Monday, March 25, 2013

So long, and thanks for all the whale.

I am not candidate for the next CSM.

This decision is not one taken lightly, but has matured over time and has been reinforced with my CSM experience this year. There's a few things it's not based on: It's not that I don't think I could get reelected; It's not been a bad year, Au contraire, it's been an excellent year for the CSM, and that is why I'm taking my leave.

When I first decided to run for CSM 2 and got elected, in 2008 (god, time has passed), it had been a frustrating time, 0.0 had been neglected for too long, CCP was pushing expansion after expansion filled with half-finished new content and precious little in the way of fixes and additions to things everyone was using on a daily basis; The UI, well, let's just say it was underwhelming; CCP was nowhere to be found on the forums, the GM department appeared a distant, mean and arbitrary beast; and CSM 1 spent what seemed to me a lot of time bickering about pesky details of minute bug fixes and not working on the big picture. So I ran...

The one constant point on my agenda, year after year, CSM after CSM, has been that there was a need for more iteration and less shiny. I'm not opposed to new things, it just requires a careful balance. One that was not tilted towards "new" at 110%... That need for what is now fashionably called "iteration" has been loudly embraced by other CSM members as well. Not that it was a magically brand new original idea in the first place... But this was my major point.

Over time, we managed to get CCP to listen to us, partially through our successes in providing valuable feedback and partially, unfortunately, through CCP's dismal failures when they ignored us. InCarna was such example, and while "I told you so" may sound like something satisfying to say in theory, in practice it always has been a bitter thing to go back to CCP with.

Either way, fast forward 7 CSMs and 5 years. CCP is present on the forums, they listen to players (CSM and non-CSM alike), their expansion plans are a lot more in tune with our wishes. The implementation details and specific choices sometimes leave to be desired, but that's the nature of the process. GMs have made efforts to communicate and refine some of their policies, and when in doubt CCP does check for input. This one step alone, this change of attitude is what I'm proud to have helped accomplish, for in that change of mindset is the hope for the continued success of the game.

This last CSM is one I'd consider "uneventful". Not in the meaning that nothing happened: lots of work was done, lots of questions asked by CCP, lots of feedback provided; but it's been one where we haven't had to riot, shake our fists, grimace in disgust or be intensely frustrated. The opposite of the old curse "may you live in interesting times".

One of my fellow CSM members had asked me a few years ago, and another one last year: "I don't know how you do it year after year". Well, I did it because it was needed! I don't possess enough hubris to believe myself to be the one and only person capable of producing change, but I've had lots of success over the years expressing my thoughts in a way CCP could resonate with and I didn't think anyone could do my specific part of the whole as well as I could, so I did the work and stayed the course. It's easy to keep focused and alert when things suck, we're riled up, there's lots of "juice" in anger and frustration. This year however, things were fine, I could still produce valuable input, but not significantly different than the others combined, and it looks like things are going to keep that way. The CSM has matured in a more diverse bunch than 0.0 alliance leaders.

I'm expecting CCP to have learned their lesson, and it looks like they did (though only the FSM knows, with CCP), so it seems like the right time to stop my involvement with the CSM, and get back to enjoying the fine gaming experience CCP gives us in Eve.

I have a few (a number?) of parting thoughts to share with CCP, the CSM, and players alike... (and I'll probably post a few more of them as time goes).

I wish the "free trip to Iceland" crowd would just shut up some day... Being on the CSM takes a lot of work and time, we have to leave our lives aside regularly, keep constantly interacting with other members, with all of you, with CCP, read the forums, read the CSM forums, have skype conferences, etc. When in Iceland, 3 days of meetings is gruesome work. Sure we spend the evenings having a few drinks and a meal with CCP. Guess what we talk about? Eve. We don't simply recount our fun game experiences, we also try to make the very same points we are trying to make during the meetings to the friendly people kind enough to accompany us.

