CSM8 has now been in office for a full month! The time is really going by fast.
With Odyssey's scheduled release only a few days away and with all of the interesting problems over the last week culminating in a very eventful Sunday in Iceland, the CSM hasn't had a whole lot to do. Our stake-holder meetings are now officially wrapped up for this release, though as a group we continue to be extremely active in giving CCP our feedback about the final few tweaks in all of Odyssey's new features. I want to give a great big shout out to Ali Aras, who without question has been the CSM8 MVP this week. She and mynnna have done an outstanding job staying on top of the changes to exploration and the new hacking mini-game and its rewards. But Ali's the true genius at this stuff. She's teaching the rest of us about it. Without treading on NDA territory here, I think it's very fair to say that their input is being taken very seriously and that again as a group, the CSM is hearing and communicating your concerns about this feature.
That said, I also think it's clear enough that CCP wants the new hacking mini-game and its associated rewards to emphasize group cooperation. At the end of the day, this is an MMO... I'm also completely convinced that you min-maxers out there -- you know who you are -- will find ways to optimize the rewards you get out of these sites. You wouldn't be EVE players if you didn't do that.
I had three official duties this week. First, I officially announced the date and process for CSM8 Town Hall #1, which will be two weeks from today, June 16 at 1900 EVE time. Once the EVE Online servers come back up, you can find all the details in this thread on the EVE-O forums. Needless to say, I expect this will be a pretty busy town hall and I hope to chat with a lot of you there!
Second, we had our first official "meet and greet" with CCP Seagull, the Senior Producer of EVE Online Development. She was good enough to share with us her thoughts and goals for the next few months and a bit of information about where she wants to go with the game in the next couple of years. Though of course the specifics are under NDA, we've asked permission to share with players the process Seagull hopes to follow in defining the theme for the two expansions that will fall under CSM8's purview as stake-holders.
(Incidentally, I'm still waiting on word of whether the NDA itself is under NDA. Don't worry, that ball will not get dropped.)
Overall though, this was a terrific meeting and a lot of good high-level information was shared with us and we were able to share with Seagull both our backgrounds within the game and our goals for this term of the CSM. It's clear that she values the participation of the CSM in the process and that isn't going to change with all the new faces. So definitely some good news there. We'll be meeting with her again, obviously. And I didn't call her Sunset once.(1) ;-)
Finally as I've already mentioned, I had a great interview/fireside chat with Neville Smit, EVE University's Teaching Manager. This is a really great guy who sought me out at Fanfest even before the CSM election results were announced and asked if I'd be willing to come to E-UNI and be interviewed in this manner, covering my work as an EVE-related blogger if nothing else. I was happy to agree and he gave me his card and a very nice EVE University lapel pin, both of which made the trip back from Iceland with me safely. (I was wearing the pin all day Fanfest Saturday, in fact, including at the Party at the Top of the World.) As I've already said, I'm really pleased with how this interview went and Neville is a superb interviewer. If you're interested in CSM-related topics or blog-related topics, I encourage you to go give it a listen. There are also a large number of other interviews as well in case you're looking for something EVE-related to do...
The other CSM members continue to be busy with their own CSM-related projects and goals. Ali's had four?... five? Space Hangouts so far, and I might have another fun CSM-related project being run by two other CSM members to announce in next week's update. Trebor Daehdoow, our intrepid CSM chair, has also been quite busy working on back-end CSM documentation including a clever way for us to keep in contact and define our goals for the term. Hopefully before too long, I'll also be able to announce the date of the first CCP/CSM8 Summit. Usually, they're the last week in May or the first week in June. I think I can safely say without breaking NDA that's not the case this year.
Finally, the CSM-CCP private forums continue to be quite active with last minute suggestions and begging for Odyssey, as do the CSM-CCP Skype channels. I also hope to announce the date for the first "Features and Ideas" CSM meeting this week as well as kick off the T2 Manufacturing Round Table. I also need to follow up on my promise to get CSM8 member blogs listed off to the right of this one. I intended to do one of those this week, but a nasty flu bug intervened. What can I say except we're all human!
(1) Though I did during the EVE University interview, just for fun, then quickly made it clear I was joking...