I’m coming a bit late to the scrum related to the newest allegations of favoritism lodged against CCP. By now you should all be up to date on the fact that CCP gifted 30 Ishukone Watch Scorpions to the staff of SomerBlink. If you have no idea what I am referring to, then go look for the story because I’m not going to take the time to rehash the details of the entire topic here.

Let me begin by stating that CCP has every right to give whatever it wants , of any value, to any player or entity and for any reason. CCP has full discretion in how it deals with a good many things, really almost anything, with regard to Eve Online. That includes gifting rare items as much as it does changing a game-play mechanic, reimbursing a lost item, or banning your account for violating a loosely-worded policy. They are the final arbiter. If they want to respawn an entire fleet of super capitals that just died to a hot drop, they can. But just because CCP is entitled to do so doesn’t mean they should, and it certainly doesn’t mean the player base has to remain silent. CCP’s image is on the line in how they handle situations like this, and to be perfectly honest, they don’t have an outstanding track record of not stepping on their own dicks from time to time.

I have my disagreements related to the Scorpion Scandal, just as I did with the other CCP/Blink-related scandal that erupted a couple of weeks earlier. In that one, CCP chose to use SomerBlink’s broadly-utilized gambling site as the means to put some other rare ships into player’s hands. Players took all kinds of issues with it, ranging from the types of ships, to the fact that it required players to sign up for SomerBlink in order to be eligible, to having more chances at winning based on how much you played. Their use of SomerBlink led to a direct economic gain for SomerBlink. How much? I don’t know and I don’t care. Again, I’m not going into the details. Go read it elsewhere. But let me say this: the fact that SomerBlink has been associated with both issues should be no reflection on them. This is all about CCP and how they handle themselves. Nobody should be using any of this to tear down SomerBlink and to do so is just taking bitter to an inappropriate level. Don’t hate on Blink because of their success.

There are a number of issues that are mixed into this whole mess as people rant on and on about every last pet-peeve they have. To me, the subject of item rarity and the devaluing of these items by putting more into circulation, is a non-issue. I’m sorry, I know that some people collect these items and may have paid a significant sum of space pixel currency in order to purchase them. But the fact is that CCP has never said that these items will be limited to a specific run or that future disbursements would NEVER be made leaves open the possibility of these items being devalued over time. I know we could debate this little issue ad nauseum, but that’s just where I stand. As in real life, don’t bitch that your collector’s item was devalued when you were never assured of its rarity in the first place.

The bigger issues here are how and why CCP disburses rare items into the game. I’m not going to address those items that are acquired through in-game means. Officer drops, Revenant BPCs, and the like require in-game activity. There are set parameters on how these items come into existence and as players we all have the ability to acquire them through our own actions or can be purchased from players who acquired them normally. Rather, let’s just focus on the items that are given away for out of game actions.

CCP does a lot of good work in helping to support Eve’s third-party content providers. One of the primary ways this happens is by CCP working with a particular third party as a conduit for giving away items/ships/whatever to some segment of the player base. This helps to draw attention to these third party providers and provides a means of recognition for their service to the broader Eve community. One example would be if Eve Radio were given some ships to give away to its listeners. Another example would be if a Player Meet was being held in East Bumfuckistan somewhere and CCP sent over some T-Shirts or ship models to give away to those in attendance. Who knows, maybe they’ve had other things, like plex or in-game items, but whatever. These are freebies for those in attendance of an Eve community event. I believe this is the proper way CCP interacts with the third parties. They help them by drawing some increased attention to them. But in the end, whatever CCP is giving away is going to the players, not the third parties themselves. I’ve heard some rumors that not all items donated for such purposes have made their way into the hands of the intended recipients, but I have no details or evidence, so I really can’t confirm. I don’t blame CCP for it. They were at least trying to do the right thing in support of the community.

What about rewarding the third parties themselves? They do good work in the community and ultimately help promote Eve in some way. Should CCP do more than just recognize these individuals or groups for what they do? They absolutely should recognize the effort, but reward them?

CCP already has a program whereby CCP-recognized fan sites can receive a free Eve account as recognition for their service to the broader Eve community. Now, it’s just one account rather than a free account for every person involved with it. It’s basically a token of CCP’s appreciation for creating some form on out of game content and was really designed to reward smaller entities.

