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Eve Online to Elect Player Oversight Group

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the self-governance-is-the-best-kind dept.

Role Playing (Games) 104

StCredZero writes "The New York Times is reporting on plans by EVE Online developer CCP to open itself up to independent oversight. In response to the recent allegations of misconduct, they are proposing a system of 'nine player-overseers who will act as ombudsmen for the game's subscribers. The company says it will hold the elections in the fall.' Systems will be put into the game to support this ombudsmen status, making this (effectively) a player-run world governance system."

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Hmmmm.... (1)

djones101 (1021277) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425893)

Never knew an MMO would try to represent real-life politics so faithfully.

I hope not (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19426065)

Or else these player representatives would cry foul and get a nod and a "yeah, yeah, whatever" from the "government".

Re:I hope not (1)

tibike77 (611880) | more than 7 years ago | (#19427017)

Obligatory Soviet Russia revefence...

In EVE-Online, players control YOU ! ...well, audit, whatever, same thing ;)

Whoa. (4, Interesting)

Winterblink (575267) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425895)

I'm pretty intrigued by this. Of course there's tons of details to be worked out. How long is each player's term? What kind of powers will this committee have over the developers? How will the elections be handled to avoid one large entity from swinging elections the way they want them to go? Will be watching this one to see how it unfolds, especially as a player of EVE.

One thing's for sure, I haven't heard of this happening anywhere before (in terms of gaming). I wonder how much of a precedent this sets for MMOs?

Re:Whoa. (2, Insightful)

Anxarcule (884937) | more than 7 years ago | (#19426011)

I doubt the player council will have any real powers. This is just going to be a recipe for more drama, and subsequently more publicity for the game. Which is fine, since people love drama, and drama is a main reason why people still continue to play an online multiplayer game.

Been there, done that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19427537)

http://www.atitd.com/ [atitd.com]

The only thing new here is that they are doing this to try to convince players they aren't crooked because they are too incompetant to run their own game. Where as atitd had player governments as part of the game from the start.

Re:Whoa. (1)

the dark hero (971268) | more than 7 years ago | (#19427627)

I know the reason I play eve is that anything can happen. Other MMOs are pretty streamlined, but Eve's nature and player base allow for some interesting stories. It also helps that the average age of the players is much higher than that of MMOs like WoW.

Re:Whoa. (1)

RollinDutchMasters (932329) | more than 7 years ago | (#19434605)

It's not going to set any precedent - it's an outrageously stupid idea. It does absolutely nothing, because the people who are crazy enough to believe in the existing tinfoil-hattery menagerie of half-truths and no-truths about corruption can easily extend that same insanity to whoever is doing 'oversight'.

CCP is screwing themselves by even giving legitimacy to the entire thing. In the end, it will just be one more group which can be complained about - with only 9 winners, the 90% of the population which doesn't back one of them will feel marginalized and out of the loop because of it. Plus, since its an internet popularity contest, all 9 of those people will be retards.

Just about the only thing this is good for is a bit of publicity from the same news outlets that seem to have a creepy obsession with Second Life (We're going to put a virtual ABC studio between the virtual kiddie-raping theme park and the virtual bestiality bazaar!) Its like the mainstream news outlets are daring MMOGs to one-up each other in insane concepts which will make a fancy headline and 3 sentences of text. At some point, the circus is just going to fall apart.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (2, Insightful)

m0rph3us0 (549631) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425925)

Who will watch the ombudsmen?

Re:Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (1)

I Like Pudding (323363) | more than 7 years ago | (#19426117)

Metaombudsmen. It's ombudsmen all the way down.

Re:Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (2, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19426129)

Oh, there'll be another election in a year for "supervisors of balance", whose primary role will be to keep an eye on their activity.

A year later, we'll get "comtrollers" who'll check those supervisors.

And in three or four years, every player will have some kinda fancy surveillance title and complain that there's not enough control...

Re:Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (1)

Captain Sarcastic (109765) | more than 7 years ago | (#19426209)

Not to worry - the ombudsmen will explain that they watch out for each other.

Re:Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (1)

fitten (521191) | more than 7 years ago | (#19426229)

I haven't seen much detail as to what they'll be watching anyway. Will they be able to effectively do anything at all? Will they be technical enough to examine logs and databases? Will that even matter since someone with the approproiate skills/access can alter those anyway? What will the makeup of the group be? Having them all from BoB, for example, will accomplish nothing most likely and will not foster any good PR.

Re:Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 7 years ago | (#19428481)

Who will watch the ombudsmen?
Make them ombudswomen with live webcams and the question answers itself.

Great idea (3, Insightful)

Reason58 (775044) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425929)

Lord knows if you can't trust your own paid employees to not cheat then you can certainly trust anonymous player volunteers.

Re:Great idea (1)

Winterblink (575267) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425977)

They'll hardly be anonymous, if the player-base is electing them.

Re:Great idea (3, Insightful)

Reason58 (775044) | more than 7 years ago | (#19426021)

If your only contact with someone is through the internet then they are anonymous for all intents and purposes. Doubly so if all your contact is through a video game.

Re:Great idea (1)

ponos (122721) | more than 7 years ago | (#19430739)

If your only contact with someone is through the internet then they are anonymous for all intents and purposes. Doubly so if all your contact is through a video game.

You obviously haven't spend enough time in MMO games. Getting the fame and popularity necessary to achieve such a goal (being elected by other players) requires a VERY significant investment in time and effort. Simply put, the person in question obviously cares and is attached to his online avatar so much that losing his status would be an immense loss.

