Tag Archives: Council of Stellar Management

CSM 12 Application Process Opens, CSM Reduced to 10 Seats

As expected CCP opened up the application process for people wishing to run for a seat on CSM 12.  CCP Guard and CCP Logibro have put up a dev blog with details about the process of applying.

Ready for round 12!

Ready for round 12!

Along with the application process, the dev blog also covers some history of the CSM, the meeting minutes for second CSM 11 summit, and how many members have been attending the live sessions in Iceland.  For CSM 11 all members have been attending these summits at CCP headquarters in Reykjavik, Iceland.  It has been decided that this will continue with CSM 12.

To facilitate this however, the size of the CSM is being reduced from 14 to 10 members.

We shall see how this affects the single transferable vote system in place.  At a minimum, I expect we will allowed to vote for just 10 people this time around.

I expect some analysis will come out to show who would have been on past CSM groups had there only been 10 seats available. [Addendum: Oh, there it is.]

The Run for CSM 12 Begins Soon

CCP put up a dev post yesterday about the upcoming elections for the twelfth Council of Stellar Management.

Round 12 coming up!

Round 12 coming up!

Happens every year, so not exactly a surprise to people familiar with the body.

The surprising bit is that the current CSM session hasn’t been a drama shit show like the previous couple.  Nobody has been removed for breaking the NDA.  There haven’t been any long and emotional editorials or proposals about what the CSM should be doing or what its relationship with CCP ought to be that I have seen.  CCP didn’t feel the need to extend the “No Sions” rule to anybody else.  There were no boycotts.  And I haven’t heard any tales of CSM members being wrung out and soured by the whole experience.

A year ago people were wondering aloud if the CSM was headed for closure. At this same announcement in 2016 I was asking what was to be done.

Now, not so much.

The tenure of CSM11 has been fairly quiet.  I think the biggest CSM drama over the last year was Bobmon going to bat for I Want ISK, only to find out that Bobmon was a banker I Want ISK.  And since casinos were banned in the end, that bit of attempting to help his own interests didn’t add up to much.  The RMT barons got theirs, a happy ending for the game.

But other than that, and the occasional attempt to make hay over CSM meeting attendance on Reddit, the CSM hasn’t been news, headline or otherwise.

Granted, we have had other things to chew on.  There was the bitter Casino War that dominated the news for a few months.  And then there were the Citadel and Ascension expansions, the latter allowing people to participate in the game without having a subscription.  But CSM drama is like a bad smell; it becomes hard to ignore, even when other issues are occupying your mind.

So what happened?  Did we somehow just elect a perfect slate of brotherly love? (I don’t think there are any sisters on the rolls this time around, are there?)  Certainly the predicted XenuriApocalypse of footwear issues didn’t come to pass.  And I haven’t seen anything bubble up about CSM members talking out of school.

Or was it the change in management?

A year ago CCP Falcon and CCP Leeloo were running the show as the Combative/Deny Everything duo.  That might be unfair to CCP Leeloo, but certainly not to CCP Falcon who seems to revel in the tough guy, HTFU attitude of the game and who was shoveling nonsense about the CSM having some control over their status just a year back.

They were replaced before the CSM11 elections by CCP Guard, a long respected member of the CCP team, and CCP Logibro, who maintains a serious level of chill of his own accord. (Though I do wonder if there is some sort of maximum height limit for the community team at CCP as I don’t think many of them come up much past my shoulder.)

And since that change, it seems to have been smooth sailing.

I still wonder as to the efficacy of the CSM.  It still strikes me as a bit of a student council.  Its members still lack agency, and necessarily so as a customer advisory council.  And its membership still overwhelmingly reflects the groups in the game that know how to organize by necessity, which is to say the null sec alliances.  But at least it stopped being a public embarrassment to CCP.

So on we go!

The key dates for CSM 12 are:

  • February 3 – 17: Candidacy application period
  • February 17 – 28: Application processing period
  • February 28: Candidates for CSM 12 are announced
  • March 6 – 26: CSM 12 Voting period
  • April 6: CSM 12 election results are announced

The biggest change since last year is the presence of Alpha clones, the non-subscribers, who can run for a seat on the CSM, but who cannot vote.  Franchise for Omega landowners only, you peasant alpacas!

There are, of course, all sorts of details about the hurdles of applying and running for the CSM, which are covered in gritty detail over at The Nosy Gamer.  If you want to immerse yourself, I recommend going there to get your fill.

Anyway, let the election season begin.  Xenuria 2017!

Reviewing My 2016 Predictions

Roll over Beethoven, here we are again.  There is still some time left in the year, but I pretty sure we are far enough along that anything I predicted back in January will have either come to pass or just won’t happen this year.

Blog2016

Back at the start of the year I listed out sixteen predictions for 2016, the sweet sixteenth birthday of the 21st century.  And then somebody spiked the Kool-aid and the party ran out of control in a way that even a National Lampoon script writing team would deem too implausible to put to paper.

So my predictions look pretty tame compared to reality.

Anyway, here is what I predicted back then.  As usual, the questions are worth 10 points each, with partial credit available.

  • 1WoW Legion will ship on August 16th, which will give Blizzard both one of the fastest expansion release cycles in its history along with one of the longest content droughts, leaving few happy.

Pretty close on that one.  Yes, I know that is two weeks off the actual date, but given the number of people insisting June simply had to be the date, not too shabby.  And it was one of the longest content droughts, about which nobody was really happy.  I’m giving myself about half credit on that – 6 points.

  • 2WoW Legion will be heavily criticized for the small amount of content it delivers at launch.  It will turn out that Blizzard can’t figure out how to make any more content than usual, so the plan will be to dole it out in more, but smaller, chunks over the life of the expansion.

Hrmm, not so much.  I mean, you could argue that the initial four zones and the run to level 100 were pretty darn quick.  But Blizz did have a bunch of level cap content ready, has rolled out the first content update and talked about future updates.  So I think I get a nada here – 0 Points.

  • 3 – The Warcraft movie will be a modest success, though after it settles down somebody will calculate that more people have probably played World of Warcraft than saw the movie in the theater.  The movie’s impact on the game will be negligible.

I think modest success is about spot-on.  The Chinese box office wasn’t all that profitable.  If you saw the movie in the theater you probably live in China and being the best movie in a traditionally crap niche still isn’t saying much.  As for impact on the game… meh.  Did anybody subscribe because they saw that movie?  And I think I saw that players vs. viewers calculation at one point in July.  I’m giving myself full points on this one just to make you angry.  If you disagree, go watch this then channel your rage into the comments – 10 Points.

  • 4Diablo IV will be announced at BlizzCon.  Really.  This time I am serious dammit!

Blizzard, however, was not serious.  We did get an announcement about a treat, a remake of the original Diablo in the game, plus something that sounds a bit like a new expansion vehicle for the return of the Necromancer class, but that was about it – 0 Points.

  • 5 – Daybreak will get a new head honcho who will be selected from another company and will have little or no experience with the fantasy MMORPG genre that has kept the team in San Diego funded for most of its existence.  Expect this person’s past experience to be the hammer and any Daybreak problem to be a nail.  They’ll be just like that VP we once hired from Oracle, for whom every solution required a database.  So if, for example, they have a history with first person shooters on the XBox, you’ll know what to expect.

How to score this?  I wrote a whole post about this two weeks back.  Long time SOE veteran Russel Shanks stepped in back when Smed got the axe… erm, stepped down… almost a year and a half ago.  I wasn’t sure if that was an interim move back then.  That lingered until October when Shanks stepped down and Ji Ham, a Columbus Nova Prime operative was put in the top slot, no doubt to make sure the spice cash was kept flowing. And while he has no notable experience with fantasy MMORPGs, he also isn’t exactly what my prediction implied either.  Also, is seems that we was co-president or some such this whole time.  Still, I suppose that appointment does mean we’ll know what to expect.  I’m going to go with Bree’s call on the score here – 8 Points.

  • 6 – It will be more tough times and harsh realities for Daybreak.  The EverQuest/EverQuest II teams, which pull their own weight, will be safe so long as they can sell expansions, but everything else will be up for grabs.  As a result I expect two of the following to happen:
  • EverQuest Next pushed out prematurely for early access dollars.
  • EverQuest Next and Landmark merged back into a single product/project, but you have to buy it again it you bought Landmark.
  • Legends of Norrath shut down.
  • Legends of Norrath turned into a stand-alone iOS and Andoid game, where it fails and gets shut down.
  • PlanetSide 2 shut down, relaunched with a new name as a buy-to-play title for consoles only, old version not compatible with the new one.
  • DC Universe Online shut down on Windows, left running on PlayStation.
  • H1Z1 basic package launched as a buy-to-play title, but seriously gimped unless you are a Daybreak All Access subscriber or plan to spend big in the cash shop.
  • New, console-only project announced.

You know, that list isn’t nearly as divorced from reality as I thought it was eleven and a half months back.  I even got one on the nose, as Legends of Norrath went away back in August.

And I could make the case that some variation of the first two on the list came to pass as Daybreak kicked Landmark out the door into the cold marketplace for the few players that remained.

Meanwhile, bits of that H1Z1 prediction contained threads of reality, while DCUO moving to XBox seems to confirm what was said in the past about the game being popular on consoles as opposed to being a big deal in the Windows market.

In the end though, I am only going to claim one, if only to off-set those ill-gotten points from the Warcraft movie prediction – 5 Points.

  • 7 – Turbine needs a splash in 2016 with LOTRODDO rolls along as is, sharing the Dungeons & Dragons license with Neverwinter.  But the contract with Tolkien Enterprises for LOTRO wraps up in 2017.  While a renewal seems pretty likely, barring a complete disaster, it would go over much better if some additional cash were flowing in.  So, after a couple years off… and perhaps learning from the market… a big expansion will be announced that will bring us to Mordor.  Cirith Ungol or maybe just to the main gates, but the end of the journey will be in sight.  Expect a special Blessing of the Valar level boost to be bundled in with it that will get you stuck straight into the new content.  Yes, I know this isn’t in the current 2016 plan for Turbine, but this will change before the end of the year.

Poor Turbine.  I don’t think they have it in them to get an expansion out anymore.  They’ll just slowly update their way to Mordor and toss in the ring eventually – 0 Points.

  • 8 – In EVE Online, citadels will be big. (Ha ha!)  Everybody will want one, which will cause a boom in construction and a spike in mineral prices and a rise in concurrent users.  It will be the new shiny.  This will wane as the close of summer comes to an end and we all figure out the flaw in the citadel plan and the game grinds to a halt while we argue about how CCP should fix it.

Well, I was certainly right on the “everybody will want one” side of the equation, with more than 7,000 of the things having been deployed across New Eden.  We never did get to the horrible flaw in them.  Some small ones, but no game breakers.  Then again, I think that part of the prediction might simply have been premature.  Wait until they want to kill null sec stations and POSes – 4 Points.

  • 9 – CCP will either close down the CSM or change it so drastically that it is essentially a different beast.  We’ll get CSM XI, but it will carry on the now familiar tradition of institutional animosity from certain sectors within CCP, something that won’t be helped by the fact that most CSM veterans will decline to run for election, leading to a fresh CSM with Xenuria and DurrHurrDurr (or a reasonable facsimile of the latter) as the permanent Icelandic duo.  That will force CCP to act.

I am claiming a few points up front for predicting Xenuria on the CSM and the whole “veterans decline to run” thing.  As for change, the most drastic was pulling CCP Falcon and CCP Leeloo off of CSM duty, as the pair of them seemed to be a major part of the drama creation machine that had been the CSM for a while… CCP Falcon especially, as he seems to thrive on building a reputation of being combative and confrontational… and putting in the ever-chill pair of CCP Guard and CCP Logibro.  After that and the election, the CSM almost disappeared into obscurity as they simply tried to get the job done.

So not a drastic change, but CCP seems to have succeeded, for now, in turning the CSM back into an asset rather than a public relations nightmare – 7 Points.

  • 10 – The return of The Fountain War Kickstarter will succeed when it kicks off in March, being better thought out.  Drama will be way, way down compared to the initial run.

Ha ha ha ha!  Ever the optimist am I!  CCP ran away from The Fountain War book idea like a scalded cat after the disaster of the first attempt.  We shall not hear of that again – 0 Points.

  • 11 Black Desert, the new anticipated hotness, combining an Asian MMO import with the word “sandbox” yet again, is going to be a replay of ArcheAge, with a big rush, overcrowding, disappointment and recriminations, before settling down for the core audience that will remain after everybody who pinned sky high hopes on it storms off in a fit of pique.

I mean, pretty much, right?  For a bit it was all anybody could talk about, then it pretty much fell off the map when it comes to the blogs I read.  I see update posts about it over at Massively OP, and it had a server merge recently, so it seems to fit in the ArcheAge mold well enough – 10 Points.

  • 12 Project: Gorgon, after being in the shadows for so long, will have a banner year in 2016, with early access success on Steam leading to the game going live for real before the year runs out.

Not quite there yet.  The game is on its way, but everything always takes longer than you think when it comes to software – 0 Points.

  • 13 – NCsoft will announce that WildStar is closing down, it’s free to play conversion having been a brief flash in the pan.

I keep expecting this as WildStar sets new revenue lows in the NCsoft quarterly reports, yet it is still around.  Congrats to a 2016 survivor I guess – 0 Points.

  • 14 – Despite all the back and forth and talk of lawyers and lawsuits and who is going to sue who for what and where, the Derek Smart vs. Star Citizen brouhaha will fade away without a metaphorical legal punch being thrown.

Okay, maybe I was looking for a gimme trying to get to 16 predictions.  No lawsuit, no how – 10 points.

  • 15 – Somebody will buy Funcom… for cheap… to rescue a couple of their titles, but Anarchy Online won’t be on the list of the saved.  LEGO Minifigures Online is the prize there.

Meanwhile Funcom remains in trouble, still wobbling around on its own, while LEGO Minifigures Online went the way of LEGO Universe back at the end of September – 0 Points.

  • 16Crowfall, will still be in development, allowing only limited access for backers by the end of 2016.  It won’t really be a thing until 2017.

I don’t think Crowfall is even that far along now.  It certainly won’t be a thing until late 2017 at the earliest – 0 Points.

  • Special Bonus Prediction – A big Pokemon announcement to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the series on February 27, 2016.

My make up gimme prediction.  We got the Pokemon Sun & Moon announcement and the launch of Pokemon Red, Blue, & Yellow on the 3DS Virtual Console on the anniversary.  I think the former counts – 10 Points.

  • Big 2016 Question – Will VR be interesting enough to spur people to spend money upgrading their systems in order to spend more money to buy an Occulus Rift rig?

Pretty much no.  VR is a fragmented niche market without a killer app currently.  Not a scored item, since it wasn’t a prediction but a question.

70 points out of 170 possible, including points for the extra credit question, which at about 41% would be a failing grade in any class I ever took.  But in the land of prognostication, that is a positively stellar record… or at least in the land of my own blind guesses at the future.  And so ends the year.

As for others scoring their predictions, this is what I have seen so far:

It just wasn’t the thing to do in 2016, so I expect I won’t have many on the list.

Meanwhile, I have the self-linking bonanza that is my summary of past predictions and results here at TAGN:

Now to think on what I should do for 2017.  First item on the list, get my daughter to make me another graphic.

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.

CSM11_logo

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.

CSM11_logo

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.