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Announcement regarding rewards and prizes to fansites and third-party contributors

Recently CCP rewarded the staff members of SOMER Blink, the highly popular micro lottery website, with Ishukone Watch Scorpions (IWS) as a thank-you for their contributions to EVE. There was also the matter of a recent special lottery event at SOMER Blink that CCP supported by contributing rare ships as prizes. This has raised concern in the community, with some calling favoritism and others airing opposition to CCP spawning items into the single-shard sandbox we all love, whether as rewards to third-party contributors, or prizes for them to hand out.

So let’s go through what happened, why it happened, what else has happened, and then let’s have a discussion on what all of us want to happen in the future.

First, what is the Ishukone Watch Scorpion?

It’s a re-skinned version of the Scorpion-class battleship, with the old Scorpion slot layout and slightly worse stats than the current Scorpion when it comes to functionality. It refines to 1 piece of Tritanium and as such is designed specifically to have no actual base value in the game’s economy, similar to the rookie frigates handed out for free when you suffer a ship loss. The IWS was originally created as a vanity item to be sold in the NeX store for Aurum, but once that plan was cancelled, the Community Team secured it as a promotional item to be given out for various efforts or events.

In its very essence, the IWS is a skin with its own “show info” description. But while that’s certainly an important thing to realize, we of course recognize that rare items you can sell on TQ will be coveted and will have some value through the law of supply and demand despite a lack of base value or actual functionality.

How many exist and who have you given them to?

A total of 132 exist on TQ today, all handed out by CCP as that is the only way for them to come into existence. The first one went to the winner of the 2012 Fanfest Poker Tournament. Subsequent ones have been given to participants of various PVP tournaments, the 2013 Poker Tournament, the winner of the BIG Lottery 10th anniversary event, Alliance Tournament player commentators, Alliance Tournament volunteers, the staff of the Syndicate Competitive League (SCL) and most recently the staff of SOMER blink. Giving these particular ships out as rewards for services rendered is a relatively new initiative and we intended to gift them to more fansites and contributors; however, those plans are currently on hold.

Why hasn’t my favorite fansite or community enterprise received something nice too?

There’s no single answer to that question. Sometimes it has to do with the timing of specific events related to that fansite or enterprise, sometimes your favorite is next in line or they’ve simply gotten something different, such as free accounts, trips and/or tickets to Fanfest, Collector’s editions, a couple of time codes, devs flown to their events, T-shirts, posters, resin ship models etc. etc.

Something to keep in mind is that the Community Team hasn’t always had the ability to give prizes or thank-you rewards to major long standing fansite operators like we would have wanted, but times change and we hope that those long-time contributors at least appreciate that we are trying to do better in that regard, specific rewards, quantities, and situations aside.

How do these recent events compare with previous ones?

Regarding the handing out of prizes for third-party events, we’ve always seen value in providing reasonable prizes to boost interest in events run by enthusiastic and capable players. There’s value in it for us as a company and for you as a community. What constitutes “reasonable” is always a judgment call that has to do with the history we have with the operator, the scope of the event, and the attention and participation the event can draw. Tl;dr, big event = bigger prizes. Not every event gets the same but we of course want to avoid any feelings of unfairness or resentment and we should be able to avoid that with increased transparency and by working with you guys and the CSM (more on that in the last section of this post).

Now on to the personal reward

The IWS is a cool thing to have and that’s why we use it as a reward, not because it carries X ISK value. The price people negotiate is wholly decided between individuals and is hard for us to predict with any precision.

In the past we have given out time codes and PLEX both as prizes and rewards for going the extra mile for the community. These have been given to just about every major fansite at some point and PLEX have a much more predictable value over time than skinned ships.

The rewards for the SOMER Blink staff was around three times larger than the one to the SCL staff but that’s because they have three times the staff. In both cases everyone got one each.

