This entry has been written from an ‘out of character’ perspective to discuss why I apparently don’t care for your woes. Or something.
Over the past month or so there have been a few things going on in the community that I passed up commenting on. In part that was due to time constraints, but not entirely. I find myself somewhat short of sympathy in several of these cases.
First up, the easy one. A while back the blogger-formerly-known-as Poetic Stanziel decided to quit EVE with as much fanfare and vitriol as he could possibly drum up. I found myself both a bit sad to see a high profile player leaving the game, but relieved at the same time.
I found Stanz to be an interesting character as he appeared to be living out an EVE career in fast forward. Within a year of joining the game he had become one of the most high profile bloggers in the community and worked his way into just about everyone’s reading list and onto the official fan site list. Within two years he had made the move into PVP and factional warfare, made another move to null sec and after about six months of that had turned into the bitterest of bitter vets in what must be in the running for record time.
Sadly, his writing became equally bitter. While Stanz would often write controversially in a way that inspired debate, often I think fuelled by being relatively new to the game, the last few months of his output I just found increasingly irritating to read. Now you might be wondering what I mean by ‘last few months’ as he is still actively blogging, but I stopped reading once he declared that his EVE accounts were no longer subscribed. It’s one thing to read and consider the opinion of a frustrated player, but frankly I have no interest in the rabid rhetoric of someone who isn’t even playing the game any more.
All in all, it reminds me of the phrase “the candle that burns twice as bright, burns half as long” (or whatever variant you are most familiar with). Stanz burned brightly indeed, for as long as it lasted.
My next failure to sympathise is the whole Somer Blink RMT controversy. Vast amounts of text have been expended by others on this so I’ll assume you already know the gist of it. I have used Somer Blink a bit in the past and found their lottery to be a fun little distraction. I hope that the site keeps running and that Somer Blink continues to sponsor community events as they have in the past.
However, I haven’t bought any game time codes from them (or anyone else) and wasn’t too shocked at the news that their GTC/ISK incentive scheme was found to fall under the classification of RMT. Again, a little saddened maybe, but far from surprised given the huge amount of ISK that clearly flows through the site. Wherever that much ISK flows, I wonder to where it all flows. By all accounts Somer Blink has made a considerable amount of real-world cash that must surely surpass whatever operating costs they have.
In the end, my opinion of whether or not Somer Blink is in the best interests of the community will be if the site continues to operate now that the GTC money has been cut off and that its future won’t be about buying someone a new car. It will simply be a question of paying for servers instead. I hope that it does, if not then I guess the critics will be declaring victory.
Somewhat related, but nothing to do with RMT, is the already defunct Evoganda store. Rixx Javix had been looking to setup an online shop to sell his Evoganda merchandise and make use of the various EVE-related artistic offerings he has accrued over the years. Unfortunately CCP’s legal team apparently stepped in and had the store shut down on the basis of copyright infringement.
Rixx called foul and believes that his creative rights are being trampled on (although CCP Legal have yet to actually speak with him directly as far as I gather). Maybe they are, but it is a bit hard to say as by the time I caught up with his new initiative the store had already been pulled and I couldn’t see what exactly he was trying to sell. The only image I have found prominently features the Gurista’s logo within a shirt of his own design.
Now I don’t know if this one design was representative of the catalogue, but if it is then I do see CCP’s point. The Gurista’s logo is very much their property and if I were in their shoes having recently relaunched their own product line in the EVE store with a new design and retail partner (Musterbrand) on board, then I think I wouldn’t look too kindly on others stepping on my toes either.
I do think that Rixx has a point that there are other people out there selling their own EVE-reated merchandise, but I don’t think that it was unreasonable of CCP to protect their own interests here. If Rixx had stocked his store without using CCP’s images I would be thinking differently. Those other people out there doing the same may find that CCP legal takes more of an interest in them after all this, I guess we shall wait and see.
In the same way that I don’t think Somer Blink had the right to make money out of EVE through RMT, I don’t think that Rixx has the right to make money out of EVE selling T-shirts. Yes they are both ‘content creators’ and have done a certain (or maybe not so certain) amount of good in contributing to the community over the years, but I do not think that means CCP owes them the right to go out and make money out of CCP’s property.
We are all running fan sites because we fell in love with this game and became inspired to create them and try to do good things for the community. Since when did it all become about monetising? The fan site program exists as a means for CCP to recognise and thank a select few for their contributions with little gestures like paying your damned subscription every month. Or Ishukone Watch Scorpions. Although that one may end up biting you in the arse. 😉 So no, sorry guys but I’m not in your corner on this one.
Finally, we have one where I actually do sympathise, but still don’t agree. A Scientists Life In EVE writes about a hospital trip due to his ongoing health problems that keeps him from logging in to maintain his EVE-life. So he turned to a friend to look after his account and thought to let CCP know in case they thought his account was being hacked or something.
He was then surprised when CCP threatened to unleash the ban hammer upon him. Hopefully you will already realise that what he proposed is the very definition of account sharing and directly breaks the EULA.
His reasons leading up to this I’m sure we can all sympathise with, but ultimately they aren’t really the point (I realise that might read as insensitive, I don’t intend for it to be). Account sharing is neither good for the health of the game or for CCP as a business. While EVE Scientist only intended to have his account looked after until he was out of hospital, a scenario we can all feel for, is it really any different for someone else who lost access for the game for any other reason?
The reason why CCP have to come down so hard on a case like this is because it is the thin end of the wedge. If being stuck in hospital for a day or two is justification enough, what about anyone else too ill to login for a short period? What about someone who is caring for someone else? What about someone who loses for another reason? If my computer is stolen, or the house burns down, is it ok for a mate to ‘look after’ my account? What If I broke it? What if my drunk mate broke it? Or the kids? What if I have to look after children (my brother is in hospital?) and don’t have time to login because I’m at his place all week? What if I’m stuck at work/studying and can’t play at the moment, but my alliance mates really need the Titan tonight? That’s ok, right?
As harsh as it might seem for the EVE Scientist, but I think CCP are in the right here. Ambiguous and inconsistent policies end up in messy places. Just ask Somer or Rixx and their frustrations over having the rug pulled from under them on things that CCP have been overlooking for years. Account sharing may well happen, but it doesn’t mean CCP should be knowingly endorsing it else they will end up in a sticky situation some point down the road.
I really do hope he feels better soon though.