Thursday, May 8, 2014

Applications of Grey's Law In New Eden

"Any sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice."

The mindset generated by the New Eden universe can easily lead players into conspiracy thinking.  When "Don't trust anyone" ranks with "Don't fly what you can't afford to lose" as one of the most important rules veterans pass on to new players in EVE Online, one could say that mistrust is built into the DNA of the residents of New Eden.1  Unfortunately for CCP, that way of thinking tends to not only apply to other players, but to the game developer itself.

I'll admit I naturally gravitate to conspiracy thinking.  To combat that, I tend to compensate by researching a topic to find a non-conspiracy explanation.  Sometimes, though, I'll rely on rumor to provide that non-conspiracy reason.

The latest example was the DUST Keynote.  Yes, what happened was bad.  But apparently, the situation was made worse because the public relations aspect wasn't really well-thought out.  First, don't reveal such bad news at your big player gathering.  SOE knew that when it sunset games like The Matrix and Star Wars: Galaxies.  But to make things worse, word at Fanfest is that the CCP marketing department didn't adequately prepare CCP Rouge for how EVE TV covers Fanfest.  The word I heard on-site in the HARPA was that new chief of DUST 514/Legion thought that the DUST 514 round table would be televised so he was going to answer all the questions during that hour.  I heard he was shocked when he found out EVE TV would not televise the question and answer session.  That led to unscheduled appearances by CCP Rouge to try to quell the building outrage.

Quite frankly, I think that the DUST 514 Keynote was CCP's "NGE" moment that will haunt the company with the FPS crowd for years to come.  Not because of any type of deep, dark conspiracy, but just because CCP didn't know how to communicate the changes.

I'll just conclude the discussion of the DUST 514 Keynote address with the two words that immediately popped into my mind when I heard what happened: Tabula Rasa.

The other event that I'm really interested in is the lack of a dev blog about the results of the CSM 9 election.  As I write this, CCP Dolan has still not posted a dev blog almost 5 days after the results were displayed at the CCP Presents session at Fanfest.  The conspiracy theorist will say that the rumored low turnout (I heard only 30,000 when I was in Reykjavik) has led CCP to not publicize the results for various reasons, which they will probably insert in the comments of this post.

But I'm remembering Grey's Law and how it applies in this case.  Over the past year, CCP has shown it is organizationally challenged when dealing with publishing materials associated with the Council of Stellar Management.  First the Summer Summit minutes.  Then the Winter Summit minutes, despite the fact that CCP Logibro2 did a tremendous job in transcribing the sessions and then CSM got the minutes back to CCP for review in record time.  So not getting a dev blog published with official word on the winners for everyone to see just seems par for the course.

I do understand that CCP Leeloo was added to the staff handling the CSM, so perhaps this issue will go away over the term of CSM 9.  But that doesn't help the current situation.  In fact, I'm finding the urge to write something with a little tinfoil in it hard to resist at this point myself.  Rest assured, the tinfoil isn't about the CSM election process.  I've got bigger fish to fry.

I realize that using Grey's Law as a defense isn't really that flattering an argument.  But sometimes bad things happen and I just can't make what I see fit into a rosy scenario.  Sometimes bumbling is the best explanation.3


NOTES:

1.  I would prefer the rule, "Trust, but verify," but given its close association with Ronald Reagan, I doubt it would ever catch on.

2.  I hope I got the name correct.  But in the initial pass of the minutes, CCP reportedly did a really good job in improving the process.

3.  And I swear I'll write about something better tomorrow.

15 comments:

  1. Yeah, I will bite. Malcanis has stated on the forums it is Dolan's fault that we have no dev blog. Probably is.

    But the fact that CCP would let such incompetence to continue, or simply does not care, demonstrates even more about the state of incompetence of management in that company.

    They really don't get it. This whole shift in direction to "join a cartel of die" (Read Jester's comments on his blog) is madness. You would think a competent corporation would see where the majority of its player base resides, and the activities they do, and focus on improving that.

    Jester states that "CCP recognizes that the high sec casual player is not where their bread is buttered" . Based on the numbers in what I believe Marlona Sky did in an analysis of the amount of players in the cartels compared to the overall player base, Jester's comment is exactly opposite of the facts.

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    1. If null sec is the butter, then high sec is the bread itself then.

