Tantrums and Trust

I tried to write a blog post a while ago about the animosity between some quarters of the EVE player base and CCP. What might have been the cause of it, and could CCP do anything to fix it? The post got so complex that I ended up abandoning it.

There were two aspects of my original draft that I came across today which I thought I’d throw out into the blog anyway.

The first relates to what we might classify as the irrational or rude hostility from some players – where if CCP sat down and looked closely at the issue there would be no real justification for the reaction. Interestingly I thought their best approach was probably to take on some parenting advice.

As I have mentioned, my six year old daughter has some challenging behavioural issues. CCP may need to approach such conflict as we do our daughters tantrums. Don’t pander to it, don’t reward it, don’t fuel it with attention; just stay calm, fair and consistent. It is not a fix, but it can help diminish the impact of the conflict.

The second related to trust.

My father did not have an ideal upbringing. His parents divorced when he was young, his Dad a womanising chain smoking drunk, his Mum self-centered and manipulative.

Dad took the lessons of his youth to heart, never smoked, rarely drank, never raised a hand against Mum, and always ensured we had a stable home with a roof over our heads and food on the table. He has been married to my mother for around 45 years now, and there is much I can commend him for.

However he also carries not so praiseworthy baggage. He has been conditioned to selfishness, which he is somewhat blind too; and also not to trust people. This includes my Mum – who is quite literally the most trustworthy person I’ve ever met.

I’ve also taken the lessons of my youth to heart. I try to mimic the good and avoid the bad examples my father set. Next year will be the 20th wedding anniversary for my wife and I, and our 25th year of being a couple.

Up until a few years ago, to the chagrin of my father, I trusted my wife implicitly. My natural inclination is to be circumspect, but I worked to keep that out of my marriage. When my wife turned 40 however she had what might be described as a mid-life crisis. She became more self-centered, and through a series of incidents I learnt that she was more inclined to hide the truth if inconvenient that I realised.

So trust is something I’ve had a focus on for most of my life.

From the T20 / Band of Brothers scandal, to their apology over Incarna and the Greed is Good memo, there have been a number of high profile situations over time where CCP have damaged the trust the players had in them.

It has been a couple of years and my wife is in a different head space now and has moved on. Just quietly however between you and me, I’ve never worked out how to fully get back to that 100% implicit trust. It might be 100% some days, 95% others, but my trust in her hasn’t’ been completely repaired.

I don’t really know how CCP can fix issues of trust between them and players. They have apologised, put steps in place to reduce the chance of it happening again, and for some areas shown their good intentions by avoiding repeating the same mistakes. Is it basically up to the players to make peace over trust issues, and if so, how?

Anyway – I found the thought process interesting.

7 thoughts on “Tantrums and Trust

  1. Hey there again,
    WOW I am just connecting with you at the moment. Your last post and now this one, very thought provoking.

    Trust is a very difficult thing to recover, and to be honest once trust is broken, there will always be instances where it wavers (no matter what).
    I am just coming out the other side of the most difficult time in my life.
    Been in a relationship for 23 years, Married nearly 19.
    Early on in our relationship, wife had broke my trust (yep with someone else). Because children involved I thought I got over it but over the years certain behaviours would remind me of that time. Even after counselling, I thought I was going mad. Talk about, worked through issues yet I still had these feelings sometimes. What was wrong with me. Wife use to say I was insecure etc. However just little things or not telling me information would make me go hang on. Anyway 20 years later same thing mid life crisis came in, wife started night clubbing. Meeting other men etc and well lets say kids now live with me, she has moved on.

    So same with CCP, while players might think that yep they are all good, and CCP thinks things are moving forward, sometimes just the slightest comment, action or lack of or hidding of information will bring up feelings that you think have been dealt with but remind you that trust had been broken. An apology is nice but as the saying goes…
    It can be forgiven, but not forgotten…

    • I can understand why that would be one of the most difficult times in your life. I’m glad you still have your kids. I’m not sure CCP, or I for that matter, would like the feedback that trust can never be fully regained!

      You are right about how little things can suddenly bring the trust thought back in your head. That is probably what CCP is up against with some players. I will have to think more on it.

  2. As one who often partakes in anecdotes to get at a point, I appreciate the desire to step well outside the bounds of a business/customer relationship in hopes of illuminating something about that relationship. At the same time, I must also caution that when one does this sort of thing one needs to remain mindful of the significant differences between our relationships with CCP our relationships with intimate family.

    CCP is merely an MMOG producing business. Intimate family sits bestride the very heart of our identity. It would behoove us to keep that vast gulf of difference in mind. When intimate family breaks faith one is in for excruciatingly difficult times – it’s intimate family after all. But when an MMOG producer breaks faith – well, it’s merely a video game.

