Category Archives: CSM Hijinks

Blog Banter 34: Killers, Thieves and Lawyers

First:  Theme music
2nd:  Yes it’s a CSM post.  Blog Banter > my silly promises.

Right now the CSM consists of literally the biggest “Killers, Thieves and Lawyers” with backers enough to walk across their backs to Iceland.

The biggest issue they run into is that they are billed as something of a governing body.  They don’t set policy, They aren’t the arbiters of justice.  The Council of Stellar Management manages nothing.  This does make managing expectations a little difficult.  Up until about mid summer of 2011 this CSM was not exactly high on peoples rankings.  Especially when the Summer of Rage broke and they appeared powerless.  During the Summer of Rage the people on the CSM managed to channel all the anger of the player base and use it as leverage, the Devs were much more inclined to listen to the CSM, as much out of CCP desperation as anything.  Suddenly the reviled CSM became beloved.  Now they are expected to cure cancer.  Let’s reel this in now.

CSM 7 should be the last CSM.  Let’s replace it with the Stellar Advisory Council.  The Stellar Advisory Council will have 6 different focuses.  Nullsec Representative, Wormhole Rep, Low-Sec Rep, Highsec Rep, Industrial Rep, and 3rd party development/media rep.

Each focus would have two people.  Ideally they would come from different groups.  Individuals planning on voting would declare two “focus” groups DURING THE NOMINATION PROCESS.  Once you have declared a focus you will be voting in that election.  For example I’d declare Low-Sec and 3rd Party / media.  In addition to, while declaring for the election, characters must (of course) pick a focus to run for.  CCP will vet this.  If Mittens wants to run as a Highsec or Wormhole Rep CCP can take a look at his game activity, position and roles and say, “nuh uh, change it or lose eligibility” assuming they don’t just strip your eligibility for the election to punish shenanigans.

The Fanfest trip is still granted to the top X vote getters, with additional seats given to specific members CCP needs to speak.  Onus on CCP here.  In addition, consultations will be less high profile.  The devs should pull in everyone over the course of the year, but a lot of the consultations can be handled with trips to the nearest offices, to meet with relevant people.  There’s no point having the Wormhole and Highsec guy spinning their chairs in the back of the room or playing on their phones while the Nullsec and Industrial guys come up with a plan for player built stations to get more industrial clout.

There will still be 1 big annual summit with the big 6 (top vote-getter for each category) with topics broken up by “CSM at-large” categories, things that will change the entire game, and topics for smaller “working groups” so that once the “big picture” stuff is out of the way the working groups can focus on the issues of their constituents with the dev teams working in their arenas.

Finally… I DEMAND that the SAC be given fancy hats to wear at all their public appearances.

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Hypnotoad says VOTE!!!!

DO EEEET! Or you will lose the game.

I have already voted.  I put in one for Hans winning narrowly over Alekseyev Karrde as a last minute decision.  I came down on the Hans side because of his more diverse platform, and support of my Anti-Rape Culture stance.  Karrde knows more about wardecs, I don’t think anyone knows MORE than Karrde about wardecs.  But Aleks just has a broader appeal and more energy.

For my other vote?  I took a flier on T’amber.  EvE needs someone who will support the need for microtransactions in a safe way.  I honestly think that CCP will listen to T’amber this time after the summer of rage when it comes up.  T’amber has spent his time wisely, polishing ideas that I believe are in line for the NEXT big expansion, which I feel must start bringing industry in line with the rest of EvE.

Also:  Done with CSM for a while.  I might even post about actions in game.

What about Major Kong?

CSM 7: Things I’d Like to See


Knowledge of Wardecs will be an obvious one, as well as a familiarity of highsec mechanics.  With both wardecs and crimewatch being priorities for the summer this nearly goes without saying.

