This week’s report is a little late, but I have a good reason (read: excuse) this time around—as of earlier today, the ballot boxes for the CSM X election are open! Once we get through what has been a fairly busy week for CSM stuff, I will get to my own ballot and who I will be voting for should you wish to follow suit.
New Player Experience
One of the things orbiting the Eve zeitgeist at the moment is improvements to the New Player Experience (NPE). I’ve talked at length both here and elsewhere about what we were shown during the Winter Summit, and how important it could be to the future of the game. We’ve seen the first part of that via a dev blog released by CCP Rise a few days ago.
Eve is a tough game. How best to introduce new players to the incredibly tough and fierce environment that is New Eden is a tricky problem to solve. And it needs to be solved because new blood is what will see Eve through another decade. The first step to that is making the tutorials less prescriptive while still giving new players enough of a steer to what they can do in the game. Opportunities are what CCP have come up with as the implementation.
Rather than what we are used to with Eve tutorials—a very detailed, hand-holdy, precise set of instructions designed to be followed without a thought or deviation, Opportunities give a set of less-specific tasks that can be completed in any order. Rather than being told to dock in a specific station, if an Opportunity tells you to dock, it can be in any station anywhere. ‘Kill an NPC’? Can be any NPC, anywhere you choose. The idea is to bombard players with a bare minimum level of text and allow them to truly explore New Eden in those initial baby steps. It’s a concept I strongly advocate. CSM seems broadly behind this new NPE implementation and the initial feedback from the community is very strong. There are some concerns as to how rewards are given out to new players within this new system, and this is something I know CCP Rise plans on keeping a very close eye on.
I’ll add here that CSM 9 was also shown some other ideas for the NPE at Winter Summit that I strongly hope CCP follows through and implements. I think in conjunction with Opportunities, the NPE would be in a much better place if they did.
We have spent a lot of time over the past seven days hammering out the details for the upcoming dev blog on the new sovereignty system. I don’t know exactly when that blog is going to be in your hands but my understanding is “very soon™”. In the meantime, CSM 9 has been going through some of the specifics with CCP Fozzie. I think it’s fair to say at this juncture that there is a very mixed bag of opinions on the new sov system with a full spectrum on CSM 9 spreading from very actively against to strongly optimistic. I don’t think anyone is 100% behind every detail of the new system. I have a very specific concern that has been raised with Fozzie that I can’t articulate here because doing so would potentially give the game away as to some of the specifics. Needless to say, it is something that concerns me and I fear that CCP will let it stew rather than directly addressing it independent of the sov roll-out itself.
On top of this, I have absolutely no doubt that there will be things that even the 14 members of CSM have missed. I cannot wait for you guys to get it in your hands and hear what all of you think. At this point, I genuinely have no idea what the community is going to feel about it. If the CSM is a microcosm of the player base at large, I suspect it is going to be divisive. For the record, I am optimistic about it and agree with the broad direction CCP is going with it. As I have said elsewhere, I have no doubt the defining aspect of CSM X in years to come, fair or not, will be how well the new sovereignty system is actively implemented on Tranquility.
And of course, I’d love to be a part of the team ensuring that CCP gets it right. Not only do I want to be on that team, I want to make sure the right people are on CSM X to get the job done. This is how I’ll be voting in the election. My ballot takes into account the people I want to work with in the coming year should I be elected and also takes into account the right people for the upcoming sov work as well as those who align with the attributes I look for in a CSM member. So, without further ado:
Xander Phoena—Shocker 😉
Manfred Sideous—There are literally a handful of players in Eve who understand Dominion sovereignty at an intrinsic, base level. Manny isn’t just one of those people, he’s almost certainly at the top of the list. He doesn’t need my assistance to be elected onto CSM X, but he has it simply because I believe his role on CSM X will be vital.
Mike Azariah—Eve is a game full of people acting as the nasty guy. Eve is full of people who will defend their position long past the point of rationality or reason. There are, on the other hand, some people who understand the concept of debate, and who can see both sides; who can take the heat out of a situation with a calm word. Mike isn’t only that guy—he’s a fundamentally good person. It’s going to be a tough year for CSM. There will be internal debates. I have no doubt there will be internal arguments both between CSM members and between CSM and CCP. These are the situations where a Mike Azariah is vital.
