Tag Archives: CCP Falcon

CCP Falcon Leaves CCP

Over on Reddit there was a “Where is CCP Falcon?” thread a week or so back.  He seemed to have gone very quiet.  CCP Dopamine had been handling a the web site updates since mid-October and at EVE Vegas he was the community team person speaking while CCP Falcon was nowhere to be seen, an unusual turn of events.

CCP Falcon and I at EVE Vegas 2018

Today on Twitter the new broke when he announced the following from his now no longer “CCP Falcon” account:

After 7 amazing years at CCPGames it’s time for me to dock my Polaris Enigma Frigate and set off in search of a new adventure in the universe. It’s been a privilege and a pleasure to serve such an incredible, dedicated and passionate community.

For the last 17 years – 7 of those as a CCPer – EveOnline has defined my life, shaping me as a person and revealing strengths I didn’t know I had. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to everyone I’ve worked with, talked spaceships with, flown with and against.

No idea what’s next, but I’ll always be capsuleer and I’ll always be around for those who wanna chat – although my twitter handle will be changing soon.  I’ll leave you all with the incredibly talented and

Fly safe.

– Falcon, Out.

Community management positions are often volatile and turn over is common.  Any number of seemingly popular community managers have been shed from various MMOs over the years.  And CCP has gutted its own community team in the past.  When it comes time to cut head count people who do not write code can find themselves to be disposable in the eyes of the company.

There were no reasons given for CCP Falcon’s departure.

CCP Falcon will be missed by some, no doubt.  While not as popular as CCP Guard, his pugnacious style did appeal to some even if it put others off.

CCP Falcon and CCP Guard back in the day

Certainly his vision of what EVE Online ought to be like, from that TiS interview earlier this year, did not endear him to many, and having a hand in mis-managing of the CSM, including the “No Sions” rule, which put the whole thing in crisis and led to him and CCP Leeloo being shifted to other duties, no doubt left stains on his record with the company.

On the flip side, you were rarely in doubt as to where you stood with CCP Falcon.  He wasn’t one to sugar coat an answer or be mealy mouthed in a response.  You might have wished he would have softened a blow now and then, but you always had your a direct response.  And he pissed off Gevlon, showing what a thin skinned troll he really was.  You have to give him that.

And so it goes.  Seven years is an enviable duration for a community management position.  The only real question is how he put up with us for so long.

Hilmar and the Chaos Era of EVE Online

Some men just want to watch the world burn.

-Alfred Pennyworth, The Dark Knight

Talking in Stations released a show on Friday focused on the null sec blackout featuring CCP Hilmar Veigar Petursson, along with EVE Community Manager CCP Falcon and EVE Online Brand Manager CCP Goodfella, and it is a show people will be talking about for quite a while.

Local is now delayed in null sec

It is also a bit of a frustrating show to which to listen as the TiS staff basically failed to challenge their guests on anything in even the most mild fashion.  The tone is set in the first few minutes when, after Matterall asks about the effect of the blackout of local in null sec, Hilmar says that activity is up in the game, saying that the MAU and DAU numbers for July are at their highest point in the last five years.

Here is where, in the back of my head, I am yelling, “Ask if that is because of the Season of Skills event, which required people to login daily to get free skill points!”  What we got instead was Carnaeros basically holding Hilmar’s coat, nicely explaining that those terms meant “Monthly Active Users” and “Daily Active Users” and then letting Hilmar carry on as though the blackout was all that went on in July.

I get that this is sort of the style of TiS.  Matterall is a nice guy and likes to create a space where everybody on the show gets their turn to speak without being interrupted.  (Imagine the same interview on the Open Comms Show, where Dirk and Rahne would be shouting over each other to try to respond.)  This is, perhaps, how you get guests like Hilmar, by having a reputation of encouraging your guests to speak by giving them easy questions and letting them go their own way.  But given what was said by Hilmar and Falcon, it made for an unsatisfying listening experience as my brain kept coming up with follow up questions to expand or clarify or nail down what was really being said.

And a lot was said on the show, which I am sure people will be digesting and examining and writing or speaking about for weeks to come.   I have things I want to pick apart from the show and, as I noted on Twitter, I could make a months worth of “Quote of the Day” posts out of it.  This could be a watershed moment for the game, the announcement of some drastic changes coming to EVE Online.

Or it might have been the online equivalent of a late night drunken dorm room discussion in college, a metaphorical circle jerk of “wouldn’t it be great…” sort of ideas.