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    2. CCP management and competence; how competent do you have to be as part of CCPgames, to get the Lead Game Design position from the CCPgames management ?

      To get the Lead Game Design position, don't you have to be competent enough to show the CCPgames management after 4 and a half years of sinking in scarce resources and quantities of man-hours into another game (not eve) with a very strong IP and large fanbase a(ny) result ? Yes/No

      source: http://www.ccpgames.com/en/public-relations/press-releases/article/77171/ccp-games-halts-development-of-world-of-darkness-mmo/

      Regards, a Freelancer

      PS: the job for Executive Producer is open for a very long time now.
      Maybe they are looking for a person who acts more favorably to his or her peers instead.
      source: http://www.ccpgames.com/en/jobs/job-details.aspx?jobid=448

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    3. Yeah, I had no real idea who Scarpia was until I watched the youtube vid of the eve keynote. When he said his background was WoD for 4 years and then the collectable card game, I wasn't exactly filled with confidence.

      An MMO that failed due to not being able to design it well enough, and a CCG that was a blatant rip off of Magic the Gathering... It gives me pause to say the least.

      Regardless though, maybe he's like the best game designer on the planet, I just don't know much anything about his work, since 4.5 years of it on WoD is now in a black hole.

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    4. That's not what I said, Dinsdale.

      In any case: John King has now left CCP.

      Delete
  2. I'll be surprised if voter turnout was above 15,000, never mind 30. There's no way IMO that Dolan is solely responsible for the delay. Just as he wasn't solely responsible for the really slow publication of the last CSM summit minutes. He takes his marching orders from people higher up in the food chain. He may have become CCP's excuse du jour for a while, but he's merely a complicit actor in the whole stinking mess.

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    Replies
    1. Just like CCP Rouge became the fall guy for the Dust/Legion disaster. The decision to do the announcements this way were done above him, according to CPM. Just listen to latest High Drag podcast.

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    2. INB4 a(ny) eve blogger says; you can not say Eve is Dying by just one metric...

      Regards, a Freelancer

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    3. And now I'm hearing CCP Dolan has jumped ship for greener pastures. He was already overpaid at CCP so that's a seriously WTF moment for his new employer (Riot?).

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  3. I'm not convinced there's a conspiracy at work here, but at the same time, the delay doesn't make much sense even from an incompetence or not-giving-a-shit standpoint.

    If you've got enough data to say conclusively that Persons A through N had sufficient votes to make the cut, you have enough information to make a blog post. If you're determined to put out something with a lot of number crunching and analysis, get the basic post up right away and say the other stuff's coming in a week or whenever.

    Even if the votes got eaten and they just *selected* a CSM, surely they could've faked up some results by now. Or if the initial slate wasn't to their liking and they massaged things a bit, same goes. I don't think the delay is because they're faking results.

    I'm at a loss to explain it, though.

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  4. So is there a short-short version of what you mean by Tabula Rasa I'm not sure googling it is going to give me the context.

    Its pretty advanced incompetence. Dolan had more than a week after voting closed to, get the numbers, copy the general flow from last years devblog, create a place to leave the raw data, change the tone to reflect this years numbers, run it by marketing. and have it ready to hit publish the Monday after Fanfest.

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    Replies
    1. I think Dolan is gone. Not sure, looking for confirmation.

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    2. Dolan is gone now https://twitter.com/ktouborg/status/464591791044706304

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  5. There ya go. Looks like Dolan had something more important than the election devblog.

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  6. And the number is.... 31,294 votes cast, significantly more than my prediction of 15,000 above :(

    I think it's hilarious, though, that they say, "... the number of votes cast this year is significantly lower than for CSM 8. We feel that this is due to a lack of awareness about the CSM’s form and function within the community"

    It's almost as though they completely nix the idea that many people DO know about the CSM and just don't give a shit about it. I count myself in that number. If I thought the CSM was relevant in affecting my gameplay, or had real influence on CCP in terms of the game's direction, then I would vote. As it is I think it's nothing but a dog & pony show. CCP rolls out the CSM for damage control when they need an "independent" PR mouthpiece.

    In other words, "working actively with CSM9 to reach a broader audience over the coming term" isn't going to work on me or on anyone else who is as apathetic as I am about the whole thing. I just don't give a shit.

    ReplyDelete