- "You can't win, Darth. If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine."
- ―Obi-Wan Kenobi
Helicity Boson, the creator and continuing organizer of Hulkageddon, was finally banned from Eve Online yesterday. Not for organizing the mass ganking of peaceful miners, but for the release of an issue of CCP's internal employee magazine, Fearless. Helicity managed to unlock the security on the sanitized pdf that was floating around and then the storm began. At the risk of getting banned myself, I'll go ahead and quote the offending passages.
"Not all virtual purchases will focus on customization: some will simply be new items, ammunition, ships, etc. that can be purchased outright. The devil, as always, is in the details... "
"One other service we’re looking at is selling faction standings. "
- Delivering the Goods, Virtual Sales In Incarna, Scott Holden, p. 9
These are the passages that are making the player base go stark raving mad. Selling fluff items is okay, selling unique items that give an advantage is bad. I'll quote Paul Clavet, because I think he voices a legitimate concern:
"If the $60 monocles, letdown of the FAMC (Forever Alone Minmatar Closet), performance issues, and game-breaking bugs were all that the community was raging about, do you think that I’d be threatening to leave the game I love? The game that I currently know of no replacement for? Frankly, I wouldn’t have given the patch a second thought if that were the case. 'Oh, another crappy expansion release.' I’d say. 'It’s hardly the first. They’ll fix it up soon.'
"This is about the promise that you made to us that real-money transactions would be for vanity items ONLY. You started breaking this promise at some point since then, and may have been lying to us from the beginning.
"And now you make a post saying you’ll address our concerns, and completely ignore the one item that will cause the greatest exodus from your subscriber base. Forgive us the pitchforks, but we’re feeling used and betrayed here.
"Where’s the butterfly effect in this? What’s the point of being in a game where the individual’s actions matter, if those actions can be counterbalanced by someone willing to open their wallet and have you create something out of thin air? " [emphasis mine]"Create something out of thin air" is the problem. I don't think CCP, who have seen players able to purchase any item in their game for real life cash for 2 1/2 years, understood the difference their players would feel about this.
Now it is time for damage control. As we saw last year, CCP will respond if players bring enough heat, and right now the forums are lit up like the sun. But will CCP respond gracefully or clumsily? Does anyone remember the D20 scandal and how that blew up? And we all know how banning Kugutsumen made him go away.