Jun 21

Goonswarm making trillions utilizing flaws in FW changes

By Xeross Posted in EVE Online, News & Stuff Leave a Comment

2.5 hours ago a post went up on the Goonswarm forums that was quickly mirrored to the EVE-o forums, detailing how Goonswarm made huge profits by utilizing flaws in the recent factional warfare changes.

Through flaws in the new factional warfare mechanics Goonswarm made a profit through destruying their own assets to acquire LP. As a result LP store items could be sold with large profits, causing the market to crash for the items involved.

Reports of earnings in the trillions seem to be the baseline, however an occurance of over 300 trillion in assets+ISK and 250 million in LP was observed.

CCP is currently investigating the situation and will decide on a later date whether the people utilizing this flaw will have their actions reversed. Factional Warfare in the meantime has been fixed.

Opinion

I find it fascinating to see players analyzing and playing the sandbox to benefit them, this included, quite a bit of testing and theorycrafting went into this and the result speaks for itself.

Whether this is actually allowed under the EULA is something we could discuss endlessly but CCP will do whatever they feel is justified.

So, brilliant action, and we’ll see how it plays out in the coming days.

~Xeross

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Oct 20

CCP Lay-offs: Da Fuq

By Xeross Posted in EVE Online, News & Stuff Comments (1)

CCP fucked up and went into the wrong direction, Hilmar finally apologized publicly and said that they’ll starting fixing their shit. After this a stream of devblogs and other positive news came out of CCP’s direction and I started to regain faith in their doings.

However now they are firing 20% of their staff because of their continued fuck-ups. And during a stroke of brilliance someone decided that they should fire part of the community team (Which includes Fallout, Wrangler, Zymurgist and Pann).

Regardless of who is getting fired, this is a difficult time for both the people fired and the people that have to tell them the news. However it is just stupid that they are firing people that are doing a good job, and that were responsible for communicating with the playerbase. Not to forget that this is a PR failure as, logically, the community team is well known by, well, the community.

I regained hope, and felt like CCP finally got their shit together, but now I just realized they’ll never, and that they’ll continue to make shitty decisions.

To Fallout, Wrangler, Zymurgist, Pann, Maidensteel and everyone else that got laid off. I wish you the best of luck, may you find a new (And hopefully similarly/moor awesome) job.

~Xeross

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Jun 25

Fearless: What wasn’t in the EN24 PDF

By Xeross Posted in EVE Online, News & Stuff Comments (7)

So I figured out that apparently the PDF posted on EveNews24 and the unencrypted one I got from Helicity were for some reason partially incomplete I am not sure why this was but okay, so what was missing.

Editorial/Index Page

The first page that was missing and I guess the most interesting, was the index page. Containing the disclaimer that was stripped out for some reason. And some more info on what Fearless actually is.

It does more or less match Zulu’s devblog yet it seems to more vaguely say the same thing as the “Often exaggerated” that the devblog is talking about.

The Disclaimer

The views put forward in this magazine do not refl ect general CCP company policies or decisions and are strictly individual opinions, written by CCPers or about CCPers who feel strongly about these issues. This is confi dential internal information.  lease respect that every company has its trade secrets and that you are privy to those at CCP.

Editorial

Based on the assumption that as a loyal, clever CCPer, you  must have read previous Fearless issues, you know that this new one (the first one this year) is looking kind of different. We’ve changed things: the way you hold it, the tone of what you read in it, the way it makes you feel. Fearless is getting more, well, fearless. It’s asking some tough questions, its writers are experts in what they write about and it’s one of the best issues I have had the pleasure of producing. Fearless aims at becoming an objective news-stop, journal even, for you, the CCPer. It aims to involve you. It wants to know what you think, how you feel, what you do – at your favorite place to be in the day, five days a week: CCP. And it couldn’t come at a better time. As EVE edges closer to being the grand dame of gaming, turning 8 years old this month, and our other game titles continue their prodigious growth (yes, World of Darkness too – you got the t-shirt to prove it), our development road map is shaping up stronger and better. However, as a subscription based golden goose, EVE needs to incorporate the virtual goods sales model to allow for further revenue – revenue to fund our other titles, revenue for its developer: you. The model also supports the notion of creating a meaningful experience and identity for the player (more in our main feature on page 4).