I wouldn't be surprised if some of these players care more about the "eponymous" avatars and their in-game status than their work presence.

P.

Re:Great idea (1)

darkhitman (939662) | more than 7 years ago | (#19429369)

It doesn't matter how anonymous or not-anonymous they are. Unless the playerbase of Eve can manage to actually assess the value of each candidate based on issue positions and ability, this "public election" will become a popularity contest.

Now, I haven't played Eve and I don't know how the playerbase is distributed. But with the scale of BoB's influence and memberbase, can the players of Eve hope for a fair election? Or will we end up with a government controlled by the major corporations?

Hm... that last bit sounded familiar...

Good PR, but pretty much useless (2, Interesting)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425973)

Basically what, they are supposed to fly over for a few days every xth month and 'audit' the game/company?

What would be the point in that? They can't discover anything serious anyway. You'd need good insider and developer knowledge and months. Apart from that they might act as conduits for reporting on gameplay issues and bugs, but it'd be better accomplished by CCP reading their own forums...

Glorified P.R. visit (4, Insightful)

CaseM (746707) | more than 7 years ago | (#19425979)

"I envision this council being made up of nine members selected by the players themselves, where you announce your candidacy, and if you win the election, they come here to Iceland, and they can look at every nook and cranny and get to see that we are here to run this company on a professional basis," said Mr. Petursson, CCP's chief executive. "They can see that we did not make this game to win it."

Wait...are they going to be checking for roaches in the cafeteria or something? Looking in "every nook and cranny" means looking at source code, checking logs on home computers, and reading in-game chat logs. i.e. it's not possible. The problem is a social one, not necessarily a technical one. Even if in-game exploits and "god commands" were removed, the extra information from being an employee is still enough to tip the game in your corp's favor.

So "The 9" are going to go for what amounts to a P.R. visit so that CCP can wash its hands of the mess and say "See? I told you we were a fine, upstanding company! Just look at how clean our cubicles are!"

Re:Glorified P.R. visit (0)

Winterblink (575267) | more than 7 years ago | (#19426023)

Well, them saying that isn't enough for some people in the EVE community. So why not do this? I mean honestly, they're damned if they do and damned if they don't. So they might as well take the high ground.

Re:Glorified P.R. visit (1)

CaseM (746707) | more than 7 years ago | (#19426049)

If you really want people to believe you're "sorry" and you've cleaned up your act, then fire a few people. Of coure everyone knows that the firings are mostly P.R. maneuvers, too, but at least they seem more dramatic than this farce of an oversight committee.

Re:Glorified P.R. visit (1)

Winterblink (575267) | more than 7 years ago | (#19426099)

You probably haven't kept up on the full details of the issue (if you have an EVE account, consider reading the Player News Center for the full story). At any rate, CCP released a report of their own investigation into the issue explaining their actions. The tinfoil hat crowd of course cried foul, and that's probably how we ended up with this whole business.

Assuming they were in the right (and to be honest it seems perfectly logical given their explanations of what went on), then why fire anyone?

Re:Glorified P.R. visit (3, Interesting)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 7 years ago | (#19426207)

You mean the explanation by CCP that completely left out the part (and in my opinion main allegation) where a developer from the database group went around and started questioning and telling the ISD member (volunteer) what to do?

It is easy to debunk the patently false accusations and then try to use that as proof by association to make it appear as the rest of the allegations are bunk too.

For some reason the developer in question no longer has a character. Shiny clean eh? I don't suppose it is tinfoil to be just a bit skeptical of a company's PR claims. The internal affairs division completely, utterly failed because their statement read like a corporate press release instead of the report from a supposedly independent review board.

Re:Glorified P.R. visit (1, Insightful)

cowscows (103644) | more than 7 years ago | (#19426315)



There was that whole previous cheating issue, in which case CCP initially told us how it was all a big misunderstanding and it could never happen. Then a few days later, oops looks like it did really happen. The consequences for the guilty parties in that case were insignificant.

Pardon us if we don't take CCP at their word after that. They lost any benefit of the doubt with that performance, and their explanation this time around all but ignored some of the more serious accusations and focused on an issue that could've been settled quietly at the very beginning if they had a proper and professional customer service set up. Firing people randomly certainly wouldn't make EvE a better game, but we've never really seen any sort gesture by CCP towards regaining the trust they lost beyond them telling us it wouldn't happen again.

Re:Glorified P.R. visit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19428161)

To be fair though the only real way to regain trust is to go a long time without screwing up (through policy changes, better code, whatnot).

Re:Glorified P.R. visit (1)

Breakfast Pants (323698) | more than 7 years ago | (#19429895)

Say what you will about the EVE folks, at least they don't blatantly cheat in front of everyone's eyes, like those bastards at Blizzard did [wowinsider.com] .

Re:Glorified P.R. visit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19430191)

Are you serious? You're really mad about Blizzard "cheating" to allow a dying child to have fun on WoW for a day with a pimped-out character in supervised god-mode? (I assume you're not irked by his being allowed to design a quest and supply voices.)

It's not as if his wish was to be able to grief in god-mode for a day, and as I understand it, his playing didn't really affect other characters at all. With that in mind, being annoyed by this seems incredibly petty.

