EvE Online – Ghost Training Whisperer Getting Hoarse

EvE Online – Ghost Training Whisperer Getting Hoarse

I’ve dabbled in EvE Online for over four years now, with my longest continuous stretch being about a year of that time. I’ve played the Empire side of things, co-owned a research POS in low-sec space, and lived, ratted and mined in 0.0 for a while.

I’m familiar with EvE Online, to put it mildly.

CCP has a unique corner of the MMORPG landscape; there’s truly nothing else like it. However, CCP seems determined shoot themselves in their foot (public relations-wise) on a regular basis; the latest shot was fired on the official forums earlier today by CCP Fallout:

A long overdue and much needed change will be put in place with the Wednesday, 15 October 2008 patch. Ghost Training, the continuous skill gain on accounts in an inactive or expired state – will no longer function after Wednesday, 15 October 2008. This practice upsets the balance of the game, and capsuleers who actively put their time and energy into working on their characters will no longer be unfairly affected by those few who have not.

This immediately prompted a Threadnaught to spawn, running to 49 pages in the six hours following CCP Fallout’s post, sprinkled with…well, with what you would expect, ranging from the attempts at logic:

Please try to explain this a bit better. How are people actually putting their energy and time into clicking on a skill? Since skills train automatically without any actual practice.

I believe if this will be implemented, EVE will not just lose a lot of players but a unique feature which made it attractive among other MMO’s.

To the accusatory:

This idea is full of fail.
Ghost skill training has NO effect on active players, so why do you tell us this bullsh*t about ‘unfairly affected’ and game balance? Why not just admit that this change is implemented to try and get more income from players?
Lying to your playerbase does NOT make the situation better, only worse.

To the always classic:

Perhaps instead of having everyone complain about the change, why doesn’t everyone just post the number accounts they’ll be letting lapse without renewing thanks to this change.

I’ve already got one I’ve written off.

However, that was just the response to a forum announcement, with the promise of an official dev blog addressing this rather sudden change. Surely that will smooth the waters somewhat. Right?

As many of you know by now, on Wednesday, Oct 15th, CCP will put out a server update disabling “ghost training”. Ghost Training was an unintended feature where unpaid accounts of EVE Online were able to continue training skills. While this allowed players to run multiple characters on a shoestring budget, in all effect, this was a bug.

It should be noted that we’re not changing offline skill training for active subscribers in any way. This change only affects those who do not have an active subscription.

Does that mean that CCP is a greedy money chewing monster that just loves nerfing things? Of course not. We’re a company like everyone else, we make a game, that we happen to love making and for most of us is the passion of our lives. But it’s also a company. We make a product, sell it, get salaries and then continue maintaining the product and making it better.


Now I’m not saying that if me personally would be at the other end of this Dev Blog I wouldn’t be annoyed by CCP’s actions. We are gamers. We game the system. We figure out how to maximize our returns. There’s no surprise that people have done this for the simple fact that it wasn’t banned per se and also for the fact that it was possible. But recently we have seen a surge in this behavior in a way that we were essentially supporting and maintaining a large number of customers that weren’t paying us regular subscriptions. That’s not fair towards CCP as a service provider and it’s not fair towards other players that pay a subscription but don’t make use of this bug.

Oh yeah; that’ll calm’em right down.

So basically, CCP is saying it’s taken them five years after launch to fix a bug? A “bug” that was mentioned in their own knowledge base on their official website? (No, really…it says “Skills continue training even if you are logged off or if your account is inactive.” Allow me to illustrate:)


Did this “fix” need to happen? Who can say, although in my opinion if it hadn’t been a problem for five years I don’t see the issue now. However, what I can say with one hundred percent certainty is this…you don’t spring what you know will be a controversial game change on your playerbase 48 hours before you implement it, especially so soon after completing a promotion to encourage folks to start alt accounts (The “Power of Two”)?

C’mon, guys…you just made me add “public relations stupidity” as a category here. You make great internet spaceships, and are the unparalleled masters of pewpew…for crying out loud, could you at least occasionally put ten seconds’ worth of thought into your announcements?

(Credit where credit is due: DigitalCommunist made the “ninja” graphic above for the aforementioned Threadnaught, and did a darn fine job of it, too.)

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15 Responses to “EvE Online – Ghost Training Whisperer Getting Hoarse”

  1. I do “Ghost Training” for the simple fact that this game is costly to pay and play all the time all year. If they really push through with this, I will be one of the presumably hundreds or thousands of people with accounts who would be stopping paying.

    I did not know that this “bug” was being “addressed” until I read your article today, and I am somewhat miffed and thoroughly disappointed by this course of action. It is merely a move to milk more money out of players in the community. Bah!

  2. Why can’t you people understand that our servers have to update each player’s skill status every millisecond??? The snowflakes are falling each millisecond onto our heads in addition to this failure cascade country going bankrupt. THE AVALANCHE IS CAUSING LAG IN JITA!!!!!111111 I have to pay 2,349 kroner just to fill the gas tank in my Ferrari and Mitnal doesn’t pay me to do blowjobs.