If any one CSM member ever takes credit for an addition, bugfix, feature, modification, or whatever, call bullshit on them. No one person has in my memory been responsible for the inclusion of something in Eve, not even me. It has never been a case where one of us wrote down a stone tablet, laid it down at CCP's feet while being jealously watched by the other CSM member, their eyes filed with silent hatred at not being able to say "I did this!" should CCP pick it up. We theorycraft, we mention problems, possible solutions, relative priorities, explore alternatives, we go back and forth between ourselves, with different people at CCP. If an idea has traction, it gets worked on, elaborated, refined by all, and sometimes it gets implemented, sometimes after a couple of years, sometimes fairly directly. A side note to this is that the first half of the stuff CCP produces during a term is after the output of the previous CSM, not the current. Be very wary of people taking credit with "I did this"...

CCP is not a single entity, there's people in there. These people are hard working, dedicated and passionate for the most part. They err, they sometimes have poor judgment, they sometimes don't have as thorough a knowledge of the game as we do, but they're good people who genuinely want to do good. When shit hits the fan, they get bashed to oblivion, regardless of whether they have anything to do with the problem at all. It is probably a bit naive of me to expect a measure of restraint, but it's something I wish we all could keep in the back of our minds.

I would like to thank, first and foremost, the thousands of players who have voted for me over the years. I know I haven't been one of the most prominent members of the community, or one of the most talkative, but your trust and votes have helped me help CCP make a better game. So, my thanks to you.

My thanks also to my fellow CSM members. No matter the various backgrounds they came from, the in-game enmities, the personal grudges, there has always been a significant climate of "work needs to be done, let's do it" in the CSM. We all have different approaches in dealing with problems, we all have different levels of communication with the players, but we all worked as a team over time, and that was great. In particular my thanks to: Dierdra Vaal, Vuk Lau, Mynxee, Trebor Daehdoow, The Mittani, Seleene, Larkonis Trassler, Darius Johnson, Omber Zombie, John Zastrow. With different personalities and attitudes, they all made my experience in the CSM a wonderful one.

Then there is obviously Rooks and Kings, my alliance, for their unwavering support, for being a wonderful community and a great group of people to call one's own. There is a lot of pride in being able to say "I am a member of Rooks and Kings" in addition to being able to share companionship with people who happen to be members of that alliance.

Last but not least, thanks to CCP for giving me the great opportunity to help make Eve a better game. I could list individual devs, but the list would be too long and I'd be forgetting people. So, global thanks.

As far as what I am going to do now... Well, I'll ease back into being another wheel in the great machinery of my alliance and be able to breathe a bit and just play the game I've spent close to half a decade helping improve :p

So, so long, and thanks for everything. I'll just rest on my laurels now :p

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

So long Sean

Today I woke up to the sad news that Sean Smith, aka Vile Rat, was killed in Libya...

I hadn't had contact with Sean until he got elected in the 6th Council of Stellar Management, and all of my interactions with him were in his capacity as a player representative. I was initially full of skepticism about him, never having had the chance to have a conversation with him prior to that, and him being a goon and all.

Yet it became very clear early on that he was just another person, interested in making the game better for everyone, willing to put in the effort and give his perspective on the game, where it should be headed and why. Sean consistently acted in that quality. To put it in his own words take from an early conversation I had with him after he got elected:
You either love the game and want to be a part of the solution or you're just doing this to pick a fight and be a douche. I know my alliance apparently betrays a lot of peoples interest but I do take this very seriously.
And take it seriously he did. He argued, made his points heard, presented rationales, ideas, gave his perspective on any and all topics. Sean was driven and passionate, and that showed...

There is frequently the idea that, because he was a goon, he would only stand for "goon approved" or "goon aligned" ideas, but that was far from the case. Sean was a person of principle and ideals. He defended what he thought was right.

I've had arguments with Sean, quite a few of them actually, but that's what happens when different ideas clash, yet arguments can be had in mutual respect and, in that regard too, he certainly showed himself to be a good person.

We had meals and drinks in Iceland, he was always relaxed but enthusiastic about whatever topic we discussed, always ready for a small joke or anecdote, and always full of ideas that he was more than willing to share.

