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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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Talkers and doers

With the history lesson out of the way, let's talk about the document that CSM7 published the other day.

Before I get rolling though, I'd like to point out that CSM7 is made up of a lot of really smart people.  Even more, the large majority of CSM7 are past CSM members.  Besides CSM7 (in order of votes received this year):
  • Two step was on CSM6;
  • Elise Randolph: CSM6;
  • Greene Lee: (none);
  • Trebor Daehdoow: CSM5, CSM6;
  • Kelduum Revaan: (none);
  • Seleene: CSM6;
  • Hans Jagerblitzen: (none);
  • Meissa Anunthiel: CSM2, CSM3, CSM4, CSM5, CSM6;
  • Dovinian: (none);
  • Issler Dainze: CSM3;
  • Alekseyev Karrde: CSM4; and,
  • Darius III was on CSM6.
So, there are nine returnees out of thirteen CSM7 members.(1)  And virtually all of the returnees were part of what I describe as activist CSMs.  One of them directly engaged in activism himself.  During CSM5, Trebor launched an effort that he termed prioritization crowd-sourcing.  It involved directly polling large numbers of the EVE player community to determine their interest in a large selection of potential iterations to the game.  This effort was popular enough with the players that Trebor ran the effort one, two, three times.

Check out the list of items that were top vote-getters.  Just glancing through the lists and sticking to the top items, I count eighteen that are in the game we're playing today.  Another comes up twice: Modular Starbases... first submitted three years ago this month.

We'll get back to that.

But let's stick to the crowd-sourcing effort itself: in this case, Trebor made a conscious effort to survey the EVE player base completely independently of any CCP mechanism.  He wanted player input, so he sought it out, creating an independent mechanic to gather the data, then presented the data to CCP.  It was a lot of work, yes, but it was work that generated and continues to generate tangible business results for CCP.  That's activism at work.

The document EVE Online Development Strategy (CSM Public) is quite dense.  In fact, I daresay that its six pages cover more ground than the 165 pages of the CSM7 May Summit Minutes both in what they say and by what they don't say.  But in essence, there are three parts to the document:
  • In part one, CSM7 subdivides the EVE player base into four categories.
  • In part two, they define to what proportion each player category wants EVE development to focus on new features versus iteration of existing features, and why.  This results in five "pillars" of game development, and how eager each player category would be for each one.
  • In part three, they examine three "critical issues" facing the game and how to focus development within the five pillars to improve them.
The three critical issues are null-sec sovereignty, mining and industry, and POSes.  Let's start with that and work backward.

Yes, I realize I'm wandering well off-track here.  Stay with me.

CSM7 nearly immediately took a fair bit of heat for the choices of their critical issues.  High-sec players, in particular, pointed out that they were being ignored "again".  Null-sec players pointed out that the last several expansions have already been high-sec focused -- yeah, other than TiDi, they actually have been, weirdly -- and they deserved some love too.  The forum threads (there are one, two of them) have become somewhat of a food-fight.  A number of people accused the CSM of being too focused on relatively minor issues and ignoring the larger game.  By the 24th and 25th, CSM7 Chair Seleene was getting positively cranky responding to such posts.  The document wasn't a be-all, end-all of the CSM's opinion on the game, he kept saying.  It was just intended to be focused on a few areas they were asked about.

OK... got that.  So why call the document "EVE Online Development Strategy" then?

Needless to say, the document sent an unconscious message about the CSM's focus, and the CSM's focus happens to be... what CCP has already publicly stated as their development goals for next spring and summer: ring mining, modular POSes (remember them?), the balance between null-sec and high-sec industry, and forcing alliances to make money from the space they hold via their players instead of via passive towers.  Other than giving CCP a warm fuzzy about decisions they've already made, it's kinda hard to see the value-add the CSM is bringing in part three of the document.

In terms of the transparency CSM7 said they'd deliver, part three is a success.  But as I've mentioned before, CSM7 has also suffered from accusations that they're much more interested in the relationship with CCP than they are in rocking the boat when it needs rocking.  "If everyone is thinking alike," as the old saying goes, "then someone isn't thinking."

