The hardest thing to do in the world is to apologize
I’ve been putting off this article for a couple of weeks. In fact I already wrote a couple of drafts just a day after the incident but I kept putting it off. No one wants to face their own shortcomings, and other things like CCP Games introducing gambling to EVE Online and igniting my rage happened, which felt like they needed addressing first.
That is a lie of course, I simply used the new controversy as a way to further delay the inevitable but its finally here. CCP Oracle, if you are reading this, (and I hope you do as I will tag you on twitter) I am genuinely sorry. I was rude and out of line and I shouldn’t have written that tweet. It was disrespectful, period.
Of course that is not enough. Its not enough to just say sorry. By itself the word is meaningless. What is important, the reason behind writing this entire article that seems little more than an act of public self flagellation, is to find out the reason why the incident happened in the first place and address that cause. Without it there is no in point apologizing so bear with me as we deep dive into my twisted psyche.
The innocent tweet about seeing more Korean players, including female streamers, flock to EVE Online following the launch of Korean localization, shouldn’t have elicited such a visceral response from me. That said I had mistaken CCP Oracle for a male developer and considering the current atmosphere in gaming and streaming services such as Twitch, made the wrong inference. That is all on me. When one assumes things without checking them first, one gets being made an ass. Its just logical. However like an ogre, lets peel the layers and dig deeper. Why would I even care about what a CCP Games developers had to say in the first place?
Lets start with the issue of Korean localization. A few years back CCP Games killed all localization efforts in the game, including the Korean language one. Being bought by Pearl Abyss, a Korean gaming giant, suddenly Korean language localization was back on the menu and done in quite a short time all considering. Yet at the same time, other, more established communities, must continue and play EVE Online in English rather than their native tongue. It feels both unequal and a tad hypocritical of CCP Games to praise the surge of Korean players after years of dismissing localization which is a barrier of entry for many people and not addressing the needs of other communities.
Then there is the part of the tweet that was the highlighting female streamers. I am all for more female representation in games, gaming and whatnot. Having more streamers covering EVE Online would be good for the game though I don’t think EVE Online translates that well into streaming. Its not a very fast paced game after all but that is not the point. The point is, CCP Games have a terrible track record with female players. The toxicity of some of the player base had worked to drive away many a female gamer, and I heard enough horror stories from female players to make me ashamed of having a penis. Its tough, its bad, and the fact is, CCP Games had done so little to protect its female players that promoting female streamers can almost be seen as throwing meat into the water. You know a shark is just gonna bite into it.
Okay, not great optics, but nothing worthy of lashing out. Obviously I was frustrated with what I saw as hypocrisy and irresponsibility but still nothing to send a mean tweet about. Time to delve greedily and deep to unleash the Balrog.
This tweet came only a few days after CCP Falcon resigned. A few weeks before that, Snuffed Out, my last home in EVE Online, shuttered as the content drought in the game continues. Friends keep quitting EVE Online one by one or reducing their activity and selling their super capitals. In this atmosphere of hopelessness its not hard to get frustrated, especially at CCP Games that helped create this situation. After all, its up to the game developers to, well, develop the game and outsmart the playerbase in order to promote conflict and engagement.
A lot of us waited with eagerness for some sign that CCP Games had a plan, that there was a solution to the horrible stagnation the game had fallen into in the last few years. The Las Vegas convention was seen as the place where CCP Games would unveil real solutions. We held out collective breath for the presentations and we got… Nothing. Absolutely nothing constructive was said in EVE Vegas. The entire event might as well have been cancelled. Instead of a roadmap or some acknowledgement of the rot EVE Online is in, we got a roadmap to a roadmap. Yes, we got a presentation about how CCP Games will implement short term roadmaps. I wish I were kidding.
That was it – the moment something broke inside me. The moment when I knew the game was well and truly gone because its developers have abandoned it. CCP Falcon’s resignation afterwards only cemented this feeling. CCP Falcon was the face of EVE Online and one of the main points of contact with the company for the community. Hate him or love him, he at least engaged with the playerbase. His departure pretty much created a gap between the community and the company. That void could not be easily filled especially after other community managers had either left or were let go in the last couple of years. With the last bridge burned, there was not even the pretense that the company was listening to us.
Which leads us here, to that moment where a frustrated, tired player gets sent a tweet of a CCP Games employee. All that anger, all that frustration with the state of the game, with the lack of an outlet, with that feeling of abandonment just comes out in one ugly tweet. An unnecessary tweet which demeaned an innocent employee and saw malice where there was none. A tweet that sought to hurt people that really had nothing to do with the situation the game is in.
The people who did mismanage the game, the people who are deserving of a good tongue lashing have been deaf to the community’s plight from the start. They already sold off the game and are moving on to make a new game which they’d either ruin later on or fail from the start as they done so many times in the past. They are the ones hiding behind people like CCP Falcon and CCP Oracle, using them as disposable human shields while they count the money they make from stock options and bonuses. They have shown a complete lack of care for the community that sprung around their game and attribute the success of the game to their genius instead of the hard work of both developers and players in keeping the game going all those years in spite of the lack of leadership shown above.
It is those people I should, and am, angry at but its exactly those kind of people that won’t listen to my rage at the continued decline of the game and community I’ve come to cherish. You can certainly see why and how its frustrating. That said, none of this is an excuse to lash at total strangers who probably have nothing to do with it all.
Once again I am sorry CCP Oracle for the tweet. I am sure that much like other developers in CCP Games, you were a player yourself who dreamt of working in the company developing the game and finally achieved this dream only to be hurled abuse by anonymous idiots on the net. I hope my apology will go some way into alleviating this.