3rd Party Content:  This is an enormous part of the EvE world.  3rd party content really sets the game apart.  The differences between corps/alliances and guilds in other games is tremendous and the blogs, message boards, 3rd party programs and such are a tremendous, indispensable asset to the community and, by extension, to CCP.  I myself use Aura for my android and EvE-HQ for nearly everything else, and you may have heard about my blog, so I am keenly interested to see how CCP will continue to develop its relationship with 3rd party developers after the 3rd party licensing fiasco last year.

Now let me say I encourage some parts of that initiative, although as a whole it was poorly thought out and planned as the “Big Red Statement” in the comments thread pointed out.  I think the involvement of people interested in microtransactions and outside development like T’amber of even *shudder* Roc would help guide CCP to a program that would allow them control of their IP while at the same time allowing people who have busted their butts to provide useful goods and services out of game to recoup their costs.

Interest in Microtransactions:  MMOs are moving more and more towards microtransactions.  They give companies a faster return on their investment and the income stream is easier to monitor.  Non game-changing microtransactions will benefit the EvE Community including providing a benefit to FiS by increasing CCPs total revenue, some of which will be spent on FiS, some of which wont.

Incarna Iteration: Wait What?  I’m actually serious here.  The EvE vision used to be a lot more Babylon 5-ish, with the idea of actual agent offices, concourses and bars and casinos.  Incarna was to be the first step in that direction.  With a character creatr that has the potential to make Champions Online sit up and take notice, and some of the most tight-knit player groups in the game, sitting alone in stations needs work.  It will be a process, there is no need to put 60 devs on it right now.  CCP needs to plan it, they need to talk with players, starting with the CSM to figure out how to plan it.  They need to rework the Nex store price scheme and figure out how to make it a boon to the company, not an odd duck in the corner.  The CSM by definition includes the players whose judgement is most respected, and they are covered by an NDA.  They can help plan this, they can look at the vision and decide how good or bad it is.

Finally:  Lowsec:    People with interesting ideas to make lowsec more fun.  Changes to gate-gun and GCC mechanics are great, but not enough.  Every space is defined by its own characteristics.  Lowsec seems to feature empty locals just as much as wormholes.  It will take a lot more than a couple structural changes to fix this, and the process will take a lot more than 1 CSM to complete.

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THIS! This is what I was talking about!

So EN24 put up a story today, that would have been interpreted as part of it’s rather normal anti-goon bent and more or less chuckled at or ignored.

Look at the byline.  Well, now it’s something else.  It is political propaganda between The Mittani and Riverini because both are competing for CSM seats.  However their seats of power differ significantly.  Any news source has a duty to be open and transparent if not in their reporting, than in their bias.  I don’t have a problem with people who are biased one way or the other, it is when they attempt to be disingenuous about it that it bugs me.  At the end of the piece Riverini links the following bit of propoganda

Now I myself am Jewish, and certainly am no great supporter of Mittani, but hyperbole tends to curve back on itself.  This is a case where a legitimate point is brought up not by someone offended on a deep, personal basis, in which case they’d have brought it up last year, or upon first encountering goonwaffe, but by a political opponent during the campaign season.  Nowhere in the article does Riverini give any disclaimer that he and Mittani are competitors for a CSM seat.

There is legitimacy to Mittens using an alliance he has helped to build and led to acquire a CSM seat.  He is open about it and even open that he will use that seat to better himself and the goons.  Riverini has built a news site for EvE.  I happen to think it’s a good one and I have even contributed in the past.  However to use it as a political tool for his own aggrandizement is fundamentally different from using an alliance.  It ruins the credibility of the site, especially when Riverini himself posts articles attacking other CSM candidates.  When he wasn’t a candidate they were merely part of his bias against the candidate, now they are attempts to raise his own flag.

Riverini is destroying his campaign, and the credibility of the site he has built.  I hope he stops this kind of attack, especially on an alleged news site.  I hope he withdraws from the campaign and uses his ability to create a news site to establish himself in a position as a respected source of information, not a screaming supporter/detractor buried in bias.

