Greedy Goblin

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

CCP Falcon knocks Gevlon out

CCP learned from the T20 scandal and instituted several policies and an internal security team to prevent it from happening again. I see no evidence that they were insufficient. During my EVE play, including one and a half year of GRR Goons project, I have never experienced any form of game-altering favoritism by any CCP employee. Nor I heard of it from anyone I'd believe. While edge-case favoritism might happen (X gets a 3 days ban and you get 30 days ban for the same offense), there is a simple advice: don't be an edge case, stay in the safe zone.

Every person has personal biases, institutional systems are needed to prevent them from materialize. I'm sure that the quite obvious personal bias of CCP Falcon haven't caused me any in-game problems. Quite the contrary, my blog was recognized a fansite and I received free play "media account" for it during my GRR project. My petitions were fairly handled (it doesn't mean "as I wished"), my forum topics were properly cleansed from ad hominem attackers.

Then I received this letter:

It's still in my inbox, CCP can verify I didn't make it up. It was written by someone who undocks every day to kill Goons. This is when I realized how such biases can effect the game, even when they have no effect on the gameplay (items, ISK, PvP outcome). People respond to propaganda to varying degree and the idea of "there is a dev on my team" is a propaganda-IWin button. Sure, it doesn't mean game-IWin, since propaganda itself is not IWin, due to the "varying degree" part. Many people will ignore propaganda. Many will keep killing Goons even if they believe that CCP is on their side, believing that they can do it safely if they keep within the ToS. Others might do it to "f... the power". But many will be demotivated or completely diverted from attacking a group that seems protected by devs. MoA keeps contacting groups looking for allies who deploy North to massacre Goons and fails to find them, despite proving that capturing Sov is possible and kills are aplenty. Many groups that used to kill Goons are now pacified due to "diplomacy". I'm sure that the post written by their head diplomat has a large part of it. Let's look at this case from the propaganda side:
  1. On Fanfest happens what happens
  2. CCP does what it does, case closed, we move on, everyone including me believes Falcon that it wasn't Goons. (I blamed Norkzulus)
  3. Out of the blue, without any other source mentioning it, the case is reopened by the Goon propaganda site in a horribly written post attacking Falcon and CCP, based on nothing but the words of "banned innocent guy #35411". This post acknowledge that Goons vandalized the monument. Again, there was no pressing reason to publish this post, no one else was poking the case and no one would believe any "innocently banned" guy anyway.
  4. Sion "sets the record straight" in a post which is full of quotes like "they [CCP] opted to do was to protect the people involved, protect the people associated with the vandals", "CCP Falcon, despite knowing full well that the vandalism was committed by a pair of Goonswarm members, apologized to Goonswarm for people wrongly accusing us.", "He went out of his way to ensure that no one knew who was responsible and fought internally to make sure that it stayed that way.", "He is the reason why those stacks of articles don’t all say Goonswarm vandalizes monument", "they reversed all the permanent bans. All of them.", "the prohibitions on attending future EVE events was lifted. For that again, CCP Falcon was in large part responsible.".
I'd repeat that the only post needed correction was the one on their own site, so Sion only provided protection for Falcon from themselves. I believe the first post was a purposeful troll to let Sion "fix" it and imply favoritism. The trick is that those who agree with CCP (including CCP itself) don't see favoritism. Those who disagree, do. They might be wrong and the favoritism is only in their head. But because they believe it, it can be used to intimidate them from attacking Goons.

Their recent SotA is much less subtle as it's written for the simple line members, both in the Imperium and prospective enemies to serve as a damage control when their ongoing narrative "MoA is just killing our weaks, they are no threat to our Sov" collapsed. The SotA leaves no place for speculation how this threat is handled: "CCP Falcon knocks Gevlon out". It surely invigorated the terrified little bees who seen their worst nightmare coming true: they might have to dock their AFK Ishtar and undock in a PvP ship for small gang PvP against Mordus Angels. It probably turned away lots of new recruits who finally believed that the Imperium can be defeated on the Sov level.

Since even active anti-Goons are affected by the demotivating effect of the "Falcon is our guy" propaganda, I have to accept that it works. Falcon's words aren't just "some random opinion" I can ignore, they are an objectively existing weapon that make socials within the Imperium rally and socials outside flee. Sure, I can still recruit few a-socials, "f... the power" guys, and "I just wanna shoot pixels for free, if I'm banned, the devil may care" PvP-ers. This will be enough to maintain the status quo: "the biggest thorn in the side of Goons", maybe improve in size, but it won't be sufficient to evict Goons.

