Tag Archives: CSM12

The Coming March Update in New Eden

CCP is pretty good about telegraphing what they are going to do with their expansions and updates.  They have a long history of dev blogs and forum posts about proposed features and have shown themselves to be responsive to feedback.  Of course, the latter is always a hazard, because if CCP bows to somebody’s logic then somebody else with a different view of things will start crying “foul!” or “favoritism” or “fake news!” or whatever the term du jour is.

I tend to believe CCP operates in good faith, in part because changing your mind in front of a live studio audience tends to be a painful experience and, as noted, makes people mad.  It would be much easier to do this in a smoke filled back room and announce the results as edicts not up for discussion. It works for Blizzard.

Anyway, in the grand scheme of things now, CCP has month updates which tend to tune a few things and maybe add a feature, and expansions, which are the vehicle for big changes and spanking new features.  Citadels and Alpha accounts go with expansions, ship re-balancing and in-game events and changes to how you blow up a citadel go with updates.

But now I am looking at the mounting number of things planned for the March update and it seems like a lot.  There isn’t any single item that seems out of scope for the above rules.  Rather, there are so many things with such impact that it is starting to feel like more than an update.

First there was a dev blog about ship balance changes that opened with these two points that came out of the recent CSM summit:

  1. More change is better, even if it’s small
  2. The meta is feeling stagnant, particularly around Feroxes and the Marchariel

So, yes, both the Mach and the Ferox are taking a hit.  I always feel a bit sad for the Ferox when it gets knocked down as it was, for a long stretch, completely nonviable in the fleet meta where Drakes and Hurricanes ruled back in the day.  But now it is on the decline.

Meanwhile CCP has been trying to beat down the Mach for a while now, reducing the blueprint copy drops and boosting the cost to make them.  But the Russians have been farming those blueprints for so long that the supply is effectively endless.  As for raising the cost to make… do you even read the monthly economic report bro?  So CCP is now set to clip its wings a bit hoping to push this faction battleship back towards being a rare bling-mobile rather than its current status as a ship of the line for nearly every major coalition.

There were other ships getting specific tweaks while tech 1 battleships got an across the board boost:

  • +25% to cargo capacity
  • +20% to maximum lock range

Because why not I guess.

The dev blog also introduced the Flag cruiser concept, a hardened FC ship, in response to the ongoing drone about FC headshotting. (A topic covered for Blog Banter 76 a couple years back.)

The Monitor Flag Cruiser concept

You can see the proposed stats, as well as the community response, in this forum thread.   The debate is heated and one common item that keeps coming up is the lack of a way for an FC on this ship to get on kill mails.  We shall see where this ends up.  Right now it seems like a niche ship for very specific circumstances.

While that was still in the air another note came from CCP about removing the built-in voice chat from EVE Online.  This is apparently another item in the way of a 64-bit client.  Built-in voice chat was very much the thing a decade back and CCP, like SOE and a few others, went to Vivox for an integration. (I found out at GDC that the Vivox people came from the same speech/voice corner of tech I have dwelt in for most of my career.)  EVE Voice came in with the Revelations expansion back in November 2006 (high level list of features on the EVE Uni Wiki, but the actual Revelations 1.0 patch notes for the release went missing with the update to the community site) and has been lightly used ever since, with CCP declaring that only 0.4% of the players giving it a shot.  Of course, we’re finding out now who depends on it, but for the most part you were more likely to use the captain’s quarters than EVE Voice.

Then there was word of a new chat back end coming with the March update.  CCP will move to a centralized independent chat service that should make things better for somebody.  Currently one of the ways to improve your client performance in a big fleet fight is to close Local, even when TEST isn’t involved.  Maybe this will help with that, though it sounds like it won’t change anything you dislike about the in-game part of the chat system.

Then a huge dev blog dropped… huge if you’re in null sec at least… about changes to entosis, tethering, and a 95% reduction in jump fatigue.  This was greeted with both cheers and speculation as to whether or not all of CCP had been replaced by pod people or something, this being a heady and unexpected change.

