Open Letter From CCP

Dear Mind’s Eye Society Members,

I am Chris McDonough, the Senior Producer for the World of Darkness MMO; some of you may have seen me speak at the two previous Grand Masquerade events. I wanted to take the time to draft a personal letter to the club and address some of the things that have been going on behind the scenes over the last few months. I have been involved in discussions with Ric Connely, Greg Fountain (our marketing guru for World of Darkness) and Eddy Webb, and I just wanted to share with you in a straightforward way the results of our conversations. I have been with White Wolf and CCP for over twenty years, and I take the responsibility and obligation to keep our players happy very seriously.

Frankly, I don’t think we have always done such a great job of being straightforward with you in the past. It is a part of why we started to change things and host the Grand Masquerade over the last few years, as well as taking steps to return the club back to its rightful stewards. Hopefully, this email is another step along that process.

In some fantastic news, the long road to the independent operation of the Mind’s Eye Society has finally been completed! We are glad and proud to finally be able to put the club back into the hands of the people who should be running it, the players! The path to MES autonomy has been completed with a transfer of funds from CCP last month. Once these figures are publicly accessible, you’ll see that the total amount paid to the MES was just over $14,000.

We understand that some folks within the Mind’s Eye Society have kept a running tally of dues, expenses, Regional funds and events, and may question the accuracy of the transaction. I questioned it as well. It didn’t sound correct to me (and I was not involved in the original discussions) so I dug into it personally.

As a privately owned company, we will not be releasing a detailed financial breakdown. I did, however, investigate it and found that CCP’s expenses related to maintaining the The Camarilla accounts for the difference.  Server maintenance (and staff time associated with it), credit card transaction fees, flights for employees to events, hotel space, and time spent by salaried employees helping to manage the club were just a few of the costs applied to the organization. These costs were applied over almost 8 years (including the first year White Wolf took over the fan club when it was run with no membership dues). To be painfully honest, CCP is a large company of game makers, and running a fan organization is not one of our specialties. We did not do most of those things as well as you deserved, despite our best efforts. MES is an extremely singular organization that can best be administrated by the insight and passion of the membership, and we are glad to be able to correct that situation.

As many of you know, last year was difficult for CCP, and many long-term employees and good friends lost their positions within our organization. The company felt it had too many priorities and was trying to do too many things. World of Darkness is still very much in active development, but CCP as a company will be putting all of its efforts into making DUST 514 a revolutionary game and bringing it to market.

As a part of that focus, and as a result of some of the staff reductions, we will not be hosting a Grand Masquerade event this year. Still, after discussing it with other managers within the company, we hoped we could do something more for the community and the club (especially since many of you have set aside your own events in favor of our timetables). We hoped that we could still help produce something that helps the organization stay strong and let you know that we value and respect your time and effort.

Therefore, CCP has entered into an arrangement to have MES produce a Fall 2012 World of Darkness LARP event with Ric Connely as lead, and coordinating the event for multiple clubs. Though this event will not have the level of grandeur of previous Grand Masquerades, CCP will finance the event, and hopes to work with Ric towards an expanded Grand Masquerade concept in coming years. Expect an announcement regarding the details of the 2012 event in the next few weeks.

So, I’m going to speak especially frankly here for a moment. I know that this email won’t please everybody on every front, nor do I expect it to. I do want to say that I am attempting to be as honest and forthright with you as I can (including about the numbers) and treat you with the respect I think this club deserves for all of the hard work and dedication the players and volunteers have put in over the years. We love the fans and I really want to make sure you guys know that.

I am looking forward to saying hi to people at the event later this year. Of course, my primary duty is producing the MMO (which is why we have Eddy acting as a liaison), but my email is chrism@white-wolf.com or chrism@ccpgames.com if you would like to contact me. I can’t promise I will personally respond, but I will do my best.

Congratulations on your autonomy! Seems a little like turning 21 and getting to have your first (legal) drink all over again!

Thanks for supporting us all these years,
Chris McDonough – World of Darkness Senior Producer

This message is endorsed by the Mind’s Eye Society Board of Directors