Meanwhile, the subconscious message delivered in part three is that those things not mentioned are not important.  When super-cap proliferation came up as a potential critical issue, for instance, both Aleks and Hans both jumped in and implied that supers need to be buffed to be made more "fun" and "useful."  Both then pointed out nearly simultaneously that supers don't need a maintenance cost because the cost of the account sitting in them is in itself a maintenance cost.(2)  I think we can safely say that Seleene's and Elise's views on this subject have now infected the entire active CSM: obviously super-cap proliferation is not a critical issue. That's why it wasn't included.

In logic classes, this sort of thing is called the independence of irrelevant alternatives: i.e., anything not included in this document isn't important.(3)  I truly believe this was subconscious, not intentional.  But I won't fault you if you want to argue it that way.  ;-)  A lot of players did just that, and that's what's got Seleene so cranky.

Let's move backward to part two.  I promise my discussion of it and part one aren't nearly as long.

When I first read part two, my instinct drove me to e-mail a CSM member and ask him when CSM7 had taken a survey of what the players wanted:
During a meeting where CCP indicated that they were beginning the process of zeroing in on the scope of the expansion content to be tackled in the coming year, we offered to share feedback about what we were hearing from the players in terms of both the big issues to be worked on as well as the expressing the restlessness many of you have described regarding CCP's struggle with hitting the "sweet spot" between Jesus Features and more iterative patch-like expansions in the style of Crucible, Inferno, and Retribution. CCP Ripley said she was interested and gave us a window of time to get a statement together, which we than spent the weekend working on. The result is what is linked in the OP.
That's basically the theme statement to part two.  Problem is, the CSM kind of built this matrix of five "pillars" themselves.  Remember crowd-sourcing?  It would have been a relatively simple and precedented step for the CSM to put their five pillars on the forums, ask players to self-describe themselves within their four categories, and then ask them which were important.  That would have been valuable data, based on factual input.  Granted, you can't do that on a weekend, but the survey would have been (and still could be!) a valuable follow-up.

What CCP got instead was a guess based on the experiences of the document's four authors, perhaps with some additional input from other CSM members after the fact.  It was representative democracy, not democracy.  Which is fine if your representatives are either themselves members of all four player categories they defined or have over time surveyed them: "bittervets", veterans, newbies, and "potential" players.

Only, by definition, they're not and they couldn't have!  How can you survey a "potential" EVE player?  And therefore, how can you claim to have factual information about what they want to the level of specificity of these five pillars?  You can guess, certainly.  And that's what this is: a series of estimations.  Problem is, CCP surveys its current and ex-players all the time through the surveys in their monthly e-mailed EVE bulletins and almost certainly has better data on this than the CSM does.  Again, where is the value-add?

And that takes us backward to part one.

The former CCP Hammer -- he was EVE's Lead Game Designer in the first half of 2011 -- was infamous for pigeon-holing players into various categories and then developing to those categories.  As I wrote at the time,
Apparently, CCP has built up a database of player "behaviors" in game, and there are "about seven personas" that the bulk of EVE players fall into.  [Hammer] then goes on to describe characteristics of two of the seven, the "unwinding professional" and the "maven."
The CSM strategy document says:
The goal is to tempt Potentials and Bittervets to subscribe, and to prevent Newbies and Veterans from unsubscribing.
Last March, I pointed out that it's sort of bad form to stereotype your players, and then try to find ways to develop your game to keep each stereotype playing it.  Know what's changed in my opinion since then?  Nothing.  I assume someone in CCP agrees, thus the whole "former CCP Hammer" thing.

As I said yesterday:
The best CSMs, for both players and CCP alike, have been activist CSMs... the more activist, the better.
I think I proved my case for that yesterday.  Members of CSM7 on past activist CSMs have been quick to take credit for past activist CSMs.  But how does this CSM stack up?

Unfortunately, in my opinion, to find a CSM this passive, we have to go all the way back to CSM3.  That several of them are putting in a lot of effort is obvious.  But are they getting results out of it?  Are they being a true value-add to CCP?  So far, the major stated goal of their term is to "be more transparent" and to "expand the CSM's stake-holder status".  Those are benefits to the players and to future CSMs, respectively... but what does CCP get out of it?  What, indeed...

