I received an interesting EVE mail the other day that’s got me thinking and I thought I’d expand on my response to it here, in relation to a couple of three blog posts today (the other two are coming later this evening). The question was basically “Jester, you say at the top of your blog that you’re a bitter-vet but it’s obvious you’re enjoying your activities in Rote Kapelle. Isn’t that a contradiction?” And the short answer that I provided was that yes, I am enjoying my activities in Rote Kapelle quite a lot, but no, I’m still a bitter-vet.
Being a bitter-vet springs from a deep well of experience of watching how CCP develops the game and proceeds with their various activities. You can still greatly enjoy EVE Online and yet still be a bitter-vet. Being a bitter-vet goes beyond that. Distilled down to its essence, all one needs to declare one-self a bitter-vet is to be willing and ready to believe that whatever choice CCP makes about something, it’s going to be in their own interests instead of that of EVE players. Coming back to the beginning, the ability to be able to do that comes from long experience watching CCP develop their game. That “bitter-vet-ness” then resolves itself into a lot of cynicism directed toward CCP and usually toward the CSM that’s supposed to represent players to CCP.
Some examples will suffice.
When it was announced that Orcas and carriers were going to lose their traditional seven-slot Corporate Hangar Arrays in preference for one-slot Fleet Hangars, the devs involved clearly felt that their change would be greeted with cheerful enthusiasm from all involved. Those that actually spend time flying those ships, though — had they been consulted — would have been quick to point out what a bad idea this was. Where was the CSM in this? Who knows, but chances are they were never consulted for this change. The change itself probably came from some esoteric bit of programming weirdness that the person involved didn’t feel like tracing to the drunk Icelandic coder that put it together back in 2006 or so. So hitting the “delete” key on all of it was viewed within CCP as the obvious solution.
This is a sort of programming that I occasionally think of to myself as “CCP lazy mode”: the person involved is given the job to fix something broken, and fixes it by just deleting features. Then the deletion is sold to management and players in terms of “it will make the code easier to maintain.” The missing features or some substitutes thereof (or perhaps even new features) are then added over the next several years until it’s time for the cycle to start again because the people who added all those features back are by that point long gone.
Usually, this is easiest to spot with the “durable” sections of the code… the stuff that’s been around a while. Just in the last four years, we’ve seen this again and again with the fitting window, the inventory system, sov mechanics, POSes, player notifications and timers, and ship cargo bays of various kinds. Think about ore and fuel bays. These were added with a great deal of fanfare some time back, with extravagant promises of more specialized cargo bays soon to come: ammo bays and the like. Hasn’t happened. And over time, the specialized cargo bays we do have will get older and hoarier and start interacting in strange ways with other new features that are added (like fleet hangars and loot drops) and sooner or later a bright-eyed CCP dev will come along and just decide to delete these bays and throw ore and fuel back into the main cargo bay.
“It will make cargo bays easier to maintain.”
Similar things happen with CCP activities. I’ll cover this in a bit more detail in one of the two follow-on posts, but consider things like Incursion live events, pirate live events, dev PvP fleets, Armageddon Day, and the like. Each is announced with a great deal of fan-fare, players love them, and many wonderful follow-ups are promised. And then the follow-ups don’t happen and the fact that the events happened in the first place is forgotten.
That’s the well from which being a bitter-vet springs from. I’m sure you can think of other examples yourself where CCP has followed this pattern. They’re following it today with all the cool new player notifications that are going to be included in Retribution. And of course, the ones that exist today that they decided not to include because coding them would be annoying or hard.
When one of these changes goes bad, it also manifests itself as cynicism toward the CSM… “why didn’t you guys say something about this?!” But of course, the answer is often “we weren’t told”, only it’s kind of embarrassing for CSM members to say that. Which is probably part of the reason you get a lot of CSM members that say nothing at all. This is one of those areas where CSMs 5 and 6 were much superior to the current model: if they weren’t being told something, they would publicly declare that and the consequences of embarrassing CCP be damned. This CSM? Not so much. But that’s a whole other topic and not really something I want to get into again. Maybe I’ll bring it up at the next CSM Town Hall.
As I said, I’ll be expanding on this topic with a couple more posts today, both shorter than this one but covering slightly different facets of the bitter-vet experience. Call it bitter-vet day around here. Anyway, to the person that sent in the question, thanks very much! Gave me something to think about the last couple of days.
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