No matter what players may think of Goonswarm, and whether they know it or not, every Eve Online player owes Sean for his numerous and frequent contributions that helped make the game what it is today.

I will keep the memory of a good human being, one who spoke fondly of his wife and children. I will keep the image of Sean passionately arguing a point in a meeting room while everyone listened...

He will be missed.

My thoughts go out to his wife, children and friends.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Mittens and stuff

It is regrettable it had to come down to this... I've spent more than 3 years in the CSM and it always hurts when something like this erodes a lot of hard work behind the scenes (including work by Mittens himself).

I don't subscribe to the view that things have to be only negative or only positive. So I'll break it down.

So let me start by saying that I think The Mittani's words during that Alliance Panel were inconsiderate and stupid. I don't condone that action or those words in any way, I would never have said that kind of thing and I'm certainly not happy he did. There was a real potential for damage and while alcohol and a history of being a self-professed asshole is an explanation, it is not an excuse. Yet I would be remiss if I didn't point out that it is my opinion those words have been blown way out of proportion. He got carried away by his in-game persona, made an off-hand remark in an attempt to be funny (it wasn't) that could have had serious consequences, but admitted his mistake, apologized profusely both publicly and privately to the player, and the player in question was unharmed and wasn't harassed. The player was apparently not even aware of anything until news sites started to get in touch with him.

When speaking publicly, either as a member of my alliance, a member of the CSM or generally an Eve player, I try very hard not to cause any bad image to be reflected to those groups I belong to, being mindful that no matter in which quality I speak as, my words will be associated with all of them. The CSM are player representative, and should be held to higher standards than the average player. His lapse in judgement was bad for all of us in that regard...

I don't agree with The Mittani a lot on the CSM, at least as far as implementation details go his objectives and mine are frequently opposite. I'm not a fan of his public persona either, and I certainly feel no value in being liked by the groups he belongs to. Yet the way I gauge the value of a CSM member is not according to who they got elected by or whether I agree with their opinion. My only concern is whether they can contribute constructively, whether they actively participate and communicate with CCP and the players and thereby bring something to the CSM process. In that regard Mittens was an effective member of the CSM and I'm really sorry to see him go. It is fair to say that CSM 6 was successful in no small part due to his efforts and commitment and I regarded him as a valuable colleague. I had looked forward to working with him again in CSM 7, differences of opinion aside, and it's fair to say that CSM 7 will be lesser for his absence.

Yet the rules are the rules, and he did act against them. Just as players were banned for making threats against devs or other players, his tempban was practically unavoidable. The TOS/EULA of all games are crafted to basically give the developper license to ban anyone for anything remotely questionable, and for a reason: It's bad publicity for a developper to be perceived as condoning objectionable actions, and failure to act only creates a perception of bias when actions have to be taken in other cases. I personally felt his apology sufficient, but CCP didn't or couldn't. I'm not happy it came down to this, but I now think it was the unavoidable thing for CCP to do, it may also have been the legal thing to do, but I don't know about that. The fact that it was done by a high-profile member of the community in such a public fashion forced CCP's hand, I would think.

I'll talk about the implications of this situation on CSM 6 chairmanship, CSM 7 chairmanship, representation of Mittens' voters and a few others things in a separate blog, they are still under consideration.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Last CSM 7 Meeting Minutes

Slight correction, this is about CSM 6 meeting minutes, CSM 7 hasn't started yet. I just forget which number we're at, but since I already posted the link everywhere, it's staying as it is :p

The latest CSM Meeting Minutes are out.

A foreword on minute writing and The Borg

There's been some discussion about the use of "The CSM" throughout the minutes.

Throughout the CSMs, minutes had been released over the course of the term, highlighting individual stances and points of view and, to an extent, allowing some accountability. As far as the CSM-CCP face to face meetings were concerned, the minutes used either individual names or "The CSM" to denote a general degree of consensus. This construct was very useful in the first CSMs, because we were perceived as a loose collection of individuals incapable of constructive communal approach to problems, which wasn't the case. However in CSM 6, there have been none of the regular meetings where voting happened, instead favouring internal forum debates where points of view are exchanged, and on issues known to be tricky, internal consensus was reached among ourselves before reaching out to the devs. This change is not for the worst in terms of progress and efficacy, and I genuinely believe this allowed us to be very constructive. However in terms of accountability and allowing the public at large to know "who does what, who thinks what", this way of doing things is a failure.

