Devs Play EVE - CCP Policy Change
At EVE London in November, CCP announced a significant change to internal policies which govern how CCP employees interact with players when using their non-developer characters in EVE Online.
Our long-standing policy has been that a CCP employee must maintain anonymity when playing EVE on their player characters. While this was intended to be a safeguard against creating a perception of developer bias towards certain in-game groups, the unintended consequence was that it has prevented developers from fully engaging with certain areas of the game.
Although this affects developers partaking in many playstyles, it especially applies to engagement with sovereignty nullsec and wormhole groups. Due to the nature of EVE Online these groups in particular often have very sophisticated security measures in place to prevent infiltration by spies and attempts by a developer to hide their identity may only heighten suspicion and lead to them being exposed.
Additionally, the more front-facing developers at CCP can be quite well known in the community, to the point where their voices may be easily recognisable to players on comms when participating in fleets and other activities.
This all adds up to a situation where the probability of a developer’s identity being discovered is quite high, and as you can see in this excerpt from our long-established policy, being “outed” creates a big headache for both the developer and our internal affairs department:
“Employees should contact a Lead Game Master or IA immediately if their in-game identity is compromised or made public. The compromised character should not log into the game until the matter has been investigated and may be moved or removed, depending on circumstances.”
The risk of exposure and the consequences coming from it has had the unfortunate but understandable effect of discouraging many CCP employees from embracing certain playstyles and instead nudged them into largely solitary existences in EVE Online such as playing solo, retreating into alt corps, or sticking to small, CCP-only corporations where hiding their identity doesn’t pose an issue.
So it’s time for a change. Effective today, this policy has been updated to remove the requirement for anonymity. Developers may now play where and with whom they wish, and may decide for themselves what level of anonymity they want to preserve.
This policy change has come about from many discussions with EVE players at gatherings, advice from the CSM and internal discussions within CCP, and we feel that the benefits of this change are clear: lifting the restriction on sharing our identity will enable the developers to participate more fully in EVE Online and in doing so gain a better understanding of the experiences players enjoy and challenges they encounter in the game.
However, for this to work we’re also going to need some help from you, our players. It can be a bit daunting for some developers to reveal themselves and to make sure everyone is comfortable and having fun with you we humbly ask that you respect the following requests:
1. Let us suck
Not everyone who works at CCP is an EVE veteran. Lots of developers may not have roles at the company that have anything to do with design, content or game balance but still want to play EVE anyway. Others might be industry veterans who are skilled in their fields but are new to CCP and EVE and are learning the game as well. So if one of us leeroys a gate, misses your rep broadcast or asks a question about something basic you think should be common knowledge please don't come down on them hard about it. We ask for your patience while we're getting used to this new approach.
2. Let us play
This change will open up more ways for us to enjoy EVE so that we can develop a deeper understanding of the game and strengthen the connection with the players. If you have a known developer in your corp or alliance please don't come at them with balance issues, design ideas or "CCPlease" every time they log in. We already monitor various platforms to gather valuable feedback from the community and we'll continue learning about the issues you face just by interacting with you normally and playing the game together. If a developer doesn't have a "CCP" in front of their name at the time just treat them like you would any other spacefriend. It could have a negative impact on participation if logging in to play EVE began to feel like "work". And sometimes you may need to be our space police as well if you think that a developer is being made uncomfortable by other players within your corp or alliance due to their role as a CCP employee.
3. Leave the tinfoil at home
If you run into an opposing fleet that you know has a CCP employee in it, relax - we're not using dev hacks to get intel on you or buff our resists or using any ~space magic~ stuff like that. It's strictly forbidden for devs to cheat in any way. We have to earn our ISK in the same ways you do, it takes just as long for our skills to train as yours do and if we want to buy a dank SKIN or some PLEX we have to open up our own wallets just like everyone else.
This is also a good time for a reminder that attempting to impersonate CCP employee is a violation of the Terms of Service:
"You may not impersonate or present yourself to be a representative of CCP or an EVE Online volunteer. You may not impersonate or falsely present yourself to be a representative of another player, group of players, character or NPC entity."
We at CCP are very excited about this new approach and the potential it has for guiding the development of EVE Online in the future. The quotes below are just a small selection of the comments made about this change during our internal discussions at CCP. They weren’t written with a public audience in mind, so you can see how genuine the enthusiasm within CCP for this really is:
We hope that you are as excited as we are for the possibilities that this will unlock. We’re looking forward to playing EVE with you again, properly.
See you in space! :)
P.S. Is anyone recruiting?
In the interest of transparency the updated part of the policy which pertains to what has been discussed here follows:
Updated CCP policy for employees playing EVE Online on player accounts. Effective 16 December 2019.
Most of the following should be common sense and can be summed up with:
- Be professional!
- Never cheat or otherwise misuse your position as a CCP developer.
Player identity as a CCP employee
The identity of an employee's CCP Player Character(s) is anonymous by default. An employee can however choose to publicly reveal their identity as a CCP employee.
- Employees can mix and match public & private characters. I.e. an employee can have two anonymous characters and three public characters.
- It's up to the employee to decide how public they want to be.
- Being public can mean anything from telling a select few people about your employment at CCP (i.e. your close friends or corp recruiter), to full outwards transparency.
- It's up to the CCPer to set these boundaries and enforce them. If you wish to remain relatively private, have that conversation with your friends up front.
- Never mention another employee's in-game identity in any way - it is up to each employee to decide the terms of his/her own anonymity.
- Contact IA first before going public.
- Characters are vetted to ensure other CCP staff who want to remain anonymous aren't inadvertently outed through previous association.
- Characters that have been members of CCP-only corporations - or participated in CCP player character fleets / roams - may need to undergo a witness protection process before going public.
- Once a character is public, it generally cannot go back to being anonymous. Witness protection can be offered in exceptional circumstances (i.e. severe harassment)
Developers who've chosen to publicly reveal their identity must take extra care! You are a representative of CCP and anything you say may be understood as such.
- Follow the CCP Social Media Guidelines at all times when communicating on your player character.
- Take particular note of the 'Representing CCP or as CCP affiliated employee on Social Media and Forums' section.
- Follow these guidelines both in-game and out of game when interacting under your player identity.
- Always be professional & respectful towards our customers
- Never joke about "dev hacks" or otherwise having any kind of advantage over other players.
Keep work & play separate and avoid having deep work-related discussion while on your player character. Even with the best of intentions, it's not a good look if certain in-game organizations are perceived as having special insight into upcoming features or bug fixes due to CCP Dev membership.
- Redirect players to official channels when probed about work related matters, such as suggestions, feature requests and questions like "when will this bug be fixed?".
- Don't discuss announced but unreleased features. Point to dev blog(s) & forum discussion threads instead.
- Direct players to the in-client bug report form, support help center and forums.
- Remember you can always state: "Sorry but I am not working now, I'm playing in my free time."
IA Monitoring & Penalties
- CCP Employee Accounts:
- Are monitored and audited by IA. Reports of potential CCP Developer misconduct are also investigated by IA.
- May be frozen if a routine audit raises suspicion of potential misconduct.
- May be frozen during investigations into credible reports of employee misconduct.
- In case of a verified breach of the EULA/TOS, regular penalties will apply to CCP Player Accounts - Warnings, temporary or permanent bans will be applied as appropriate according to standard procedures.
- In case of serious infractions (such as verified cheating or misuse of insider knowledge and Developer Tools), further disciplinary measures - up to and including termination of employment - may also be taken by CCP.
The full text of the CCP Bible as it's known is available here.