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EVE Online – CSM9 Voting Begins April 8, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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The time has come to elect a new Council of Stellar Management in EVE Online.  CCP even has a fresh new logo for ninth CSM.

CSM9_Logo_450px

Voting runs from now through April 22.

CCP has a nice page up describing the voting process and the changes from last year, along with a statement about how vitally important the CSM is to them.  And maybe it is.  But as The Mittani proved back during Incarna, and Jester demonstrated again with the whole Erotica 1 thing, the CSM and its members have real power, but only when they take things out of school and oppose CCP publicly.  Otherwise the CSM comes off to me as more of a special insiders club.  They have value I am sure, but do they represent us behind that NDA screen?  And does CCP have to listen to them?

So while CCP Dierdra Vaal has the EVE Vote Match site up to help you sort through the candidates to find out which ones publicly claim to support things with which you might agree, or at least consider important, I always look at those results and wonder, “Will this person be ready to take it out of school when the time is right?  And will they know when the time is right?”  You don’t stand in opposition for trivia, you do so for things that really matter… in our pretend internet spaceships game… or something.

Which one of these would go there?

Which one of these would go there?

I do not have any endorsements.  I am a line member in a null sec bloc and I haven’t read the post telling me who to vote for yet or picked up my talking points cheat sheet.  Theoretically I could really get behind a “Send Xenuria to Iceland” campaign just based on the apoplexy it would cause.  Those would be some CSM minutes I would enjoy reading.  And I must declare that the best candidate name on the list has to be Awoxing Pizza-Spymaster McBlushooter from Brave Newbies.  We shall see if that name can carry him through.

Anyway, voting is live.  The CSM election dev blog has a link that will send you to the ballot to cast your votes.

Jita… Burnt to the Tune of $27K April 24, 2013

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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6 comments

Well, the party did not last too much longer.

There was apparently some attempt at deception in declaring the Burn Jita event over before everybody went home in hopes of luring some more freighters back into the system.  But things now appear really over, with some of the key players off to Iceland and FanFest.

Mission Complete

Mission Complete

Image source: the internet… I forget where exactly.  Sorry.

The tally posted over at The Mittani shows that 142 freighters, 13 jump freighters, 10 basic industrials, and 2 Orcas were blown up in the event, along with a few choice targets of opportunity. (A best/worst kills lineup is available.)  That is a considerable increase over last year’s totals.  Jita remains the most violent system in the game this month. (It was in third place for the month of April last year with the first Burn Jita, which is where it usually sits most months.)

April Stats as of Today...

April Stats as of Today…

The victim count sums up to around 573 billion ISK destroyed, which using the current in-game valuation of PLEX (515 million ISK per) rolls out to about $27,000 worth of destruction, given the only real world to in-game currency conversion mechanism we have.  Nobody literally lost that much, but all of that ISK could have been used to buy that much in PLEX.

In all, the event felt, as was received, differently than the last time around.  The lack of fuss surrounding the pending event has been attributed to the CFC not making a big deal before hand in hopes of catching people unawares.  Not that I think that was really necessary.  Anybody who were paying attention knew it was coming.

Those who did not pay attention… well… surprise… and confusion!

On the confusion front, a newer member of our corp sent out a corp-wide email letting us all know that The Goons were going to attack Jita and that we all ought to steer clear.  I hope somebody explained to him that we were invited to the party.

The reaction from CCP was particularly muted.  Last year they were giving interviews and playing up a huge player driven event as being exactly the sort of thing they want happening in EVE Online.  They also took the time to put up a banner on the login page to warn people that the event was taking place.

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

This year there was no talk and no banner.  I do not know if the whole thing was no big deal to CCP this time around, or if they were simply too busy wrapping up the CSM elections and preparing for FanFest, but things sure were quiet on that front.

On the blog front, it was pretty quiet as well.  No calls to action, either to get people out to blow things up or to defend Jita against the CFC.  There were some posts about Goon conspiracies, Goon contempt, and what happens to morons.  But it wasn’t treated as a big deal.

Over at The Mittani, the summing up post includes an interview with Warr Akini about what it took to setup the event.

I expect that anything which remains to be said will be overshadowed by Fanfest posts and announcements, which will include what we can expect from the Odyssey expansion this June and who will be sitting on CSM8.

And so we move on.  Ships blew up.  Some people are angry.  Some people are happy.

Just another day in New Eden really.

