CCP Reaches Out to Angry EVE Online Fans

CCP Reaches Out to Angry EVE Online Fans

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As angry players vent their spleens in the forums, EVE Online studio CCP says it has given "carte blanche" to a specialized development team that's working to fix lag issues caused by the recent Tyrannis update.

The release of the Tyrannis update for EVE Online at the end of May brought with it a very big problem for online games: lag. According to a number of angry, vocal players, latency issues have made battles between large fleets, one of the game's major attractions, virtually impossible to conduct. The trouble has resulted in some occasionally colorful and entirely unsurprising feedback on the EVE forums, ranging from the tried-and-true "you suck" to a claim by one player that he was able to begin a battle, make some pancakes and then eat them before the battle had concluded.

After weeks of apparent silence, CCP has finally issued a statement assuring gamers that it is actually on the case. "CCP has invested significant time and resources throughout EVE's history on increasing the performance of fleet fights," a spokesman told CVG. "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 number one development priority and we have given the specialized team carte blanche in re-attaining 1,000+ player fleet battles that EVE is famous for," the rep continued. "With the help of the EVE community on the test server, we believe we are close to some investigative breakthroughs and will continue to relay any progress via our developer blogs."

Whether CCP's statement will do anything to mollify unhappy gamers remains to be seen; at the time of writing, the last two posts in the complaint thread were calling for an apology and a lawsuit.

Permalink

Well its good to see the lag issues getting solved... Or at least i think they are. Or at least they are trying to. But i dont really know about Pancakes.. I could go and get a glass of soda.. But maybe his kitchen is closer to his pc than mine ^^

Andy Chalk:
to a claim by one player that he was able to begin a battle, make some pancakes and then eat them before the battle had concluded.

I like how this guy responds to lag.

Andy Chalk:

Whether CCP's statement will do anything to mollify unhappy gamers remains to be seen; at the time of writing, the last two posts in the complaint thread were calling for an apology and a lawsuit. Permalink

An apology and a lawsuit. I suspect the latter is about being refunded for a monthly subscription card or something?

Either way, hilarious. I still haven't shaken the Nerd Colony image that Yahtzee provided to me. Remains stellar.

Oh I thought you meant the Chinese Communist Party.

Pancakes? The fiends!

But, yeah, I would expect some problems with Eve, it's getting kind of old now, isn't it?

Nice to see they are taking some ownership of there problem and trying to fix it. Wonder if it will be enough to placate the masses though

a complant to CCP:
... a claim by one player that he was able to begin a battle, make some pancakes and then eat them before the battle had concluded.

Considering how long those fights can get, I would say he probably was just a first kill. At least he had pancakes to make himself feel better.

Lag has been more of an issue this time around, though. Even small fleets cause problems.

The Gentleman:

a complant to CCP:
... a claim by one player that he was able to begin a battle, make some pancakes and then eat them before the battle had concluded.

Considering how long those fights can get, I would say he probably was just a first kill. At least he had pancakes to make himself feel better.

Lag has been more of an issue this time around, though. Even small fleets cause problems.

No, it wasn't. He didn't load the grid. Problem is, the lag doesn't just happen in the large fights, it also happens in small fleets (about 20-50 or so). Currently, you can barely have 500 people in a system without lagging, 1-2 years ago you could have 1200 on a non-reinforced, and 1700+ on a reinforced node without problems, only ticktime was a bit drawn out.

The problem also is that CCP officially said they don't plan to do bugfixing until the current feature iterations are finished, this will take about 3 expansions (= 18 months). Basically CCP said we don't care for our players, we just want new ones. I dearly hope CCP at least dedicates one team to repair most of the bugs.

What surprises me is that anyone failed to take the forum shrieking with a pinch of salt. Everyone knows MMO game forums attract a lot of people screaming and yelling, and that the legitimate complaints have to be extracted. Yes, there are problems and yes there are serious complaints to be made, but the vast majority of the noisy ones from the forums are just ill-informed hate-bandwagoneers.

