Posts Tagged ‘CSM’

CSMX(XL)

February 26th, 2015
CSM, Eve Online, X
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This year I am struggling a bit with the pre CSM election process. I still feel that the CSM is an immensely important thing for the eve community. The group of player advocates has in the past done some great things for the game, and its curators. It’s really hard given the NDA nature of the system to judge who was a “successful” CSM member but I do believe that we can see the difference that the council make when they are stoked by good members.

On the flipside however you can also see when the CSM has gotten lost on its way to the goal of improving the game. I feel that last year is certainly one of those years. Don’t get me wrong I think that there are still some great members of CSM IX, but the net effect of the council this last year feels like it has been detrimental to the relationship between the CSM and CCP. Again there are likely unseen corroborating issues behind this, such as the recent shakeups in CCP and the changes of the handlers of the CSM.

But that’s not the main issue which is putting me off this year’s process. No, what’s putting me off is the glut of candidates competing for the spots this year. 77 confirmed candidates is a crazy number of people. Even if we cut off the 26 candidates who didn’t even bother to post their candidacy platform on the forums 41 people still remain. Of those only 36 have done Cap Stable interviews, but that’s 18 hours’ worth of interviews to listen to. As a quick side note serious respect given to all those involved in the CS interviews, you guys are starts for going through all the effort involved in corralling these candidates and producing the interviews!e

It’s just a huge amount of information to process. I struggle to keep up with the real life elections here in the UK with only 3 major parties running and a few additional extras, how on earth am I going to find the 20+ hours needed to sift through the candidates to find the gems among the rough? I think I am going to have to cull the crop through a preliminary judgement based on their candidacy posts rather the diving straight into the interviews like I have in previous years. Ah well.

Fly with a ballot paper,

Hark

CSM of my Heart

Well here we are, with the Dust (pun intended) settling post Fanfest, one of the realities we must now face is who we have voted into CSM for the next year. The results ballot has been out for a few days already, but I have heard a rumour that there are still some surprises in store yet. Firstly I have heard hints that Ripard Teg Finished way higher than anyone expected (especially not The Mittani). Secondly it was picked up by our radar like ears is that there was a very close run between a few candidate places. All this was picked up through hints and whispers, and as such is totally unsupported, but interesting none the less.
Before we go any further we should first take a moment to thank and congratulate every candidate for the CSM. Just caring about out little game to run for CSM is enough to earn my respect. I look forwards to listening to you again next year.
Without further ado, here is the full list of CSM8. I have highlighted in green the candidates I put on my ballot:
–          Ali Aras
–          Chitsa Jason
–          James Arget
–          Kesper North
–          Korvin
–          Malcanis
–          Mangala Solaris
–          Mike Azariah
–          mynnna
–          progodlegend
–          Ripard Teg
–          Sala Cameron
–          Sort Dragon
–          Trebor Daehdoow
[8/14] placed
Looking at that list, I think I should be pretty happy (and well represented) with and by CSM8. It’s worth noting that despite the chest beating of the CFC and the HBC (helped in no small part by the political engine that is TMC.com), only 4 HBC and CFC candidates made the list, although the list is still very heavily Nullsec weighted (as it should be :P).
It’s worth point out first though that my ballot was based purely on who I thought best represented me (alongsidea few other factors), that does not mean that my ballot was my dream council. As there are 14 seats on the council, and 14 STV positions for each voter, it’s easy to equate a STV positions to “whished” council seat. This is a false assumption.
My ideal CSM is one which is made up of a fair representation of good candidates from all of eve demographic (which I believe we got). My ballot on the other hand was concentrated at ensuring that mydemographic was represented correctly.
I think I have really already discussed the candidates enough through my Impressionableposts in the last few months so I won’t go into any details on my feelings about candidates here. The people in green have had my support from the get go. However for the people not marked in green above, for the most part, I would like to say: you may not have been who I voted for, but I marked most of you as good candidates who didn’t represent me. My congratulations to you all.
Finally a few messages:
Ripard – As the first choice on my ballot, I am really pleased you got in. I met you briefly at Fanfest alongside Roc (who is also a stand up gent), and you confirmed the impression you give through your blog of a well-thought, well-spoken man. If the whispers I have heard are true, double congratulations are in order for your stunning position on the CSM.
Mynnna – At the very beginning it would be fair to say I was lukewarm towards your run. However since them you have done nothing but build yourself in my standings. I am very pleased (if not at all surprised) that you made it on. I offer you too my congratulations.
Trebor – Another candidate I met at Fanfest who turned out exactly as expected (a gentleman to the highest standards). I am very pleased you were dragged back into the council (kicking and screaming as I understand). You’re a needed connection to help build the new relationship for this CSM and the CSM of tomorrow. My congratulations again go out to you.

Impressionable: Summary and Results Post 7

The full list of my thoughts can be found labelled: Impressionableand consists of 6 parts:
Part 1: Xenuria, Unforgiven Storm, Roc Wieler, Rippard Teg, Night Beagle, Nathan Jameson
Part 2: Mynnna, Mike Azariah, Marc Scaurus, James 315, James Arget, Hunter Blake
Part 3: Daehan Minhyok, Trebor, Sort Dragon, Cipreh, Chitsa Jason, Ayeson
Part 4: Kesper north, Malcanis, Psychotic Monk, Steve Ronuken, Ali Aras, Fon Revedhort
Part 5: CoreBloodBrothers, Sala Cameron, Riverini, Artctura, Sgurd Battersea, Travis Musgrat
Part 6: Mangala  Solaris, Kaleb Rysode, Banlish, Awol Aurix,  Apricot Baby
Part 7: This Post

