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.
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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Onward Mittens Soldiers

So, I attended the CSM Fireside Chat today.

EDIT (16/Apr/2001) EVE Report seems to be first out of the gate with a recording.

For people like myself that have been following CSM6's activities, and particularly those of The Mittani's in interviews and on Failheap, there was virtually no new information.  Mittens opened the meeting with about a 10 minute speech on the goals of the CSM, the limitations they're operating under, and a few words on the first "spotlight issue", time dilation as a means of fighting lag.  The rest of the meeting -- two hours or more worth, I lost track -- was an extended Q&A.  However, most of the questions were pretty predictable, and covered the range of issues that Mittens has already covered during his initial three interviews.  Mittens repeated his positions from those interviews, often word-for-word or phrase-for-phrase.

Still, for those that haven't been following along, this was all good information and good to cover.  The turn-out was surprisingly small, though: only a few hundred people.  Mittens pointed out (correctly) that this will likely improve as the visibility of both the Fireside Chats and the CSM in general improves.

Mittens also got to expand a bit on what's planned to be the second spotlight issue: ship balancing and iteration.  The key phrase around this issue is clearly going to be "A Warship Is Not A Punchline" (I can almost see it on a bumper sticker on the back of a Rupture).  However, it's a valuable issue to focus on.  I've already written my feelings on this issue, and there's no need to repeat them.

The Q&A, in general, came off as The Mittani Show (he did 90% or more of the talking), and a lot of people noticed.  It was brought up repeatedly in the in-game chat channel that ran side-by-side with the Chat, and directly or indirectly referenced in two of the questions.  Mittens and a few other CSM members were quick to point out that the entire CSM is in essential agreement on the points they were talking about.  Given that the approach is going to be directed toward spotlight issues, as a suggestion: it might be a good idea to let one of the other CSM members take each of the new spotlight issues in turn and act as primary presenters during the Fireside Chats, and as a result, get some time in the sun.  Mittens taking the lead on lag is fine; he's the logical choice, in fact.  But Seleene would be a perfect choice for the ship balancing spotlight, for instance, since that's a signature issue of his.

Mittens tried to make the case again that the lag issue is a not only a 0.0 issue, but high-sec issue, and tried a new approach to convince people.  This time, he said that larger fleet battles in EVE would lead to more publicity, more people trying the game for the first time, and therefore, more players (and therefore more ISK) for everyone.  Even speaking as a 0.0 resident, I think that's way too far to stretch.  I suspect more than one full-time Empire resident laughed out loud.  Probably better to stick to just acknowledging this first issue is a 0.0 issue, and that future issues will be broader.

One item that came up that was new is that Mittens said he's trying out the new-and-improved new player missions for the first time by setting up a throw-away alt account.  I'm gonna go out on a limb and take a small amount of credit for that one.  I trolled him ten days or so back and said that while I agreed that Goons and TEST have a lot of experience with a new player's life in New Eden, Mittens himself had zero.  Maybe it's a coincidence, or just maybe he took that comment to heart.

Incarna came up only very briefly, and only as a "way to increase the immersion of the EVE experience" or some-such, which is missing what I believe is the goal of the Incarna team by a couple of light-years.  In particular, Mittens said that he was a bit disgusted being reminded that a new EVE player's first experience flying spaceships are the Ibis, Reaper, and so forth.  He said that he's going to pester the art team to come up with better-looking, "cooler" first ships for players to fly.  As I said, I suspect the Incarna team is thinking well beyond that, that the first experience new players are going to have with EVE will be looking at their toon in a crowded bazaar somewhere, without a spaceship in sight.

Overall, though, I was pleased.  I'm still not sure the approach of CSM6 is going to get any traction: Mittens and Co. very much have to prove to me they can do what they say they can do.  But I think the issues they're looking at are the right ones.  Many questions focused on ancillary issues facing EVE Online, and Mittens and other CSM members pointed out that while, yes, that issue should probably be looked at, no, it was not as critical an issue as the ones they're going to focus on.  That's the right answer.  So it just remains to be seen if CSM6 can communicate these issues to CCP in a way that gets them worked on.

I'm kind of doubly-pleased, though...  For those that understand U.S. politics, I'm kind of in the position of being a very rich businessman who votes for Democrats... but benefits when Republicans are in power.  If CSM6 succeeds, that's good for me: the issues they're focusing on are the ones that I'd want focused on.  If they fail, ironically, that's also good for me (assuming I want to run again next year).

