CSM9 Update: Week Seven, Town Hall Edition

Quiet week. Not much going on, still. Sprint review with 5-0. Not too much else going on.

Let’s talk about the Town Hall instead. I jotted down most of the questions, and even though I wound up talking more than I expected to and so answered quite a few of them, I’ll repost answers here. Some of the questions are paraphrased, some aren’t, some are just links when they’re long. All these answers are my own, even in cases where the question asks what “the view of the CSM” is or some such.

1. A lengthy question concerning the story of EVE, who owns them, how they could change, and where Live Events come in.

Anything can be tweaked and adjusted by anyone telling it, whether that’s CCP or the players. Obviously some of those are tweaked for the sake of explaining things (alts as in the True Stories comics), others to better present (or gloss over?) the mechanics. There’s no real rigid rule as to when and how something should be tweaked, and there shouldn’t be. All of this applies to Live Events as well. The stories that come from those may be more guided, but the ones that are interesting to tell (such as the “slaughter of the lambs” story) are ultimately so because of player actions.

2. What is your stance on force projection. Do you guys think it needs any change?

I think considering it in isolation is somewhat foolhardy. “Force projection” isn’t an issue in its own right, the problem is how it interacts with the rest of the mechanics. So, while it almost certainly needs change and that change is just as certain to be tuning it back, “how much” is a harder question to answer.

3. Why don’t we have top hats in the NEXT store?

Good question. Largest travesty of our time, honestly.

4. How about making Blockade Runners immune to customs officers scanning for drugs?

How about not? Instead, let’s just throw out the contraband mechanic as it currently exists. Customs officers will scan you, but if they detect contraband, will merely flag you suspect and perhaps announce it on the grid or in the system. It’d be up to players to decide if they wanted to do anything at that point. Blockade Runners then have their natural advantage here in that they cloak and move fast.

As an addendum, eliminate the restrictions on contracting contraband, and drugs in particular. Huge barrier to their trade. A warning notification that a contract contains contraband should be sufficient.

5. What personal initiatives are various CSM members undertaking that you can talk about?

A few of us are gathering information on our various preferred areas to give to the PvE team to have a look at; Mike Azariah is doing Incursions, Corbexx is doing wormholes (naturally!), I’m gathering info on anomalies in nullsec, and Sugar Kyle is gathering general “PvE little things”. Steve is spearheading new gathering tools for “Little Things”. Mangala is talking with various social groups and corps in anticipation of future corp and alliance revamps, and Ali Aras has been doing work on new player learnability for the new industry system.

6. A question on disagreements between CSM members and how that affects the feedback we give to CCP.

The players we represent will disagree, why shouldn’t we? Suppressing disagreements in the name of unity or something along those lines would be doing CCP a developmental disservice and quite possibly suppressing issues they need to be considering about a feature before shipping it off to the players. We talk amongst ourselves and if there are multiple views, typically one person from each camp will say “These members feel this way”, so as to summarize the various viewpoints without spamming CCP. It’s the diversity that’s useful, not necessarily going “Yeah agreed, +1”

Pragmatically speaking, most of us are too bullheaded and egotistical to let our opinions go unheard even if they’re not the majority anyway. If we weren’t, we probably wouldn’t have run in the first place.

7. What is the CSM’s stance on interceptors that can be in warp before they can possibly be locked?

I’m okay with the very quick align time; we are not entitled to catch absolutely everything at a gate. The problem with the Malediction and Crow is the fast align, with the bubble immunity, combined with ability to apply their damage at speed and range. That third factor means they’re able to engage their targets with basically just as much impunity as they move around, and that’s the problem. I’ve posted one solution in the past (shuffle the Crow and Malediction into Combat interceptors and take the bubble immunity bonus away from that class in exchange for another bonus), Namamai has a simpler approach – simply force or at least encourage those two ships to use Rockets instead. That’d encourage them to make themselves vulnerable if they actually want to kill their targets.

8. Does the latest reorganization at CCP help or hinder CREST and third party development? And what about EVE-Gate as an out of game command center, especially for corp & alliance management?

One note on the first part of the question – HR matters at CCP are not one of the things that the CSM is generally privy to nor one that we give input on. That said, with the exception of CCP Xhagen (who was an associate producer) none of those let go were developers, as far as I’m aware, and so CREST and third party development should at least not be hindered.