When we gave out thousands of pirate-skinned rookie frigates to players at PAX East and Gamescom, they initially sold for 1 billion ISK in-game without causing stir. Obviously those were less rare from the get-go and were handed out fairly randomly in the familiar environment of “go to game show – get swag”.

So the concerns raised seem to revolve around quantity, the selection process of the recipients, and the level of transparency. Which leads me to the next question.

Was CCP being secretive about this?

We really weren’t. In his leaked mail, SOMER asks his staff to keep this reward on the down-low but that requirement didn’t come from us at all and is completely their prerogative. When we give rewards or prizes, we often don’t announce it specifically but we don’t ask for secrecy either nor do we expect it at all.

It’s worth noting that when the SCL staff got their IWSs there was public chatter about it, it just didn’t get a lot of attention. It wasn’t until articles appeared about the reward to the SOMER Blink staff which also hinted at some secrecy that concerns were raised.

So, are you totally happy with this whole thing?

No we’re not. While we want to keep rewarding and encouraging projects that add value and are popular with our community, we absolutely agree that it has to happen in a way that the community is on board with, whether that means we have to make big changes or small tweaks.

We recognize that gifting rare in-game items of potential ISK value proactively to select third-parties, whether as prizes for them to hand out or as a personal thank-you, can have implications no matter how well-meaning you are. We realize that for example in the IWS reward situation, a line was crossed in many people’s minds despite there being certain similarities with previous gifting events. Where the line of acceptability lies is something we need to work out together before we move forward.

Should we stick to out-of-game things only? Create non-transferrable in-game items as rewards? Give no personal rewards and only prizes? Only items below a certain expected ISK value? Always give out tons of stuff at once so early recipients can’t cash out? List all rewards publicly?

For the time being we are pausing all plans for rare in-game rewards to select third party contributors. We want to carefully consider your feedback and determine what our framework should be and what improvements to the level of transparency are needed so that the rewards program serves its intended purpose of making the EVE Universe a better place. We’ll also make prizes and rewards a summit topic when the CSM visits us this winter, as well as consult with them until that time. Some of this work has already started, and the result will be a formalized and transparent framework for everything related to supporting all types of fansites and third-party community services. We aim to circulate our initial design to the CSM in the next few days, and you should see a dev blog in a few weeks.

That’s it for now, let us know your thoughts.

[ Original Thread ]

25 Comments

  1. a nulli grunt

    I think the main issue is when the mail stating keep the free IWS a seccret: just after CCP was planning to use BLINK as a medium to hand out a gold magnate and gaurdian vexors. Handing it out in a way that ppl had to sign up at blink. An just after that the ISW gate started.
    A lot of players already felt that CCP was playing favourites at BLINK and then this comes around.

    October 11, 2013 at 2:47 pm Reply
    1. Anon

      The irony is that the folks at BLINK probably sent out that secrecy e-mail -because- of the controversy surrounding the gold and guardian ships.

      October 11, 2013 at 9:34 pm Reply
  2. M1k3y_Koontz

    CCP shouldn’t be rewarding players who run EVE sites with in game items, especially when said players are making tens of billions of isk with the website they’re being rewarded for.

    Give them all the T-Shirts and Rifter Hubs you want, those don’t change the in game balance of power. And ffs, DON’T DO IT IN SECRET, secrecy makes it seem like you’re doing something you shouldn’t be.

    October 11, 2013 at 2:51 pm Reply
    1. Tired of the Drama

      Change the balance of power? Really, IWS are going to change the balance of power. I hardly think so. The ships can’t be flown for any real purpose. I know, I have one. Bought it off of contract and you know what I do with it, I look at it in my ships tab. Change the balance of power. pff

      “especially when said players are making tens of billions of isk…”

      So, they had a good idea and it has really paid off. Maybe your mad because you didn’t think of it. I know time and again I have told my corp mates that they are raking isk in hand over fist. Does a little green jealousy hit, sure it does but does that mean they shouldn’t be rewarded for a good fan site?

