Updated Mon, Jul 11, 2011 by Space Junkie
Yesterday, CCP hosted a press conference with Senior Producer Arnar Gylfason and CSM Chairman Alex Gianturco to answer questions about micro-transactions, leaked company documents, and what's coming up next in Incarna.
A backlash of player criticism has swept over CCP in the wake of leaked documents relating to the Incarna expansion for EVE Online. In response, CCP asked the player-elected Council of Stellar Management (CSM) to fly to Iceland for an emergency summit to address player concerns. Most answered the call despite little notice, and the emergency summit paid dividends that seem to have mollified and even pleased more than a few of EVE's famously irate player-base.
In the wake of that meeting, CCP released apologetic blog posts, a video with both CCP Zulu and the head of the CSM council, and finally they hosted a Skype press conference to address press questions. Questions were answered by CCP Zulu (Arnar Gylfason), the senior producer in charge of EVE Online, and The Mittani (Alex Gianturco), the chairman of the council of stellar management, a democratic body elected by EVE players to represent their concerns to CCP.
(Some of the questions have been trimmed or removed in the interests of brevity. The questions were asked by a mixed group of video game press, including myself.)
Why didn't CCP confirm that their virtual goods were planned as vanity items right away? How has CCP learned from this process?
"Plex is something that if you take it out of context... most people unfamiliar with the subject would say that it is definitely game-breaking."
I think having gone through this once allows us to understand ourselves better, and understand our reactions to something like that better. So the next time while we may not be prepared for the specific issue at hand, we will sort of understand better the internal communication paths that need to be activated for something that is so unusual and unorthodox for us as a company."
The CCP statement mentioned that there are no plans to introduce game-breaking items or enhancements in the NeX store. Is functionality or convenience that is not necessarily game-breaking going to be sold? And is CCP aware that bypassing the player-run economy to provide anything that can be produced via normal, in-game means is game-breaking?
CCP Zulu: "That's actually a very interesting question. So, in sort of the second half of that question, I want to take the example of PLEX. PLEX is something that if you take it out of context and say "here's a way for you to buy ISK with money", which in many cases is what PLEX is used for. People buy it for money, sell it on the market, and get ISK out of it. If you were to put it up like that, I would imagine that most people unfamiliar with the subject would say that it is definitely game-breaking and it is definitely "buying win."
However it is important to note that there is this arbitrage through the player economy where this is done on a player market. There is no magical ISK spawned when it is bought. You are not buying anything directly, no ISK directly off CCP. And when you go through that thought process and you see the level of public acceptance that PLEX has today, I think there is a lot of those things to be mindful of. That yes, you're absolutely right, we can't really go against the player-driven market, the player-driven socioeconomic state of EVE. And that's important to keep in mind.
In terms of will we ever go that way? I mean, what is game-breaking really? I don't think I can answer that in an hour-long interview. Not to the extent that it really deserves. But I think it's important to see the CSM for what it is. There we were able to have that conversation over the period of two days. What is acceptable, what isn't acceptable, what are the gray areas, what will we never do, what will we possibly sometime do. And for them to sort of from an independent position say "hey, we actually agree with CCP, we see where they are going, we approve this plan." That's sort of my take on it."