As I was doing the first editing pass on these two posts, I -- completely independently -- had a bit of a lightning bolt of a perspective thrown into me via e-mail that sums it up better in a small number of :words: than these entire two posts.  The lightning bolt: "The CSM has devolved into being 'talkers' instead of objective-driven 'doers.'  And CCP would discourage anything else now, because talkers are easy to deal with... doers are tough."

Call it the Comment of the Month... maybe of the year.  And it sums up my opinion of CSM7 so far rather admirably.  Five months of their term to go.

(1) The Mittani would have made it ten out of fourteen.
(2) It would be hard to over-state how hard I face-palmed when I read this.  Guys: super-cap mules.  Heard of them?
(3) Warning: link contains scary math.


  1. So in part one, CSM pigeon holes players without a survey.

    In part two, they attribute certain desires to these imaginary player types, without a survey.

    In part three they suggest some critical issues, without a survey.

    Is this close to a precise of your article?

    1. Hm. Surprisingly for you, no. Look at it again. I only mention the survey in part two. I have other objections to parts one and three.

      Or are you being sarcastic? It's tough to tell with you sometimes.

    2. Something to keep in mind: A survey, specifically, of any type CSM would be capable of performing, is a VERY inadequate method of determining statistical truth in this particular case. I could do a whole lecture on why, but it's way too long for this comment box. The TLDR version would be that people answering forum surveys (and even reading official forums in the first place) are already pre-selected, special among the Eve population, in ways not really known, so asking them anything doesn't reflect the population at large. CCP has the resources to get significantly better data from their email surveys, and then doesn't use them. (Their surveys, frankly, suck, being written with marketing in mind more than anything else.) The only ideal data could be inferred from analysing CCP logs and metrics, and probably not regarding this particular subject.

      It's a very serious research problem which many people for some silly reason believe to have been conclusively solved and not worthy of their attention. Well, it wasn't, and the deeper you go, the more doubts you get that it can be.

    3. It's worth pointing out though, regardless of how poorly implemented your market research / survey process is... it does give (at least short-term) the belief that you listen to your market-base. Which is never a bad thing. Something the CSM could have at least pretended to do in their weekend window.

  2. I really wish The Mittens never got so shitfaced at fanfest =(

    1. I don't like the guy, but I wish he hadn't either honestly.

    2. I honestly think Mittens missing this year on the CSM was a good thing both for him & CSM ( not sure about Goonswarm though )

    3. [Insert name or noun here] was better in the past.

  3. Well, the players can be more proactive, by posting on the forums about issues, they don't have to wait for CSM to start the ball rolling or to imagine what they care about.

    Also with them just starting something, the players are now informing them about what they want or how they see issues, so its no big deal.

    Also there is a town hall they are doing, so their is time to post now or blog to bring up issues, or respond to the forums about the issues they posted, or show up at the town hall and ask questions.

    Or time till town hall as well, for them to atone for perceived faults.

    1. You're absolutely correct. CCP devs are also increasingly going directly to the players when they want opinions on things as well.

      Now all they have to do is actually start listening to more of that advice...

  4. If these were really elected public officials slacking off I might be able to summon a bit of concern or even outrage. Fact is, they're a glorifid focus group that sits between a game publisher and the playerbase.

    Trebor has done good work. The best work, bar none, in my opinion was done by Mynxee. She doesn't play anymore. That says it all as far as I'm concerned.

    Mittens did an OK job. I dislike the undeserved credit people throw his way for several things last year, but whatever. I just can't get worked up about this stuff.

  5. "In logic classes, this sort of thing is called the independence of irrelevant alternatives: i.e., anything not included in this document isn't important.(3) "

    I liked reading reference (3)...
    Especially where this Axiom fells apart in the RL example of wiki was when you get David Dukes in the running ? Dunno about you but I can think of many pillow case wearing David Duke types in EVE :D And not just Darius III who was the 1 CSM whom didn't endorse this unanymously CSM supported CSM document...

