Welcome to Jester's Trek.
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.
You can follow along, if you want...

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Kissing babies

Fair warning.  This is a long, CSM6-focused post.

The Lost in EVE debates that I took part in yesterday went really well, I think!  I was on the show with Meissa and Seleene, so in other words, I was on the air with two extremely strong candidates... one of whom has been on the last three CSMs, the other who has worked for CCP.  Both of these men are likely to be elected.  And I think I covered my positions just fine by comparison to them.  So hopefully, that's a good omen.  As soon as the debates are posted (hopefully sometime tomorrow), I'll provide a link and you can hear what I sound like.  ;-)

I want to thank Jade and Jayne for running these.  It was a great format for discussion.  I had e-mailed them both to talk about the format, because I was a little concerned with that word "debate."  I love conflict as much as the next guy (this is why I play EVE and not some other MMO, *cough*), but I felt it was important not to "go after" the other candidates.  If I'm lucky, I'll be sitting at a table with Seleene and/or Meissa in Iceland at some point in the future, and I don't want there to be any discomfort around working together.  Meissa and Seleene apparently agreed, and we spent our time talking about our positions instead of other candidates.

They're both great guys, and Jade/Jayne are as well.  We all chit-chatted back and forth for quite a while both before and after the debate, and the out-takes, if they're ever made public, would be pretty funny.  ;-)

The questions we were asked (somewhat simplified):
  1. What do you see as the purpose of the CSM?  And if you're elected, how will you get the changes you want to the game made?
  2. What changes do you think should be made to null-sec space, and in what ways should null-sec be left alone?
  3. Incarna is coming.  Do you think that's a good thing?  How do you see it impacting the balance in EVE between attracting new players and alienating veteran players?
The format of the debate was such that each of the three candidates got one question as "your" question and two questions for the other two candidates.  For "your" question, you got five minutes.  For everyone else's question, you got half that.  "My" question was #3, which was fine.  I obviously would have preferred #2.  ;-)

You'll get to hear my answers when the podcast is made public.  But I have to say, only having 150 seconds to talk about all of null-sec was quite frustrating, as you can imagine.  That's really only enough time to cover three points in any detail, and the three points I focused on were jump logistics, sov warfare, and treaties.  Still, it would have been nice to have more time.

Incarna is obviously a topic that I can go into great detail on, hee.  I went a bit over my time because I couldn't see the time warnings, but I covered the topic in a lot of good detail, I though.  Incarna was also the one topic where Meissa and Seleene probably disagreed with me the most, though they were careful to stick to their own positions rather than attacking mine, as I mentioned above.

One point about Incarna I made in particular was that you don't see a lot of female EVE players, and obviously, CCP is trying to attract more women to the game with Incarna.  One friend of mine loved to play EVE (the game was made for him, honestly, heh), but he doesn't play it any more because his wife has no interest in it.  One of my personal hopes for Incarna is that it will attract both a few more women to the game, and allow their boyfriends/husbands/significant others who may have stopped playing EVE to start again.  ;-)

After the debate, I had the opportunity to speak at length with a very experienced third-party EVE support application developer.  I've already talked about my position on expanding the API, but I want to expand this position even further.  I've implied that I feel that CCP is holding API access too closely, but I want to come out and state it explicitly: CCP is holding API access too closely.  As far as I'm concerned, players should be able to access any information they can access in game through the API.

Even more than this, I feel that CCP should remain neutral about both app development and monetizing apps.  Their smart position is to encourage any type of application development that any developer wants to do, however they want to do it.  Support applications for EVE can only help the game.  The more support applications are available, the more players will be attracted to the game and the more they'll keep playing the game.  Therefore, if an application developer wants to make $1.99 for a mobile EVE support app, CCP should stay out of it.  If the app is good enough, people will buy it and they'll be encouraged by their investment to retain their EVE accounts.  That's CCP's reward.  And if other application developers put out free apps to compete with that app just for name recognition, that should be their choice.  CCP should provide open access to the data through the API and stay out of it.

Finally, I got an education about API authentication.  A month ago, CCP put out a devblog regarding changes they are planning to make to the API.  My instinct about this devblog at the time was "You're doing... what?"  It struck me as a terrible series of changes:
  • It makes life more complicated for players because you have to keep track of multiple API keys and multiple levels of access for each toon.
  • It makes life more complicated for corps wanting to use APIs to check new recruits; many spies will use the new temporary authentication function to hide their true loyalties.
  • Even more than this, it makes life very simple for such spies, since they will only have to grant API access for their spy toon, leaving their non-spy toons on the same account hidden.
  • And if that isn't bad enough, the new API keys have a short lifespan (default of six months), which means that corp directors have to ask their corp members for new APIs frequently and players have to set up new APIs for all of their apps frequently.
CCP promises that they'll be adding actual functionality to this at some point, but right now, they're building the security for the API keys.  This would be fine, I guess, except they're reinventing the wheel, and there are standards in the industry that they're ignoring in the process.  But honestly, are we that worried about API key security?  CCP seems to be busily solving a problem that doesn't exist, while ignoring the problem that does.  The developer I spoke to about this completely agrees, so it was nice to know that my first impulse on this topic was supported by someone who knows way more about this topic than I do.  ;-)

Anyway, it was a great conversation, and it was great to speak to an expert on these topics at length.  Hopefully, I'll be able to apply this knowledge in CSM6...

Thank you to everyone who is supporting me in my Jita Park post!  If you have questions, feel free to post them.


  1. One friend of mine loved to play EVE (the game was made for him, honestly, heh), but he doesn't play it any more because his wife has no interest in it. One of my personal hopes for Incarna is that it will attract both a few more women to the game, and allow their boyfriends/husbands/significant others who may have stopped playing EVE to start again. ;-)

    You wouldn't be talking about anyone I know, would you? ;)

  2. Snark aside, Incarna almost certainly won't be enough to pull either me or my wife back. What eventually drove me from EVE was a philosophical thing: I don't like the idea that I can spend a lot of my time to obtain something that some griefing jerk can take away in 2 minutes.

    In WoW, I still play on a PvP realm. I don't have a problem with an unexpected player attack. It's inconvenient, but you don't lose all of your hard-fought raid-level gear when they kill you. Your gear doesn't even take damage. Only NPC-caused damage and death wear down your gear, which is easily repaired with a quick visit to a smith.

    When you're elected to the CSM, suggest to CCP that they need a better insurance system. If your ship explodes, it and all installed modules and rigs (cargo should be fair game, though) are replaced (not with cash; actual items) upon the ship's destruction. Insurance should cover implants, too. Toss in cross-clone sharing of implants, while we're at it. Some combination of those being implemented could very easily pull me back.

    I'm not going to hold my breath. ;)


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