EVE Online is the only game I play. I preface this letter with that statement because after nearly two decades of online gaming I found a game, a passion, which transcends the ones and zeros that is online gaming. I write this letter as a long term loyal customer who has evangelized CCP and EVE Online for many years.

EVE is a unique product that is more than just a game: EVE is it’s own passionate community. It is like an internet-spaceship-nerd Fight Club, where nods of respect (and sometimes drinks) are exchanged when we meet one of our antagonists in real life from within the sandbox.

I’ve invested my time and money over the past seven years into EVE and thus CCP, who made this sandbox we all play in. I have received as dividends, fun and enjoyment. In the time I have spent scratching, clawing, building and destroying in EVE, I have made real life friendships. Friendships that are built on more than just pixel spaceships or an imaginary currency in a wallet. These friendships span the world and if it were not for EVE, I would have never met many dear people I now call friends. I have been made a richer person for these friendships and shared experiences.

Before EVE, I spent vast hours in the competitive FPS world, working with the PunkBuster service back in the days of Team Fortress. The aim of PunkBuster, for those of you who are not familiar, is to isolate those who would cheat and disrupt the fair game play of legitimate gamers. No player should have to compete against another player who has an advantage over another solely on the basis of their ability to code or create outside of the game.

One of the great benefits I saw in my early days of EVE, was the difficulty in cheating as I saw it then, in EVE Online. To this day, like nearly everyone else, every ISK, asset, and in-game item I possess I earned. My performance on the field was dictated by my actions and preparation for those actions. I knew that my enemies worked under the same set of rules. When I killed them or they killed me, I knew we were on a level playing field and that they had put in either the same or more effort in EVE that I had.

The first cat turd in the sandbox, if you will, was the T20 incident. Anyone, barring complete noobs to EVE, should know the story of how a CCP employee secretly gave a group inside advantages. It sickened me that a player and group got these inside advantages. The T20 incident broke the fourth wall of the sandbox. It destroyed the concept of equality of opportunity (note: I did not say equality of outcome). This employee’s actions were not a company decision, but those of an employee who was pants-on-head stupid. Despite this being the actions of one individual, the incident, along with some pants-on-head business decisions/newsletters on the part of CCP, have colored the perception of our game’s makers in the eyes of the player base, the repercussions of which are still being felt to this day.

The very presence of the CSM, unheard of in any other online game, is testimony to that. Now enter the present day controversy and feline “gift” in the sandbox courtesy of CCP’s marketing gurus and their unabashedly biased community site rewards program. I say biased because it effectively hands out billions in ISK to people that run out of game sites. These out of game sites are effectively receiving multiple tens of billions worth of CCP generated assets. We now have to compete in the market, on contract, or in space, with those who have an unfair in game advantage which has not been created through the mechanics of the game.

The giving of unique assets in game for out of game actions breaks the fourth wall in the sandbox and destroys the very premise of the sandbox. So much for the promise of “no gold ships”. . I mean “ammo.”

Does this hunk of cat poo smell like T20 to anyone else? I am blessed to not only count the the current Chairperson of the CSM as a personal friend and corp mate, but the developer of Dotlan, which is quite possibly the most used and useful community site in EVE as a personal friend and corp member as well. I have flown with, ate & drank. . . heck, partied with. . . two of the people most personally devoted to the enrichment of EVE Online. I personally know the value of what our community volunteers create and produce.

Do I think that these people need to be rewarded?

Hell yes!

It doesn’t matter if they are purely for the betterment of the community such as Chribba and his multiple sites or Dotlan, and Battleclinic. . . or purely for profit such as EVE Online Hold’Em and SOMER Blink. These sites all add value to the shared experience that is EVE and we are richer for having them. If Hilmar or his employees want to send free game time or solid gold Rifter USB hubs to every fan site, so be it and with my blessing. . .

Do I think these people need to be rewarded with in game items that create an unfair advantage, be it on the field or in the market?

Hell no.

The saddest part to me is the only vote I have as a customer on CCP’s actions is to either continue to pay my subscriptions to a company I have long respected as unique in the online gaming world and remain a part of it’s vibrant community that I love, or to unsubscribe and give my money to companies I detest and who’s games suck.

This not about rewarding a profit driven community site vs a non profit site. This is about receiving assets solely and directly from CCP itself vs earning them in game like everyone else. CCP can reward whoever they want to, how ever they want to, outside of game. as long as I don’t have to compete with the creators or benefactors of these sites at a disadvantage in game due to them having been given that advantage by CCP.

CCP executives must get a rein on their marketing and community development teams and tell them to stop breaking the sandbox. CCP, stop leaving cat presents in my sandbox and be more creative in rewarding those groups who work hard outside of game to support the only product you are making money on.

- DNSBlack

157 Comments

  1. Valencia Mariana

    Well said

    October 10, 2013 at 1:05 pm Reply
  2. Ammzi

    “So what, they just gave some ships away” , is uttered by people who don’t understand the sandbox EVE is. Amen DNS <3

    October 10, 2013 at 1:07 pm Reply
  3. alx

    Using the words of CCP: “In EVE Every single action counts toward the shape of the sandbox”. So as rule, CCP should only change the borders of the box (The physics of the sandbox), they should not use their own shovels on it. It spoils the feeling of the art. It is like Leonardo Da Vinci using a piece of photography to finish Monalisa (gluing it to the painting) … CCP must understand that for many players actions like this spoils the value of the game.

