“Adapt or wait for the fixes.”
These six words got a prominent Eve Online player banned.
The story starts with a player well known to the ratters of Deklein, the home system of the Goonswarm Federation. Stunt Flores, infamous for his ability to kill Ishtars in the region, is a pilot that subsists off piracy and tears of his fallen targets.
However, his antics in a different medium is what led to these words.
A message, sent by Stunt Flores to CCP Fozzie on the Tweetfleet slack, was modified, using MS Paint according to Flores himself via correspondence on Reddit, to make it appear that CCP Fozzie said “Adapt or wait for the fixes”. However, this was in jest, and the picture was sent to another prominent player, wheniaminspace, of Confederation of xXPIZZAXx fame, as a joke.
However, wheniaminspace knew the value of a good joke, and posted this to the Zulu IRC. This was shared amongst the folks in that chat until a certain Garr Khan obtained the picture, and posted it to the social media site Reddit.
This lit a cynosural drama beacon, which caused an uproar on Reddit. Members of the website already have had negative opinions of CCP Fozzie. According to an anonymous source close to the events, “One of the problems is that CCP’s PR is so bad at the moment, and so is the opinion of CCP Fozzie, that people believed it was a real quote.” Stunt himself requested the picture be removed.
The drama did not stop there however. The vigilant team of moderators of /r/eve, the subreddit where this was posted, did remove the picture, but the damage had been done. Stunt Flores had obviously stirred a hornet’s nest with his post. Stunt admitted that he did not intend to spread the false quote to anyone but wheniaminspace, and that he intended it as a joke.
While the drama was going on, the moderator chat of the Tweetfleet Slack was abuzz. Then CCP FoxFour dropped this in the chat:
“I hope you don’t mind me using my moderator powers to get his [Stunt Flores’] email.”
(As a quick sidenote, one’s email address on Slack is public information.)
After confirming that indeed the email Stunt Flores used for his Slack account was the same one used for his Eve Online account, Stunt Flores became a victim of the permabanhammer. His offense: impersonating a CCP developer.
This is an example of the unusual and arbitrary way CCP deals with bans in the game. This is not the first time that someone had photoshopped a quote onto a developer avatar to make it appear they said it.
Recently, a similar incident happened when another Redditor posted a quote that was attributed to CCP Fozzie that said “You can have sov or have fun”. Of course, this was never said by the dev, instead being attributed at this time to Rolock, an Eve player and Redditor. However, no punishment came from this, and no action was taken. This same quote was also attributed to CCP Fozzie during the infamous Roundtable on Teamspeak, which had mixed reactions that could be summed up by the quote above.
In short, players are mad. They are furious. Frustrated. Fed up.
This game, for 12 years running, has developed into a community completely unique to the world of gaming. We have rightfully taken our place among MMOs as being one of the friendliest communities out there, and we pride ourselves on our transparency with our developers. We as a community build this game. The developers are simply vessels upon which the community ideas and plans are put into place. It isn’t surprising that we are in the Top 100 PC Games by PC Gamer.
However, this drama cyno is part of a pattern that cannot continue. The roundtable showed a CCP that cannot be transparent with its community, and it is worrying. Worrying for me because I value the updates they give on this game. Worrying for this community because we would lose the most essential tool for this game which is built upon the actions of our fellow players.
This banning was another worrying sign of an increasingly opaque CCP. The player in question obviously did not intend to impersonate a developer. His joke, while tasteless, was simply in jest to another player that went out of control. And not only that, another CCP dev personally used his Slack email to ban his IP, which screams of unethical action.
In any case, CCP needs to revisit its ban policy. Increasingly, out-of-game actions that have no bearing on the game itself are becoming bannable offenses and is putting an indelible stain upon the goodwill that Eve players are famous for.
It can start to fix things by making its public relations better. As said earlier, the PR has become so bad that these quotes are even believable, and this is a testament to bad communication with the devs and community.
The ban policy is also vague in that there is no clear line drawn to base the actions CCP takes against offenders. Precedent, perhaps, but the difference between Rolock and Stunt Flores is that one had their email account readily on hand while the other didn’t.
And not only that, but Stunt Flores was banned for his out of game actions. Not only does this set a terrible precedent for the developers to judge actions on, but this situation would likely never affect Eve in any way besides a good chuckle on part of a handful of players. While I am aware that some players have been banned for out of game actions, such as the infamous monument name scratching incident, these were deliberately malicious acts that went against the goodwill of the community.
I implore CCP to revisit their ban policy, and amend it to make decisions like this less arbitrary. Satire and malicious impersonation are two completely different things, and punishing the former with the same penalty as the latter is going to put a bad taste in the community’s mouth.
A prompt response from the devs regarding this would likely be appreciated by the community, and judging from the response we have seen in the past couple of weeks from them, it may do well on CCP to give the community what it wants.
Editor’s Note: As an opinion article, the opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not reflect TMC as a whole.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was written by Vos, and appeared on TheMittani.com under his byline.)