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?
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.
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.
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.
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.