Daily Archives: January 29, 2012

MMO Players’ Bill of Rights

This post was inspired in part by Ripard Teg’s “Influence” post and my own ruminations this morning on the T20 scandal.  Yeah I’m old.  Get over it.

As gamers we should have rights to knowledge beyond the bare facts in the EULA.  This summer EvE players fought the good fight and won considerable concessions in the area of game development priority from CCP.  It didn’t have to come to that, and while the CSM seems to have dumped enough new sand on an old fire to smother it, I worry that the embers still lurk beneath.

As a player, especially in a sandbox game, but also in the theme parks, you are a stakeholder in events taking place.  As a player of EvE I do not just pay to run incursions, pvp, do whatever.  I create content.  Players who join my guild or alliance have opportunities because of me that they wouldn’t otherwise have.  In my case this is very small scale.  Someone like Ripard Teg, Mittani, Helicity Boson, or any major alliance leader can make a serious argument that their activities add so much to the game that EvE would lose significantly more than 15 bucks a month per account if they quit.

More specifically, if Mittens quits many goons will quit either immediately or over time due to reduced activity, he is a key leader and a vital force that adds to the gaming experience of EvE simply by doing what he does.  To a lesser degree every single player adds a lot to the game simply by getting on and doing whatever it is they do, whether it’s the PvP FC who leads fleets day in and day out, the logi pilot holding his friends up, the can miner providing targets to fancy hats, or the industrialist / market guru who only undocks haulers moving my beloved Barrage M to market so I can blow people up with shiny ammo.  CCP has more or less acknowledged this with its “Butterfly Effect” and “Causality” trailers.

As such I think we have certain rights, or at least we should have certain rights, that naturally flow from our status not only as paying customers, but as content creators within CCP’s game.  To start with there are a few dealing with Devs playing the game, that should have already come from past events, like the T20 scandal.

  1. How many Devs play the game, broken down by hours in game
  2. Which corps/alliances have CCP toons in them
  3. What Dev Team has members in what alliance
  4. Open Communication with the CSM under a less restrictive NDA on how Devs interact with their alliances

#1 is pretty self-explanatory, and it lets us know as stakeholders just how invested CCP folks are in their own game.  #2 is a disclosure of information aimed more or less directly at the T20 scandal.  For those who don’t remember it, look it up, one summary found here.  #3/4 could be critical.  Let’s say Team TANSTAAFL forms up and starts working on wormholes.  We find out that TANSTAAFL has 5 members in a small wormhole alliance, that exclusively farms Cataclysmic Variable systems.  I am willing to trust to some extent that the integrity of most people is such that they wouldn’t deliberately cheat just to help out themselves and their buddies, however “Trust, but Verify” will be written on all of my tombstones I leave behind in EvE.  And there’s been a few.  By providing reports to the CSM with not just the understanding that they can be reported on more freely than typical CSM reports, but with the EXPECTATION that the information will be distributed, CCP will have to monitor its employees more stringently.  In this case let’s go with the happy ending and say that the report from TANSTAAFL is all lollipops and rainbows and that their only work on CV systems is to replace EWAR effects that were discovered to be working incorrectly a while back.

Next we have some future development information that simply must exist.

  1. Roadmap to the Future
  2. Priority List of Iterative Content
  3. Priority List of minor Issues
  4. Formula Table
  5. What have you done for me lately page
  6. Community Page listing blogs, fansites, possible even with endorsements for sites or specific posts that ring true with CCP

#1 is something every MMO should have.  It would be a page listing the “Jesus Features” in broad terms.  I realize this runs the risk of giving away trade secrets, but frankly they will copy your shit eventually anyway, have confidence that you will do it best, HTFU or GTFO.  This would be best with some dates, and should at least have the broad strokes of the next two patches with a crystal ball view of the third one down the road.  And yes this sucker needs to be kept updated.

#2.  Again this needs to happen, CCP knows they need to iterate and seems to be taking it more seriously as they have admitted that they probably won’t do many major features for the next patch or two.  Fine, let us know where our particular niche is on your priority list, again no details need be mentioned, but is WH/T3 ships ahead of FW?  Is FW significantly ahead of or behind general lowsec improvements?  Where do docking timers and balance issues come in on the chart?  This will be a BEAST to set up, but both as an internal referral to guide resource management and a PR tool to tell gamers where their issue stands I think it offers an enormous boon to the game.

#3.  Bugs, Glitches, Lag, maybe even the docking timers and balance issues.  This is the “What order we take out the trash” list, and again is not as big a priority as the lists above it.

#4.  Let’s get a page with all the formulas on it.  Please.  For the love of God.  I know they are all out there but I don’t want to have to hunt through the EvE wiki for each individual formula.  One Page.  Everything.  I can use Ctrl-F to find the specific one fast.

5.  Give credit where it’s due.  Let the teams brag about what they have done when they do it.  Heck let the players have some input towards rewards for teams that consistently make great changes!  You say you value our feedback, give your guys a reason to REALLY find it!

6.  We value YOUR feedback too.  If you want to see how important it is go to the SW:TOR forums and look at how many people are DESPERATE for information from their dev team.  We also want the opportunity to micro-analyze the blogs you like follow your breadcrumbs to see what kind of information CCP is looking at to see which way the wind is blowing.  And of course Ripard wouldn’t mind scoring some accolades there ;)

Ok that’s the first 11.  In my dream world it would happen, and happen fast.

What do you think sirs?

 

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