Monday, 9 August 2010

Eve: an exchange of views with CCP

Short version: I persuaded CCP to give me some element of compensation for the rather exploitative but also very careless loss of my Caldari Navy Raven I blogged about recently. I thought they handled it very well and that the final resolution was fair - I'm a little out of pocket but I was dumb and they've replaced the ship.

I think what makes this story particularly remarkable is the speed of response. The whole exchange happened in less than a week. One message I received about 3 minutes after I'd sent mine - now that's efficient.

I think this story also shows what you can get if you ask nicely.

Here's the story in messages:

My first message in a petition to CCP Customer Support:

A player named Van Orth entered my mission and salvaged a wreck. He was in a Vigil. I aggressed him but he warped away.

I docked up and went afk for 30 minutes. When I came back the agression timer was still live. I waited a while but it stayed between 7 and 9 minutes. Whenever it got to 7 minutes it would jump back to 9 minutes.

I was doing nothing except sitting in the station. Van Orth was using an exploit to keep resetting the agression timer.

Eventually I undocked and got killed by Van Orth. Just before he killed me he offered me a ransom opportunity. For 150m he said he'd let me live.

I would like Van Orth to be banned from Eve for cheating. I would like reimbursement for the Caldari Navy Raven, it's fit and the 150m ransom, all of which were lost because of this exploit.

CCP's response:


EVE is a PvP game and all game mechanics are designed around that concept to include agent missions and the items therein. Nothing is secure in Eve, players are expected to either defend or lose anything they have to other players.

It is part of the normal game mechanics for other players to enter that agent mission and take the items within and salvage the wrecks if they so desire. Players have the ability to defend their ship, the items they feel is important to them, are willing to risk their ship and possibly have concord intervention.

If player steals from a wreck you can shoot the player without CONCORD intervention, however this does not apply to the salvaging as the player will not be criminally flagged, as salvage is not considered to be your property until you have actually salvaged it. At this time, it is not harassment or griefing for other players to take those items but normal game mechanics.
Please read the following link found on the EVE wiki:

If you have any further issues, please don’t hesitate to contact us again.

Best regards,
GM *******
EVE Online Customer Support

My follow up:

Thanks for getting back to me.

I have no issues with Eve being a pvp game or with players entering my missions. My issue is specifically about being killed while flagged under a FIFTEEN MINUTE aggression counter over an hour after I aggressed. The player kept the counter live using an exploit.

Please escalate this issue to a Senior GM as this is something broken in the game that needs to be fixed. A fifteen minute timer is (obviously) intended to last fifteen minutes, not over an hour.

Their response:


As you were running a mission site, you may have left wrecks and perhaps drones behind.

After having gained aggression from your attack on the player in defence of your wrecks this player was able to then shoot anything you left behind in order to extend the aggression. I can only suggest that when docking up you unclaim ownership of your wrecks, cans and drones in the area before retreating to avoid people using them against you.

In this instance the player in question appears to be making use of normal game mechanics and as such we will be unable to intervene.

If you still wish to request escalation after this explanation then let me know.

GM *****
EVE Online Customer Support Team

My next line of debate:

Thanks again for getting back to me so quickly..

I would like to escalate this please because there seems to be a very clear gap between intended functionality and actual functionality.

The player extending the timer by shooting the wrecks doesn't make any sense. How is this me aggressing him?

It's clearly supposed to last 15 minutes, it's clearly exploitable and I would like reimbursement for my losses. I no longer wish action to be taken against the other player as the situation is rather muddled but I do think it's unfair that I'm so deeply out of pocket due to being killed over an hour after I started a FIFTEEN MINUTE timer.


Their response:


At your request I will escalate this petition where it will be handled by a Senior GM in due time. Thankyou for your patience.

GM *****
EVE Online Customer Support Team

My reply:

Thank you very much.

The Senior GM's verdict:

Hi, senior GM ****** here.

After a review of this case, discussion with the GMs investigating it and considerable deliberation we have come to the conclusion to grant reimbursement here in this petition. You will have received an EVE mail notification with full details of the actual reimbursement.

This certainly looks odd although we can not implicate Van Orth in anything directly. Please do not consider this resolution as anything against this character.

If you encounter this gain I strongly encourage you not to undock and rather contact us through a petition, such as Agent Mission In Progress or Exploits, whichever is applicable to you. This permits us to limit or eliminate penalties against you and investigate this in more detail.

If you have any further questions or concerns then please do not hesitate to ask.

Best regards,
Senior GM ******
EVE Online Customer Support Team

This was accompanied by a brand new Caldari Navy Raven in my ships hangar and a rather nice role playing Eve Mail (which I seem to have reflexively deleted already, sorry!.