Other, shorter notes:
  • Mittens really needs to stop referring to "EVE Online, the terrible game."  It just isn't funny any more, IMO.
  • Mittens (and some of the 0.0 question-askers) continue to demonstrate that they have no clue about the reality of living full-time and trying to make money in high-sec, rather than just visiting to buy and sell things.  Par for the course.
  • Trzzbk handled sorting out and asking the player's questions, which struck me as a mistake.  He came off as annoying, and made a couple of jokes that -- while fine for a Goon setting -- were inappropriate for this one.  Would have been better to have a full or alt CSM member to do this job.
  • Every single member of the CSM present had their name prefaced by "[CSM]" in their Mumble names, except one.  Guess which one.
  • Mittens flat-out called two questions "retarded", and used the same word to reference people not present two other times.  He was openly dismissive of a third question that he probably should have taken seriously, around botting and RMT.  Ironically, he handed this question off to UAxDeath, who had an amusing moment poking fun at his own alliance's reputation.
  • He didn't, that I noticed, bang on his "if-you-didn't-vote-for-me,-I-don't-represent-you" drum for a change, which was nice.
  • There was, for me, a highly amusing and ironic moment when Seleene (and Trebor, I believe) advocated for a higher voter turn-out in the CSM7 elections.  I suspect Mittens muted his microphone while they were talking about it so that he could giggle without being heard.
  • It was not announced, that I heard, who the Vice Chair, Secretary, or Vice Secretary are.
  • EDIT (16/Apr/2011): One additional note.  All CSM full members were there.  Three CSM alternates appeared to be missing: prom, Elise, and Darius III.
Mittens closed the meeting with one more appeal to EVE players to support the CSM by talking up their spotlight issues as they are made public.  Wasn't exactly orders to immediately go out and camp 6VDT, but the impression I got was about the same.  ;-)

Overall, the Fireside Chat was interesting to listen to, valuable, and a great approach to engaging the larger EVE player community.  Hopefully, they will continue on a regular schedule!  I'll post a link to the recording when it's made available.


  1. Officers announced:

    Looking forward to mittens' answers to my questions, actually. Bit of a surprise, that roster.

  2. The bit that got me, is that somehow I missed that the fireside chat was on, and on at a time I could have made. I've been following blogs, twitter etc, and the thing still snuck up on me.

  3. 1. The Mittani couldn't change his name, His mumble authentication was tied to the name, and it would have probably taken 5-10 minutes of sorting things out to fix it.

    2. I think Trzzbk did an excellent job.

    3. questions about botting and RMT have been gone over a million times by a million people. Wait until CCP's new botting system has a chance to do what it's supposed to.

    4. Welcome to a world of video games where no one is politically correct, least of all goons.

    You really come off as horribly bitter in this post. It's almost depressing.

  4. I saw Mittens' "way to increase the immersion of the EVE experience" comment with regard to Incarna as shorthand for improving and embellishing the NPE and especially the NPE of players who find themselves unable to connect to the 'REAL' that is Eve because of the lack of playable Avatar.

    As to whether CSM6's approach will work? I think their approach in the the correct one to choose (and I'm curious as to what you would do different) but judging their potential effectiveness at this stage depends on your judgement on their collective and personal abilities. And what CCP's receptiveness to their approach.

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  6. As for being politically correct I'd like to point out that it's all fine within the actual game to smack-talk. But calling people retarded outside of the game just smacks of poor upbringing and bad manners.

    Also just in: I spel like a türd.

  7. @DaiTengu: Repeated use of the word "retarded", combined with Trrzbk's "jewish name" joke and other like statements were inappropriate to the setting. Not everyone in EVE is a Goon. As a matter of fact, very few people in EVE are Goons. ;-)

    In a public, semi-professional setting like a CSM meeting, such things aren't funny. They're just sad and immature. Pointing this out does not make me bitter. ;-)

    As for the Mumble authentication, your objection is just silly. He could have set up a second log-in for the same Mumble server outside of his normal one with the [CSM] nickname, then had it authenticated. Would have taken 45 seconds, if that, not 5-10 minutes.

    @Mike deVoid: The 800 pound gorilla in the room is that there are teams and personnel in CCP that have absolutely no interest in working with the CSM. Right now, in public anyway, CSM6 appears to be using a very top-down approach to that issue.

  8. Jester said...
    @DaiTengu: Repeated use of the word "retarded", combined with Trrzbk's "jewish name" joke and other like statements were inappropriate to the setting. Not everyone in EVE is a Goon. As a matter of fact, very few people in EVE are Goons. ;-)

    I couldn't agree with you more. I cringe every time I hear Mittens, or some other Goon, say "retarded"...totally inappropriate in general, and certainly for official CSM business.


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