To be able to recruit socials and make social Imperium members leave the Imperium, bizarrely would need to prove that CCP and Falcon were unbiased. For asocials "they are biased but corporate policies hold them back" is good enough. It won't be easy. I can only say that I never seen improper dev in-game action happening. Fozziesov was introduced against the will of Goons, forcing them to abandon regions. The mishandling of the vandalism was an out-of-game edge case. His comment about me ... well, just makes him another toxic, fret-culture guy on Reddit and his words have no in-game consequence.

However the Imperium "diplomats" perfectly weaponized both the vandalism mishandling and the Reddit toxic and created a narrative where CCP Falcon is ready to do anything to protect Goons from any danger. I'm - for the first time in the campaign - fear that this is something I won't be able to defeat. Do you think there is a "Developer Harassment" item on the "why are you leaving EVE" questionaire? I've found "player harassment" but that doesn't really apply to my situation.


Valkyl said...

Speaking as an outsider, when the community of a game is small enough, it's impossible to avoid GMs favoring one group or another. This CCP Falcon may be pro-Goon, and there's probably some other GM who's pro-some other anti-Goon alliance. For example:
1) As a player and administrator of MUDs, certain players will be treated better or worse depending on how well they get along with the aminds.
2) In the old game Realm Online, certain people would get special colored baldrics depending on if they were friends with the devs.
3) In Ultima Online, roleplaying communities would get special housing decorations provided by GMs which weren't available to other players.

And in all these examples, the people receiving preferential treatment where just a small % of total player base. Seems like Goons make up a significant % of the player base. So yea, they will get special treatment compared to a 2 man corporation. Not saying they will design the game around them, but it makes sense financially for CCP to have a community manager who is friendly with the largest player groups.

Anonymous said...

I am hazard a guess that if any other player suggested that an emotionally disturbed player be pushed into suicide, there would have been a permanent ban.

Fast-forward to Jade Constantine getting war-decced by the Goons. That's 1000 in Star Alliance to 9000 in Goonswarm. Jade opened to the war to all of eve. At least 4000 characters signed on board. The goons called this "dog-piling". (they still have a 9:5 advantage!). And CCP stepped in to annul the war.

As for this recent steaming pile. Turns out, nobody defaced the monument after Sion white-washed it.

But yeah, there is no favorites in Eve.

Gevlon said...

@Anonymous: there is an alternative explanation "CCP is biased towards troublemakers" and Goons just happen to be troublemakers, while we are not.

I mean if you'd vandalize the monument, your identity was also protected and your ban was also reversed. But since you'll never vandalize anything, you'll never know.

The war-lock with infinite allies was a bad feature and they had to cancel it. However the Jade Constantine war wasn't without consequence, that inspired my Marmite permadec in 2014 leading to 2T+ dead Goons.

Arrendis said...

Fozziesov was introduced against the will of Goons, forcing them to abandon regions.

You're aware that we've been asking for an occupancy sov system for years, right? That I can point you to articles on TMC spelling that out in big, bright letters, including ones from Mittens?

That's what FozzieSov is. And yes, we had issues with it when it was proposed. We suggested tweaks. Most of those tweaks went in.

Honestly, Gevlon, for someone who's a-social, you really seem like we've gotten into your head. Chill out, man. The more you obsess over us, the less healthy it is for you. Do you even remember what it is about us that you object to? Or is it just, 18 months in, that you haven't actually had any effect on us?

Raphael said...

So... you're basically saying "Goons are really good at diplomacy and spin-management, and that's going to make it hard to beat them"?

That's not exactly news - at least, not to most of us.

I agree that you're facing an uphill battle, and you're going to have a hard time recruiting 'socials' to fight Goonswarm ... but you've misidentified the causal link in the process. The key event wasn't Falcon's comment, or the handling (appropriate or not) of the vandalism case; it's what the Goonswarm diplomats did with those things.

It's not that CCP Falcon 'just happened' to hand the Goon spin-masters a piece of propaganda gold that has magically given them a huge advantage and they'd have been helpless without it - he actually only gave them a relatively small opening. Even if he'd somehow done everything perfectly and given them absolutely nothing to work with (a nearly impossible feat for a normal, non-perfect human), they'd just have "perfectly weaponized" something else.