Also, weeks of silence? What the heck? We get developer blogs detailing server hardware in pretty technical terms, continuous activity on the forums from the developers.. maybe I'm missing something, but I can't think how much more could be given without being unprofessional, risking NDA breaches, or giving out guided tours.

The problem isn't silence, it's clarity. The most recent dev' blog, for instance, has set off screams of OMG THEY'RE FREEZING THE GAME FOR 18 MONTHS TO MAKE THEIR STUPID CHAT ROOM. Where did this come from? A quote along the lines of 'After the three or so development cycles we believe it will take to completely deploy Incarna and DUST 514, we'll devote the majority of our resources to fixes and expansion of existing content'. The problem stems from people failing to realise, and then CCP failing to remind them until later on, that in the meanwhile, there would be the same continuous, tertiary focus on fixes and small additions to existing content as there's always been.
Note, the poster directly above me has also fallen to this mistake, and evidently failed to see the inadequately exposed, official clarifications on the subject.

But again, most of that article's significance seems to just hinge on MMO-typical, disproportionate forum rage; there are a lot of more balanced threads and posters about the forums for those who can see past the block capitals, swearing, and hate-mongering. I'm really surprised the Escapist's reporter failed to point out official forums have a habit of being particularly noisy, hateful places, too.

This has the potential to get interesting due to the way real money has gotten involved in EVE Online due to the existance of Plexs and allegedly a contreversial official sponsorship of a real money for ISK exchange which upset some goverments the same way Linden Labs did with their currency in Second Life.

I only tinkered with it a while back, and don't follow it that closely, but as I understand things ships and skills (which decay on death, with reductions to loss based on investment in cloning technology) effectively having real life values attached to them. The value coming from the amount of ISK a skilled player can make per hour which some people have down to a science, vs. the monetary value/cost of a Plex, and what the current cash exchange rate is for ISK to real money. The bottom line is that a lot of people have "virtual fortunes" in Eve Online that can actually be defended as having real world value. Sort of like the whole Arsche Chung [SP] thing from Second Life where she became the first real world millionaire off of virtual property sales and transactions.

What I'm getting at here is that if a fleet battle lags out due to something that is acknowleged as a problem with the game, as opposed to personal issues with connection/computers/etc... the resulution of those battles is going to be in doubt. Not only are people going to lose ships and skill points with hundreds or even thousands of dollars in defensable real value, but since territory that produces ships and makes money could change hands as a result, that issue can become monolithic. All it takes is a bunch of those guys who claim to be able to live well off of playing EVE Online and doing nothing else to lose their livelihood as a result when the company can be blamed, if it hasn't already happened.

Virtual property and real value is already a hot topic, and while I'm sure CCP believes it's covered itself in it's mandatory agreements, how well that is going to hold up remains to be seen, especially if this winds up going international with differant countries making differant rulings on their liability.

I doubt it will happen but I sort of hope this leads to a massive destruction of EVE Online. Not because of any hatred of the game itself, but simply because I've never liked the idea of real money intruding on games like it seems to do there. I feel that games like EVE Online have created atttitudes both among players and companies that have had a negative effect on the gaming community as a whole, and started it along the wrong direction. EVE going down in flames in a very dramatic fashion with jail time and everything else could have a positive overall effect (as far as I'm concerned). If the guys from CCP wind up getting arrested and spend time being extradited from country to country to serve jail time one sentence after another, it might be "cruel" but it would motivate the game industry to be a LOT more careful in ensuring that virtual property doesn't gain any kind of real world value. I've had an extremely negative opinion of EVE ever since I first started to hear about the "Plex" and how it brought real money into the game like never before.

The right approach to take!

