When EVE Online developer CCP games asked players to cast a vote for the game in the European Games Award, the response was overwhelming: fix the game first.
It was a simple enough request. Yesterday on the official EVE forums, CCP dev Zymurgist posted the following:
The European Games Award is the first award exclusively for European games and is now looking for votes from gamers for the best European video and computer games. EVE Online has been nominated for best Online Game but needs your vote to win the competition. Check out what games are being nominated for here and then cast your vote for EVE Online for best online game!
The first response set the tone for what has grown into a forum thread more than 27 pages long. "You're serious?"
A large number of EVE fans are unhappy with the lag that CCP has introduced into the game over the past year. An EVE player named Sam emailed us with a brief explanation of the situation.
"The fact is: in December 2009, the game could support 1000 players in a single battle. In the winter 2009 expansion, performance decreased because of new features involving fleet organisation. However they never rolled back the changes and instead of kept going forward with more new features that layer new problems on top of old. This cycle is to continue for the next 18 months while CCP works through their planned new feature pipeline."
While some players expressed support for the game, suggesting that an award would equal more players and more money for CCP to fix things, players like Sam point to a recent post on the EVE dev blog, indicating that most of the developers were working on new features rather than polishing what was broken.
This morning CCP issued a statement to CVG, indicating that fixing the lag in large fleet battles was a top priority for the dev team.
'CCP has invested significant time and resources throughout EVE's history on increasing the performance of fleet fights. We've always had a team of developers devoted to improving our technology and in recent years we made exponential headway through massive server upgrades and initiatives like "Stackless IO".
'Currently, unsurprisingly, this effort is our No.1 development priority and we have given the specialised team carte blanche in re-attaining 1,000+ player fleet battles that EVE is famous for.
It's damage control, of course, but at least now the developer is committed to fixing the problem.
With fans voting for everything from Battlefield 1943 to Age of Conan, there's no way in hell EVE Online is winning the European Games Award for best online game. There's always next year.
This is an embarrassing situation for CCP to be sure, but I think the developer should be proud of the community they've fostered. They seem like a very bright, empowered group of folks. As EVE player Magnus Orin put it, "I still love Eve, but it's not unconditional."