So my first question out of the gate is how seriously should we take this interview?

I don’t even know who CCP Goodfella is, and that he is the brand manager makes it likely we can discount pretty much any ideas he espouses… not that I can recall anything he said.  Sorry man.

CCP Falcon is the Community Manager, which puts him in the thick of things with the players. But, by his own admission, he is not part of the design and development loop.  I had a post with a quote from him on Friday around a reply he put on Reddit about what he would do about capital ships.  He made it clear down the way that he has his own opinions about the game, which he can freely express, but which are not necessarily the official line of CCP.

So when Falcon is on about his dystopian hellscape vision of EVE Online, he often prefaces it with “If it were up to me,” a solid indication that it is not.  The problem is that this tends to blur the line between when he is speaking for the company and when he is speaking for himself, as most people will only remember what he said and not how he prefaced it.  Is it his opinion or CCP’s that people who don’t like risk when they mine should go back to high sec?

And then there is Hilmar.  He was involved in the development of the game, wrote code and was part of the design team and has been CEO at CCP since 2004.  While Pearl Abyss now owns CCP, he is still the boss on the ground in Iceland, so when he says something it gets some weight.

But how much weight does it get… or should it even get?

He had been absent from the game for quite a stretch, making a big deal about returning and trying out Planetary Interaction and finding the UI for it abysmal.  The CEO complains, a dev blog appears, and changes go in.

He has said that he had been playing in wormhole space lately and now we have the local chat blackout in null sec.  This is a change that has been talked about for years, but the CEO goes and plays in WH space and suddenly it happens.

Now he says he is playing faction warfare, so I guess that is good news for somebody I hope.  Maybe FW will get some love… or maybe some FW mechanic will get stuffed into null sec.

Of course, he was also the voice of CCP during the Incarna fiasco where he manifested some J. Allen Brack level arrogance in telling the players that the company knew better what they wanted when it came to the cash shop while dismissing people who wanted the hangar view of their ship back rather than the resource hungry captain’s quarter or the metaphorically disastrous locked door, continuing to denigrate it as “ship spinning” even as they said they would return the feature in some form.

After that Hilmar declared that the era of the Jesus Feature was over and CCP started updating and iterating on features they had launched then neglected.

I am also a bit skeptical of Hilmar’s relationship with how things have worked out in the past.  One of his big talking points during the show was making the game easier for new players but harder for veterans.  Malcanis says that anything you do for new players tends to benefit vets even more so, while we have clearly seen that making things difficult for veterans tends to just lock them into their position, with the changes essentially turning into barriers that keep newer players out.

If he is talking about a better NPE… a topic about which I have another post brewing… that is one thing.  But beyond that how do you help new players?  And does the planned Chaos Era help the new player retention issue that CCP went on about at EVE North?

So, does Hilmar saying something mean it is going to happen?  Not that what he is saying is good or bad, but is he the final word?  Does this represent consensus in the development team or just voicing his own opinions?  Is the Chaos Era about to begin in New Eden?  Will there be a dev blog?  Hilmar said that there are a lot of destabilizing things that will show up in the coming weeks.  So maybe it is already a done deal?

I don’t know.  We’ll probably have to wait and see and evaluate what we get.

Related material:

 

Quote of the Day – Death to Faxes and Other Capital Ideas

I just fundamentally don’t like force aux hulls. My view would be to delete them, give the logistics role and triage role back to carriers, then refund any SP that was wasted into force aux training.

-CCP Falcon, Comment on the Obsolescence of Capitals Reddit thread

The state of capital ships, a hot topic for both null sec and low sec, has been under a lot of discussion recently.  Last weekend I had a quote from Arrendis over at INN on the state of null sec that led him to advocate for a serious change to titans.

Since then we have had posts from Jin’taan, over at INN, and Suitonia, at his blog, about capital ships, their current state, and where they should head.  And, while Force Auxiliaries come up as an issue, only Falcon has declared for their deletion and a return to a time when the humble carrier had that role.

Why would you ever think there are too many faxes?

Honestly, I think a reversion to the pre-fax state of the game might be one of the more viable ideas.  I don’t think CCP even has to refund any skill points since carriers and faxes both use the same skills.

But why stop there?  If we’re going to revert things that haven’t worked out well, lets get rid of the fighter mechanic as well and return to carriers as over-sized drone boats.  Super carriers can have their old fighter-bombers back and both supers and carriers can return to a simpler time.

