Tag Archives: Council of Stellar Management

There is no 85%

In which I had a simple point, then buried it somewhere in a wall of words.

Last week… or so… Neville Smit put up a post under the heading of Occupy New Eden wherein he made the claim that CCP was spending too much time focused on null sec.

The root of his claim is that only 15% of population of New Eden operates in null security space and that they are getting a lions share of features which are dedicated solely to their benefit. This is followed on by what feels to me like a rather spurious assessment as to what counts as a null sec feature.  Citadels are grudgingly admitted to affect more than null sec, though he attempts to shove them back in the “null only” in the same sentence along with capital ships, and industry and drilling structures.

Left off of his list is… well… everything of interest beyond null sec.  If you read his post, CCP has literally done nothing for anybody besides null sec in however long.  Yes, it would be too much to ask him to list out everything ever, but this sort of “we got nuttin'” approach is belied by the patch notes over the last year, when CCP was alleged to be focused solely on null sec.

He then goes on to conflate the CSM 11 election results with CCP neglecting the 85%, with an extra helping of “the sky is falling” because of all those null sec players on the galactic student council.  That manages, in a single blow, to sell CCP short, misinterpret the power (or lack there of) of the CSM, and misunderstand the election results.

For the first two, if you believe CCP’s course is somehow charted by the CSM, you might as well give up right now and start weaving conspiracy theories.  On the third, the election results are the ongoing reflection of who is most engaged with the game… engaged and concerned with their well being.  Null sec, as noted, just went through a whole series of changes, some of which are not universally loved by some of the residents, and some of which were not well thought through by CCP before being thrust upon us, despite the fact that the CSM and players in the forums pointed out, in advance, the very flaws that CCP had to go back and correct.  Null sec players are rightly concerned, and concern (plus organization) turns into votes.  Meanwhile, the rest of New Eden didn’t seem exactly worked up about the election.  What burning issue did the rest of New Eden have that stacked up again, “CCP has completely changed our part of the game?”

This all gets pulled together in the false dichotomy that is “I am the 85%!”

CCP can apparently only work on null sec or everything else.  They can make null sec happy, or they can make the 85% happy.  Null sec has had their turn, it is time to leave them alone for another five years and concentrate on what is important.

The whole thing has me a bit irked, an emotion that might have come through up to this point.

There is no 85%

Almost every facet of WoW is an activity that caters to a minority of the playerbase … [WoW] is not a narrow game, but rather one that can be enjoyed in numerous different ways, by people with hugely diverse playstyles … We are [listening] – just to many, many different voices. And it may be that a given change, feature, or reward is simply aimed at a different portion of the playerbase. Or we could be wrong and we haven’t realized it yet.

Ion Hazzikostas, WoW lead designer, in a Forum Post

The fallacy of the whole concept of there even being an 85% was the first thing that sprang to mind when I read Neville’s article, and I immediately put up a placeholder post with that as the title… and then let it sit for a week.

I think we might all agree that EVE Online, with its sandbox nature, is a more complex game than World of Warcraft.  Yet there is a WoW designer holding forth about how nearly every feature in Azeroth is for a minority of their player base.  So how do you think that translates into New Eden?

I could go on for ages about the various groups that make up the alleged 85% and how they can actually be divided up into their own little minorities factions.  Instead, I’ll just whip out this chart again.

What to do in EVE Online - A Chart

What to do in EVE Online – A Chart

Have you seen this chart?  I put it up as part of a post about four years ago, and the chart itself is about five years old at this point, so is probably incomplete.  And yet it conveys the complexity that is our New Eden sandbox.

Edit: There is actually a spiritual successor to that chart available if you are interested.

So go ahead and put an X through any of the boxes that are exclusively null sec features.  If you have knocked out more than five boxes on that chart I would be very much surprised.  Remember, if it is wormhole space AND 0.0, it doesn’t count.

That leaves a lot of boxes.

And you can jump straight to “Well, that’s the point, look at all those neglected features!” but you’re going to have to leave off any of those boxes that got some attention over the last year.  Did your favorite box get a new feature or two?  Does that box represent a small minority of players as well?  Because where this line of reasoning leads is down a path to exclude other small, and thus undeserving, groups.