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CSM 7 Support Part 2: Looking Down

There are a few candidates that, for one reason or another, I will not support in the slightest.

Roc Wieler:  Ohhhhhh Roc.  Never mind the nonexistant platform.  Never mind the ego-trips that make even mine seem tame.  I’ve described the CSM as a sounding board / advisory board.  This year Roc’s message is both “Look at me” and “Listen to me.”  About.  What.  Well let’s check out his blog.  Hang on looking for a post about EvE that isn’t a repost.  Still looking.  Maybe on the next page.  Hmmm bit of RP stuff there but nothing in or about the game.  You know what it’s already October of last year.  I’m giving up.  He doesn’t talk about EvE. Mittens may have an ego but at least he has a message too.  Real easy to not support.

Kelduum Revaan:  This one is actually pretty simple.  He’s been running EvE Uni, a teaching corp/alliance for a LOOOOOONG time.  This is what you teach your people?  Seriously?  That much fail in lowsec in 1 month?  If Kelduum cannot communicate the importance of proper fittings to his own people than how can we expect him to communicate important issues to CCP in his role as a CSM member.  This ignores his ludicrous dec-shield stance (ironic post on this coming up) a “Fix War-dec” proposal even more unworkable than mine, and I wrote half of mine drunk, I just cannot find anything to like about this guy other than the fact that his debate with Hans has me looking at Hans in a totally new light.  Kelduum gets no support here.

Michael BoltonIII:  Let me look at his platform:  Nope, nope, nope, troll, troll, nope.  There are two things on here that are more or less straight lifts from theme park games.  If you want to play theme parks they are out there.  Audio Alerts for Local.  Hmm.  Situational awareness is key, but so is stealth and surprise.  I’m leaning more towards a delayed local in the first place, not easy warnings for people.  Not Supported.

On the bubble:

  • Mike Azariah:  I’m actually ok on his platform, but I don’t trust roleplayers.  They do stupid things for the wrong reasons
  • Riverini:  Not anything personal, for heaven’s sake the man pays me to write articles from time to time, but more because I suspect he is a more valuable asset to the community outside looking in.
  • Elise Randolph:  What’s there to vote for that isn’t better covered elsewhere?
  • Voloses:  What more nullsec people?  Also very vague goals.  Of course if RAZOR votes for him he gets a seat.

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CSM 7 Support Part 1: Looking Back

My next couple of blogs (barring anything interesting in-game) will focus on the CSM.  I will give few endorsements as filling the 7 and 7 that will be on the CSM would thin my limited clout out to near invisibility.  Last year my two accounts split their vote.  I voted for Meissa and Seleene and was happy to see both get in.  This year one will be getting my vote and one wont.

Seleene is supremely knowledgeable, and intimately familiar with the people involved at all steps in the process.  He networks well, has a clear vision and communicates well, even if he does so infrequently.  He focuses on iterations and content development more than introduction, and has experience in literally all phases of EvE gameplay from the backrooms at CCP to the forefront of battles large and small.

Meissa… I just cannot support Meissa anymore.  I have nothing but respect for him, and for Rooks and Kings (as any reader here probably is already aware) but Meissa has been ignored for too long.  As he himself says he’s been in CSM 2,3,4,5, and 6.  What has changed in lowsec for the better?  What is promised in the future?  Meissa has been there too long and his effectiveness is reduced by that fact.  If he offered a fresh voice or had shown effectiveness in getting a message across to CCP in the past it would be one thing, but Meissa has not gotten CCP to recognize the issues facing lowsec.  Simply hasn’t happened and likely wont.  Meissa even includes two “damning with faint praise” quotes in his candidacy thread.

hard to categorize “

“smart dude with a different perspective than most”

When a girl said this about me in high school I knew that it meant another Friday night at home with the PlayStation.  If that is the best the devs have to say about Meissa after “more than 3 years” it is time to hang up the silly hat I like to imagine they make the CSM wear and blow stuff up.