    October 10, 2013 at 2:56 pm Reply
  4. Ghost

    For GOD Sake will all the people that are jealous of ppl like somerblink who have done a massive service to universe STOP WHINING ABT these ships. Remember it’s CCP’s game it’s CCP’s property and they should be able to reward and recognise those who are doing more than just playing their game but enhancing it for the good of the playerbase. Other ppl are doing what you can’t they got rewarded for it and now your jealous is all this letter really balls down to.

    October 10, 2013 at 2:57 pm Reply
    1. concerned pilot

      What massive service have they done? Really? Are you a dumbass?

      October 10, 2013 at 7:51 pm Reply
    2. TK

      Can you tell me what service Somer Blink gives to the community, besides gambling.(which is not a service but a way to make profit for themselves) If CCP does nothing to fix the current issue of giving certain players an in game advantage then this game is already dead you just haven’t realized it yet.

      October 10, 2013 at 9:37 pm Reply
      1. Missino

        Well they do sponsor community events and such but that is all advertisement. Somer and the Blink Service is analogous of Bill Gates and Microsoft where if Gates were to drop $10,000.00 on the ground, it is literally not worth his time to pick it back up. So Somer can go and throw out 10’s of billions of isk to people on a daily basis and still be making more of a net profit that just about everyone else in Eve.

        October 13, 2013 at 12:59 am Reply
    3. Joe Knows

      Go kiss the ass of corruption somewhere else, Fools as you have no business opening there yaps, nor do you understand business mechanics.

      October 10, 2013 at 11:12 pm Reply
  5. Demogorii

    In a sandbox game as complex as Eve, everything makes a difference.
    Think about their “I was there” promotion video and it will help understand the difference or rather the “imbalance” they bestow upon the sandbox by doing that.

    I agree with DNSBlack.

    October 10, 2013 at 7:44 pm Reply
  6. cosmic osmo

    thanks DNS Black. having watched you at fanfest over the years i was able to read this article with your voice in my head. kinda cool. CCP fail, they will never stop being “game-players” even though they are all “game-makers” at this point. CCP staff just havent quite realized that the power they wield in-game really does impact the player base. Theyve got the mentality of gamers, not makers is i guess what i mean.

    October 10, 2013 at 7:48 pm Reply
  7. Tora Bushido

    You say they get these ships/isks for free, which isnt true. They have to work hard to keep their websites running. These website are a great addition to EVE. If CCP would do it themselves, they would spend a lot of money on it. This is their way to pay the website owners (with virtual money). Would you have mind if they were just paid with cash…….. and then bought plex ? If you dont think this is fair, then you should also say the same about PLEX. Its all the same.

    The only annoying thing about this all for me is, that when I petition that a GM takes 1B from my wallet, because the guy who paid me was doing RMT, I get a message, sorry we cant refund you as the isks never should have been in EVE. But then you see ships being given away and thats not a problem. Whats the difference ??

    October 11, 2013 at 11:20 am Reply
    1. Q

      Lol Tora, you are so ignorant of the actual issue. Somer is an ingame corp that makes isk with a website. CCP is giving ships to this corp not a 3rd party. After all, what would a true 3rd party entity do with ingame assets?

      And that last paragraph is an abortion of syntax. Are you trying to say that a GM enforcing EULA is the same as CCP giving ingame assets to Somer? That comparison just doesn’t make sense anyway you look at it.

      October 15, 2013 at 8:32 pm Reply
  8. Dr. Obvious

    Wow, he wrote a letter to a videogame company crying about people who get free pixels running a pixel gambling site where they earn pixels. I’m not sure who is the biggest looser here, the author, the winners, CCP who has to listen to this nonsense and have meeting about it and stuff?

    If I spent hours of my life running a gambling site for videogamers I would probably shoot myself, if free spaceships can save a life, I’m all for it.

    October 11, 2013 at 1:48 pm Reply
    1. oink

      i think the biggest loser is the fucktard that does not value his time, and that it what it all comes down to…yes, that means you…

      October 12, 2013 at 11:29 am Reply
  9. Thatguy

    im not a fan of somerblink personally, they banned me from their site for apparently useing more then 1 toon. ??? who doesnt just use 1 toon.. lol. its been about almost 2 years. since ive been off blink. and personally i think those 10’s of billions that CCP gave to them, no player in eve would actually get, other then Blinks staff, *double edged sword in other words* On the other hand, frankly CCP handing out isk to blink doesnt really bother me, i heard about it when it happend and was like, whatever, i dont really complain to much about things like that, all players always have a reason to complain. ie looseing a super to a bug, a titan a estemal’s fitted drake. battlefields being unbalanced tidi, ganking, blah blah blah, who cares its just a game. we are all here to have fun right?
    so leave blink alone let em do their thing, and you do yours. if your a mad bro. then be smart and make a eve lottery site too :)

    October 11, 2013 at 3:17 pm Reply
  10. Raduvan

    You hit the thing right on its head DNS.. Throw a million USB Rifters at them for all i care, but as soon as you start giving them ingame assets, you break the premise of your own sandbox. “Give them game-time if needs be, not PLEX, and we wouldnt care. But as soon as you give them something that directly translate into ingame value, your nothing better than the BOTs your banning from the game, and thats just the worst of scum for this community.

    October 13, 2013 at 6:07 am Reply

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