The jump fatigue change, a game mechanic introduced with the Phoebe update in late 2014 because null sec was stagnant and needed a change, will drop the cap for overall fatigue (blue timer) from 4 days to 5 hours and the jump clock (orange timer) from a maximum of 9.6 hours to 30 minutes… because, no doubt, null sec is stagnant and needs a change.

Will 30 minutes be enough of a roadblock to keep titan fleets from ranging across the map, moving from citadel to citadel in great packs?  Or will the jump range limitations that came in with jump fatigue be enough?  As I tend to say, we shall see.

Finally, in what I suspect is the final package of things for the March release, there was also a forum post of “little things” to be addressed.  The list, as it stands right now:

  • Color coding in Fleet watchlist window
  • Targeting bracket on Fleet mates is purple (the fleet color) rather than yellow
  • Text for broadcasts for reps now include what ship type the broadcast came from
  • Fleet tags are now displayed on the targets in the target bar
  • It’s now possible to remove a Fleet tags (from whatever was tagged before)
  • The results from ship scans are now organized by slots
  • The Show Info window for a solar system now has a special tab for structures in the system. Please note that like before, it only lists those structures you have docking access at.
  • The HQ listed in Show Info windows for corporation will now be a link
  • A tooltip has been added to the standing icon in the show info window to show what that icon is based on (player to player, player to corp, alliance to corp etc).
  • If your security status is -2 or lower, the tooltip on your security status in the Character sheet will tell you in which systems the faction police will attack
  • There’s now an option to have the Compare tool only list those attributes that differ for the items currently being compared
  • The height of the “Duration” drop down in market orders have been increased, so all entries fit without scrolling
  • The Salvage option for salvage drones has been moved to the top of the right click menu
  • Volume information has been added to the “material input” and “output” tooltips in the Industry window
  • The right click options that have been categorized as potentially especially destructive will now have a red ! in front of them. Among other things, we hope this helps to make it easier to differentiate between “Reprocess” and “Repackage”.

My favorite on the list is the ability to see the ship type that broadcasts for reps.  It isn’t that I don’t love you support frigates in the fleet, but I really need to keep DPS, my fellow logi, and the FC alive, after which I might have time to spare a couple of rep cycles for you.

Color coding the watch list will be good as well.  Currently I have a stack order for FC, main anchor, snowflakes, logi anchor, and cap chain partners that can get a little mixed up when things go sideways.

Anyway, as I was getting at a thousand words or so back, this seems like a lot for a monthly update.  It lacks a big anchor feature to make it an expansion, but for an update it has a lot of chewy goodness packed in.

Finally, I suspect that these updates coming now, after the winter CSM summit, are not a coincidence.  Good job CSM12!  I suspect that this update will feature in a few re-election campaigns.  But my real question is, does this mean having Sort Dragon speak up constantly during meetings is a good thing?  His name comes up a lot in the minutes.

CCP and Proposed Changes to CSM Elections

CCP announced yesterday that the minutes from the CSM12 Winter Summit are now available for your perusal.

CSM12 still rolling along

The minutes, as always, seem as much a tool to irritate as to inform.  That is just the nature of the beast.  The minutes are a brief record… in 77 pages… of people talking about EVE Online, do people actually doing anything about it.  And the CCP people often respond to ideas or questions in the same way, that they’ve discussed or thought about this or that, but never had time or never got to it.

Because there is the reality of software development; you always have more ideas than time and everything always takes longer than you think.  If, sitting on the outside looking in, you think something should be easy… like, say, remove the DUST514 references from the chat windows… it is probably because you lack the knowledge surrounding it.

So they are there, read them, mine out the few chunks of data, try to read the tea leaves that form the rest, and move on.  Exploding on the forums probably won’t help anything, but if it will make you feel better you can join in.

One item to which CCP decided attention to in their dev blog post was a proposed change up to the CSM elections.  As somebody who has never been a fan of the players electing a focus group… I called the whole thing the Galactic Student Council nearly a decade back… changes in the election process often strike me as rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic; the new layout may be nice, but it isn’t going to change the end result.