So there you have it, upvote for Seleene, downvote for Meissa.  Next up:  I’ll look at a short list of candidates for my now freed up second vote.

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The Platform I Want to See

CSM 7 is coming up.  Matching up with the US political system I am not sanguine about my chances of retaining my sanity at all.

The CSM is a very limited body.  It is basically a sounding board that offers the opportunity to lobby powerlessly for what they want to bring to the game that they feel will benefit them.  Mittens is not going to push for a Tech devaluation in isolation.  Meissa will not push for a logistics nerf.  So basically the CSM becomes a vehicle for already large and powerful groups to push ideas to benefit themselves on CCP, which is under no obligation to do anything.  Now Mittens as chair brings some clout to the game.  He has some genuine authority and standing with the players so that he cannot be simply ignored, but all the same there is no formal obligation on CCP’s part to really follow any guidance he gives.

That being said there are things I would like to see in a CSM candidate’s platform

  1. Mining.  No I’m not kidding.  FIX FUCKING MINING.  MAKE IT A WORTHWHILE PROFESSION.  MAKE IT INTERESTING.   Yes, I hate carebears and I hate mining.  Part of the reason is it is Godawful, make it interesting and I might actually do it!  I’m not kidding.
  2. Better communication from CCP –  I want to know what the “Future Vision of EvE” is.  Not the future vision of Dust.
  3. Iterative Content – More Tech 3, ships, modules, whatever.  We already know Seleene had a plan when he worked there
  4. Lowsec – Oh where to start, GCC, gate guns, standings hits, sec hits, moneymaking opportunities, small gang boosts… at this point I’ll settle for damn near ANY lowsec buffs.
  5. Supercaps.  Wild off-the-wall idea.  The more mass of ships you move through the cyno the more static it builds up.  Ships with static cannot dock, jump, or log out.  Bring in your 50 supercarriers?  Hope you have a place to hide for the next 6 hours.  That 200 supercap blob?  Grab a snickers.  You are goin’ NOWHERE.
  6. New Player help – Not necessarily protection, as EvE is a game of consequences, but perhaps ensuring that information is available and players are pointed to it.

I want to expand a little on New Player Help.  There is no push towards PvP.  Many new people become carebears without even considering other options.  They assume that the game is safe, and protects them, and when mean people like me come along they get blown up and killed and I get blamed for it because I did what I do in EvE, in full accordance with the rules, and usages of the game.

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Where War? There War. There Castle

Where PvP happens in EvE can tell you a lot about the fight.  Fights in one kind of space can be completely different from the fighting in a different kind of space.  I realize that different kinds of fights happen different places, however I am going to talk about the “signature” style of each location.  Yes there’s small gangs in null and huge blobs in low, but changing small gangs affects low to a huge extent, while changing blobs affects null more than anywhere else.

Back when highsec PvP was fun you might roam around in 4 or 5 AFs, or BCs, or Recons, or BS, or really whatever you thought best attacking whatever wartargets you could find.  Now it has devolved into neutral RR and station camps and silly games on one side, and can-flipping, ganking and general asshattery on the other.  And remember I *like* the asshattery.  To me Highsec is characterized by very small numbers, even single ships fighting a knife-edged battle against each other.  Or alphaing hulks in a tornado.

Lowsec has a trap door as its entryway.  You can go in easy, and you can find fights.  It’s also REAL easy to tank your sec status to where you cannot easily LEAVE lowsec.  Even with a 4.0 or 5.0 sec status you can spend 1 night in a gatecamp and be -5 or worse in a couple hours if you start cracking eggs.  While the express elevator works well going down, going up is more reminiscent of climbing the wrong side of an escalator.  To me lowsec is characterized by small gangs, up to a couple dozen, the occasional cap-fight, and lots of fast-paced combat.