Before the minutes were being written out, I had requested individual names be used wherever applicable, our secretary considered the suggestion but eventually decided not to go through with that suggestion. So I'll just have to go through the minutes again and say what I personally think and where my opinion differs or where my opinion was the one emphasized in a way or other.

Just to be clear, I don't mean by this to bash Trebor (CSM 6 Secretary) for his job with the minutes. If every CSM member had to be ranked in terms of time spent working on CSM stuff, he's at the top, just like he was during CSM 5, and I know from experience doing minutes is gruesome work.

This Council has been one of the most generally homogenous CSM to date. From the start it became apparent that a number of councilors were representative of the same playstyle, which in my opinion dilutes the value (if 6 voices say the same thing, one would have been as good). Still, Seleene was in there and despite being a member of a 0.0 alliance at the time, his former experience as Game Designer for Eve brought something different to the table. Trebor may have been a member of a sovholding alliance at some point too, but he wasn't the classical alliance leader representative and had some degree of knowledge of other subjects/areas, and I obviously do my own thing, going with whatever I believe is best for the game as a whole no matter who it seems to favor. I expected Mittens to be the major speaking person for the rest, and it mostly proved true, but he was quite productive and while I may not agree with all his ideas/opinions, he did present them well. So while the number of messages was limited, there was a good overlap from a number of good people. Let me reiterate that I do not in any way endorse the opinions of these members as a whole, rather that I find that they have a point to make, they make it, whether I agree with it or not is irrelevant as long as it's not retarded. Biased does not count as retarded.

As a final point on hivemind, I'll point out that throughout most of the term, there was little question what was a priority (get back to working on the fucking game), differences emerged when we finally obtained that and the focus was placed on smaller detailed changes. So it's fair to say the CSM was in agreement most of the time, but the devil lies in the details...

The minutes

Unless pointed otherwise, whenever "The CSM" is used, I agreed. Some points I will clarify.

A glaring "omission" is, to start with, the fact that the only thing I requested is that it be pointed out specifically I objected to partial skill respec. This is an important point to me as I was the only one speaking against it and arguing against it repeatedly during the meetings. The subject came up like 3 or 4 times, I objected it every time, yet not once is my objection mentioned. Either way, more on that later...

The reorganisation

The reason I asked "what role the Creative Director will be playing." is because Torfi, creative director, has been perceived and generally pointed at as the reason for so many resources being spent (wasted?) on InCarna, seeing that he was still part of the organisation post-layoff, the question was obviously what job he'd do, what level of authority he would have and whether he would go back to what I personally perceive as his strongest point: coming up with good ideas, particularly when it comes to the aesthetical and graphical aspect of the game.

While I was happy to see the reorganization of the company, and the fact Jon Lander (CCP Unifex) would be taking the lead, I was a bit afraid CCP Zulu would be perceived as the reason everything failed. Zulu did a good job (particularly in CSM 5, beginning of 6), then went a tad too much to the "dark side", but he was given an impossible task. So as one who's worked with him over the past 2 years, I can say there's no hard feelings and I trust he'll do a good job in his new role.

The changes to the CSM
I'm not a big fan of the idea of there being 7 members only, especially since the top 7 are usually representatives of large 0.0 alliances, but it's not something I can do much about (budget is budget). I insisted vehemently that STV would be a very bad thing until voter turnout increases, because with low voter turnout, STV gives an advantage to blocs (you can read the rest of my argument in the minutes :p). That message was well received, at least for now...
I agreed with the requirement to get a number of "likes" in a forum thread prior to the elections, the number I thought would be appropriate was at least 50 and no more than 100.