Is there a reason to go beyond token recognition? Where does one draw the line? Well, it sounds like 30 Ishukone Watch Scorps may have crossed it. Was it the ship? I don’t think so. Was it the current value of an individual ship? No, I’m not even sure it was that. I think it was the quantity times the perceived value that really raised Shadoo-sized eyebrows. The fact that CCP was apparently not just recognizing the SomerBlink organization, they were rewarding all of that organization’s existing “employees” with a combined value of something in the realm of 300-600 billion isk worth of in-game value. Would anyone have freaked out over 30 T-shirts? I doubt it. But throw 30 ships out there that can be sold in game for what many players find to be a big sum of in-game currency, and you get the kind of reaction we’ve seen. Compound that with CCP’s manner of trying to keep it all hush-hush and well, take cover because there’s a hyper-shit-storm incoming.

I said it before and I’ll say it again. This isn’t about SomerBlink. The same rage-inducing response would have happened if every DJ at Eve Radio or every contributor to EN24 or TMC were given something with this kind of perceived value. Giving one blogger something just doesn’t feel the same as giving 30 dudes 300-600 billions isk worth of shit in one go. Although giving any one individual 10+ billion isk worth of in-game value in a single sitting seems like a pretty big thank you.

In the end I don’t really give a rat’s ass what CCP chooses to do with regard to special items being given away. I’m more concerned about how CCP handles these situations so as to avoid the hue and cry from those seeking to just make an issue out of everything. I think there are right ways of doing it and ways that look like they are favoring one group over another. CCP is no longer an adolescent company finding its way through puberty. They should have learned by now that maintaining their image is important. It is important to the player base and it should be important to them as a company. Revolts of the player base don’t make good news. There is just no need for this level of blow back and they should be better at managing it than they are.

My recommendation would be to formalize a set of guiding principles on how they distribute items of in-game value. Even if those guiding principles are as simple as: “we’ll do what we damn well want to do when we damn well want to do it.” I could live with that. At least it’s honest and up front. Of course, if they take that route then they will likely just find this entire incident repeated time and again. But if they find a way of better managing expectations, perhaps they can avoid this kind of outcry in the future.

I also hope that CCP refrains from just closing down entirely to using third parties for giveaways or providing swag to attendees at player meets or in recognizing third parties for the work they do. Despite all the rage, that would be a dumb step backward. Rather, review what went wrong here, implement steps to ensure it doesn’t happen this way again, and move forward.

– Dirk MacGirk

34 Comments

  1. Truth

    “Nobody should be using any of this to tear down SomerBlink”

    WRONG! Blink uses bots and fake accounts to bid against actual players. This reward was for their dirty work on behalf of CCP draining ISK from the economy, never to be returned… ultimately forcing the playerbase to be more dependent on buying PLEX w/ RL $.

    Blink has ZERO oversight with regards to validity and credibility and legitimacy. Yes, some win and win big but the amount of ISK vacuumed out of the economy is vastly greater than the amount of winnings.

    Players should stop using Blink until it becomes continuously open for critique and oversight by multiple sources.

    October 7, 2013 at 11:55 pm Reply
    1. Billbo

      Oversight? What koolaid you’ve been drinking. It’s a private site run by a third party not a publicly funded Gov’t controlled entity you fucking mongoloid.

      October 8, 2013 at 1:01 am Reply
      1. M1k3y_Koontz

        “not a publicly funded Gov’t controlled entity”
        Those have oversight? Quick, someone tell the NSA that!

        /RLpolitics

        October 8, 2013 at 2:25 am Reply
      2. Jesus Loves You

        In a lot of countries there is a minimum payback percentage on casinos (often around 80%) by law.

        Somer does not make public ANY earnings or ANY percentage and the site uses a mechanic that can be easily swindled with (not saying this is happening, just that it’s rather easy).

        The worst part about this is that many believe Somer makes RL money off the site by using the referrer link to GTC sellers.

        So yeah, Somer Blink may have problems, but nobody except Somer knows if there’s anything to it.

        October 8, 2013 at 10:53 am Reply
    2. Capt. Tinfoil

      “This reward was for their dirty work on behalf of CCP draining ISK from the economy, never to be returned”

      No, the isk drained from the economy now belongs to the people running said lottery, that’s how a lottery works, maybe you should lay off the stupid pills for a few weeks.

      October 8, 2013 at 2:21 am Reply
    3. Yahahiuy

      umm, whenever you enter a casino, you know the odds are against you. You start screaming happily that you won $1000 on a single evening, not realizing that you paid THEM 10k with the previous visits.

