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Category: Council of Stellar Management

This started as a reply to Trebor’s blog post but I expanded it a little (for some reason I can’t post a comment there ;)). Please read his post for context, though I’ve gone a bit off topic in places ๐Ÿ˜‰ Consider it a stream of conciousness piece.

Also while checking out other blogs, see I Was There by Kirith Kodachi and Reality Check by Seleene.

Also please note that one of the main issues I had with incarna was a feature that still hasn’t (as far as I know) been mentioned by CCP in public and thus might no longer be planned and yes I am aware that after telling CSM5 a number of times that it wouldn’t be an option that CCP talked about letting people opt out of CQ. Hold them to it ๐Ÿ˜‰


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Trebor, CCP were at this crossroads at least 18 months ago. At that time they decided to ignore any negative assessment of Incarna, 18 months and the general focus of Eve (Don’t worry guys it will be AWESOME! Trust Us”.

This isn’t a slight at those hard working people at CCP who have no control over the big decisions, however there are clear signs that even some of the staff are not happy with this current direction. Yes it is wise for CCP to branch out and get a second revenue stream, this is expected and required. However the point I kept on making and was probably laughed at for was this:

CCP have 600 staff many supporting families that are being supported mostly by the income from a single product and any venture capital they raised for additional projects. This is not the time to dick around with the cash cow, this is the time to take care of it whilst the other projects are prepared for release.

But CCP are fearless (some might say clueless :P) and instead decided that they could continue the stagnation of the core game (other than some quick fixes), add enforced bolt ons such as Incarna (sit alone or get shown the door) and remove the face from every character in the game without providing enough flexibility in the system to allow people to create something similar. There is no evidence that they considered the jarring effect this would have (an aside here, look at the thought Blizzard have been putting into protecting the way people’s characters look while they discuss updating the models, they have spoken about the issue a few times recently โ€“ did you notice that CCP? I know many of your staff are wow players).

Yes enforced avatar removal might seem like a petty complaint to some people (especially given my stance on incarna), but it was utterly unnecessary and as the infrastructure in place is just serving out static images it could have been preloaded had CCP actually cared about existing player immersion. The fact is it was done for two reasons. 1) somebody in art direction hated the old faces so didn’t want to see them anymore and 2) CCP wanted to claim they had the best character creator in the industry when clearly APB was far more advanced ;)) It was a case of CCP know best and players can deal with it or quit.

Speaking of ABP, we come to another problem. CCP are now actively discouraging or scared of letting players use the sandbox. The “time to penis” excuses are just CCP derping. They have the ability to set the rules on the creation of content (even restricting the publication of new items to accounts over a certain age to stop alt account spamming), but it would put the players at odds with CCP’s double dipping if players were able to create and sell clothes etc to each other.

Look at second life for the concept of player driven content done well and making money from it. Players create the items, they pay a small fee to upload them (A service which CCP could have handled as a one off charge with microplex) and can then sell copies to other players โ€“ wow, player driven market, how scary. CCP could have taken this concept further and made the upload into a type of clothing BPC which needed PI materials to create (for example). A BPC means that you can charge for another upload in future which would be worthwhile to the creator if the item is popular etc. See CCP, it is possible to think up content for players in stations that builds on the old flying in space features (though describing PI as part of FIS is a stretch ;)) without enforcing use of one or the other. A player market would develop for these clothing items and expanding the amount of things that can be provided from PI whilst keeping the number of structures a single person can manage adds more choice to the production. I wouldn’t care if such a system was developed because I had no interest in playing avatar dress up โ€“ but I know some people do. It is possible to cater to both sets of people without pissing them off if you provide choice not enforcement. You might think it is a terrible idea, that’s cool I’m not a game designer and never claimed to be. Point is there was never any discussion with the CSM about how player produced content could be handled. We just get “time to penis” as the reason behind it.

Anyway, Virt level WOT aside ๐Ÿ˜‰ the take home point here is that both Wow and Eve have recently been focusing more on attracting newer players (wow by redoing all the low level content (plus making level 1-20 free) and Eve by trying to cater to the sitting in stations market) and both have seen a significant drop of paid subscriptions (if Eve PCU is an indication though apparently wow is picking up a good number of trial accounts). Both companies assumed the limited high end content would keep their long term players happy but it is clearly not the case and long term players are burning out at a faster rate than newer players are signing up.

As people wondered a while ago โ€“ 18 months started when?

Tea

The minutes are in the usual places – CSMdb or Eve Wiki

We’ve been working on the Incarna letter discussed at the end of the meeting but it isn’t likely to be released to the public any time soon (many people on the CSM feel we should give CCP even more time to sort their shit out). As mentioned in the Minutes, the Incarna team have yet to engage in discussions with the CSM since the summit (it would appear the person in charge is bored already and is making videos of the new char creator instead ;))

I’ve been keeping track of the issue about concord killing Incursion remote repair fleets (due to global criminal flagging if a person being repaired commits a criminal act) and it was mentioned as a potential issue ages ago. Hopefully whatever quick fix they put in place doesn’t make matters worse.