Re:Glorified P.R. visit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19430659)

I'm going to vote for Sean Penn. We need someone with experience going to a foreign country, being led around by their nose, and reporting all is well.

The company should be able to do this... (4, Insightful)

rbanzai (596355) | more than 7 years ago | (#19426083)

I know some might herald this as proof of progress, but I believe this is proof of CCP's utter failure to manage this problem. This should be completely unnecessary, but they've dug themselves such a hole by continually lying about their internal responses.

Their inability to control their own employees is pathetic. I've played alot of online games, (AO, EQ, SWG, CoH, LotrO, DDO) and have never seen a need for something like this.

Re:The company should be able to do this... (2, Insightful)

phildawg (1104325) | more than 7 years ago | (#19427011)

With your extensive resume... I don't see EVE listed.

I should probably let you know now that there is a saying among fellow EVE players... All MMOs before and after EVE are just the training grounds for the real MMO, Eve Online.

EVE is way beyond the grindfest of the hardcore EQ days. We are talking about a game that has PVP wars where if the victors were to sell their spoils on ebay, we would be talking about 100,000 dollars... We are talking about ships that if blown up are worth 5-10,000 dollars to replace. Eve isn't a game played for casual fun... it's the definition of hardcore gaming...

And to anybody who wants to reply to this post saying 'get a life d00d', that's what they like to do with their life... When the hell did having a live mean playing with a Frisbee outside... I say go live in a 3rd world country ya backward ass fooks if you don't care to embrace technology.

Thank you for this utterly useless insight (2, Interesting)

BlackCobra43 (596714) | more than 7 years ago | (#19427179)

As the gameplay of EVE online was never a point of contention at any time in the article itself OR the discussion so far. We are talking about their administrators, and EVE's are corrupt beyond belief compared to pretty much any previous MMO game, with the possible exception of Ultima Online.

Re:Thank you for this utterly useless insight (1)

phildawg (1104325) | more than 7 years ago | (#19427423)

I think Eve Online is just so different from what you or I might consider an MMO... Eve really has done a lot of innovation in the MMO field. It's hard to compare them to other MMOs. In most MMOs, I doubt people even have the means or will to find the corruption. It just doesn't matter as much there as it does in EVE. Another point would be to say this is really silly isn't much different than SOE's community summits. Where they pay everything for community leaders, major guild leaders, etc. to come out to San Diego and talk to them about the direction of the MMO. I know that have done this for EQ1 and EQ2.

Re:Thank you for this utterly useless insight (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 7 years ago | (#19429949)

Where they pay everything for community leaders, major guild leaders, etc. to come out to San Diego and talk to them about the direction of the MMO. I know that have done this for EQ1 and EQ2.

Yeah, that was productive. Lets take the people who play 20 hours a day and ask them about the direction the game should take. Big surprise their laundry list of wants were about as out of touch with the majority of players as you could possibly get.

Its the accounts that log in 1-3 times a week that are your bread and butter. They're paying full price and using a FRACTION of the bandwidth of the 'hardcore no-lifers'. They also consume content at a much slower pace. They are your MOST PROFITABLE PLAYERS. A good businessman would want to ensure *that* group was happy, they should be priority one.

The group that plays continuously, sucks up all your bandwidth, devours your support time, grinds through your content, whines incessantly, and fills your forums with cruft - these are your loss leader bunch. You need them too, and they are a crucial part of the mmorpg scene. But too often pulishers lose sight of the fact that this group represents maybe 10-20% of the playerbase and further they represent the least profitable 10-20%.

Pandering to them is a real disservice to the larger and more profitable playerbase, and to the overall health of the game/world.

Re:Thank you for this utterly useless insight (2, Insightful)

StewedSquirrel (574170) | more than 7 years ago | (#19427957)

Meh.

One of the issues is likely the uniqueness of it all.

it would be simply silly for a developer to seed some in-game item so that one guild on ONE shard could have some advantage.

The simple fact that the game is full of truely "unique" items, concepts, areas, etc.... that's what makes it prone to this. It has nothing to do with the developers or whatever.

If some dev on WoW sees the "Magical Uuber Magic Sword" for his buddy, who notices? After all, didn't you hear about that guy on server #422 who had a "Double Magicaly Uuuber Magic Sword"? What about that one guy on server #721 who once got sucked into his computer screen? So what if you saw a guy with the "rare crystal of boobville". You know there are at least two on every server, which means there are 900 of them. Even if it a developer "testing" things by spawning rare items, it hardly matters.

Nope, there are items that are truly unique and truly rare. Even the developers don't really have a place they can have a "real" battles and industry with "real" items. If someone has a T2 ship BPO, that's fairly unique, isn't it? I would wager that the larger organizations have a pretty good idea of where ALL the T2 ship BPOs are and who owns them. IIRC, there were exactly 7 in game, of each. Given some time, you could have a pretty good idea where they are and where they are produced and who does the work. If another source suddenly appeared, wouldn't that really throw off your intelligence?

I think the new 'invention' features are good because it removes that artificial monopoly, but there are plenty of other monopolies, such as those on space and complexes, etc. CCP has done a good job to spread those around as well with new regions and exploration, etc, but seriously, the nature of the game as a single, monolithic, shard really changes the political dynamic, and the psychological pressures associated with being a safekeeper of that.

Eve is simply too complex to be as simple as "good dev" or "bad dev".