My reply

Woot! Many thanks for the CNR!

I'm still out of pocket but that's fair enough as my loss was partly my fault.

I really appreciate your prompt helpful responses and professionalism.

Thanks again and best wishes!

My P.S.

PS. I'm happy for this to now be closed.

Their reply:

Glad to hear the issue has been resolved. If you have any further questions regarding this issue or if you require any help in the future then please do not hesitate to contact us again. This petition is now closed.

Best regards,
Senior GM ******
EVE Online Customer Support Team


  1. Nice to see you got the issue resolved to some fair resolution getting some compensation for the issue.

  2. I'm extremely upset that you got your ship back. You were killed by valid ingame tactics, and one that ninjas use every day. Extending aggro is not an exploit, nor is it cheating. It is a functioning game mechanic...if you shoot me, I extend aggro.

    Your aggression timer was still you still KNEW that he could kill you made two mistakes. You shot a ninja, and then you undocked when you KNEW he could kill you.

    I will be making my own petition to ask about this, as well as linking your blog here in C&P (hope you don't mind...) to see what others think about this.

    I have no qualms with people getting ships back if stuff was exploited...but in your case, there was no exploits used...and you should NOT have gotten a ship back.

  3. I agree with Cyberin, your crying not because an exploit was used (which it isn't) but because you lost your CNR and wanted a new one.

  4. I, on the other hand, am amazed you got the CNR back

    You, sir, just won Eve.

    The question is, is this a sign of a shif tin policy? If it is then there is a good reason why the ninjas will get nervous and protest.


  5. I don't believe you got the issue resolved fairly at all. Let me present 2 main points:

    1. You shot at the ninja; starting an aggression timer

    2. You knowingly undocked while the aggression timer was active

    Your misunderstanding and ignorance of game mechanics could be the basis for a petition; but even after it was explained to you, you still elevated it (whined some more) and obtained reimbursement in the form of a new ship. I consider this extremely 'unfair'. Just because you didn't understand why the timer kept resetting does not mitigate the fact that you knowingly undocked while under an aggression timer.

  6. Wow, this really makes me angry, you lost it by making a mistake. That ninja worked hard to extend aggro and spent a lot if time waiting for you to jump in. If he had lost his ship he wouldn't get it back. Why does some fancy blogger who makes noise get special treatment?

  7. So ... carebear cries to mommy that he toy got broken and mommy replaces it?! Well if that's the case, I want all the ships that I've lost due to CCP's fail grid loading in null sec replaced. All the ships dead to lag - replaced.

    This is complete and utter fail on CCP's part that they actually replaced this ship; of which, I think that this is all made up and you actually got nothing. Posting stuff in a blog with 'x'ed out GM names is not proof. Where's the screenies?

    Screenies, or this never happened.

  8. The mechanic is stupid. I don't see how it could be intended as it makes no sense.

    Lets say I get a restraining order against a stalker. Then I go around his house and kick over his garbage can and stand in his front yard yelling at him. Then I say that he was harassing me and use that as a reason to modify or extend the restraining order. Does that make any sense? It uses the same logic ...

  9. Fair enough him getting his ship back, if he was not familiar with the agro extension bug/feature then who was to say if he was saying was just an error if it was the first time?

    He didnt get his modules back but landed himself with a replacement ship which I think is lesson enough.

    I live in 0.0 space so aggression timers are not part of my daily encounters, are they only of use to mission running grievers?

  10. I laugh at this. It has to be a troll.

    A petition gets escalated to a Sr. GM in less than a week, and reimburses you for your own stupidity, while claiming that a well known game mechanic is 'odd'?

    Either he's a GM from the fraud squad taking a vacation in a different section, or you got very very lucky.

  11. You've pissed some people off. Suicide gank?

  12. Yeah I guess I'll have to watch Local for a few days.

  13. The exnteding of the 15 minute timer is not a well known game mechanic to me.

  14. Im sorry but the amount of tears in the replies here is amazing, and most of them are from people who want "carebear tears" eve is not a fair game from any point of view, you guys should know that by now :P, Yea the mechanic is legal, ive done it, but "oh no little carebear got a cnr back wah" really guys? i used to like TEARS... good luck in the future mr. blog man

  15. Must be nice, I lost a CNR to a black screen lock up during a mission was was basically told to piss off, even though they recommended my petition over to a support GM to resolve the problem with the client.

  16. I'm as unforgiving and relentless as the next guy and I think this was a fair enough resolution.

    Even assuming that the mechanic was working as intended, what is NOT working as intended is the player interpretation of the timer mechanic.

    At the end of the day, having a player holed up in a station because of an aggression timer that makes no sense is -- well -- a major flaw.