Well that was that then. There is still plenty of material out there with which to further refine my CSM list of preference, and I have no doubt that I will be altering my voting list before the end of the period. That said I did promise to produce a ranked list based upon my personal opinions from Crossing Zebras Candidate interviews, sot his post will contain that very list. I want again to thank Xander for the amazing amount of effort he has clearly put into this project. I was exhausted just listening to the interviews, so no doubt he is near dead.
Before I do go onto the results, I want to talk over some general points and patterns I noticed this election period. First is the already well expounded fact that so many candidates campaigned on the concept of being the CSM’s “communication expert” or “Synergy manager”. Please don’t be fooled by this my dear readers; the CSM is a platform for player representation, not a platform of sectaries. A few people who did run on this basis are in my final list, but for the most part I considered people running on this to be trying to pander the voters.
I also talked quite a lot about Bloc Bias, and I want to make it clear here how I feel on this before I go on. I do believe that bloc candidates can be honest (one is in my top three). But in general I think that there is a huge risk that these candidates will put alliance politics before player preference. For example I believe that the player base as a whole want Super Capital ships to be readdressed. But the works of CSM 7’s PL candidates (and others) has ensured that this has been delayed without a due date. That’s not to say that Elsie and Seleene haven’t done a great job in general on the CSM, but we have to consider that they (like any bloc candidate would) might favour their alliance rather than the players in general. It could be argued that Elsie and Seleene represented Older players who most likely own super capitals, and thus were representing their constituency, but that’s half a dozen of one and 6 of another.
For reference I consider bloc bias to stand as follows (not this is purely opinion):
  • PL: Pro Supers, Slightly Pro Tech
  • CFC(Goons in particular): Anti Supers, Pro tech
  • Test: Anti Supers, Anti tech
There are of course sub biases within these alliances/groups, and some sub groups may even have completely opposite bias to the above; but in general the above is the brush with which I have tarred members of these groups.
Of course on the subject of bias, it’s worth noting that trust is the final item which I failed to mention in my post about how I was judging CSM candidates, and plays a big part in my decisions. There are some bloc candidates I actually trust a lot more than others.
So here we are, my top 14 (full list down the page) candidates ranked in order of preference on the CSM. What follows is personal opinion, and I have tried to be as apolitical a I can be. My original list gave a 1-10 rating for each candidate so I will add a short blurb as to why I have ordered the candidates as I have:
Top 3
1 – Ripard Teg
2 – Banlish
3 – Trebor
All these guys ranked a 9 on my scale. Ripard lost a point because we don’t agree on a few things, Trebor because he is technically a highsec candidate (more on that in a mo) and Banlish because he is still a bloc member.
I’ll fess’ up to a little bit of politics here. In terms of people I want to see on the CSM most, Banlish is actually higher than Ripard: but given that he is the #1 Test candidate, he really doesn’t need my vote. Ripard on the other hand might. When the votes get counted, I would rather give my vote to Ripard, first, encase my vote is added to the Banlish pile before the rest of Test Alliance, meaning their second choices are counted instead of mine; them’s the beans.
Terbor is a pretty surprising choice as well I expect given the amount of “nullsec candidates only” hurf blurfing I’ve done during this. The simple matter of fact is that Trebor is a very good politician and, as much as I hate sectary platforms, a very hard worker. I also think that it is very important to have some continuity between CSM’s so that some of the personal relationships carryover, A green CSM with no former CSM members is going to have to work very hard to catch-up to where CSM 7 was. Trebor I suspect fills this role very well.
The Runners Up
4 – Kesper North
5 – Ali Aras
6 – Roc Wieler
Pretty simple here Kesper is a good unaffiliated Nullsec Candidate, Ali was a great newbi friendly nullsec candidate (which I think we need), and Roc brings a good general PvP vibe to the party.
The Good, but not quite good enough
7 – Malcanis
8 – Artctura
9 – Mynnna
10 – Corebloodbrothers
11 – Mangala Solaris
Mynnna gets a low trust score, but a very high competence score (even if I still think he is a little too laid back). I’d love to rate Mangala higher, but I have already added Roc in as a general PvP’er and lowsec beat highsec I am afraid. The others are all good Nullsec Candidates mostly unaffiliated to bias.
The best of the Rest
12 – Daehan Minhyok
13 – Sala Cameron
14 – Chitsa Jason
Daehan came up as a pretty weak Nullsec candidate and just scraped into my listing. Sala is the better of the two Pandemic Legion candidates, and I guess I feel we should give at least a small voice to the Super Capital owners. Chitsa made the late position over Awol Aurix and Riverini, her was an excellent candidate for wormholes, better than the others were for their respective areas.
The full rankings can be found below (note only the first 14 are orderd within their sub groups, the rest are just listed in random order).

Rank Candidate                         Score
1        Ripard Teg                         9
2       Banlish                                9
3       Trebor Daehoow            9
4        Kesper North                   8
5        Ali Aras                               8
6        Roc Wieler                         8
7        Malcanis                             7
8        Artctura                              7
9        Mynnna                             7
10      Corebloodbrothers       7
11      Mangala Solaris               7
12      Daehan Minhyok            6
14     Sala Cameron                   6
13      Awol Aurix                        6
16      Chitsa Jason                      6
15     Riverini                               6
17      Ayeson                               5
18      Cipreh                                 5
19      Jame Arget                       5
20      Kaleb Rysode                   5
21      Mike Azariah                    5
22      Nathan Jameson            5
23      Travis musgrat                 5
24      Apricot Baby                     4
25      Unforgiven Storm          4
26      Psychotic Monk              3
27      Sort Dragon                      3
28      Steve Ronuken               3
29      Fon Revedhort                1
30      Sgurd battersea              1

[EDIT I hate blogger some times…..

As a final note, I listened to the Dolan interview and found it very interesting as well. Its worth noting that he mirrored my thoughts on an in game voting system, and that we can expect to see a huge drive to publicise the CSM and gain a larger voter turnout.

Fly exhausted,
Hark

Impressionable: CSM 8 Interviews Post 6

[Editors note] Sorry for rushing out two in a row, but I wanted to be ready to release a summary post tomorrow to coincide with the start of the Voting period for CSM 8!