For EVE, it will combine the forces of subscriptions with those of smaller sales. A whole new currency, the AUR, for these sales, means a whole new world of possibilities. And that’s just for a published game – think of what virtual goods sales can do for the likes of a console title like DUST (page 10) and the obvious value they would bring to the fashion passionate in World of Darkness (page 12). But change is married to reservation, and depending on the reservation levels, its spectrum of adoption ranges from those totally for it, to those vehemently against it. A debate piece takes on brave souls who courageously tread on contested territory, arguing about hot topics, thematically varying with each Fearless issue. See this issue’s virtual goods sales argument on monetization versus design integrity on page 6.

But before you begin to moan about the loss of everything Fearless had in the past, we’re still running some regular features – like profiles of people, and photos you forgot you’d uploaded to the CCP library, produced now for your colleagues’ viewing  pleasure. I’d also love to hear from you. Our next issue will have a “Letters to the Editor” section, if I receive enough (fan) mail.

So tell me what you think. As a CCPer, sharing an opinion is the least of your worries.

Employee Survey

Page 10 of the PDF has the employee survey they conducted, one thing does really correlate with Glassdoor.com (This is on a scale of 0-5)

Professional development is well organized within ccP. 2.9
I am satisfied with the air-conditioning at my office. 3.0
I feel that my pay is in line with the position that I occupy 3.1

It has results from both 2010 and 2011 and the ratings have dropped it seems.

Misc

Apparently some photos of CCP employees and some infographic of sorts, not that interesting.

Download

For comparison the old one

Update: Added editorial/disclaimer due to request

Jun 25

So what the hell happened here…

By Xeross Posted in EVE Online, News & Stuff Comments (3)


So just a reference post to give people an idea, and the GlassDoor reviews are interesting anyway in chronological order, more or less.

Accidentally an internal bulletin

My crappy yet possibly useful summary.

Then suddenly Hilmar

And now, will the devs criticize the management, don’t think so:

CCP does not take criticism well and often ignores retrospectives. Criticism is considered to be a negative attitude and is severely frowned upon. A lot of effort goes into maintaining a good morale with a lot of internal PR. After all it’s cheaper to print posters than pay an average salary to employees.

And does CCP care about us the players, nope:

Fun game play is not a priority, promises made to investors and aesthetics are. ‘If it looks good then it is good’ is an often heard motto. CCP is committed to use technology in EVE as well as WoD and DUST, so certain features are made and used in EVE knowing they will not be fun, nor fit EVE and no one expects them to be appreciated by the playerbase. Alienating the playerbase of EVE further. Objections from employees who point this out are waved away.

Have fun reading this and more on glassdoor.com

Hope this brings people up to par.

~Xeross

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Jun 25

Hilmar’s Leaked Email (EN24 Mirror)

By Xeross Posted in EVE Online, News & Stuff Comments (9)

EveNews24 is having trouble with their traffic, so here’s a mirror, well one of ‘em.

From EveNews24

After receiving this email 24 hours ago, I held it up and classified as a troll in kugutsumen.com foreplay, which is where a some of our intel gets validated. I refused to believe this email was real, but evidence, confirmation from several sources including agents with very close ties with CCP has confirmed it, I refused to believe it veracity.

After reading the CCP Zulu release, we broke down as we became aware of the similar direction between the CCP DevLog and this “leaked email”, we decided to calm down and post this after heavily consulting advisors, ex-game developers and well informed EVE online players.

The email to which we hold no authorship, editing, nor claim to be true based on the fact that we are still in denial/shock even a day after, we are assured to have the “Hilmar” writing style, no-one before other than the original source of our leak reffered to the newsletter as ‘fearless’ and the content of the email certainly goes inline with the poorly received DevBlog message CCP Zulu expressed.

We Do not claim the veracity of this email it came to us via a Drop Box (just as the newsletter), yet the evidence has been mounting all day as we keep digging around and other clues has been pooping up or keep in mind that maybe we Eve News24 are being peons to the well planned machinations of persons willing to destroy CCP.

 

Said this, Read It and Make Your Own Conclusions.

 

 

— Email Starts—-

Date: Thu, 23 Jun 2011 18:16:54 -0400
To: [email protected]
Subject: ccp ceo global msg sent today
From: [email protected]
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=”UTF-8″
Message-Id: <[email protected]>

sent by hilmar to ccp global list-

(strt)

We live in interesting times; in fact CCP is the kind of company that if things get repetitive we instinctively crank it up a notch. That, we certainly have done this week. First of we have Incarna, an amazing technological and artistic achievement. A vision from years ago realized to a point that no one could have imaged but a few months ago. It rolls out without a hitch, is in some cases faster than what we had before, this is the pinnacle of professional achievement. For all the noise in the channel we should all stand proud, years from now this is what people will remember.