    In other words, how is any reasonable or rational player supposed to interpret a FIFTEEN minute timer that lasts indefinitely?

    CCP's neglect here is that the mechanic is so poorly explained and easily misunderstood.

    Is Stabs neglect that he knowingly put the CNR at risk even greater?

    Yes. But he also lost 150M ISK and the ship fittings so it's not like he didn't lose out.

    As a customer service issue, I think Stabs deserved some compensation. For no other reason than CCP needs to do a better job of educating players on how to prevent someone else from resetting the timer.

  17. Just did a little housekeeping.

    I'm very glad to see people interested in discussing this whichever side of the argument they're on.

    Instructions on how to grief me or childish name-calling will see your comment hit the bin.

  18. And some more.

    Things were getting a bit too spammy.

    Just to clarify threats, whines and comments from people who clearly haven't read the post and subsequent comments are not needed here.

  19. You lost your ship to an exploit and got fairly refunded, there's no crying going on here.

    I'm very glad you got your ship back.

  20. I'm not at all clear on why you needed to delete my comment; I in fact *agree* with you that the mechanic does not make any sense.

    What I disagree with is knowingly ignoring the warning you received and then wanting to change the consequences.

  21. @ Khalia I didn't knowingly ignore the warning though. I thought at the time the game was just glitching. It didn't occur to me that my 15 minute timer would still be in force an hour later.

    As for wanting to change the consequences I do think that this is poor game design and that CCP should look at this area with a view to improving the communication between game and player.

    While I like Eve's dark and sinister nature I don't think that bugs and exploits enhance the mood of the game. I think they defeat the mood of the game. Getting Haargothed or Awoxed is both horrible and fascinating. Losing to a bug, even if it's a bug which people have apparently been happily exploiting for years is counter-immersive, it breaks the fourth wall.

    I certainly do accept that I was very stupid. Had I paused to reflect I'd have realised that undocking was a needless risk. But I didn't yet I still feel the blame falls partway between my own foolishness and CCP's badly written game design.

    Hopefully they will take this on board and review these mechanics.

  22. @ Khalia PS I don't remember why I deleted your earlier comment. I got a stream of comments along the lines of "you're a moron" and "we're going to come find you". It got deleted as part of that, probably because you called me an idiot or something.

    I do try to let polite dialogue flow, feelings have got a little heated over this however.

  23. The real sad thing here is that the exploit used has existed for three years and CCP still did nothing to fix it and players must rely on GMs to get an issue resolved that should never happen should CCP actually spend some resources on nig fixing...

    Sad state of the game. Almost looks like they end of lifed it without bothering to tell the players.

  24. Given that CCP as acknowledged that the aggro extension, however poorly represented in game, is not a bug or an exploit, how do you feel about the fact that you got reimbursed the ship?

    I'm not meaning this as an insult or anything, I'm just curious.

    There are a lot of poorly designed interface elements in EVE. Look at every alliance that's been 'BOB'd because of poor game mechanics. They didn't get their stuff back, because, as poorly designed as the mechanics and interface are, they're the same for everyone.

    "...but I do think it's unfair that I'm so deeply out of pocket due to being killed over an hour after I started a FIFTEEN MINUTE timer."

    You talk of fairness, but you were just given a reimbursement that other people who have lost ships - or other more valuable things - to bad game design have not received. Isn't that a little unfair?

  25. I'm getting tired of hearing this event being increasingly justified by calling it a 'bug'. Like it or not, this is not a bug. It is a long-known element of game functionality. Should it be looked at and clarified now? Absolutely. But calling it a bug is inaccurate and does not justify what I see as CCP being asleep at the wheel when addressing the petition and taking the quick and easy way out.

  26. @ David and Purcival If something is wrong it is wrong regardless of precedent.

    This whole area of game mechanics is utterly utterly terrible. I can see that for some people they've adapted and it's become part of the way in which they enjoy the game. I don't accept that people have a right to gameplay based on badly written game functions.

    Exploit it while it lasts, it has always been ridiculous to flag someone as aggressor for someone else shooting his wrecks. I believe that I got my ship back because it is evident to any reasonable person, ie someone not heavily invested in these game mechanic abuses, that the program is very very badly written in this area.

    It is a bug. A bug that should get fixed.

    What I would like to see is CCP improving Eve by making aggression mechanics simpler and making them work as they are described.

  27. Comments are semi-closed on this post.

    Basically if you have something to add you have some chance of getting through. If you parrot other people's opinions with no substantiation of your claims it really isn't worth the trouble for anyone else to read it.

    You can read (above) what the Senior GM said. Please read it carefully before commenting about what CCP's policies are.