Sunday, October 6, 2013

SOMERblink T20 '13

I had a great blog post planned for this weekend. I was going to talk about how awesome CCP Masterplan is for figuring out how to overcome warp acceleration to make small ships so much more useful in PVP than they are presently. I was going to talk about what a great job the balance team is doing with the ships this round, and how balls-on-awesome the art department did with the new SOE ships.

Instead, I have to talk about SOMERblink again, because otherwise it's like making a report on the Rose Bowl while the f--king stadium is on fire behind me. Thanks CCP!

So let's dive back down into this rabbit hole again shall we? Please first read my previous post, where I go over the issues with giving SOMERblink super special rare shit to give away to promote their service. Done? Great, now let's talk about what is tentatively being called T20 '13 (twitter hashtag #T2013)

Some people were equating the previously revealed part of this swag give away with the T20 scandal from all those years ago, but that wasn't fair at all. Everything was done out in the open, and regardless of whether I or anyone else agreed with CCPs choices on this, at least it didn't look like something was being hidden. This new bit that's come to light though, now THIS is pretty close to T20. It's not exact, but tossing up some serious bling to a bunch of employees of an Eve enterprise that is more wealthy than Eve's most powerful alliances on the sly is eyebrow raising at best, and Jita riot worthy at worst.

I'm about to say some things that are not exactly nice, but I want to make plain that regardless of anything else I say here, I have no problem with SOMERblink. SOMERblink is a legit Eve enterprise. It's creators and the people that run it have found a way to make Scrooge McDuck look like he's in the poor house in terms of wealth in Eve. They sponsor some cool events, support various aspects of the community, and people appreciate that as well they should. But as I've said before... they're a business, not a charity.

Let's start by looking at some numbers. SOMERblink has now given away almost 1.2 QUADRILLION ISK in prizes (we're only half a trillion away at this point, so forgive me for rounding up). That's amazing! That's a hard number to wrap your head around, so let's write that out and color code it. Green will get us to a billion, which most of us can relate to, yellow to a trillion, which is an easier number for the head of a super rich alliance to relate to, and orange beyond that.

1,200,000,000,000,000

So that's 1.2 million billion, or 1,200 trillion ISK. But that's what they've given away. To make math simple, let's say the profit margin on a SOMERblink lottery is 10%. We all know it's closer to 20%, but let's assume that as a responsible business, half of their profits go back into the business through employee wages, event sponsorships, promotions, and whatever else you can think of. 10% profit means we need to take away a 0. That leaves us with a paltry 120 Trillion ISK in profits. Heh.. paltry. Let's be honest, that's a lot of money. How much is it really though? Let's go full-on-super-stupid here, and convert all this ISK to cash for a moment... you know, because it's what the press is going to focus on with this.

According to our good friend The Nosy Gamer, his most recent listing for ISK based on plex conversion puts us at almost $31 USD per billion ISK. Because I like simplicity, I will round down to $30. 120,000 Billion ISK comes out to... wait for it... $3,600,000.00 USD. So, if SOMER only pulls in 10% profit, that's $3.6 million dollars of ISK, to say nothing of all the kickbacks from Markee Dragon for PLEX sale referrals which come out to real life $$$ money coming into the site. I can't begin to estimate what money is flowing in there, but from all accounts, with 200 million ISK in bonus credit per purchase, the business is brisk for both MD and SOMERblink.

Again, there's nothing wrong with this. Good on SOMERblink for making more $$ in ISK than I've made in RL cash for my entire working life so far. That's incredible!

How much money has Jason Parks made developing and supporting AURA for Android that tens of thousands of Eve players use every day to enhance their Eve experience? (hint: nothing) How many trillions has EVSCO pulled in supplying kill boards to almost Everyone in Eve. Chribba runs (what? 5?) websites for the Eve community out of his own pocket. Eve Uni has been making up for Eve's piss poor tutorial for as long as I can remember. Dozens of bloggers are hitting the web every day keeping the Eve discussion churning. If all of these sites went dark tomorrow, Eve would be a far shittier place. If Somerset Mahm decided to pull an Eve-Bank tonight and cash out his ISK for RL cash, some people might not be able to feed their gambling addiction tomorrow.... and Eve would be making headlines in Time Magazine.