  3. I just recently signed up for their Power of Two deal. And the only reason I could justify buying two accounts for one video game was this “bug.” I’m pissed! And now it appears to be normal that whenever they upset tons of players their forums go down and prevents further discussion.

  4. Yep, I cancelled my subscription to this game today for this reason.

  5. It is clear that CCP hf are in a deep financial cricis and are on the same path as SWG.

  6. They aren’t in a financial crisis.

    CSM Meeting 2008/10/12:

    [ 2008.10.12 17:32:14 ] Inanna Zuni > outside of these issues, there has been much discussin on boards, in game channels and OOG entirely about the whole financial system as it affects Iceland. Whilst it is clear that CCP’s majority income is USD and EUR I believe a front of site statement
    ?[ 2008.10.12 17:32:14 ] Inanna Zuni > about CCP’s / EVE’s status would be very helpful and negate most of the opinion that people don’t want to risk paying if things go wrong and they lose their money. (We accept that you as individuals have worries too, btw!)
    ?[ 2008.10.12 17:32:16 ] Inanna Zuni > -
    ?[ 2008.10.12 17:32:39 ] Inanna Zuni > (There has been nothing on CCP corporate site either iie no press releases etc)
    ?[ 2008.10.12 17:32:43 ] Inanna Zuni > – now -
    ?[ 2008.10.12 17:33:06 ] CCP Dr.EyjoG > Was that END for you Inanna?
    ?[ 2008.10.12 17:33:13 ] Inanna Zuni > yes
    ?[ 2008.10.12 17:33:41 ] Inanna Zuni > (actually, not quite …
    ?[ 2008.10.12 17:33:49 ] CCP Dr.EyjoG > Good point Inanna and we have been discussing internally to put this on our website
    ?[ 2008.10.12 17:33:56 ] Inanna Zuni > there have been on forum statements about the income, but not where it has been put
    ?[ 2008.10.12 17:34:03 ] Inanna Zuni > but there are definitely people ‘out there’ worried
    ?[ 2008.10.12 17:34:09 ] Inanna Zuni > -end again-
    ?[ 2008.10.12 17:34:16 ] Inanna Zuni > YOu should, asap
    ?[ 2008.10.12 17:34:26 ] CCP Dr.EyjoG > To those people the CSM should say that CCP is not affected by this crisis
    ?[ 2008.10.12 17:34:44 ] CCP Dr.EyjoG > due to our income being US dollars and Euro
    ?[ 2008.10.12 17:34:47 ] LaVista Vista > /emote nods, has already done so
    ?[ 2008.10.12 17:34:55 ] Inanna Zuni > I can concur that your income is ‘safe’ (relatively!) as in USD and EUR but the question is where is it banked; is *that* safe
    ?[ 2008.10.12 17:34:59 ] CCP Dr.EyjoG > so we are actually one of the companies that is doing very well in iceland these days

    ?[ 2008.10.12 17:35:09 ] Dierdra Vaal > that sort of thing is really your job tho … since the CSM “isn’t supposed to deal with out of game issues” (see gametime cards) :P
    ?[ 2008.10.12 17:35:15 ] Inanna Zuni > is it in Kaupthing or offshore though? risk level is evrything
    ?[ 2008.10.12 17:35:32 ] CCP Dr.EyjoG > You are right and we will get the message out there, but need your assistance

    Props to Digital Communist for the pic. Love it.

  7. Thanks for the info, mutantmagnet…I assumed (as did quite a few others) that they would be in relatively good shape, economically at least, due to just what was listed above…their revenue flow is primarily in USD and EUR.

    It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out…and, of course, to play “what if” with the announcement/PR aspect of the entire thing once the dust settles.

  8. “This immediately prompted a Threadnaught to spawn, running to 49 pages in the six hours following CCP Fallout’s post, sprinkled with…well, with what you would expect, ranging from”

    Well as you might or not know, from the 49 pages that thread of 49/1469 pages/posts, was fitted with a smokscreen cloaking device by the incompetent dev Wrangler to an aditional 140/4174 pages/posts here :


    As well as this thread :


    And god knows how manny other comments about it on other threads

    As to my “incompetent” statment it can be shown here :


    5 Months and the issue still not solved, i let you be the judge !

    As to the so called “ghost” issue i think that he/they in all ways possible just digged CCP such a big black hole in space that no matter how mutch t2 tissue you can generate, the shit stain around it can be whiped clean.

    As you might have notice in the past elapsed time with the recent nerfs its more a dev problem, shoure before you hade nerfs, and most probably where called for others maybe not so mutch, but all this issue are just exucess, lie after lie and an insult of the player comunities intelgence.

    I dont think the damage that this have caused CCP will be repaired, maybe never or for a long time, and i also think the Ceo´s of CCP “must” land from theire clouds and take a really good look at theire Devs and there “latest accoplishments” bouth for theire own sake theire companie and not the least EVE-ONLINE

    I was introdused to the game by my brother back in may 2002 where he told me about it, we keept up to date and read about it and one year later when beta came out we started playing it and i finaly said this is the game iv been waiting for and have played it basacly ever since.