Bam Stroker—The concept of community is vital in a CSM member. For me, anyone on CSM has to have demonstrated that not only do they care about the player base, but that they also go out of their way to interact with it. Even without his work organising Eve Down Under, Bam would have handily fulfilled this criteria being someone who cares about the game, and interacts with the community at every opportunity.
Endie—Endie is one of the very best writers and theorists in the game. While I don’t always agree with everything he’s said, his blog is always well reasoned, intelligently written and fundamentally essential. I have absolute faith that these attributes will carry over to his term on CSM X.
Bobmon—This one is controversial; I suspect but it comes down to similar reasons as Bam above. Bobmon loves Eve. He genuinely gives a shit about the game. Every time I speak to him about Eve, I always feel like I am addressing this adorable New Eden puppy, with absolute boundless energy and positivity. I never feel anything less than utterly enthusiastic about the game after speaking with him.
Corebloodbrothers—I didn’t know Core all that well before I attended the Winter Summit. He contributed well over the course of CSM 9’s term up to that point, but I didn’t feel a particularly strong connection with him personally and frankly, doubted his enthusiasm. I was wrong. Core is experienced, knowledgeable and passionate and he also has a unique and important perspective on life in 0.0 that is significantly different to the usual null bloc mentality.
Jayne Fillon—Jayne is the person I was most disappointed didn’t make it onto CSM 9. Watching his presentation at Eve Vegas last year, it was quickly apparent that his work on Spectre Fleet wasn’t just a flash in the pan. This is someone who sees across corp, alliance and bloc boundaries in an attempt to build actual real communities in the game. I was worried that he might have dropped off the map after just missing out a year ago. If anything, he took the disappointment and used it as motivation to work even harder over the past nine or ten months. That drive and determination is what I expect from a CSM member.
Steve Ronuken—I don’t pretend to understand half the things Steve and Foxfour chat about half the time in our CSM back channels. What I do know is that as a specialist, Steve’s knowledge of third party development and CREST is unparalleled and his work in the coming term is vital. Like Endie, he’s also a Scotsman and I am biased towards Scotsmen. Deal with it.
Gorga—I didn’t know much about Gorga until quite recently. When I discovered that Progodlegend would be stepping down from CSM and Gorga would be his replacement as a Nulli candidate, I took the opportunity to chat to him. What I found was someone who has an understanding of the how life in 0.0 actually is, knows how much work is coming during the coming term and who represents a significant proportion of null. PGL was a vital cog in the machine of CSM 9 and Gorga will be a handy replacement for CSM X.
Sugar Kyle—You don’t need me to tell you how hard Sugar has worked over the past year. She is the very living embodiment of ‘workhorse’. She was the representative lowsec desperately needed over the past year and will continue to be so going forward. If I was to make any criticism it’s that I feel she should perhaps filter some of the ideas and questions that come to her before passing them onto CCP, but I have constantly banged the drum about how vital it is that a CSM communicates with the playerbase—Sugar does this and then some.
Psianh Auvyander—I’ve had a few occasions to talk to Psianh over the past weeks. As a member of NOIR, he has a unique perspective on the importance of mercenary work in Eve. Through hearing him speak on Declarations of War and elsewhere, he has interesting ideas and is able to communicate them well.
Sort Dragon—I met Sort at Fanfest in 2013. He reminded me a lot about… me. Make of that what you will. But Sort has been on CSM before. He understands what is required of a committed Council member as well as being another 0.0 perspective in a term where all those differing null voices are going to be important.
UAxDEATH—I didn’t know a lot about DEATH and his previous work on CSM. I sat down with him on a recent episode of Eve Radio and found him to be articulate and practical. Russian players were also criminally underrepresented during CSM9’s term and they deserve someone on the upcoming Council. Let’s see if RUS rally behind their man.
So there we go. A strong mix of incumbents and new councillors with the attributes and expertise I feel will be needed in the coming year. You can vote as per my ballot above by clicking here. As I say every year, the important thing is that you go and vote. Vote for whomever you feel will best represent you. Tell your friends to vote. Tell your corpmates to vote. Be a part of the process and let’s make sure that CSM X is the best we can make it.
Tags: ballot, csm, CSMX, NPE, sovereignty
The good looking, funny, intelligent member of the team, Xander set up Crossing Zebras with Jeg in April 2012 mainly because he was talking too much about Eve on his other podcast. Playing the game for almost five years, Xander still has absolutely zero clue about how to actually play Eve but somehow still manages to talk a good game.