Thank you very much everyone for placing me on CSM 6 and now on CSM 7 where I am currently serving as the Chairman! If you would like to contact me directly, do not hesitate to just send me an eve mail in game. Keep your eyes here and watch for new posts.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Q&A Part I

This means 'Questions & Answers'
In addition to the big Q&A thread that I've been keeping up with on the official forums, I've been bouncing around to other places as well.  I've ended up answering some questions that touch on several things that I've been wanting to blog about anyway.  So, here they are and I'm going to keep doing this as the campaign for CSM 7 heats up.

Q: What your thoughts are on the current and/or future CSM's ability to effectively represent and champion sectors of the playerbase with they have little or no personal experience?
If the current dynamic of the CSM continues, which it should, then it just comes down to being able to listen / defer to other CSM members that know the subject matter better. CSM 6 was a lot more diverse than some might believe but we learned each others strengths and weaknesses early on. This was one of the main reasons that the whole 'alternate' title became pretty irrelevant this time around.
Q: Assuming the null-sec bloc continues to maintain it's voting stranglehold, how could these "minority interest" groups best make their case to the incumbents?
Get to know the front runners and make your voting choice accordingly based on substance. As for getting your views across, It's quite easy to get a hold of most of us. I tend to get a few eve mails a week on something CSM related. I can only speak for myself but I only ignore people that seem hell bent on self destructing their own arguments by frothing at the mouth. Anyone that bothers to contact me with a lucid question / request I try to follow up on. I try to reply / follow up as best I can and so do the others. Most importantly, don't let your opinion be influenced by labels or assumptions. This idea that CSM members ignore people or are untouchable is just wrong in most cases.
Q: How would you describe the performance of the CSM in this past year?
I'd give us a B+. Considering the absolute circus that some stretches of this term have been, I think we've done well. Where we could have done better is in doing a better job communicating in general with the player base. It's something that we've discussed and are determined to do better on in CSM 7. Hopefully CCP will not... ummm... 'distract' us so much and we'll also have more good news than bad to relay.
Q: Has it been effective behind closed doors? How would you describe the working relationship with CCP? Is there any resentment?
I think after Hilmar's 'apology' letter and the subsequent re-focus on EVE, things have improved greatly. It wasn't ever really 'bad' but the December summit was a night and day difference from the one held in May. As I said in my Summit Report blog, you could feel the energy in the air of people doing what they wanted to do and enjoying it. I don't think there is any resentment from CCP toward the CSM. In fact, most of what I've been exposed to is very much the opposite.
Q: Would you say that the existing CSM team is a "dream team" or could you strengthen the squad?
We have some very solid people on CSM 6, and I'm also including the 'alternates', not just the main nine members. I wouldn't call it a Dream Team simply because it's not. One thing I do like about the majority of CSM 6 members is that there is a very wide range of EVE depth and experience. Guys that have played the game for several years have at one time, believe it or not, experienced most of what many players bitch about. We've been greifers and the griefed, we've mined Omber and Kernite for hours on end, built things, blown up things, etc... 
Most importantly, most of the members of CSM6 have held some kind of leadership position in EVE at some point and understand the value of compromise and intelligent discussion. It's not all hand holding and gay sex, but there have been very few instances of rage or futility. We tend to keep talking and working toward common ground rather than throwing spoons at each other over the table.
Q: What would you say to those that believe the CSM are claiming credit for events and game improvements they have no right to claim?
I would say that while the CSM may not be responsible for every good thing that has happened, we're also not responsible for a lot of the stuff people blame us for either. I believe that the CSM does much more good than harm. I believe the CSM can, and HAS, made a difference. Those that think it's a futile effort... well, just look at me: I'm not looking for free trips to Iceland - I've had plenty of those. I don't like wasting my time on things which are obviously futile. I ran for the CSM because I know first hand just how much of an effect it can have on the development of EVE. Anyone that denies that is just trying to justify their own perceptions.
Q: Do you see any value in attempting to give the CSM process a better image amongst the players or are existing incumbents happy to work the system as is?
I think the process is ever-evolving and nothing can stay the same way forever. I would love for people to have a better understanding of what the CSM can and cannot do; I think a lot of people actually DO get it, you just don't hear much from them because they see no need to write walls of text about it. I'm all for anything that evolves the image of the CSM as a force for positive change.
Q: What would you foresee the goals and focus of CSM7 to be in the coming year?
Make sure that CCP keeps the iteration on broken and unfinished systems as the priority. Do not get distracted by ~awesome~. Doesn't sound like much,but I'm sure it will remain a near full-time job.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Dec Summit Minutes and "The CSM"

So the CSM December Summit minutes are out now. There is a dev blog on them, an associated comments thread and discussions are popping up everywhere about, "What does all this mean?!"