TL;DR: When your enemy hits you in the face with a rock, don't assume it's the rock's fault.

Gevlon said...

@Arrendis: sure, you wanted occupancy Sov. But the Entosis made Regalan cry like a river. You wanted occupancy Sov AND n+1 Sov capture. You got Occupancy Sov and small gang Sov capture. I'm sure you would prefer "the worst possible Sov + n+1 capture mechanics"

Also, the fact that you needed to post an unscheduled emergency SotA to discredit my efforts is hardly nothing.

@Raphael: CCP isn't an inanimate stone that is free of blame for being used. When other people tried to use them to legitimate their scam, they were quick to act:

They were in full power to deny Sion from posting the "CCP, savior of vandal Goons" article or ban him if he posts without permission. They were in full power to boycott TMC for airing the first article, undoing the work of Falcon to keep the identity of the vandals hidden. Remember: if keeping the identity of the vandals is a good thing to protect 10000 innocent players, then airing the story is a bad thing, making TMC an irresponsible site. If they issue a "no CCP employee ever answers TMC", that would seriously hurt TMC.

It's totally impossible to assume good faith for the Reddit toxic. They could still undo its damage by posting an apology. Want to bet on it ever happening?

Arrendis said...

Actually, I rather like Entosis sov. It needs a few more tweaks, but they're coming. I just wish it wasn't so much of an 'n+1' system. I mean, sure, MOA took like 3 guys and spent most of this past week starting off the sov transfers in western PB tonight, but we finished that off in about 3 hours by bringing a few dozen and spreading them out, while camping MOA in and dropping a supercapital fleet on top of BL's Machariels when they came up to try to make a hash of it.

And really, I have no idea why CD has moved to monthly updates, but considering how much Massadeath and Gen Eve are complaining, the fact that Reagalan voiced the same complaint every FC in NullSec has really isn't all that surprising. It's not that the current state of FozzieSov isn't terribly fun for defenders... it's that it's not much fun for anyone short of the same kind of masochistic monsters that love fighting in 10% tidi and soul crushing lag.

Which, you know, I do. Feel free to check my public statements on TMC and maybe even Reddit. I make no secret I'm a freak.

Gevlon said...

@Raphael: sorry, wrong link, this is the "CCP defends itself from being used by scammer:"

Anonymous said...

Being part of MoA, business is as usual on a daily basis. We encounter ratting ships often who think their ishtars can handle small gangs, they mock down corms fleets yet they get wiped out, they send in Harpies to handle Corms and use the " harpies are disposable" argument when corms are also disposable and gave a big impact on their fleets etc.

I've thought other groups that are not CFC and those demonstrate a better "sportsmanship" than Goons.

SoV taken from goons, they claim it was an "accident". Fool me once, shame on me, fool me twice shame on you. But hey, they blindly release propaganda and pointless reading material for the blind followers to believe Goons have the power still. Yes they might have the capital and isk power, but doesn't make them invincible.

That's my opinion anyway.

Endie said...

Gevlon you are logical objectivist. Sure it is within your comprehension that with around ten thousand humans in the alliance, the fact that Reagalan got all worked up and said some dumb stuff does not make it official policy? If you're not aware of that, then you probably know that I *do* have a bit more authority there, and I can tell you he was wrong.

"Fozziesov was introduced against the will of Goons, forcing them to abandon regions." We advocated strongly for occupancy sov reform and while we think that there are further changes that are necessary, the basic concepts are sound and are an improvement on Dominion. And it has made our core sov more, not less, secure: sure when we did a sov swap in a peripheral region we lost a TCU (which I am sure you know has no actual effect on system usage: if MoA were able to use the space they would be increasing our indices on the iHub). That sort of thing will happen in a new system as we work out what to do.

As for your idea that that borked transfer drove people away? Well, just look at the numbers. We've actually entered a period of unusually strong growth:

Gevlon said...

@Endie: your growth is from renters. Sure it increases your wallet (it would be stupid for me to ignore that), but their PvP contribution is "making anyone roaming here happy and come back for more".

I also love your "when we do it right, WE did it right, when we do it wrong, some dumb individual did it wrong" philosophy.

nightgerbil said...