Happy new year!

Hopefully I’ll find more time to post here this year, we’ll see how that pans out ๐Ÿ˜‰

Currently the main news is that the CSM December summit minutes are being passed around within CCP for participants to contribute their notes too. Whilst this should stop the “Huh?” moments within CCP when the minutes come out, be assured that if we feel CCP are trying to play the NDA card too much we’ll push back before publication. This process might take a week, please be patient, stuff is happening.

I am however rather burned out again what with the shear amount of idiocy with a specific feature and the inability of CCP to make a case for its existence. I’m willing to be proved wrong, but so far on “Excellence” and “Microtransactions” we’ve been right on the money…

I’ve been away for a few days so am still catching up on emails and eve mails. Also I know there are a few gaps in the summary minute list, I’m still plugging away at them when I have the chance.

Hopefully work will settle down soon so I can spend a bit more time on CSM issues ๐Ÿ™‚

A couple of days ago the CSM5 Summit 1 minutes were published by CCP. In a continued evolution of the CSM process, CCP gave us a draft version to edit so that our notes could also be added. Mynxee spent time combining these and sent them back to CCP. This was repeated a second time and to their credit CCP changed very little (if anything) before publishing them. It did take a little longer than for the CSM4 summit due to the extra input from everyone, but those of you who’ve read them will also understand why it was important to spend the time making sure nothing was missed.

The result
We have a very frank and honest document from CCP which basically states that as far as big fixes (such as lowsec, FW or Corp roles) there isn’t going to be any resource available for around 18 months. Worse still it seems that the most supported issue in the history of the CSM (I suspect this is the case anyway ;)) has only resulted in straight out refusal of CCP upper management to believe the customer concerns about quality.

I’m not interested in Dust and I don’t even have a console capable of playing it. I’m not convinced that Incarna will bring anything of value to internet spaceships, I just want to play Eve

The player reaction has been mostly positive of the CSM (with a few exceptions) and pretty damning of CCP. Some of the (bitter) vets have already given up on CCP having a change of heart, but I remain (stupidly?) optimistic that continual pressure will lead to a change of focus at least within the Eve team schedules.

Where does this leave the CSM?
We continue to hold meetings and will be publishing our minutes of these, but all this is of limited use if CCP don’t have spare dev time or outright refuse to allocate any to player raised and championed issues. There have been calls for a mass resignation of the CSM, but I feel that is the wrong thing to do at this time. My reasoning is that such a frank statement of CCP’s 18 month plan for Eve would never have been released without CSM having called them to account for excellence and quality. If CCP want to disband the CSM then that is their call and they can deal with the fallout, we shouldn’t make their lives easier by packing it in right now.

I may feel differently after the December summit but I’m hoping that before then with a united eve blogosphere that we can get people within CCP to listen.

Tea

There has been a fairly large amount of speculation about the removal of Ankhesentapemkah from the fifth CSM. As is the way of these things people are trying to fill in the missing information and in doing so have distorted the truth of an NDA breach into some kind of witchhunt against a plucky CSM rep who dared to stand up and tell CCP their game sucks.

Lets lower the level of paranoia a bit and instead look at the published facts (from Eve-o and various blog posts).

Disclaimer, I have very little additional information about the NDA breach and what I do know I can’t share..

What has been made known by CCP and a few CSM reps who have risked their own position to correct some of the wilder speculation is that.

  1. There was an NDA breach by Ankhesentapemkah
  2. It wasn’t related to the CSM5 summit or any subsequent blog posts
  3. It relates to confidential data that CCP do not wish to discuss
  4. Other CSM reps disagreed with CCP during the summit to a similar if not harsher degree and some made forum posts and blogs about it without being removed.
  5. CCP think the damage done by not disclosing more information is better than letting the full details be known.

 
 
In detail
 

  1. CCP state a breach of NDA occurred and that Ank has been removed from the CSM. Ank (through a massively article) disputes that any breach occurred.
  2.  

  3. Sok and DV post on various forums that the breach didn’t relate to the CSM5 summit, though having thought better of it have (in at least DV’s case) edited that information out again. Other CSMs posted some limited details on blogs and forums which has not resulted in further NDA issues.
  4.  

  5. The type of breach and the data it relates to are such that CCP are refusing to give any details. This is a different situation to Larkgate when more detail was provided to state insider trading of market commodities, though leaving the actual item types out of the details.
  6.  

  7. Eva was certainly not the only CSM rep to strongly disagree with CCP during the summit. The minutes will hopefully be out this week (though with today’s events I expect a further delay :(). The idea that CCP would go to the trouble of removing one member of the CSM on a fake NDA breach to shut them up is laughable.
  8.  

  9. Confirming a breach occurred but neglecting to give any details of what type of breach and when it occured is, IMO, likely to cause more wild speculation but that is the route CCP have decided. CSM5 have been in contact with CCP over this but unless CCP issue a statement nothing can be discussed.