This is a series of posts which contain my opinions on the interviews given to Crossing Zebras podcasts by CSM 8 candidate members. The posts contain only my impressions and thoughts after listening to the interviews given and reading any linked material. As such they should not be used to base your votes upon. The interviews are an excellent listen, and I highly encourage any voters to take the time to form their own thoughts and opinions on who they should vote for. This is simply a public airing of my own personal selection process for a CSM candidate of my heart.
Although I am only interested in candidates of certain sub sections of the game (of which I am a constituent) I have decided that it is only fair to listen to all of the candidates interviews as you never know when their will be some crossovers into sections I am interested in. My end goal of this series is to have a shortlist of 7 candidates who I would like to see on the next CSM which will be announced once I have posted all of my notes on the interviews. Later I will narrow this down too my Chairman of Choice, for whom I will declare my support (for the very little it is worth). My I’m is to find a candidate who represents me the best. For the record I will be casting a vote for each of my top 3, and an extra vote for the Chairman of Choice.
Finally I would like to take the time to thank Xander Phoena for doing these interviews. They are without doubt some of the best journalism around the CSM election process I have seen to date. The questions were hard but fair, and I felt that he really dug into what was important for the voter. Considerable time and effort has clearly gone into research and preparation. Well done Xander. Furthermore if you are looking for a more subjective and neutral breakdown of the interviews you should look to Poetic Discourse for Stanziel’s overview of the subject.

Mangala Solaris
Mangala is a PvP candidate, and I am doing him a favour by opening my impression of him with this; because his official platform is a very general one. But lets face it, what platform could Mangala of RvB fame be running on? Mangala talked a good talk in his interview, but he did worry me a little with a slight lack of political savvy (as emphases by his platform bungle). Perhaps calling it lack of savvy is misleading, because looked at another way, I could say that Mangala is quite honest in what he says; is that a good thing? I’m not so sure. I agree with a lot of things Mangala has to say on highsec, but I as I have stated before I am really not sure how well he could represent my area of the game. That said, I would prefer to see Mangala in the CSM than a lot of other people.
Kaleb Rysode
Kaleb is part of the Goonswarm diplomatic core, and as such has a good Nullsec history. He is currently campaigning as a communications expert to ensure that the CSM communicates well. I cant be bothered to explain again why this is a bad thing, so I wont; needless to say it counts against him in my standings. Xander argues that his platform is very similar to Ripard Teg’s but here I disagree: As I understand it Ripard is running  as a communications expert, who has some very strong views on the game and its way forwards. Kaleb is just running as a communicator, and makes a point of not expressing any views. While we are talking about Ripard, we need to discuss another, rather unfortunate, part of Kalebs interview, and that is the amount of time he spend pissing on other people. Let me quickly list the people Kaleb went out of his way to explain were wrong/stupid/bad:
  • CSM 7 as a whole
  • Hans Jagerblitzen in specific
  • Two Step in specific
  • Ripard Teg
  • And an inference aimed at Trebor
Two key points here, every time a CSM candidate degrades someone else, the candidate doing the slandering is degraded in my eyes twice as much. No matter how valid the point (they weren’t particularly), or how well argued(they were just rude), the fact that Kaleb  would rather slant someone else than discuss why he is better doesn’t sit well with me.
His views however seem pretty good: sov is boring, less titans please, keep the titan jump range, happy with titan roles and lets have better Nullsec industry base. I was a bit confused when he used the open mic at the end of the industry to try and sell me his Senior year course, at whatever learning establishment he works, instead of his eve knowledge, but hey, if I had “built a nuclear reactor on my desk” I’d want to tell every one two I guess. All in all some good views, but the amount of time he spend slandering people, mixed with a terrible platform put me off a lot.
Banlish
Banlish is the primary test candidate, and also the author of the Outpost Update. He has a wide history in eve and it has furnished him with a very interesting attitude. He seems to be laid back and strait talking, while retaining political awareness, and as a result I like him a lot. He showed quickly that he had a great grasp of the issues facing Nullsec, both in sov and in industry, and did so without waffling. He also showed a lot of political savvy by declining politely to talk about the last CSM, and producing a very catching and effective slogan for his campaign “Less Clicking More Ass Kicking” which didn’t feel forced or cheesy at all. He has very similar views to myself and despite being a block candidate I felt myself trusting him a lot.
Awol Aurix
Awol is the second Test alliance candidate but comes up very short in my view behind Banlish. He has some similar views to me, but came across as not a great political speaker, and a t one point pretty much stated than Banlish is a better candidate, and that he might not have run if he had known Banlish was running. He showed an arrogance in his position which Banlish, who is far safer in his votes, did not; and completely messed up his telling of the Two Step POS incident.  I think however that the most telling part of this interview was the question “what would you have the developers develop if you were in charge”: Awol didn’t pick a politically popular thing, nor did he go for a big change: He decided that he would have CCP make his life easier, by developing a better in game browser, great, thanks buddy.
Apricot baby
Its good I am ending on this one as I don’t really know what to make of it. At first I thought it was an April fools joke by Xander, but the community site confirms that Apricot is a candidate. It was a good pseudo interview and was very cleverly done, if a little short. Most of the things it talked about where Highsec based and very much role-play, neither of which will earn a vote from me.
No summary this time, I’m saving it all for the concluding post tomorrow.

Impressionable: CSM 8 Interviews Part 5

This is a series of posts which contain my opinions on the interviews given to Crossing Zebras podcasts by CSM 8 candidate members. The posts contain only my impressions and thoughts after listening to the interviews given and reading any linked material. As such they should not be used to base your votes upon. The interviews are an excellent listen, and I highly encourage any voters to take the time to form their own thoughts and opinions on who they should vote for. This is simply a public airing of my own personal selection process for a CSM candidate of my heart.
Although I am only interested in candidates of certain sub sections of the game (of which I am a constituent) I have decided that it is only fair to listen to all of the candidates interviews as you never know when their will be some crossovers into sections I am interested in. My end goal of this series is to have a shortlist of 7 candidates who I would like to see on the next CSM which will be announced once I have posted all of my notes on the interviews. Later I will narrow this down too my Chairman of Choice, for whom I will declare my support (for the very little it is worth). My I’m is to find a candidate who represents me the best. For the record I will be casting a vote for each of my top 3, and an extra vote for the Chairman of Choice.
Finally I would like to take the time to thank Xander Phoena for doing these interviews. They are without doubt some of the best journalism around the CSM election process I have seen to date. The questions were hard but fair, and I felt that he really dug into what was important for the voter. Considerable time and effort has clearly gone into research and preparation. Well done Xander. Furthermore if you are looking for a more subjective and neutral breakdown of the interviews you should look to Poetic Discourse for Stanziel’s overview of the subject.