Stew

Re:Thank you for this utterly useless insight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19429915)

Are you daft?! The variety in items DOES NOT EXIST. It's plain stupid. Why the hell should I train for a month so i can use a weapon with a damage multiplier difference of .001 that is heavier, uses more energy, and tracks slower?

Re:The company should be able to do this... (1)

rbanzai (596355) | more than 7 years ago | (#19427521)

My apologies, I played EvE for months, just left it off my list. :) //Gallente all the way mo-fos!

Re:The company should be able to do this... (1)

Das Modell (969371) | more than 7 years ago | (#19427751)

I think you might be starting to lose your grip on reality. Someone mentions EVE and you immediately launch into an elitist rant about how EVE is the most awesome game ever and anyone who doesn't spend all their free time playing it should move to a third world country because they don't "embrace technology."

The post you were replying to didn't have anything to do with EVE as a game.

Re:The company should be able to do this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19428345)

You're pathetic.

Re:The company should be able to do this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19428821)

Yeah, well, his mom thinks he's cool, so there.

Re:The company should be able to do this... (1)

phildawg (1104325) | more than 7 years ago | (#19429671)

Hey what can I say, I just know I'm better than you... my virtual avatar say that I'm kewler than you, sexier than you, and it's why your sister wants to play video games... just so she can get closer to a guy like me.

Re:The company should be able to do this... (1)

Udderdude (257795) | more than 7 years ago | (#19427013)

I have to agree. Why can't they just have internal oversight? This just sounds like a gimmick (Elected players won't really have any power) or a way to save money by not having to hire people.

Re:The company should be able to do this... (1)

FreelanceWizard (889712) | more than 7 years ago | (#19428451)

Every MMO I've played has had very strict internal oversight on its GMs and devs. They can't use their GM account to play non-GM characters. They can't play with their normal player account on servers that they have GM duties on (I'm aware that wouldn't work with EVE, though). When a "canon character" is needed for an event, there's a sign-out and approval process, and the people who are allowed access to such characters are limited. Log audits of GM abilities are performed periodically to make sure that people aren't abusing their powers.

Yes, certainly, some things slip through -- on Firiona Vie on EQ, someone I played with regularly was given a 100% CSR rez item by a guide, with the understanding that it'd only be used to rez people who died due to bugs. That said, strong internal controls would help protect everyone against the sort of malfeasance that may, or may not, be happening on EVE. This election likely won't solve anything, especially since the winners will likely be members of the large corporations/alliances, who are the people being accused of cheating in the first place.

Wow talk about needing a life (2, Insightful)

svendsen (1029716) | more than 7 years ago | (#19426095)

Seriously how screwed up can you be if you take a game this seriously. This isn't life or death, this is luxury entertainment. You pay X per month and if you aren't happy you go elsewhere. It is no different then if you play a sort, take dance lessons, martial arts whatever.

So these 9 people will have oversight? So they can see all source code, all chat logs, all everything anytime? Will the company pay for them to go there? Unless they are rich the avg. person will not be able to do this.

May I suggest a good game of chess?

Re:Wow talk about needing a life (1)

phildawg (1104325) | more than 7 years ago | (#19427343)

I guess your list of MMOs would be summed up with just about WoW, many alts (all below lvl38), and you have never raided in WoW.

Re:Wow talk about needing a life (1)

svendsen (1029716) | more than 7 years ago | (#19427645)

Actually number of MMOs I have played is ZERO. And what difference does it make if its an MMO, single player, whatever. Video games are luxury entertainment, they do not do anything but entertain. If you are paying for entertainment which no longer entertains you then you need to take a step back and say why am I wasting my time and oney on this?

If you don't like this MMO, go to another one or look for anew hobby. The amount of time people waste on this is beyond me.

Re:Wow talk about needing a life (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 7 years ago | (#19428663)

Seriously how screwed up can you be if you take a game this seriously. This isn't life or death, this is luxury entertainment. You pay X per month and if you aren't happy you go elsewhere. It is no different then if you play a sort, take dance lessons, martial arts whatever.

So these 9 people will have oversight? So they can see all source code, all chat logs, all everything anytime? Will the company pay for them to go there? Unless they are rich the avg. person will not be able to do this.

May I suggest a good game of chess?
How about soccer? We know the fans are able to take their footie with a degree of restraint and civility. And golf, we know people are very moderate in that regard. They certainly don't spend thousands of dollars on instructionals, equipment, club memberships, golf vacations, or spent crazy stupid money to live in golf communities. These people keep it real, not like those fucking no-life gamers. *sarcasm off*

Honestly, I consider all of the examples to be a bit off, it's just that those are socially acceptable examples of people making it more than just a game.

Re:Wow talk about needing a life (1)

phildawg (1104325) | more than 7 years ago | (#19429751)

Yea the world is so fooked up, having a life means you have to do something outside which is not allowed to involve electronics. I say move to Africa bitches.

Re:Wow talk about needing a life (1)

cowscows (103644) | more than 7 years ago | (#19430443)

You're right. We measly players couldn't possibly contribute anything positive. Why even try to improve a game when it's so much easier to just walk away? Why not just abandon something that many of us have enjoyed for months/years over some small problems?

CCP should be taking this stuff very seriously because this game is the base of their existence as a company. Players can be concerned and want to help without considering it a life or death situation. The universe of EvE, in many ways, has been built in a large part by the players, it offers us types of gameplay that no other MMO does, and there are large social networks that have been built around and throughout the game. Just "going elsewhere" isn't necessarily the easiest or best option, even if you do keep the game in perspective.

