one per account and are closely monitoring its effect on the player market. One of the topics for Fanfest is a new project that we’re in the middle of developing, that will transform these and any future packs – a paradigm where packs of this type will be supplied by players, ensuring that any ship we offer to new players through sales, will have origins from actual player work in New Eden: Made for new players, by veterans. This feature will also not only supply each ship from the player base but allow the community to influence which ships will be put in these packs.

CCP-Swift

Come on now, this is clearly blather and hogwash. This sure seems like extra steps for buying plex, selling it, then buying stuff off the market. What in the world am I looking at here? If I were less trusting, I might almost think someone is trying to fool me.

CCP’s Closing

On that note, we have removed the Prospector pack from secure.eveonline.com until this program is in place, intending to introduce a career-entry level option for mining in the future.

And that is it. One last sentence to say ‘oh yeah we dialed back the pack you are so angry about’. No apology. No promise to not sell packs. Not even a wink and a nod to go along with the double speak.

My Analysis

CCP points out two major problems with the game. First, players get through the NPE and are left hanging without any direction. Second, that the economy is having trouble and it’s very hard for players to close the gap between the haves & have nots.

Selling ships does absolutely nothing to fix problem one. Selling poorly fit ships without substantial explanation is going to compound the problem. The most simple example is the common new player issue with mixed guns. Sure, selling them a fit destroyer will fix that, but it wont teach why mixed guns is bad.

Selling ships COULD be a bandage for problem two. However, problem two is CCP’s fault. For example, if all the industry players quit and no ships are being built anywhere, then poof-ing them into existence to keep the players that remain in space happy would make some sense. But that is not what has happened here.

Instead, if I were a little more cynical, I might wonder about the timing of things. CCP starves the economy out and puts up major roadblocks to production. This pushes down the ROI for the time spent on those activities. So fewer people do them. Then CCP steps in to fill the shortfall for real money – the quick buck.

It would have worked, if not for you meddling kids!

We have protested loud and long, and repeatedly forced CCP to react. Protests like the monument riots and the recent blackout streams have forced CCP to change course. I believe that were it not for the loud protests, CCP would not have dialed back a number of changes in the last two years.

The recent blackout streams in particular seem to have been very effective, and this statement appears to be in direct response to it. In that situation, the community has won back some of the lost ground.

However, this statement is missing one massive part. It does not promise to not sell ships. That convoluted bit of market flim-flam is doubling down on selling ships, with a very obfuscated way to tie the process to the economy. And even worse, this creates real exchange rate of cash to isk (and player time to isk by association) compared to player effort within the game.

Linking those things is problematic for many reasons. Most of them have been managed so far from a legal and exchange point of view. Because CCP owns all things in game, and players cannot extract cash from the transaction, this has been a minimum line of acceptability. Once those lines get crossed (NFTs) those legal questions and compliance issues become very real.

In Conclusion…

CCP, you need to be cautious. The community is not appeased, and this commentary isn’t going to build trust. While there isn’t much the players can do besides continue to quit the game, our legitimate protests are a ptoential precursor to the death of EVE Online as we all know it.

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Comments

  • Rammel Kas

    “that will transform these and any future packs – a paradigm where packs of this type will be supplied by players…”

    I don’t think this stands out as clearly. But he’s basically saying more of this “cake” is coming. They just intend to powder coat it by making it possible for folks to fuck the fits by voting for them. So we can expect these sales to continue. Not stop.

    March 19, 2022 at 7:49 AM
    • Garreth Vlox Rammel Kas

      ” We have limited this pack to one per account and are closely monitoring its effect on the player market”

      They never stopped to begin with, limiting it to (1) per account means it’s still for sale and will continue to be sold…

      March 20, 2022 at 1:58 AM
  • Arrendis

    It’s a lie, and it’s a lie they think they can get away with because they believe we’re fucking morons.

    March 19, 2022 at 8:46 AM
    • kwnyupstate . Arrendis

      This is why everyone in eve with media expose needs to participate in the media blackout and never stop. Do not be conned into momentary submission. Do not go to fanfest. Protest outside fanfest and inside it. Quit the CSM. Do not provide interviews to CCP personnel.

      March 19, 2022 at 5:02 PM
  • kwnyupstate .

    Anyone else find it interesting that CCP-SWIFT is named after the international messaging system used by banks for financial transactions?

    March 19, 2022 at 5:00 PM
  • Xandryll

    Way back when…I used to play Ultima Online when it first came out. One day as I was mining, another player came by and stole my ore whose name was Lord Chocolate Love. Terrible person. I thought I was good to go because, after all, I had 35 of 100 possibly skill points in maces. I didn’t have any armor on or heals but I had a mace! I died. Still salty over 20 years later…

    So what will a brand new player think when they skill inject in to a nice new ship they have no idea how to operate. In a game they barely know. Then the inevitable happens… they venture in to low sec and their CCP provided, “fully fit”, $25.00 Retriever gets taken out by a cheap fit frigate. Probably a frigate hull which they’ve seen as a mission reward during the first few missions they did. $25.00 horribly spent and unsubscribed from Eve never to be seen again…

    March 19, 2022 at 11:29 PM
  • Garreth Vlox

    ” We have limited this pack to one per account and are closely monitoring its effect on the player market”

    this doesn’t sound “ended” at all…

    March 20, 2022 at 1:56 AM
  • Greg Minahan

    As a veteran, you started in a venture until you could afford a retriever, but you learnt by then as to what worked on it and how to use it, then you could easily buy or build a procuror, but ccp made the ore change, making it a stack harder to get materials and then we needed to skill to learn reactions to make these, battleships were easily built now these have become harder, not to mention the amount of time it took to skill into an orca to get more ore now that was changed making it a useless mining barge which you need more time than you spent skilling into it in the first place.

    CCP has changed and buggered so many parts of the mining process its not funny, ore is harder to get as ccp managed to buggered the belts, move the ore around forcing players to go into lo sec to get it which of course is going to get their character killed, now profiting from this isnt the way and teaches nothing, the NFE is about learning and skilling and making the progression into what they can afford (never fly what you cant afford to lose) and use properly, giving them a boost isnt the way as they have no idea and then its not until they lose something a few times that they slowly learn from the mistake, making money off this loss is just profiting from their loss, take mining back to what it was and they might have more of a chance, just saying….

    March 20, 2022 at 11:35 PM