  6. No one saying it?

    Guess I'll be devils advocate then:
    Ripard, if you know better (and you certainly THINK you know it better), then run for CSM8!

    I am not saying that I hate (or love for that matter) these two posts, but it is always easier to sit behind the bar and bark inside than being in the hot seat.

    Granted, CMS7 rolls like an egg in my eyes too. But if you want an activist something... you better do it yourself.

    One of the lessons of my life: if you want to get sh*t done then you have to do it yourself.

    Sorry if I hit some nerves but this just had to come out of me... :P

    1. I seem to remember Ripard addressing this issue in the past.

      He works hard for the game as it is. What he does garners quite a lot of attention, so his opinions are widely considered which gives him influence.

      Perhaps his influential opinions will have some effect.

      For him, this may qualify as getting "sh*t done."

    2. Yep, I addressed it when I listed my reasons for not running for CSM7 back in Jan/Feb of this year. I felt I had pretty damn good influence as a player through the blog.

      But I'm being told by an increasing number of people whose opinions I trust that I don't have the influence I think I do. So if I ran for CSM8, that'd probably be one of the reasons.

  7. In many ways I feel sorry for Seleene as he is obviously a guy who wants to get the job done and done well but doesn't feel that it requires a massive song and dance to get it done.

    The CSM saying that 'a lot of things happen behind closed doors' may be completely true but the player perception is that they've been chilling out, taking it easy and push out a few page essay a few days before its done to make it look like they are doing something.

    Personally I see the changes in retribution to be an excellent step forward (and its a big reason for my re sub :D) but the kind of work that is being done doesn't have a massive buzz about it. Changes to various systems that doesn't really offer any huge game play changes doesn't really sound like much, but its the ground work for better and more stable systems in the future which will look and play awesome.

    To be honest I think the CSM needs a out spoken figure head to lead a charge and cause waves simply because that is the world of EVE - its the drama of the game world spilling over into the real world. The drama from the CSM makes it into the gaming news and it brings EVE into the foreground, regardless of if its good or bad attention and that makes for good advertising.

    1. "Changes to various systems that doesn't really offer any huge game play changes doesn't really sound like much, but its the ground work for better and more stable systems in the future which will look and play awesome."

      Why does it seem like every vet I talk to plays this game because the future looks promising. Years later it seems like the theme still hasn't changed. CCP is always laying the ground work for something awesome... I seem play this game for the hope of the future rather than the joy of the present.

  8. We're already seeing Seleene feigning activism in various posts, e.g. naming pet peeves, going back to his time and CCP and saying what were the rocks he banged his head against the most... Will he run again? I think that, if he doesn't feign more, he'll lose a few votes. Of course that is relatively unimportant with the support of an entire coalition now. So i suspect we won't see much more from him than being a modest preacher.

    The issue with Trebor is typical and interesting. He seems to be completely burned out and after being thrown under the bus, if he runs again, I for one don't expect to see success in getting elected.

    The issue with the ccurrent CSM is that it reflects too much the current playerbase: rather inactive, uninterested and conformed at patch-ups from CCP. Some nay-sayers might be smiling when they see or hear about the current situation of a CSM lead by an ex-employee.

    Winter is coming though. I for one, will wait and see.

    I would ask you though Jester, because I smell something fishy, if you could sum up the comments and clicks of your recent CSM articles and compare to the interest that other recent unrelated articles produce (interest after april of 2012, which is iirc the flatting point of readers you said in the most recent podcast), what would be the CSMs themed posts take on the attention of us readers?

    1. I think you're making a common mistake about the way I operate. I just try to do the best job that I can given the resources and environment, and don't give a crap about whether or not it will help me "politically".

      I won't speak for my colleagues, but I would be surprised if any of them agreed with your take that I am burned out, or feel that I was thrown under a bus. If anything, I'm putting in more hours this term than in previous terms, it's just a bit less visible.

    2. So, you are burnt out of the game or just the politics Trebor? I for one would encourage you to step in again. (then I can at least some know in my age bracket has a say on the direction of the game!)

