Events alluded to in my last post are only part of the reason for my silence here. We’re in the midst of the usual doldrums as various CCP developers take their summer vacations. Most notable is the absence of CCPs Rise, Greyscale and Ytterbium, who account for the majority of the design team. All left us things to look at before departing, but in their absence things have been quiet. Mostly. A topic and solution in our regular sprint review with Team Five-O pressed my rant button, but once I calmed down a bit and started discussing, I think I made my point well and hopefully we’ll see some small but nice changes effected for it. And, we’ve had similarly spirited discussions from time to time on Topics of Future Interest.
Hyperion will be dropping this coming Tuesday, though, and the developers currently on vacation should be coming back before long, so I expect things to pick back up as everyone settles in fresh from vacation to work on the upcoming winter releases in earnest. Sugar Kyle recapped the features of Hyperion nicely over on her blog, so I won’t repeat that, but there is one thing to touch on – the small adjustment to Planetary Interaction. As originally designed, only a member of the sovereignty holding alliance could drop a command center in sovereign nullsec, rendering half of the tax based controls that govern effective usage in every other area of space largely pointless. In Hyperion that’s going away, so they’ll work just like anywhere else – usable by anyone, if you’re willing to pay the tax rates. The exclusivity was probably meant as a minor bonus for sov null, but the reality is it just meant we have less control over our POCOs than other areas of space. Restrictions are fine, but this is a sandbox, so let us decide how to apply them, right?
The change to this feature highlights one of the truths of the CSM. It’s far from being the arbitrarily powerful group all too many credit it as being, capable of dictating anything to CCP at any time and having it happen. (As an aside, how anyone can actually look at what gets changed when and still believe that is a mystery I will never solve.) The truth is that the majority of the CSM’s work involves feedback and adjustments and so forth to whatever CCP is working on next in the plan.
I have to imagine that some of the dramatic misconceptions of CSM influence come from the Incarna fiasco, where (if you listen to most people’s version of history) most people seem to believe that the CSM and Mittani in particular bludgeoned CCP into changing course. There’s certainly some truth to it, but a gargantuan dose of public outrage combined with media scrutiny and criticism surely provided the extra “oomph” to make it happen. It was likely a once in a lifetime event, and such dramatic shifts are unlikely to ever happen again. Smaller ones can occur, though, but it can be a crapshoot. Sometimes an impassioned effort can get something to happen quickly. Other times a suggestion or idea will fall on deaf ears entirely. And other times, as with this PI change, it will go untouched for weeks or months, until being seized upon again at just the right time. That’s what happened in this case, with corebloodbrothers actually being the one to bring it up – perhaps unsurprisingly, since the restriction is a massive headache for the game’s only major NRDS entity that he represents. I pitched in my support, and this time, CCP picked it up. The few other PI related enhancements I’ve advocated for for awhile, though, not so much. Perhaps another day.
I probably sound like I’m being a downer on the CSM and what it can accomplish, and that’s not intentional. As I said, the bulk of our work does involve working on what CCP is working on, giving early and ongoing feedback and suggesting changes and refinements. In that regard, we’re plenty influential – there were countless times on CSM8 and have been just as many on CSM9 so far where the suggestion of just one member, well argued (and often hewing to Greyscale’s suggestions for effective feedback, incidentally) effects significant change on a planned feature. I like to think my public post on freighter lowslots was influential in redirecting that change, for example, and both Steve Ronuken and I provided CCP Greyscale with extensive feedback publicly and privately as he worked to adjust numbers on invention, copying and so forth. Those are just a few that are public enough that I’m okay sharing, so I’ll have to simply say “trust me that there’s more” for now.
One last note before signing off. Yes, Somer Blink appears to be up to it’s PLEX incentives again. And no, I’m not going to comment on it any further just yet. It’s a Sunday, it’s late in Iceland, and I’d rather talk to CCP about it first.
Until next week!