Anyway, as noted, CCP Falcon has the most extreme plan of the group, save for maybe the Arrendis “just blow them up” option for titans.  But don’t fret that just because CCP Falcon says something about game mechanics that this is now the official plan for the game.  He isn’t a game designer, so his opinion on this is just that, an opinion.

CCP Falcon is certainly not entertaining any completely crazy ideas.  Somebody opened a thread on the official forums when the Drifters started hitting null sec structures wanting confirmation that CCP was essentially building up to a massive player wipe to reboot the game.  That gives us a second quote for this post:

No.

Wiping out almost seventeen years of player history would be the stupidest thing ever.

There’s no plan to “reset EVE”.

Thread closed.

-CCP Falcon, thread in the EVE Online forums

There is little worse you can do than flush the long term investment your customers have made in your game down the toilet.  Those worrying that this might happen are simply borrowing trouble, while those wishing for don’t care for the health of the game as much as they think they do.

Planned VNI Nerf Hits By Surprise

Back in June at EVE North one of the things that CCP announced that they had in the works was a planned nerf of the Vexor Navy Issue, the ubiquitous ratting ride across all of null sec.  Nosy Gamer has a summary of CCP’s EVE North statements.

The Glacial Drift SKIN on a VNI

A dev blog followed that up up last week with more details as to how the VNI problem would be addressed.

The problem itself is that a single hull had become generally accepted as the right answer for null sec anomaly ratting to the point that it is rare to see anything else.  The hull was also usable by Alpha clones, meaning that disposable accounts could be used to snuffle up ratting ISK, and if the account was run by a bot, caught and banned, the perpetrator could just roll up a new account and start over.

The approach to taking on the VNI scourge was two-fold.

First, to change the VNI to make it more of a railgun platform by adding in bonuses for that while reducing the drone control bandwidth so it couldn’t field the full flight of heavy drones it had before.

Second, to reduce drone skills available to Alpha clones so that it is more difficult to AFK rat with drones.  Those changes were:

  • Reducing Heavy Drone Operation from level IV to level III
  • Reducing Medium Drone Operation from level V to level IV
  • Reducing Drone Interfacing from level IV to level III

The VNI would remain a decent ship, just not for unattended ratting, and especially not for Alpha clones.

That was what was under discussion per the dev blog, which came out last week.  However, people logged in today to find that the VNI and Alpha clone changes had been applied without much in the way of notice.  The update was appended to the June release patch notes.

This move was unexpected for two reasons.

First, CCP generally saves these sorts of changes for monthly updates.  They get announced, mulled over in the forums for a couple of weeks, get a final dev blog, and become part of the release.  They generally don’t just show up randomly on a Thursday unannounced.

Second, there was a feeling that that CCP wouldn’t bother with the VNI nerf until the local channel blackout in null sec had run for a while.  Part of the appeal of the blackout to many in null sec was going out and blowing up VNIs.  Why make them even more scarce when they are such appealing targets?

But there we go.  The nerf hit today and people were surprised.  CCP moves in mysterious was.  I heard that earlier today CCP Falcon blew off a scheduled meeting with CSM9.

CCP to Create More Dead Links on My Blog

After careful consideration whilst planning upgrades and changes to Tranquility, we have decided to discontinue the EVElopedia as of the announced extended downtime on Monday February 29th, 2016.

CCP Falcon, EVE News Update

Well, that sucks.

The final featured article?

The final featured article?

Not that I thought EVElopedia was the be-all, end-all of New Eden knowledge.  In fact, it was lacking in many respects, often being out of date or incomplete on many fronts.  CCP made a wiki and then didn’t make keeping it up to date anybody’s primary job I would guess.  But I often found it useful, especially since it used the same hierarchy for things like ships and modules and the like as gets used in the game itself.

I probably refer to the site once a week at least when I want to figure out what ships the Angel Cartel has or something of that sort.

There are alternatives of course.  CCP is suggesting the Brave Newbies and EVE University wikis as alternatives in their post about the shut down.  And, of course, being in The Imperium, I have access to the Goon wiki as well.

And, one of the charms of EVElopedia is its wealth of somewhat outdated information.  There is still, as an example, a history lesson in how Domain sovereignty worked.  That information, while no longer relevant in the age of Fozzie Sov, is part of the rich history of New Eden, and I am loathe to see it disappear merely because it doesn’t reflect today’s reality.  There is also a host of items on the site related to the lore of New Eden, also part of the threads that have been spun together in order to create the fabric of the game as it stands today.