      That’s for 99% of the gamblers. It’s no secret, same with Somer, dealers have been known to cheat, and if you play long enough, you will lose. The trick is go in, get some money out of it and while you still have profite, gtfo and never look back.

      October 8, 2013 at 7:39 am Reply
  2. Devore

    It’s about the hush-hush nature of the thing, and all the secrecy. If it’s about recognition, should it not be public? You skulk around when you think you’re doing something wrong.

    October 8, 2013 at 12:28 am Reply
  3. Ozamis

    SomerBlink can turn down the offer, too, and/or make a public appeal to it in order to save face. Instead, they either accepted it blindly without thinking about the general perception of the exchange or were privy to the arrangement and tried to keep it secret.

    And now that this is in the open, what’s their response?

    October 8, 2013 at 2:28 am Reply
    1. Devore

      “Instead, they either accepted it blindly without thinking about the
      general perception of the exchange or were privy to the arrangement and
      tried to keep it secret.”

      From: Autumnries Mahm
      To: SOMER Blink.
      Subject: A gift from CCP

      Please do not immediately run to the forums and WTS the ship. 30 of them appearing all a once would be weird. If you want to sell it, please use a lower-profile alt. This is a really unique thing CCP is doing, and we don’t want to mess up that future relationship.

      Oh yeah, they totally didn’t know anything. Everything above board and in the clear.

      October 8, 2013 at 4:56 am Reply
      1. Ozamis

        “or were privy to the arrangement and tried to keep it secret.”

        Well, that answers that.

        October 8, 2013 at 8:23 am Reply
      2. dat dot at the end...

        SOMER Blink(dot)?

        October 8, 2013 at 12:47 pm Reply
  4. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

    This whole kerfuffle is BS, companies everywhere give away money and prizes to customers, associates, charities and who or whatever they want to as a method of building there marketplace. CCP is a business, eve is the product they have and the bits that make up the game are free, why shouldn’t they do the smart thing and thank the people that help them be successful. If they had given every recipient 6 months free subscription would anybody give a shit, probably not. So HTFU eveplayers, if you don’t like it f’n leave, go play the other ‘better’ games, run by ‘better’ companies and give me all your stuff. EVE bittervet=big fucking crybabies.

    October 8, 2013 at 3:38 am Reply
    1. YES

      Don’t think it’s a good business model to piss off your customer base, but your right it’s like big businesses donating to a politician perfectly legit.

      October 8, 2013 at 3:56 am Reply
      1. Alsono

        EVE players get so butthurt about every little thing, pissing off their customer base is perfectly normal. In fact one could say it’s required.

        October 8, 2013 at 6:20 am Reply
  5. Dennis the Dreamer

    mehh… it just modified pixels[dot][dot]ed lines in my monitor.

    October 8, 2013 at 7:06 am Reply
  6. P1MP

    Dear CCP,

    I’d like you to add drugs and prostitution to your gambling game.

    Less spaceships please!

    October 8, 2013 at 7:23 am Reply
  7. Yahahiuy

    well, you know that CCP devs play the game themselves.

    That led to a scandal in BOB which had player devs, and it led to Goon devs obviously making patches which benefitted their own coalition they play in. In fact they only hire staff which they know from that coalition.

    That said, how can a gaming company be impartial when they have helped ‘blue’ entities -this time a website,odds are the host is probably a very good friend of some CCP dev- from Launch till this day?

    If you play this game, you have to take this into account or just move on to some other mmo where devs are more ‘unbiased’.

    October 8, 2013 at 7:24 am Reply
  8. droljica

    ccp and unpartial ? Its like China/N.Korea and “democratic” elections.

    T22 and counting

    October 8, 2013 at 8:20 am Reply
  9. helmarsux

    ccp giving away items like gold magnate is beyond retarded…. ive been playing since beta… where is my free 100 bill isk present ?

    October 8, 2013 at 8:34 am Reply
    1. derp

      Where is your Nvidia GTX titan card?

      October 8, 2013 at 3:28 pm Reply
  10. Alison King

    ccp do give, gifts , how many implants did we get and that gnosis , that i have no t got round to flying , i play somer blink but wining a i promo is like 500 – 1 odds – i expect the goons got most of the prizes through out of corp alts , ect

    October 8, 2013 at 11:24 am Reply
  11. St. Ponzi

    When dafuque has a Lotery done something for the comunity? Sometimes, they did PAY for marketing services, but considering this services to the comunity makes me presume OP is completey idiot ar and totally hilarious dreamer. Being like this, Cribba did way more for this game and the comunity. Still he got no shit. High Pubbie Shitlords, CSM, Asslickers! Stop eating shit live. We all know how this is going.

