Eurogamer: So what do you see as the key problems facing Eve Online at the moment?
Alexander Gianturco: I think the key problems are obvious to a wide range of players. The development of the Incarna and Tyrannis expansions are aimed at Dust and World of Darkness, essentially creating new technologies for those games. The majority of the people working on "Eve Online" are no longer developing the core product. The neglect of the content, and the game that subscribers are used to playing, is causing stagnation.
We talk a lot about "failure cascades" in Eve. I've spent my entire time in the game obsessed with them, it's all I ever dealt with as a spy, trying to induce them in order to destroy Alliances and break social bonds. It also meant I've learned about maintaining an Alliance - if you watch how other people f**k up, you get good at not doing it yourself. In theory at least.
But MMO servers can experience failure cascades. Once they go beneath a social critical mass, you see server merges. But Eve is a fragile ecosystem - it's one shard and never in Eve's history has there ever been an expansion that didn't result in a spike of interest.
There have been hit-and-miss expansions, but they at least logged on. With Incarna, it's like it didn't even happen. The expansion was supposed to be over by now, it's September - we're supposed to have four Captain's Quarters, multiplayer establishments, and contraband gameplay by now. We still just have one Captain's Quarters.
Eurogamer: What needs to be done to resolve these problems and restore the trust between CCP and the players?
Alexander Gianturco: It's a two-part question. The situation is unique with CCP because they primarily hired people who played Eve. People who go to Reyjkavik to work with CCP want to develop Eve Online, and historically Eve is a game about spaceships. That's why you saw the leaks come through - the employees that came there and didn't want to develop World of Darkness, they wanted to develop spaceships.
The second part of the question - CCP needs to very publicly step away from the precipice and acknowledge that they have neglected Flying-in-Space. They need to provide us not only with the fixes that are needed (there are a number of sucking chest-wounds which are ruining FiS right now), but new content.
We need a full-scale expansion which has everyone in the Reyjkavik office working on it - we need new ships, new regions, new excitement. The tagline the CSM has been using recently is "We need something new to do, not something new to wear."
Eurogamer: Why haven't the players seen the minutes from the emergency summit held at the end of June. What's holding them up?
Alexander Gianturco: I haven't publicly talked about it much because the minutes are an issue of great concern to the CSM because it's a council "sovereignty" issue - but it's not something that players are going to get in a snit about, even though I think they should. It's not an effective rallying call.
The minutes situation has come up because CCP essentially tried to spin or adulterate or soften the tone of those minutes. They're normally very factual and CCP has only ever edited in the past due to NDA reasons, they have never tried to change adjectives.
If CCP's version of the minutes had been released, there would have been riots again and a massive crisis. They were so full of nauseating buzzwords, it read like a marketing drone's advertising for Eve Online, with a passive voice for the CSM.
We might have written: "The CSM said that the players are extremely unhappy with x, y and z." In the edited version it would say something like: "It was implied by the CSM that, in their view, the players might be concerned that..." So many mitigations and clauses, with CCP always talking in the active voice.
I used to be an attorney before I retired and I was like: "Oh, come on guys, this is transparently insulting." But I guess they thought they could pull one over on us. The CSM has a lot of professionals on it, a lot of former businesspeople, current businesspeople.