Sunday 4 September 2011

Eve Online: Player participation perverted

In which the head of the CSM, who also not so coincidentally is the head of the Goons in Eve, reveals that he has used the CSM to push through changes to the game that allow his alliance to beat their enemy alliances.

In his words:

"The fruits of our political efforts in March - winning the CSM and then establishing dominance there for the good of the game - are finally being revealed in public: not only is the focus of the next expansion on issues championed by us, the supercap nerf itself is almost word for word what we have advocated.


Our memories are long, our knives are jagged, and our hate is yet unsated."

In that article The Mittani gives a lot of credit to CCP employee Stoffer. Stoffer is an ex-Goon who got a job at CCP to work the system from the inside. Here's a forum post from a couple of months ago.

"Hey Stoffer,

We won man, its game over now. You got in and trolled from the inside and nothing can never top that. Goons won the game.

Quit your job, and we can dissolve Goonwaffe right now then duckwalk back out of this ***** being all smug.

Everyone else,

Remember when Goons gave a presentation and said we weren't out to ruin THE Game, [but] YOUR game?

We totally lied."

And on that note see how The Mittani ends his piece on Kugu?

"We will not stand idly by as an alliance while our subscription money goes to waste, watching the game we pay to play spiraling into entropy due to the folly and neglect of CCP's management. It is not yet time to start a fire, but get your gasoline ready."

So how did it all happen?

Well for one thing CCP has a policy to recruit from its player base where possible. There's a lot of sense to this as it assures a supply of knowledgeable committed staff. Notably they recently recruited former Goon CEO Darius Johnson to be in charge of their security. Here's an interview he gave EveNews24 about security in the game. So there are senior Goons in very powerful positions inside CCP.

The Goons have adopted the same policy of infiltration and subversion towards the actual real world games company and the player council as they famously adopted in-game towards their play opponents. (The in-game antics are documented in great detail by The Mittani himself at Ten Ton Hammer).

So what does all this mean for the game?

Well it seems that the conflict of interest that ex-Goons who are CCP staff members now may be damaging the good of the game. It's not worth playing if one can't be competitive and who wants to play a video game so hardcore that you have to infiltrate real life agents into a company in Iceland to keep up?

As for the CSM Goons dominated it partly by organising all of their members and allies to vote for their selected candidates (and they determined internally who everyone would vote for so as to have the greatest tactical impact). They also used a dirty tricks campaign against rivals like Trebor. His opinion:

"Over the past few days, I've been the target of a big smear campaign by The Mittani and his goons.

It's the usual bullshit. Quote mining out of context, character assassination, ad hominem attacks, the big lie -- all the classic techniques. They even started a campaign to have my wikipedia page deleted (currently failing horribly) and twice vandalized the page.

And that is exactly why The Mittani and his buddies are running for CSM. He's realized that it is actually very, very effective at influencing CCP, and he wants to try to use it as a vehicle to advance his own petty in-game interests, at the expense of the vast majority of the players of EVE."

So it seems that the CSM is broken. Kudos to the Goons for getting all of their members and friends to vote their candidates in but an advisory body, called a stakeholder in the game by CCP should not be a tool of an alliance used to beat opponents. After this no one will ever stand for election on a public service agenda, election will all be about metagaming.

One thing it does show is how extraordinarily dedicated Eve players can be. Internet spaceships is serious business!


  1. Not so much that the CSM is broken as that democracy is broken, votes can be bought etc etc

    Question is how much of this is spin. Does he really control those ex-goons in CCP or are they laughing him off and getting on with their jobs (cos seriously, that's inane)?

    I also suspect it gets distorted because a lot of EVE players would love to believe that the whole thing is this hardcore. It may just be that CCP like recruiting experienced players, which means they're bound to have been in some corps or other, and Goonswarm is a large corps so it's bound to happen.

  2. Just also to add: I have in the past run a MUSH where we often did recruit staff from the playerbase. We had very solid policies to make sure past friendships and in game associations didn't affect new staffers' decisions. And that was all voluntary.

    If CCP don't have those sorts of policies then they are idiots.

  3. CCP Sreegs left the Goons with this poem:

    Don't be fooled by the rocks that I got

    I'm still, I'm still Stoffer from the block

    Used to have a little, now I have a lot

    No matter where I go, I know where I came from (from the Eurosquad!)

    Don't be fooled by the rocks that I got

    I'm still, I'm still Stoffer from the block

    Used to have a little, now I have a lot

    No matter where I go, I know where I came from (from the Eurosquad!)