SOMERblink employees, already compensated at 1 plex per month and up to 125m ISK per hour of their time are pretty much the best paid "employees" in Eve, pulling in more ISK/hour than just about any CCP designed in-game activity can grant a player. They're doing such a good job in fact, that CCP has slid them a pile of ships worth somewhere between $13,500 and $18,000 (depending on who you talk to) under the table! If they choose to convert to plex and activate for game time, that'll be a savings of $450-$600 each!

But why are people mad? The Ishukone Scorpion only refines for 1 tritanium, and is actually an inferior ship to a regular scorpion. So what if CCP gives a bunch out to their super rich pals in SOMERblink as a thank you for running "one of the most awesome community sites we have" (read: Online Casino). People must be jealous. FunkyBacon is mad he doesn't have an IW Scorpion in his hangar, right?

Wrong.

Even Eve-Bet is stepping away from this one stating "For the record, we would like to state that EVE Bet has never received, nor would it ever endorse, having CCP hand us special "gifts". These sort of prizes should be reserved for more deserving winners and not sites that can afford to purchase limited edition ships off the market like everyone else."

It's the underhanded way this was handled. If I wanted an IW scorp, I could buy one right now, I hear they're dropping in price. CCP could announce today that they are making a 1 off special issue pink Revelation that can jump through star gates, and delivering it to Chribba in the Amarr system. Outside of a few trolls, the community by and large would be perfectly fine with it, because Chribba provides a lot of community service. If Chribba suddenly undocked that ship tomorrow with no announcement from CCP on where it came from, we might have a 2nd broken statue in the Amarr system from the riots as people demand how many of the ships were given out and to whom.

Do you even want to consider what this scandal would be if the IW Scorps were secretly given to the staff at themittani.com?! The Grr Goon sentiment would topple CCP headquarters in a shitstorm tsunami!

The problem here boils down to a few key points:
  1. SOMERblink is just about the wealthiest entity in Eve. They are more than capable or promoting themselves through sponsorship and advertising with various in-game and out of game events. Yes, they give a small portion of their profits to sponsoring worthy causes and in game events. In return they gain advertising and more customers. 
  2. Regardless of sponsorships and other philanthropic deeds in Eve, SOMERblink is an Online Casino, not a community service.
  3. Over the last week, CCP was already perceived as granting incredible favoritism to SOMERblink with lavish prizes to give away that dwarfed any previous community site prize donation by miles. 
  4. The "secret" bestowal of 30 extremely rare ships to SOMERblink employees that was revealed today exacerbates #3, creating what appears to be a scandal in line with ex-CCP dev T20 spawning some T2 BPOs for his friends in BoB.
  5. No criteria have been given, or procedures made public as to how it is decided who receives special CCP spawned ships aside from "when we feel like it".
Look, hardly anyone involved in providing community service to the Eve populace is in it for the money. Unless you're a for-profit enterprise in Eve (Like SOMER or EOH), it just doesn't pay. Sure, some of the fansites get a free account, but none of those people are doing it because they value their time at saving $15 a month on a game subscription. It's a nice "thank you" from CCP, much like the IW Scorpions are supposedly meant to be, nothing more.

All this community has asked for in these cases over the last several years are 2 things. Transparency, and fairness. That CCP hasn't seemed to grasp either concept yet (as demonstrated yet again today) has many people in this otherwise extremely supportive community throwing up their hands in frustration, and in some cases disgust. I can't personally help but wonder how many new cases of bittervet syndrome were acquired in the process.

29 comments:

  1. Great article. With every passing day, I feel more validated by CCP actions that I've let my three accounts lapse.

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  2. Maybe CCP can form some sort of player council thing to run these sorts of things past before they... oh, wait...

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  3. With this whole article converting ISK to cash, at least we know Eve Radio are all RMT fags now.

    Explains why you're always asking us to give you more RL cash, and why CCP is always giving you more free stuff to auction for more RL cash.

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    1. Just to point out ANYTHING that CCP give us at Eve-Radio never passes through our hands, We supply ingame names/Email addresses for winners and CCP deal with it.