The Word I am Looking for is “Gerrymandering” September 19, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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Gerrymandering may be used to achieve desired electoral results for a particular party, or may be used to help or hinder a particular demographic, such as a political, racial, linguistic, religious or class group.

-From Wikipedia

I live in California.  I know all about Gerrymandering.  We provide source material on the topic these days.

My State in Action

And apparently somebody is taking this idea from real world politics to try and “fix” the CSM election process.

Somehow I don’t think creating a convoluted election mechanism to punish players able to organize (in a game that rewards organization) is really addressing the issue when only ~15% of accounts even bother to vote for the Galactic Student Council. (~60K votes cast out of a population of ~400K accounts.)

One of my comments on the meeting minutes from the Spring summit of the CSM was that, based on their output, “the favored topic of CSM7 appears to be CSM7,” which certainly fits the student council model. (As opposed to the UN model, which would have been equally useful, but more entertaining to watch.)

My opinion on that remains unchanged.

But it does look like CCP is really the force driving this particular issue.  CCP seems to want a “better,” more broad based council and is frustrated by the fact that the groups successful in most political part of the game… null sec… are also successful in CCPs sandbox political game.  What a surprise!

That is the problem with creating democratic institutions.  It becomes hard to rig them to get the results you want without looking like you are rigging them merely to get the results you want.  But that isn’t going to stop CCP from trying I guess.

Maybe CCP should scrap the whole thing and go the SOE route.  Just create a “by invitation only” advisory group that they can whistle up and fly out at need for discussion and otherwise ignore.

What do you think?  Does the CSM have any value for the player base?

Addendum: CSM7 loses another supporter and Seleene is in there trying to quash criticism again by insisting that you can only know the real story if you talk to the CSM in person.  That worked out so well for Jester.

CSM7 Minutes – Quantity Has an Annoying Quality all its Own August 3, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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I said elsewhere that I thought CSM7 was going to be damned to obscurity.

Not that being so damned is a reflection on the members of CSM7 or the efforts they are putting in to their jobs.  However, they will naturally be compared to CSM6 and there is almost no way they will stack up to that legacy.

There is the Great Man Theory that says figures will rise up due to the exceptional abilities to shape and leave a mark on the times in which they lived.

I tend more towards what I would call the “newspaper headline” theory.  You only get interesting headlines when something interesting is actually happening.  A so-called “Great Man” (or woman, or whatever you would call somebody of one sex using the avatar of the opposite sex) can only achieve greatness if the right opportunities arise.

Hi, my name is Peter! But you can call me Elise.

So it came to pass last year.  There was the crisis of Incarna.  To many players CCP seemed to have gone completely off the rails.  CCP gave us an expansion with a cash shop stocked with pants and expensive monocles, most of which nobody else could see.  The station view was replaced with the pretty… as in “pretty useless”… Captain’s Quarters.  CCP also wanted to license any use of EVE on the internet.  And then there was the leak of CCP’s internal newsletter where they rather vigorously explored was to monetize the game beyond the subscription.  The specter of epic spaceships and gold ammo on the market for real world money took the level or rage in the community and cranked it up to 11.

The CCP response to all of this took the form of repeatedly spraying gasoline on the fire via pronouncements from Chairman Hilmar.

So the moment was set for Council of Stellar Management, lead by The Mittani.

And the council… which I derided back at its origin as the Galactic Student Council, seeing it as a window dressing debating society or a junior league UN with members in it mostly for a free trip to Iceland… stepped up and became the voice of the protests.  It was prepared to bite the hand that created it even as CCP was flying the council out for an emergency summit.

It appeared that CSM6 emergency summit was an instrumental part of the effort to talk CCP off the ledge, though there was still a gap between CCP and the CSM.  While they did a joint video, the CSM released its own statement on the summit, since CCP still seemed to have the whitewash brush in their hand. (I’m still annoyed a year later about CCP trying to minimize the station changes as some sort of bizarre affection for “ship spinning.”)

Fences were mended.  Players calmed down.  And in the fall we got an expansion that was largely made up of fixes and improvements to things that players had been bitching about for ages.  Flying in space was again to be the main focus of EVE Online.

And the Council of Stellar Management came out of it looking like a major force in the game.

But now it is a year later.  A new council, CSM7, has been elected and they clearly want to leave their mark as well.  And while there was some drama between the election and their being officially seated, not much else has been going on.  Things have been very quiet.