You know who gets less regular players than null sec according to the year old chart used to prop up this argument?  Low sec.  How do you justify working on something that has less players than null?

And what about wormhole space?  That has less players than low sec!  How do you even justify working on such a small sub-section of the game?  How can you think about that when 75% of the game is in high sec?

Oh, right… Neville Smit is in Signal Cartel and lives in wormhole space.  Funny how that 3% of players got their agenda mixed in with the majority.  I’m going to guess if CCP spent many months dedicated to his part of space, which represents one fifth of the player base of null sec, we would not see a “We are the 97%” campaign spring up on his site.

EVE Online is large and complex and the various parts of the game are interconnected.  Making a demand that CCP focus on this alleged 85% is a hollow shell, because there is no such group as a single, unified entity.  CCP literally cannot focus on 85% of the player.

If we were going to go for truth in advertising on this campaign, it should simply be renamed “Screw Null Sec,” because it comes across as thinly disguised petulance about somebody else getting the attention.

There is Common Ground

There are a whole range of features that I would say crosses groups.  Particularly bothersome for me was Neville putting the new player experience on his list of demands for the 85%, as though null sec doesn’t care about new players.

And, to double down on my annoyance, CCP had just dedicated a chunk of the keynote at Fanfest to talking about how they want to improve the new player experience.  That seemed to me to be a pretty strong indicator that this is clearly marked with double underlines on the CCP development agenda.

But CCP didn’t have a solution, a new proposal, right then and there, so out come the pitchforks and demands.

We know the new player experience is bad.  CCP, which is on its fourth iteration since I showed up in New Eden, has given us depressing numbers to illustrate this.  A failure here is literally money out of their pockets and I am pretty sure if they had an answer as to HOW to introduce people to New Eden that made them stick with the game, that would have been front and center.  But they didn’t.  EVE Online is a busy yet subtle experience and they are still searching for the mix that will get the depth of the game across..

Null sec alliances are keenly aware of this.  For years Goonswarm has had their own introduction and training program to bring new players from Something Awful into the game.  I have seen day one Goons in fleets in null on many occasions.  Then along came Brave Newbies, which showed the power of harnessing new players, an idea which was stolen by the other groups.  So today somebody with no null sec experience can get into a corp like KarmaFleet and get the help they need to get going.

But that is all for naught if CCP consistently drives people away in the tutorial, or whatever passes for a tutorial these day.  This is a 100% issue, not an 85% issue.

Okay, that might have been an overly specific item.  But one of the magic things about EVE Online is its interconnectivity.  You cannot draw a circle around a group of players and say that they don’t matter to you.

Jita is probably the best example of the confluence between the various parts of New Eden.  For as long as I have been in a null sec alliance the one thing you could depend on was a jump freighter service that would deliver things to and from Jita.  We buy our stuff from the main high sec trade hub.  When we have a fleet doctrine and are losing ships, manufacturers benefit.  The economy is the web that binds us all together in New Eden, and when null sec is neglected and stagnates, it is reflected in the market, because we blow up more shit than anybody else and ships exploding drives the economy.

Maybe Null Sec IS a Bit Special

This isn’t my first time reading this sort of divisive demand on a developer in which a player claims that the devs are focusing on something that doesn’t represent the majority of their customer base.  I think I have seen that in literally every fantasy MMORPG ever that has had raiding or dedicated PvP or arena combat.

And EVE Online has all three!  Holy balls!  Incursions are raids, PvP is pretty much everywhere, and then there is the alliance cheating tournament for your arena fix.  And I haven’t even put null sec specifically in the picture yet.

These sorts of features, what I would call “aspirational content,” has been a pretty solid part of the MMORPG landscape in the 21st century, and I have long been on the other side of the fence.  No raider I.  And yet I have seen the point of having such features and have come to their defense on the very rare occasions when companies have decided to trim such features.

I think it is important that MMORPGs have options that may seem narrowly focused when viewed against the whole of the game’s population.  In the last 17 years of what I will call the “post-EverQuest age” of MMORPGs most of my time has been spent in solo or small group content, but I have generally not begrudged a disproportionate amount of resources going to such content, because it gives people something to aim for, a goal to achieve, and something special for those willing to put in the effort.