Null has the majesty of a trailer video.  Hundreds or thousands of ships moving in concert, carefully orchestrated strokes planned as meticulously as a proper military operation dozens or even hundreds of caps supporting operations, slow, even graceful combats where the main effort of the individual is to show up, and a good FC can make or break the day for hundreds of people.

Wormholes always remind me of the great submarine movies about WWI and WWII.  Nervously hunting something that is quite capable of turning the tables and killing you if they find you first.  A lethal cat-and-mouse game where you can lay hidden for an hour or more, suddenly turning to incredibly brief spasms of violence where one mistake turns victory into utter defeat.

When considering a CSM candidate ask yourself, are they talking about individual ship or faction balance, which will make a huge change to High and Wormhole battles, are they talking about changing the penalties to lowsec, or finding way to improve small-group pvp?  Are they placing an emphasis on the largest battles, where the titanic nullsec alliances wrestle for dominance?  A CSM candidate who talks about improving null but talks about small-gang warfare will influence CCP more on lowsec PvP than nullsec.  Read the platforms, judge them by their experience and what they talk about, not the labels they apply to themselves.

Fly dangerous, score kills.

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CSM is a flawed concept

Per EvE wiki:

The Council of Stellar Management (CSM) is a player-elected council to represent the views of the players to CCP. Current CSM members can be identified by the golden title CSM under their image in forum posts, and a list is available in the Category CSM Candidates.

Players can raise issues to the CSM for consideration, and obtain support for the CSM to raise issues to CCP by posting in the Assembly HallChannel on the Eve-Online official forums.

So nominally the CSM is an advisory body to CCP.  This works in two formats.

  1. Players bring concerns to the CSM which in turn brings them to CCP.  CCP marries up these concerns with projects already in progress or contemplates new projects to bring about these changes.  With the exception of smaller “Quality of Life” issues, it is an uphill battle.
  2. CCP solicits information from the CSM.  CSM meets either physically in Iceland or electronically (over Skype it would seem) and discusses how to proceed with varying levels of player input.

It seems to me that #2 gets more attention from CCP.  Look at the summer of rage and/or the open issues vs. activities page for the current CSM you will note that by and large CCP pays more attention to their own agenda.  It’s their party they can eat whatever cake they want.  The CSM, especially the last two, have had a lot of success getting things done through method one.  The focus on small things, on quality of life, and on balance issues paid handsome dividends both to the popularity of the CSM and to player enjoyment, however when it comes to sweeping changes the CSM has not had much success short of riots in jita.

So now we are left with CCP solicitations.  The problem here is the method by which the CSM is elected.  A popular election with a totally open format grants great power to mega-blocs and provides a voice only for those who can gather the votes necessary.  Nullsec receives overwhelming attention and highsec, wormhole and lowsec tends to get both poorer candidates and fewer, with apologies to the candidates I support.

I propose reforming the CSM and renaming it to what it really is.  The Stellar Advisory Board.  CCP would solicit members for a 1 year term based on the category of player they represent.  The SAB would comprise of categories of which I would definitely include:

  1. Nullsec
  2. Lowsec
  3. Faction Warefare
  4. Highsec
  5. Wormhole
  6. Industry
  7. Community Relations

Nullsec would have 3 representatives to ensure 1 faction didn’t command CCPs attention, and I’d want 2 for each of the next 4.  Industry and Community Relations might get one each, I would also severely limit travel.  The entire board doesn’t have to meet with CCP twice a year.  Once would be nice, probably around fanfest, but to save CCP some money and to enhance the communication bringing only the relevant board(s) to Iceland (or Atlanta if an entire board is comprised of US folks) makes a lot more sense than dragging out the Wormhole and Highsec folks to talk about iterating on Dominion.

