Last night and this morning I got an opportunity to listen to the CSM Town Hall over the weekend. I guessed correctly on one thing: there weren't any quotes in it to match what I posted for QOTW yesterday. Elise Randolph sure gave it his best shot, though! He said several things that were quite amusing if you take them in context. My two favorites were "I don't see giant super-cap blobs being a problem in low-sec" and "I don't think tech -- especially with alchemy involved -- is a big problem."
Uhhhh... OK. Thanks, Elise.
There was little to no introductory session to the Town Hall, no "presentation" as such... it went straight into answering player questions. And I guess the CSM got together and specifically decided to answer all ten of my questions from Friday. Because every single one of them was asked, nine of them in the exact wording I posted them on my blog. The exception was the tech question, which was basically asked as "What about tech?" That was the source of the Elise quote above and unfortunately missed my key point that even with alchemy, tech costs exactly what it did 15 months ago when this problem first came up. The only thing alchemy is doing is keeping the price of tech from doubling again. Alchemy therefore doesn't solve the (non-existent?) problem: tech is still a huge bottleneck and is still concentrating an absolute ton of passive income in a small number of hands.
For two of my questions, the CSM rejected the premises my questions were based on. One was the question about the CSM believing that players are too rich. The reason the CSM thinks players are too rich is because they've been playing the game for approximately 56 years between them and they just know players are too rich. Eight years ago, losing a battleship meant something and now it doesn't. Besides, all decent 0.0 alliances have full ship replacement funds and for those that don't, there's incursions and wormholes and such.
Uhhhh... OK. Thanks, guys. If only we knew where those reimbursement programs were coming from.~
Anyway, here are my ten questions, in the order that I asked them (they answered them in a different order), with the notes I took while I was listening to the answers plus a comment or two here and there from me (the stuff tagged "Jester>"):
What is CSM7's process for actively soliciting (not passively reading) player feedback about the game between summits? Will there be a crowd-sourcing effort this year?
- No crowd-sourcing this year
- Changes in the way CSM interfaces with CCP
- More interactive feedback on the forums as opposed to polling
- Have the CSM involved at more steps in the development process
- Jester> OK, but how are you getting actual players involved in these processes?
- Jester> What we've got here is the CSM version of representative democracy
CSM7 stated they would greatly improve CSM-to-player communications over CSM6. Do you feel that goal is being met so far? Will the CSM be having more frequent meetings with the players in the rest of 2012?
- Does Seleene think the communications goal is being met so far? "Yes and no."
- Seleene essentially states that the greatly expanded minutes met part of this commitment
- There hasn't been a lot to talk about on a day-to-day basis
- Large blocs of CCP have been on vacation since the end of the Summit
- Does say that there will be more frequent town halls (every 4-6 weeks) for the rest of the term
- Jester> There's no time to talk during crises (CSM6), not a lot to talk about during vacations (CSM7).
Does this CSM regard super-cap balance and proliferation as a problem? If so, why? If not, why not?
- Ease of building is the key driver for proliferation
- But super-caps aren't that useful, so they don't get flown that often
- Jester> Wait... what?
- Make them useful, people will use them, and they'll die
- Gone are the days of 14 billion ISK super-caps
- Mineral compression is making it easy for one person to build supers
- The genie is out of the bottle
- Jester> Last one is the real answer: CSM clearly feels it's too late to do anything about them.
When the CSM stated (in the Summit Minutes) that players are rich, losses don't matter, and player income should be reduced across the board, was this based on player feedback? If not, what was it based on?
- Not based on player feedback.
- Seleene blamed himself for saying this, but a couple of other CSM members (correctly) stated they said it, too.
- "There's so many ways to make money nowadays, and alliances have such good reimbursement policies, that the losses don't really matter that much." -- Elise
- "Almost every 0.0 alliance worth anything has a full ship replacement fund." -- Aleks
- Jester> CSM obviously feels like this one is self-evident, and rejected the premise of the question.
In the Minutes, it seems clear that CCP was fishing for a CSM member to volunteer to rewrite or revise the White Paper. Why didn't a CSM member volunteer to do this? What is the current thinking about the CSM8 election process?
- Public discussion of CSM8 election process in September, after the winter release plan is set
- "The details are more or less up to the CSM." -- CCP Xhagen
- Was CCP fishing? CCP Xhagen: "Yes and no."