The full list of my thoughts can be found labelled: Impressionableand consists of 6 parts:
Part 5: This Post
Corebloodbrothers
Corebloodbrothers (“Core” from here inwards) is historically very much a nullsec player. During the interview it seemed to me that he had a good grasp of how the CSM should work as well as a great handle on politics. However I did get the feeling at times that he might have been a little naïve on how development works especially when he was discussing how CCP should just fix all the things they need to fix, while still pushing out expansions. Although his views in general were good, I also noticed that Core got a bit caught up in small things which really didn’t need the amount of time he spent on them. Core seems like a good candidate, but certainly not exactly number 1 choice.
SalaCameron
Sala is the second Pandemic Legion candidate, and as I stated during Sort Dragons interview I still worry how block candidates, with as much vested interest as PL has in Tech, will do once in the CSM. Since that post however it has become public knowledge that PL has begun looking at other sources for income to replace Tech when the changes come. This lessens my worry a bit, but at the same time I see the amazing work Selene and Elis Randolph did to ensure that the Super Capital rebalancing can was kicked way down the road. Anyway, on to Sala’s actual interview.
Sala was defiantly the better speaker and politician than Sort Dragon (though that isn’t exactly hard), prehaps just because he was honest about what he wanted. However I also disagreed with a lot of his views. I don’t agree with buffing titans, I don’t agree with waiting further on rebalancing Super capitals, I also don’t agree with his stance on Technetium moons (but less than I do on the other points). I also found it interesting that Sala spent a long time talking about the reasons for the CFC vs. HBC non war, expounding the old lines about jaded leadership. I agree that not wanting to structure grind and logistics manage is a big part of the non-war, but I also think we would be fools to blame it on that entirely. Does Sala really believe this? Or is this just justification for kicking the SC/Tech cans even further down the road? Sala is definitely the better of the PL candidates, and he has clearly thought his platform through, but that’s about as much as I can say in favour of the candidacy.
Riverini
As the interview brought up, last year’s campaign season was not exactly great for Riverini, with his failure to get elected alongside the lambasting he got from the Mittani debate but Riverini seems unperturbed by this. In fact he seems to be extremely happy that it happened, which is kind of disappointing. As far as I can tell he feels that the interview was heavily Goon biast, and was never going to go his way. Therefore he feels it was just a good laugh to be part of. Here is my problem, given all of the above as true, I would expect a good CSM candidate to give a good representation of themselves. The CSM will have to fight in debates with CCP on a very uneven playing field, and they need to make the best of the opportunities given to them. During that interview, Riverini did nothing to even try to save face, and constantly talked himself into circles without any help from Mittens at all, losing with grace is fine, but making a fool of yourself is not. Unfortunately this pattern continued during the Xander interview with Riverini continually struggling to communicate his thoughts, and seemingly rambling on a complete tangent to the subject of the questions. For the most part I think Riverini had a good view on the game and the direction it needs to move in, but unfortunately I have no confidence in his skill to deliver that message. I want to clarify that this is nothing to do with his english, which I can understand. But it is to do with his love of seeming to talk nonsense. I believe that were Riverini to be elected, his voice would be quickly drowned out by CCP and the other CSM members.
Artctura
Artctura spoke very well during the interview and showed good skill and the ability to word his replies for maximum effect. He also showed that he had a great deal of understanding how development works, especially around expectation management and timescales. Artctura also had some great goals and similar feelings on where the game should head to myself, so good starting marks. I did however feel that there were more important things to base a campaign on than the unification of the CSM; as I have said before that I find the idea of a single member of the CSM being voted in to ensure unification is ridiculous. Not a bad candidate, but neither the best.
SgurdBattersea
Sgurd Battersea, wow where to start. First off let’s not rip this gentleman to shreds without explaining why things are as they are. Sgurd is a pretty new player, and as such had note even heard of the CSM until he applied. Perhaps only now realising that internet spaceships is srs business he is trying to not look like a complete malcontent. I praise his guts for volunteering, and I think it’s a good sign of CCPs outreach (if not their skill at explaining) to newer player to get into the CSM. However in the name of fairness I must judge him by the same standards with which I judged the others.
Sgurd is way out of his depth and to be honest I am not convinced he is not a troll. His main platform is stopping future change (he didn’t like the frigate re balancing) and making the game fun. Despite claiming that he now takes the “CCM” seriously, he has made no effort to actually do so. It is clear to me that Sgurd does not have the time to commit to the CCM, nor does he have the drive necessary to put in the long hours required. To be honest that might be for the best, what Sgurd knows about the issues with our game could be written on the back of a stamp, thrice, in big letters. He doesn’t know what Sov is, he doesn’t know how industry works, finding something he did know was like getting blood from a stone. Xander was clearly pretty pissed with Sgurd for wasting his time, and I can understand why, listening to that interview was a car crash in slow motion. The people on the train when I was listening to this must have thought I was sucking on a lemon from my facial expressions. Well done to Sgurd for facing the unknown, but let’s do some homework before we try again ay?
TravisMusgrat
Travis is another Nullsec candidate (yay) and has a good history in the game. Throughout this interview however I found his views very contradictory. Travis is running for his block, but says that he wants to make Nullsec fun for everyone. Travis wants to make Nullsec more accessible for everyone, but doesn’t want any changes to Super Capitals. Travis wants to help the little guy, but thinks that moons just need to be shuffled around the universe. Travis constantly talked about his general Nullsec platform, but when the cards were down, clearly showed that he is really all about keeping the older players like himself sweet. This was never more evident than when he was talking about the nerf of tracking titans. It comes down to the old argument “we spent more on our ships, so we should win”, seriously he literally said that, I won’t get drawn into a long spiel on this, but needless to say I think 10 T1 interceptors should beat 5 Tornados despite costing less. Honestly Travis’s monolog on this really came across as a long cry: “I want my win button back!”, and didn’t endear me to his cause. As far as I can tell Travis is a Bittervet candidate thinly disguised as a general Nullsec candidate. To his credit his thoughts on how to rebalance Tech without removing it is better than most I have heard, but it’s still not a realistic argument.
Summary
Not much more to say on this one after the last (it’s been a rush getting these all finished before the 3rd!). It saddens me that my candidate list is shaping into a list of people I really don’t think are going to get on the CSM, while the list of Nullsec candidates who I think will be actively damaging the experience for the average player consists entirely of people I think will get elected. On the plus side everyone in nullsec agrees that the Sov mechanics need fixing, Pro Tech or not, so at least we can be sure of a consistent message on that. We just have to hope that enough voices can shout about Super Capitals to be heard over the sound of that can landing further down the road.
I’ve also warmed a bit towards Mynnna these days, having actually been looking for more of his views. His Mittani articles make good sense and I am starting to think that his interview with Xander was a mix of a bad day and being the first in the firing line. He’s still not Mittans but honestly it was pretty unfair of me to make that comparison. Im adding this comment to the interview section in part 2 for fairness as well.