Let's see how this will run (5, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19426103)

Ok, so players should "elect" their representatives. How is this done? Most likely on a "one vote per account" system.

Who will run for it? Probably many, but who has a chance? Well, to have a chance, you'd have to be known. Who'd cast his vote on someone he doesn't know? Who do you know? The people from your corp, or alliance.

So who has a chance to get the most votes? People from the largest alliances, of course. And ... weren't they the ones accused of cheating?

Re:Let's see how this will run (1)

cowscows (103644) | more than 7 years ago | (#19430087)

There are a number of large alliances, many of which are quite hostile towards each other. But no one side is so much bigger than the rest that they could completely rush the voting and run the table. I'd expect that the major alliances will each choose a candidate or two for their members to vote for, and those candidates would be all but guaranteed to win a spot.

The smaller alliances, not to be insulting or anything, most of them don't interact at the level where the cheating would make much of a difference. Not to say that they don't have a right to have concerns or opinions on the matter, but just that they are generally less personally involved in this whole mess.

Re:Let's see how this will run (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19431707)

So the "arbitrators" are going to be the "lawyers" of the sides involved? Could it be that they can hardly be impartial?

So when A of alliance B is under suspect of cheating, and C of alliance D (which happens to be in bitter war with B) comes to see whether the allegations are true, what outcome do you expect? Worse, is the "judgement" in any way going to settle the issue?

I'd rather predict that C will try to see any kind of hint as a proof of guilt and try to dig up as much dirt as he can. He'll make it public, then A (or B's head, doesn't matter) will respond and claim a biased judgement. He'd suggest E as the arbitrator (who happens to be a friend or member of B), which in turn will of course create more outcry from D (not just the heads, the whole alliance will be all over the boards), calling it favorism and CCP playing the buddy game again...

Do you think this is going to stop the bickering? I'd guess it would make it worse.

Re:Let's see how this will run (1)

cowscows (103644) | more than 7 years ago | (#19432519)

No, but at least this way all the interested parties can sit in one room and get CCP's take on it in person. CCP has done a completely awful job at communicating with the players over these issues, so even if they do care and take it seriously it sure sounds like they don't when you read their forum posts and such.

If nothing else, having a few people from the opposing sides being able to see each other and losing some of the anonymity that the game and the forums provide might allow a little bit of reasonable discussion. As you said, this isn't going to be a bunch of impartial people. Basically CCP has this problem caused by the cloudy division between player and employee, and their response seems to be to make that division even more complicated. It's not the solution to the problem that I would favor, but I guess CCP figures they can't stop all of the bickering, so they're going to at least try to structure it so that they can control it more.

Testing functionality for WoD MMO? (1)

Jozxyqk (16657) | more than 7 years ago | (#19426149)

Eve's parent company, merged with White Wolf, are confirmed to be working on a World of Darkness MMO game. Could this be a testbed for a system where players represent "Princes" with actual power over the governance of the new game?

My question is... (1)

Samurai Cat! (15315) | more than 7 years ago | (#19426255)

...who gets to be the Jack Abramoff of EVE? :P

Spontantious thought (5, Interesting)

Zironic (1112127) | more than 7 years ago | (#19426265)

Won't this just turn into a popularity contest?

Normally an ombudsman is appointed by the government/company to represent the interests of the citizens/customers. Never heard of anyone getting elected as ombudsman before.

They're normally supposed to be professionals so they can pursue issues that the normal citizen don't have the knowledge/resources to do.

Also aren't ombudsmen normally meant to represent the interests of the persons they represent and not some kind of watch force?

Re:Spontantious thought (1)

jeffasselin (566598) | more than 7 years ago | (#19427317)

Won't this just turn into a popularity contest?
Isn't that what elections are?

Socrates realized this failing of democracy 2500 years ago. We elect the people best at talking about the issues, not those who are best at dealing with them.

Re:Spontantious thought (1)

cloricus (691063) | more than 7 years ago | (#19431167)

To some extent it will happen though alliances that seriously want to be part of this audit so they feel safe to put away their tin foil hats will stand behind some one they trust to go there and look in person. Depending on the power and sway that alliance has their man will end up in the group. It'll be a terrible council if it is given any real power but just being able to talk directly to CCP and voice concerns will solve a lot of problems. Right now they are just not approachable and with such a serious political system in the game this leads to issues like we are seeing.

Are They "Employed"? (4, Interesting)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 7 years ago | (#19426317)

I recall that a few year back there was a lawsuit claiming that volunteer helpers in Ultima Online were actually working for the company and should therefore be paid. The helpers had some extra powers and support from the company. The court agreed, which led to the dismantling of the helper program and a fairly large chunk of cash for the plaintiff.

Could a similar situation arise from these positions or will the company treat them like paid support employees once they're elected? And if they're employees they'd hardly be independent oversight, would they?

Re:Are They "Employed"? (1)

ThinkWeak (958195) | more than 7 years ago | (#19426705)

I recall that a few year back there was a lawsuit claiming that volunteer helpers in Ultima Online were actually working for the company and should therefore be paid.

Maybe I'm wrong here, but why was this given the time of day in court? If I "volunteer" to do something, say help build a house for a charity, what is the justification that I should be compensated for my time? The whole point of volunteering is knowing that you will be a part of something and you are investing your time for free.