Without wanting to trivialize what your saying, I can't help but link this
I think its a good motto for you. I don't think you can change whats happening to eve, but I think your missing a wider picture, a war going on inside CCP for hearts and minds. Look at what ripard treg was trying to achieve, consider that CCP own stats show 90% of paying players try to level up a raven before they quit.

Only 10% of the players who come "get" that this is a pure blood pvp game where we piss on our enemies corpses and laugh at the lamentation of their women. The rest think its a spaceship game. the 90% are wrong though and we have numerous dev posts to prove it.

Will you consider that you might, actually, (and I mean this all due respect) be playing the wrong game?

Gevlon said...

@Nightgerbil: yes, I always seen that CCP considers tear farming a more valid gameplay than other ways. However I also believe that logical, focused play is always more effective than "let's get drunk and make some shit for lolz"

Endie said...

Gevlon, it isn't like you to ignore the availability of evidence from graphs and tables. Look at dotlan (there is a very obvious indicator for Section 8 corps) and you'll see

Secondly, your differentiation between renters/ratters and PvPers is fallacious. In Fozziesov active ratters are a huge defence, as we have demonstrated (we were promised attacks from all sides... fizzle). We have attracted hundreds of new PvPers in recent weeks, undaunted by the obvious doom you talk about MoA having inflicted on us: just check dotlan to see our additions like Zebra and UK Corp, who alone bring 500 new members between them. Then check the organic growth over the same period from corps like Goonwaffe. All of this in a period when Karmafleet has purged 1200 inactives! It's an incredibly strong story of growth.

And yes, we have added many Section 8 corps, and will add more, I hope. Attackers don't like high entosis multipliers, while new members are attracted by the fact that our space is more secure than it has ever been.

Gevlon said...

@Endie: I'll believe the ratting and the killboard graphs, member graphs are trivial to inflate with randoms who don't fit, will go inactive or leave.

Rob Kaichin said...

Now now Endie, people promised to attack you with whatever means at their disposal. 'Trolling' interceptors are still an attack. One with a strong morale effect, apparently.

One might ask questions of how many people join and go inactive when they face a lack of content (or willingness to fight). We brought a Vexor fleet all the way to YA0 station last night, and I'm almost sure that if it hadn't been for a strat op, we would've SD'd our ships on the undock.

DT 2015, bringing PvP back to Deklein. If you want more, you could send us some ISK as an incentive.

Rumour is that SMA tried to form for us, but 30 guys in Vexors was apparently too many.

Perhaps we should've entosis linked your stuff to force you to fight? It doesn't seem very sporting, but Dull-sec seems to do that to people.

Anyway, we killed a Legion and a Celestis, so we're gonna be space relevant on the null-sec war updates. You should thank us for confirming WI.'s quality hasn't improved. :P

Rob K.

Anonymous said...

"member graphs are trivial to inflate with randoms who don't fit, will go inactive or leave."

true, but they get purged. it can be detected via API which everyone has to give and PAP stats.

Gevlon said...

I'm sorry for being unclear. I file "doing nothing logs in to chat" as inactive. You know that 1.5% of the pilots did 50% of the kills in 2014 and like 10% did 90%. The rest, while formally not inactive can be counted as. I have no data, but pretty sure PvE looks the same.

Remember that HERO with all their 10+K members were just farm for 1K PL.

Raphael said...

@Gevlon: CCP can try to limit their propaganda value, yes - and they probably should. Making themselves completely useless for propaganda is impossible, though, at least for a sufficiently skilled propagandist. There's always something that can be twisted to imply whatever-it-is that needs to be implied to serve your goals.

The ROC shares thing was actual, mechanical fraud - falsely creating in-game 'proof' of CCP support. That's easy to drop the hammer on, and doesn't create any tricky precedents.

Calling 'TOC violation' on out-of-game statements that imply CCP support - without ever making an explicit statement - starts putting them in more questionable territory. Do they ban everybody who does it, or just Goons?

The latter is blatant discrimination, and obviously untenable. Given how frequently 'you're biased for/against Goons/gankers/industrialists/hisec/lowsec/nullsec' (delete as necessary) gets thrown around, punishing everyone would require banning half the forums after every new set of patch notes - probably not good for their subscriber numbers. (And the problem with punishing people 'if someone submits a ticket' becomes apparent as soon as you substitute 'a Goon' for 'someone'...)

