An Open Letter to CCP from Current and Former CSM Members on the "Prospector Pack"

EVE Online is 19 years old, and throughout those 19 years, a few things have been sacrosanct. Things like actual loss, player agency, the ability of the players to write their own stories, the player driven economy, and the age old “never fly what you can’t afford to lose” have been fundamental to creating the backbone of what this game is and has been.

One issue that has been a perennial player concern is that of monetization. As EVE transitioned from a subscription-based game to free-to-play, and with the introduction of cosmetics and skill extractors, players have focused heavily on how CCP monetizes EVE. From the 2011 “Summer of Rage” to the monthly complaints from players over different ads and new monetization schemes, no one can argue that the core player base in EVE Online cares deeply about monetization and is highly skeptical about the direction CCP monetization has been going. Core players have deeply held fears that there is a slippery slope at play when it comes to EVE monetization, and what was treated before as something that CCP should never do (for example, directly selling skill points to players) is eventually accepted. The CSM and CCP have had a constant stream of communication on these issues over the years. As a group of current and former CSM members, many having served on multiple CSMs so far, we can say from personal experience that every single one has seen in-depth, constant discussions between the CSM and CCP on these issues, and we’ve brought them up with every single person in senior leadership from the CEO on down.

The one line we have always said should never be crossed is the selling of fitted ships. This has been consistent. It has been long-held, and passionately held, by most core players. None of us have talked with any of our fellow CSM members who believed that selling fitted ships was an acceptable means of monetizing the game. Any sale like this would have a negative impact on the in-game economy, for a variety of reasons, but most importantly because it would both set the in-game price for ships (as a function of the real-life cost of the sale, as we see with SKINs) and because it would edge out producers by introducing “free” ships that did not require in-game time and materials to produce.

CCP has been selling a new player “destroyer” pack in some form for many years now (with the newest incarnation coming out in June 2021), and despite repeated statements of concern from the CSM, you continue to sell this today. Many players are unaware of this, because it’s targeted at new players, and it’s also less egregious because new players receive free, fitted destroyers as part of the rewards for engaging in the New Player Experience (NPE).

Today, you announced a $25 sale that includes a fully fitted mining barge. While this is not the first time that the bright line against the selling of fitted ships has been crossed, it is certainly the most egregious example of it.

Let me be clear - we do not support this sale, we cannot speak for all of our colleagues but we have not yet spoken with a single existing player who supports this sale, and we think it represents a serious misjudgment on the part of senior CCP leadership that the player base would accept such a sale.

We are aware of the arguments that can be made in favor of this sale. That this is marketed to new players is obvious, given the addition of all the skills needed to fly the ship, and the rest that is included with this pack. That does not make it acceptable. If CCP wants new players to have an easier transition into the mining business, making this ship the final reward for completing the new mining NPE would be the better option, even though that also is fraught with potential impacts to the in-game economy that should be reviewed. And yes, while it is possible for a new player to purchase via plex all of these items if he or she chooses to do so, that at least requires them to exchange real money for isk in the game, and go through all the usual steps any player needs to train, fit out, and use a ship - all skills that new players need to have and should have reinforced.

We cannot, in good faith, tell any player concerned with this sale that this is as far as the line goes, because we have seen, twice now, CCP willingly cross a line that we were confident was strictly off-limits. The concerns that players have that CCP will begin selling cruiser, battleship, carrier, dread and even supercarrier and titan fitted ships for cash - concerns some of us would have said were unfounded just yesterday - are legitimate now, and should be listened to.

This week we saw the introduction of a patch that represented a major step forward in rebuilding trust between the players and CCP after more than a year’s worth of changes to the game that have been deeply unpopular. This type of sale, especially sprung without consultation with the CSM, has the potential to wipe out all of that progress - if it already hasn’t.

We urge you to listen to player sentiment and pull this sale immediately, and commit publicly to acknowledging that the monetization line of selling fitted ships - or, frankly, any object in the game that is designed to be created by players (through ratting, industry or some other in-game action) as a part of the in-game economy - be off-limits for future monetization.

TL;DR - Please stop this sale and don’t do it again.