CCP doesn’t seem inclined to go insane again just to give the CSM something to do.

So, in the absence of a crisis, CSM7 seems to be determined to build themselves a monument of words.  That has to be the explanation for the  165 page PDF file that constitutes the minutes of the two day CSM summit that took place back on June 1st.  You can find the whole enchilada here.

And the favored topic of CSM7 appears to be CSM7.

The document opens up with a 30 page transcript of the CSM talking about various aspects of the CSM.  They want rules.  They want rules to justify kicking somebody off the CSM.  They want rules about how they should communicate with the player base.  They want rules about the behavior of members of the CSM in game.  They are worried about voting.  They want to elect their own chairman rather than having it go to the candidate with the most votes.  They bring up The Mittani nearly a dozen times.

The transcript starts off  in as amusing in a way, and Trebor adds in his own tidbit about transcribing the discussion about transcriptions that adds a bit more humor, but the whole thing quickly becomes a too long warning against doing transcriptions.  The CSM is made up of people, and we get to see them exposed as such as you read along.

They are trying to be witty or amusing.   They have personal agendas or axes to grind.  They seem to obsess about petty hair splitting.  But most of all, they seem to be very much focused on themselves for 30 freaking pages to no useful purpose.

If you wanted to put together document to reinforce the Galactic Student Council image, you would have to work to top that opening segment.  I bet this document is going to come back to haunt some people come next CSM election.

Not that the whole thing lacks for interesting tidbits.  You can mine the 165 page document for a few updates, though nothing besides the CSM talking about itself appears important enough to take up nearly 20% of the total length.

Jester, in his usual OCD way, has gone through the document and come up with a list of interesting points.

Now I realize that the CSM is a part-time job in addition to the members real and virtual lives and that the position, as Hans Jagerblitzen pointed out, has conflicting aspects of its own.  But if you want to make your jobs easier, next summit stick to more traditional minutes and give us a few pages of details.  More substance, less… whatever the hell you want to call that CSM section.

And yes, I know some loud people were clamoring for a detailed “who said what” during the last CSM, but there are always some loud people clamoring for something in EVE.  We don’t have to listen to all of them, do we?

Of course, you don’t have to listen to me either.

But if people have questions about your summary, you can bet they will ask.  And then you can engage with the community which you were elected to represent.  Or not.

So who has read the whole thing, word for word so far?

Seleene Elected Chairman of CSM 7 April 4, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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With the downfall of The Mittani after his clear electoral victory, the new Council of Stellar Management’s first order of business was to elect a new Chairman and Vice Chairman.

While the position of Chair goes to the candidate who receives the most votes, if the Chair needs to be replaced, the whole council, sitting members and remote alternates together, elect a  new chair.

And so it was that Seleene was elected Chairman of CSM 7 despite having received the fewest votes of any of the seven initial sitting members of the council.  The vote was near unanimous.  Seleene was opposed by Two Step, but received 12 of the 13 votes from the council, with only Two Step voting for himself.  If you cannot get your own vote, you are really in trouble I guess.

The position of Vice Chairman went to Trebor Daehdoow… who yes, is the guy who co-wrote Wizardy all those years back… how awesome is that… who came in fifth place in the overall CSM voting.

Two Step was elected to the position of CSM Secretary while Hans Jagerblitzen, a remote member of the CSM, was elected to the position of Vice Secretary.

And, UAxDEATH, who came in 8th place was elevated from an remote/alternate member of the council to a sitting member.

The only question is, how will this new council perform?

For all you can say about The Mittani, I feel he did an excellent job as Chairman of CSM 6, which is why I supported him publicly for CSM 7.  But he was also in that position when a crisis came to the EVE community, so he was given a very public test of his abilities with the Incarna and RMT Plan explosions.

Leaders in eventful times are often judged great despite their flaws due to the backdrop of history, while able leaders in quiet times fare less well in the eye of history.

What will the fate of CSM 7 be?  Will CCP give them a way to shine, either through planning or by screwing up yet again?  Or will CSM 7 be like the councils before CSM 6, and seem more widow dressing than anything else?

And will The Mittani, with his the plans to burn down Jita on April 28th to test CCP, give the council its place in the spotlight?  Will that be a gift or a burden for the new council?

I suppose we will see in about a month.

(Hat tip to Jester for pointing at the new council post, and for his eerily insightful pre-election characterization of the candidates.)

