Furious Over Microtransactions, EVE Online Community Explodes With Rioting

I don't pretend to understand the culture of EVE Online, but when a fiasco gets a Downfall-meme video, that's a kind of visual Esperanto for "this shit is officially f—ked".

Our inboxes have been exploding with reports that EVE's culture is on the verge of collapse over publisher CCP's decision to sell microtransaction items at macrotransaction prices, with "literal" rioting (pictured) taking place in the game.

EVE, the science-fiction MMO, prides itself on being more than a game, and when pirate raids destroy actual real-world goods, and virtual bank heists pay off in actual currency, it's a legitimate claim. Now comes word that thousands of EVE players are demonstrating in the game's two main trading hubs, angered by CCP's opening of a vanity-item marketplace whose prices are (and whose merch is) truly insane.

"At the main trading hubs of Jita and Amarr, people in their thousands, (seriously, thousands) [are]firing upon a memorial statue in rage, locking down the trade hubs and crippling the in-game economy," writes one EVE-playing Kotaku reader, who supplied that picture above. " I can't help looking at this like a virtual geek version of the 'Arab spring' of late."

Sounds a bit extreme, but to many, the sale of $US68 monocles, however ridiculous, portends a "pay-to-win" model in which virtual items with real in-game applications are put up for sale.

As with any community riot, there are allegations of bannings, forum censorship, human sacrifice, cats and dogs living together, mass hysteria, etc. This probably is to be expected when a CCP internal newsletter debating microtransactions, entitled "Greed is Good?", is leaked to the public. (CCP is definitely upset over this, telling the community it was an internal document sent for purposes of debate, and lamenting that so much hatred has been directed at those whose names are on it. "Seriously, these people were doing their jobs and do not deserve the hate and shitstorm being pointed at them.")

Like so many things in capitalism, this comes down to growth versus sustainability. EVE's community - so dedicated it has a frigging parliament that meets in Iceland - has invested millions of hours of time in making it "more than a game", and also a virtual environment with its own government, economy and justice. EVE's maker is, like all video game publishers, a for-profit business, and it doesn't matter who it is or how much goodwill they have, that means one thing and one thing only: make more money this year than last year.

It's disillusioning for EVE players to discover that; it's painful for CCP to have it laid bare. But at least both sides understand each other perfectly now.


Comments

    Cool, that would be so fun. Rioting in a MMO.

    "I can’t help looking at this like a virtual geek version of the ‘Arab spring’ of late.”

    Um, no.

    They're rioting over monocles.

    Less than 6 months ago we only had static predrawn portraits to choose from.

    Since then, CCCP has added 'free' updates giving players customisable portraits, with some of the highest detail available in gaming, as well as trying to expand the station menus into a 3D interactive environment, and will sometime soon allow a 3D social space.

    And now the addition of purchasable, purely cosmetic items, that we didn't even need or care about 6 months ago has people rioting?

      What does the Combined Community Codec Pack have to do with any of this?

    Ah EVE, how can a game can be both so very interesting and so very boring?

      Haha exactly. When I read about this game and all the crazy stories of heists, industrial espionage and piracy it sounds like the most incredible game ever made, then I see a screen shot or game play video and just feel incredibly let down.

      Yeah... it may be the only game in existence that's actually more interesting to read about than to actually play.

        Sorry to say this, but I think Heavy Rain falls into that category. I felt like the whole game was just a movie + a calibration test for the controller.

    errr, what a bunch of losers.

    Just to clarify, the communities outrage is not so much over the pricing of these vanity items (although that did cause a minor rageburst).
    The rage is more due to the contempt with which CCP management regards it's playerbase (as evidenced in several leaked internal documents), coupled with CCP's refusal to give an answer on whether items of power/influence will be available through the RMT shop (resulting in a pay2win game).

    Think of this as the infamous SWG:NGE, but for EVE.

    You've actually managed to miss the point of the whole thing, while reporting on exterior issues. Congratulations on failure. :)

    People are rioting because they were lied to, then told to deal with it, then given a leaked email showing that there was no intention of listening to them whatsoever.

    Don't take my word for it! Someone else already wrote it up in much more detail than I could here.

    http://eve.beyondreality.se/NeXCQResponse.html

    For the last time.. We DON'T Care about the items or the prices. It's the lack of trust, and the fact that they are turning a blind eye to everybody including there own CSM's that run the game.
    Enough with the stupid reports, and get your facts straight.

      How has CCP damaged your trust in them? Were you under some false impression of what the update would include?

    I guess the players point is this. We invested time and money into this game we can't get back. We want CCP to make money but have the players interests at heart. Something that the players are afraid CCP is losing touch with. The quality of the game appears to be deteriorating and players requests for answers are being ignored. Its hard to explain to someone who hasn't played the game at all.

    Many players are also concerned that this new system being implemented could be used in the future to wall off important and critical elements of game play that can only be accessed through the purchase of this new currency which requires real money to buy.

    Again the lack of clarification on CCP's pair is not helping at all.

    What is it that people don't understand about basic business and economics? You don't make more money by pissing people off. All you white knights who think you're so in-the-know on the "real world" and the "harsh truths of game companies" are missing your own point.

    As one of the rioters, my point (aside from it being more fun than any fleet war, small gang PvP, solo PvP or level 4 mission) was sending the message to CCP that, we have too much power to just have our interests shoved aside and to be talked about in internal documents like idiots with big, sucking lips just waiting for CCP to next bare its big arse.

    Out of context? Bollocks.

    I don't see what all the fuss is about. I've been playing Eve for over three years now and I don't mind one bit about the update.

    The update makes a few areas of the game prettier, adds some wanted animations and includes a new currency for buying vanity items for your character. How is any of this a bad thing?

    I would understand the uproar if you were forced to buy items with real cash that you needed in the game. Or if this update included things the players didn't know about and were suprise inclusions. The fact is, the update is free and does not change the play mechanics, so why cry about it.

      As a complete outsider to the EVE game, even I can see it's quite clear that the big guns behind the game are pushing for a p2w way of doing things. To see the situation as anything but that is ridiculously stupid.

    I blame TF2.

    And again, a site gets completely the wrong idea. The community is in outrage because they want to bring microtransactions for ships and other gameplay items that completely fucks with the ingame economy. No one likes the 80 dollar monocles either, but that's NOT what the chaos is about.

    "It's like a million nerds all cried out all at once..."

    Personally I love the game, but it is so unplayable for somebody who has a real life they must manage that unless you are able to quit your job and abandon your family, you cannot make any real progress.

    This is awesome and a great example of where we need a real piece of games journalism to illuminate as much of the story as we can get. Seriously this is fascinating stuff.

    The EVE Online forums are still exploding 3 or 4 days after the initial leaks occurred. I myself am an active subscriber going on 2 years now. I would be most disappointed to see these MT's implemented on anything other than vanity items. Anyway what idiot pays $60USD for a Monocle?

    Implementing MT's on ships, ammo, faction standing increase, modules etc would completely contradict the EVE Online Universe and render most of the game play content useless.

    We were promised things in this new expansion which were promised to be there from the initial release, such as the CQ being optional, therefore allowing us to stay in our hangars and continue ship spinning till our little internet spaceships hearts are content. Also an improved UI? yeah that's a fail.

    This is what the community is so angry about, I joined in on the protest my self at one point and I must admit it was fun being in a disco conga line watching the rage :)

    TL:DR?
    What idiot pays $60 for a Monocle?

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