A few weeks ago I published what I could in a Summit report that broke 10,000 views earlier this week. Now that the minutes are out I can elaborate on specific points more clearly. In fact, I need to do this because of the way the minutes are written up. To avoid 'drama', CCP has always insisted that when writing the minutes that no individual candidates names be mentioned.  Obviously this causes an issue when you are reading them and you see stuff like, "The CSM said..."  I don't like this.

While it is true that the members of CSM 6 agree more often than not on most of the big issues, we are not all clones, nor are we puppets of Mittens either. Anyone that knows much about my own history in EVE, or half a dozen other CSM members, should realize that we are all very strong willed people.  I realize that there is a perception out there that there is no air between all of us. That is an unfortunate side-effect of the strategy that the whole CSM adopted in order to foster better relations with CCP and get certain issues resolved.  We recognized that, in the past, a fractured and disjointed CSM was at a severe disadvantage when dealing with CCP so we made the decision early on to try to keep our internal disagreements away from the negotiating table.

With that said, it falls to each CSM member individually to outline how we differentiate ourselves from the rest of the Council.  Some choose to not even bother and just coast along; I am not one of those. I do not blog as much as I probably should but I do try to make my blogs as interesting and informative as possible when I do write them so, once again, I will try to keep your interest and hope that you walk away from this blog more informed than you were before.

What "The CSM" thinks
Hey, Trebor and Elise, what issue should we troll Mittens with this week?!

I would be remiss if I did not give a nod to Jester's Trek for being one of the better EVE blogs out there at the moment. I don't always agree with everything he writes, but he writes a lot and I tend to agree with him more often than not. Yesterday he released a new blog entitled 'Things the CSM thinks' which pretty much pushes my ARRRGH RAAAGE button when it comes to the issue I mentioned earlier regarding the anonymity of individual CSM members in the official minutes. The blog post does, however, offer an opportunity to directly address some key perceptions about the December minutes and clarify my stance on some of the issues.


One obvious place to start is on page 13 where the minutes talk about 'Supercapital Rebalancing'.
  • The CSM noted that Crucible had not adjusted the tracking of Titan guns, which allow Titans to destroy subcapital ships with relative impunity when in a large group. The CSM mentioned allowing Electronic Attack Ships to impact ewar-immune vessels as a possible fix.
This is a big one with me. I have no issues with continued iteration and balancing of XL turrets (which are also used by Dreads), but I take issue with this blanket assertion that somehow Titans can blap blap blap away while still being invulnerable EHP monsters.  I'm sorry, but using idiots who don't understand how tracking works as an example for argument is not a very strong baseline. A lot of the killmails linked that show Titans blapping a frigate completely ignore any actual circumstance of what happened.

I want to re-itterate again that CCP traditionally does not balance XXX ships in a blob; they balance the ship, the modules and everything else individually. Unless there is a fundamental shift in the way ship balance is done, you're not going to see CCP suddenly try to start theory-crafting their balancing for, "What if there are over XX of this ship type in fleet?" It has always been like this. If 20 battleships are shooting at a frigate, odds are that the frigate will get popped by even a couple glancing blows.  Titans are very good at tracking things like massive sig, tackled / webbed / MWD'ing ships but very bad at doing anything else.

In order for a Titan, a single titan, to track and hit a moving sub-capital target (if you aren't moving, fuck you, you should die anyway), you have to completely change your fitting. Even then, heavy supercap alliances like Pandemic Legion still deploy specialized support fleets of Lokis and Huggins and Lachesis to lock down the sub-capitals the titans are shooting. Quite often, these same expensive support fleets get raped badly. While sub-caps cannot realistically totalhelldeath an SC fleet, that doesn't mean they are completely ineffective either. Also, when people start using suicide Dread fleets (you can still insure Dreads) they will be racking up the super kills. Even the perceived supercap lovers like me still want #death2allsupercaps.
  • The CSM suggested that supercarriers be allowed to dock in outposts which have an appropriate upgrade. The CSM noted it that it did not wish Titans to ever be able to dock, but that supercarriers were now less powerful and more common and should thus be treated more as regular ships rather than special snowflakes.
The just plain stupid comments I've seen on this one boggle the mind. It seems that no one is actually reading what is said and are just focused on ZOMG SUPERCARRIER DOCKING GAMES IN LO-SEC.  No, that's not what it says.