Unless these people were forced against their will to sign contracts stating they will "volunteer for free", I can't see how a company would have to pay them any compensation at all.

Re:Are They "Employed"? (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 7 years ago | (#19428611)

A little more information here: http://womengamers.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=2110 &sid=92bc68047fee68b9ac2a2096cfe7cdc6 [womengamers.com]

It would seem that a for-profit company can not technically have volunteers. If people are doing work for a for-profit company the company is obliged to pay them. Maybe that's why Slashdot never accepts my story submissions...

Re:Are They "Employed"? (1)

kushboy (233801) | more than 7 years ago | (#19433947)

Not sure of the facts, but I know, at least with Asheron's Call, the 'auditors' (were they called Advocates? I know they had pretty cool shields) received free subscription to the game. A $10 value. Not sure, but that might have been the problem. They were being "hired" for $10 a month... And I guess that means they weren't volunteers.

Re:Are They "Employed"? (1)

hurfy (735314) | more than 7 years ago | (#19426731)

I was wondering the same thing.

Asheron's Call dismantled their in-game assistance after the ruling on UO :(

Seems like they would be defined as auditors, how many auditors work for free? Then we are back to employees which was the problem in the first place....

Of course the whole elected thing was brought up. The only way to get elected would be to be well-known which has zero relationship to good auditing skills or honesty ;(

Naturally i have no solution that is better than the current lip-service :)

Re:Are They "Employed"? (1)

cowscows (103644) | more than 7 years ago | (#19430137)

Well, except for a government, I find it hard to believe that anybody would do auditing without getting paid for it. And I don't see anybody potentially paying for an audit of EvE besides CCP. But there doesn't have to be a conflict of interest. If CCP gave an outside auditing company money upfront, where their payment was guaranteed and not in any way dependent on their final results, then impartiality could be maintained.

Of course, selecting from the player base, whether you pay them or not, doesn't really fall along these lines. In fact, the blurry lines between employees and players that already exists is pretty much what's started the whole problem in the first place.

A Game (2, Insightful)

colganc (581174) | more than 7 years ago | (#19426393)

It's a game. CCP is putting even more burden on their customers. Paying customers. CCP should be taking care of this not their paying customers. CCP provides a services to their customers and is paid to do so. The customers should not be responsible for making sure CCP doesn't cheat. I quit. I cancelled my two accounts. This won't bring me back.

GIVE ME LIBERTY or GIVE ME SOCIAL CLIQUE (3, Insightful)

neuraljazz (307431) | more than 7 years ago | (#19426395)

When in the Course of virtual non-events, it becomes necessary for one whiners to dissolve the factional bands which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the powers of the computer program, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Internet and of EULA entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of whiners requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Toons are enforced as equals, that they are endowed, by their User, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Money, and the pursuit of Headshots.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Toons, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the Whiners to whine to technical support, and to institute new Social Clique, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their MMO addiction.

NO SUBSCRIPTION WITHOUT WHINER INTERFERENCE!

/ If you don't like the game you're playing, then quit // If you believe people are cheating, then quit /// Personally, the player's sense of entitlement to run the game is the biggest problem with MMOs today

Re:GIVE ME LIBERTY or GIVE ME SOCIAL CLIQUE (1)

cowscows (103644) | more than 7 years ago | (#19430313)

That's a crappy way of looking at things. If you don't like the way something is going, then just turn your head and walk away?

A lot of people enjoy EvE for what it has been, and what it could be. As players, we're not only doing ourselves a favor, but we're also doing CCP a favor by making suggestions that we feel would increase our enjoyment of the game and convince us to keep sending them money for our subscriptions. It's CCP's job to digest those suggestions, separate the good from the bad, the practical from the unworkable, the important from the irrelevant, the whining from the valid complaints, etc. While players should not expect to have their every whim fulfilled, developers who think that they are incapable of making mistakes or bad decisions aren't any better for a game. I'm not an fan of the phrase "the customer is always right", but it's important to remember that without enough customers, your business ceases to exist.

Many who are complaining are not doing so out of spite or a sense of entitlement, we just don't like seeing bad things happen to a game that we care about. When/if there comes a point where I feel that no matter what is said, CCP cannot be persuaded to take their game in a direction that's acceptable to me, then sure I'll quit. But I've gotten well over a year of good times out of EvE and see the potential for much more fun. I'm not going to bail just because the game has hit a rough spot.

Re:GIVE ME LIBERTY or GIVE ME SOCIAL CLIQUE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19431505)

BoB spy detected

Wolf in wolf's clothing (2, Insightful)

MMaestro (585010) | more than 7 years ago | (#19426441)

This is just a PR move. Anyone with any MMO experience will tell you this "oversight group" will simply end up being dominated by a clique of the most powerful players in the game. The most popular players, the leaders of the most powerful guilds/clans/corps and the richest players will all take the top seats and nothing will ever get done. Corruption will run rampant and eventually the users are going to get fed up and ANOTHER scandal will eventually be revealed.

Re:Wolf in wolf's clothing (1)

i7dude (473077) | more than 7 years ago | (#19426913)

This is just a PR move. Anyone with any MMO experience will tell you this "oversight group" will simply end up being dominated by a clique of the most powerful players in the game. The most popular players, the leaders of the most powerful guilds/clans/corps and the richest players will all take the top seats and nothing will ever get done. Corruption will run rampant and eventually the users are going to get fed up and ANOTHER scandal will eventually be revealed.