      The fact is that this game like Real Life is not fair.Nothing about it is fair. From the 20 guys that jump you when you are flying a ship into a .7 system to the scammers in Jita, this whole game is about bringing out the worst in the individual. We promote it, we love it, and it makes us laugh when we hear of some corp getting all of its assets stolen, or someone being scammed of billions of isk. This is all fine and good for the user
      community. But when the game creators make a mistake we crucify them. We seem
      to hold them to a higher standard than ourselves. We seem to think that they don’t
      have the right to make mistakes not with our game. We seem to think that because they made the game that we pay to play then they should be infallible.

      The way I see it is that if CCP did intend to unbalance the game, they would not have done it with IWS. I see this as wanting to do something nice for someone they like.

      So then let’s ask the next question. Why didn’t my company or fan site get something nice? Maybe because they don’t like you (see the life is not fair comment). I mean really, in real life can you say that you like everyone that you deal with? I hardly think so. Maybe they just haven’t gotten to it yet. Who knows, and better yet who cares.

      Lots of players have played SOMNER and won, lots have played and lost. I have been on both sides of that coin. But that doesn’t mean that the site is not a good fan site.

      CCP giving stuff to players doesn’t mean they are trying to change the dynamics of the game.

      As far as doing things IN SECRET, I don’t think that anything was done in secret. Do you make it known every time you do something nice for someone? If you do than I would say that your doing it for the wrong reason and that you just want people to notice how nice or charitable you are. Why should CCP tell us when they give something away.

      Besides look at it this way, If CCP gives someone some Really cool in game item, then that means its there for us to try to steal or destroy and make that person cry (see life is not fair comment).

      October 11, 2013 at 5:15 pm Reply
  3. ><a1N

    I really don’t care about the prizes. What I have seen over the years is a software company that now chooses to talk to the community more than ever. Good on you CCP. I enjoy hearing from the Devs.

    October 11, 2013 at 2:54 pm Reply
  4. imsosly

    Blink is a fraudulent site to begin with, utilizing bots and fake accounts to play against real players. It is an ISK sink doing CCP’s bidding indirectly by sucking literally trillions of ISK out of the economy. The CCP/Somer connection is deeper than any of you will believe.

    October 11, 2013 at 4:14 pm Reply
    1. Thatguy

      not true, before my charecter left from somerblink. i was getting billions of isk a day, by spendin only a few hundred mill. you gotta gamble smart to come out on top.

      October 12, 2013 at 12:36 am Reply
      1. imsosly

        Some will win, and win big.. But most lose, and lose even bigger. You are the tiny little light that keeps people hoping and throwing away just as many billions and more. Bots will auto-fill slots, just because you beat the bot to the winning spot doesn’t mean it’s a legitimate site. If SOMER wasn’t cheating he/she would be a fool especially because there is no oversight or verification.

        October 12, 2013 at 3:07 am Reply
        1. bob

          why would they even need to cheat? The total tickets cost more than every ship being auctioned. Somer would be dumb to cheat a lottery system that guarantees income regardless of the lotto winner. Somerblink is the best type of scam, a legitimate scam.

          October 12, 2013 at 3:43 am Reply
          1. imsosly

            “why would they even need to cheat?”

            Have you played Eve Online? Is it really ISK you and the others who appear on each individual blink are using?? No, It is a generated number that exists only on SomerBlink, applied to your account after you give them ISK in-game. There is no direct link between ISK in-game and Blink credit, someone has to handle it. Somer can give any bot or ‘employee’ 100 Quadrillion Billion Zillion credits on the site to bid infinitely against you and other morons, minimizing any losses. They can be both human or bot. Somer does this in plain sight.. giving away Blink credits. lol. Can you imagine how Las Vegas casinos would rape you and cheat if there was no verifiable oversight? lol. THIS IS EVE FUCKING ONLINE!!!