You know, that statement they made to CVG is just another spin. CCP has been adamant in the devblog by their exec producers, the meeting minutes with their CSM council, as well as an abundance of posts by devs in various feedback threads. The fight against lag is something they maintain as an ongoing process, but it is not a project of priority. Like corification, it is active - has been for the better part of a year - but does not benefit from prioritisation as their focus - as explained by CCP themselves to players and CSM - is on a prefixed business development path with complete prioritisation of Dust 514 (which however still lacks crucial positions for staff) and Incarna, with EVE itself being in maintenance mode.

In short, it's manipulation by marketing. That statement goes against everything they have said in their meetings with the CSM, in feedback with the players, etc.

Shame.

well first 3 or so years ago you could not have over 200 people in systems without lag, and then there were several patches made the game unplayable with worse lag and desynchs and disconnects. through the 5 years on and off i have played eve i have learned it best to set a really long skill and take a few weeks off and do other stuff while they sort out the lag/bugs/crashes in any given patch.

and about the whole eve=real life money stuff. eve is not second life or entropia online where all the in game currency is real life dollars and you can cash in and cash out funds. plexes are bought with real life funds transfered into game codes and can be sold in game for game cash, but you cannot cash out. selling your eve assets for real life dollars would have to be done via some non game mechanic and is a bannable offense. yes many people have the isk per hours sp per hour things down to a science and run spredsheets and all that non fun stuff but that is just to max their time and kill scores in game not to become real life millionares. eve is a pay sub subscription game not a "f2p" real world economy game like 2nd life and entropia and a few others.

So while some people may have billions in eve cash that moeny is stuck there buying super carriers, motherships and replacing losses in pvp, supplying pos structures and planetary junk now or soon. If eve allowed you to cash out your earnings yea it would become a mess and drag the game down as people used it for a real life job, that does not happen much.

Fensfield:
What surprises me is that anyone failed to take the forum shrieking with a pinch of salt. Everyone knows MMO game forums attract a lot of people screaming and yelling, and that the legitimate complaints have to be extracted. Yes, there are problems and yes there are serious complaints to be made, but the vast majority of the noisy ones from the forums are just ill-informed hate-bandwagoneers.

Also, weeks of silence? What the heck? We get developer blogs detailing server hardware in pretty technical terms, continuous activity on the forums from the developers.. maybe I'm missing something, but I can't think how much more could be given without being unprofessional, risking NDA breaches, or giving out guided tours.

The problem isn't silence, it's clarity. The most recent dev' blog, for instance, has set off screams of OMG THEY'RE FREEZING THE GAME FOR 18 MONTHS TO MAKE THEIR STUPID CHAT ROOM. Where did this come from? A quote along the lines of 'After the three or so development cycles we believe it will take to completely deploy Incarna and DUST 514, we'll devote the majority of our resources to fixes and expansion of existing content'. The problem stems from people failing to realise, and the CCP failing to remind them until later on, that in the meanwhile, there would be the same continuous, tertiary focus on fixes and small additions to existing content as there's always been.
Note, the poster directly above me has also fallen to this mistake, and evidently failed to see the inadequately exposed, official clarifications on the subject.

But again, most of that article's significance seems to just hinge on MMO-typical, disproportionate forum rage; there are a lot of more balanced threads and posters about the forums for those who can see past the block capitals, swearing, and hate-mongering. I'm really surprised the Escapist's reporter failed to point out official forums have a habit of being particularly noisy, hateful places, too.

you forgot to add that the lag started with domion, not tyrannis. otherwise i like your post, +1 cookie for you

skorpion352:
you forgot to add that the lag started with domion, not tyrannis. otherwise i like your post, +1 cookie for you

Indeed so. In fact it was my understanding (correct me if I'm wrong) that Tyrannis made some small improvements in that area, albeit situational and only very minor.

Also thanks for the cookie, it did a lot more good than you might expect >.>

Fensfield:

skorpion352:
you forgot to add that the lag started with domion, not tyrannis. otherwise i like your post, +1 cookie for you

Indeed so. In fact it was my understanding (correct me if I'm wrong) that Tyrannis made some small improvements in that area, albeit situational and only very minor.