In the case of the CSM, popularity or being the candidate of an organized group, as opposed to deep game knowledge, wins.  And, of course, null sec is the most organized out of necessity, so guess who is pretty much guaranteed to secure at least half the seats?  So that we get anybody with deep knowledge of aspects of the game is as much chance as anything, though we don’t seem to have as many vanity candidates winning recently.  It seems that people eventually figured out what a “free trip to Iceland” really meant.

Not that I think deep knowledge could change things or “make” CCP do anything.  I like to imagine new, dewy-eyed and determined CSM members showing up in Iceland set to change things and walking away ashen faced like they just got a tour of Voronezh Meat Packing Plant #12.  As with sausages, it is probably best that you not look to hard at how software is made.

Anyway, I digress.

The changes being proposed are, as I read them:

  • Move the CSM elections to a point later in the year
  • Increase the amount of time for campaigns
  • Reduce the actual time spent voting
  • Announce the results sooner

The first point seems to come from the experience of the current CSM members who felt that after Fan Fest, when development starts to slow down a bit as summer vacations begin, would be a better time to bring new members on board.  I don’t think it is a CSM12 conspiracy to extend their own tenure for a couple months, but you never know.

The second, extending the time from when we know the official candidate list through until voting begins, seems to be rooted in the charming belief that the people who aren’t paying attention and who never vote might change their minds if only there was more time to try to distinguish between the huge grid of avatars from which they get to select.

The third point, reducing the actual duration of voting, seems to contradict the above, but really what it means is that CCP has data on actual voting as opposed to campaigning.  They say most people vote on the first day or the last day, basically those were were aching to vote and those who said, “Oh crap, I’d better vote!”  That seems to make sense, but I am sure somebody will cry “voter suppression” over the proposed change.

And then there are the results, which CCP knows pretty much straight away, but which they sit on for weeks and weeks so they can announce them at Fan Fest.  I guess we’ll just have to do without that particular aspect of Fan Fest which, as somebody who will only ever see Fan Fest over a live stream, works for me.

So sure.  Make the changes.  I strongly suspect that they won’t alter the expected outcome and will just give the same people who complain every year about the same things regarding the elections another bullet point or two for their list as we roll on into CSM 13.

CCP Asks Vince Draken to Step Down from CSM12

CCP has asked CSM member Vince Draken to step down due to not being able to devote sufficient time to the council. Lack of activity can have valid reasons and we’re parting with Vince on good terms and with mutual understanding. CCP holds the obligation to ensure a fully engaged CSM at any given time which is why we are looking towards a substitute for the remainder of the term.

-CCP Guard, CSM Update

After the roller coaster rides of CSM9 and CSM10, with the leaks, the removals, and the recriminations, the two following councils have been quiet, almost dignified affairs.  CSM12 has been pretty quiet since its election earlier this year.

Round 12 in progress!

And even now, in the chill of the the last two councils, this barely qualifies as CSM drama.  The joke is that playing EVE Online seriously is like having a second job, and adding the CSM to your list gives you at least another part time job on top of the two you likely have.  So Vince Draken, already the leader of Northern Coalition, probably has enough on his plate already.  He’ll miss out on a week of sitting in a conference room in Iceland talking about various aspects of the game.

Meanwhile, there is a position to be filled.  CCP has said the following:

We will be calling in a substitute using the previously stated method of filling the spot with the last candidate eliminated in the election (the next in line without any recalculation of vote distribution). We’ll start there and go down the line if needed until someone accepts the spot and we will make another announcement once this is concluded.

Over at INN they quickly reported that the next in line for the seat is Sort Dragon, leader of the Darkness alliance.  Sort Dragon previously served on CSM10.

If Sort Dragon declines, next in line are Kalbuir Skirate of Pandemic Horde, followed by Killah Bee of Pandemic Legion, thus effectively keeping the seat both in the hands of a null sec representative and a member of the PanFam/NC/GotG coalition.  CCP will announce who will replace Vince Draken when they find somebody down the list who will take the job.