The Mittani Removed from CSM7, Banned from EVE for 30 Days March 29, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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CCP has come out with their ruling on the actions of The Mittani at the Alliances Panel at the 2012 FanFest in Iceland.

It was determined that his behavior violated the terms of service of the game.  The Mittani voluntarily stepped down from the chairmanship of CSM 6, which runs out its term early next week, and from the chairmanship of CSM 7.

CCP issues a 30 day ban from the game and declared that he had also forfeited his right to sit on CSM 7.

The Latest Goon Image

A more detailed look at this and what it means can be found here.

So The Mittani, who had just received an unprecedented 10K votes in the CSM 7 elections, securing him the chairmanship for another term and giving him a clear mandate to continue his policies, has seen all that come to naught due to his actions at the alliance panel.

The results announced on March 24

The ban will not affect his position as the leader of the Goonswarm.  The Mittani is famous for running the alliance while rarely ever logging in.

As Jester pointed out, and The Mittani confirmed, one of the The Mittani’s problems has been wearing hats that represent conflicting roles.  Being the leader of Goonswarm, the mastermind behind the most controversial alliance in EVE, is a role that does not mesh well with being the chairman of the CSM, which is a political position that requires being a good citizen.

Relieved of the second responsibility, The Mittani now returns to the role that built his reputation, the leader of Goonswarm.

And his first post-ban declaration is that Tenal must burn.  The State of the Goonion broadcast announcing this can be found here.

The war with Raiden will go from harassing cross-board exchanges to a full scale conflict.

The fury of the Goons will be thus focused.

April 4 Addendum: Seleene has been elected Chairman of CSM7.

The Mittani Retains Chairmanship for CSM 7 March 24, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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The results of the election for the EVE Online Council of Stellar Management have been announced.

The Mittani, Chairman of CSM 6, pulled in the most votes again this time to retain the position as chairman of CSM 7.  He managed to obtain more than 10,000 votes, which is nearly as many as the next three candidates combined.

The Top 4 Winners

The vote tallies for all of the candidates have been posted by CCP.

The Mittani has promised a celebration in Jita when he returns from Iceland.

The members of CSM 7 will be (along with their total votes received):

The Attending Council Members (Flying to Iceland)

The Mittani(Alexander Gianturco)  10,058
Two Step (Joshua Goldshlag)        4,150
Elise Randolph (Peter Farrell)     3,714
Greene Lee (Dmitriy Vasiliev)      3,329
Trebor Daehdoow (Robert Woodhead)  3,184
Kelduum Revaan (Paul Cammish)      3,163
Seleene (Mark Heard)               2,845

Remote/Alternate Members (On the conference calls)

UAxDEATH (Mikhail Romanchenko)     2,465
Hans Jagerblitzen (Noah Garaas)    2,439
Meissa Anunthiel (Stephan Pirson)  2,289
Dovinian (Tyler Lehfeldt)          2,284
Issler Dainze (Michele Boland)     1,561
Alekseyev Karrde (Gregory Russo)   1,533
Darius III (Joseph W Morris)       1,282

Meanwhile, in some sort of fit of Icelandic crazy, CCP announced the following:

Video cards for PLEX? Upgrade your game machine via ratting/mining?

What does that portend?

The Vote for CSM7 Has Begun March 7, 2012

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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Just about four years ago, when CCP instituted the Council of Stellar Management, I mocked it as the Galactic Student Council, something with nice titles and no real power, an institution to be co-opted by CCP,  A marketing ploy.

And then came Incarna and talk of pay to win, which was a disaster.

And CSM6 stood up to CCP and became the voice of the players and CCP ended up having to deal with their pet parliament, which suddenly was off the leash and no longer a tame lapdog.

The members of CSM6 were all heroes in the war against Incarna, and all of them deserve our thanks.

But for me, one voice stood out.  So now that the voting for CSM7 has begun, I know who will be getting my vote.

We all seen that our vote matters, so vote wisely.  Keep the CSM an independent voice.  Vote Mittens.

The era of the Jesus feature is over December 11, 2011

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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A Jesus feature, it emerged, is something that turns “4 loaves of bread into 50,000 new subscribers“. It’s the home run, the called shot into deep left field, the awesome idea that will solve all of CCP’s problems, carved in a stone tablet made of virgin Eyjafjallajökull lava and delivered from on high down to the adoring fish-factory devs.

