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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Then there's the old adage, "Never negotiate with terrorists."

Something's been on my mind, bothering me frankly, since Mr. P├ętursson made his statement about CCP's mistake in direction. It grated against something in the core of my being; something I've known for some time both personally and due to my former profession. You don't negotiate with terrorists. Let me explain.

We all know the history of the past 6 months. There was Incarna. It wasn't well received by capsuleers.  They objected vociferously. CCP relented after understanding the errors of their ways. CCP is now back to "the good old CCP" and devoting all its resources to FiS - as it should have all along.

Is that what really happened though? Let me give you an alternative description.

There was Incarna. It wasn't well received by capsuleers. They rioted. They canceled subscriptions. They threatened to bring Incarna down around CCP's ears. Corporate espionage was leveled against CCP. Confidential business documents were made public. Capsuleers leveraged this information to rake CCP over the coals in the forums and in the media. Physical threats were made as things spiraled out of control with the assistance of many helping hands. CCP had a lot of real world capital riding on the expansion. All the upheaval made their business partners nervous. CCP's business partners called in their markers (virtually or for real the affect was the same.) CCP had no choice but to capitulate to the rioters.

Now things are great again. CCP is refocusing on FiS and that's what keeps us happy. The threats have stopped. Capsuleers are singing CCP's worthiness again. Now it's all behind us. We won.

But did we? What happens after the winter expansion, life becomes all wine and roses? New Eden becomes the paradise we always dreamed of and we bask in the glory that is the life of a capsuleer?

What a load of fertilizer. Here's what's going to happen. Some large group of EvE players are going to decide they don't like the way CCP has implemented X. It doesn't matter was X is. Some people won't like it, like the Goons, whom I single out because they've already shown they have the will and organizational chops to orchestrate such a grandiose gank. They start bitching loudly about it. They decide to force the "issue." They pull their alts out of the game. They hit the web. The convince a lot of pilots to riot. They dig up as much dirt on CCP as they can get and throw it to the wolves that are the media. CCP has another season of rage on their hands.

What, you don't think so? Try this Goon quote (1) on for size then.
I am but a humble elected representative of the people.
It just so happens that the people love war, murder, scamming and sadism. vOv
Still don't think so? Your fooling yourself. The moment "the people" The Mittani speaks about above decide they don't like something, they're going to do exactly what got them what they wanted the first time. And he'll be right there to lead the charge I'm certain.

This is not something CCP can prevent. There will always be bugs in code as complex as EVE's. In every change there are winners and losers. Small gang PvPers win with tier three battle-cruisers. Carrier pilots lose. Gallente pilots win. Caldari militia lose. Those who manage space stations win. Those that make a living supplying them lose. Nerf a weapon and another becomes more powerful. Raise the value of some space and the rest becomes less valuable in comparison. It's a law of nature: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Capsuleers are going to bitch no matter what. Before, such bitching was just so much hot air. Now CCP has shown that it can be bullied into changing course. The precedent has been set and it's a dangerous one. If CCP puts their foot down and says "NO" to future demands, they lose more money. Their investors might pull the plug. If they don't, they continue to be vulnerable to player blackmail. They'll have lost control of their own company.

It's a no win situation for them. In the end, it's a no win situation for us players as well. What do you think they'll do when faced with losing money or losing money after a whole lot of hard work to satisfy a bunch of petulant, dare I say murderous-scamming-sadistic brats?

If the pain is too high, CCP will end it. They'll stop wasting resources. They'll close down communications. They'll redirect programming resources to more profitable and less antagonistic demographics. They may continue running the servers but EVE will be dead.

And that's not the worst of it. I'm sure CCP the company will go on in one form or another, but we've already seen what happens to the rank and file. EVE is far more real to them than it will ever be to us. Think about that the next time you feel like grabbing your torch and your pitchfork.

Fly careful.

1: I want to thank Jester from Jester's Trek for bringing this quote to my attention. It's precisely what this post needed!

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Be civil, be responsible and most of all be kind. I will not tolerate poor form. There will be no James Hooks here. We are all better than that.