- Much discussion about a collaborative writing process for this
- Jester> The trouble with a collaborative writing process is someone has to start writing.
CSM6 and CCP first discussed how unbalanced the moon situation was 15 months ago at the May 2011 Summit. Since then, little seems to have been done. Tech costs exactly what it did last May and continues to be the key T2 production bottleneck. Does CSM7 feel that CCP is acting with a sense of urgency about this situation? Why or why not?
- CSM didn't use my question... just answered a general "what about tech?" question
- "Alchemy is here now and it's putting a price cap on things." -- Elise
- "I don't think tech -- especially with alchemy involved -- is a big problem." -- Elise again
- Elise seems to think that tech prices make current moons not all that valuable
- They're still worth fighting for, but only just
- Jester> CSM ignored the fact that tech post-alchemy costs the same as it did pre-alchemy, pre-OTEC.
For Seleene and Elise Randolph: why do you feel that 16 or 17 Titans "isn't a lot" when there are, at most, only five groups in EVE that can field this many? Do you feel super-caps are too concentrated into the hands of only a few players?
- Seleene kinda sorta felt like the quote was taken out of context
- If you want to kill super-caps, you have to bring super-caps
- "You have to risk it to get the biscuit." -- Elise
- Elise clearly feels that there are plenty of groups that could bring this many Titans, and just don't
- Jester> I wonder why that might be?
CCP has stated in the past that they would like null-sec to become a chaotic mess of very small independent fiefdoms that engage in warfare with their neighbors instead of NAP'ing them. Do you feel that is still CCP's goal? Is this CSM encouraging that direction?
- CSM questioned whether CCP really said that
- Jester> Yep, they did. It's Greyscale's vision for 0.0, stated since December 2010 Summit and since.
- CSM says you can't stop someone from having friends
- Generally just rejected the premise behind the question
What if anything is CSM7 doing to promote a positive image of EVE in the gaming press?
- CCP has never been shy about "whoring out" the CSM to the media
- CCP Xhagen and Manifest were both a little uncomfortable with CSM members representing EVE this way
- Nobody brought up Mittens, who did gaming press interviews routinely when he wanted something
- Jester> Was kind of curious if anyone would bring up Mittens's strategy of controlling the narrative. Answer: nope.
What are CSM7's goals for the second half of their term? What can players do that will be most helpful to CSM7 in those goals?
- CSM more involved in release planning
- This is particularly true for the August decision-making session for the Winter expansion
- Follow-up with stuff from past CSM Summit Minutes
- Not much mentioned that players can help with
Seleene called a halt to the "official" proceedings about 110 minutes in. By that time, they'd answered 20 questions, ten of them mine. I took notes on a couple of the other questions I found interesting, too:
Do you think faction warfare should be spread everywhere? What is going to be done about low-sec?
- CSM (rightly) reacted with horror at the idea of faction warfare throughout low-sec
- They acknowledge that low-sec continues to be EVE's red-headed step-child
Should supers be banned from low-sec?
- Elise says banning super-caps in low-sec mucks with the risk/reward equation
- Jester> I haven't got a clue what he means by this, but he seems sincere about it.
- Elise wants Titans to be able to DD in low-sec
- If you're limiting their capabilities, that should be the ship, not the geography.
- "I don't see giant super-cap blobs being a problem in low-sec." -- Elise
- Hans? Aleks? (correctly) jumped on Elise's face at this point. Can't bubble in low-sec, for instance.
- That makes supers -- particularly fleets of them -- almost impossible to kill in low-sec
- Elise mostly conceeded the point.
- Jester> Spread-out Titans or blap dreads make very short work of hictors in low-sec.
That's it from my notes. There were a few other questions, but they didn't make all that big of an impression on me, so I didn't write down notes for them.
Overall, I'd estimate the Seleene did about 30% of the talking, Elise about 30%, Hans, Trebor, and Two step about 10% each, and everyone else about 10% between them. So, there was a pretty good mix of different people talking, unless you're not a PL fan in which case PL dominated the meeting. ;-)
So much for the straight text. What does this Town Hall mean in the larger sub-text? I started to include that in this post, but it's already pretty long, so let's put that in a second post. In the meantime, thanks to the CSM for answering all of my questions! I may not agree with the answers, but they were certainly illuminating!