According to the post, some of the “prime” fiction and backstory will be archived to and put on another site at some future date

But I am primarily annoyed because, as noted in the title, I have tended to link out to EVElopedia quite a bit over the years, so a lot of links on the site are going to go dead.  This is the World Wide Web at its worst.

All the more so because I had alternatives, but I chose to link to the official EVE Online wiki because I thought that was less likely to just up and disappear with little notice than a user created site.  I guess CCP has made a fool out of me on that front.

Finally, I am more than a bit cheesed off about the seeming indecent haste in making the whole thing disappear.  Is there a reason it needs to be remove right fucking now?  Is there some fee due on March 1st if it remains?

Seriously, inviting people to save off what they might want with four days notice is a serious dick move.  I’m tempted to go try and rile up Jason Scott to see if we could get the internet archive team to save a copy of the whole thing.

And that idea is all the more compelling as I took a peek over at the Internet Archive and found that while the Wayback Machine has archived most of the top level items on the EVElopedia site, when you attempt to drill down to the actual articles, nothing is there.

There is a .sql file you can download, which promises it has all of the “player content” currently hosted.  But I am not sure what that really means.  It probably doesn’t include the wide array of classic graphics screen shots and the like, weighing in at only 102MB. (Also, DBVisualizer ran out of memory trying to open up the file.)

So I am pretty pissed about the whole thing.  Yes, this is old stuff and likely doesn’t matter to you, but it matters to me… and there is not much I can do about it.

Charming Nonsense about the CSM

There was a bit of internet space drama over the weekend.

My exposure to this was on The Meta Show where The Mittani, head of Goonswarm and a former CSM member, along with Laz and Thoric Frosthammer, head of LAWN and a current CSM member, spoke about the recent changes to the CSM whitepaper which ended up excluding anybody associated from The Mittani dot com from running for CSM, but not any other EVE related sites.  The show isn’t up on YouTube yet, but should be in the Meta Show channel at some point this week, if that is your thing.

I mentioned this whitepaper change in my Friday post, so I won’t retrace my steps too much.  The upshot was that The Mittani and Thoric had a good time spinning a conspiracy theory based on the fact that the rule changes excluded exactly one current CSM XI candidate from running, the restive Sion Kumitomo.

CSM11_logo

It is The Meta show after all, so a perfectly fine meta topic to run with.  CCP Leeloo was already on record, long before the show even started, saying that the rules were not put in place for that purpose and that if CCP wanted to exclude somebody specifically they would just do that and not bother with this sort of rule lawyering.

CCP Falcon though couldn’t leave well enough alone and felt the need to return fire as noted on a number of sites.  Here is the quote that is making the rounds:

Falcon Speaks...

Falcon Speaks…

To be fair to CCP Falcon, The Mittani had taken his conspiracy theory on the road and was trolling other venues with it, so he probably felt some retort was required.

You can spin that however you like.  On Reddit there is a lot of cheering that Mittens got smacked down, though when Gevlon isn’t fully behind some striking out at The Mittani you have to start asking questions.

For me though, that drama isn’t really the interesting bit.  Drama blows over and disappears.  No, I like this line from CCP Falcon’s comment:

…there are areas of the whitepaper that CCP have no control over, such as the rights of a CSM delegate.

What complete nonsense.  I do not believe that at all.  There is no area of the whitepaper over which CCP does not exercise complete and absolute control.  This is literally playing right into my initial analogy about the CSM from back in 2008, when I called it the Galactic Student Council.

You can tell the student council that they get to choose the theme for the homecoming dance, and that will stick right up until the moment they choose something controversial, at which point the school administration will override the decision.

Likewise, CCP can tell the CSM that they have control over some aspect of their existence, right up until the point that the CSM does something CCP doesn’t like, at which point CCP will demonstrate exactly how much control the CSM really has, which is none whatsoever.

Smacking The Mittani… whatever.  Perpetuating this sort of nonsense about the CSM having some actual independent power… that is just too much to swallow.

Anyway, this drama has pretty much ensured that Xenuria will have a top spot on The Imperium’s CSM ballot.  I think that Mittens would send them Gevlon as well if he could arrange it.  I wonder who else will be on the ballot.  There are still a few days left for candidates to register.  Of course, then we will see if CCP decides to weed any of them out.