      Also In regards to "asking for RL cash" it costs lots of money to run Eve-Radio every month and what we ask for in donations is not even one third of overall costs per month

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    2. So when you point out that EVERYTHING that CCP regularly gives you never passes through your hands, you mean the cash from those auctions too, right?

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    3. If I run a "service" that was made obsolete by MP3 players 20 years ago...and again by youtube 7 years ago...can I have some CCP stuff that never passes through my hands to sell?

      I promise my bandwidth costs are really high. Really.

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    4. Not sure what you're talking about. Maybe you think ER is like SOMERblink and sells shit to you to give you "free" chances to win stuff from CCP. Eve Radio has never auctioned or sold any prizes that come from CCP. Ever.

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  4. One point no one ever addresses: The ships cost that much because people are willing to pay that much.

    Intrinsically they have jack-squat for value. They are shittier, and refine for nothing.

    Just think, somewhere down the line someone's going to fly it..and we're going to kill it, and oh look "600billion isk ship destroyed" all over the headlines.

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    1. Yeah, I mentioned this on Podside tonight. The value of any item is what someone's willing to pay for it. :) The real value of these ships is 0. It's pixels.

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    2. You can make the same argument for the original Gold Magnate and the Revenant. If it's rare, its value is what folks are willing to pay. If people are currently paying 12B ISK for them, then that is their value. As more of these ships are introduced, their value will fall. There are only so many collectors in EVE.

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  5. Repost from Reddit.

    Okay. So let's look at who else should get free shiny's for creating content (this is only half serious and assumed this incident will set the precident).

    BNI – A POS module that generates random T1 frigates, fully meta 4 fitted, every 2 seconds for ½ the mineral cost of normal construction – for attracting and supporting newbro's

    E-Uni – 'Degree-level cerebral enhancers' +9 all attributes for 32days. can be used in conjunction with cerebral accelerator or implants - for supporting newbies and teaching carebears to escape their PvE prisons.

    BL – CUSTOM REVENANT BPC (that can be researched from a standard revenant BPC), builds revenant with special BL colours. - for being the first to kill a revenant.

    PL – 'Scrap' station. A null sec station, to be deployed wherever they want, that looks like the burned out hulk of their dead revenant. - for managing to lose a revenant despite having 12 spai's who could have said it was a trap.

    TEST – fuck, just give them ISK (if they're not disbanded by the time CCP get's round to it), Christ knows they need it. - for continuing to fight down to the last man in the last station when everything prior had them running and hiding.

    Goons – 'Cata-Kaze' unique catalyst x 10. does not trigger concord for high sec ganks, constantly has suspect timer. they'd enjoy that, and it would die quickly when used. - for being the other half of the great war and providing content through events like burn jita and the ice blockade

    RvB – custom paint jobs for all ships flown in their respective corps. Red for red, Blue for blue (Does not change the ship itself when flown by non-RvB members). - For providing a core of fun PvP.

    EvE-Radio – 'advertising drones' that fly around and play EvE radio, because if CCP are going to directly advertise 3rd party services they should at least be donation based non-profit – for being awesome to listen to when grinding through PvE or waiting for a fight.

    EvE Wiki – some collectors editions to give away to the top contributors – for providing an easy to understand guide/information service for all players.

    Dotlan – Collectors editions for all 'employee's' – for providing an information service that has helped thousands of capsuleers find or avoid fights.

    ThatGuyWhoWelpedHisNyxInFlightOfAThousandRiftersIII – Mini-Nyx to replace pod – for putting on an event better and more community-open than anything somer has done.

    .

    And many more. The point is few of them are making billions already off the backs of other players (well, maybe Goons are worse than somer since you don't choose to be ganked in the ice blockade, burn Jita, or hulkageddon, that's you opinion please don't comment here, but they're doing it in-game and i'll accept in-game fuckery as just being EVE.), but alas, at this rate CCP will be giving ships to ISK doublers for their "content creation" first. I suppose they'll order it by who can shit up Jita local most.

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  6. I would´ve almost written a nice, long reply but GOD DAMN I am so fed up with all the crying that is going on lately, it really makes me mad.

    Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING that happens in EVE right now and has at least some kind of unfairness in it and is in some way "news worthy" gets blown up waywayway out of proportion.
    It´s so bad, that once something comes up that actually should get talked a lot about, people are just going to be pissed that there is again something that everyone is mad about.

    I really hope there are at least some blogger/news sites out there that go "yeah, I could write about T2013, whatever, but there is so much good stuff I could write about that noone has covered yet, deal with it".

    It really feels to me that a lot of the people writing news about EVE have somehow the feeling, they need to jump on every rage train to get attention, now that people have seen that you can have a successful newssite about EVE. It is not about opinions anymore, at least not nearly as much as it was before, now everyone writes the same, with different gifs in their article.

    Its boring, its unneccecary and way too one-sided.

    o7 Charlie Firpol

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    1. If everyone is writing about the same thing Charlie, and in a negative way, it usually points to a fairly serious issue. On a slower news week all the blogs are pretty much off on their own tangents.

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    2. No, everyone is writing about it for the same reason you never read "Everything is okay" as a headline in a newspaper. EVE blogs have largely stopped being about opinions but started to seek for more attention.

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    3. If you read the first 2 paragraphs of the article, you will see that I DID have a nice positive piece planned for this weekend. Unfortunately, I don't think it's responsible to talk about the nice weather coming up next week in the middle of a hurricane. From what I can see, none of the other blogs on my blog roll have commented on this particular incident yet as well (though that may change)

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    4. Well, I guess we have different opinions of the scale and importance of this SOMER stuff. I dont see it even close to T20 or Incarna.

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    5. That's the beauty of opinions isn't it? They don't have to be the same as anyone else's.

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  7. Great article.Hell, I've been trying to just get fansite status for The High Drag Podcast for 6 months now. No dice. Oh well, back to my 6 hour editing session.

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    1. I tried now twice, the first time i was denied for http://evepodcasts.com and now I have submitted for a second time. Still waiting to see on that!

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    2. I don't even plan to bother. All the drama I've seen with regards to who gets on and the reasons people get kicked off... not really worth it for $13/mo (I do the 3 month plan)

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  8. Stupid article.
    a) The scorpions were gifted in aouth before the other stupid rage.
    b) There are some bloggers who were giftet with free accounts for a year. 12xPLEX is 6.000.000.000 ISK for a single person
    c) The Scorpions were not gifted to Somer but to the employes of Somer.
    d) this isn't the first time that CCP giftet these Scorpions to players.

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    1. Oddly enough, I brought all that up in the piece you're commenting on, which leads me to believe it was too long for you, and you didn't read it.

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  9. What if CCP gave out Free RL merchandise like Guritas Hoodies and Megathron modles... would people be ok with that since its not an ingame item?

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    1. they do that quite frequently at player gatherings. I think the BS models are all gone now, though. That stuff has no effect on eve at all though so it's different.

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    2. Given how massively rich they are, does that gift have any significance?

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    3. Players care about the game they are paying for. Give them cars and houses if you must. But don't mess with the sandbox!

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    4. For the last 2 posters:
      Anon1: You could make the argument that BoB getting a couple T20 BPOs didn't really affect their bottom line that much either... but it was specific players in both cases that were gifted these things. the IW Scorp is a bit different in that it's value is finite and it doesn't basically print money, but it's still worth quite a bit, even compared to the generous salary SOMER employees receive.

      Anon2: I think you might be on to something. CCP probably could give out a free car or house to some community person, and if it has no effect on the game, the backlash would be less. There would probably be some resentment about people's sub money going to such lavish gifts, but since I'm pretty sure no one in the community will be getting a car or house from CCP anytime soon, we're not gonna have to worry about it. Giving out some RL Eve swag though, I'm positive you'd have no backlash like this.

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  10. Nothing short of a full server restart would get me playing eve again. CCP have been back handing to their pals since the creation of this game. Eve is a shit crappy game and will die when star citizens MMO begins.

    Eve is not real.

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    1. EVE is more real precisely for that reason. Believe me when I say it won't take long for the new shinies to get dirty. If we did not care we would not care.

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