EVE Online developers will soon be allowed to… play EVE Online

    
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EVE Online‘s developers have historically had to keep the community at arms length to avoid inadvertently influencing the player-run sandbox. After the 2007 t20 scandal that revealed a developer had illicitly gained rare blueprints to help his in-game alliance, CCP put in place a strict policy on what developers could do on their player accounts, and an internal affairs department enforced it.

That policy has led most developers to shy away from high-end gameplay such as territorial warfare and avoid large corporations, causing a disconnect between how developers think the game is played and how players actually engage with it. At EVE London this weekend, CCP Games announced that this policy is finally coming to an end. So what will the new policy mean for EVE Online and what restrictions are placed on developers now? Read on for a quick breakdown:

One of the harshest parts of the current policy (excerpt above) is that any developer who gets outed as a dev on their player account has to surrender their account. The character effectively goes into “witness protection” to start over with a new name and portrait, and the developer is forced to leave their corpmates behind for good. In a sandbox MMO focused on community-building, that’s a particularly harsh punishment that can kill someone’s enthusiasm for the game.

The EVE of today is also very different than 2007 when that policy went into effect, with players now much more likely to discuss their real life circumstances with corpmates and true anonymity much harder to get away with in large corporations. “Any measures that they would use to try and play with you guys like masking their IPs or not speaking on comms and things like that would probably get us kicked as spies,” explained community developer CCP Convict on the official EVE London stream.


What does the new policy look like?

The new policy will come into effect at some point in December and will allow developers to choose what level of public identity they want to reveal. Developers can still choose to remain secret but can now reveal who they are if they want to and will be free to join players on fleets and voice chat. There will still be some limitations on developers, however:

  • They won’t be allowed to take up leadership positions such as CEO or Director of a corp, or be part of an alliance’s executive group.
  • They won’t be allowed to do any large-scale market trading since they may have an inside track on developments that players would normally speculate on.
  • They won’t be allowed to engage in any “grief play” such as scamming, cheating in any way, ganking newbies etc.

CCP is asking players to help out by just letting developers play and inviting them into corps and fleets as they would a normal player. It’s an odd role reversal as many developers actually know less about the game than highly dedicated players, but part of the reason devs are playing the game is to learn more about how we play. Players are also asked not to bombard devs with questions and requests about game design or game balance and just let them enjoy the game.

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PanagiotisLial1

The big problem is when Devs do not play a game they got little sense of direction of what needs to be fixed and/or balanced, including the priority of fixes. They also cant spot mis-design problems that can be potentially making parts of a game annoying or at least less fun

Mewmew
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Mewmew

I never understood cheating in these games. If there is no financial benefit to cheating to win and you’re just playing to play the game, I seriously just don’t understand cheating at all. There is no pride in the win, there is no point in the play.

Is it to try to get others to think you’re good even though you’re not? So someone will say “Gee, that Cloud759Dog sure is a good player.”? (Point being that it’s not even real accolades to yourself but to some anonymous name).

I’ve always been at a loss for why people cheat in video games that don’t have a financial benefit. Because image matters more to many people than who you actually are maybe?

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Baemir

Just a power trip.

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traja

Cheating is a way to solve a problem. Say you were playing Classic WoW and you needed to buy the epic mount for 900g and at the moment you were broke. You realize that it would take 15 hours straight farming at a minimum to reach that goal, and likely twice that in practice. But luckily you have a GM account that can make it happen as easily as typing “900”.

Long ago I was a GM on a small(ish) private server. That problem solving power meant that almost every GM was using it even though they knew that they shouldn’t. Personally I solved the temptation by not being a player at all.

My guess is that this type of stuff happens a lot more than is reported to the public. It’s in the companies interest to handle it quietly.

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Schmidt.Capela

In single-player games, and in multi-player games where I have the consent of everyone else playing, I cheat and use mods to get more control over my experience.

Take Breath of the Wild, for example; the new weapon breaking mechanic forces me to change how I see weapons, and how I engage with the content, in ways that are hugely unpleasant for me. So, I just modded the game to eliminate weapon breakage, and in so doing could more fully enjoy the game. I often do the same to grinding and even to choices where the frustration of having to make the choice outweighs any benefit the extra commitment would bring, as well as any number of small gameplay details; my typical Fallout or Elder Scrolls install has over a hundred different mods, one of which is a catch-all amalgamation of dozens of small tweaks I make to the game.

The only reason I refrain from doing the same in multi-player (and, in particular, MMO) games is because I don’t want to ruin the experience for the other players.

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DeadlyAccurate

The second worst corpmate I had in the EVE corp I ran was an EVE developer. He had no idea how to play. Got angry if his ships were destroyed. And gave pirates all the tears they could ever ask for when we lost a fight.

(The first worst was a misogynistic asshole who hated me and was trying to steal the corporation out from under my feet).

Covynant001
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Covynant001

Seems like a sensible thing to do, though players will always make accusations of malfeasance whether real or imaginary.

oldandgrumpy
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oldandgrumpy

Wow, that is a very serious change in direction. Someone senior has decided that their is a significant disconnect with the player base.

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Life_Isnt_Just_Dank_Memes

I wonder how many stories there are like this 2007 EvE incident that no one knows about.

Stories like this are always mind boggling to me. How is it possible that no employee has been caught setting up their own gold selling website from the game they develop for? If they can possibly get access to in-game currency they could stand to make a lot of real money for free.

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Baemir

Uhh, pretty sure a JMod (Jagex employee) did just that about a year ago. In fact I suspect he’s responsible for getting my account banned, and Jagex refuses to look into it lol