Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Of Monuments and Pilots

CCP never seems to go small when it makes the decision to try something new.

A couple weeks ago on twitter CCP employees started pointing people to a webpage with a timer but no hints as to what it was timing down to. There was lots of excited speculation and when the timer hit zero we found out it was for... a MONUMENT!

No wait, come back! Its a real life monument. Being built in Iceland. Aren't you impressed?  ;)

My reaction when I heard the news was a disinterested shrug, a comment that "it wasn't really timer-countdown worthy", and I went along my way. The reaction of others, however, was not as impassive:

"Underwhelming. Please do not use timers for this kind of stuff, would have thought it was cooler if I wasn't disappointed." 
"Awesome proof of how shallow CCP has become. Game is broken, few (if any) noobs subscribe after trial, new content is beyond lame, sov is ****, lag is hellish but uh oh let's build a monument using customers money cause we are amazing."
"I think this boring and featureless statue symbolize EVE expansions." 
"I can't really imagine anyone caring. Couldn't the money put into erecting this thing have paid a dev to fix some of the abandoned content in this game :/" 
"what a giant waste of money typical ccp wasting money on things not related to eve in any way even when the game is broken"
It was not all negative, but a significant portion is. Ripard Teg wrote a post about this negative reaction and called those people out:
The vast overwhelming response from those players on the forums and on my blog here was overwhelmingly negative both about the monument itself and about the unveiling. Negative about the cost. Negative about the perception. Negative about just about everything.
Some of us really are bitter, aren't we? Shame on you. Seriously. Shame on you.
Let's address the two basest, meanest, crudest, most cynical criticisms first. And I can destroy both of them in just a few words:
- If this monument causes only a few hundred old unsubbed players to spend a PLEX... and they see all of the changes that have made EVE a better game over the last few years, and they resub, stick around, and start playing again, the money spent on the monument will have been worth it.
- If this monument causes only a single EVE developer to look out over the Reykjavik harbor and see the permanent representation of the stories, aspirations, and fun EVE stands for, and that moment of good feeling inspires him to design and develop a better game for the rest of a single day, the money spent on the monument will have been worth it!
And for you EVE players out there whose thinking is that low or that petty, those two thoughts alone really ought to be enough to make you understand what this monument really means. That really ought to be enough.

 While I don't completely agree with the naysayers that the monument is a complete waste of time, I don't think Ripard's chastising is altogether warranted either. Some people might be overly negative about anything CCP does but other's have a valid point.

This monument feels like hubris, as if CCP felt its ego needed to be stroked and decided to do the deed itself. I'm not opposed to that in principle as a for-profit company should be allowed some chest beating for investors and employee morale from time to time. But this, this, .... this just feel over the top to my Canadian sensibilities, not a proclamation or a statement but an attention demand of monumental proportions. (HA!)

I'm all about celebrating EVE's players and content and achievements, as was done in the Skyward Sphere events. But a massive monument in EVE's harbour? I have reservations. I hope, as Ripard says, it will inspire and  celebrate rather and mark another dark chapter in CCP's story of hubris and pride before the fall.

And yeah, I will probably use the web app to find my character's names when its done.


  1. I guess it depends on if you see it as CCP celebrating itself, or all of us in the EVE universe.

    I obviously see it as the latter.

  2. Anonymous5:20 pm

    Well my brother and I subbed back up for it. So, uh...+$30 for CCP.

    I tend to think its pretty neat. Mostly because when I think about the games I've played that are no longer here - SWG, EQOA, Shadowbane - I think it would be pretty neat to have a real life monument for those experiences. I don't see this as hubris, I see it as planting a flag on the moon.

    1. So the harbour real estate and the artist cost, what, I dunno, $250,000? The etching of 500,000 names alone must cost a pretty penny. How many 15 dollar subs are needed to break even on this deal? I am betting the property taxes alone (unless Iceland gave the land to CCP), alone will require a fair bit of subs every year.

  3. I personally think that the monument is great. What I didn't like was the timer for the unveil. I ragged and wanted to punch my monitor when it wasn't about a in game content announcement. Grr! I'm still all Hulk angry about it!

  4. After thinking a bit about it, I tend to consider the monument an act of hubris from Hilmar the man himself, rather than from CCP as a corporation.

    I can't but feel something funerary with EVE's 10 years celebrations too, so a tombstone just feels appropiate...

    'Here lie the hopes and dreams of 500,000 guys who handed 15 $ to CCP, hf before February 28 2014.'