    I for one as a corp & alliance leader have hade enough, and its not so mutch about the ghost issue since i rarly used it other then if i suddently got disconect realizing, “ohh crap my sub. hade expiered”, but it´s all the bull and lies, also they call it bug these days lol.

    And btw is it fair to all the new players to take it away after 100+ months when all older players have enjoyed this stealth feature regardless if they used it or not.

    Then you have the all these “forum IQ horses” saying things like:
    “ok, but then give us quew skilling” or
    “well why not let some pay for un sub. trained time” or
    “let us train on 2 or 3 characters” or
    “well let it run at least 3 days or 7,15,30 days before it shuts of”
    the desperate suggestions are manny

    All that is like saying:
    “well since you just raped me, can you at least give me a blow jobb”

    Just leave the game as it is Mkay, Unless its something really nessesary to change or some genious idea to improve it !

    Have a nice day
    and by EvE



  9. Screw CCP and their greed. They always encouraged alts, then pushed for people to subscribe for at least 6 months with ‘the power of two’, and then shortly after they end ghost training. It is ridiculous, for a game that tried to pass itself off as friendly to adults with busy lives who don’t want endless, world of warcraft style gringing, to try to pass this off as a bug fix. Ghost training was a middle ground compromise between gamers expanding their number of characters and a corporation that created elaborate time-sinks, as all mmo’s tend to do. I’m taking my gaming experience to a game with more immediate action, enough with even and its month-plus skills just to ennsure my survival travelling from one losec gate to another. Warhammer, or any of the upcoming sci fi mmo’s, here I come.

  10. That graphic of How to Train Skills doesn’t display the important text here in my FF browser. That’s a fail, but a little one. CCP’s fail in this nerf is truly epic. It’s clear that they are lying, it’s clear that they are greedy, but worst of all it’s clear that they are so utterly stupid that they think this will help them in some way.

    I canceled nine accounts today, two of them just minutes before they were up for automatic renewal. Several more expire in coming days and some on into November. Yes, I’ll reactivate them, but no longer will I keep all nine active and generating revenue for CCP all the time. I know not what others may do but as for me, give me unsub training or give me a better alternative game. Gee, that doesn’t roll off the tongue quite as well as the original.

  11. BTW, it was never called “ghost training” until just now when they decided to nerf it. That’s part of the PR spin. “Ghost training” makes it sound mildly sneaky and illegitimate. In the 2-1/2 years I’ve been intensively participating in Eve they’ve shot themselves in both feet a number of times. Their sleazy PR and spin and playing games with threads has become pretty solid evidence to me that they are corrupt and untrustworthy.

    I’m not at all sure that this faux pas will be the final nail in their coffin, but I’m not the only one in their Forums to express the opinion that I’d be willing to see Eve go away if it would be the price of seeing CCP punished by going out of business. Eve, a generally great MMOG, is severly tarnished by CCP’s low standard of ethics and attitude. The management folks who made this happen should be fired on the spot. Unfortunately, in inbred Iceland, they won’t be.

  12. http://i38.tinypic.com/eqq9dx.jpg

    ;) )

  13. /plunk x3… the sound of all three of my accounts perma-closing. i also have a friend irl that just closed all 6 of his. i know several people irl that will not be back, because of this issue, who had actually planned to resub, and originally tried out the game because of it.

    when added up, the three accounts that i rotated, and occasionally multi-boxed were worth, at minimum, twice what a single account would be worth in 12 months, and i frequently ran all three accounts for months at a time, so they were often worth more. i enjoyed the game immensely, but one of the draws was that i could make some progress while i was unable to play all accounts.

    ah, well… i’ll find something else to do with my free time (and money).

    i should be very interested to know how many accounts they lose over this. and here’s something interesting: a lot of these accounts are paid with game time cards, and will not expire immediately… but, in about 3 months, we’ll have a good idea of the true impact. if they credit the ‘need for speed’ initiative for traffic and lag improvements, they’ll be fibbing a bit, methinks ;) .

    oh, and… no, you can’t have my stuff :) .

  14. Threadnaught @ 4800 Posts and still advancing.

    I was just pondering wether to return to EVE…,
    just after going through the options,
    looking at the dollar:euro exchange course,
    as well as the prices of the 60 day cards,
    and the surge of the ISK price for those GTCs
    I simply cannot see that happen.

    Without the industrial and my trader,
    there is no way to finance my pvp habits in any not mind numbing,
    repetitive way.

    This 1+2 account strategy was based on the game mechanics,
    in place for 5 years.
    60 day GTC, price increase and now the removal of the “unsubscribed training”
    simply turned the upkeep of the alternative accounts to expensive.
    Since the primary account is pretty much worthless without the support structure..
    go figure

  15. ????… ??? ???????…

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