Greedy Goblin

Thursday, April 28, 2016

A letter to MassivelyOP

After MassivelyOP published an extremely misguiding interview with Paul “CCP Falcon” Elsy, I sent them the following mail. Since I'm not sure that they read such things, I post it here too. I also recommend to read the top comment on this article.


The article mentioned is extremely unresearched and unbalanced, containing only what Paul “CCP Falcon” Elsy said. Many of them are provable lies and well known within the EVE community. Harassment issues are common in EVE and mostly because of the attitude of Paul Elsy. Just some well known issues:

The Bonus Round: it was an especially disgusting "scam" that involved making the victims perform humiliating and stressing stunts for HOURS, recorded and published. Dozens of such soundclouds were created. CCP dismissed it to be a problem, until Ripard Teg who had the most visited fan blog back then started to bang the drums. Only after the outrage were the perpetrators banned.

Not much later his blog was closed, for the telling reason: "And if there's a fundamental truth in EVE Online it's that if enough people want your ship dead, it will die, and all the reps in the world won't help".

The momument vandalism: Well covered back then, but later development of the case missed the media. The perpetrators were members of Goonswarm Federation, just as everyone expected. Yet, their name was cleared by Paul Elsy who lied to everyone in his official position:

He also decided to not hand the criminals to justice. Nothing was done about the fact that they wanted to blame the vandalism on me (libel is another crime). The criminals were not even banned (despite CCP claimed so) and they are still playing and bragging with their "edgy stunt":

How did the story got out? Goons themselves bragged about it on their own site, celebrating CCP Falcon!

Some of the most recent stuff: An EVE streamer lost her grandfather. Dozens of Goons started to follow her stream with usernames "Grandpaisdead" and co. No CCP action:

A prominent Fleet commander (raidleader) CELEBRATED THE TERRORIST ATTACK on Benghazi because one of the four victims was an EVE player he didn't like.

No CCP action, he is still leading fleets. Two in-game assets were named by him: was named "The Benghazi Consulate" on April 23 and renamed again on 26. was named "2 bad you can't blue jihadists" [blue is the EVE slang for ally with].

Finally my pesonal account. I was a top 5 traffic EVE fan blogger and never got involved with CCP dealings, never named devs, just played the game, challenging the then-largest coalition. Going against 40x outnumbering enemy looked like a great game story. When we took their first station, celebrated and claimed that we'll beat them, Paul “CCP Falcon” Elsy with his official tag made the following statement: "Whenever I feel down, whenever I feel sad... the outrageous lunacy, sheer tinfoil and unbelievably biased and unhinged craziness of Gevlon's blog always cheers me up."

When confronted about this, instead of apologizing or claiming to "just kidding", he doubled and tripled down claiming that I'm a madman: This constitutes harassment itself. Again: I didn't provoke him, hell I didn't even know who he was, I was just playing the game and didn't hang out with "the cool guys".

Dear Editors, you are doing a great disservice to the community by painting EVE as a safe space where harassment is handled. Harassment is widespread in EVE and Paul “CCP Falcon” Elsy doesn't simply turn a blind eye on it, but champions it himself.


Anonymous said...

You might also read the third comment...

But from harsh past experience, I'm really aware of how CCP Falcon will really behave in a critical harassment situation and I'm hypersensitive about this guy and his behavior as a community manager.

I read this interview very carefully and just had to go puke afterwards for such a huge load of hypocrisy. Come on Falcon, no "grow a thicker skin man!!" anymore, did you get soft or pretend to have gotten soft or did you finally grow up?

No, definitely, I don't think this interview is sincere (on the interviewee side at least).

To be honest, I recently considered going back to EVE Online and one of the first things I checked is if Falcon was still communicating on the forums. When I saw he still was (meant he was still with CCP), I gave up and forgot about any idea to go back to the game.

I will stop here as I don't like talking about this sensitive subject, and I don't like to be reminded so hard-to-erase bad memories.


for the record, I still play eve.

And I still think your "Magical Skill" post deserves more plugging. I read your blog from the start, TWICE. (And am considering having it made into one PDF!)

Rob Thompson said...


I also found this interview troubling. In addition to the parts you pointed out, it was quite clear to me that Mr Elsy is completely unaware of the contradictions contained within his statements and the Jekyll and Hyde tendencies evident in his performance.

This is a symptom of his lack of experience at the appropriate level of handling conflicting demands in a public-facing role and, more broadly, of CCP's poorly conceived and executed job design practices.

I don't blame him for his being allowed to behave in the way demonstrated by you. He has mouths to feed and is no doubt thrilled to find himself in such a prominent position. The fault lies squarely with CCP.