And this has especially been the case in EVE Online.  From 2006 through to the end of 2011 I spent my time in high sec pursuing various careers.  During that time titans, wormhole space, factional warfare, and Dominion sovereignty all showed up and were all hugely interesting to me despite them not really touching my play time directly.  But they were all there and made the game a more interesting and complex place.  Tales from other play styles are fun to read.

But null sec has a special place in that regard.  There have been some headline grabbing events in EVE Online that haven’t been about null sec… the great bank scam and tales of the Guiding Hand Social Club spring to mind… but for bringing attention to New Eden and driving people to try the game, nothing beats null sec alliances blowing each other up.  How many articles on gaming sites that don’t focus on just EVE Online (or even just MMOs, like Massively OP) has the game gotten this year?  And how many of those were about something other than null sec wars or a certain book written about a null sec war?

Like it or not, you have to admit that null sec grabs attention, making it a marketing engine for the game.  So to spin this whole thing on its head, the 15% is doing most of the work to get people to come try the game.  Maybe that has earned null sec a bit more developer attention.

So What?

Okay, I have probably been riding Neville a bit hard in this post.  He is a good person and an asset to the game and the community and probably doesn’t deserve as much push back as I have given.  And I get that part of his whole shtick is to get people to simply consider whether or not there is an issue here to be resolved by being provocative.  But when you go that route, you have to expect return fire in kind, as I have done above.  Consider this counter-provocation I suppose.

That said, I tend to agree with the actual list of things he has on his site.  CCP does have a large garden to tend in New Eden and barely enough resources to even keep the weeds in check.  I just don’t think we need to call for the company to ignore one part or another.

In the end, I think what primarily sticks in my craw… though I’ve been all over the map here, so I don’t blame you if you are confused at this point, because I certainly am… is this public and unnecessary divisiveness.  It is a call for the community to war with itself.

EVE Online already has a bad reputation.  Go read the comments on just about any related post over at Massively OP.  You will read about how it is a horrible game, maybe the most boring game ever, spreadsheets in space, populated by horrible people who do horrible things and you had better not bother playing because you will be scammed, ganked, and podded within five minutes of staring the practically non-existent tutorial.

We are already under siege.  And we, as a community, already fight amongst ourselves pretty viciously.  We hardly need a movement to encourage it.

So, in summary, I think we should give up the 85% idea and simply join together, link arms, and shout down anybody who suggests walking in stations as a feature, because I am not sure we can handle any more boxes on that “what to do” chart.

I look forward to your adoring agreement in the comments below.

Spaceships über alles!

CSM 11 Announced – Xenuria Wins at Last

This morning as part of the EVE Online keynote at Fanfest, CCP Seagull announced the members of the 11th Council of Stellar Management.


Turnout was reported as low for the elections, which clearly benefited organized groups.

CSM 11 looks like this:

The 11th Council of Stellar Management

The 11th Council of Stellar Management

The winners, ordered as presented, save for two exceptions:

  1. Mr Hyde113 – Pandemic Legion (Perm attendance seat)
  2. Aryth – Goonswarm Federation (Perm attendance seat)
  3. Steve Ronuken – Fuzzworks Enterprises
  4. Sullen Decimus – The Bastion
  5. The Judge – Circle-of-Two
  6. Fafer – Northern Coalition.
  7. NoobMan – Hard Knocks Citizens
  8. Jin’Taan – Curatores Veritatis Alliance
  9. Kyle Aparthos – TheDivision
  10. Innominate – Goonswarm Federation
  11. Bobmon – Pandemic Legion
  12. Nashh Kadavr – Pandemic Legion
  13. Xenuria – Goonswarm Federation
  14. Gorski Car – Pandemic Legion

So there are your new representatives… provided you’re in a null sec bloc in most cases.  As I said, a low voter turnout meant organized blocs won big.

For those of you keeping track, that GSF suggested ballot I mentioned back when the elections started ended up picking six winners, though clearly The Judge is a bitter victory on that front.