But we have done more, not only have we redefined the production quality one can apply to virtual worlds with the beautiful Incarna but we have also defined what it really means to make virtual reality more meaningful than real life when it comes to launching our new virtual goods currency, Aurum.

Naturally, we have caught the attention of the world. Only a few weeks ago we revealed more information about DUST 514 and now we have done it again by committing to our core purpose as a company by redefining assumptions. After 40 hours we have already sold 52 monocles, generating more revenue than any of the other items in the store.

This we have done after months of research by a group of highly competent professionals, soliciting input and perspective from thought leaders and experts in and around our industry. We have communicated our intention here internally in very wide circles through the Virtual Economy Summit
presentation at the GSM, our Fearless newsletter, sprint reviews, email lists and multiple other channels. This should not come as a surprise to anyone.

Currently we are seeing _very predictable feedback_ on what we are doing. Having the perspective of having done this for a decade, I can tell you that this is one of the moments where we look at what our players do and less of what they say. Innovation takes time to set in and the predictable reaction is always to resist change.

We went out with a decisive strategy on pricing and we will stay the course and not flip flop around or knee jerk react to the predictable. That is not saying nothing will change, on the contrary, in fact we know that success in this space is through learning and adapting to _what is actually happening_ and new knowledge gained in addition to what we knew before and expected.

All that said, I couldn’t be prouder of what we have accomplished as a company, changing the world is hard and we are doing it as so many times before! Stay the course, we have done this many times before.

(end)

R

Jun 25

lolwtfbbq (Due to a lack of better words)

By Xeross Posted in EVE Online, News & Stuff Comments (2)

Okay so today has been kind of eventful, Helicity has been banned by using the phrase “Die in a Fire”, which really just means “Fuck off” or “Fuck you”. Of course the person handling this “offence” has no knowledge of terms used on the internet at all, so #FreeHelicity.

Now there’s also been a devblog stating that the prices are as intended, and that they have internally been approved because frankly “People also buy expensive clothing in real life, so also in a virtual world” so virtual goods, not microtransactions.

Aka here have these $1000 virtual pants, why, because some people also pay that IRL. Yes real  logical thinking right there, will people buy this, well at least not until real Incarna and then people will still be like wtfno I’ll just keep my standard outfit.

Now CCP Pann posted a thread on the forum asking people for more time (This was before the above devblog), and he/she (I have no fucking clue here) summed up a few of the issues, except for, yes you guessed it, the issue of fearless. Anyway to sum it up, another threadnaught.

Pann had to leave due to a family emergency and had to abandon the thread because of this, I don’t care whether people think this is true or not, just take it as true and lynch some management guy if it turns out it isn’t hmk, thanks.

Also apparently the use of the Fearless internal bulletin is to discuss provoking and controversial subjects in the game dev community. Letting 2 people each take a standpoint as if they are on the other extremes of the spectrum. Whether this is an attempt of damage control or actually true I dunno but it does sound plausible.

This has mostly been a hack it together post with some of the recent happenings, figured I’d throw it out, might do a more thought out post if I find time and motivation (Writing good posts is hard work people, hence the forums are full of terrible posting).

Xeross, out.

 

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Jun 22

So MT for Vanity Items Only… Right?

By Xeross Posted in EVE Online, News & Stuff Comments (2)

Well according to this PDF which seemingly is an internal newsletter sent out by CCP, it might not. We cannot be sure whether this newsletter is legitimate but there has supposedly been a CSM member verifying it’s athenticity.

So according to the newsletter ships, and various items that get consumed (Such as ammo and the like) will eventually see Aurum costing additions. This disappoints me as CCP has always claimed they would restrict the MT to vanity items only.

I also find the tone in the internal bulletin slightly disturbing, it’s too cold and different from how CCP markets itself to the outside world, which really is a shame.

Now we’ll see how this ends, I’m writing this down while I can barely keep my eyes focused, so I’m crashing now, gnight.

Update (June 26th)

First of all the PDF has been verified by CCP as legitimate. It also turned out the initial version released was missing some pages, including the editorial page (see here).

Now the opinions in the PDF were over-exaggerated, as was reported in the CCP devblog and is said less clearly in the editorial. Now as these were purely employee viewpoints it still is problematic. This because CCP promised us no MT, and then we get MT. And then they promised vanity items only, so why do you even need to discuss non-vanity items if you already decided on not introducing them.

And as of today still no word from CCP.