    October 8, 2013 at 12:22 pm Reply
    1. Dirk MacGirk

      I’m not sure your ignorant use of language and grammar translates well through the cock in your mouth

      October 8, 2013 at 2:35 pm Reply
      1. Cosmic osmo

        Dirk im not sure your ignorant use of homophobic rhetoric translates well through that massive amount of insecurity you’re giving off. Grow up.

        October 11, 2013 at 12:29 am Reply
  12. happy talos

    That’s a bad way of complaining along *Look what they do for the community, I don’t do the same, but I feel that rewarding them for doing that is unfair, cause I don’t get one aswell*

    Honestly, comparing the devotion you got to sustain to your project, and to ongoing sponsorship of player events all over new eden, one might argue that 30 hangarqueens being handed out is no big deal. Given that those scorpions are way less valuable compared to other *limited* hulls, this is merely a token of appreciation – I am very sure that using the same time carrierratting instead of organizing events, negotiating support and similiar, they’d have made significantly more ISK than those 30 scorpions combined <.<

    October 8, 2013 at 12:45 pm Reply
    1. Dirk MacGirk

      You can argue that. You can argue any side of this. I don’t discount a high level of bitter vet bitching and moaning going on here. That’s why I just tried to focus on CCP being better about how they handle this stuff so as to manage expectations and avoid this kind of situation.

      October 8, 2013 at 2:44 pm Reply
  13. Schnurglhüpf

    CCPs Image cant possibly get any worse, than the image thats displayed on articles and postings on EN24. The only time the image isnt considered a catastrophe is when the guys here wanna whine about somthing.

    October 8, 2013 at 3:41 pm Reply
  14. Dragon Outlaw

    I to am jalous when people win prizes on “The Price is right”.

    October 8, 2013 at 4:46 pm Reply
  15. Liu Bin

    I think I understand your position on not being particularly upset about the diminishing of hand-wavy space value of items. I believe that the argument made by Chribba, in particular, was a good one. To paraphrase – that it was about respecting the history. Diminishing the value of the previous losses, victories, deals and actions alters their significance and impact.

    I personally support that as a stronger argument for CCP to refrain from this behaviour. It is player-generated lore and respecting that reinforces the role-playing aspects.

    I agree that they could spawn wacky random shit daily, but if they want limited number gifts to engender a genuine frission in collectors then they simply shouldn’t.

    A few years ago I caught a very rare ship on d-scan as I warped ahead of a gang. Voice comms exploded with excitement, and ultimately disappointment when we found it had docked. These were spontaneous real, strong emotional responses to non-existent digital items.

    That’s an alchemy they should not mess with, IMHO.

    October 8, 2013 at 9:48 pm Reply
    1. I haven’t read Chribba’s argument but I agree totally with this. Giving away high value items decreases the value of the entire player history of New Eden. One thing is fanfest iterons and shirts, the other is if we were to hand out 30 Frekis to some entity or collective of players. I think an event like this should at minimum, be explained in the canon. Have someone write a chronicle that explains why Ishukone decided to gift the capsuleer entity known as SOMER Blink with 30 of their most prized ships. Then I can live with it.

      October 18, 2013 at 5:25 pm Reply
  16. Dennis the Dreamer

    At the end of the day, this just another pixels items. move on and get a life.

    October 9, 2013 at 3:30 am Reply
  17. Adaram

    I find the biggest problems to be that it is tinkering with the EvE economy it diminishes the history of EvE. This game is the only game where you can shoot something and it stays dead and that is important. If they had gifted them something else, that would probably have been better, but it is still tinkering with the economy

    October 10, 2013 at 4:07 pm Reply
  18. Greg

    This is a primary reason why I haven’t resubbed with my 3 accounts. CCP giving billions in isk to players it likes, wow what a crock! Somerblink hasn’t done anything for the community, its all to earn billions of isk for itself. More CCP favouritism and scam gifting.

    October 22, 2013 at 8:45 am Reply
  19. K...

    Imo, CCP should never give away anything to no players, no matter if they´re 3rd party or advertising EVE, it just makes the game unfair for the players who are fighting to have some “shiny” stuff while others just receive it for an out-of-game activity.

    October 24, 2013 at 11:55 am Reply

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