Greedy Goblin

Monday, September 24, 2012

What's wrong with CSM?

The blogs and forums are all over with the underperformance of the CSM. The “Council of stellar management” is a player-elected group of players in EVE online who have direct connection to the developers of the game. It’s the seventh CSM, elected with more votes than ever, following the sixth which worked with great results. The players who used to praise CSM6 now curse CSM7 for incompetence, laziness, being unable to make decisions, communicating badly.

Of course none of them offer solution, besides the generic "work harder", "talk more to the players" nonsense. Reading lot of real life election news and editorials nowadays, due to the "47% scandal", I think I know what’s wrong with CSM: they try to represent the players. That can’t be done, because "the players" isn’t a group. Highsec miners are equally players as hulkageddoners. "F1-drones" are just as players as "l33t PvP-ers". FW AFK-orbiters are no less of players than highsec missioners. Gatecamping pirates pay the same subscription as haulers.

Such differences in real life are handled via the majority election. If the majority of the Americans believe that obamacare, medicare and high taxes are great, Obama will remain president. If they are minority, Romney will be it. The other group can eat cake, the president will act against their will, harming their interest. The focal point of the 47% scandal is that Romney told the truth that it’s not his job to care about the Obama voters. He wouldn’t be their president, just like Obama wouldn’t be the president for republicans, even if he is smart enough to claim the opposite.

What the CSM tries to achieve is the "great national coalition". Such things do happen in dire times. For example the former opposing parties of Greece united to try to save the country from bankruptcy. The monoclegate of CSM6 was such situation. "Greed is good" threatened all players, regardless of their playstyle. During this time the CSM had to be united and act as one. But that was the exception, not the rule. The normal way is constant arguing. The CSM should not have a common opinion outside of such cases of emergency.

If CCP asks "what about lowsec gateguns" the representative of the pirates should collect data and evidence against it. He should do his best proving that gateguns are harming a valid playstyle. The representative of industrialists and null/WH haulers should do the same for it. He should prove how gatecamps are just fun for a few dozens while ruins the life of thousands. They should not come to an agreement, CCP shall make the decision based on their arguments. The Mittani was considered great in CSM6 because he did his job. He represented his group, the Goons against everyone else. The titan nerf served no other than GSF (and TEST), as it stopped established players to be able to fight outnumbering newbies. The representatives of "elite" nullsec groups should have stop it from happening, that was their job.

Now, when CCP asks "what about lowsec gateguns", the CSM members answer with a guess about the opinion of the majority of the players. However their guess is just as good as yours or mine or any random CCP dev. Giving a random guess doesn’t worth an air ticket to Iceland. On the other hand they know for sure the opinion and arguments of their "party" and it would be valuable information for CCP.

I believe the bad state of CSM is more or less the result of the election and management process of it. CCP could make significant difference.
  • At first they should point out that being on CSM isn’t a fun past time. There shouldn’t be drinking and partying in Iceland as it fosters friendship and niceness. Obama and Romney don’t go out for a beer night together. The miners hate Goons, if their representative is nice to the Goon one, he is practically betraying the people who voted him in. On the forums he should be their voice, openly treating Goons the way his voters want to (and of course receive the same treatment in return). He should go to Iceland in a "Fuck Goons!" T-shirt, just like The Mittani said in his CSM7 program "If you think that suicide ganking should be banned, I don’t want your vote. In fact, tell me where you hang out, so I can drop a Brutix on you.". The above can be factilitated by making the CSM meetings as formal and job-like as possible.
  • CSM minutes should be more readily available, allowing the players to give faster feedback to their representatives. “call your congressman” is a common civilian movement, same should be with CSM.
  • No NDA for CSM! CSM represents the people. Whatever they know should be known to the people. By giving them secrets, CCP makes CSM "inside men", loyal to CCP and not to the players. If something is not ready to be shown to players, CSM shouldn’t see it either.
  • CSM should have a manageable size. There is no point for non-travelling members. They should be N equal representatives.
  • A more equally representative election system. Had The Mittani wouldn’t lose his seat over being stupid, the Goons would still have one voice for 10K votes. The FW people has the same one voice for 1/4 as many votes. 1/4 of the votes were lost as given to candidates who don’t have seat. The complete STV (not the Trebor Daehdoow version) should be implemented: here if there are N seats, you need 1/N vote for a seat. Let’s say 50K voters, 10 seats, that’s 5000 votes/seat. If a candidate gets 6000, then 1000 votes will be transferred to their secondary candidate. So Goons with 10000 votes would have 2 seats. If everyone over 5000 votes got his seat, the lowest vote candidate is removed and the votes for him are changed to the secondary. So people who voted for him won’t lose their vote but it goes to the candidate who they think second best. On the vote ballot the voter can give 10 names in order, but he don’t have to fill them all out. If he leaves spots open, it’s automatically filled according to the template given by their primary candidate.