  9. Last question first: "Activism" has only been up for two days and is already the 5th most-read post on this blog in the month of November. There's a lot of interest in CSM-related posts, possibly because of the regular bloggers, only Poetic and myself cover them.

    I think Seleene will run again. There's a bit of Meissa going on there: contributions or no, I think he can't walk away from being in the club.

    I think Trebor will not run for CSM8, but I think he would win a seat if he did. The voting mechanic thing was pretty small beer in the grand scheme of things.

    1. About 'Activism': Pretty sweet. Yeah, the game's still on.

      And there was Trebor. Good to see him around, or to notice him again. And glad to read his counter-burnout argument.

  10. I don't understand why obtaining a survey would be so difficult for CCP. Send out emails to the unsubscribed and hope some of them respond, fine. As for the existing active player base, how difficult is it to create an optional survey as we log into eve? Everybody has to go through the same interface.

    I would love to see a monthly survey (optional of course) that is presented to you at the beginning of each quarter or year right next to your character portrait as you log in.

    1. yeah, but that would involve CCP knowing the appropriate questions to ask. And they won't. ever.

    2. CCP could always ask Romney's pollsters & Karl Rov to givethem what they want to hear :D

  11. EVE has a news letter? In 5 years all I ever got was subscription, and finally unsubscribe notices. Not that I want one now that it's all over, but I had no idea.

    1. Yes, there's a monthly newsletter that goes out to your account's e-mail account of record. Though now that you mention it, I believe there's a check-box that turns the newsletter on and off. Perhaps yours was turned off.

  12. oh come on. do you seriously think CCP has ever in their entire history ever read all those email surveys? betcha the person in charge of reading that has already lost enough credibility to be placed in such a job title purposely.

    they don't give a rat's ass about data they can look up, the lazy arrogant bastards.

    1. Surveys are processed by an outside consulting firm. The results are summarized in a report to CCP.

  13. A quick point of clarification - supercap mules are precisely what I was referring to when I mentioned the cost of owning a super. I am one of many players who can't justify paying for an extra account (either through PLEX or cash) just to say I own a super.

    As for proliferation being a critical issue, half of the equation is the fact that supercaps don't die as fast as they used to. We used to see them drop by the dozen even in FW space, and get killed, now even the militia-held supers are mostly mothballed. This matches with what I've heard elsewhere beyond simply the low-sec sphere.

    There are now thousands of these in the game, a figure which won't go down by reducing supply alone, they have to be killed. And to be killed, they need to be put on field. This can be done through a revamp of capital ship *roles*, I am in no way advocating CCP simply give these a raw buff. Once command links are sorted out (which are currently making ALL PvP silly, not just 0.0 warfare) taking a break and focusing on capital warfare would be a fantastic use of the team's time.

    1. Super-cap mules don't get training. Since the super-cap pilot only needs a relatively limited number of skills, a LOT of super-caps are riding around on characters not being trained, alts of other characters that are. You could easily buy such a character and use it as an alt of your Hans account.

      Therefore, in all of these cases the super-cap isn't costing the player anything.

      I get what you're saying, but there's a side effect: making super-caps "fun" and "useful" is going to cause them to proliferate MORE. When a ship gets buffed, what happens to that ship's production? Go out and have a look at sales figures for Caracals and Bellicoses if you're curious.

      Sure, they'd die more often, but the number produced would continue to outpace the number killed and probably by a wider margin than today. Despite what Seleene and Elise think, this problem can't be solved on the "destroy" side alone. It has to be solved on the "harvest" and "build" sides too.

      Thanks for your comment!

    2. This sort of clear thinking right here? This is why I voted for you. Supercaps need a serious overhaul in order to be both fun to use and fun to fight - they need to be as interesting to use as they are to interact with, both as an ally and an enemy. They certainly don't just need a straight stat increase, they need a more relevant role on the field of battle beyond "liability". If Titans are logged off on alts behind POS shields, they're not interesting for their owners or their enemies, they're just an occasional superweapon that gets rolled out for a handful of minutes once every few weeks in order to shift a blob somewhere or nuke the occasional Carrier/Supercarrier.