The smaller teams also limit meeting size.  Meeting size kills meeting content.  Ever been in a meeting with a dozen people?  It seems the more folks in the room the less gets done, and people feel free to ignore information that isn’t relevant because they can hide in the background noise.  With 5 people in the room you can’t hide.  A meeting with the Null, Low, and FW folks might have 10 people in the room, just the two lowsec constituencies you’d have 6 or 7.  Rather than having the CSM as this monolithic entity it becomes a more focused tool that CCP can call upon to help refine and temper their own efforts.

Now there would be issues.  This format still doesn’t fix the whole “CCP doesn’t need to listen to the CSM” problem, and the format for the election would need a complete overhall, combined with figuring out a way to make sure that a person is being honest when they say they report their activity with regard to alts and such, and voting might be a real mess.  My first thought as to handling it would be to have each account pick two categories that it can vote for, and vote for any candidate running for that spot.

The idea behind all this is to create a board that fulfills the goal of representing players, by providing picked men to represent them rather than having folks like Mittens claim to represent highsec or industry.  Not that he doesn’t understand it, but his heart isn’t really in it.  Let’s get someone whose heart is.

What about Major Kong?

Hans JagerBlitzen has already lost my Votes

Yes, sergeant.  Without a fight.  This man can make water run uphill and he has a commander.  I love the idea of giving in without a fight.  I’ve fought for ten years and giving in without a fight is what I’ve always wanted to do.”

– Terry Pratchett, Jingo

With this quote Hans Jagerblitzen manages to show bigotry and ignorance all at once.

I’m going to give you my honest opinion here, though it will undoubtedly piss a few people off. I
consider predatory high sec war declarations to be one of the cheapest forms of PvP available in
the game. Truly hardcore PvP pilots move to low sec or null sec and seek out armed, skilled
opponents who present a genuine challenge in return. Picking on a weaker corp and attacking
them when you know they cannot fight back is some pretty unimpressive business. It’s not worth
glorifying, and I refuse to call this kind of non-consensual PvP one of the “defining features of EvE”
because there’s just so many cooler things you can do in the sandbox.

While I am all for wardec mechanics that end the shenanigans that have become so dominant in highsec I don’t want them to come from someone who considers the kind of PvP I enjoyed at first “Cheap.”  As I have said in the past bigotry towards one form of PvP or another does not become an EvE player.

In general if you get wardecced by someone like Suddenly Ninjas, or a while ago The Fancy Hats.  Or REALLY Back in the day TRAPS, you did something to call down the thunder.  Forming a corporation when you cannot defend yourself is a foolish act.  Foolishness in EvE come with a price.  In ISK.  Many corps get a pass because they are simply too small to worry about.  Some draw fire.  Mining ops with cans out and a dozen ships, huge expensive mission running battle ships with a 4 month old toon, mouthing off in local demonstrating nothing but your ignorance.  These people tend to get hit and tend to scream “Oh woe is me!”

Picking fights you know you can win is the core of PvP.  If you win all or most of your fights you will grow and enhance both your prestige and your wallet if you get enough sexy kills.  If you consistently show up and lose because you failed to plan, you can talk all you want about “goodfights” but no one is going to X up after a while.  In Highsec sometimes it’s clubbing baby seals, and sometimes it’s dealing with fighting on station against people with more RR on call than a good nullsec blobfest.

Fancy Hats is in the process of finding a new Low-Sec home.  We like the free-form fighting, we like knowing that we can shoot people without going through hoops.  Part of the reason we gave up on highsec long ago is the shenanigans with wardecs have overcome any possible enjoyment from them.  The solution to wardecs will undoubtedly be complex, however calling people names and pointing fingers doesn’t solve problems.  It creates them.  With this one paragraph Hans has toasted his chance with me.

You want to solve the problem Hans?  Instead of the EvE tutorial encouraging nooblets to start their own corp, have the tutorial explicitly state the vulnerabilities of a corporation and that many corps have pub rooms that they will let you join that will keep 2 and 3 week old players away from the mean old men of EvE.

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