Collecting the Bones to Beat the Dead Horse Again
Ok I’ve already said CCP doesn’t seem to have a plan and is staffed with people who don’t seem to get the game most of us play, or at least the one we want to. I blame CCP for this of course, it is their company, but that’s only because they’ve set themselves up with the wrong advisory board. Yeah, THAT dead horse. The current CSM is a very knowledgeable group. Their prowess within EvE is well know, but this isn’t a “Revolutionary” group. These are established people, with their own niches to tend to, and their own document talking about future development of EvE doesn’t talk about a specific vision, merely the mechanics that would improve the game we inhabit. In their defense this was not the intention of the document, but still they seem to be listening to the same music as CCP, if not dancing the same dance.
The CSM is a grand experiment in democracy, and it’s achievements should not be ignored, however if the purpose of the CSM is to “represent society interests to CCP,” then they really aren’t built to do the job. They represent big blocs of voters, because that’s who wins elections. They respond to issues that hit them hard, and work best when responding to issues that affect them or those near them directly. Their fields of expertise are limited, and while they are at least familiar with most of the game, there’s a lot they just don’t know.
CCP first has to pick a direction. The current CSM can certainly serve to advise them on that. For the next CSM, CCP needs to engage with them both as a council, and as individuals. They also need to screen them to some extent. CCP needs to be proactive at seeking out and finding advisors who can provide good and useful input as much on what CCP *NEEDS* input on as well as people who can represent every aspect of EvE from the most ignorant, blissful carebear to the most unrepentant pirates. They need to bring in people who run Large POSes all by themselves, an people who think triple tanking their new retriever is a good idea. More on that in a moment. They need to reach out to people who join, run, and help organize 10,000 man alliances, and people who start solo tax shelters. They need to find trainers who take the time to teach this game to new players and work HARD to bring their lessons to Iceland.
New players offer a very important resource to CCP. I know GMs reach out to new players, I had a new alt that got convo’d by a GM a while back. I think picking out a few (screening for real name and billing information to make sure they are real) and getting them on skype to talk about what perceptions they have about the game might be very illuminating. Heck a survey to see what information they have gleaned about the game could be quit interesting. CCP recognizes players as a resource of more than just money, but they haven’t acted to capitalize on that resource. As a result CCP often grasps at straws and has even fallen into the dreaded “It was not intended” mindset so hated in WoW devs. Now CCP has the right and responsibility to make sure game-breaking behavior doesn’t happen, but it is a VERY powerful and loaded phrase. Unintended consequences are what makes EvE awesome. Whether it’s battle-badgers, Hulkageddon, triage-coasting, or any of a host of other creative responses to tactical problems or boredom, what players achieve should far outweigh what the devs intend.
The bottom line is CCP lacks vision, it isn’t using its tools and resources well, and while it continues to maintain an interesting game it’s improving by increments, and giving itself no chance at revolutionizing its niche. Some of this is by design, but failure by design is still failure.