CSM 11 Elections Begin – Xenuria 2016

It is that time of year again, the long threatened CSM 11 elections are upon us.  Information on how to vote is available from CCP here.


Reactions to the election range from the very earnest attempt by a group of hard working volunteers to collect information for voters over at CSM Watch (all summed up here) to… well… Gevlon’s call for a boycott.  Meanwhile, somewhere out there, a majority of EVE Online players have probably barely noticed that the election is happening, given voter turn out in past elections.

Confusion reigns and, with 53 candidates on the ballot, that seems like a pretty reasonable response.  I certainly couldn’t tell you who to vote for, or much about any of the candidates running.  At least there aren’t 75 of them like last time.

Back in The Imperium, the suggested GSF ballot has been posted.  While the coalition leadership was unhappy with the communications break down between CCP and CSM X, the pragmatic response has been to endorse a slate of candidates so, if communication improves, we won’t be left without a voice on the CSM. The list is:

  1. Aryth  GSF
  2. Innominate  GSF
  3. Xenuria  GSF
  4. Sullen Decimus  BASTN
  5. The Judge  CO2
  6. Annexe  TNT
  7. Kyle Aparthos  SMA
  8. Chiimera  GSF
  9. Wyld  GSF
  10. Kane Carnifex LAWN
  11. Mining Forman  LAWN
  12. commander aze
  13. Apothne  PL
  14. Tora Bushido

It was interesting to see that, unlike previous years, the official ballot has only a single non-Imperium null sec alliance candidate listed, Apothne of Pandemic Legion, in the 13th slot. In the past there has been some horse trading between null sec groups to support a common front.  Not so much this year I guess.

Of course, as with the full slate of candidates, I can barely tell you anything about people on that ballot.  Aryth is in GSF leadership, Innominate is the new Solo Drakban, Tora Bushido runs the Marmites, who used to take Gevlon’s money to shoot us in high sec before breaking with him, Annexe is in my alliance, and I follow Chiimera on Twitter, but I thought he stopped playing EVE at one point.

Not a very helpful set of descriptions.

And then there is Xenuria.

He might be the candidate I know the most about.

He ran last year and, if I recall right, managed 18th place which, given the rate of removal for CSM X, put him in contention to be a replacement member before the end.  He got that much following without an alliance endorsement.  This year he has the number 3 spot on the GSF ballot.

Of course, that doesn’t make some people happy.  A year ago Xenuria was an object of ridicule in many parts of the coalition, and the punchline for any joke requiring the most unlikely individual for most of us.  And then he appeared on the Meta Show with The Mittani back in August and seemed pretty reasonable. (His segment on YouTube.)

Soon enough he was in KarmaFleet and out on ops with people and posting to the forums and it wasn’t really a big deal any more.  I’ve been on fleets with him.  He aligns, shoots the primary, and shows better coms discipline than the average Goon LAWN ENL-I AM0K SNOO SMA Imperium pilot.

However, some people are pissed off that he has made the list. (Example)  So I will be interested to see how he fares this time.  He is literally the person on the Goon ballot mostly likely to piss off people who make the claim to be “true Goons” or some such.  If he gets support from outside of the coalition he ought to make it in.  And he could be EVE Online’s red shirt guy or something… though Mittens seems to have claimed the red shirt thing for himself.  Make of that what you will.

As for the vote, I suspect that the top five candidates on that ballot are probably pretty safe bets, given the reality of alliance sizes and voter turn out.  Poor voter turn out could up that number.

Top Five Alliances by Member Count

Top Five Alliances by Member Count

The election runs until March 25, so you have plenty of time to vote… so long as the servers stay up.  The results will be announced at Fanfest on April 21, 2016.

I’m still of the opinion that having players elect a pseudo-focus group is the wrong way to go about things and that the lack of agency or specific mandate or focus is problematic at best.  But if we’re going to have this thing, let’s at least put some effort into it… said the person who put next to no effort into it.

Quote of the Day – CSM members have no agency

CSM members have no agency.

-Sion Kumitomo, Now We Got Bad Blood

The quote was so small that I put it in the title of the post.  Saved you a click… unless you’re already here.  Ah well.

