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Problemi spaziali

C’e’ stato, non molto tempo fa, un piccolo “scandalo” (per me puro insider trading nel gioco) in questo fantastico MMORPG fantascientifico.
Non ho seguito la vicenda, ne mi interessa seguirla, pero’ posto qui sotto alcune testimonianze.

Giocatore italiano:

La storia è abbastanza nota, solo che varie testate online ne hanno un
po’ travisato il senso (leggendo presumo certi post sul forum ufficiale)
ad hanno voluto fare lo scoop =).
La questione è semplice: un anno fa uno sviluppatore ha anticipato delle
informazioni sulle patch alla corp di cui faceva parte, permettendo ai
suoi amici l’acquisto a prezzi agevolati di alcuni items che avrebbero
preso valore dopo l’aggiornamento, e fornendo loro dei soldi per
l’acquisto pare ottenuti tramite cheat da GM. La cosa è stata scoperta
dopo poco, ma stranamente (come detto nel DevBlog di EVE) questa volta
si è scelto di non licenziare il dipendente, ma solo di retrocederlo a
compiti non operativi, senza pubblicizzare però troppo la cosa per non
fare brutte figure. Il fatto è però venuta fuori ugualmente qualche
settimana fa (pare grazie ad un hacker, più probabilmente in seguito
alle pressioni della community), e poichè la corp (e l’alleanza di cui
questa fa parte) sono tra le più potenti del gioco, la cosa ha fatto
molto rumore, il dev ha ammesso le sue colpe pubblicamente, la corp ha
perso la faccia e la CCP si è scusata con i suoi utenti, attivando una
task force atta ad evitare che tali cose possano ripetersi in futuro e
vietando formalmente a tutti i suoi collaboratori di giocare sul server
non test (imho una grave perdita per lo sviluppo del gioco, ma la folla
chiedeva delle teste ed è stata accontentata).
Imho nulla di davvero serio, dispiace che capitino certe cose e il fatto
è sicuramente da biasimare, ma dubito che abbia influenzato più dell’1%
dei giocatori di eve..

L’accusa:

THE COMMITMENT
reported by Hellmar | 2007.02.09 15:52:13 | Comments
Most recent events have given me an opportunity to clarify CCP’s official position on the subject of unethical behavior by persons in the service of CCP.Throughout our history, there have been a handful of cases where our employees or members of our various volunteer and partner programs have taken advantage of the proprietary powers they are granted through access and knowledge. These cases have been investigated, prosecuted and judgment rendered. Usually the punishment has been quite simple: termination of employment.

A pivotal case was uncovered last summer during a routine investigation of developer accounts. Unfortunately CCP did not act with the same decisive consistency we have used on previous occasions. Those left at the helm chose to react cautiously, as sometimes is appropriate under these circumstances, leading to more leniency and understanding than we are used to in these matters. Upon review I personally would have chosen to act differently, but what’s done is done. Difficult decisions always have to be made, and we cannot always second guess how these would appear if, in part, they are revealed to outside parties who do not have the same information to base their choices on.

This particular case, involving a single developer, underlined where improvements needed to be made and we have since focused our efforts on reinforcing rules and processes so that consistent ruling is assured. As of the beginning of January this year, we have been building up a special institution within our company similar to the Internal Affairs divisions of law enforcement agencies. For this team, we have assembled the most ardent hardliners in our ranks. They all fully understand the enormity of what they have accepted to do and we are certain that they will be able to shoulder this responsibility.


It is no trivial thing when corruption takes place. In our case it’s no different than the injustice of public servants in the real world feathering their own nests rather than ensuring the prosperity of the many. Living in a country of a comparable population as the world of EVE (Iceland only has 300,000 inhabitants), I sure know how it can feel when governance is not balanced and feeling powerless to stop it. I am certain that members of the EVE community are now going through similar emotions.
I am sure that we all appreciate that it is no coincidence that Dante reserved the lowest level of Hell for “the worst of those who betrayed their benefactors.” In our case, I would regard the EVE community as our benefactors. We are not the “gods” or “the masters” of EVE Online or the EVE community. We serve the community. You have entrusted us to safeguard your hard work.

