Yesterday, we covered CCP Games’ controversial implementation of a pay-to-win Prospector Pack in EVE Online. The $24.99 bundle includes a “ready-to-fly” mining barge that players pointed out is a monetization no-no in a properly run MMORPG sandbox; even a Council of Stellar Management member spoke up on Reddit to throw shade on the release.
Now a larger group of CSM members, including eight current members, have weighed in on the decision, arguing that the player economy is “sacrosanct” and that CCP’s increasingly aggressive monetization was already a pain point within the community.
“The one line we have always said should never be crossed is the selling of fitted ships,” the 19 CSM signatories to the open letter write, urging CCP Games and Pearl Abyss to end the sale and never breach player trust this way again.
“Today, you announced a $25 sale that includes a fully fitted mining barge 203. While this is not the first time that the bright line against the selling of fitted ships has been crossed, it is certainly the most egregious example of it. Let me be clear – we do not support this sale, we cannot speak for all of our colleagues but we have not yet spoken with a single existing player who supports this sale, and we think it represents a serious misjudgment on the part of senior CCP leadership that the player base would accept such a sale. […] We cannot, in good faith, tell any player concerned with this sale that this is as far as the line goes, because we have seen, twice now, CCP willingly cross a line that we were confident was strictly off-limits. The concerns that players have that CCP will begin selling cruiser, battleship, carrier, dread and even supercarrier and titan fitted ships for cash – concerns some of us would have said were unfounded just yesterday – are legitimate now, and should be listened to. […] We urge you to listen to player sentiment and pull this sale immediately, and commit publicly to acknowledging that the monetization line of selling fitted ships – or, frankly, any object in the game that is designed to be created by players (through ratting, industry or some other in-game action) as a part of the in-game economy – be off-limits for future monetization.”
Unfortunately, the whole situation is taking the wind out of the sails of CCP’s two other ongoing initiatives. This week, the company also announced a PLEX for Good charity campaign for aid for Ukraine and released the Road to Fanfest patch, with its graphical upgrades, compression overhaul, and battleship buffs. As the CSM reps wrote, the patch “represented a major step forward in rebuilding trust between the players and CCP after more than a year’s worth of changes to the game that have been deeply unpopular” but has now been all but negated by this monetization imbroglio.