Obviously I've covered the summit on a daily basis in what I feel is pretty damn good detail, as well as the travel process and some funny stories, again focused on the detail. But I did want to take a couple of minutes and reflect on the summit as a whole.
Trebor Daehdoow has described the summit in various fora as both the best and most satisfying summit he's ever attended. I'm obviously in no position to disagree. Still, I do believe the summit was both useful and an important exchange of ideas. CCP spends a lot of money to get seven of us to Iceland and I do feel like they should get good value on their investment. I believe we delivered on our part of the bargain. That indeed is very satisfying.
Even more important, something to remember about both the CSM and CCP is that we're all EVE players. We are, by our nature, competitive souls with strong feelings and opinions about the game. Those opinions very often conflict and the Internet being what it is, feelings can be and are hurt. Working through Skype and forums is tough and it's hard not to take things personally sometimes when something you're trying to communicate is misunderstood or gets shot down. That applies, incidentally, to both CCP and the CSM. Already this term, CCP employees have seriously dunked on CSM ideas and vice versa.
So having that personal contact can be a terrific way to smooth the waters from past disagreements and hopefully stem a little bit of the antagonism from future disagreements. I can already sense CCP members being a bit more understanding of CSM members they met and ate with and had beers with, and vice versa. Teleconferencing and the Internet can get you only so far. So the summit was also quite valuable from that perspective. And the personal touch does extend to the occasional gift, practical joke, or thoughtful gesture.
There's no question in my mind that the vast majority of the CCP employees we talked to took us seriously. To that, I think CSM8 relies on the legacy built up by past CSMs. Every year at the Fanfest CSM panel, the CSM members present get up there and proclaim themselves the best CSM ever but are also quick to point out that they're walking the road built by previous CSMs. I don't think CSM8 will be any different in that regard. If we can continue the legacy of valuable input to CCP, then that legacy will extend to CSMs 9 and 10 and make their job a lot easier.
Another aspect of the summits that's really valuable is the opportunity to build "big picture" into how we interface with CCP. On Skype and on the forums, we're often talking to between one and three devs, usually on a very specific topic -- the jump clone timer skill, say, or the marauder rebalance. The summit allows us to widen the focus from individual features to both the short- and long-term development of EVE the game. That's great for the CSM, to understand how individual features fit into the big picture, and to allow us to influence EVE development in a macro as well as a micro sense. It also allows CCP to get player perspective on the big picture, something that definitely doesn't happen in the Features and Ideas thread.
Something that's really terrific about this group of people on CSM8 is how we're very much a "divide and conquer" CSM. Each of us has our strengths and we're able to focus on those strengths. We therefore get a lot done, but it was especially cool during the summit how well we worked as a team. One session, I might get the focus because I like to look at the big picture and CCP's business side, and my play style in-game is also pretty focused. The next session, mynnna or Mike Azariah or Ali Aras might take over as things swung to their interests. The same thing happens with our communications strategy coming out of the forums. I think the CSM members there were content to let me do the write-ups, but I was often sharing my plans for them at breakfast each morning to get concurrence. It's a nice way to work, and really reflects how strong this CSM is in terms of the number of active participants. Trebor gets to be smug about this one, I think: STV has clearly been a success in that regard.
I do want to again extend my thanks and appreciation toward our CCP hosts, particularly the individual members of each team that braved the den of the wily aggressive customer. Some teams must have felt like they were lining up for the firing squad, but every team reacted with good grace and we're already seeing some positive outcomes in terms of an additional Skype channel or two for us to interact with new devs.
And I do again want to extend my thanks and congratulations to CCP Dolan. The more I look back on the summit, the more I'm impressed with how successful it was from a CCP delivery stand-point. There were no schedule mix-ups, no confusion about why we were there or what we were doing, few or no logistical hang-ups, and really only very minor technical issues. Again, I've run these sorts of events myself before... it ain't easy. But it looks easy when it's been done right, and this one was. So kudos to Dolan on that.
Finally, a number of us have already started on the minutes and we're going to try a bit of a hybrid method for producing them: first, a TL;DR version of a couple of paragraphs per session for those of you who prefer to be surprised, followed by the remainder of the minutes in blocks starting with the sessions least likely to be NDA'ed into the ground and working up the difficulty scale from there. It has a couple of benefits over the traditional method: those of you who want a deep dive will get it and those of you who only want to focus on a few bits here and there will get that. And hopefully the end result will be a quickly-delivered product. We'll see how we do.
Looking back on this post, it strikes me as rather reflective, but that's probably appropriate because that's how I feel about the summit as a whole: rather reflective. It was a valuable process, I think, and both sides did their jobs and did them well. Any final questions from you, Dear Readers?
Next up: the first batch of minutes!