When the recent allegations came to light, our Internal Affairs department immediately went to work, reexamining logs for all the developers involved in great detail over the course of several days. They have concluded that none of the other developers abused their positions to gain any advantage for themselves or others. In accordance with our rules however, those characters must be removed from the game. Developers have had, and continue to have, characters in many alliances in the game, and it is wrong to assume that the presence of several characters in any one particular alliance is either uncommon, or automatically indicative of cheating.

This incident has raised the question of whether developers should be allowed to play the game they work on. There is simply no way to develop a world like this without experiencing it first hand. You cannot develop it by proxy, evaluate fun through statistics, or make judgments without fully understanding how it is growing and evolving, when nearly every tool can be used by players in ways that were never anticipated. In order to do justice to the game, we must share your frustrations, joys, successes and failures. You cannot fully appreciate the investment of time and effort that players make without doing it yourself, and every employee at CCP is aware of what it is like to work yourself to exhaustion for something you believe in and love.

In ClosingAs we look to the future, we will endeavor to improve our handling of these matters by acting in a manner that is both swift and consistent with company policy. It is regrettable that such instances reveal flaws in our governance, but by the same token, addressing them decisively is what makes our company stronger. We now have resources dedicated to performing audits of dev activity on Tranquility with much more frequency than before. This, combined with additional layers of security, and the non-negotiable penalty of employment termination upon conviction of such acts, represents the full extent that we will go to deter dev misconduct.

The developers of this company will always play the games that they build here. Without being fully immersed in the player experience, perspective, and community, it is impossible to build, maintain, and expand online worlds with any degree of competency. And while that does expose us to some degree of risk, the rewards are incalculably higher. EVE has grown stronger every year since its inception; these bumps in the road are an inevitable part of the journey we must endure as a growing company; and we would not be here today if we opted to isolate ourselves from the player experience of EVE Online.

It is thus that we look forward to putting this matter firmly behind us, and move forward with our continued mission to improve and expand a world that we hold close to our hearts.

Sincerely,

Hilmar Veigar Petursson, CEO
CCP

La difesa:

Hello everyone. Permit me to introduce myself: I was an EVE GM and I have been working as such since shortly before EVE was launched. I have always been proud of the integrity we established in the GM department (which was masterminded by Hellmar, then CCP’s Chief Technology Officer and now our CEO). EVE GMs are and have always been subject to a very strict code of ingame conduct and that somehow has resulted in the most dedicated and hardcore GM team I have ever heard about. Most of the original EVE GMs are still here, enjoying their jobs and playing by the rules.

Having been allowed to take part in birth of EVE and its eventual success against all odds is truly the high point of my working life, a rare privilege. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I will leave CCP when they drag me screaming out the front door. And even then, they’d better change the locks.

It’s fair to say that the original discovery of the misconduct that has rocked the EVE universe recently prompted my official transfer from the GM department to my current position of Director of Internal Affairs. The purpose of this blog is to allow you some insight into my duties and capabilities, as well as give you some background on me and how I came to fill this position.

I was involved in the original investigation of this unfortunate incident, along with the other seniors. Our lack of procedures in cases of this type was painfully evident at the time. The problem wasn’t in the investigative process, it was in the process following the discovery, as has already been detailed by Hellmar in his blog. We have now addressed this, as part of the groundwork for my new post.

From Eve-)’s Dev Blog page:

My job entails monitoring staff accounts, both CCP player accounts and developer accounts, compiling reports on any findings that need to be addressed and asking the questions that need to be answered. I can enlist selected personnel from all departments to help me with my investigations. I have the authority to run database queries, conduct interviews, hire witch doctors and, in general, do what it takes to get to the truth about any ingame conduct I find questionable. On top of that, I have access to all available TQ logs and work with a programmer to provide more detailed logs and reports, as needed.