    Regarding his decision making about the future balance of Eve this is what Mittani has to say:

    many of the upcoming gameplay changes are explicitly the suggestions of the CSM hashed out over shots at one of Reykjavik's gay bars. You can say to someone like Stoffer "Dude, Doomsdays blapping Logistics ships is bullshit" and he will agree with you, then nerf the living shit out of supercaps. Pro.

    As for Darius Johnson I heard him give a talk while he was still Goon CEO. He was doing a similar computer security role for a commercial business in America. Moving to CCP would have almost certainly been a significant pay cut.

    I have absolutely no evidence that Darius has done anything unprofessional while employed by CCP. However he is the Goon who said "we're not here to destroy THE game, we're here to destroy YOUR game."

    As for your second point there is every indication that CCP are indeed idiots.

  4. So to clarify what I'm saying is this:

    CCP Soundwave is openly favouring the Goons and The Mittani is bragging about it.

    The CSM has been derailed by the Goons and is an instrument of Goon policy at this time in Eve.

    CCP Sreegs has not yet publicly been seen to do anything favouring the Goons yet but he is in an incredibly sensitive position. An audit of the bans he has made since being appointed might prove interesting.

  5. Don't be surprised. Most of the players in powerful positions already invested huge loads of $ on buying characters and then Plex ...

  6. Oh and another thing I've remembered about Darius. In the talk I heard he mentioned having 8 accounts, all paid for with real money not plex. So he must have been fairly well paid since there aren't that many married men who can comfortably spend $1440 per year on a video game.

  7. I suspect there are plenty of married men who spend upwards of £1500 per year on hobbies tbh. Although I had also gotten the impression that busy EVE players could easily earn enough ISK in game to pay their subs.

    But anyhow, all I mean is that The Mittani puts so much spin on his statements that you can't take them at face value. Sure, player feedback is valuable to designers but you have to have an ego to spin that grandly as 'We are going to fix their game!' And just because you suggest a problem/ solution to a dev you know doesn't mean they don't go off and test it for themselves before implementing a solution.

    Anyhow, I think it is all very interesting and will be curious to see how it goes. There are some good reasons to foster a really strong and well informed player guild/ corps, but will EVE be brought down by its own ultra hardcore? Doubt it but will be interesting to see them try.

  8. Though I do find the idea of there being a conspiracy within CCP by the Goons, and will most likely keep an eye on this...

    These are very public statements. I have a hard time believing CCP wouldn't go up to these employess and ask "WTF bro?" Quite frankly, this may just be a very elaborate attempt to troll the EVE playerbase into a riot over nonesense.

  9. Great post. Some of the stuff from Mittani lately is pure gold.

    However, beyond the comedic value - just because he's working his own agenda, that doesn't necessarily imply that the suggested changes from the Goonpacked CSM are bad. Regardless of the motivation for the changes, they can actually do good for the game. Supercaps, to a lot of people, represent all that's wrong in EVE and long for a time when these ships (often purchased with real world $$$, as noted) didn't dominate the 0.0 game.

    Just my $.02, but I love the goons. EVE has always been (and will always be) influenced by the metagame, and the Goons play it better than anyone.

  10. I certainly support the supercap nerf, both on principle and because I'm a subcap nullsec pilot.

    I do think that CCP needs to have a look at its internal rules for its staff.

    I also think the player base needs to think about who they vote for. Many high sec people voted for mittens because he's funny. That's ok as long as you don't mind high sec getting shafted by the CSM/Dev team.

    As for the Goons I very much enjoy them being around but I don't want them to win control, trash the game, then walk away bragging. CCP needs to manage their very destructive but very entertaining players.

  11. Actually, I think it's a good point to temper your reaction to the degree that this could indeed be a misinformation campaign.

    As Die Hard 3 taught us: the only thing better than infiltrating the design team of an MMO to cripple your in-game opposition is making everyone think you did.

  12. But where does that leave Eve?

    If people think the devs are partial and stop playing it's just as damaging whether it's true or not true.

  13. $1440 a year? I spend more than that on lunches.

  14. Sometime in EVE with all the conspiracy just don't know what to believe.

    EVE and all the metagaming is serious business! Will Goons ruin EVE? Who knows, buts thats serious effort to take things that far. CCP aren't doing all that great right now.

  15. I don't if democracy is "broken" - sure, it has its flaws. but in this particular case, I see mostly a completely failed attempt to select suitable candidates and have a procedure and system/policy in place to prevent this from happening.

    How utterly embarrassing for CCP, if they do not even know what kind of players (with which associations, pre-history etc.) they are recruiting for the job. cringe-worthy and frankly, if the game suffers from it there's only the devs to blame.