I'll not go over the Erotica 1 business again, but I find it telling that not once in this interview does he mention CCP's use of bans as a means of punishing misbehaved players (even temporarily). He makes it appear that CCP's role in dealing with unpleasant behaviour lies solely in giving advice and support. Very nice, but a complete misrepresentation of the facts.

I ought to set out my position here. I'm one of the scallywags of the New Order of Highsec. Elsy has on occasion made statements broadly in support of some of our activities (e.g. the 'falcon punch', celebrated on MinerBumping).

It is precisely this position which allows me to see the dichotomy in both his role and his manner of filling it.

I think CCP should discontinue the appointment of players to company positions, unless their out-of-game experience and qualifications make them suitable candidates, and in direct competition with other similarly qualified candidates. In other words, a professional approach to recruitment. Certainly the post of Community Manager should follow this guidance.

Players without the necessary qualifications and experience should be able to occupy advisory roles only, perhaps on a small retainer.

Sadly, I've a feeling that the rot has sunk so deep into the company's culture that it's unlikely to change before we're treated to yet another embarrassing exhibition of incompetence.

Apologies for the length of this comment, Gevlon.

Endie said...

Libel isn't a crime: it is a civil matter and it is up to you, not a third party like CCP, to choose whether or not to pursue an action against those who accused you of complicity.

Gevlon said...

@Endie: as a client of CCP I could assume that they act on my behalf when CCP Fanfest attendee comitted the main crime against CCP property.

I admit that I mishandled the case because I trusted CCP. I assumed that the criminals will get a nice trial in Iceland ending in either a short term in jail or a hefty fee and banning from enterint Iceland again. Compared to the vandalism, libeling with vandalism is a mild offense and I was lazy to pursue it. I never imagined that they will be saved from the justice system, strike that not even banned from the game.

PS: you were a director of Goonswarm in that time and you could at least ban them from Goonswarm. You didn't. You are just as evil and despicable as The Mittani, just smarter and jumped ship when it was leaking.

Anonymous said...

I dont play eve but do enjoy reading your blog. I dont know if it has been mentioned, but is it a possiblilty that CCP Falcon is receiving some type of financial benefit other than from CCP? Generally when there is smoke there is fire, and to me CCP Falcon is in a very smoke filled room.

Anonymous said...

Very much doubt Falcon is being paid off, he just seems to be the archetype social. His actions and beliefs flit between whatever will make him most liked and most popular at any particular moment in time. On top of that he comes across as, let's say, not the sharpest knife to be found in the box.

LiveWatched said...


Hey I created an account just to let you know that I think CCP Falcon mistreated a member of the community not to mention one that is actively engaged and participates in generating a lot of content for people in the game. For him to treat you like you're a madman or crazy is extremely disrespectful and I think he should apologize.

P.S I enjoy your blogs. I'm also sad to see you leave EvE, but everytime I've read your blogs you've almost always been right when it comes to the economy. I hope CCP wakes up and realizes New Jita is going to kill the game.

Good luck in your future gaming endeavors.

nightgerbil said...

Hey gevlon. A massively moderator commented to a readers link of this blog page:

Yeah, he mailed that to us too. He seems confused on how Q&A interviews work in general and on our backstory (as writers and as a site) as it pertains to the harassers within the EVE community in specific. I think Brendan's comments below (and mine, to a far lesser degree) make that clear for those who don't already know. He did a remarkable job being neutral during the interview. Whether you believe CCP is up to you.

Edit: Old now, but this was my personal piece from 2012 after the Mittens fanfest scandal. I don't see any reason for my opinions to have changed.

By the way I seriously recommend you look at, might even want to add it to your main post as its a pretty damming (and well written) critique of EVE and CCPs role in enabling abusers to hijack their game. Hope you find it as insightful as I did.

Nyphur said...

Hey Gevlon,

Brendan Drain from Massively OP here (posting on behalf of myself, not the site). I just wanted to say thanks for covering this and adding your comments. I think it's important for interviews that the games media remains as neutral and diplomatic as possible, as pressuring or brow-beating a developer with antagonistic questions is unlikely to get any response at all as they don't have to answer any questions they aren't comfortable with. I consider it my job in an interview to get an official response and simply present what is said, and it's then up to readers and the community to pick that apart if they wish.

I didn't have to ask about harassment in EVE in this interview, but I specifically chose to in order to get a response that might start a serious discussion on the topic within the community, so I'm actually very happy that a discussion like this is taking place. You can read through the comments on the article to get a better sense of the way the MMO community views EVE and my personal take on harassment in EVE. My own personal view of EVE is that 99% of the community are amazing and friendly and know where the line is drawn between gameplay and real life harassment, but that the 1% who cross that line are NOT adequately investigated or punished.