Also thanks for the cookie, it did a lot more good than you might expect >.>

Tyrannis didn't improve on things, on the contrary. Aside of being late, and cut in two pieces at the last minute, it made things worse. Tyrannis itself is a pretty light weight expansion to the product, most of the frustration with it comes from the Planetary Interaction feature being only a partial implementation rooted in complexity as an instrument of game design while the traditional PVP element present in every niche of EVE being fully absent, and solely dependant on a potential integration with Dust late next year. It left a feeling of "um".

Edit: I forgot to mention that the introduction of the planetary interaction feature was a rapid succession of what you could call "fail". First and foremost there was the huge difference between presentation, marketing and reality (these worlds are yours to rule vs k, you can put some dots on a map and then click them every few hours to days all over again depending which cycle you choose to run them at). Second the introduction itself ran into some pretty amazing issues on economics .. in spite of bugreports during testing (and lots of them) CCP let a lot of things slip into the real deployment which resulted into major economical impact (if it rings a bell, you could reprocess existing in game items to get years and years worth of Planetary Interaction materials to stock up, or build space stations from these at an in game cost of roughly 4 billion isk instead of close to 30 - and a wide variety of other issues with economics impact). Even today, various exploits exist for Planetary Interaction that remain unaddressed, in spite of having been bugreported long before development stage was over.

If people want to really have some insight, it is worth looking up those CSM meeting minutes from those sessions in iceland, and the now infamous devblog from zulupark. Then put the two next to each other, and watch the followup feedback processes.

Greg70:
[Above]

Sorry, but I'm not seeing how this rant has anything to do with my saying

Fensfield:
it was my understanding ... that Tyrannis made some small improvements [to the lag situation], albeit situational and only very minor

or at least didn't make it worse than it has been since Dominion hit.

Your points have weight in terms of EVE's general situation, I'm sure (even if I personally enjoy playing with Planetary Interaction alongside my usual exploration-play, and look forward to its continued development), but as far as the subject of the post of mine you quoted and framed your post as a response to, and maybe even the subject of this thread, go, they're irrelevant.

Also important to understanding the situation is the interview with CSM that was recently published, wherein CSM addressed the '18 months' concern, along with a few other things. But again, this comes back to my 'clarity, not silence, is the issue' point. That is, to understand the situation, you need to find and read a 23-or so page PDF document (which I did), an interview with several CSM members by another website, and a slightly misleading dev' blog, and then interpret their collective meanings.

So. MMORPG players are angry about their game being changed.

I AM SHOCKED. SINCE WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN?!

ALSO DID YOU GUYS KNOW THE SKY WAS BLUE?

Fensfield:

Greg70:
[Above]

Sorry, but I'm not seeing how this rant has anything to do with my saying

Fensfield:
it was my understanding ... that Tyrannis made some small improvements [to the lag situation], albeit situational and only very minor

or at least didn't make it worse than it has been since Dominion hit.

Also important to understanding the situation is the interview with CSM that was recently published, wherein CSM addressed the '18 months' concern. But again, this comes back to my 'clarity, not silence, is the issue' point.

Oh, you must have understood, that was not a rant, but a summary of observations visible in feedback threads across community sites, but most importantly from the CSM communications and CCP communications.

Either way, Tyrannis did not improve on lag. On the contrary, the expansion itself marked a noticable decline in performance of the cluster, noticable in PVP independant of scale, but also of market mechanisms, contract listing updates, evemail functionality, etcetera. To give an example, one of the commonly heard comments of players appreciating EVE Gate is that EVE Gate provides access to the in game mail, which since Tyrannis is suffering in performance. To the point of simply not being able to use the in game mail functionality for days on end.

I agree silence is not the issue. But neither is clarity. CCP have made abundantly clear where they place their value markers in their development and commercial focus, their allocations of resources, product priorities and timelines, players have made themselves abundantly clear in their feedback - interestingly both on the EVE community forums as on a plaethora of other community sites.