As for EVE Gate, I’d love it if it were more powerful; I personally use it extensively to run the CFC renter alliances. .In general I’d say the development resources are probably better spent elsewhere though, but that does depend on who’s purview that kind of work would fall under. Whenever CCP gets around to the corp & alliances revamp that’s on the roadmap, though, it’d be a good time for another look.

9. A question about turning off the new tooltips.

Every time there’s a new feature, people want to be able to turn it off, to stay with the old stuff. And, no. That’d mean effectively maintaining two code bases, including legacy code CCP very much wants to be getting rid of. You’ll be better served explaining what the problem is with a feature and how it could be improved so that it can be fixed than you will be demanding the ability to turn it off.

10. When will the industry minutes for CSM8 be released?

Ask Ali Aras. She’s poked CCP Leeloo to get them released, so my hope is it’s soon!

11. What role is CSM9 taking with respect to integration of EVE Valkyrie and Legion?

When & if either of those games reach the point where CCP is working on integration I’d expect the CSM will work with both CCP and the CSM on that, but our primary involvement would be on the EVE side of things. For example, CCP could ask “what services would you like to be able to pay mercenaries to do” or “what kind of interaction with X game system would be interesting from the EVE side”. I wouldn’t expect to be working with CCP nearly as closely as we do on EVE things, however.

12. CCP says the goal is for everything in the game to be destructible. Does that include Jita 4-4? Wouldn’t that make the game unplayable for newbies and a lot of other people besides?

I’m pretty sure “everything should be destructible” should really read “everything that players build should be destructible.”

13. I travel for work and play alongside members of the military. With such military issues, would the CSM look at out of game queue management?

I’d have generally been all for this before today, but Steve Ronuken made the very good point that out of game queue management, especially if exposed to third party developers, essentially means no more queue. Whether “no more queue” as a concept is actually a good or bad thing is up for its own separate discussion, but if the conclusion is “yes, nuke it” I’d rather it be done in an overt way than a third party back door of sorts.

14. Lowsec used to suck. Now it doesn’t. But what about NPC nullsec?

So, I’d turn around and pose the question back to the person who asked: If NPC nullsec starts to get a lot of its own perks and advantages, what’s the point of lowsec then? Or depending on the type and magnitude of buffs, what’s the point of sovereign nullsec then? NPC null ought to have its own character and flavor, but I’m admittedly not quite sure what that is.

15. What about Syndicate LP store items? They’re kinda bad.

A problem universal to basically all LP stores is that they have their factional items, most of which are crap. So, you’re stuck with what few items are worth using, and then the stuff globally available, usually implants. If all your faction-specific items are crap, you’re kinda stuck, because the values on the global stuff is also crap. End of the day, it’s something best addressed as part of “metacide” – comprehensive module rebalancing – as CCP talked about at Fanfest.

16. What is the priority list for roadmap over the next year? Not looking for anything NDA here, just a general list of things that are going to be worked on.

Uh yeah, you actually are asking for anything NDA there. Sorry.

17. Lengthy question/rant about the ingame browser.

Be nice if it was better & more secure, more likely response (according to Steve Ronuken) is that it’ll be removed, eventually.

18. Has EVE Voice been abandoned? Improvements there would be nice.

Per Mangala, he’s spoken with the company that actually develops the back-end for EVE Voice and provided them with an extensive list of ways it could be improved for EVE’s purposes.

19. If Kronos has been released with the industry stuff, what would be in Crius?

Fixes, tweaks, minor features that hadn’t quite made the cut in time for Kronos, but with the teams responsible for industry then moving on to do invention (as is planned for post-Crius) it’d be a small patch. Something to keep in mind about the six week release tempo is that it doesn’t mean we get an expansion level release every six weeks, it just means that there is an opportunity for things to be released every six weeks. Smaller stuff – think of the typical contents of 1.x releases – can go out much more quickly, larger stuff can span several releases and push when ready.

20. Will we ever get walking in stations?

Yeah, probably not.