The post from which I took it however is somewhere in the 4,500 word range, or about double the number of words at which I start thinking that I might be rambling too much.  So many words in order to build up a context, set the story, explain the machinations, and try to tease out some of the nuances of the whole saga. (And then there is the comment section which seeks to compete on the total words front.)

The words of Citizen Sion

The words of Citizen Sion

Yes, the post was put out there to tell a story and justify an resulting action, and that can require many words.  Sion gets to have his say.  Yet, for me, the essence of the whole issue was delivered in five words nestled deep in the heart of that enormous post.  This all came about essentially because members of the CSM, for all their hard work and devotion to the game, cannot make things happen.  They cannot make CCP listen to them.  They cannot make CCP like them.  They cannot make CCP disclose information to them.  They cannot make CCP fly them to Iceland.  They cannot make CCP acknowledge their existence.

The members of the CSM hold almost no power in their relationship with CCP unless they take the game out of school, so to speak, and start getting players riled up directly.  And even that has worked exactly once, back during the Incarna brouhaha.  Going out of school mostly just gets you ignored or ridiculed or excluded from the proceedings so far as I can tell.

School is, of course, the apt metaphor.  I called the whole thing the Galactic Student Council back in 2008… and I am not going to let that piratical Rixx Javix steal my lead on that insight either with his 2011 observations!

Not that I begrudge CCP their hold over things.  They have a business to run, and adding a bunch of well meaning outsiders to the development process can be a hindrance to getting things done.

But CCP also set this whole CSM system up.  They have encouraged players to step up and pitch in, on their time, and generally work at what I once described as essentially a “horrible middle-management job,” all for the love of the game.  It is not unreasonable to expect that, if you’re going to ask people to put in the effort, that you not jerk them around.  You don’t tell people they matter, that the whole process matters, and then consistently prove to them that they really don’t without some blowback.

And so Sion boycotted the latest CSM summit.

Part of me doesn’t agree with his choice.  After all, what does a boycott of one accomplish?  And doubly so, how effective is a boycott when you’re alleged to be the member that CCP changed the whitepaper, without consulting the CSM, just to exclude from running for CSM again?  Staying away seems to be giving CCP exactly what they desire.  It would be better, to my mind, to show up and bang your shoe on the table like a latter day Khrushchev just to let people know you’re there and won’t be ignored.

Then again, I haven’t been in Sion’s shoes.  After his experiences, it may be that exercising about the only agency he has left within the confines of the CSM Whitepaper seemed like the better plan.  In the end, he made the choice and gets to live with the consequences.

Anyway, the management of the CSM at CCP has traded hands, with CCP Logibro, a friend to all fan sites, and the perennially popular CCP Guard taking over the helm.  Perhaps that will change things a bit for CSM 11.  Putting one of the most well known and well liked members of the CCP team on the case does send a message.  But CCP Guard also seems like one of the busier people on the CCP team, at least when looking in from the outside, so I hope he and CCP Logibro have the time to do something with the CSM.

Charming Nonsense about the CSM

There was a bit of internet space drama over the weekend.

My exposure to this was on The Meta Show where The Mittani, head of Goonswarm and a former CSM member, along with Laz and Thoric Frosthammer, head of LAWN and a current CSM member, spoke about the recent changes to the CSM whitepaper which ended up excluding anybody associated from The Mittani dot com from running for CSM, but not any other EVE related sites.  The show isn’t up on YouTube yet, but should be in the Meta Show channel at some point this week, if that is your thing.

I mentioned this whitepaper change in my Friday post, so I won’t retrace my steps too much.  The upshot was that The Mittani and Thoric had a good time spinning a conspiracy theory based on the fact that the rule changes excluded exactly one current CSM XI candidate from running, the restive Sion Kumitomo.


It is The Meta show after all, so a perfectly fine meta topic to run with.  CCP Leeloo was already on record, long before the show even started, saying that the rules were not put in place for that purpose and that if CCP wanted to exclude somebody specifically they would just do that and not bother with this sort of rule lawyering.

CCP Falcon though couldn’t leave well enough alone and felt the need to return fire as noted on a number of sites.  Here is the quote that is making the rounds:

Falcon Speaks...

