Thursday, 19 February 2015

CCP's Black Bond Moment?

The dynamic between author and fan is changing a lot due to social media and the general increase in interaction between authors and their audience.

In the past one bought a game, which we will call Hungry Hungry Hippos for argument's sake, and the rules of the game were straightforward, fixed and immutable. A good game with staying power had a good mix of rules, chance, challenge, strategy and competition. People played the game and found it enjoyable as a defined instance - it only went as far as the limits of its rules and you just played it for what it is.

Likewise, with TV shows like Doctor Who, the fandom grew up in a time when the show's writers and producers did what they could with scraps of carpet, old paint tins and silver face paint and you had Daleks, Cybermen and slime monsters from prehistoric alien invasions or whatever and the Doctor did his thing and you watched it if you liked it and you didn't watch it if you found it naff.

Episodes just appeared on your set every week, amid Days of our lives, Dallas, A Country Practise, East Enders and The Bill, shit you never watched and still to this day wonder why theypersisted for 21 fucking seasons for Christ's sakes. no one dropped spoilers, because no one had seen this season the year before in the UK when it aired, except for one chick, Briony, who spoilered a whole season of DeGrassi for us after a student exchange in Canada. Which was a blessing in disguise, because ::DeGrassi::

Similarly, in the olden days of computer games, you bought Sonic the Hedgehog, and if you liked a shitty game constructed around some stupid rodent then you played it. Sure, you debated the relative badassery of Sonic vs Mario vs Megaman, but that was between yourselves around a Mega Slurpee and a bag of Doritos in your mum's basement with a fat pimply nerd with coke bottle glasses (who would later grow up to be an investment banker with a private jet) and some scrawny guy with buck teeth and a receding pair of testicles (who would grow up to run a badass rockabilly panel and paint shop).

Nowadays, its quite different.

Fans debate whether James Bond can be black - there's quite a lot of debate about whether idriss Elba can pull off the role, not only from a suave sex maniac killer spy pastiche perspective, but because he's black. Some people find that impossible, because we all know black people aren't smart enough to spy and shit, and who'd let them into casinos? Which seems to be the basic and utterly racist premise behind saying no. 

Fans are bitching because one of the actors who used to play Doctor Who says he can never see a female playing Doctor Who. Feminists have become outraged, baying for blood. Serious neckbearding fans debate endlessly whether it's in Gallifreyan DNA to change sex, like a bloody tropical reef fish, in order to get around the fact that the lore has made Capaldi the last incarnation of the Doctor. Fan pressure is going to force the show's writers and creators to make a choice - maybe have the Doctor get the cut-and-tuck and get ten more lives, or nix the show (which sucks thanks to Steven Moffat who is the Fozzie of Doctor Who) or do some bullshit omega option like discount the show's lore and get on with providing terribly written seasons of the show to the fat, pale fangirls who store Cheezels in their belly fat rolls while debating feminist imperatives.

Computer games are moving toward fansourced content more than ever - the latest Smash Brothers has quite a few new characters which more or less are fan favourites which have been added because of fan feedback and demand.

So, looking at EVE and the CSM, it's clear that CCP's social media strategy (aside from aberrant Lockageddon issues) is focused on crony dictatorship lipservice representation. my experiment with running for CSM has shown me a few things not only about how CCP runs the parody, but how the player and fan base ppercieve the whole thing.

Firstly, yes I got rejected due to unnamed indiscretions. Some say you have to have a spotless account history - which sounds reasonable if you believe politicians (EVE or IRL) have to have an utterly flawless character and criminal history. But this is the real world, people make mistakes, and in a game like EVE where the whole objective is to gain an edge, to metagame, to swindle, cheat, steal, lie and be a bastard, and where exchanges in Local get heated, it's also utterly ridiculous to my mind to get sanctimonious about this.

Yeah, I played the game, I have a half dozen raps on the knuckles for offensive language because some people choose to petition this as a way of PVPing. I had the whole jewish Bullshit ninja episode - didn't get banned, because i did nothing wrong, but it seems an accusation is as good as a conviction with CCP. or maybe it was the fact Sudden Buggery had it's name revoked for 3 months for being offensive, despite bugger being a common vernacular term in Australia. We petitioned, and got it back. Regardless, CCP exercised a veto on me and several other people who coincidentally are all known and ardent critics of CCP or particular developers.

I am on record as being a harsh critic of Fozzie's work in ship balancing. his work is haphazard and sloppy, but this is the crux of the matter, isn't it? this is where the CSM, being a so-called council of fan representatives elected to represent fans, runs up against CCP in its role as developer.

This is where CCP has to decide if the CSM is really just a figurehead sock-puppet regime, an expensive PR cost to fly people to iceland to circle-jerk and be ignored, or whether it really is an organ for constructive fan feedback into the developer / authorship side of things.

As some of the questions fielded in the CSM candidacy show, people really do believe that the CSM has no impact, and never can have any impact upon the authorship imperative of CCP. Which is an interesting collective opinion and one CCP needs to look at; some people may want a female Doctor Who or a Black Bond. But there's a real opportunity to develop content people actually want, versus fucking up ship balance time and time again and blithely carrying on.

So, as we move toward another swipe at nullsec, amidst this lore-based Drifter / Jovian / Sleeper / Sansha ultimate threat from beyond space-time-wormholes story arc, we players and the CSM sock puppet regime representing us need to divide the game balance issues (where player input is vital and CCP needs to listen and take cues from players) from the lore and game development issues. In the 21st century fandom meta-life, we have power and influence over the first, but we should not expect to influence authorship of new content.

1 comment:

  1. I hear what you're saying.

    At this point I can't tell if CCP is an evil mastermind or the player oriented company that it presents to us.

    The forums show us that there are Devs that are truly concerned about the feedback they are getting and are making edits to their proposed stats in the feature and ideas arena.

    And then we see Devs that blatently tell you, when expressing concern about a change that you're wrong - and it's not a debate - they are really just giving you a preview of new changes. There are some exceptions where the masses rise up and say, pushing a dread 40km off of a wormhole and into optimal blapping range and making it easier to warp out and come back (rather than slow boating) is probably not the direction we want to go as players that use these mechanics daily.

    It seems to me that CCP is afraid to pick a direction and move forward. They've got their 'way forward' flow chart but I don't see the excitement (and buildup) we had for content like incursions, wormholes, and walking in stations.

    If feels like they are going to play it safe and bore us into unsubbing a player at a time rather than expose their longer term plans and get their player base engaged with their future.


Anonymous shitposting is disabled. If you want to insult me anonymously about EVE on my blog, you can fuck off.