Man, its amazing how realistic games are these days!

dude.

Star Chamber V2.0? (1)

Plekto (1018050) | more than 7 years ago | (#19427205)

When I heard of this, I immediately thought of this old horrible movie.

Essentially you have a group of people who provide oversight that act as a small cabal. And they violate the #1 rule - they play at the same time.

How about this CCP? Clean up the way you run things and stop trying to put a band-aid on it.

Re:Wolf in wolf's clothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19427615)

I was actually going to joke that 7 of the 9 would turn out to be BoB players, thus making the whole oversight committee moot in the eyes of players :)

Re:Wolf in wolf's clothing (1)

Plekto (1018050) | more than 7 years ago | (#19427737)

I was going to comment about BoB taking over as well, but it's kind of a moot point. BoB will occupy at least half of the seats.

The real bad thing, though, is that it gives these players a level of access to the inner workings that normal players can't have.

EVE has a long history of implementing a new feature and giving no tutorial or information on how to actually use it, let alone things like the specific formulas and so on. So a lot of the game is word of mouth or trial and error. The chances that players on this council won't give the information to their friends is basically zero.

CCP does nothing to solve their image woes, and lets a huge hope open up that wasn't there. What they should do instead is actually grow a spine and clean up their own act.

this was bound to happen (0, Troll)

Coraon (1080675) | more than 7 years ago | (#19426785)

Back in the real worl a while ago, a group of people coloinized a newly discovered land, they lived in it for a while, just trying to survive and paying little attention to the taxes they were paying the king. Then when things get comfortable they decide that the taxes are unfair and they want to rule themselves. And with some persuasion they got a goverment elected by the people for the people. They without to much in the way of investiveness or whimsy called it the united states of america. wow, history really does like to come and bite people in the rump.

This is silly (3, Insightful)

Jaeph (710098) | more than 7 years ago | (#19427241)

After the first incident, the company should have forbidden the developers from playing on the main server (have fun on test).

I think the cost of having the developers playing the main game well outweigh the benefit.

-Jeff

Re:This is silly (1)

SupremoMan (912191) | more than 7 years ago | (#19434199)

But that would mean they were serious about fixing the problem!

great move... (1)

dtml-try MyNick (453562) | more than 7 years ago | (#19427355)

The fact alone that they are considering this says enough already about the confidence in their own management system.

I gave EVE a go with a trial account, was toying with the idea to ditch WoW and go full on with EVE, but now....... Only when hell freezes over I'm gonna send my cash to a company that asks the public to keep an eye out for corrupt staffmembers.

The only way out of this mess... (2, Interesting)

CharonX (522492) | more than 7 years ago | (#19427479)

Well, CCP has selected the only reasonable way out of this mess - whether the latest allegations had a foundation of truth or not, their clumsy handeling of the last incident had already sufficiently tarnished their reputation so that those new allegations further damaged it - some doubt would always remain.
By installing a player oversight they take important steps to restore player faith in them - as the article said, especially in online games, the perception of reality is the reality.

Re:The only way out of this mess... (1)

colganc (581174) | more than 7 years ago | (#19428829)

My perception is nothing is truly changing. Give the "oversight" group a say in the punishment and then you might have something effective. If the oversight group has no power except to show what we already know (CCP interfers unfairly in the game) there won't be a change. Since there is no power vested in the group perception won't change. This is just another feel good move by CCP.

Re:The only way out of this mess... (1)

balthan (130165) | more than 7 years ago | (#19430181)

No, the only reasonable way out of this mess is to ban developers from playing on the main server. CCP refuses to do that so there will always be a conflict of interest.

Re:The only way out of this mess... (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#19432251)

CCP's goal with these ombudsmen isn't to create oversight. It's to create controversy.

Voter fraud? (1)

Lord_Pain (165272) | more than 7 years ago | (#19427623)

So the "9" will be voted in via Elections...

There will be no "voter" intimidation?
"Vote for Pedro or we will nuke your planet from orbit."

Would not the group of players who have been accused of being in on the cheating be the ones most likely the ones who will be voted in? From what I read they are very large in numbers and hold vast resources.

How about outright fraud will tallying the votes?

I do not play this game. But from all that I have read there is an inherent issue of reduced credibility.

What gets me is how CCP can have this much of an issue with cheating? I have never played an online game where this was such a problem.

Re:Voter fraud? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19427871)

What gets me is how CCP can have this much of an issue with cheating? I have never played an online game where this was such a problem.


From various accounts, Eve started out like a basement game of D&D... they had the game and their buddies played it and more people were added in but their buddies still get preferential treatment. Also, cheating is a huge deal in Eve where there is only one shard for everyone to play on and your entire gaming experience can be destroyed in an afternoon to where you're bankrupt, don't have a home, and don't have a ship to fly. Most games have gotten past "harsh" death penalties (lots of folks complained about it in EQ so WoW made it fluffy bunny land as far as death goes). The penalties for getting your ship blown up in Eve are a bit tougher... think of how WoW would be if someone who killed you could loot your corpse of everything that's on it and keep it for themselves. That's what Eve is like... if your ship blows up, everything that survives can be looted and used or sold by the person(s) who blew you up.