Impressionable: CSM 8 Interviews Part 4

This is a series of posts which contain my opinions on the interviews given to Crossing Zebras podcasts by CSM 8 candidate members. The posts contain only my impressions and thoughts after listening to the interviews given and reading any linked material. As such they should not be used to base your votes upon. The interviews are an excellent listen, and I highly encourage any voters to take the time to form their own thoughts and opinions on who they should vote for. This is simply a public airing of my own personal selection process for a CSM candidate of my heart.
Although I am only interested in candidates of certain sub sections of the game (of which I am a constituent) I have decided that it is only fair to listen to all of the candidates interviews as you never know when their will be some crossovers into sections I am interested in. My end goal of this series is to have a ranked list of my top 14 candidates who I would like to see on the next CSM which will be announced once I have posted all of my notes on the interviews. My aim is to find a candidate who represents me the best. For the record I will be casting all of my votes for candidates in the order of the list this series produces.
Finally I would like to take the time to thank Xander Phoena for doing these interviews. They are without doubt some of the best journalism around the CSM election process I have seen to date. The questions were hard but fair, and I felt that he really dug into what was important for the voter. Considerable time and effort has clearly gone into research and preparation. Well done Xander. Furthermore if you are looking for a more subjective and neutral breakdown of the interviews you should look to Poetic Discourse for Stanziel’s overview of the subject.

The full list of my thoughts can be found labelled: Impressionableand consists of 6 parts:
Part 4: This Post

Kesper north

Another Nullsec candidate, and one who has is part of a smaller Nullsec alliance, and specifically one with a history of nomadic tendency’s. Kesper has some great goals which match really well with mine: Specifically the concepts of breaking up stagnation in Nullsec. He also shows a good understanding of the greater picture of how things effect the game and the meta game. I’d go so far as to say that I agree with every policy which he puts forwards during the interview. My only real gripe with Kesper’s platform is that according to him, he is mainly running on a worker/Cohesion platform. It beats me why someone with so many good opinions and ideas  would concentrate on running on the idea of facilitating other’s ideas. I believe that the CSM should all be working hard and all be working on their cohesion: the concept that we should need a specific member who is doing that is kind of wrong. This said I believe that Kesper is a good speaker, as well as showing a fine grasp of politics. With this and the very similar views we hold Kesper has scored very high on my personal rankings.

Malcanis

Before I start looking a Malcanis more seriously, I need to point out that I am not exactly convicted that he isn’t a secret alt of CCP Unifex, attempting to get a seat on the CSM. To my ear they certainly sound very similar!
Anyway onto a more serious matters. Malcanis is another Nullsec player, horary. Much like myself Malcanis believe that Highsec has seen to much attention and that Null needs a bit of love. Hallelujah, I couldn’t agree more. Malcanis is running on the platform  that CCP should be fixing what they said they were fixing in dominion. Seriously, is this secretly my alt as well? Its not all perfect however, Malcanis has some strange views on communication. He has made it abundantly clear that the only form of communication he sees a valid is that of the official forms. Now I can kind of see the logic in this one, as the official forms are exactly that, official. It is also unlike a blog built around the concept of discussion. However I do not believe that the forms should be the only, or even the main form of communication for a CSM member, and furthermore I believe that a Blog is a key part of communication for any CSM member. Aside from this little blip I do feel that Malcanis is a very good CSM candidate.

Psychotic Monk

Monk came across to me as a kind of James514 light, which I think is a good thing. My only real issue with this is that I believe Highsec has had enough love for now, so see no need to vote on a candidate for it. I agree that is a bad fact that CCP restricts its staff from partaking in ganking and other nefarious Highsec activities. But I just cant see on which side the game is imbalanced. The gankers are always telling us that Highsec is too safe, but at the same time I see James315 and his crew constantly ganking billion ISK ships and boasting about it. On the flip side it is undeniable that most nullsec players have a Highsec alt for money making purposes but does that mean its too profitable, or just convenient? Monk certainly has some crossed wires around the concept of the “Sandbox” as well: In his opinion the sandbox means that any player can instantly become what ever they want. To me the sandbox is about giving you the tools to attempt to do what you want. A Carebear should be able to attemptto play solo, he may not succeed, but he can try. A ganker can try to stop all Highsec alts, he may not succeed, but he can try. The balance is making sure that any two opposing goals have an equal chance of succeeding. I would also argue that eve has a far better sandbox than Minecraft: In my opinion a better sandbox is one which has more factors affecting your aspirations. Picture for a second a game in which you simply type in up to a paragraph of text on what you want, and the game renders it for you. That is a very boring sandbox. Minecraft is much better than this, but it still only presents environmental blocks to your goals. Eve on the other hand gives us not only environmental, but also social and economic hurdles/opportunities, thus making it the better sandbox. I am starting to think that you know a feature is balanced when both sides are complaining in equal amounts, at the moment I think Highsec is pretty much like this. With an area I don’t really think needs any more changes, and opinions I don’t agree with Monk is pretty far of my ideal candidate.

Steve Ronuken

Steve is a Lowsec and Faction Warfare candidate, as well as running on a Third part developer stand. I should point out that I believe that FW has had more than enough attention in the past few years, and doesn’t need any major content patches aimed at it. Steve also came across during his reasoning for running as a little bit of a selfish candidate. He stated that he felt that he could communicate his views to CCP better than another candidate could. Now that’s fine, and that’s why he is running, but why should I vote for someone who is running to better their communication with CCP? Even worse, Steve is running on a general platform which included balancing Highsec and Nullsec as well as fixing industry. Let me clarify my incredulity here, Steve has never joined a large corporation (and certainly no alliance), and he never fought in Nullsec, but he believes he is qualified to help CCP fix Nullsec? I’m sorry, but I can see no reason to vote for him over a player with direct contact with the areas I am interested in seeing fixed. Sorry Steve, but no.