Supertitans! Tech-IV! Jovians! Jovians in Tech-IV Supertitans! And they’re naked, and want your precious NEX store clothes and monocles!

You get the idea.

Trebor Daehdoow, Member of the Council of Stellar Management

The quote in the title was attributed to Hilmar Pétursson, CEO of CCP, as part of his address to the latest session of the CSM.

According to the full post, the next couple of expansions will be more like Crucible, fixing and refining.  It will be likely be 18 months before the next big “new feature” based expansion.  While the minutes of the session are not out, that seemed to be the general gist of things.  The Mittani seemed to only be tweeting about alcohol at the CSM, which I take as a sign that there was little drama.

Now, in the case of CCP and EVE Online, they kind of backed themselves into a corner.  Their last set of “big” features, which came as part of Incarna, and they failed to draw many new people while alienating a lot of veterans.

But a lot of other companies take their shots at “Jesus features.”  Free to play seems to be the big one these days.  And it seems to work, for the most part, though it isn’t really a feature of the game, just a payment plan change.

But history is also full of big feature plays that failed.  Trammel in Ultima Online and the NGE in Star Wars Galaxies, to name a couple of historical precedents.

Do MMOs just hit a point in time when the best thing to do is incremental changes and improvements?  Where raising the level cap, adding a few more zones and dungeons, tacking on a new features, and maybe tossing in a new race or class is all they can safely do?

When does the era of the “Jesus feature” end for most MMOs?

The Incarna Summit Results July 2, 2011

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
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Due to all the incredible mis-cues by CCP surrounding the launch of the Incarna Expansion, especially around the opening of the Nobel Exchange in-game store, CCP took the extraordinary step of flying the Counsil of Stellar Management out to Iceland for a special summit to hash out the community problems with Incarna.

The joint statements from CCP and the Council have finally been released and are available online.

Key items I pulled from the statement.

Nobel Exchange

CCP:

It is CCP‘s plan that the Noble Exchange (NeX store) will be used for the sale of vanity items only. There are no plans, and have been no plans, as per previous communication and CSM meetings, to introduce the sale of game breaking items or enhancements in the NeX store.

The investment of money in EVE should not give you an unfair advantage over the investment of time. The CSM, under NDA, has been presented with CCP‘s plans for continued evolution of the business model and agrees that nothing they saw breaks this principle. CCP has committed to sharing their plans with the CSM on this front on an ongoing basis.

CSM:

Game-affecting Virtual Goods: We are convinced that CCP has no plans to introduce any game-affecting virtual goods, only pure vanity items such as clothing and ship skins. We have been repeatedly assured that there are no plans for ‘gold ammo’, ships which have different statistics from existing common hulls, or any other feared ‘game destroying’ virtual goods or services. We have expressed our deep concern about potential grey areas that the introduction of virtual goods permits, and CCP has made a commitment to discuss any proposals that might fall into these grey areas in detail with CSM at the earliest possible stage.

Captains Quarters

CCP:

The CSM helped CCP understand the emotional connection players had with “ship spinning.” They vehemently demanded the return of the feature, which  CCP committed to introduce in some form at a future date. Until that functionality is added back in, the option to load station environments will remain in the Settings menu.

CSM:

Captain’s Quarters: We discussed the hardware and lighting issues within the CQ and we were satisfied that they were being addressed. We were pleased when Torfi announced that the current “Disabled Incarna Door” will be replaced with an environment that will provide similar functionality and performance to the pre-Incarna Hangar, and this environment will be available until Incarna performance is similar to pre-Incarna performance. While the final details and timelines have not been worked out, ships will once again spin all over New Eden.

Sentry Drone Firing Animations

CCP:

“…”

CSM

“…”

Ah well, I guess that was only important to me.

The CCP and the CSM also produced a joint video, nearly 11 minutes in length, featuring Aarnar Gylfasonand The Mittani discussing what went on during the summit.

The summit itself has been covered by a couple of sources in the CSM including a blog post by MadOverlord (and a follow up here) and a series of posts on Twitter by The Mittani, the long time chief of intelligence and current leader of  The Goons.  I am sure much more will follow.  The Mittani wrapped up his view with:

Now will people believe the results of the summit, accept them as good, and go back to playing EVE Online and not screaming about CCP?  That has yet to be seen.

Does this affair prove the usefulness of the CSM?