            October 12, 2013 at 4:39 am
          2. Simon pieman

            Because they could cheat doesn’t mean that they do, if they make just 10% (i think its quit a bit higher then that) profit then 10% of a quadrillion is quite a lot of isk, why would they risk all that for more isk?

            Also where is your proof of all this?

            October 12, 2013 at 11:19 am
          3. imsosly

            What are they risking? There is no risk because there is no oversight. Based solely on it’s direct connection to EvE Online, that is about as much proof that is needed. #1 rule in EvE is ‘don’t trust anyone’. You think a 3rd party with ZERO oversight is clean? lol omg. Prove to me it is legitimate.

            October 12, 2013 at 4:41 pm
          4. Simon pieman

            lol your response to prove it, is no you prove it isn’t, fuck off tinfoil hat man, you are a idiot.

            October 12, 2013 at 6:57 pm
          5. Shimon

            Idiot. Known fact is that all non-verifyable lotteries are scams. In fact, all in-game lotteires are scams. Even if not, it’s NOT a free sevice to comunity. Suck it elsewhere.

            October 12, 2013 at 7:24 pm
          6. Simon pieman

            What has free got to do with anything? the fact they charge (fake money, so really its free) has nothing to do with anything.

            October 13, 2013 at 11:22 pm
  5. 2.4

    TL:DR Goonswarm is pissed cause they’re not getting rewarded for stuff they do that generates media. So, no one else is allowed to receive anything.

    As proven in almost all of their posts on the EVE-O forums.

    October 11, 2013 at 7:29 pm Reply
    1. imsosly

      You assume Goons aren’t already involved with Blink.

      October 12, 2013 at 3:10 am Reply
  6. The Observer

    Well, at least they changed it from a Silver/Gold Magnate, which DOES have actual market value. Look it up. There’s a buy order for the Silver Magnate (which no longer exists in-game) for 160 bil.

    October 11, 2013 at 10:05 pm Reply
  7. -_-

    Maybe a good reward would be like a slot 20 implant that gives some added learning stats (maybe +5) but breaks after a limited time (month or soo) and cannot be traded. An awsome reward that isnt worth a ton (cant be traded) and is within reason. Actually wouldnt mind seeing added implants to the game that break after X amount of time.

    October 12, 2013 at 1:09 am Reply
    1. derp man

      Like the Cerebral accelerators ? derp derp derpppppppp

      October 12, 2013 at 2:07 pm Reply
      1. -_-

        cos I always wanted a gift I could neither use or sell?? herp derp
        Yea, like Cerebral accelerators but can be used by anyone not just a new character.

        October 12, 2013 at 5:49 pm Reply
  8. alx

    “Create non-transferrable in-game items as rewards” Start doing this. A good reward is a reward that have much more emotional value then a ISK real money value. Take for example a Nobel Prize medal. Despite it being made out of solid gold you don’t see people commercializing them…

    Making an item nontransferable is a good step.

    Also making the reward cosmetic is a good way to go. Give a list for the rewarded to chose. (Like having a golden capsule or some other color) or ( Having something shown about you at the TVs would also be a good honor) or The name placed in a monument inside EVE universe forever….

    October 12, 2013 at 2:56 pm Reply
    1. Rattle Me Bones

      I personally like the idea of giving IWS scorpions as they are something unique and shouldn’t be restricted (this is a sandbox after all, right?) but the problem most people seem to agree on is the secrecy in not announcing when they are given out.

      October 13, 2013 at 10:20 pm Reply
  9. derp

    all i hear is waaaa wheres my free stuff its a game jesus go get laid

    October 12, 2013 at 6:37 pm Reply
  10. Sideline Referree

    Screw the whiney, overly entitled EVE diaspora, CCP. Give what you want, where you want, when you want to whom you want. Good post, though, for clearing the air. Commence to whining, Diaspora!

    October 15, 2013 at 10:38 pm Reply

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