CCP CEO apologises for EVE Online fan 'estrangement'

By Alice O'Connor, Oct 06, 2011 12:30pm PDT

The CEO of EVE Online developer CCP has apologized for the "estrangement" felt by many fans due to its focus on the newly-added human avatars. The Icelanders have now refocused on the MMO's core element of pew pew Internet spaceships, and revealed a little of plans for a large update this winter.

"The estrangement from CCP that many of you have been feeling of late is my fault, and for that I am truly sorry," wrote CEO Hilmar Veigar Pétursson.

"Somewhere along the way, I began taking success for granted. As hubris set in, I became less inclined to listen to pleas for caution. Red flags raised by very smart people both at CCP and in the community went unheeded because of my stubborn refusal to allow adversity to gain purchase on our plans. Mistakes, even when they were acknowledged, often went unanalyzed, leaving the door open for them to be repeated."

Pétursson recognizes that the much-hyped 'Incarna' update fell far short of expectations, calling it "a prototype feature that we foolishly promoted as a full-blown expansion." Incarna was supposed to let players step into human avatars for the first time, roaming space stations and even running their own bars and shops.

Instead, Incarna launched as single-player captain's quarters which are little more than a room with buttons to open menus, and only reflect one of the game's four space station styles. It certainly didn't help that there was much grumbling over microtransactions, though CCP did defuse this by sharing its secret plans with the player-elected representative council.

Pétursson takes responsibility for launching Incarna in such a sorry state and for the developer's poor communication with players. He also acknowledges that focusing so much on Incarna was detrimental to the core space play.

However, he insists that the Incarna will one day help open EVE up to a wider audience, and is important for EVE. "If we don't evolve our technology, our game design and our revenue model, then we risk obsolescence, and we just can't allow that to happen to EVE or to our community," Pétursson said.

CCP's next move is to reinforce the pew pew with this year's winter expansion, focused on improving warfare and PvP. It'll bring balance tweaks, new modules and drones, and the 'time dilation' tech CCP has been teasing to stop large battles from being ruined by lag.

The expansion will also add bring a more legible font, captain's quarters for the remaining factions, and an option to disable the new Incarna docked station experience--bringing back the widely-missed 'ship spinning' hangar view. CCP says that it should go live "well before Christmas."

"We all know that much quoted phrase, 'It's not what you say, it's what you do,' that will make the difference here," Pétursson said. "From now on, CCP will focus on doing what we say and saying what we do. That is the path to restoring trust and moving forward."

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