It's my hope that some people at CCP will read all of the responses to this interview and it will give them a perspective that can't be ignored. Hopefully they may consider that perhaps something really should be done about harassment in EVE, if only for the sake of the game's reputation. What I'd personally like to see done is for CCP to set out a very clear and publicly visible set of rules for what does and doesn't constitute crossing the line into real life harassment and transparent consequences for doing it. I think a sandbox game like EVE needs a team dedicated to transparently policing the community, as difficult a task as that is.

-- Brendan Drain

Gevlon said...

@Nyphur: as a journalist it is you job to ask tough questions. With your current attitude, I'm sure Russia Today would love to have you for a Putin interview: "Dear Mr President, how do you handle the stress of your hard work making Russia and the whole World a better place despite the constant troubling of those pesky Americans?"

I find it hard to believe that Massively didn't get money for publishing that PR piece. Anyone reading that "interview" gets the impression that CCP fights harassment, while in reality they are actively participating in harassments.

In short: you are about as bad journalist as Falcon is bad community manager.

Nyphur said...

@Gevlon Games journalism isn't the same as something like real life political journalism, it's extremely rare that we can actually take on an adversarial role and ask hard-hitting questions or try to trip interviewees up on facts because there's no pressure for them to respond. I've seen plenty of people try it with devs and they just get stonewalled with "no comment" and then you've got no article and no discussion. It may not be ideal and it may not even be proper journalism, but most people who work in the games media will tell you the exact same thing.

I think your rage in this case is misdirected if it's aimed at me or MassivelyOP, as like I said we could have chosen not to even ask about harassment at all. This has nothing to do with money (there was none involved, for the record) or PR or bad journalism, it's just a matter of just getting some official quotes on an important topic that could start a discussion. I'm very happy that we could even get some quotes on that from CCP, especially if people disagree with them. The discussion that this has prompted (your article included) elucidates quite clearly that EVE does have a harassment problem and it perhaps hasn't been tackled well in the past -- and it's certainly possible that it could be a systemic issue at CCP.

An interesting aside that someone pointed out on Reddit is that Falcon's responses are almost a promise from the community team to investigate and help with harassment. Now that those quotes and the community responses to them are all public, they might become part of any future discussion on the topic of harassment. Perhaps that will be enough to help force CCP's hand and make them commit to more thorough and transparent investigations in the future, or to convince the rest of the gaming media to take stories of harassment more seriously. Personally, I'm just glad this discussion is taking place at all.

Gevlon said...

@Nyphur: I understand that Massively isn't New York Times. I understand that in order to stay afloat, you must fill your pages with content and it needs devs to be positive with you. However there is difference between focusing on positives and letting outright lies out. For example:
"Belarus has huge untouched plains and forests for outdoors travelling" is OK.
"Belarus has perfect freedom of press" is not OK.

You could just avoid the whole harassment topic, knowing that EVE has much worse situation here than Belarus with free press. But you let Falcon feed you outright lies and you printed them without blinking.

Anonymous said...


It's not necessarily harassment based but it would be interesting to start the discussion of gambling sites affiliated with EVE Online such as IWANTISK. There are trillions of isk that enter the site, translatable to $20,000.00 USD per trillion at rates of 20$ per billion. These are untaxed exchanges of currency and, if connected and networked properly, could prove to be fraudulent. It has also influenced self destructive tendencies among individuals with no real direct connection with gambling help resources.

Nyphur said...

@Gevlon Printing that someone said X in an interview isn't the same as printing that X is true. As the impartial interviewer, I consider it my responsibility to print exactly what was said word for word (or as close as I can get in transcribing a voice interview to text). It would in fact be highly unethical to ask an important question like this and then pick and choose which bits of his response to publish or scrap the question because I don't like the answer. That's something tabloids and news stations do in real life to push particular agendas, and I don't like it.

I think it's much better to publish the raw text and then we can take the discussion of that text to the comments and various community forums where they belong. If you or anyone else thinks the interviewee is lying or mistaken then it's your prerogative to point that out and we're not going to censor that discussion -- On the contrary, we're extremely happy that serious discussions on harassment could arise from the interview. As for not blinking, if you read the comments on the article then you'll see plenty of blinking from all parties, myself included.

Anonymous said...

@Nyphur So when we can expect the said blinking to transform into "CCP Falcon is a fat liar" article?

Bobbins said...

Brendan Drain vs TheMittani. Brendan apolises for daring to call TheMittani a cyber bully.

Anonymous said...

@Nyphur as an impartial journalist you should consider it your responsibility to research subject you cover and objectively present it.
Right now your coverage can be considered one sided by those who don't buy into CCP Falcon's interpretation od reality - single CCP employee was interviewed, completely unchallenged.

Anonymous said...

I think Brendan's replies are balanced and honest.

Especially since he's been targeted by Mittens. (More than once, if I recall)

Anonymous said...

Asking tough questions and get a "no comment" is telling a LOT.