Allowing supercarriers to dock, in player-built null-sec outposts, is something that dates back to the original Dominion release design. Proliferation of the class and many other issues made this something worth thinking about at least. The concept is very simple - allow players to invest in a very expensive upgrade (or set of upgrades) that allow them to dock their supercarriers. Some may view this as allowing SC pilots a walk on Easy Street. Up until recently I was adamantly opposed to SC's being allowed to dock.  However, add in the additional potential of allowing player built outposts to be wrecked or completely destroyed and that evens things out in my opinion.

Finally, one additional tweak that wasn't mentioned in the minutes - slap a five minute minimum re-dock timer on the ship class. Bring these three options into the game together, and I have no issue with supercarriers docking.
  • The CSM noted that due to the reduced session change timer, it was now possible to jump a capital ship with a travel fit in and out of a system before the invulnerability timer ends, making caps fit in this way completely untouchable in bubble-free lowsec.
  • The CSM and CCP discussed of the idea of a capital jumpdrive ‘spool up’ timer as a possible fix this type of rapid travel. The CSM supported the idea of having a spool-up timer of approximately 60 seconds as a hedge against alliance power projection, preventing capital fleets from crossing from one side of the galaxy to the other in mere minutes.
Hell yes. I'm all for a 60 second 'jump drive spool-up'. It should not be another useless 'time vampire' for players, but it should add an extra element of danger and, yes, even a bit of pain when it comes to force projection. It's just a little too easy right now when I can light 8 cynos and cross the entire New Eden cluster in less than four or five minutes.
  • The CSM advocated adding a supercapital-tackling point on Supercarriers, given the fragility of Heavy Interdictors in a supercap fight and the need to see supercapitals dying in combat more often.
Let supercaps tackle supercaps? How is this wrong? This 'idea' is not a new one but the CSM aggressively pushed it when CCP started talking about adding new classes of ships to do the exact same thing. We don't need an entire new ship class (especially not a new capital ship) just to tackle supers. Let supers fit like a Hictor point and blap each other to vapor. #death2allsupercaps

Back to Jester's list

  • Fleets of Rifters should be able to tackle and hold down a Titan (page 17).
 No. Because of No. To emphasize:

THIS is not going to hold down a Titan. No.  Just stop the madness.
  • Electronic Attack Frigates should be able to "impact" super-capital ships immune to e-war (page 21).
Sure, why not? Boosh.
  • There should never be new super-capital ships added to EVE (page 17).
Just because you don't like getting blapped by specially fit and supported Titans should not mean that you close your mind off to the potential for other giant ships that could do interesting things. Hospital ships, stargate construction, form Voltron? "Never" is a bad word to use here.
  • Outposts should be destructible (pages 17 and 18).
I've been very clear on my support for this for a very, very, very, very long time. Burn. It. Down.
  • Pilots - most particularly super-carrier pilots - should be given a "partial respec" of their skill-points
I don't like re-specs at all. That being said I did, at the urging of several people that contacted me, bring up the fact that there are a lot of ~mad~ supercarrier pilots out there who now have literally millions of skill points in drones trained which they can do nothing with. Yes, yes, whaaaaaaaaa, etc...  However, I'm one of these people. Seleene has been in a Nyx since late 2006 and, once you make that leap, about the only thing left to actually train was the drone skills. I maxed those out years ago. I think it's kind of dumb that I can no longer use those skills that I trained specifically for the ship I was flying / trapped in. However, I'd still prefer the docking solution I mentioned earlier before opening the Pandora's Box of respecs.
  • Drones should just give ISK bounties instead of dropping alloys (page 16).
Yep, change this. Even the Drone Region Overlord, xxxDeathxxx, agreed. I'm not going to disagree.
  • Alliances should be able to tax member ratting income (page 16).
Gimme the casssssssssh!!!
Hell, I used to dream of taxing renters to use the stargates I held sov over! Freeway tax! Of course there should be an optional in-game system for doing this! It was originally going to be part of the Treaty System that got cancelled. I'm all for options like this. More options = more game play.
  • There are multiple alliances which live in NPC stations, amass super-capitals, and hold high-value moons (page 18).
Yeah, I'm in one of them. Someone should go take those undefended moons. Start with the ones with the NESW corp tag.
  • NPC station services should be destructible (page 18); and,
  • when destroyed, should not be repairable but should regenerate over time (page 18).
 A lot of people are upset about these bits and understandably so because it would impact an entire segment of players and play-styles. These two points in particular were brought up as possibilities due to the concern that, "The CSM is concerned by the use of NPC stations in large-scale alliance warfare." That much I do agree with, even as someone that has used them many times.