It's a communication issue. Or, you could argue that it is a language problem, where one side speaks a different language and places value on different information then the other side.

Other things apply as well. Do not forget how for years expansions have been cut into pieces, were delivered solely partially, and always with great marketing and massive exposure and great promises of iterating on partial deployments. Unfortunately, this is where overexposure and something akin to a law of diminishing returns comes into play. The type of players EVE attracts and who grow with the product and stick with it, they have never seen CCP deliver a single iteration on any feature. Ever. With a customer base like EVE, something which is one of the biggest strengths of the product because of the sandbox concept and the synergy of building on top of trends and events set by players, this becomes a bit of a stretch. And that is where the bottleneck is really.

It certainly does not help to subsequently see more "marketing", or ventures like hiring PRC social media to track & influence social media exposure & perception of the product. On the contrary. Keep in mind here that because so many aspects of EVE feature sets are only present partially, are structurally limited or segregated, or simply not working as intended by CCP, that it takes players roughly an Expansion or two to punch through the marketing.

But this is where it gets so interesting. In spite of that, players stick with it, for far longer then what I've seen in many other MMO's. It's as if they want to believe because they have faith. The current outcries can be seen to originate in pretty much every niche of the game, from virtual bankers to industrialists who go made because of clickfests, to casual pvp players participating in Faction Warfare which CCP has classed as "not of interest in spite of awareness of broken immersion", to hardcore pvp'ers in 0.0 why scratch behind their ears when they see CCP's resident economist not even make the effort to investigate relations in account numbers and retention of those of their niche and their supporting accounts in other game niches.

Players do not mind CCP expanding the IP established by EVE. On the contrary. But to players it is clear that CCP is somewhat suffering from cubicle syndrome at the top. While developers communicate clearly and quite frequently, it is visible that on a decision level most processes either change direction in spite of the available information, kneejerk to counterproductive implementation changes, or are simply not prioritied - regardless of how suitable CCP's development system of Agile/Scrum is to deliver quality, ahead of time.

The CSM is most interesting in these regards. But, the information their meetings with CCP compiled through those sessions was not really new information. It just was not as clear until the delivery of those meeting minutes.

But, once again it comes back to communication. Players grumbled, were frustrated a bit, but alright we want to believe so on average while people were restless they gave it more or less the benefit of the doubt. What followed was a discussion process where it became clear that communication would have to follow to provide some clarity. What followed however, was a devblog from the new "boss" of the product, who in as little as a single page managed to demonstrate beyond a doubt that on a decision level AND an immersion level of the product, CCP was simply not communicating with themselves. His statements and comments, shocked players to the core. More so even then Nathan's comments, because while those signalled a gap in language and values, they showed that he still had the emotional link with EVE. Zulupark however coldly demonstrated a complete unawareness and failing in communication. Adding historic context to that on Zulupark and prevous historic product processes, players more or less said "now that does it. Later in the feedback thread on that devblog, CCP's CEO managed to make it worse, by showing up with what essentially was a marketing statement, further removing foundation beneath the trust and faith EVE players develop through their immersion.

As I said, it is a shame. EVE was awesome, suffered from growing pains, but right when it's time to stop for a moment and recover a bit (to look at what really grows loyal subscribers who push the game and commercial growth of EVE) CCP engaged in pushing through on product ventures which had long looked as ending up as vapourware. Players understand the business decisions involved, but they are trying to make clear to CCP that the metrics CCP have demonstrated to rely on is only a portion of what really pushes the IP. Unfortunately, because previous technology paths and ventures for Dust 514 and Incarna failed, it means that CCP has to make a major commitment to both these ventures, even without all positions filled, to make up for lost time ... and resource allocations.

Combined with the current state of the product EVE, the visible gaps in communication by CCP (and by result as well as visibility also inside CCP), and CCP's clarity on what they place value on, players are simply raising a red flag. They want to believe, but not unconditionally.