Falcon Speaks…

To be fair to CCP Falcon, The Mittani had taken his conspiracy theory on the road and was trolling other venues with it, so he probably felt some retort was required.

You can spin that however you like.  On Reddit there is a lot of cheering that Mittens got smacked down, though when Gevlon isn’t fully behind some striking out at The Mittani you have to start asking questions.

For me though, that drama isn’t really the interesting bit.  Drama blows over and disappears.  No, I like this line from CCP Falcon’s comment:

…there are areas of the whitepaper that CCP have no control over, such as the rights of a CSM delegate.

What complete nonsense.  I do not believe that at all.  There is no area of the whitepaper over which CCP does not exercise complete and absolute control.  This is literally playing right into my initial analogy about the CSM from back in 2008, when I called it the Galactic Student Council.

You can tell the student council that they get to choose the theme for the homecoming dance, and that will stick right up until the moment they choose something controversial, at which point the school administration will override the decision.

Likewise, CCP can tell the CSM that they have control over some aspect of their existence, right up until the point that the CSM does something CCP doesn’t like, at which point CCP will demonstrate exactly how much control the CSM really has, which is none whatsoever.

Smacking The Mittani… whatever.  Perpetuating this sort of nonsense about the CSM having some actual independent power… that is just too much to swallow.

Anyway, this drama has pretty much ensured that Xenuria will have a top spot on The Imperium’s CSM ballot.  I think that Mittens would send them Gevlon as well if he could arrange it.  I wonder who else will be on the ballot.  There are still a few days left for candidates to register.  Of course, then we will see if CCP decides to weed any of them out.

What is to Be Done with CSM 11?

The season is upon us again, the run up to the EVE Online Council of Stellar Management elections has begun.


The schedule of events looks like this:

  • January 15, 2016 – Candidacy period opens (Hey, that’s tomorrow!)
  • February 9, 2016 – Candidacy period closes, CCP validates potential candidates
  • February 29, 2016 – Voting begins
  • March 25, 2016 – Voting ends
  • April 21, 2016 – Results to be announced at Fanfest 2016

A new slate of candidates are already warming up their pitch… a new slate because a number of the veterans are declining to return.  For me the surprise isn’t that some people won’t run again, it is that some of them have run twice already.  From the outside being on the CSM looks like a bad middle management position: Too much work, not enough credit, scant control over your what tasks you get, and little chance your feedback will be heeded, all while reporting to a group likely a few time zones away that you will never truly be a part of.

I’ve had that job in real life, where it at least paid well and I got 6 weeks of vacation.  Doing it for free on top of my day job though, that seems like a bit much to ask.

And there is the institution itself, which I have considered a questionable tool for the job since its inception.  Having a consistently disinterested player base elect a slate of representatives is no way to ensure the right people are available to advise, not to mention that it favors well organized groups (read: Null Sec) so heavily that CCP had to re-rig the voting scheme so as to at least try and make it seem like they were doing something about it.

Then taking those elected and locking them into a year of working on topics for which they may have no practical experience all at the running hot and cold pace of product development and interacting with teams that may or may not care what they have to say or even trust them with details doesn’t seem like a great way to run a railroad.

And then there is the downside of having CSM members chosen by election, which is that it occasionally gives some of them the sense that they have a real mandate to do something.  The problem is that they only have the power that CCP allows them, unless they decide to go to the player base and publicly oppose CCP.

Admittedly, that worked once, with the Incarna and “Greed is Good” debacle. (Unless, of course, you were a fan of walking in stations.  Fans of space monocles, however, were spared any harm as the monocle of ill repute, which caused outsiders to deem this all “Monocle-gate,” is still available in the New Eden Store.)

That one moment during CSM6 gave people a sense that the CSM was perhaps not just a CCP publicity stunt, that it could be a force, a voice, to help set CCP straight when they started to stray from the fundamentals of the game.

Since then, however, that sense of mandate has been more likely to lead things like this.  I’m sure somebody at CCP did a spit-take when reading that, because in the midst of a dysfunctional relationship there is little they are less likely to do that try and depend more on the CSM.