Ali Aras

Ali Aras is running on what is as far as I have seen so far a very unique platform: improving new player involvement in Nullsec, and I love it. She had some great views on the game, as well as showing that she understood how Nullsec works along with how to help newer players get into it. We also had a lot of similar views on the topics of importance for Nullsec. Ali did fall a little in my opinion when she went down the route of only having time for the people who she considers her “constituents” I believe that a CSM member should make time for any eve player. However I hope that I read that section of the interview incorrectly. All in all I really like Ali as a candidate, although I still think that new player introduction to Nullsec is a lesser point of interest than fixing Nullsec in general as a result she is not my favourite candidate, but defiantly high in my rankings.

Fon Revedhort

Another controversial one. Although I abhor racism in any form, I do believe if giving any man the opportunity to try to argue his point. As such I was a little disappointed with the way that Xander handled the end of the interview, it came across as a little unprofessional. Moving onwards to Revedhort himself: Fon Revedhort is a small gang and solo PvPer who wants to concentrate on improving this area of the game. This is good, but not my priority for the next CSM. This is not the core reason why I will not be voting for him. The key reason is this: Every aspect of Fon Revedhort (right down the pseudo German sounding name) seems to be aimed at bringing his real world beliefs into the game. Everything right down to the analogies which is chooses to use seem designed to slip his racist views into eve. If Revedhort were spouting all the same views as me, and was making a good effort of proving that his real life beliefs wouldn’t interfere with his role in the CSM, I might consider him for a candidate; but it is clear to me that this is not the case. I have stated at the top of these posts, that the views I write in here are my own and should not influence anyone’s voting directly at any point. This is the one instance where I will go against this: I strongly advise not voting for this candidate. I encourage all voters to listen to the interview to make up their own minds still, but I cannot in anyway encourage anyone to vote for someone who not only has what are, in my opinion, twisted views on racial equality: but also seems intent on bringing those views into our game. Please do not vote for this candidate.

Summary

I’ve found this set of interviews much better than some of the other groups so far. With the arrival of some Nullsec candidates who really seem to be on my wavelength. Its great to see my 14 votes begin to form into a cohesive list. I have also noticed that there is a clear way to tell if a candidate is politically savvy or not. Its simple: When asked “what are the key successes and failures of CSM 7” a savvy candidate, when talking about failure will empathises that its impossible to see all ramifications of CSM 7 within the NDA. They will also make a point of discussing the “Perceived” lack of communication. That is the sign of someone who not only understands how the CSM system works, but also doesn’t want to eat their words next campaign season…
Please also note that I have update the blurb on the start of these interviews to reflect the new STV vote system.

CSM: what ever you want

I’ve been trying to take a break from CSM related posts, as I have already written quite a few this season and it can only get worse as we get closer to voting day. That said, its and important subject and I feel that I have written enough other things to do one more before the season starts in earnest. If you haven’t found them already, Mabrick and Hans have both posted on the subject of the perception of the csm (links below) and its off the back of these that I intend to talk now.
http://mabricksmumblings.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/why-csm-concept-is-broken-part-1.html
http://mabricksmumblings.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/why-csm-concept-is-broken-part-2.html
http://hansshotfirst.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/the-pen-and-sword.html
All the above posts have some excellent points and its thanks to these that I have finally managed to put to paper exactly what I am looking for in a CSM member. Although I have been clear with myself from the start as to what I am looking for, pinning it down in words has proved very difficult. I believe it is because I was using the language of the wrong part of politics. As Mabrick points out, the csm are lobbyists, not parliament. Now the UK doesn’t have lobbyists to the extent the US political system does (thank goodness) , but I have read enough to have at least an inkling of what they are and do. So with this mind frame and language set I was finally able to nail down to electronic paper what I am really looking for.
So with out further ado, here we go:
  • Someone with similar ideals and feelings to me
  • Someone with the savvy to maximise their impact
  • Someone willing to put the work in to make things happen
I’d love to say that there was an order of importance on this, but in my opinion and CSM member lacking any of these three things is next to useless.
There has also been a lot of talk recently about how the CSM could be improved, over its current process/form. So I intend to tack onto this post a my opinion on the matter. It’s quite simple. The biggest problem with the CSM process as it stands is the lack of turnout: 16% is frankly a joke, and I fully expect that to go down this year. A better turnout would mean a better representation and thus a better player voice. To this end, the most important thing CCP could do for the CSM is internalise the voting system. Bringing the voting system into the game itself would I expect help no end with brining more players into the CSM system.

We’re All Individuals!

