Monday, October 24, 2011

Burn Notice

My name is Shadai… I used to be a spy, until….

Interesting changes afoot at the CCP offices. It starts with a heartfelt letter of apology and a “you win, here’s what you want, happy now?” set of blogs. Then a few days later, the true cost of the revolution comes about.

Cuts and layoffs.

No one likes losing their job. It’s like Jimmy Fallon asking the rhetorical question on the Capital One commercial “Who doesn’t want more cash?” And as someone who’s felt the sting of job cuts and downsizing, I know it sucks.

So my heart goes out to those of you who lost their jobs. I know you are in a difficult time right now, and me telling you that on a no-name blog you probably don’t even read isn’t going to change your situation. And I hope that you swiftly find new fulfilling employment doing that which you love.

To those of you who didn’t get fired, I feel for you guys as well. I’ve been in that situation before too. Where you are glad you didn’t get fired, but you feel bad for the ones that didn’t make it. It’s a general crappy feeling of survivor’s guilt that sticks with you for a few days and just ruins you for the week.

And no, you really don’t get it or understand what it’s like until you are there.

What does this mean for CCP?

Well I find it interesting WHO lost their job, not necessarily the number. First on the chopping block were some people who were directly linked to Incarna/World of Darkness. This makes some sense in a way, and shows the players that CCP is moving away from WIS Incarna/World of Darkness and ready to double-down on more FIS improvements. So ideally, the people who only do World of Darkness/Incarna and the WIS disaster would be dead weight to cut.

However I’m certain there were some very talented people in that bunch. You couldn’t just tell them this is the new direction and set them loose on it? I’m sure they’d go for it. Is this the part where (like every manager in tough times) starts saying how we have to do less with more and all that bullshit?

You’re a major game developer in the big leagues now. You can’t expect them to work more when they are already working more as it is. You make literally a 180 degree turn and tell us (and them) that Incarna is no longer the direction we are going in, and THIS is the new path. Your expansion which is due (again, according to your schedule) in a few months and you have virtually NOTHING to show for it.

Oh right some bug fixes.

And a few UI tweeks.

And whatever you had lying about from the scrapped Incarna code (ie, the other 3 CQs).

And MAYBE some new ships.

So the end of the line is coming, you need everyone focused and on the ball and this is when you think the best time to lay off people is. When you need the most stuff done from scratch in the shortest amount of time. You guys have some very interesting logic there in Iceland. I can tell you the shit doesn’t work.

“Doing more with less” is a myth. And I have never seen any company, ever, have addition by subtraction. Layoff’s never work. They cut into productivity because you don’t have the same amount of people doing the work, and those you DO have are scared shitless they are going to be next. And instead of focusing on doing the best they can, all they can think about is their significant other and/or kids back home and what would happen if they were next to lose their job.

You have failed me for the last time, Community Team.

The other subtraction I found interesting was the bulk of the community team. I’m actually of two minds here. Either CCP thought they didn’t do a good enough job expressing the desires of the players to them, or CCP is the new Darth Vader and failure to quell the players’ rebellion got them choked.

The community team layoffs really have me scratching my head. There HAS to be more going on with that one. I say this because of the revolution that seems to be going on by CCP. For the briefest of moments, it seemed like CCP “got it”. Oh, this game is really about Flying in Space! The players have been generally unhappy about this Incarna stuff for the last 6 months! We need to do something!

Community team, why you no tell us??? You fired!

I seriously doubt the community team ever was silent about what the players were feeling and/or expressing. I’m sure they told their appropriate superiors who relayed that information up the chain of command.

And judging by the tone of this(Hilmar’s first letter about monocles) communiqué to the staff, they were clearly of a mind to listen, right? I mean, when you read that aren’t you stuck by how caring and considerate they are to the needs and desires of the players? No?

No you are most certainly not. Back in the day of monocle-gate, CCP didn’t care at all. I doubt back then they even listened to the community team who was hopefully trying everything short of setting the building on fire to get their attention.

The more sinister side of me worries CCP has graduated from the Darth Vader school of upper management. That is, those that fail, die. Like coming out of lightspeed too close to the system, the Community Team suffered the fate of failing to put down the player rebellion. The same player rebellion that kicked off this epiphany CCP seems to have had a few weeks ago. So CCP removed them and promoted the next nearby Captain to Admiral and warned him not to fail them again. Take note CCP Guard, Shadow, Spitfire and Phantom.


Those next guys better take notes so they don’t repeat the same capital offense. One would think that embracing the Community Team instead of firing them would be the better option. How about a “we’re all in this together, win one for the Gipper” speech and everyone works more efficiently. In a sense, that’s what CCP is trying to do by making the Community Team more efficient. But I guess I have to ask… why did you have to fire them? You couldn’t just bring them into the fold with the other guys?

If nothing else, the Community Team deserves accolades for helping bring about this important shift in public policy by CCP. They don’t deserve to be fired.

So one step forward and two steps back. It’s nice to see that CCP post epiphany is still shooting par for the course.


  1. I think it's more two steps forward (change of focus to FiS), one step back (layoffs).

    Community team doesn't contribute to development or art. Therefore, when cutting chaff, they are the first to go.

  2. Yeah, no. You're wrong.

    Community team members got axed because they're *cheap labor* and *easy to replace*.

    Experienced developer = 5 experienced support staff (because that's what 'Community Team' eventually is)

    One makes money for the company by producing a product. The other costs money for the company by having to help support the product. Nothing on the Winter list will get released any slower because some community guys got let go.

  3. If that Yeah No, you're wrong was aimed at me, I'm afraid you are the one mistaken.

    There were people let go that were not "just community team members"

    If you'd like to really know, read the following. It's excellent.