A Matter of Degrees
Posted by Corelin
So after reading Ripard’s most recent this morning, I think he’s “walked back” a bit too far. I tend to agree with him that walking back is better than doubling down, which I’m just freaking tired of, but I think he’s backed up a bit too far. He says that boiled down to it, what the gifts represent is CCP providing an in-game advantage to Somer. And that it is wrong for them to do so no matter why they did.
Let me break it down how I see it. Somer has, for years, spent a lot of time and effort building the biggest lottery in EvE. They have certainly enriched themselves, which I have no problem with, and they have also spent considerable time and effort supporting other folks ventures whether it’s EvE Vegas, an in-game tournament like the Frigate Free For All or whatever. In recognition of this community support CCP rewarded them with the Ishukone Watch Scorpions, and concealed the fact.
Now I’m going to go onto a bit of a non sequitur. I’m going to talk about Pandemic Legion. Pandemic Legion has won 4 Alliance Tournaments. I believe they were 2nd in 2 of the ones they didn’t win. They busted their buts, they worked hard and they provided a ton of entertainment for the community. They also provided CCP with some marketing punch in the highly publicized tournament streams and videos. For this they have gotten a LOT of ships from CCP. These rewards were announced up front and they were well publicized.
Both of these organizations did something that was good for the game. They both provided something above and beyond what the normal schlub like you or me does to the game. They both give a small, but measurable, competitive advantage to the organization receiving them. There are a few key differences. Number one The AT rewards are well publicized, announced in advance, featured in vids even these days, and they are potent, potent ships, whereas Somer’s was cloaked in secrecy. Number two the AT is a highly structured event. Only so many people are allowed in, and only so many have a real chance at participating. The Somer giveaway was completely unstructured, with no fixed criteria at all.
I have a problem with some of the specifics. Somer’s reward should NOT have been secret. Ever. That it was even conceptualized that way is problematic enough. That it actually entered the game secretly was a disaster. It should have been a public reward, with a very open “Job-Well-Done” specifying the reasons CCP chose to reward Somer. I like the sandbox, but it’s not a pure sandbox and it will never be a pure sandbox. If CCP wants to reward behavior I think we should welcome it as long as everyone understands how it’s going to work. It doesn’t have to be a specific set of rules and competitions like the AT. That handcuffs CCP from recognizing acts and events that are meaningful that don’t involve CCP from start to finish. Here I’m thinking about groups like the Angel Project, which certainly wouldn’t mind a bit of help from CCP. EvE University, which has already gotten some support from CCP although nothing as material as a battleship flotilla.
It has to be open. CCP needs to put out a devblog saying “From time to time we can choose to reward individuals and groups who have gone above and beyond in service to our community. These rewards will take the form of ___________ and follow a general criteria of _________ although we reserve the right to recognize outstanding contributions to our community wherever and whenever we choose to offer them. This is not a goalpost, don’t call us saying ‘we’ve done this and this and this now hand us our ships’ it’s merely a statement that we can and will be rewarding those whose contributions to the community are truly above and beyond greatness. These will be freely given gifts, no strings attached, and they will be publicized as we see fit (and by that we mean not kept secret at all, I mean front page, maybe login screen)” only, you know, not written at 6AM by someone still half asleep and struggling to formulate full sentences.
What CCP needs to bring is structure and transparency. Not as much as with AT, but more than with “Somergate” (or “IshukoneWatchScorpionGate” for the masochists out there) to give an idea of roughly what the process is, and what kind of gifts we can expect to see given out. For the record I think the idea of re-skinned ships for prizes is great and cannot wait for CCP to start throwing them at bloggers to shut us whiners up for 5 minutes.