If none of those three take up the mantle, CCP will continue down the elimination trace.  The data they will use is available from the Dev Blog analyzing the CSM12 election results.

Quote of the Day – Cat Ears in Space

My ideal patch would be one where they fix vuln timers on citadels, heavily nerf or remove void bombs on citadels, make sov nodes a damage capped structure not entosis based, make refineries mirror 90% of PoS mechanics, and add cat ears and an option to replace my engine trails with a stream of hundred dollar bills.

CSM 12 member Jin’taan,  Reddit Post

In one blow Jin’taan has hit on quite a few issues I fully support.

The CXM 12 Member from Provi Bloc

And not all of them are strictly null sec focused.  In fact, only ditching entosis is applicable directly to null sec.  The rest are pretty universal.  And cat ears… that could be the back door to getting hats to be a thing in New Eden.  I am glad he was on our ballot.

 

EVE Online CSM 12 Winners Announced

During the EVE Online keynote at Fanfest 2017 CCP Seagull announced the winners of the CSM 12 election.  As noted previously, the CSM was reduced to ten members and all members will travel to CCP for summits.

The winners were:

The 10 members of CSM 12

  • Steve Ronuken – Fuzzwork Enterprises
  • Rhiload Feron-drake – TURN LEFT
  • The Judge – Circle of Two
  • NoobMan – Hard Knocks Citizens
  • Jin’taan – Curatores Veritatis Alliance
  • Innominate – Goonswarm Federation
  • Vince Draken – Northern Coalition
  • Yukiko Kami – Brave Coalition
  • Suitonia – Goonswarm Federation
  • Aryth – Goonswarm Federation

Six of the winners were carry-overs from CSM11.

Once again, null sec candidates make up the majority of the council, though now they represent a smaller percentage now that the council is smaller and a low sec candidate, Rhiload Feron-drake, made the cut.

Voter turnout was up over last year, with 31,274 votes cast compared to only 22,345 in 2016.

Votes cast in CSM elections

While the trend was up, it was still nowhere near the peak of 59,109 votes cast for CSM 7.

There will no doubt be a dev blog to follow this up with details and the actual vote count.  Then we can figure out how close Xenuria came to re-election.

Voting for CSM 12 Opens Today

The day is here, the annual stuffing of the ballot box has begun, the CSM elections are live.  They run from today, March 6, through until March 27, with the results to be announced at Fanfest on April 6.

Look at that CONCORD police Captain trying to suppress the vote!

Look at that CONCORD police Captain trying to suppress the vote!

CCP has even created a video where CCP Logibro spends almost five minutes telling you about the election and how to use the voting interface.

As for who to vote for, you have an array of 64 candidates to choose from.  How to pick… well, that is up to you.   The Nosy Gamer has put together a page that brings together campaign statements and interviews from the candidates.  It is a good place to start if you are just trying to figure out for whom to vote.

Of course, if you’re just starting to figure that out now, you’re part of the reason why I think electing a player advisory council is silly, as I noted in last week’s blog banter post.  In a game where one segment of the population needs to be highly organized in order to survive, guess who is best at getting their people to vote?  The null sec blocs get out the vote while the rest of the game mostly doesn’t even bother to open up a ballot.  And so CSM 11 was 13 null sec players and Steve Ronuken.

With CSM 12 being reduced from 14 members to 10, all of whom will be flown to Iceland for summits, past results indicate that null sec will likely end up with 8 or 9 of those.  I think Neville Smit’s idea for a high sec coalition is coming a bit late, but we shall see.  With only 10 seats, every vote counts even more so as there is much less room for trickle down.

Anyway, the null sec blocs no doubt all have their voting lists published already.  The Imperium had theirs up early yesterday and have a “get out the vote” campaign in motion.

For those interested, this is the Imperium slate:

  1. Aryth – GSF
  2. Innominate – GSF
  3. Sullen Decimus – Bastion
  4. Jin’taan – Provibloc
  5. The Judge – CO2
  6. Suitonia – GSF

[INN has the Provi Bloc and CO2/TEST ballots here]

For those who haven’t watched the video or read up on the process, the ordering dictates the priority list for your votes.  If Aryth has enough votes, surplus votes will then fall to Innominate.  When he has sufficient votes, any extras will go to Sullen Decimus.  And so it goes down the list.

