CSM9 Report: Week Five

 
And so this is my first weekly report in like a month from back on dry land. It’s been an incredibly interesting seven days for CSM9 and one I think we’ll look back to as one of those big, tentpole weeks in our tenure a year from now for all sorts of reasons. Kronos Kronos launched with what appeared to be zero problems. It sounded like one of the ‘cleanest’ expansion launches I can remember of recent times. The content had been locked in for a few weeks of course so there were no out and out surprises with the latest release but I have to say, the game looks more glorious than ever on my retina Macbook Pro. From a CSM perspective, I am pleased Kronos has launched smoothly. It’s not a guarantee that every six-weekly release from now on is going to be perfect but the last thing anyone wants with such a tight cycle are problems with the launch itself. And now the work on Cruis begins in earnest. Obviously I am very excited to see the industry stuff hitting TQ but I think some of the other features we ‘may’ see could be rather awesome too. Meetings Annoyingly, I didn’t make any of the meetings this week. My work offshore was rather busy this week – nature of the beast I guess. As always, Leeloo does awesome work sending us links to download the meetings if we can’t make them so we can at least listen to what was discussed and take relevant notes. We had four meetings – an intro with Team SpaceGlitter, a roadmap / development organisation meeting with (amongst others) CCP Seagull, our biweekly sprint meeting with Five-0 and one yesterday covering the recently announced internal changes. Given the recent announcements, I’m particularly disappointed in missing the latter one and I look forward to listening back to the recording once it becomes available. Thankfully, I did get some good summaries from the guys who made it. But more on this in a second. The level of access CCP continues to give us is astonishing. As a collective we are being worked hard but it shows the level of buy-in at many different levels from CCP in the CSM process and gives us a full picture of what is going on throughout the development of Eve Online. Of course, there are some things which can’t (and in my opinion, shouldn’t) be shared with the CSM… Layoffs On Thursday, it was reported that CCP has laid off 49 staff, the majority of which were from Reykjavik itself. Obviously this is devastating news and my thoughts and best wishes go out to those who lost their jobs as well as their friends and family. From our perspective, the first thing I should mention is that CSM9 did not know about these layoffs nor would I necessarily have expected us to. It is my opinion that the CSM exists to work with CCP developmental teams to make Eve Online a better game. It is not the CSM’s responsibility to delve into corporate HR issues such as hires, wages, redundancies, etc. Of course, it would be nice to think that if the CSM is doing it’s job well, it could in some small way contribute to layoffs could being avoided but one does not necessarily follow the other for all sorts of reasons. As mentioned earlier, on Friday the CSM had a meeting with some of the key personnel at CCP covering some of the details of the redundancies and what it means for the company going forward. Following that meeting, CSM9 does not have a list of everyone who has left the company as a result of these layoffs nor do we know the exact reasons why because it is none of our business. In exactly the same way I wouldn’t expect to know a certain developer’s salary, the CSM is not responsible for what are HR issues – it simply isn’t our jurisdiction. Now, I’m well aware it isn’t quite as simple as that. Some people may feel that those layoffs are indicative of a malaise within CCP. I’d argue that in certain cases, laying people off could be healthy for a company. As sore as these redundancies undoubtedly are, CCP believes they are vital for the long term health of the company. In the meantime, I can promise you that CSM9 will continue to work with Eve Online developers to make New Eden the best place it can be. I think it’s fair to say that this has been cause for a lot of internal discussion from CSM9 in the past 48 hours or so. The only public statements from CSM members up to this point has been FunkyBacon’s widely-read and rather divisive thoughts on the subject and Mike Azariah’s short and to-the-point post on his blog.
I’m going to cut this week’s report off here. I’m sure Mynnna and Sugar will have some very interesting takes on this week’s events on their respective weekly reports.
Tags: csm, csm9, kronos

About the author

Xander Phoena

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.


  • ” Following that meeting, CSM9 does not have a list of everyone who has
    left the company as a result of these layoffs nor do we know the exact
    reasons why because it is none of our business.”

    How is it none of your business? 49 people getting laid off is huge. That’s about 10% of their staff. If you don’t know who was laid off, then you don’t know how the game will be impacted by this.

    Just last month, Ripard Teg wrote the following:

    “Worry a lot if Fozzie, Masterplan, Rise, Veritas, Bettik, Ytterbium, Scarpia, Arrow, or even Greyscale leaves. Worry a little if Punkturis, karkur, SoniClover,
    Affinity, Goliath, or Xhagen leaves.” (source: http://jestertrek.blogspot.com/2014/05/fly-safe.html?showComment=1399734625841#c7428948261419244550)

    CCp Xhagen, a person from Ripard’s “worry a little” category, is now gone. You know who else is gone? CCP Eterne, the person who wrote the community spotlight for Crossing Zebras.

    So who were the 47 other people and what were their responsibilities at CCP? According to the post on reddit, some of them are CCP Loxy (the stream engineer for things like Fanfest and the Alliance Tournament) and CCP Hunter (a database administrator according to a Facebook post from 2010 found here https://www.facebook.com/eveonline/posts/169697429709062).

    This sounds like it is much more far-reaching than CCP’s claim of a layoff of 49 people in their “publishing organization” (http://www.polygon.com/2014/6/5/5782190/ccp-iceland-layoffs-eve-online).