    3. You're welcome! I'll concede your point about the parking alt - having not owned one I'm simply going off of other player's gripes about "second accounts" and personally, I loathe the idea of paying for another character when Hans can already fly a Hel. In the meantime I'll save those gripes for a POS moorage debate (if and when those come around).

      I must say though, I'm amused at player reaction whenever we talk supercapital proliferation. Many seem to think the CSM is hell-bent on ending mineral compression above all things, and are upset about the side effects it'll have on non-capital industry in nullsec, while you seem to think we're all under the spell of Elise and Seleene (and that they only care about buffing supers). Despite the fact that Elise responded to me personally via Skype when I made my post (reminding me that the the problem needs to be tackled on both ends, not just on killing supers) the details here are almost tangential to the *real* challenge - convincing CCP to dedicate resources to fixing this issue in the first place. Rebalancing production as well as the ships themselves are by no means mutually exclusive paths, there's no reason the CSM shouldn't be actively encouraging CCP to work on both.

    4. That's the part where the CSM should come in: declaring critical issues. My concern with this document is only picking three, and only picking the three that CCP had decided to work on.

      Part of the problem is classification: this problem falls under both null-sec income AND mining and industry. It's ironic that the CSM got badgered about not thinking broadly enough about the game when the issues called out are pretty freakin' broad (why I said in the post above that the doc covers a ton of ground in six pages).

      And this is just one item that I'd define as critical. Unfun PvE and the continuing towering presence of the learning cliff are two more.

    5. Note that the CSM document did not in any way say that the issues listed were *the* critical issues; it merely used them as examples of how critical issues could be addressed within the context of the development strategy we endorsed. We could have done a dozen examples if we'd had time; instead the decision was made to illustrate three of the most obvious ones.

      As always, there are not going to be enough resources available to address all the issues at once, so tough decisions will have to be made at the Fish Factory. Our role on the CSM is to help give an outside perspective so that CCP can make the most informed decision possible -- and that is what the document was all about.

  14. I'll weigh in and say I don't get that document. I read it when it was released and found myself scratching my head the whole way through. To me it felt like a political document.

    Part one: Define your voters.
    Part Two: Define what you think will make those voters happy.
    Part Three: Broadly defined nothing to make them happy.

    "I'm glad to be here in Farmville."
    "I think farmers want self plowing fields."
    "I'm devoting resources to research in self driving tractors to do the job for you, it'll make Bob over there who sells tractors happy too. Everyone wins!"

    And not a word of worth was actually said.

  15. My my Ripard, where to begin. After such a long silence, I expected your next foray into CSM related content to be a bit more robust.

    I guess I'll go in order...

    -You put the emphasis on "already" instead of publicly. The irony of trying to make a point about things unsaid and then going on to miss the reason such a document needed to be made in the first place. Things are in flux, persuasion was (and is) needed. Unless you don't LIKE that little list you summed up...

    -Likewise, making the assertion this was "giving a warm fuzzy to decisions CCP already made" is laughably inverse to reality.

    -CSM7 could be labeled a little too passive as you assert. The "wait and see" approach is advocated a little too often for my liking. That's why I fought for this opportunity. The idea that fighting for, getting, and executing input into CCP's strategy planning process to advocate CCP rethink their decisions is passive in any way is an abuse of the English language.

    -You attack me and Hans for being pro super cap proliferation, conveniently ignoring the first +3 pages of the Jita Park thread criticizing the document including breaking mineral compression (widely regarded as the best supply-side solution to super cap proliferation). Fact is Hans and I think there needs to be movement on the production and destruction sides of the issue. If anything, it sounds like we stake a tougher position on curbing super cap proliferation than you do.

    -Our representative democracy is not legitimate because it doesn't properly represent people that aren't in our community? Quite the Catch 22, wouldn't you say? Saying the CSM's familiarity with the community isn't sufficient to comment on how to appeal to different types of players because none of the CSM are prospective EVE players is like saying a country can't make decisions about tourism because there's not an illegal immigrant in their legislature.