~Xeross

Update: Full version of the PDF now

Update 2: Updated due to additional info found in full PDF

Jun 22

Incarna: Not So Micro-transactions

By Xeross Posted in EVE Online, News & Stuff Comments (6)

With this Incarna release came the micro-transactions, yet it seems these are not as micro as you would expect them to be.

For example the “Looking Glass Ocular Implant” (Or in other words monocle) goes for 12000 Aurum. Now with a Plex equalling 3500 Aurum and going for €20 each that gives us around €70 for a monocle.

All the other items have similar problems, albeit that their prices are lower, yet a lot of them still cost over €20. Which means that you could pretty much buy the same thing, IRL for a cheaper price.

a CCP employee on the forums even replied with something along the lines of “You wouldn’t want a cheap implant replacing your eye right”, to the question why the monocle costs €70. Whether we are being trolled, or CCP is being stupid (Or both!) I don’t know, I guess time will tell.

~Xeross

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Jun 22

Incarna: Captain’s Quarters

By Xeross Posted in EVE Online, News & Stuff Leave a Comment

Yesterday Incarna was deployed, and what didn’t come as a surprise was that they overshot their ETA, by 6.5 hours. Though I can understand from an IT perspective (And this isn’t the main point of the post anyway).

Now the first thing, Captain’s Quarters have been released, so you can now login and walk around. Though it was greatly underwhelming, probably due to a few things.

First there’s the engine still having quite a few bugs and glitches, then there’s also the problem of the station environment being a resource hungry monster, ah yes and you walk way too slowly.

An example of a glitch would be my character completely disappearing apart from his hair, You can relog to fix it, but still it should rather not exist.

Now next to this it eats quite some resources, which can be seen in this here threadnaught this being the first release there’s probably still a lot of optimization possible.

To be honest, getting the new character creator was a lot more exciting than these captain’s quarters, this expansion just feels useless, adding nothing, and seeing your ship in the hangar doesn’t give you the idea of massiveness I hoped it did.

Now we’ll have to wait and see what happens, I’d prefer more focus back on the spaceships again rather, or make something that feels like it adds to the game rather than being a gimmick.

~Xeross

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Apr 11

The Forum Fiasco

By Xeross Posted in EVE Online, News & Stuff, Security/Hacking, Tech Leave a Comment

So CCP made a huge blunder with the “awesome” new forums, shortly after they were opened to the public a multitude of exploits was found, and their response as always was top notch.

In-house Developed Forums…

So one of the statements from CCP was that the new forums were going to be completely developed in-house, but as multiple people soon found out there were certain urls starting with yaf_ in them present in the forum software. And with some googling one finds http://yetanotherforum.net/

So it turns out the forums are using some open-source .NET based forum as their base, which in turn spawns a few other problems (Even though it would’ve probably been easy to prevent them).

Insecurely stored sensitive data

One of the issues found was that certain data was stored in the cookies, and this data wasn’t being validated server-side again. This data included both signatures and the current character ID.

This meant that anyone could pose themselves as any character by changing this value, this eventually resulted in people being able to post in the announcements forum and even read forums that are normally not available to them.

XSS Exploits

As I mentioned previously also the forum signature settings were being stored as a cookie, and people soon found out that one could simply modify that cookie to include any kind of HTML they wanted into their signature, including <script> tags.

This would open up a whole myriad of possible attacks, just check the wikipedia article on Cross-site Scripting to get an idea of what’s possible. Simply said everything is possible though, people can change the behaviour of the entire page that this malicious signature is being displayed on. In short, bad stuff.

Posting from a banned IP

At one point a post was made with the poster claiming they are posting from a banned account from an IP that has been banned, I can’t verify it, but if it’s legit that means they failed to implement the current banning system into the forums too.

CCP’s Response

So far CCP’s response on this has been that they’ve taken offline the new forums and reopened the old. And that on monday the 11th of april more info will be released. There might’ve been other statements on twitter and alike but this is what the official frontpage says.

Not just the forums

Eventually this is now not just about the forums anymore, for example Mandrill’s Loss of Faith post. Which seems to say that more and more things are going wrong at CCP, and that they need a more enterprise-style mentality, because in essence they still work with their hobbyist enthusiasm that they started with.

Now we’ll just have to wait and see what the Monday devblog will be and if CCP will step up their game soon, I definitely hope they read Mandrill’s blog post and I hope they can get something of value from it.

Finally I have to credit Helicity’s post or most of the details I posted regarding the forum exploits, and I also recommend you read that as it’s a good write-up. And also credits to whomever made the banner that I used for this post.

Xeross out.

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