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Hero or Villan?

Hero or Villan?

Electronic Arts.

That company name stirs controversy among the gaming masses, mainly for not being very successful at hiding their greed, which often has ruined game franchises.  For example:

Star Wars: The Old Republic – Having none of the customize-ability of Star Wars Galaxies, SWTOR did horribly as a subscription model mainly because it lacked a good PVP game, it lacked a good endgame, and despite believing they had plenty of content, found themselves starring down angry and bored players who easily went through all the content the game had to offer in just a few days.  The game almost died, several high-up members of management were ousted, and the whole situation has been panned as “NGE II”.

The game has pulled itself back from the edge, but there is still some anger at EA for them giving F2P players very little to work with in game like less races or equipping armor/weapons from a fallen foe.  Not well done, not well liked, and not something I had better see in Eve.

Mass Effect:  Mass Effect 1, 2, and 3 are great games to play.  The problem comes in with Mass Effect 3’s ending.  Understand, ME3 was touted to everyone, publicly, that your different choices made through ME1, ME2, and ME3 would result in different outcomes at the end.  The result was this.  Essentially the same, exact, ending.. no matter how good, bad, or mundane you were.  A buttkissing interview done by Digital Trends pretty much told the gaming populace that they didn’t understand the depth of the endings.  Apparently, they understood enough to force Bioware’s hand and they made changes to the end game a short while later.

Dragon Age:  Dragon Age provided a wonderful gamer experience.  Then, in the quest for more money, it made Dragon Age II.. minus all the features that made the Dragon Age series loved.  Brilliant.

These are the bad ones I am directly aware of, though I’ve heard of more.  I’ve played “the Secret World”, but lost interest when I realized that every mystery involved magic and demonism.  It got pretty rout fairly quickly unfortunately.. but it was also a subscription model that didn’t make it very far until it went F2P.

Needless to say, who was the head of this group?  Yeppers, it appear to have been a Mr. Sean Decker.  CCP Games announcement says:

Decker comes to CCP from game developer and publisher Electronic Arts (EA), where he spent the last 12 years in a variety of key production leadership roles.  Most recently Decker was vice president of EA’s “Play4Free” group, built from the ground up as an integrated organization focused on building, publishing and operating games based on the free-to-play business model.  In that role, Decker ran numerous studios around the world that released games played by tens of millions of registered users.

Hmm..  So, you picked the F2P guy, who likely was the one who structured the most hated forms of Free 2 Play in gaming history.. and you brought him on to help on Dust 514, the NeXt Store in Eve, World of Darkness, and possibly EVE-VR.  Yeah, color me skeptical.  Twelve years of bad ideas does not make a person good for a position in that field.

However, the news isn’t all bad.

First off, he has been involved in some very good and critically acclaimed games like Mirror’s Edge, and I have gamed long enough to remember that SSI was pretty good at strategy games.

Second, we have the CSM.  Now, the CSM represents more than just a group of voted in players.  It represents CCP commitment to quality and the playerbases’ commitment to quality as well.  That it unheard of in general gaming and Electronic Arts HATES its customers, and sincerely believe that they are little more than Mobile ATMs in the flesh.  The CSM will let the playerbase know right away what they think of Sean, and so Sean doesn’t have much wiggle room to go crazy with bad F2P ideas.

So, where does that leave us?  Well, we’re left with just guessing about what he will do.  Will he embrace the singular culture of CCP and Eve Online and its community?  Will he tried to change everything the moment he sits down at his desk?  Will he pretend to play along, waiting for opportune times to manipulate information going to Hilmar’s ears, perhaps trying desperately to push F2P ideas that are proven failures to a reasonable mind.

We just don’t know and because of that, you can expect Sean Decker to be under the microscope for a very, very long time.