    Some terribly important caveats:

    1) This is not to say that when CCP and/or its players break trust, other examples of often heart breaking bad faith experience won’t come to mind. Of course they do. We bring our history with us wherever we go. Still we have to foreground the importance we wish to attach to the disparate relationships. Intimate family does and should deeply matter. Video games, not so much. Though I spend a huge amount of time playing Eve I very consciously keep it in a subordinate place. I must always be able to up and walk away at will. I prefer my video games breezy, even time intensive, intriguing games like Eve.

    2) This is also not to say that the relationships we develop with real people via the game don’t matter. Those relationships are real. They matter a lot. Rather, it’s to say that we must be cautious about confusing the vehicle that facilitates the relationship (video game interactions) with the relationship itself. In my particular case I try to instantiate this recognition in two ways. First, though I very intentionally play Eve cavalierly, I don’t treat the friends I’ve found here cavalier. Accordingly, if I decide to walk away from Eve I’ll announce to the friends that I am doing so and here’s my real life contact information because I wish our friendship to survive what I’m about to do. Conversely, if a friend walks away from Eve, I expect much the same of them. If they don’t provide such information or, when information is dutifully exchanged but the friendship doesn’t survive the change I have concrete information of just how centrally important the friendship really was.

    Anyway, this is how the hands behind the Dire attempt to navigate such things. Your mileage may vary.

    • You make a great point – I’ve remarked many times before that players do need to remember that EVE is at its heart just a game.

      I am glad you called out my analogy. I think you are right – and that for players that care to consider it, the relationship between then and CCP should be significantly different than those between them and their families.

      My thoughts however were directed towards the animosity some players show, not the general relationship. I think it is important to remember how powerful the emotions can be between a person and a commercial brand. To mention the most obvious example, many people will have a favourite sporting franchise that they are very passionate about that goes well beyond just entertainment. I see that happens for some EVE players too. Their reactions to CCP are at a more personal level.

  3. The Trust Relationship between the player base and CCP is a real one. Often when things come up, when wording is suggested in a particular way, how it comes across matters. The player base was harmed in the past by CCP and they do not trust CCP as they might. The fact that CCP now and CCP then is not the same people does not matter to most players. Every time I hear t20 waved around for instance I sigh a little bit inside. The players see CCP not the members and that is something that the current employees must remember when interacting.

    Things that hurt us stay much longer then things that were pleasant. It is a very hard position for them to be in. Some were not employees when these past harms happened but they have the mantel of the company and people still react to it. I do not think that CCP has to fear the past and let it hinder current decisions. I do think that they need to debate the past when they message simply to stop these upheavals.

    Beyond that, of late, I have thought deeply upon behavior. I haven’t written about it because I fear my words will only sound bitter. There is a lot of enablement of bad behavior in the player base that bothers me. From people accepting that people will be jerks on the internet so it should just be ignored or you should expect it to people saying that the assault on individual employees is their own fault because if they hadn’t made development decisions they did people might not believe made up facts.

    It makes me wonder how many people wear societies rules of decency as a poorly fitting cloak that they cast off the minute they step into a place of privacy.

    • My original article became unstuck over writing about the behaviour of the players. Why were some trolling, why were some seemingly championing for the failure of the game, why was there a lynch mob mentality, and what about that huge sense of self-entitlement. My post kept coming back to what was going wrong with society.

      There is one thing however I try to remember. You said “the fact that CCP now and CCP then is not the same people does not matter to most players”. I think it is probably wrong to say “most”. When I drove to work each morning I would invariably see rude and aggressive drivers, and it would put me in a bad mood. I would catch myself thinking what the hell was going on with society. Then I would stop to consider that I might see 1 or 2 bad examples on my drive each day, but it was in amongst the thousands of cars quietly doing the right thing.

      I think if you remind people that CCP is a business, not a person, that has changed a lot over time, most would understand and accept it.

      I think the most public and poor behaviour is probably from a fairly small minority of EVE players. It is not to say they are not doing a large amount of harm – but the majority of players are probably just quietly going along minding their own business.

  4. Also take into account the new players. I started in 2012 and T20 and Incarna is just a wikipage with information for me.
    For me Incarna had an idea to sell overpriced items. I would love those overprice items, but they out of my budget range. So is a luxory car, but I dont riot at TESLA, or at NASA for a cheap trip to the ISS, meanwhile I envy TESLA drivers and rich people going to Zero Grav, but they are spending their money, making jobs, and supporting NASA, so it’s also great in my viewpoint. Some people would have bought those items and CCP could hire more ppl for developing the game, which would benefit me too.

    So as a new players I dont have trust issues with CCP. T20 was one man acting not CCP, expecting a company to not have bad worker decisions in it is unreal and more importantly unfair.
    As for Incarna, I dont understand the people’s problem with vanity items.

    And the “Greed is good” comment? Yes it would be great, if CCP sold overpriced items for people who can afford it, and could hire more people to develop the game. Greed is not good, it’s awesome.

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