Lag?
In a large fleet battle!?

This is an incredible travesty! Eve's fleet battles have long been shining examples of how hundreds of players can participate in a large skirmish and suffer no effects! I for one am thoroughly shocked at this development and hope CCP restores Eve to it's perfectly lag free nature at once less I write them an angry letter.

In other news, I really don't regret canceling my subscription and getting the hell out of that failtrain of a community.

Holy christ on a popsicle stick at the bottom of my freezer...CCP has been "working" on the lag issue for years now, and has made little to no difference.
Maybe they have been skirting the fact that its a problem with their core code?

oranger:
Holy christ on a popsicle stick at the bottom of my freezer...CCP has been "working" on the lag issue for years now, and has made little to no difference.
Maybe they have been skirting the fact that its a problem with their core code?

Lag was contained after the Apocrypha expansion. Battles involving 1200 people were laggy, but still very playable.

The lag monster came right back with Dominion, though, and has only gotten worse with Tyrannis.

But that's only part of the problem - there's dozens of bugs, some years old, that are still unfixed. And will remain unfixed for 18 months. CCP have officially stated in a dev blog that only a quarter of their devs are actually working directly on EVE, and they're no doubt going to be pushing out even more bug-ridden 'features' rather than fixing anything.

I hope they take a long, hard look at whether Dust and Incarna are really worth alienating most of the playerbase for...

Om Nom Nom:

oranger:
Holy christ on a popsicle stick at the bottom of my freezer...CCP has been "working" on the lag issue for years now, and has made little to no difference.
Maybe they have been skirting the fact that its a problem with their core code?

Lag was contained after the Apocrypha expansion. Battles involving 1200 people were laggy, but still very playable.

The lag monster came right back with Dominion, though, and has only gotten worse with Tyrannis.

But that's only part of the problem - there's dozens of bugs, some years old, that are still unfixed. And will remain unfixed for 18 months. CCP have officially stated in a dev blog that only a quarter of their devs are actually working directly on EVE, and they're no doubt going to be pushing out even more bug-ridden 'features' rather than fixing anything.

I hope they take a long, hard look at whether Dust and Incarna are really worth alienating most of the playerbase for...

Honestly, I hope CCP gets itself optimized somehow, and starts improving what it has rather than trying to over extend itself. I don't mind incarna, and even kinda look forward to it to the point where i may even re-subscribe, but if they don't fix the core issues, EVE will continue to go off the rails.
And thus will not see my money or interest.

oranger:

Om Nom Nom:

oranger:
Holy christ on a popsicle stick at the bottom of my freezer...CCP has been "working" on the lag issue for years now, and has made little to no difference.
Maybe they have been skirting the fact that its a problem with their core code?

Lag was contained after the Apocrypha expansion. Battles involving 1200 people were laggy, but still very playable.

The lag monster came right back with Dominion, though, and has only gotten worse with Tyrannis.

But that's only part of the problem - there's dozens of bugs, some years old, that are still unfixed. And will remain unfixed for 18 months. CCP have officially stated in a dev blog that only a quarter of their devs are actually working directly on EVE, and they're no doubt going to be pushing out even more bug-ridden 'features' rather than fixing anything.

I hope they take a long, hard look at whether Dust and Incarna are really worth alienating most of the playerbase for...

Honestly, I hope CCP gets itself optimized somehow, and starts improving what it has rather than trying to over extend itself. I don't mind incarna, and even kinda look forward to it to the point where i may even re-subscribe, but if they don't fix the core issues, EVE will continue to go off the rails.
And thus will not see my money or interest.

yes, lets have all the artists and coders working on the server tryign to fix lag. nothing could possibly go wrong with that.

thay have already stated the appropriate people are working on the lag. as for other long standing issues, its not as simple as changing a line of cade, otherwise bugs would get fixed within days of first being reported and all games would be perfect

I hope they get the lag sorted out even though I don't play anymore. I loved the huge fleet battles.

 

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