There is something about the CSM process that I find very depressing: Because the candidates all want to impress us with their grip on the things we want changed in the game, and the issues CCP face, we seem to spend 3 months a year dwelling entirely on the problems in eve, and why it is a terrible game. Because of this imbalance I have decided to write today on why I think eve has been so successful compared to other MMO’s and where it has succeeded. First off though I should address that there are those who choose to claim that eve isn’t successful,  because compared to wow, what is? So to this I say: balderdash. What game has gown year on year since 2003? What other games core has made international news so often, simply because its players are playing it as it is intended to be played? What other game allows 500 people to fight another 500 people on a regular basis? What game has pioneered the first cross-game cross-platform link? I could go on.  In my mind there can be no argument, eve is an immensely successful game, and I will broke no argument otherwise.
So here is the main question then: why is it so successful? Eve with it patched history, its outdated UI and its code base that even the developers are sometimes afraid to touch? What solar alignment caused this game reach its tenth anniversary, still going strong? I believe that this was caused by several factors, and the first is very obvious:
Space. Eve itself was on the first “big league” MMO’s to hit the shelves and since then, no other sci-fi based MMO has really seen much success.  Indeed most, like Tabula Rasa failed before they even left beta. The simple fact of the matter is that if you are interested in Sci-Fi, there are two MMOs you can play, Star Trek Online, or eve. This means that for Hard-core Sci-Fi fans like me, who don’t like elf’s and ponies as much as they like Space Marines and Starships, we are pretty much stuck with eve (in my opinion). That’s not to say its a hardship of course, but even if the last turkey in the shop is the best one, its still the last turkey.
But there is much more to the success of eve and the next factor is a huge one: difficulty. Eve is, as the now famous slogan goes, hard; and we (the older players) love that. Now some will argue that this is a failure of the product. Its to harsh, to unforgiving of new players and drives away to many potential customers. Here is the interesting bit though; these very same factors could actually be helping the game more than hindering it.
You see the human mind is a very fucked up piece of kit and one of its favourite functions is adjusting our beliefs, after the fact, to explain why we did something. For example lets say I am running a course on wine tasting; and its shit, properly shit. So I get two groups of people, the first group I give the course to for free; no strings. The second group I acquire by placing an advert in the local paper offering 10 free tickets to the best ten 100 word essays on the wonders of British Wine. Both are given the same course, the same (free) shit wine: but studies have shown that if asked afterwards the second group (who had to fight for their places), will rate the course’s quality much higher. An even stronger example of this principle of self deception is that of “Fagging” or “Hazing” to the colonials. Where initiates are given humiliating, dangerous and downright stupid quests before they can be admitted to a group. Once individuals have gotten through the rituals and into the groups, they will have a much stronger devotion to it than if they were simply admitted on request. This is because our minds have to justify our effort in getting something by valuing it higher. “of course I enjoyed that wine tasting” it says “or writing that essay would have been a waste of time”.
So here we come back to eve: Where our new initiates are greeted by an old UI, a game full of odd little quirks and bugs, and the often abusive behaviour of other players. We Fag our new players, we ritually abuse them just like we were abused when we joined; and a lot of people leave because of it. But the thing is, the people who do make it through, the few who stick it out and learn the system; much like the wine tasters, and the Public School Boy who is now a sixth former; they will be fiercely loyal to the game. After all: Of course I love eve, I fought through years of learning how to play (and still going) to get where I am now. If I didn’t love it I would have been stupid to have wasted all that time, right?
Further more, once you are in, and devoted. Eves skill system is a master class in manipulation. In games like wow un-subbing for a few months means pretty much nothing (except missing a few raids maybe). In eve however, every second your not subscribed, is a second that takes you further away from the people who joined at the same time as you. Every tick of that skill point number missed is a moment longer you’ll have to train for the next big thing. Not only that but unlike wow, there is no such thing as a complete character, nothing to get to and say “Well, done that now. Lets play something else”. Its truly masterful and wonderfully addictive, in what I think is a brilliant way.
The final reason is likely not the most important one, but it is the one I wish MMO makers would look at and realise the value of. Eve was released on May 6th 2003 (if you believe Wikipedia), and a certain other MMO was released on November 23rd 2004. Eve is a diametrically different from wow as you can get really:
  • Space / Fantasy
  • Ships / People
  • PvP / PvE 
  • Sandbox / Themepark
  • ~Perma death / minor penalty

Ever since wow became the success it is known as today, every one and their dog has been trying to emulate it and by proxy is success. Eve is the only one which has lasted as long (as a top ranked MMO), or done even close to as well. I believe that is because it is in pretty much no way influenced by it (It can’t be). Eve started life from the minds of its creators, not the greed of a Corporate Finance Officer. It is truly unique and makes no efforts to kowtow to the “accepted norms” of MMO design. I’ve tried out pretty much ever attempt at a major MMO since wow was released, and every time it has come up lacking because it was just another wow clone. Eve doesn’t have that problem, and EA et al should take a look at that for inspiration.
Eve is a massive success for lots of reasons, and these are just some examples, but I think that during the CSM campaign season its a good idea to keep in mind that we do play a great game which is successful with the formula it has used so far. I hope it never changes that, and remains the success that I love to this day.
Fly like a champ,
Hark

Strangers waiting in the night

So another month has passed, and its been a busy one here at E-V. Between the beginning of the CSM election process (or at lest the beginning of the beginning) and our surprise entry to Faction Warfare, the blog has had its bloggyest month yet at 17 posts. I cant promise that the almost Rippardian fever of posts we have churned out in the last week will continue here onwards, but Arian has a few month things he wants to write about (mostly new an interesting ways he is killing people, and getting killed), and perhaps even a new toy to talk on. It might also help that I have now started a new job, which gives me 30 mins on the train to write and edit blog posts.

For me on the other hand its been a mixed month. Four weeks ago I finally purchased an Archon with the hope of getting on a few more opps with the alliance, but what seemed like a nearly complete skill queue has stretched out over the last few weeks until I am only just finishing it even now. My hope is that in the next week I will take a capital into (consensual) combat for the first time. I have to admit that makes me very nervous. Even aside from the price of the thing, I really don’t know what’s going to be expected of me during the op. Its like back when I went into fleet combat for the first time, way back in ED. Things others will take for granted, I may not understand; and my alliance isn’t exactly known for training people. My intent is to have a good chat with Lore about he experiences with capital ops and try to prepare as best I can. Incidentally now that I have had a month for which the Archon’s looks to grow on me… In still think its ugly as a sin.
The Faction Warfare front has also gone a little quiet for me as well. This is going to sound ridiculous, but ever since the Caldari threw off the oppressive Gallente push and fought them back to t1 control (taking t3 for them selves) I have not really done as much. I’m not sure if its the lack of space to go plex in, the surge of people logging in to farm, my change to the Merlin for combat, the longer distance between me and the plex’s, or just plane old burn out. What ever it is, I have only done a few plexs in the last month. On the plus side, I did manage to get a couple of kills in the process (losing 3 Merlins finding them, but that’s by the by). I am pretty sure that the Slasher was my first ever true solo kill (not counting cyno’s), it felt good.
On a FW side note, I cant help but notice a slight disparity between the Caldari and Gallente low sec space. Black rise, if memory serves has about 19 station systems (between around 40 systems), where as Placid  seems to have one in almost literally every one of its low sec systems (25 stations/31 systems) . It strikes me that this is a little unbalanced giving the Gallente a far better reshipping advantage in its final defensive systems. Its also very annoying trying to plex here, when neutrals and war targets enter system, scan you down, then dock up and bring out a counter ship to whatever your flying. But I am sure there is something balancing the system (I’m only new!)
With just over a month to go the fanfest hype within our group is starting to rise as well, with me Lore and Arian all heading out this year for the first time, were all giddy with school girl excitement. Its like the night before an Essex prom, and were all thinking of getting our vjazzles done. The three of us haven’t met up  in a little while now, so that just adds to the anticipation. I am hoping that with the tablet, I will be able to do a little on site blogging, so watch this space for future updates on the one.
Plans for next month? Well I’m still thinking about getting a faction battleship to join fleets with, but I really need to wait a little while to get used to Archon combat before that. Still knowing me, and my love for spending isk, it may happen sooner rather than later. Other than that really there isn’t much more to do except hope for more combat opps in my timezone, last month is saw a single fleet I had the right ship for (aside from not having a capital, I have a logistics ship for both shield and armour, so its not a lack of ships). Lets hope I can see that change soon.
Skill queue hasn’t changed much, except that I have spotted some more gaps that need plugging. But then there always are… Perhaps there is a post in there somewhere.
Fly inspirationally,
Hark