I haven't seen the NDA that Sion signed, so I can't say whether CCP could have stopped the follow-up post based on that. They could theoretically have boycotted TMC for the first post - but I find it imagine a bigger stick they could hand TMC to beat them with. "CCP is trying to bully us into silence because we DARED to point out that they made a mistake" would make a wonderful way for TMC to drum up attention.

So far as I can tell, nothing that the Goons have said is actually a lie, and nothing ever actually claims that Falcon or CCP in general have done anything unfair or unethical. (On the contrary, they've gone out of their way to indicate that CCP had good, valid reasons for everything they did.)

The obvious conclusion - to me, at least - is that as long as you don't lie about CCP's actions, and don't accuse them of wrongdoing, you can spin the story as much as you like and it's considered 'valid metagaming'.

Endie said...

You reckon having all those backwoodsmen who only turn up for the big fight in the big war doesn't count? Tell that to the next bunch of people we drop the better part of a thousand tengus/ishtars/domis/megas on, with a couple of fleets of caps and supers waiting in the wings and miscellaneous harpy/fyf support fleets.

Look at the stats on eve-offline for tranquility: numbers are down to January 2007 levels. And yet people increasingly flock to the Imperium. Not a huge sign of existential crisis there!

It is inconceivable that Goons should painfully exist on a soil too narrow for them, while amorphous masses, which contribute nothing to Eve, occupy infinite tracts of a region that is one of the richest in the game. We must create conditions for our people that favour their multiplication, and we must at the same time build a dike against the pubbie flood. Since there is no natural protection against such a flood, we must meet it with a living wall. A permanent war on the western front will help form a sound race of PvPers, and will prevent us from relapsing into the softness of an alliance thrown back upon itself. It should be possible for us to control this region to the west with twenty-five thousand goons plus a cadre of good administrators... This space in Eve must always be dominated by Goons.

Gevlon said...

@Raphael: they could issue a "soft boycott" on them, meaning devs formally answer their interviews but only with corporate bullshit and never show up on their shows. They can't use that, after all devs aren't needed to contribute to third party sites.

@Endie: Yes, they don't count, since the big war will never come. You can't sell "big war" even to your own drones anymore, after a year of no war and then abandoning regions without a fight. Who count?
- those who rat enough to raise indices and pay tax
- those who are in home defense fleets or fight MoA independently

Jesus, you wrote this yourself or just copy-pasted some propaganda material?!

Careby said...

As I was reading the SoTA, something about it seemed very familiar. It took me a while to remember, but finally it clicked. Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf lives!

maxim said...

Funny thing about weapons based on sociality is that their effect diminishes with number of uses and over time. Sticks and stones consistently break bones, but words have less and less impact the more you hear them - both positive and negative. This is rooted in human neuropsysiology. Literally tied to functioning of serotonin inhibition in our brain.

If MoA continue to kill the same amount of ISK they do now, they will keep doing the same amount of ISK damage. Invoking "CCP Falcon is on our side" will be able to somewhat compensate for this damage the first few times it is used, but - provided the reality will remain that CCP Falcon is unable to stop MoA from doing the same amount of damage over and over again, - then the "CCP Falcon is on our side" infoweapon will simply wear out.

I have to say, though, that it is only now that you have entered the hard part of taking down the Imperium. This kind of information-war standoff can last for months or years, which is pretty short timeframe for RL-politic issues (where stuff can drag on for decades and occasionally centuries), but is a mammoth of a time for a game.

Well, whether you'll be able to weather it will - at the very least - define what i end up thinking of your whole "asocial powa" doctrine. So far, it has failed to impress, so i won't be really surprised if you call it quits at this junction.

P.S: All of this applies, of course, only if CCP is actually not actively helping the goons. You might want to think of a way to verify that. If they are actually helping the goons, then it may really be time to change games.

Borat Guereen said...

I believe CCP Falcon overstepped his neutrality requirements in the comments he made. Even if I do not agree with everything you say, it is not fair for a CCP employee to treat one of their content provider for their game this way. Unlike many others, you are putting your (in-game) money where your (in-game) mouth is., and going against the strongest propaganda machine in New Eden. You do not need the extra burden created by someone who above everyone else should remain absolutely neutral in these matters, and take upon himself to avoid letting personal judgement and possible established friendships affect his position's required neutrality.
I have a lot of respect for CCP Falcon, as he is a good community manager, but In this case, I am disappointed.
Keep up the (in-game) good fight...