 

No matter whatn the damage has been done. It is yet another blow to the CSM process just as it was regaining credibility after the CSM3 scandal last year. Eva will likely not be allowed to run for CSM again (assuming her appeal fails) and her take care party will be viewed with suspicion in future.

 
I read a company motto once which said “The good we do reflects on you”.
Sadly the reverse is also true…

Tea

The CSM5 Iceland summit starts tomorrow but I won’t be able to talk about the content till the minutes are out :(.

Because I was over early (to hang out with the AT8 crew) I got to talk to a number of people about Lowsec and PVP in general. I pitched a few ideas to Kil2, Verone and a couple of pirates from The United and The Gurista Associates (IIRC) and they all had valid comments and ideas of their own too. In fact in the last few days I have spent most evenings talking about Eve till around 4am! The constant daylight makes staying up all night far too easy ๐Ÿ˜‰

I will blog properly about AT8 at some point and will try to blog a bit about the summit in general. Also keep an eye on my twitter.

Tea

It seems pretty clear that there are a number of people who enjoy the edited minutes. My plan is to retain them but to be a bit more aggressive with the editing process such that some of the longer or repeated arguments are summarized.

For the raw logs I will be removing the dates from the timestamps on each line as suggested by Belโ€™Shamharoth (search and replace FTW). In its place I will add the date of the meeting at the top of the file.

Longer term I will be able to cut and paste the discussion for an issue into the CSM Database (with links back to the minutes for reference). This should make it easier to see what is going with a proposal without having to read the whole meeting as well as giving me more things to search on for later features.

Once the summit is done and RL calms back down again things should return to CSM4 style schedules ๐Ÿ˜‰

Thanks for the feedback ๐Ÿ™‚

Firstly, the voting summaries and raw logs for meeting 2 and 3 are available from the CSM Database. The edited summaries are work in progress due to the frequency of meetings (three in two weekends), the 8th Alliance Tournament (watching and competing in) as well as extra hours at work to get things ready before I head to Iceland for the CSM5 summit. This leads me to the following question.

What format should I provide the CSM5 minutes in?

The main requirement from the CSM Secretary is to make meeting minutes available. Other than raw chat logs (minus any NDA information) there isn’t really any guidance on what additional formats (if any) should be provided.

For CSM4 I chose to release the raw logs (as a txt file and on the wiki), a TL : DR summary for the forums and this blog and finally a fairly verbose summary document which was almost line for line from the raw logs edited for readability with minor restructuring of interleaving/off topic discussions.

Now the raw and TL : DR don’t take very long at all to produce, but the edited summary can be fairly time consuming and I’ve had some feedback that most people read the TL : DR then if interested drill down into the raw logs. Considering the amount of time these edited versions take I’m wondering if I should produce a very very brief summary of each discussion instead. This would probably take less time but would enough people then miss the more verbose summary?

I’m looking for comments from the community because ultimately it is you guys and gals who need to have this information available. Please let me know ๐Ÿ™‚

Meeting took place Sat 5th June at 16:07

Eve Wiki Link Summary and raw logs
Downloads Raw Log | PDF Summary | CSM5 Attendance PDF

TL:DR

Present: CCP Xhagen, CCP Diagoras, CCP Hammer, Mynxee, Ankhesentapemkah, Dierdra Vaal, Korvin, Vuk Lau, TeaDaze, Trebor Daehdoow, ElvenLord (alt), Alekseyev Karrde (CSM4), Mrs Trzzbk (CSM4), Z0D (CSM4)

Apologies: Meissa Anunthiel

Absent: Sokratesz, mazzilliu (alt), T’Amber (alt), Helen Highwater (alt), ALPHA12125 (alt)

Results
This was a handover meeting so no issues were discussed.

Mynxee confirmed she would accept the position of chairwoman.

Dierdra Vaal elected as vice chairman
Ankhesentapemkah: Vuk Lau
Mynxee: Dierdra Vaal
Trebor Daehdoow: Dierdra Vaal
TeaDaze: Dierdra Vaal
Dierdra Vaal: Dierdra Vaal
Korvin: Dierdra Vaal

TeaDaze voted as secretary
Vuk Lau: No preferance
Mynxee: TeaDaze
TeaDaze: TeaDaze
Trebor Daehdoow: TeaDaze
Korvin: TeaDaze
ElvenLord: TeaDaze
Dierdra Vaal: TeaDaze
Ankhesentapemkah: Ankhesentapemkah

Trebor Daehdoow voted as vice secretary
Dierdra Vaal: Ankhesentapemkah
Trebor Daehdoow: Trebor Daehdoow
TeaDaze: Trebor Daehdoow
Vuk Lau: Ankhesentapemkah
Mynxee: Trebor Daehdoow
Ankhesentapemkah: Ankhesentapemkah
Korvin: Trebor Daehdoow

Other Business

Second meeting already scheduled for Sunday 6th June at 18:00 eve time.

Meeting closed at 17:06