CCP clearly needs to get feedback on ideas from players.  They have admitted in the past that the wisdom of the crowd can often see flaws and exploits in their plans long before they do.  Even the forums, as unwieldy as the can be, seem to offer a better chance of providing such feedback than a small elected body.  And short term focus groups seem like a much better alternative than either.

The main complaint I have heard about focus groups is that in a mix of conflicting opinions that such a group might bring, the developers are likely to only listen to the voices that agree with their preconceptions.  Unfortunately, while that can be true, it doesn’t seem less likely to be the case with the CSM either, the only difference being that CCP is likely to simply get less opinions to weigh.  That doesn’t feel like an off-setting benefit to me.  The wisdom of the crowd fades when the crowd dwindles to a little more than a dozen people.

If you look around to other companies running MMOs, the idea of selecting groups of players to offer feedback on aspects of the game for which they are qualified is pretty common.  SOE had their guild council running off and on for years.  Blizzard grabs players now and again for feedback.  And, while I would hardly endorse Turbine as an example that other companies ought to follow on most fronts, they do have their player councils for Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons & Dragons Online.

That doesn’t even get into the whole Kickstarter and Early Access idea that is so popular these days and how that channels feedback to companies.

So what of the CSM then?

I always think back to when the idea came into being as a response to the T20 scandal. (Long version.)  It was somehow going to provide some oversight and transparency or some such to restore player confidence in CCP.  Has it done that yet?

I suspect that it will linger on for a few more seasons, despite my prediction.  I think it is telling that the CSM White Paper was firmed up this time around when it came to replacing members of the CSM.  That aspect of the CSM certainly got some exercise during CSM X, and it makes me wonder if the path to the exit will be shorter going forward.

But I am, by my own admission, quite the cynic at times, especially when it comes to sandbox politics.  I think reading the minutes of the Academic Senate at my university put me squarely in that spot.

Others are less cynical.  Some very earnest, hard working, and well meaning people will be running for CSM 11.  I am not for a boycott of the election, since I suspect that such an act would only cause the election to further favor the organized groups that will vote a full slate.   So I will not try to dissuade you from voting for the candidate of your choice, and all the more so if you believe they can do some good.

I even put together my own platform for a CSM run as a joke, then figured I had best not post it because once you start something like that, even in jest, some people will think you’re just being coy and really want the job.  I am sure there are people out there waiting for Gevlon to run despite his statements to the contrary.

My idea was to distill down the game to its most essential element, which I considered to be explosions.  My platform was solely based on explosions.  Explosions are exciting, give a great sense of satisfaction, are pretty, generate kill mails, and stimulate the economy.  I would be in favor of any plan that would increase the number of explosions in the game over the long term and against anything that reduced explosions in the long run, and would evaluate any idea based solely on that idea.

So, for example, I would have been against the Entosis link module idea, since explosions were reduced by that in my experience, something that seemed likely before it went into the game.  I would also be against being able to build a big red button that would cause everything in the game to explode because, while explosions would go up in the short term, the long term prospect for explosions would be dim.

I would likely have been for citadels, as those seem likely to increase the net explosion count, though I might be against the extremely small vulnerability window of the medium citadels,

So if you are just dying to run for the CSM and need a platform, feel free to steal that, or some variation on it.  As far as I can tell, it is as meaningful a platform as any I have seen laid out there, at least relative to what CCP will let you do in the end.

There go a thousand or so words on a topic in which I allegedly have little interest.  I doth protest a bit much or something, I think.

Of course, this being the CSM season, others are trotting out their own news and views on the institution.  We shall see what the election brings us.


CSM X Winners Announced

Live from Iceland, complete with the red PowerPoint “spelling error” underlines, we have the winners of the CSM X election.  Out of 75 candidates, these are the 14 who topped the vote.

CSM X WinnersIt looks like the permanent attendees (guaranteed travel to Iceland for meetings) are Sugar Kyle and Manfred Sideous, while half of the council looks to be made up of Null Sec bloc candidates, including CFC members Sion Kumitomo, Endie, and Thoric Frosthammer.

CCP will no doubt follow up with full voting details, but for now we know the makeup of CSM X.

Congratulations to the winners!  And we’re safe from Xenuria for another year.