The Economy
During the economy session, the question of the economic input of incursions came up. Just to be clear, I agree with the assertion that the payout/time needs to be made more uniform across sites, a full argumentation for my reasoning why can be found on the forums. And for those who are not going to read the posts in that thread: I like incursions, I want more of them, I like the rewards as they are for most player, it's the blitzability I don't like.


I'll only say for this session was heavily about economics and influences between markets etc. As such, Trebor and I were practically the only ones talking with Eyjo, so I agree with everything in there ;-)

I'll just point out I wasn't the one arguing that "arms race" point.

Crucible wrapup

"The CSM noted that the new T2 Triage module was functionally useless." Special mention for my triaging friends: I did say it, twice :p

"The CSM praised Crucible’s addition of implants on pod killmails". It took 3 years since I first made that request, but man I'm happy it got done. The dev who coded it (CCP Masterplan) got a bottle of vodka ;-)

"The CSM reiterated its desire for CCP to implement a partial skill respec, especially in the aftermath of major changes to ship classes such as the removal of drones from supercarriers."
One of the ways our good friend Mittens accomplishes things is by repetition and bundling. This is a valid tactic, one he uses repeatedly to good effect. The downside is when you disagree, you have to object a lot of times, which I had to do against the inclusion at least 4 times during the meetings, none of which mentioned in the minutes. So, no "The CSM" didn't reiterate its desire, the other 8 members did. I think it's a terrible terrible idea, and I've written very long posts on the subject about why. I'll probably reproduce them here, after this is done. But let me be clear on this point. I insisted it was a bad idea every time.

About the jump spool-up, it's a follow-up on a previous discussion (held during CSM 5), the idea is not new, it tries to handle a very real issue, and there are ways to do it which I support and others which I object. The main problem being that people would have time to flee from a scene when a beacon is lit if the spool-up works as a delay on a committed jump to an existing beacon.

The supercap tackling point on supercarrier wasn't one I particularly liked, at least not as a supercarrier only mechanics, if more ways to keep supers on field are going to be designed, I'd rather see a new ship class (capital interdictor, whatever), or the "stronger warp core strength" method. Otherwise it's another case where the only way of killing a super is with another super. And that I don't like.

Station Services on NPC Nullsec Stations

Having grown in the Great Wildlands, where NPC stations are the only options, I spent my time during that session defending the need for viability of NPC 0.0. I don't disagree with destructible outposts (on the contrary), but NPC 0.0, particularly when it's not surrounded by sov 0.0 need to be preserved as a viable place to live. Another thing the minutes don't mention is that I don't want services to be disabled for NPC 0.0 stations or this line: "CCP offered a suggestion of having a capital-only docking service added to NPC stations that could be disabled. The CSM agreed that this might work, as long as the service would regenerate over time." I disagreed with. I want capitals to be able to dock in NPC 0.0 stations.

Little things – Factional Warfare, Wormholes

Since I live currently mostly in lowsec, and KEEN (Rooks and Kings' wormhole division) lives primarily in wormholes, these topics were of particular interest to me. My general stance on FW is that it needs to be fostered, and the ways in which it could be are mostly what is described in the minutes. To the forum posters who object to the notion of FW being a testbed for 0.0 sov mechanics, it's the other way around. Meaningful occupancy mechanics need to be developed for Faction Warfare. And if they work correctly, the same principles should be extended to 0.0. To be clear, the devs (and I) really want Factional Warfare to be meaningful in its own right.


This would be a long post, and I'm not sure this is the place to handle it because it's going to be long-winded argument. The short version of it is I am in favour of a mechanic, no matter what it is, that removes the invulnerability that some people well entrenched in their wormhole enjoy. Obviously that position is not one shared by AHARM. That said, the difficulty with which one can reach a wormhole (logistics wise and all that) is what makes it interesting and viable too, something that makes it unique and interesting. Balanced mechanics can be found, and the wormhole stabilizer idea is but one that has already been discussed (we actually had a discussion with Two Step from AHARM and CCP Soundwave on that very subject during the emergency meeting), but I do not shy away from stating that I was the one advocating for a mechanism to get rid of the invulnerability some groups enjoy in wormholes while keeping the overwhelming majority of the wormhole dwellers in no worse a position than they are now. Which is a bit not mentioned in the minutes. I don't care if it's a stabilizer, a destabilizer, an undectectable wormhole entrance, or a divine intervention. I'll make a longer post as soon as humanly possible on the subject because, as shortly described, this would be a negative game-changer for everyone living in a wormhole. So if you can hold your judgement on my position until you heard it in full, that'd be great. And if you want to bash me then, by all means. :-)

"Some CSMs suggested that Sleepers should attack POSes, and/or pod people.". Pod people, why not, attack POSes I objected to that idea.

[Side politicking bit]
I take offense at Two Step's notion (he wrote this slightly self-serving part of the minutes) that the changes requested to wormholes are his and his only, by the way. He had a list, but many of the items in the list had been discussed before by others (including yours truly), and it wasn't the whole set of changes requested. For better or worse, the minutes have been kept free of names, I think it extremely poor taste to attribute to oneself the collective work in this instance. While he did a good job as a CSM alternate, the change requests to wormholes that have been made this year are far from his alone.
[/side politicking bit]

Game balance

I agreed the drake needed a rebalance, I agree the resits may be too high, but I certainly didn't agree that the RoF was the way to go (I actually don't remember hearing that mentioned at all, but I've been assured it's been said). My point of view on the drake is that it has both good long range damage, good buffer, good passive tank. Other BCs have to make compromises, the drake doesn't.

I agree (I actually request this) that Fleet CSes be looked into, the "multi-bonus" is a could not should as far as I'm concerned, but they need to be better than the T3 in raw bonus on a given ganglink.

The trickle mode I offered when I suggested it was to have the amount drained be a the actual value divided by the percentage difference between the nosser and the target. Either way it's a possibility if devs feel the NOSes need to be improved. I like them as they are, but that option could be viable.

Highsec wardec mechanics
Those haven't been included in the minutes, but the general idea and direction for them was the one I had been requesting, so I was happy with that session. The ability to be wardecced is not something I want to remove, by the way, just the way it happens and the griefing aspects of it. Won't say more on the subject...

Future highlevel discussions – Fixing broken systems
Using faction warfare as a test-bed for nullsec sov? -> Once more, no, implementing FW occupancy correctly and extending that to 0.0. In this instance, FW mechanics are the important bit.

Several CSMs didn’t like the idea of affecting spaceships directly -> I didn't like the idea. A ship should perform equally under sov than not.

CSM emphasized that "nullsec is about hate and cruelty". -> I didn't, but I don't necessarily disagree as far as large wars are concerned. My concerns when it comes to 0.0 are not about large wars (other people handle that bit well), my concern is how to get more people to enjoy it without being curbstomped.

The lowsec part were nice ideas being floated around, unfortunately no conclusions reached during most of that session. The line of thought that was CCP's during this conversation was however very much in line with the changes to FW/lowsec/piracy that I want.

In that same conversation, I objected to the notion that a ship was, in the context of piracy, a money-earning activity in and of itself. So that is why I made the comment "One CSM member pointed out that that buying a ship to fight in is not an investment in making more ISK (like when a player invests in his mission running ship), it is an investment in fun". I had added that such a balance would only be achieved when the value of fittings would be worth twice that of the hull on average (considering the item drop formula), and for that to happen drastic changes would need to occur on the module market, none of which have been discussed or are foreseeable. And some of which being undesirable (would mean T2 items worth at least 3 times more than they are now).

About ganking: One CSM comment was that if a player gets shot down by Concord, he shouldn't get a cut of the payout from the poor guy he just ganked. I don't remember if I said this or if I simply agree, but basically this. Ganking should be a viable activity (no space should be safe), but it shouldn't be a revenue stream, except preying on idiots ferrying billions in frigates.