  16. @ Argent quite honestly I think the Goons love to talk about trashing the game to show how e-powerful they are but have the sense to realise it would be a disaster for them. They're far more invested than most other Eve players, even most other nullsecers.

    @ Syl The problem is that unlike national democracy game democracy more resembles Uni politics. In England when we have elections for Student Unions pets aren't allowed to stand? Guess why. Because usually if you have sensible candidates with well-thought out manifestos standing against a stick insect or a hamster the pet wins by a landslide because 90% of the electorate doesn't give a shit and just votes for the funniest candidate.

    Eve politics last election was like that, most people didn't vote and very few of those who voted cared about the platform. Mittani gets votes because he's funny. He could just as well be a hamster (in fact it might be a shrewd political move).


    TLDR; Mittani is right; EVE is broken; Needs to be fixed. :)

  18. The problem here is that, in reality, there is no democracy. The CSM is an advisory board and CCP has no obligation to do anything that it requests.

    As far as I have seen, the Goons are heavily invested in the game being fun, and the proliferation of super caps has killed a lot of that fun and lead to stagnation in null sec. This is something about which CCP has no doubt also been aware.

    Mittens is not out to break the game in which his alliance is so invested and CCP is not going to rubber stamp anything that is going to lead to a Goon hegemony in 0.0.

    @Nils - That is a very easy statement to make. Have any evidence to back that up? Remember you said "most."

    @Stabs - $1,440 a year? Peanuts compared to something like season tickets to a professional sports franchise, and I know a lot of grown men who have those. MMOs are cheap in every regard but time required to play.

  19. IT'S... A... GAME6 September 2011 at 19:18

    And all this discussion is moot if the power were cut facilities that house the servers. That's the most hilarious thing of all.

  20. "Mittens is not out to break the game in which his alliance is so invested and CCP is not going to rubber stamp anything that is going to lead to a Goon hegemony in 0.0. "

    He's mentioned destroying the game several times as an option. Most recently in the post I linked from a few days ago, about 2 weeks ago on Something Awful, and several times at the height of the Monocalypse.

    My point isn't that Goons are bad people. Properly managed they're a wonderful part of the game.

    My point is a game management one, that there's a real danger with this sort of community that the game can get away from you.

    I genuinely do think that players are dedicated enough to give up their jobs and go and work for CCP to gain advantage. I strongly suspect that some of these former Goon players now working for CCP are still loyal to their old alliance. I think it's important that the allegiances of staff should be managed and their professionalism checked. I'm not at all sure CCP realised this.

    And I can't blame the Goons at all, they joined Eve at a time when CCP had already been inflitrated by a player alliance with a dev who was cheating on behalf of BoB (T20). They are only joining in an arms race that someone else started.

  21. @syl: I guarantee you that in just about any type of representative democracy ever, the people most likely to put themselves forwards as representatives are the ones who personally have something to gain, some vested interest to push. You see this in local politics as much as anything on a wider scale.

    Sometimes they also have genuinely good intentions. But they still get involved because they see a personal gain.

  22. Do you honestly believe that these former members of Goonswarm would put a spaceship MMO guild ahead of their personal careers? Do you also wear a tinfoil hat on a daily basis?

  23. There are other things that people have not seemed to notice. The Tyrannis expansion changed the way that materials were available in EVE and allowed people to get hugely rich and fund many accounts or just cash out all together with quite insane amounts of money from a video game.

    If this Stoffer who is one of the lead devs on eve is giving Goons the changes they want so they can turn eve in to their little playground then is it really much more of a reach to suspect that he let his former alliance mates know about the Tyrannis changes in advance so they could stockpile NPC priced goods to sell on a 1000-2000 even more times that amount soon after release?

    The whole thing stinks and it ruining a perfectly good game with crap meta gaming that has reached the point of infiltrating a real company to manipulate the direction of its products. If the "suits" know anything they should ban the lot of them and fire anyone involved with goons on their staff.

  24. "Do you honestly believe that these former members of Goonswarm would put a spaceship MMO guild ahead of their personal careers? "

    Your CEO gave up his legal career to become a full time Eve celebrity :-)

  25. I'm a Goon and CCP stuffed the game, I play/ed Eve to make pubbies cry, not to break Eve, ccp make me cry they are so pathetic at public relation alone..

  26. @Insider

    You are aware that there was a period where PI was already introduced, while NPC sell orders still existed?

    Everyone with the forsight to do so could/should have bought PI materials back then.

    There was no need for insider info to profit from this change.