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EVE Online microtransactions no threat, community reps conclude

by Alice O'Connor, Jul 04, 2011 9:30am PDT

EVE Online players have nothing to fear from microtransactions, the MMO's player-elected liason body, the Council of Stellar Management, has decided following an emergency meeting with developer CCP Games. The world of Internet spaceships became an unhappy place last month after leaked internal documents fanned upset over microtransaction items, suggesting that CCP planned to sell items giving distinct in-game advantages for EVE and future games.

"We are convinced that CCP has no plans to introduce any game-affecting virtual goods, only pure vanity items such as clothing and ship skins," CSM chair 'The Mittani' has written in a joint statement with CCP. The developer shared its plans with the CSM under non-disclosure agreements, and apparently all's well in Iceland.

"We have been repeatedly assured that there are no plans for 'gold ammo,' ships which have different statistics from existing common hulls, or any other feared 'game destroying' virtual goods or services," The Mittani said.

"We have expressed our deep concern about potential grey areas that the introduction of virtual goods permits, and CCP has made a commitment to discuss any proposals that might fall into these grey areas in detail with CSM at the earliest possible stage."

EVE senior producer Arnar Gylfason assured, "There are no plans, and have been no plans, as per previous communication and CSM meetings, to introduce the sale of game breaking items or enhancements in the NeX store." He added, "The investment of money in EVE should not give you an unfair advantage over the investment of time."

EVE introduced paid microtransactions with its recent "walking in stations" update Incarna, selling virtual clothing at prices ranging from $5 up to around $60. Yet a leaked internal newsletter contained talk of introducing better ships, ammunition, and weapons for EVE, console tie-in shooter Dust 514, and CCP's World of Darkness MMO. CCP insisted--and the CSM now agrees--that the newsletter was deliberately provocative to spark debate, but players were unsuprisingly displeased.

The CSM has criticised CCP for its poor planning and communication, launching paid microtransactions with only a limited--and expensive--range of items available, not adequately assuring players of its future plans, and being reactionary in its response to the outrage.

"We believe that the situation that has unfolded in the past week has been a perfect storm of CCP communication failures, poor planning and sheer bad luck," The Mittani concluded. "Most of these issues, when dealt with in isolation, were reasonably simple to discuss and resolve, but combined they transformed a series of errors into the most significant crisis the EVE community has yet experienced."

While CCP has the CSM's support now, it seems the meeting process didn't go entirely smoothly. Here's The Mittani and Gylfason chatting about the controversy and their discussions:





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