Tuesday, July 20, 2010

19th EVE Online Blog Banter: CSM and CCP

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 crazykinux@gmail.com. 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.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Re: Blessed are the Cursed

Throughout the game of EVE Online, CCP has provided a large scale virtual reality and a broad spectrum of opportunities. While one player can enter the game with a desire to mine ore, and build his empire on trade, another can enter this arena with no greater desire than to blow someone else up. This wide variety is the strong point of EVE Online, and CCP has wisely chosen to interfere as little as possible. As with so many other aspects of life, strong points always bring along some weak points as well, and one of the greatest weak points in EVE is its lack of clarity when it comes to culture and background.

This month, EVE Online A Ghost Blog put out an article entitled, Blessed Are the Cursed. In this article he portrays the capsuleer as both being blessed with an eternal lifespan, while being cursed with forever being imprisoned in a pod.

Though I greatly respect the perspectives of others, and regard their development in the realm of role playing, I am forced to point out that this is not entirely accurate, when it comes to what CCP has offered.

Over the past several years, CCP has officially announced their efforts to bring out what is code named: Incarna. For the longest time, it had been referred to as Walking in Station, but the gist of the matter is that capsuleers do have the ability to leave their pods and walk around as they did before their conversion into a capsuleer.

During the 2009 Fan Fest, CCP presented a video introducing their efforts to make Incarna a reality.

Now, I am not about to point out how these notions are incorrect, but as an opinionated pilot/ player, this perspective I must totally disagree with. And since this is in fact MY blog , I get to post my ideas!


First off, Capsuleers as a whole, do in fact can and will leave their pods. Speaking from the perspective of Gabby, he has been a normal person for quite some time. The first 4-5 decades had been normal, and this is what he is used to. Granted, being a Pod Pilot is a big rush. You are surrounded and integrated into vast amounts of power, it is only natural to feel more comfortable for a capsuleer to be in his pod than out, but like Gabriel, many other pilots have a life outside of the pod.

The Theodoulos home world is Khopa IV. It's a small system a couple of jumps from Amarr, and the family as a whole, are aristocratically comfortable. Gabriel has family, and in the virtual reality, it is only natural for him to interact, as he had all his life. For him to be forced to live his eternity in a pod, would be psychologically terrible (as pointed out in Ghost's blog).

Second, I must stand up to and address this video provided by CCP and disagree with it as well. This pilot is forcing himself to leave the pod because he must do something that he does not wish to show up on any network. The impression I am left with is that he finds it absolutely revolting to walk around as a normal human. From the psychological perspective, I also have to disagree with this as well. Gabe, is more used to being out of a pod than in it, because he has spent the most part of his life, being out of the pod, and interacting as a normal human being. Granted, the power and strength of a capsuleer is phenomenal, but as a human, he is still a bipedal creature, needing to interact.

Now, out of concern with ruffling a few feathers, allow me to say that with EVE Online, anyone can take the liberties to create any type of background and culture they want. But to paint all capsuleers as being cursed to live forever in a pod, is not the norm.

Hopefully, within this millennium, CCP will bless us with Incarna. When this happens, Ghost's curse will be lifted and he will be free to wander around in blissful freedom. But until then, we are forced to obtain our liberties through our imagination!

Fly Safe!

Monday, July 12, 2010

PLEX: Finally Undocking

CCP Zulu, in his latest blog, has revealed CCP's plans to remove some of the limitations of PLEX (Pilot's License EXtention). In the past, PLEXes were not allowed to be removed from stations, because of CCPs fear of legal repercussions when an object of real value enters a game, and is subject to loss.

When PLEX was introduced into the game, CCP had some serious and legitimate concerns that this new item would be so volatile in the players mind that it had to have certain boundaries. So they implemented a few restrictions on this one item that made it behave differently from all the other items in-game. The biggest difference between the PLEX and other objects was the fact that you couldn't undock with PLEX in your cargohold. It was in fact bound to the station the pilot initially redeemed the PLEX in, only available to put on the market there (or use or whatever). PLEX was also restricted from courier contracts as they couldn't be couriered to anywhere anyway.

Because EVE Online is a complex game, and the players are habitually out-thinking the developers of EVE by taking the game much farther than the original intention, PLEXes were carefully guarded and monitored. Now, after careful deliberation, CCP is willing to take the Pilot's License EXtensions to the next level. The following is a list of changes made:

• CCP will remove the restriction on undocking from a station with a PLEX in your cargo hold
• CCP will remove the restriction that PLEX cannot be put into courier contracts
• CCP will remove the restriction that items (including PLEX) can only be redeemed into NPC stations
• CCP will remove the restriction that items (including PLEX) can only be reverse-redeemed from NPC stations
• CCP will remove the restriction that ETC can only be converted into PLEX while inside an NPC station.

I personally do not deal with PLEXes any more. Sure, there was a time when ole Gabby needed some serious iskies, but now, the brunt of my income is made through Factional Warfare. Yet, back when I did sell PLEXes (GTCs), I always found it a real bother to be hampered by the limitations placed upon them by CCP.

I am eager to see how these new changes pan out, and hope it is for the best, all around.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

This is a Test

Hey there folk!

One of the biggest problems I am faced with, in regards to blogging, is that all of the really great comments and thoughts come to me when I am not sitting at the computer. So, I decided to invest in an iPad, and see if this will help me work on many of my projects, including the zoo. Of blogs I run!

So, forgive me for posting this initial test blog. I am wanting to make sure everything works, before relying on it!

Amarr Victor!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad