Welcome to the nineteenth installment of the EVE Blog Banter, the monthly EVE Online blogging extravaganza created by CrazyKinux. The EVE Blog Banter involves an enthusiastic group of gaming bloggers, a common topic within the realm of EVE Online, and a week to post articles pertaining to the said topic. The resulting articles can either be short or quite extensive, either funny or dead serious, but are always a great fun to read! Any questions about the EVE Blog Banter should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out other EVE Blog Banter articles at the bottom of this post!
This months topic comes to us from @evepress, and he asks: The CSM: CCP's Meta Game? - The CSM, an eve player's voice to CCP. Right? In the grand scheme of things yes, the players bring up issues and the CSM presents them to CCP. But in its current iteration the CSM was supposed to be given small authority to assign CCP assets toprojects that the CSM thought needed work on. As it has not come out, this was not the case. So fellow bloggers, is the CSM worth it, has the CSM improved the game in any way, or is it just a well thought out scamby CCP to give us players a false sense of input in the game? What's your take?
In response to this question, allow me to preface my opinions by stating that I was not at any of the Council of Stellar Management (CSM) Meetings, and have never had an opportunity to speak directly with any of the CCP staff. Where my thoughts and opinions stem from are derived out of what I read on blogs and what I see happening (or not happening as the case might be) within the game itself. With that said….
I have been playing EVE Online for almost four years now. The first two years were as a blissful carebear, not knowing, nor caring about the politics that can easily run rampant within an MMO like EVE. When Factional War was introduced to the game, it gave me the chance to expand my horizons and become involved not only with PvP, but also with Player Corps. Opening my eyes to all of these new activities and events, I realized how important it is for the game to be balanced. Give one side an advantage, whether knowing or not, can quickly deplete the "fun factor".
According to EVElopedia,
The purpose of the CSM is to represent society interests to CCP. This requires active engagement with the player community to master EVE issue awareness, understanding, and evaluation in the context of the "greatest good for the greater player base". The scope of issues is restricted only to EVE, its ongoing development, and limited meta (out-of-game) issues which have direct relevance to the EVE universe. It is important to keep in mind that the CSM will not have formal powers within CCP, they will have a voice inside CCP.
Taking this definition, we can see that CSM's purpose is to focus the voices of thousands of players down to a handful of elected representatives, in order to communicate the concerns and desires of the players. In @evepress's original query, they make the following statement, "…CSM was supposed to be given small authority…." Looking at the EVElopedia statement, it clearly states, "It is important to keep in mind that the CSM will not have formal powers within CCP…" Therefore, even though CSM is the voice of the players, to consider them to be in any position of authority is a misnomer.
When players express their desires for certain changes to the game, it's usually because there are problems being faced. One example I can recall are the Factional Warfare Plexing bugs. Last year, the Amarr militia had been swarmed by pilots who were actively utilizing these bugs, and since CCP would not address this issue, the bugs were heavily exploited and FW turned into a horrendous mess. From my end of the keyboard, I really had the impression that my complaints, and those of my peers, were going unheeded. In the end, it destroyed the game for many of us, and full recovery didn't occur until May of this year. CSM was established to carry these concerns to CCP and make sure they were heard, with the hopes that corrections can be made.
Now that the recent CSM has returned from Iceland, and as a player, I am receiving third party information that CCP is continuing to disregard our concerns. Granted, CSM has no real power, but to not address the voices of the players is a grim matter. This continues to broadcast the idea that CCP is not serious about the wishes of the players, and that CSM is for appearances only. Once again, the Council itself bears no power, but if the issues they present are not responded to, it bears an unspoken reply that CSM is only for show. If this image of the Council of Stellar Management is not addressed, it does have the potential of pushing many players away from the game, which I honestly hope doesn't happen.
I realize that CCP has a bigger picture than I do as a player. They are forced to set priorities and make decisions based on the good of the game as a whole. Yet, to not publically acknowledge our concerns nor address the issues that are important to the players, allows a breakdown in communication. Though CCP has a heavy burden to keep the game with its entirety in perspective, they must also realize that when we send our CSM representatives in to voice our concerns, and they come back empty handed, this communicates a lack of respect for the paying subscriber.
I don't know what CCP's motives are, with regards to CSM. It's an extremely hot topic, that must be faced and rectified, or matters will only degrade even worse.