For trade and industrial discussions join Goblinworks channel.
If you want to get into nullsec but don't know how, go to the official forum recruitment thread and type the name of the alliance you seek into the search and start reading. I'm in TEST by the way.

Saturday morning report: 156.5B (5.5 spent on main accounts, 3.8 spent on Logi/Carrier, 3.2 on Ragnarok, 2.6 on Rorqual, 2.4 on Nyx, 2.8 on Dread, 17.4 sent as gift)
Sunday morning report: 155.8B (5.5 spent on main accounts, 3.8+1.0 spent on Logi/Carrier, 3.2 on Ragnarok, 2.6 on Rorqual, 2.4 on Nyx, 2.8 on Dread, 17.4 sent as gift)
On Monday there is no report because:


Anonymous said...

But EVE is not a sovereign country. What few every acknowledge is that, if when the CSM represents players, it is not working in CCP's best interest.

While a business wants to keep its customers happy, it is at least as important to see why 98+% of MMO players do not play EVE Online. Only the most hardcore vote and it takes the more rabid/organized of those to get elected.

If you ask the president of the 3-ton SUV club whether GM should make electric commuter cars or 3.5 ton SUV, (s)he will say 3.5. The most committed subset of the group tends to want far more cost, complexity and exclusivity than is in the vendor's best interest.

CCP should still ascertain what the CSM and the bloggers want. The missing piece is that in most all cases they should do the opposite.

Anonymous said...

Removal of NDA is kind of head in the clouds kinda stuff.

If there was no NDA, CCP wouldn't tell the CSM anything. There are commercial realities which require the NDA to be in place. Whilst I agree its not ideal to have it in place I would rather it be there and the CSM gets early warning of Dumb Ideas coming out of CCP - where they can hopefully reason against said dumb ideas, then to not have it and end up with a NeX store scandle every 6 months.

The CSM works even with the NDA and all the other things. The problem players have with the current CSM is the lack of communication about what they CAN talk about - along with the agressive behavior whenever any of the 'voting public' calls them out on it.

Anonymous said...

the csm is an advisory board,
not a competative democracy with everyone trying to push his own interests.
and actually that is a good thing.

Gevlon said...

CSM is obviously advisory board but it gives advice on behalf of whom? They try to give one generic "of the players" advice instead of 7 different advices on behalf of different player groups.

What commercial realities need NDA in a video game? The cut of tritanium prices? Players will know when it hits sisi.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the whole model of having antagonistic, extremist-fueled parties that won't talk or compromise with each other is working so well for us here in the USA right now that I'd definitely recommend it for Eve.

Or Not.

Anonymous said...

EVE is not a game and players are not here to have fun. The CSM should reflect that.

Anonymous said...

Gevlon: the commercial realities of new features - the video games market is highly competitive, and keeping things secret is an important way to protect IP, allow you to get a working feature in the hands of your players before any of the competition manages to do so.

The NDA is also important for managing player expectations - to prevent Soon(TM).

The commercial realities have nothing to do with what happens in the video game - its about protecting CCP, its employees and its intellectual property.

Gevlon said...

Except CSM has little interest in IP. I mean if you developed a revolutionary game engine that can handle a 10K battle without lag/TiDi, all you have to say to CSM that "the game will run faster", or you need to say nothing as I'm sure no player will be upset by the change.

CSM/players are interested in in-game choices and balancing that is EVE specific and totally uninterested to other MMOs. I doubt Blizzard would care about how Ihubs will be upgraded in FW-low.

Anonymous said...

The things which get NDA'd are not balancing issues (except to manage expectations until such time as they are well along their way in the development pipeline) - the stuff that gets NDA'd is the truly revolutionary stuff. Dust 514 and its integration with eve for example was heavily NDA'd.

And who are you to assume what the CSM would be interested in? The point is if there was no NDA CCP would not feel comfortable telling them all the things they do tell them. Maybe the CSM isn't interested in the detail, but if one of those small details could be a bone of contention with the player base I'd rather them know about it then not.

Also, CCP's castle, CCP's rules - if they want an NDA there is no amount of bleating from the CSM or the blogosphere that will change that.