Sincerely,

Brisc Rubal, CSM 13, 15, 16
Innominate, CSM 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16
Mike Azariah, CSM 8, 9, 10, 15, 16
Merkelchen, CSM 13, 14, 15, 16
Gobbins, CSM 14, 15, 16
Suitonia, CSM 12, 13, 16
Kenneth Feld, CSM 15, 16
iBeast, CSM 16
Arsia Elkin, CSM 16
Steve Ronuken, CSM 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14
Sort Dragon, CSM 8, 10, 12, 13, 14
Jin’taan, CSM 11, 12, 13
TheJudge, CSM 11, 12, 13
Maria Taylor, CSM 15
Phantomite, CSM 15
Torvald Uruz, CSM 15
Exookiz, CSM 14
Sullen Decimus, CSM 12
Bobmon, CSM 11
Xenuria, CSM 11
Chance Ravinne, CSM 10
Corbexx, CSM 9, 10
Mangala Solaris, CSM 8, 9
Chitsa Jason, CSM 8
Ripard Teg, CSM 8
Seleene / CCP Abathur, CSM 6, 7
T’Amber, CSM 4, 5
Alekseyev Karrde, CSM 4, 7
The Mittani, CSM 6 Chairman

417 Likes

In the case of this awful sale CCP too regularly allows their worst impulses to dictate their decision making and often without any consideration for the red line they KNOW it will represent to their customers. There is NOTHING sacrosanct anymore. This is sadly so common as gaming companies give their customers the big squeeze for every bit of monetization they possibly can without (hopefully) causing a mass Exodus and killing their own game.

I am not surprised at all that they’ve taken these steps despite knowing how incredibly unpopular they would be. CCP has found novel was to disappoint us for years now and it almost seems like they just can’t help themselves at this point. I don’t know or recognize this company anymore. There are still great people working there that I believe have the games best interest in mind, but we are clearly listening to the wrong ones far too often.

After soaking up two solid years of player rage, dwindling numbers, and outright hostile sentiment they won back a molecule of goodwill with the most recent mining release only to instantly piss it away and reset the clock to zero. I cannot even begin to express how frustrating this is for the CSM and we are every bit as exhausted as the player base. How many times can they get away with this stuff before the damage is too much and it drives player count down too far?

I hope we never find out.

81 Likes

CO SIGN

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Prospector Doctrine When?

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I never comment, but this post needs support.

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Something important to note is that this pack is offensive not just to the nature and entire point of Eve, the player driven economy, but it’s also a slap in the face to the players who work to earn a crust in industry, and it’s also an offensive thing to new customers.
It’s bad value to the new player, it sets an unrealistic expectation of how the game can be played, and it repells Eve’s core audience:

Hardcore gamers who want challenge. It actively dissuades Eve’s ideal customers from joining in.

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NO U!

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/signed

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Confirming my signature.

Sure, the destroyer was bad enough, but that’s a ship which is meant to be put in danger. A barge? Not so much. Their lifespan tends to be significantly longer.

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I echo this statement.

As of today nobody can reasonably state that CCP has not sold out in favour of more money grabbing, throwing away all pretence that this game was still a player run sandbox, all in favour of short term profits.

The playerbase are already sick and fed up of the continual mismanagement of the game and any goodwill that was being recovered has been instantly lost today.

12 Likes

100% agree with everything said in this post. This is a line CCP should NEVER cross, and yet, has.

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Even as a non-industry focused player I agree with the the view of the CSM here. Despite all pressure form Pearl Aby$$ CCP should refrain from ruining the core industry of eve online with magically created and sold for $ assets.

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This is not due to pressure from PA. Can we please stop using this idea? It gives CCP the ability to absolve itself of the issues they themselves caused not PA.

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Let’s be realistic for a second: this line was crossed ages ago. CCP was selling starter packs with fitted ships in them as far back as 2008. I know, because I used to give them out to new players, and still have a bunch of unclaimed CD keys for them.

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Thank you Brisc for such a well put together response to this terrible decision which undermines the core tenets of Eve Online.

This player supports you.

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Thank you guys for putting it into words.

Now Think about how many things that are happening that we dont know about as well.

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Starter ships are something I have less quarrel with. They shouldn’t be sold, for sure, but given the nature of eve and the imbalance between new and old players, I can understand certain aspects, like the selling of SP and potentially extremely low tier ships (frigates) but when it comes to ships people actually produce to make a profit off of? Hell no. This is not something I can get behind, nor is it something I support.

CCP needs to gather equity with the player base, instead it makes one step in the right direction and then proceeds to stab itself in the foot

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Are you sure you’re not thinking of the pirate corvettes?

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Cant wait to suicide gank some idiot that spent 25 dollars on a retriever, only to have him buy it again, and then get suicide ganked a second time.

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Signed

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