21. With outpost upgrades now being so much more valuable to have, are there any plans to rebalance their costs?

It sure would be nice! Personally, I’d settle for players being able to build them ourselves, with bonus points for the fillings they require either being built in or changed to something more compact. There’s effectively zero interesting gameplay surrounding the procurement, building, and upgrading of an outpost. Once the materials are in place, it’s a mad scramble for one lone pilot at an awful time (just before downtime) that consists of several freighter trips. Letting players build them just makes sense, making them just a bit easier to deploy relieves the bullshit now and paves the way for any gameplay surrounding their deployment when and if that’s ever revamped to be about putting up and defending it, not making a bunch of freighter trips.

22. What about ways for a small, organized group to disrupt a larger one in nullsec?

This is at least one element of what the “farms & fields” concept is about – I can improve my space and build ways to leverage more profit out of it, you can come along and destroy or steal it. There are other directions I’d like to see it go in the future as well. The key, though, is that they ought to require active input from the raider to carry out the disruption, and active play from the defender to eliminate the threat.

23. Should there be a minimum standard for politeness from the CSM?

If you want to be polite and reasonable in dealing with me, I’m happy to be polite and reasonable back. On the other hand, if you’re going to be a moron, I’m probably going to tell you you’re being a moron. And going a step further, if you want to be a troll, or just a general dick, then fuck you, you’ll deserve any abuse I heap back on you. And, while I’m sure this wasn’t the intent of the person asking the question, if you want to be a troll or just a general dick and be able to hide behind some mandatory “minimum standard for politeness”, then fuck you twice, you’ll deserve it even more.

In other words, no, not really. If you think a CSM is misbehaving on the forums, report their post and ISD will deal with it just like any other player. If you think we’re being bad outside CCP’s purview, then basically, tough.

24. If CCP suggests replacing null local with a hackable system deployable, where would the CSM stand on it?

I personally would listen to the suggestion and then tell them to go back to the drawing board, because if they’re taking the time to revamp intel gathering, they really ought to do it right, and “a hackable system deployable” (singular) sounds awfully shallow and boring.

25. Something about the CSM representing the whole playerbase.

So, the CSM collectively, as an organization, represents the entire playerbase, and given the mix of people we’ve got this year, it does a pretty good job. But the council is made up of individual members. Those CSM members do not and probably should not “represent the whole playerbase”. You, the individual, want an expert representing your interests, and none of us are experts in everything. Beyond that, occasionally the needs or desires of one part of the playerbase will conflict with or directly oppose those of another. And frankly, not all of the playerbase indicated interest in having me represent them, so I don’t feel especially inclined to do so.

26. Are more ship skins coming?

More ship skins were announced at Fanfest; the battleship skins were added in Kronos, and more will be coming over time. So, “yes”.

27. Does the CSM have plans to talk to CCP about integrating CSM voting into the client?

I think we’re all a bit concerned about the turnout and it’s something we certainly plan to engage CCP with in general. Implementing voting ingame might be one approach, though personally I think we’d get a better payoff elsewhere.

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5 thoughts on “CSM9 Update: Week Seven, Town Hall Edition

  1. 16. What is the priority list for roadmap over the next year? Not looking for anything NDA here, just a general list of things that are going to be worked on.

    Uh yeah, you actually are asking for anything NDA there. Sorry.

    > There was a nice slide from the Fanfest presentation by CCP Seagull. But yeah, beyond that, I’m not expecting you to tell us anything.

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  2. Back when I played EQ2, an expansion came out and screwed up the Vivox in-game voice comms, which my guild really relied on. One of my guildies wound up working with Vivox in testing the fixes SOE & Vivox put in place. He was impressed with the techs from Vivox, and he was pretty picky about giving out praise.

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  3. The restrictions on contracting contraband is probably partly there to prevent ‘double-wrapping’ and therefore getting contract haulers hilariously blown up.

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  4. “Every time there’s a new feature, people want to be able to turn it off, to stay with the old stuff.” Perhaps someone should spend some time exploring why this happens “every time” (an opinion I’m not saying is actually true). If CCP spent more time preventing colossal cock-ups, then perhaps they wouldn’t have to spend so much time battling the cries for “turn it back!” Case in point: how big of a moron does one have to be to fail to realize that putting new player experience oriented (NPE-oriented) tooltips onto the screen for everyone is a train wreck of a bad idea?

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