Blood Money: Bigging up the Top Down

It seems to me that lately one of the hottest topics in eve (at least within the 0.0 community) has been that of economics. Within that topic the current whipping boy has been the Top down economic model. Currently it is very out of favour and people are claiming that eves current “Top down” economic model should be replaced by a bottom up equivalent.  So being the rebel that I am I intend to not only give a stout defence to the Top Down model, but also attempt to show that currently eves economics could work (quite easily) with a true top down model (which we currently don’t have).

What’s good about Top Down?
With the current top down model a good amount of cash made by the alliance is funnelled down the ranks to its members in the form of SRP (at least in any good alliance). This means that because of the amount of money earned by the alliance pilots don’t have to worry about resupplying themselves with ships. This means that pilots have one less logistical hassle on their hands, and one less financial pressure. Further more a lot of alliance use their power to purchase and subsidise modules and equipment for their pilots. For example Capital fuel and Strontium are often supplied for pilots on operations. If we move away from a Top down model we would soon see the end of this. Because Alliances would become poor, and player rich, they would be expected to resupply their own ships and modules.
Furthermore because the alliance has is hands on the tap the provides these bonuses to their pilots, they can indirectly control when and if pilots are rewarded for their efforts. If for example you die in the wrong ship on an operation, the alliance can choose to punish your incompetence by not replacing your ship. Although it would please some of the more rebellious pilots, if we were to end Top Down, the alliance would lose this level of control over its members. Because pilots would be replacing their own ships, they would have the ability to claim that it was their own business what they bring of CTA’s. We could expect to see a lot more of “That Drake“.
What’s bad about Top Down?
Of course its not all sunshine and ponies in top down (or we wouldn’t be bashing it so much). Under the top down model the fear of losses fall to the alliance (assuming it is committed to SRP), as a whelped fleets cost is shouldered by the alliance wallet. This means that the people who make the tactical commitments (and can see how badly the odds are stacked) are the ones who might be risk adverse to a risky fight. If the pressure of replacing lost ships were spread across the entire fleet, we might begin to see risk aversion appearing in the more hoarding members of alliances, but the leadership would be less likely to pull a punch because of the fear of bruising a knuckle.
There are of course also issues, not so much with top down in general, but certainly with the implementation of it which we have at the moment. Firstly there is the lack of transparency in the system. Line members like you and me have no idea what alliance finances really look like. Oh sure alliances publish their books every so often, but any one with a healthy level of paranoia is going to be sceptical of any self published books. There are no independent bodies in eve, no government legislation, or prisons to discourage book cooking. I maybe I am part of the tin foil hat brigade, but I don’t believe any of the self published finances.
We also have the issue that even though we have a “Top Down” economic model in eve, in order to actually pass money downwards alliances have to go to a lot of efforts. I have run an SRP programme for an alliance in the past, and I can promise you that it is one hell of a hard and complicated job.
Of course both of these issues with the current implementation could be solved by the addition of mitigating features. If Alliances could publish “official” in game finance reports (with some changes to keep them honest) I might actually believe them. Or if CCP were to give alliances official and easy ways to pass alliance funds downwards we could eradicate these idiosyncrasies in the system, and unblock the channels through which money can flow downwards.
Some examples of how we could do this include the concept of salaries. Lets say that alliances can pay all of its members a salary for their employment in the corporation (you know like a real corporation would). Further more if we could then associate salary increase with certain roles and maybe even awards, we could allow alliances to properly reward the people who put in the effort.
CCP could also implement an official SRP method, allowing the alliance to set locations, times and approved fittings for their pilots which, when the criteria is met, automatically pays the cost of the loss to the alliance member. Bonus points if the alliance automatically contracts any fittings and hulls from the Alliance hanger to bereaved players.
If alliances really want to only reward active and engaged players, how about a reverse bounty system? Rather than rewarding for the death of a specific enemy, reward for killing. Allow the alliance to create a pot of cash from which money is paid to its pilots when they make a kill.
Finally there should also be a way for prospective members to view an alliances reward systems, so that they can be picky about only working for the alliance with the best pay-outs. Want the best pilots? We you’d better have the best pay!
This is all very well talking about but how will alliances get the money with which to pay all these fees and rewards? Were talking about getting alliances to push out much more cash than they currently do. Well firstly we need to ensure that all the money an Alliance makes goes through the official books to keep them honest. In order to do this we need to  add more to the game to make raising funds easier for an alliance. For example creating official “Renter” contracts would be a good start (assuming they have to be paid directly into an alliance wallet).
Moon Goo could also be changed to not only earn the alliance more money quicker, but also force the cash it generates through an accountable system. Lets say that to remove any moon goo from an alliance silo, you have to pay the alliance a fee, which is logged and published.
I should emphasise that these are just examples of how we could do things, not necessarily how we should do it. Basically we would need to give alliances better ways to raise money, but force them to account for these methods to the player base.
 
The current economic model in eve is broken, there is no denying that. But at the same time I don’t think we should write off the Top Down method. It does and can work, but CCP need to give it more support.