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...
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 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.
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.
"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]
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.
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Hi,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