I am furthermore within my rights to shut down any accounts I find in possible breach of our rules, pending investigation or permanently. I am responsible for setting and enforcing CCP in-house policies. I answer directly to CCP’s Chief Operating Officer and my actions are reviewed by an internal committee to ensure that my decisions are based on verifiable facts.

First and foremost, I still consider myself a GM, here to serve the game, the players and CCP, in no particular order. As before, my job is to understand and enforce our rules, to take action when needed and raise the alarm when something is wrong. Only my jurisdiction has changed. Perhaps my new position will not always be the most pleasant of jobs, but I accept it and I’m glad that my personal intolerance for cheating can be utilized in this manner and potentially benefit so many.

I believed, and still believe that we owe our player community the right to be the focus of EVE, without paid employees using dirty tricks to swing our universe in their favor. Even playing by the rules, I frown on employees being power players to the extent that their gameplay results in any sort of domination over others. I don’t believe CCP employees should run the EVE universe; that spot is reserved for the paying customer. EVE is a sandbox, but it’s not our sandbox. We’re here to keep it clean and provide the sand.

All the best,

Arkanon

Il suddetto giocatore italiano, Franz Von G, ha fatto un riassunto della questione che, dietro il suo permesso, pubblico qui:

– Circa un anno fa uno dei collaborati della CCP, la software house che
sviluppa EVE, ha dato informazioni in anteprima alla sua corp (gilda)
riguardo a certe patch, che hanno permesso grossi guadagni alla suddetta
corp grazie all’acquisto dei beni che avrebbero subito cambiamenti (e
quindi un aumento di valore sul mercato). Ricordo che EVE ha un mercato
totalmente player-based, dunque avere il monopolio o cmq la supremazia
nella produzione di un certo item può portare a notevoli incassi (e
perdita per gli avversari economici, ovviamente).
– Sempre lo stesso figuro pare abbia “truccato” la lotteria delle BPO,
uno strumento grazie al quale (secondo parametri che non sto qui a
spiegare) i progetti per produrre i nuovi item introdotti con le patch
vengono distribuiti semi-casualmente tra i giocatori. Il disonesto di
cui sopra ha fatto arrivare molte bpo ai suoi corporati.
– Il tizio viene beccato, non licenziato (e questo è strano, poichè nei
casi avvenuti in precedenza erano state licenziate persone per molto
meno) ma retrocesso a compiti non operativi. La CCP evita di
pubblicizzare l’avvenimento per non fare brutta figura, nessuno dei
giocatori tanto si era accorto di nulla.
– I BoB (l’alleanza di cui fa parte la corp in questione) è una delle
più potenti del gioco, con i migliori pvper ed indubbiamente i migliori
Fleet Commander di EVE; questo ha fatto si che nell’ultimo anno di gioco
siano riusciti a conquistare vaste porzioni di territorio security 0.0
(il principale campo di battaglia di EVE, dove si possono ottenere i
profitti migliori per motivi geologici e di pve), attirandosi odio ed
invidia a piene mani; come sempre capita in questi casi, qualcuno ha
iniziato a sparare a 0, dicendo che c’era sicuramente qualcosa di losco,
che nessuno poteva essere così forte, ecc ecc.
– La questione è cresciuta, ed è esplosa quando un membro dei BoB,
tramite un’identità segreta, ha aperto un blog in cui rivelava (in
cambio di isk – la valuta del gioco) i loschi traffici della corp.
– Di fronte alle accuse la CCP prima ha cercato di glissare, poi ha
rivelato gli eventi dell’anno prima, con scuse pubbliche del dev
incriminato e ritiro di tutti gli sviluppatori dal gioco.
– Direi che che poi hanno cambiato idea, e per fortuna li hanno
riammessi sotto il controllo di una task force sempre operativa che ne
monitorerà le azioni in game.

Un sentito grazie a Franz Von G, giocatore italiano di EVE-Online

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