    -In regard to your above comment, EVE is a really broken game. Maybe when you get elected to CSM8 you can build off of our activism and submit a 50 page document outlining every critical issue. I'm sure CCP will read the whole thing.

    1. Hi Aleks,

      Thanks for your comment!

      CCP hasn't already made the decisions on POSs, ring mining, and shifting null-sec income to players instead of structures? Then why did they announce all of those things as key development areas for 2013, not once but several times?

      The implication is that CCP is looking at going in a completely different direction. If that's the case, then tell me that's the case.

      As for the list itself... yeah, I think it could use some work. You guys say you want game-play for vets. I don't see any on your list. Matter of fact, I don't see much game-play in the future plans at all. Only ring-mining counts, and that only barely given how absolutely ridiculously mining ops are protected in null.

      I'm glad that the two of us agree on CSM7 being a little bit too passive. I will say that you and Hans (and to a lesser extent, Trebor) are the least passive members.

      Mineral compression is definitely still broken, true, but with mining absolutely *exploding* in null-sec, it's increasingly becoming a side issue. It's really becoming more a way to fill in a few mineral gaps like tritanium than the major supply side of the equation. That's why I "ignored" it. Look at mineral prices and you'll see that null is not really having a supply problem just now.

      My concern with the CSM stating what prospective players want is based on the fact that I don't see how the CSM can possibly know what prospective players want.

      50-page (or 165 page) documents aren't the solution. Being a real value-add to the players and to CCP is the solution. You're partially succeeding on the player side, but on the CCP side? Not at all -- or at least, nothing is visible. CCP is paying a lot of money for the CSM experiment and I just want to see you guys give a good return on investment. Right now? It either isn't happening or it's entirely invisible.

      Thanks again for your reply!

    2. "Mineral compression is definitely still broken, true, but with mining absolutely *exploding* in null-sec, it's increasingly becoming a side issue. It's really becoming more a way to fill in a few mineral gaps like tritanium than the major supply side of the equation. That's why I "ignored" it. Look at mineral prices and you'll see that null is not really having a supply problem just now."

      Yeah, actually no. Believe me - if local production were easier than importing finished hulls, we'd still be importing compressed minerals to build our ships with. The fact that Veld and other low end ores are ~60-75% of the top ores doesn't change the fact that there's just not enough of them relative to the top ores, nor the fact that cherry picking is still the dominant strategy. Throw up mineral buys and our low end buys languish for days or weeks while the high end buys get blown out instantly.

  16. Hey, I was in CSM 2 as well! :P

    As to the broader topic, I'd argue that most folks really don't understand the relationship between CCP and the CSM (I am not sure either CCP or CSM understand it either!). This is mostly because it seems to be always changing and definitely is uneven from game issue to game issue. CCP is a company and rightly so believes they own the game and in the end they believe they know what is best for Eve.

    So the reality is the CSM can influence at best, and that has to be done with incomplete information. The CSM can never know everything going on in the heads of CCP.

    In some cases the type of "activism" you point to can be effective when it is related to something as clear as the player reaction to the scare of "greed is good" and the "golden ammo" threat in the shadow of the worlds only MMORPG single player single room avatar experience in modern PC gaming. But for other issues during a "peace time" CSM, effective player representation often requires 1:1 interaction between the CSM and CCP. All the forum posting, blogging and statue shooting won't change CCP's plans for something like the super capital problem because its a complex problem that can't be reduced to "doing X will kill Eve".

    I think a strong case can be made that the CSM 7 has been the best CSM to date. Not the most controversial and combative, but the most effective and the most open. The CSM 7 was able to be that largely because of all the gains previous CSMs have made improving the way the CSM operates and a commitment to keep the CSM/CCP interactions working as partners (as much as the CSM can).

    And you know what, CSM 8 could be even better if the CSM 7 can continue to improve the CSM/CCP relationships in a rational manner in the spirit of a true partnership between the player, the CSM and CCP. That will let the CSM 8 begin from a great place as they represent the players views to CCP in shaping the future of Eve.

    Can't wait to see the CSM 8 elections really get in full swing! :-)



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