Friday 9 March 2012

Blog Banter 34: Spaceship Politics

"How would you like to see the CSM grow, both in terms of player interaction and CCP interaction?"
 — Freebooted's Blog Banter 34

When I was at FanFest 2011, having a wonderful time in a strange foreign land meeting people who were more sociopathic than myself, news filtered around that some idiot who obviously didn't understand how the game worked had gone and nerfed anomalies in null sec. The CSM got no forewarning of this. It just happened. I use the term "idiot" in the original Greek sense of "uninformed and unaware", it's a little stronger than merely "naive". The intent of the nerf was to make space worth fighting over again: everyone present at FanFest knew that the result would simply be more null sec folks running L4 missions in hisec. Anyone thinking about this for more than a few seconds would have been able to tell CCP Soundwave that the idea of nerfing some space to make people fight over rich space was preposterous.

When CSM was visiting Iceland, they wanted to talk to the Ambulation/Incarna team, but that team didn't want to talk to anyone. Then Incarna was released, and it was a steaming pile of dog poo that nobody liked, especially not the people who were looking forward to walking in stations as opposed to sitting on couch.

Then last week, a devblog was released about reworking the skill trees required to fly spaceships, along with an announcement of a long awaited tier-icide. The CSM got not forewarning of this. It just happened.

Throughout my history with the game, watching as a bystander while the rest of the world happened around me, the one thing that has been accepted as a self-evident truth of the game was that CCP doesn't do communication. If nothing else, I would like to see CSM7 focus on encouraging CCP to collectively lift their skirts a little, and perhaps even join the players on the dance floor. And do that communicate thing.

Whether you like them or not, the people elected to CSM7 will be amongst the most experience players in EVE Online. They will understand not just the mechanics of the game itself (better than most of the devs, it seems), but they will understand how the game is played and what motivates players to play that way. Sure, their views will be skewed towards their own play style, but as long as all the CSM can keep from commenting on parts of the game they don't understand ("day tripping" to C1 & C2 in a hulk to mine ABC? even CCP Soundwave isn't that silly), we should be fine. More on that "day tripping" stupidity later.

As poor as CCP's collective communication skills are, CSM6 has been pretty bad on their own count. Sure, a couple of members blogged about some stuff, but there was little in the way of engaging the players on the forums. The Mittani apparently convinced the lot of them to present one unified voice, and then proceeded to use that one unified voice to say nothing, since The Mittani was already communicating with his constituents through Goonswarm internal forums.

CSM5 was more involved with the community: they burned themselves out on it, in fact. So while I truly appreciate the work that Robert and Carole put into the game, I really miss the presence of Mynxee in the game (even though I've never even been on grid with her).

Somewhere in the middle there must be a point at which the community outside Goonswarm feels that the CSM is communicating with them (through the official forums, guys, not through a dozen different blogs), and that CCP is communicating with the CSM. I don't hold hope that this will happen while The Mittani is held in esteem by the other CSM members. No doubt the null sec bloc representatives will spend a disproportionate amount of CCP's listening time talking about how wonderful Supercapitals are/should be/shouldn't be.

Communication was the main issue with CSM5 and CSM6. I don't see why it should be any different for CSM7.

And CCP? Lift those skirts a little. A little more communication (especially with the CSM, before you publish anything to the world) will not hurt.

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