Everything is going so well, after all. The players spent all year collectively screaming at CCP and that screaming finally made itself heard. CSM6 was asked to come to an emergency summit in Iceland to start to deal with player discontent. Mittens went on what was essentially a crusade against Incarna, making it clear that the players didn't want it and CCP wasn't seeing any business benefit from it anyway, so it should just be dumped. And between that crusade, the player support for it by turning off the CQ en masse, and the technical challenges of actually delivering Incarna, CCP folded its hand. The bad news of the lay-off aside, every other piece of news coming out of Reyk has been incredibly good news for Mittens.
"Trebor's updated the list of reasons why you should get out your kneepads," Mittens wrote on Failheap, and yes, he meant that in exactly the crude way it sounds. ;-) He then added that he'd have to "unironically stump for Trebor" come the CSM7 election season.
With CCP turned definitively back toward spaceships, Mittens apparently decided that he was really being too responsible and mature(1) and turned his attention back to doing Goony sorts of things. The response has been electric, and has given Mittens even more reasons to smile. Those that aren't freaking out about getting blown up are freaking out because the Chairman of the CSM -- the Chairman -- is the one blowing people up! And encouraging others to do the same! In my EVE! Can you imagine?
Needless to say, Mittens was delighted at the response. The :smug: has been strong, but he's also cheerfully made inside jokes about it ranging across the geek reference spectrum from 1984 to Arthur C. Clarke's 2010.
The very same Trebor even decided to try to make a little bit of political hay over the issue. If tears could be sold for money, Mittens could retire for a second time. And if all of that wasn't enough good news for Mittens, his new least favorite person on the CSM, Darius III, also managed to completely marginalize himself.
The CSM December Summit is rapidly approaching, and there was every indication that it was going to essentially be a victory lap. The CSM could graciously acknowledge that CCP was taking player concerns about spaceships seriously. Once that was done, the entire summit could then be turned toward what to do with all those newly freed-up developers and the total lack of concrete plans for 2012. Life was looking very, very good.
Until the whiners got themselves an unexpected ally.
[sweeps plate of cookies off table]
Agent Smith: Maybe you knew I was going to do that, maybe you didn't. If you did, that means you baked those cookies and set that plate right there deliberately, purposefully. Which means you're sitting there also deliberately, purposefully.
During the interview Hilmar Pétursson gave Eurogamer last week, the following question came up:
Eurogamer: The Council of Stellar Management [CSM] has been increasingly vocal and rebellious in recent months. What's your relationship with them like at the moment - your personal feelings and those of the company as a whole?Now let's be clear. This was one of the last questions in the interview, and other than the leading wording, it was meant to be a softball. That's how you close out interviews like this, with a few easy, low-impact questions to relax the interviewee. It would have been the easiest thing in the world for Hilmar to reply with platitudes. Something like this was probably what the interviewer expected:
Hilmar Pétursson: The CSM has been and continues to be a valuable aspect of how we receive player feedback. If they've been more vocal than normal this year, that's just a reflection of our players, who have also been quite vocal about how we can become a better company. We appreciate their continued support as we look for ways to make EVE a better game, and their input will be one of many important factors as we get focused on our plans for next year.It would have been the easiest thing to say in the world. But Hilmar didn't say that... did he?
No, here's Hilmar's actual response:
Hilmar Pétursson: The CSM has been under constant evolution based on what's going on in the current environment, what's going on with CCP and Eve, who's on the Council and all that. The CSM has helped greatly through the years in getting feedback for aspects of the game.Baaaaahahahahahaha. Man oh man. I would have loved to have seen the interviewer's face when he was gifted with this particular pillar of flame in response to a softball question. Even the one sentence that sounds conciiliatory about how the "CSM has helped greatly" is tagged with the qualifier "through the years." That qualifier is so important to him that Hilmar uses it twice. The message is pretty clear: yeah, the CSM has been helpful... but maybe not so much this CSM, who are "pre-occupied by a certain playstyle." Therefore, CCP "may need to change the structure" of the CSM.
But some of my concerns right now relate to whether the CSM is maybe focused on a particular aspect of the game and I'm starting to get feedback from players that they worry the CSM is too pre-occupied by a certain playstyle. That might mean we may need to change the structure, but definitely the CSM has worked as a feedback tool greatly throughout the years. We will have them over at the end of the year, after everything that's gone on, and we will have a chance to talk about that. We'll just see where we are and take it from there.
Hilmar had to know the softball way that question was intended, and while he didn't go full Viking in his response, the response he did go with makes it clear that this is the second CSM in a row that's annoyed him late in their term. ;-) And he did it knowing that the interview was going to go public only a month or so before the December summit.
It was done deliberately... purposefully.
Mittens's good mood has been a bit more... subdued lately. The discussion about CSM7 on Twitter and various fora has now turned from whether a good portion of CSM6 will be reelected in toto over to how the election mechanic itself should be changed to ensure that doesn't happen. Mittens has even been spotted arguing that CSM members who live in null-sec full-time don't really count if they live in null-sec full-time somewhere other than "the DCF". ;-) While he's gotten support from a few unexpected quarters, it's clear that the tenor of the December summit will be a little less victory lap than he was probably hoping for.
How should the election mechanic be changed? Well, there's one idea that appeals to me, but let's talk about that in a day or two.
POSTSCRIPT EDIT (27/Oct/2011): Two sources for that Mittens reference (note that it is not a quote): here and here. Trebor is in Dirt Nap Squad (and was previously in Initiative Mercenaries). Meissa is in Rooks and Kings. All three are alliances that operate in null. Two Step lives in a WH, which is considered by players living in high-sec to be effectively null space, not high-sec space.
POSTSCRIPT TO THE POSTSCRIPT: Rooks and Kings operates freely in null, low-sec, and WH space, but apparently actually lives in low-sec, something I didn't know. I apologize for the error.
(1) I kid, I kid. ;-)