    I am not claiming that you should be demanding access to CCP’s HR files. But you were elected to be a player advocate, and knowing who was laid off and how it will effect EVE falls within your purview.

    • CMIV

      Firstly, your quoted article from Jester is in respect to people choosing to leave, not business decisions made by CCP. So don’t “worry” too much just because someone told you to.

      Secondly, you are 100% incorrect in stating that the CSM must be privy to who was let go.

      The CSM are there for CCP to bounce ideas off and to give feedback when asked on specific aspects of EvE Online. At no point does that entail CCP discussing with the CSM who why when or what is happening to their staff.

      • xanderphoena

        As CMIV says, I am pretty sure I explained things very clearly in the article. Let me C&P the key bits from the short article above:

        ‘It is my opinion that the CSM exists to work with CCP developmental teams to make Eve Online a better game. It is not the CSM’s responsibility to delve into corporate HR issues such as hires, wages, redundancies, etc.’

        ‘…why because it is none of our business. In exactly the same way I wouldn’t expect to know a certain developer’s salary, the CSM is not responsible for what are HR issues – it simply isn’t our jurisdiction.’

        I’m not sure what CSM you elected Troy but if you were expecting us to help CCP decide who was hired and fired as part of their corporate strategy, I’m not sure who or what gave you that impression.

        ‘…knowing who was laid off and how it will effect EVE falls within your purview.’

        No, it really doesn’t.

        • ” if you were expecting us to help CCP decide who was hired and fired as
          part of their corporate strategy, I’m not sure who or what gave you that
          impression.”

          You can’t possibly be this dense. At no point did I say that you should help CCP with their personnel decisions. But I did say that you should, as a member of the CSM, understand who was let go and how it impacts EVE.

          “It is not the CSM’s responsibility to delve into corporate HR issues such as hires, wages, redundancies, etc.”

          Again you try to throw around side issues such as salaries, hiring, and other HR issues, in order to skirt your responsibilities to the playerbase. You were elected on the issue of communication, so perhaps you should communicate what effect these layoffs will have on EVE. And you can’t honestly claim that these layoffs will have no effect when they are laying off producers, database admins, well-known community figures, and 46 others that we don’t know about.

          • xanderphoena

            Firstly, don’t call me ‘dense’ if you want a civil response to me.

            Secondly, I have asked CCP what effect these layoffs will have for Eve development and have been told ‘none’ same as the player base has been told via the Eve Online twitter account.

            Personally, I’m not sure if the CSM will get much done by automatically presuming everything we are told is a lie. I’d rather presume that they are right, this streamlining is good for the company and the game and Eve development continues stronger and brighter. If in six months Eve is in a substantially worse place than it is now and that can be backtraced to these layoffs well that’s a different discussion.

            In the meantime I’m going to settle with not choosing the ‘you are talking shit CCP’ path.

            ‘You were elected on the issue of communication, so perhaps you should communicate what effect these layoffs will have on EVE. And you can’t honestly claim that these layoffs will have no effect when they are laying off producers, database admins, well-known community figures, and 46 others that we don’t know about.’

            I think you think I am CCP. I’m not CCP and I’m not privy to all the key information nor should I be. I’m not claiming anything I asked CCP the same question you are asking me and CCP answered giving me the same statement they gave the player base. You clearly want me to come out and call them a liar and I’m not willing to do that and call them out as being ‘wrong’ when we don’t know how this is going to play out.

          • I hope you can take Hellmar’s dick out of your mouth long enough to record the next CZ episode.

          • xanderphoena

            Yeah I didn’t think you had an actual counterpoint. Thanks for taking part!

          • Saint Mick

            “You were elected on the issue of communication, so perhaps you should communicate what effect these layoffs will have on EVE”. Sorry mate, that’s CCPs job not Xanders. The role of the CSM is to communicate and steer direct game changes, not to replace CCPs management and PR department.

          • ConcernedCaldari

            The role of the CSM first and foremost has always been to keep CCP honest; that’s why it was formed in the first place. If something in CCP’s communication smells funny, it is most definitely the CSM’s responsibility to sort out the truth.
            In this case, CCP has told us that there will be no impact. In the same statement, they stated that the layoffs were from the publishing division. As the names of several devs involved in these layoffs have come out, it has become obvious that this is at least partly false. It really makes me wonder what else about this CCP has been hiding.
            So I will repeat: yes it is the CSM’s responsibility to look into this and make certain that CCP isn’t feeding us a load of BS. Xander, no you are not supposed to take CCP at their word, you are supposed to verify that what they tell you meshes with the known facts. In this case, it’s not measuring up, and more questions need to be asked.

  • Kamar Raimo

    IIRC CCP Xhagen was very much involved with the CSM process, right? I absolutely understand that CCP wont run HR decisions past you, but in this particular case, have they said anything about who will take up his role in managing the CSM process?

    • xanderphoena

      Xhagan hasn’t been involved in CSM coordination in over a year. Dolan did it starting a little before FF2013 (Xhagen assisted with the handover) and Leeloo has been doing the job since FF2014 (Dolan handed over to her beforehand).

      • Kamar Raimo

        I see. I thought he was promoted to the CSM backoffice after Dolan became the liaison. Obviously not.