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I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
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Monday, August 1, 2011

Mob rule

The results are out for the 2011 CSM Crowd-sourcing.  Go give them a glance.  I'll wait.

First, let's address the elephant in the room: is voting on crowd-sourcing a waste of time?  Mittens says yes.  Trebor says no.  On this one, I agree with both of them.  Is that inconsistent?  Very well, I am inconsistent.  I contain multitudes.

Let's start with why it's not a waste of time.  It's clear that CCP periodically reviews this list for "quick things to do."  There are too many items either on this list or that have been on this list in the past that have been completed, or folded into other fixes (18, for instance).  Hell, at the very, very least, some of these items CCP has looked at and said they're not going to do (144, for instance).  That's progress, too.  It's too bad this the list wasn't edited to remove some of these items.

So CCP does at least take the list seriously.

Given that, it's a shame that only 4552 accounts voted this year.  That's about 1.5% of the active accounts in the game.  And as a result of such a small population voting, there were some goofy results.

Four out of the top-ten vote-getters related to the corp user interface, which very few EVE players actually use.  As I said when I posted my own votes, yeah, I get that the corp management interfaces are annoying.  But say you put the top ten vote-getters in the crowd-sourcing into a list that every single EVE player had to vote on before they logged into the game?  I'll bet you anything those four would be at the bottom of the ten.

Changing the mechanics to make docking games harder topped the list, and yeah, I get that docking games are also annoying.  But the proposed cure -- a timer based on the mass of the undocking ship -- is worse than the disease.  Do you really want to be forced to wait two minutes if you undock in your battleship, then remember that you forgot to do something before you undocked?  Yeah, didn't think so.  But that's what 1179 accounts voted for.  I'll bet a sizable proportion of them don't realize it.

A thousand accounts voted for the "War dec mechanics" change, which is equally flawed.  All of the proposed "solutions" to the "problem" are poor.  To take the first proposed solution, if you require victory conditions (such as amount of ISK destroyed) to continue a war, every war-deccing corp is just going to set their victory condition as "destroy 1 ISK."  And then, even if the war-decced corp stays 100% turtled up, the corp declaring the war is going to "win" it (and continue it) by destroying a frigate that they give to their spy in the war-decced corp.  The other proposed solutions are equally flawed.  39 people voted against this one, and I was almost #40.  It's really badly written.

And yet, if you put the top ten vote-getters in the crowd-sourcing into a list that every single EVE player had to vote on before they logged into the game, I'll bet the "war dec mechanics" proposal would win.

Which brings me to the reason why the crowd-sourcing is a waste of time: EVE players are -- surprisingly -- pretty terrible at proposing new EVE game mechanics.  ;-)

We all love this game, and want to see it made better, but almost all of us are not very good at seeing the downsides to our fixes for our particular pet issues.  We're all outstanding at exploiting the holes in EVE game mechanics, which makes it all the more ironic that we can't see the holes that we ourselves would create.  ;-)  As a result, to my mind, the crowd-sourcing proposals that are about changing or fixing existing game features are much, much superior to the ones that propose new mechanics.

I'll grant you that they're often not as sexy.  The crowd-sourcing proposal I feel most strongly about (Corporation bookmarks) came in 13th, with only 733 accounts voting for it.  But they make more sense, and they're often easier to implement.

It'll be interesting to see which of the items from this year's vote CCP chooses to pursue.

EDIT (2/Aug/2011): EVE University called for their members to up-vote seven of the items on this list, which is the cause of a lot of the skew that I was seeing.  The seven items each received 500+ EVE-U votes and 1400-1500 "points" each.  They were:

143 545 1,503.72 92.84% War-dec mechanics (CSM)
28 540 1,489.60 91.99% Corporation and Alliance tool overhaul (CSM)
34 538 1,478.09 91.65% Docking games fix (CSM)
91 533 1,470.55 90.80% Remote repping and aggression (CSM)
82 527 1,458.16 89.78% Overhaul of roles and grantable roles system (CSM)
54 522 1,439.51 88.93% History of who added/kick character from Corporation
76 507 1,403.69 86.37% More Control Over Medals (CSM)

The results without EVE University are now also available.

8 comments:

  1. EVE University had it's members vote as a bloc. Most voted as the directors requested, which included all the corporpation interface bullshit. Approximately 500 Unistas voted. I voted for a couple of things (wardec mechanics), but did not vote for anything that had to do with corporation interfaces.

    I do agree the solutions in the wardec item are crap. I proposed my own solution on my blog. http://poeticstanziel.blogspot.com/2011/07/wardecs-possible-solution.html

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  2. CCP has never looked at CSM proposals for mechanics, but rather for topic areas to consider working on.

    I run the crowdsourcing for three reasons:

    1) Call me old-fashioned, but I have this curious notion that given that I'm supposed to be representing the players, it might be a good idea to have at least a foggy notion of what's important to them, as opposed to what's important to me.

    2) "25% of players polled think docking games are bogus and need work" is a slightly more powerful argument than "I think docking games are bogus and need work"

    3) It provides a resource for interested devs.

    Best, Trebor

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  3. @Trebor: right there with you on representing the wishes of the players. I'm just not sure using these old CSM votes is a good way to do it any more. I'm really starting to think the current CSM (whatever that is) generating a list of 25 issues and then asking players to vote on THAT would be much superior.

    The low number of overall votes in the crowd-sourcing says to me that something about how it's being done now is fundamentally flawed.

    @Poetic: I'd heard about the EVE Uni effort, but hadn't heard enough hard facts about it to speak to it. Out of curiosity, what were the items that EVE Uni members were urged to vote for besides the four corp interface ones?

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  4. Couple of comments:

    1) I have the results both with and without the EVE University block-voting, and quite frankly, I applaud them for getting out there and making their voice heard.

    Their efforts moved two items into the top twenty (Control over Medals and History of add/kick) and boosted the position of the others. Your beloved Corporation Bookmarks was #6 with EVE Uni votes excluded, btw.

    2) The turnout was ~+1000 ballots, +33% over the last crowdsourcing, and considering the amount of effort it takes to go through the list -- much more than voting in a CSM election -- that's pretty decent.

    3) Having the CSM pre-filter the list is an interesting idea, I'll consider it.

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  5. Only 1.5% of the playerbase voted because only 2% of the playerbase is actually actually active on the forums. From THAT point of view, 75% of the people who'd ever consider posting actually participated; that's pretty good.

    That said, using the player's active on the forums to gauge the interests of the active playerbase as a whole is ultimately foolish, because of that 2% level of participation -- any game's forum is just a gathering of the loudest narcissists and drama queens, and really shouldn't be seen as any kind of accurate representation of the whole.

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  6. The "fix docking games" proposal only alters the docking games played by people who acquire an aggression timer. It doesn't address the issue of undocking then docking again to online that module that the fitting tool didn't manage to turn online before you undocked in a hurry.

    I agree with you about EVE players in general being really bad at proposing new game mechanics. But that's just Sturgeon's Law at work. 90% of the people in the world wouldn't have a clue about designing games. It's really nice to be able to start a game of chess with two queens, but only if the other guy doesn't. Many people aren't able to turn the board around and look at their design decision from the other side. They only perceive the single step ahead: "there is advantage to me to do this". Witness the talk of "super veldspar" or "capital sized mining ships".

    I have been routinely asking my corpmates to participate in the crowd sourcing. In the future I plan to engage in conversation about the merits of each issue where possible. We spend most of our time talking about the foolish things people do on construction sites, such as taking smoke breaks in the convenient wind shelter, which happens to be the hole left behind when they dug out that kerosene tank yesterday. Yet gain illustrating that sheeple in general will first think about possible advantage to themselves, leaving the worry about risks till later.

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  7. i pretty mutch agree with the conclusion that it is/was useless. i have only read some of the proposals, some titles were misleading, most of the proposed solutions flawed. the number of people participating may have been also affected by that. while some might agree that things have to be done, if the solution proposed is flawed or doesnt fit to the player, who would vote ? anyway, the 1 thing that should have been on the top for me were "fix the lag" followed by "fix the known bugs" ;)

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  8. I wasn't even aware it was happening, and I'm sure many others are in the same boat. Rarely do I stop to read the news headlines at the login screen, and when I visit the forums I mainly stick to Warfare/Tactics and Ships&Modules sub-forums. Now it's too late for my voice to be heard.

    Notification via an in-game mail or, as you said, a(n) (optional) survey at login would no doubt generate a better response.

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