A meeting with the Art department

I just want to point out that this conversation where we compared our priorities as far as art is concerned is the first that ever happened. We had meetings with art in previous CSMs, but never have we managed to get "priority" discussions. This is a very very positive change.

The rest of the minutes are fine with me.

Random/Misc stuff I forgot

Just commenting on some stuff other bloggers have reacted to...

I supported Drone giving ISK bounties instead of drone alloys. While this creates an influx of ISK, it helps revalue mining. It's a small step in the direction of making mining a viable activity again.

The basic idea that I support in terms of sov as a source of wealth is that the value generation should come from the bottom up, not top to bottom. Ie, if the rank & file make isk, the alliance gets richer, otherwise it doesn't. The moon as a primary income source for alliances causes a lot of differences in territory valuation, and decreases the overall fun to be had by members.

Faction Warfare leaders could be elected, and pvp should play a larger part in FW ranks, as opposed to PvE plexing.

The number and "category" of items that CCP has available to throw at the NeX store is of such nature that I think CCP should hold back on those until such a time as a viable regular release plan is decided, as well as a sane pricing structure. Releasing more stuff "because it's there" without a plan would be a bad thing.

In closing

This meeting was the last of CSM 6, it also marks an milestone of sorts for me. A while ago, I received this message:

On Thu, Nov 27, 2008 at 3:48 PM, CSM-admin <> wrote:


You have been elected as an alternate in the CSM elections. You can find the full results in the latest CSM dev blog.

That marked the beginning of what is currently the longest held position on the CSM, more than 3 years, 5 terms... This term was a very nice one. I had great pleasure in working with my fellow delegates, and I hope I will be there again for some time to come. So thanks to everyone who voted for me over the years, I hope you will do the same next one.

PS: I'll be out of the country until wednesday, so won't have time to comment/react until then

Thursday, October 20, 2011

CCP Layoffs

CCP just laid off 20% of its task force. It's nothing the CSM can really say about it, so these are my personal thoughts...

We still don't have clear answers as to who got laid off, but the first I can see a sizeable part consists in "new" hires and WoD people.
The part that annoys me is that the people responsible are still going to be there to repeat their stupid mistakes.
It's fairly simple... Layoffs happen because cash is not available.
Cash is not available because subscription for Eve are not where they should be, and the growth does not provide indication enough that the prospect are overwhelmingly positive, so investors are not going to poney up cash if there's no good prospect.
The reason the subs are not where they should be is because of 2 failed InCarna expansions. We warned CCP it would happen, employees warned it would happen, and yet they went through with it.
Hilmar may have come forward to take the blame, and that's fine he's the CEO after all, but eventually one has to realize that Hilmar bases his decisions based on more than just himself. "People" had been pushing for that ridiculous plan. Yet they don't seem to have taken any blame for that.

In addition to which NeX could have been a success and a show for growth. Once again the release was botched, and the people responsible for the insane pricing structure are still around.

Bad decisions happen, especially when you try things out. A string of bad decisions in the face of contrary evidence however should result in sanctions.

Lay-offs, if they're unavoidable, are a good opportunity to get rid of the dead weight accumulated over the years. In every company there's people who are redundant, unproductive, and some who got there because of nepotism, sometimes all of the above. On this scale it's unavoidable that good people get eliminated who shouldn't be, but they can be a minority.

It seems that instead of axing the people responsible and the dead weight, CCP managed to botch its round of layoffs as well... Sad...

So once more, good luck and godspeed to the good people at CCP who got axed.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

How I do it

Being on the CSM, I get a barrage of complaints about the game, and people who contact me usually expect me to do something about it.

I spend countless hours reading about issues and problems voiced by people who engage in all of the activities eve has to offer. Living at a POS in wormholes is much harder than it needs to be, supercapitals are broken, industry hasn't had improvements in ages and many of the POS modules are useless, bots ruin the game, mining is boring and not really profitable, lowsec has no purpose, hybrids are broken, Black Ops are worthless, ... I could go on and on all day.