My stance is that I acknowledge the issue that we have these massive NPC entities in null-sec and absolutely no way to interact with them. I do find it quite absurd that I can kill hundreds of thousands of Angel Cartel crew members, then dock right up in one of their stations like nothing happened. Yes, it's an RP-ish issue, but it's something that every null-sec pilot has joked about for years.

Instead of just a blanket mechanic similar to the structure grinding that exists now, I would love to find a way to make an alliance with the Mordus mercenaries or see pirate corps as official 'partners' to the Guristas. Such relationships could have a direct affect on everything from station services to refine taxes and would force large alliances to make choices with regard to thier NPC neighbors or offer opportunities to smaller entities. There are all sorts of possibilities there.
  •  Sleepers should attack POSs and/or pod people (page 20).
HELLS YES. I want Sleepers to get mad and start cleaning up the organic things cluttering up their space! I want Sleepers to come back through the wormholes and start killing people in lo-sec and null-sec. Sleepers used to be feared; now they are all domesticated and shit. Wormhole iteration is a GO!
  • Drakes should lose their shield resistance bonus and their kinetic missile damage bonus (page 21); and,
  • be given a rate of fire bonus and missile velocity bonus instead (page 21).
I hate Drakes. A lot.
Yeah... ummm, sure. Fuck the Drake tbh.
  • An Infrastructure Hub upgrade should be produced to further reduce POS fuel costs for sov-holders (page 24).
This falls under the whole thing of ITERATION OF THE SOV SYSTEM. More upgrades of all kinds, kthx?
  • Sov-holders should be able to build a module in their own space that hurts other people's sov space (page 24).
Yeah... those 'modules' are called ships and we already have them. Thumbs down to Dr. Evil Moon Lasers or similar things This just reeks of maximum grief for minimal effort. The whole 'sec status vampire' thing would need to have a lot more detail to it before I'd support it.
  • The person who destroys your ship should get 10-20% of your insurance pay-out for that ship (page 26), including if they gank you in high-sec (also page 26).
This won't motivate me to kill your any more or less. This idea is just weird.
  • Despite the fact CCP has a large number of assets for the NeX store, they should not be released at this time (page 30).
This is a bit mis-leading. For one thing, I want CCP to abolish Aurum completely and implement a new system that breaks down a PLEX into smaller bits. I also don't want more NeX stuff until CCP un-fucks their idiotic pricing scheme. Once the items are finished and CCP has an actual plan beyond, "Here's some more overpriced pixels buy this shit now!", I'll be more open to seeing the NeX stocked up properly.
  • Players should be able to train more than one pilot per account by paying for this privilege with PLEXes (page 30).
I'd never do it (I'd just get another account) but if ~people~ want to, why not? This is one of those things that if CCP can do it with minimal effort, I'd raise no real objection to it. The only real advantage I could see is where you have an account with multiple characters with tens of millions of skill points and you could find some benefit there maybe...?
  • Players don't care about their corporation logos (page 30);

Put me down in the BULLSHIT category for this one. I love my corp logo. I have specially made metallic winged skulls that BDCI members have been wearing to FanFest since 2006.
  • they care about their alliance logos much more (page 30)
Traditionally, this is true. In a perfect world, I'd have my corp logo on one part of my ship / Incarna uniform, and the alliance logo on another.  SPACESHIP FASHION!!!

  • The unique attraction of EVE is "you can grief people" and "it's not a game for wusses" (page 32).
These two points are both true IMO. However, I'd add that the unique thing that keeps me involved in EVE is the single shard nature of the game and the community which knows no borders. Several of my alliance / corp mates are currently playing SWTOR and even those of us in the same guild / server aren't required to interact with each other much.  In EVE, you rise or fall because of the men and women next to you.


There are 44 pages of minutes to read through. I've just grabbed the points off of one dude's blog to address some of the more 'obvious' issues. I have started a thread on the EVE forums and am continuing to answer questions there.  I am sure there will be many. :)