Re:Voter fraud? (1)

Hubbell (850646) | more than 7 years ago | (#19428629)

Risk vs Reward. If you choose to fly in that super expensive ship, you're taking the risk of losing it for a greater reward. That is how full loot game works. Items are not as valuable in them as they are in games like WoW where you need to grind for dozens and dozens of hours to get each piece of armor and that epic weapon for your character just to be a viable fighter.
My article [curse-gaming.com] at curse-gaming.com for a more indepth analysis of full loot, as well as twitch based combat.

BoB not larger in numbers (1)

StCredZero (169093) | more than 7 years ago | (#19429903)

Band of Brothers (BoB) doesn't outnumber everyone else. BoB plus their allies are just about at parity with the resistance. But all of these folks won't vote monolithically for BoB's candidates.

No one lives on planets in Eve (yet). If you are really determined, even the most powerful alliance in 0.0 space can't keep you from conducting operations and having fun. At most, they can lock you out of a given region of 0.0 space.

the whitsleblower (2, Insightful)

crabpeople (720852) | more than 7 years ago | (#19428201)

Did they even unban that guy who discovered this in the first place? Let him be the ombudsman!

But I guess its better than nothing. I love how the bob slime claims that they will take over the entire galaxy. Over my frozen corpse they will.

Candidate (1)

GWLlosa (800011) | more than 7 years ago | (#19428227)

Winterblink for president! http://www.winterblink.com/wda/ [winterblink.com]

Re:Candidate (1)

C0rinthian (770164) | more than 7 years ago | (#19429753)

I guess it's time to dust off the 'Sravr0s for Amarrian Emperor' banners.

CCP amazes me (2, Insightful)

brkello (642429) | more than 7 years ago | (#19428515)

This is the stupidest idea I have ever seen. The elected officials are just going to be the ones that are already buddy buddy with CCP as they belong to the larest orginization. They are just giving more people power to abuse the system. I agree with others on here...this is all come about because their complete incompetance to managing their staff and dealing with the people who abuse powers in the game.

Re:CCP amazes me (1)

colganc (581174) | more than 7 years ago | (#19428909)

I didn't see that the group would have any extra powers. They only get to view what's happening.

Re:CCP amazes me (1)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 7 years ago | (#19429383)

You must be brought up on the US style two-party system where the two parties are practically identical, vs. the kind we have in many european countries.

BoB certainly will get more people in that any other alliance, yet you still end up with a significant number of people with other alliances.

Re:CCP amazes me (1)

brkello (642429) | more than 7 years ago | (#19433807)

but how does that help anything? just gives more people a chance to abuse power.

Chillax (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19428761)

It's still a fun game.

Come to think of it, I don't know of a single time in almost 2 years where anyone else's insider gaming or cheating has effected my looting and mining and trading directly.
Have you really been that put out by this?

garbage (1)

partowel (469956) | more than 7 years ago | (#19429921)

THis is just trash.

Political bs. EVE won't reimburse anyone for their "alleged" crime....so they do something like this

group which has NO real power.

Can the group fire ccp employees? no.

Does the group have any power to kick off players? no.

THis is just a bandaid solution. Cover up operation.

If Democracies really worked, governments would outlaw it.

IE if cops really stopped law breakers, no one would commit a crime.

This group is a facade, a con game, a lie.

Lets a committee to analyze committee's.

Lets see.....committee's are useless.

THey just tell us what we already know.

EVE is a corrupt, stupid game. It never lets you use tactics that would work in the real world.

Lets see just how ineffective this group of nine is. LOL.

Lets see how corrupt they get. lmao.

Re:garbage (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#19431425)

If Democracies really worked, governments would outlaw it. IE if cops really stopped law breakers, no one would commit a crime.
A witty saying proves nothing.

IMHO the main problem still remains (1)

GoatVomit (885506) | more than 7 years ago | (#19430049)

As long as the staff is involved with the corporations the hanky panky will never end. I understand that playing the game is necessary to test things out and see that everything is working but how are people supposed to trust the developers when the devs have 3-4 year old characters in the corporations. PS. Can I get the Hulk now or I'll cry harder than the goons.

Frying pan .. Fire (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19430473)

I vote that I remain at the mercy of CCP rather than a committee elected by large factions within the game. As a solitary player of Eve, I feel that CCP will better represent my interests than a faction-elected group.

Utterly useless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19432455)

So.. the problem is that Band of Brothers has gotten stuff unfairly(blueprints, access to staff, etc)

so the solution is to democratically elect an oversight committee? If you think this is fair, consider that Band of Brothers is one of the largest alliances(if not the largest) in the game. So... I wonder who would get elected?

makes me sick.

at least their trying... (1)

rgaginol (950787) | more than 7 years ago | (#19434027)

You know what, I don't care if this falls into a heap; at least their trying something. They aren't as big a company as someone like Blizzard so they have to think a bit harder about solving problems with less.

What I find bitterly ironic is the same people on Slashdot who will give Open Source Software movement a chance will also love paying out on CCP. When compared to a company like Blizzard, they must have to work damn hard to stay afloat. Personally I'll stick with them purely because I want to see where CCP are going: and I want to see more variation in the MMORPG arena from smaller companies. If I have to put up with a bit of this, fine.

It wasn't that long ago that the only good games used dice, books and imagination. If Eve requires a bit of that, again fine, personally I like where they are going and would like to see what the game is like in another few years.

The only thing I really do want to see addressed in Eve are the increasing amount of farmers. The other night I was in a system with about 60 accounts, only 10 of them being real players.

And maybe they need new universes - similar to WoW realms, since new players really don't get the same experience as those who started a few years back.

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