If you are paying close attention, there are likely three items of interest with this list.

First, there are only six candidates listed, when there could have been ten.  Last year the list was a full 14 long and included outsiders such as Commander Aze and Tora Bushido to round it out.  This year the list is truncated and includes only core null candidates.  I gather that this is to emphasize the key candidates so they don’t get lost or shuffled as people go to their ballot.  We are left to add four more candidates if we wish, though it seems unlikely that many votes will transfer down that far.

Second, The Judge is on our list.  Yes, he is down in fifth place, but after the great (and in the end futile) betrayal by CO2 and M-OEE8 last year, his alliance remains our space foes.  But the smooth operation of the CSM appears to transcend the in-game situation.  He did a good job last time around so made our list.  He likely won’t get many trickle down votes from us, but he has TEST/CO2 voters behind him to make up the difference.

And third, Xenuria is not on our ballot.  He is running, he is in GSF, he is on CSM 11, and by all accounts he did a good job, but he isn’t one of our picks.

Last year picking Xenuria to be on the ballot was a controversial choice.  He got the third spot on the Imperium ballot for the CSM11 election.  As an example of Goons not marching in lock step or doing whatever Mittens tells them, this was a good example.  There was an outcry about choosing him and declarations from many in the thread that they would never vote for him.

Still, Xenuria had enough people vote the ballot, plus the support he had garnered through past runs for the CSM, to get himself elected.  This year though, he is on his own.  Fortunately, for him, he has been ahead of the game and has been out campaigning, including having a station billboard ad for a while now.

A vote for Xenuria is a vote for Xenuria

A vote for Xenuria is a vote for Xenuria

If Xenuria’s focus, which includes focus on cosmetic in-game items, is something you want represented on the CSM, you’re going to have to vote for him yourself, as the Imperium isn’t going to get him elected.

So that is it, the election is off and running.  We will know the results in a month.

BB80 – Oh That Crazy CSM Thing!

This is where most people would list their myriad reasons they are running for CSM. Maybe they would write out long platform statements with some overarching narrative. Their dreams of how to make EVE great again.

I am not going to do any of those things because I don’t need your votes you terrible pubbies.

-Aryth for CSM 12 campaign forum post

You weren’t going to vote for Aryth anyway, were you?

Here we are at the latest Blog Banter, number 80 in the series, and this time around the topic is the CSM.  Specifically:

CCP Seagull ecourages you to get involved in CSM12 and put your name forward to be a Space-Politician. On his blog Neville Smit noted that CSM11 had done a good job with minimum of drama. However he said he’d not be covering CSM12 like he has in previous years as he sees no point. The power-blocs will vote on who they want and unless Steve Ronuken manages to get on CSM12 it is almost certainly going to have every seat taken by the big null-sec blocs.

Is Neville right? Is the CSM moving more and more into just a voice for 0.0? Is this a bad thing? Are the hi-sec, low-sec and WH players going to lose out badly or is it really not an issue as its the same game? Could a totally null-sec dominated CSM 12 give a balanced voice for everyone?

I get to quote Aryth, pick on Neville Smit, and complain about the CSM?  Trifecta!

Anyway, in my usual style, I am going to spew forth a bunch of text and I hope, somewhere at the far side, to reach a conclusion.  I think I know what it will be, but won’t be sure until I get there!  The CSM 12 election is coming soon, so lets ramble.

Look at that CONCORD police Captain trying to suppress the vote!

Look at that CONCORD police Captain trying to suppress the vote!

I will start with the fact that I think electing what is essentially a focus group by having the player base vote is pretty silly.  You want to select by competence and core knowledge, not popularity for this sort of position.

Of course, it wasn’t always this way.  If you go look at the CCP historical timeline (preserved here) you will see this tidbit for 2003.