Many of the past CSM delegates burn out after a term, or even during the term, in no small part because not only do we get to listen and repeat that things are broken day in and day out, we have to face the frustration of dealing with the internal politics of a company, something the average player doesn't have to deal with; that the realities of software development are hard; and that resource allocation is never what we think it should be; etc. In addition to the "Eve Online" drama, we have the CSM Drama and the CCP Drama... CSM Members get sometimes bashed when CCP blunders, but you don't get to see how many blunders we actually manage to prevent.

Former and current CSM members sometimes comment "I don't know how you manage to do it and not get submerged by all this". I never thought about it very much, I just keep trudging along through thick and thin. After some thought the answer is pretty easy however: As it is, Eve Online is a good game. It has a large community of players, they're engaged, they communicate, they create things within the game and out of the game. The game itself is ever evolving, people find new things to use and abuse, groups of people rise and fall, everyone in their little corner of the game has something fun and interesting they're doing. They may be trying to build a mining corporation in highsec or shooting sansha in the face for fun and money or making traps for one another to blow their hard-earned spaceships up, but everyone is doing something, has a plan or a goal or a vision...

Eve is something that provides fun for the 18 year old college student in search of PvP adrenaline to my 81 year old (it's true) corpmate who enjoys logging in 1 or 2 hours a day to gather minerals and doing missions while chatting with people. We focus so much on the negative aspect we often lose sight of all the things that make Eve the great game it is, even with its issues.

I haven't turned all stary-eyed and morphed into a fanboi all of a sudden, I'm usually extremely [constructively] critical, I've been characterized as "Pitbull" or Mr. "What the hell is wrong with you" Cop during CSM-CPP meetings, but when trying to fix the flaws, it is sometimes nice to remember why we want to fix those so badly in the first place... So I take a step back, look at the game as a whole, and then dive into problem fixing :rage: mode.

Each has their own thing, but if you're curious my friends in Rooks and Kings are invaluable in providing the kind of fun I keep playing the game for (when I'm not busy manufacturing stuff :p), the latest examples of which can be read about here and here.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Once more into the breach, my friends

Verily, the bards will tell the tale of those valiant knights who went on to storm the castle, forsooth! Or something.

We showed up fresh for the meetings. There was one item on the agenda and that was to solve the non-vanity microtransactions. We went on over the messages, the historical and recent posts, we went over the intentions behind the words, past and present, we tried to tackle the problem in broad terms, in precise examples, eventually settled on leaving the easy stuff aside and attacking the problem by the middle (the grey areas).

We discussed the merits of precise (as in contractual) statements as opposed to vaguer statements. We discussed the definition of words. It wasn't easy. But we understood our mutual stances and worked from there.

Then we worked on the statements that each (the CSM and CCP) would publish following this summit separately then compared notes. Upon doing so, a 2 hour discussion flared up on an agreement we had met yesterday where one of the party was not in agreement anymore. Except it turned out they were and what each meant was not what the other meant. All in all, we all finished and agreed on the respective statements and went through with them.

Those statements are being translated, rereviewed and published most likely today.
There are always caveats when we can't talk about absolutes in such a tense situation. But I would advise the reader not to nitpick too much the wording.
I take the fact that CCP and the CSM argued so much over the definition of words and the statements in general as a sign they mean what they say.

The result is positive to me and I get out of the summit satisfied that I have done my job correctly, even though some things didn't go as far as I would have wanted (or as soon), but progress has definitely been made and the statements as they are stand on their own and it is my personal impression that this should restore a situation where we can finally start shooting one another again.

It is less important, but in addition to these things, we were shown parts of the next Eve marketing campaign (looks great), and received some surprising and welcome news as to the directions and progress several teams had made with their projects.

I am still in transit back from Iceland, and couldn't post yesterday due to hotel internet malfunction, but I'll be back home in a few hours.

If the devblog gets published and you have questions, I will log into Eve and here and on eve-o etc right as soon as I'm back home, so don't hesitate to ask questions.

Edit: while the released blog doesn't specifically address it: the player economy will not be circumvented. a painted/remodeled ship bought in the NeX store will require the regular version to be provided as well as AURUM.