The historical record of sorts

The historical record of sorts from 2003

Yes, players were chosen by CCP.  That is the way things are generally done in the MMO domain when you want a focus group or player advisory board. (SOE, Blizz, and Turbine all did it that way.)  But five years into the game and one T20 scandal later, CCP decided that elections would… I don’t know really.  Transparency?  Here is what they said:

During their six-month term, delegates to the council will deliberate on issues of importance to the EVE community and work with representatives of CCP on the future evolution of EVE Online.

Oh yeah, and the terms were for six months back then… more elections… and there were nine members of the council and five alternates.

Anyway, an election gets popular people and not necessarily competent people on the CSM.

That, of course, leads us to who is really popular in New Eden.  There are a few people in the EVE Online population that have achieved space fame and who could thus get elected on their own.  To get there you usually have to take things out of game by starting a blog, running a news site, being particularly notable on Reddit, or by creating some sort of additional functionality for the game.  And that is no guarantee you will get the votes.  Riverini took a couple of shots, but his EN24 fame wasn’t enough.

For the most part though elections go to large, organized groups, and there are no larger nor more organized groups than the null sec blocs.  The nature of the game is that to survive and thrive and hold space in null sec you have to be organized.

I spent five years bopping around in high sec and was never in a corp that had more than a dozen people and probably didn’t know what an alliance really was.  That didn’t harm my play style at all.  In the back woods of Amarr space, far from Jita, life was peaceful.  The one and only time I was suicide ganked involved traveling from Jita to our little pocket in Amarr space via Niarja, which is the gank pipe.  I interacted with more EVE bloggers on their blogs out of game than I did with players in the game.

And then I moved to null sec and am currently in one of the small alliances in our coalition, having only ~1,600 members, while the senior partner is Goonswarm Federation with 24K members.  Yes, the member count is probably between half and two-thirds alts, but every paying account gets a vote.  So when an official ballot is put out for the coalition… which we mostly vote for, though Goon uniformity is largely a myth and candidates like Xenuria have been controversial on the official ballot… that provides a pretty strong base of votes.  The question is never about whether somebody from the ballot will get on the CSM but rather how many on the list will make it.

So if you’re not in null sec, how do you break into what is now the top 10 of votes?

It isn’t easy.  There have been various attempts to get a wider group or play style to back a candidate from, say, wormhole space or faction warfare.  That has worked a few times, but often there isn’t a clear choice as multiple candidates vie for the same demographic.

And if identify with a nebulous group like high sec, and your space blog is only getting 30 page views a day on average, and you are in competition with a ludicrous number of opponents (64 total candidates this year) for those coveted ten seats,  you don’t have many options.

You try to get on everybody’s review list or podcast and you promise to do things in the classic quid pro quo of politics.  You promise to represent this community or that community or several communities or all communities.  You promise to champion certain features or resist others.  If you’re really crazy, you promise to get CCP to do something.  You have to stand out, and just saying your knowledgeable isn’t enough.

I quoted Aryth at the top for a reason.  He doesn’t have to promise anything.  If you’re not in a null sec bloc, you’re running against somebody who doesn’t really need a campaign to win.  And he’ll get on the next CSM because he’ll be the top slot on the Imperium ballot and there is nothing you can post on Reddit to stop that.

Unfortunately, promises are a show of weakness, a sign of desperation to stand out.  When I first mentioned the elected CSM on this blog, back in April of 2008, I called it the Galactic Student Council.  Just like the student council back in high school, candidates can promise all sorts of thing, but in the end the school administration controls the situation and can ignore or veto the student council at will.  Likewise, the CSM serves at the pleasure of CCP and, as we have seen in the past, can be ignored with impunity.

To have any power on its own, the CSM has to bypass CCP and cause players to follow them rather than the company.  That has happened exactly once, after the Incarna expansion, and was an extraordinary set of circumstances the root causes of which people disagree with to this day. (But it wasn’t about the price of monocles, I guarantee you that.)

Sion Kumitomo tried to do this again, tried to take his issues out of school, during CSM 10.  However, he faced two problems.  Well, three problems.  The first was being in GSF, which sets some people against him automatically, but that was really the least of his problems and could have been overcome with the right issue.

The second problem was his communication style, which is long and ponderous, and I write this with a straight face as I pass the 1,200 word mark on this post without reaching my point.  I am good at burying the lede, and often do it deliberately just to see who is paying attention.  But when Sion writes, he doesn’t just bury the lede, he kills it, buries it in an unmarked grave deep in the forest, evades the detection of the authorities, and only gives up the location 40 years later on his death bed.  But that really wasn’t his biggest problem either.

No, his biggest problem was that he was attempting champion an issue about which almost nobody gave a shit about, the CSM.  The dirty not-really-a-secret of the CSM is that, judging by voter turn out, most people simply don’t know or don’t care about it.  I mean, if go back and read my Galactic Student Council post from 2008, you can see that I had missed a lot of what was going on, and I cared enough to write a blog post about it.

And CCP can talk about the election all it wants, encourage people to get involved, put info up on the launcher, post on Twitter and Facebook, and it isn’t going to change much.  Even the highest voted turnout ever for the CSM was still a depressingly small slice of the New Eden population.  Part of that people will mind their own business because they just want to log in after work and manage their PI or run a mission or see what their corp mates are up to, while the CSM is this thing that we only hear about when things go wrong.

And even if they do decide to vote, they haven’t been listening to the podcasts or reading candidate summaries or review… the alleged “EVE Media” and those who pay attention are a tiny part of the game… you load up that voting screen and see that grid array of 64 candidates, none of whom you have likely heard of (unless you saw the Xenuria ad running in stations, then you might remember him… he does have a memorable avatar) and what do you do?  How do you pick one candidate, much less ten, out of a list of random strangers whose avatars (aside from Xenuria’s) mostly blur together in a mass of plainness?

So barriers to an informed electorate are huge and the benefits are nebulous at best.  And after the train wreck that was CSM 10, I was predicting that the institution of the elected CSM might become more of a liability than CCP was willing to put up with.  The end seemed nigh.

And then CSM 11 happened.  CCP Guard and CCP Logibro took over the CCP side of the relationship with the group and met with the mostly null sec members of the newly elected CSM and got to work.  Everything was mostly quiet, there were no controversies, the meeting minutes seemed to indicate that people mostly got along and that it wasn’t a null sec plot to turn the whole game into their favored play style.  As noted way up at the top, even Neville Smit, who was out agitating for the alleged 85% with his Occupy New Eden plan seemed pleased enough to simply vote for any CSM 11 incumbent that ran again.

So what happened?

I think CCP finally “got” what the CSM ought to be and how to handle it.  They listened, they didn’t take every piece of advice offered, sometimes to their regret, but no members of CSM 11 are out there raging about how CCP dropped the ball by ignoring the CSM or how CCP claimed CSM approval around things that the CSM never really endorsed.  CCP didn’t screw up.

Meanwhile, the null sec blocs seemed to have burned through most of their prima donna candidates who just wanted to be on the CSM for a forum badge, an ego boost, and a free trip to Iceland and elected a group that seems to care about the overall health of the game.  Somebody like Aryth understands the essential symbiotic relationship that exists between null sec and high sec and knows he has to protect both for either to thrive.  And somebody like Xenuria is there to get you new shoes. (He needs to work on hats though.)

So even the skeptic in me, who has long derided the CSM, has to admit that things are pretty good with the institution right now, in part because CCP decided that the relationship was important, and in part because CCP still goes outside the CSM to get opinions.

Of course, it could all go to hell with CSM 12, but we’ll see.  Right now the CSM is about the best we can hope for given the various issues and limitations I have rambled about above, even if it clearly isn’t covering all voices.  But you’ve seen that “things to do in New Eden” chart.  How could you get all of that covered, even in broad strokes, on a panel with only 10 seats?

So I suppose we should enjoy this happy period while it lasts.

Anyway, there are others who have picked up the topic as well who probably have more cogent points to make.  Find some of them here: