CSM Update – Week 24

CSM Meeting – November 29th, 2019

As always, there’s not any specific information to share due to the confidentiality of the discussions.

The group discussed the announcement of the HyperNet Relay and the release of the CSM Summit minutes.

Brief discussion of future CSM meetings and the Spring CSM Summit.

Introductions and discussion around some of the changes to how the Development teams function at CCP.

Detailed talk on the design timeline of a specific item.

General chat about upcoming system tests and what information the tests are planning to surface.  

The CSM brought up a few issues to discuss in more detail with the appropriate teams.

Dunk’s Corner

The news of Hypernet Relay is now public and being discussed. EVE players should know what I, as a CSM think about the feature in detail and with clarity.  Some will not agree with my viewpoint, but it’s expected that I present it plainly.

I am in favor of the Hypernet raffle and think many players will enjoy it.
While I do have a few concerns, I agree with the overall plan and support the implementation. 

Somer Blink, IWantISK, and other raffle sites were hugely popular with players until they were shut down. I think HyperNet Relay will be popular with players as well.

First, let’s discuss legality. I’m not a lawyer with specialization in national gambling laws and video gaming policies. in short, I’m just not going to get into discussion and arguments about this aspect. While there are many that think they can google their way into a law degree, I don’t share that opinion.

In thinking considering a new feature, I look at it in terms of ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ 

On the Pro side, I like the idea of high value items getting back into circulation, the opportunity to make some ISK, the fun of raffles. and CCP making some more revenue. 

On the Con side, there are risks with children and people with addiction problems getting sucked into spending ISK and money that they shouldn’t.  

From what I read, there seems to be a basic divide between those that are generally against gambling at an ethical level and those that are fine with it. A lot of the dispute seems to arise from this. I’m not going to bridge that gap. People on the internets do not often change their mind by reading an essay.

Personally, I think the downsides can be managed and this will turn into a popular feature that is well regarded, much as abyssal mutaplasmids did.  I think CCP has given this a lot of thought and is prepared to manage the situation if problems arise.

Obviously, some will not agree, but EVE players deserve to know my position on the topic.  

Snooters stands watch to make sure no neuts enter our home system

CSM Update – Week 20

CSM Meeting – November 7th, 2019

As always, there’s not any specific information to share due to the confidentiality of the discussions.

The group reviewed the community’s reaction and sentiments to the various presentations at EVE Vegas.

There was discussion of some Security related issues.

Plans for the ‘Winter’ CSM Summit were locked in. (seems like it’s always winter though in Iceland…)

Brief discussion of player activity and economic trends post-Blackout.

Progress on several features in development was reviewed.

Dunk’s Corner

EVE Vegas revealed many of the plans and discussions that the CSM was a party to previously, being made public.

As several CSM members had publicly said they were ‘cautiously optimistic’, I hope you can see why. A quick response team with 2 weeks sprints is ambitious, but a good plan to enable CCP to react to game needs in a more timely manner while longer term efforts aren’t derailed.

Clearly there remain significant concerns in the community about several major topics.

Hunting – Many ‘hunter’ playstyle people were very frustrated with the end of Blackout and weren’t happy with the overall gist of announcements at Vegas. This is understandable. For many, Blackout was invigorating, and it’s loss just as demotivating. I’m hopeful that CCP will continue to try to serve up good things for the hunters without overall negative effects. While I am personally cranky over moving Ansiblexes, I hope that it serves up the fights that people are looking for regularly.

Umbrellas – The prevalence of supercapital umbrellas remains a significant issue of discussion within the playerbase. There is no clear player consensus as to what should be done, nor does there appear to be a change on horizon that radically changes this meta level strategy. The issue remains a topic of discussion between CCP, the CSM, and the wider playerbase. This is a tough one to solve in a way that won’t lead to Blackout style disinterest in logging in. I believe that change is possible, but expect to be more a series of smaller changes rather than singular dramatic change. But who knows, there could be more chaos in store…

Big Vision – The drumbeat for a roadmap remains strong with many players. CCP presented a middle ground of a series of quadrants with themes that get’s rolled out over time. We will all see how it goes. Long term roadmaps have been an issue as the game and priorities change rapidly and that makes sticking to long term roadmaps difficult.

T2 Salvage Drones – There is widespread dismay that these still do not exist yet. Extraordinary measures may need to be taken to get attention on this critical issue.

I’m probably not covering your specific concern here, so feel free to contact me directly if you want, my contact info is here.

Snooters dressed up and ready for the weekend.

Cycling at EVE Vegas

On Friday morning of EVE Vegas, Hilmar Veigar Pétursson, CEO of CCP, and I will be riding the Red Rock Canyon Loop in Las Vegas. If you are a cycling enthusiast, you are welcome to join us!

This isn’t a hard ride, but you need a road bike or gravel bike. A beach cruiser or small folding bike isn’t going to be a reasonable choice.

When: Friday, October 25th, at 8AM – we are hoping to clip in and ride

What: It’s a short loop of Red Rock Canyon. Slow grade up for the first half and a sweet decent back.
Here is the route: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/31240188

Where: We will meet at the Red Rock Canyon Visitor Center in the parking lot.
Address is 1000 Scenic Loop Dr, Las Vegas, NV 89161

Caveats: Several things have to go right to pull this off, and if something unforeseen happens, this may get called off at the last minute.

FAQ:

Q: I have more questions.
A: Email dunkdinkle@gmail.com

Q: My beach cruiser is awesome, can I bring it?
A: No.

Q: Why isn’t is a longer ride?
A: We looked into a longer ride, but herding a group of people through Vegas morning rush hour traffic that haven’t ridden together before seemed like a idea likely to end in tears.

Q: Can I rent a bike somewhere?
A: Probably, but I’ve never rented in Vegas before. You’ll have to research on your own. Sorry…

Q: Why is is called Red Rock Canyon? I thought Las Vegas was a desert.
A:

Mrs. Dinkle & I on a previous ride, note the red rocks.

CSM 14 – Week 16

CSM Meeting – October 11th, 2019

As always, there’s not any specific information to share due to the confidentiality of the discussions.

There was a long discussion about the forward looking plans for the game and how those ideas should be presented.

The rest of the meeting was focused mainly on the planning for EVE Vegas and some details around it.

Also, secret stuff was discussed.

Dunk’s Corner

Not a lot to really dive into here since my last post. You can stop reading now if you want.

I do think it’s worthwhile to point out that players should let their voices be heard when they feel strongly about a topic. Additionally, players should speak when they feel that a topic is being overblown.

The CSM and CCP is listening and lurking, trying to get a variety of viewpoints. From the EVE Forums to blogs to Reddit to podcast to streaming shows, the opinions and ideas of players are critical to helping build a better plan for the future.

You always won’t get a response, but know that people are reading and hearing what you think.

Feel free to contact me directly if you want, my contact info is here, to the right.

Snooters waits for EVE Vegas to begin

CSM 14 – Week 15

CSM Meeting – October 4th

As always, there’s not any specific information to share due to the confidentiality of the discussions.

The meeting covered some high level topics, like long term vision and improvements to the development process.   Not much more can be mentioned due to confidentially, but hopefully these topics can be explored more publicly by CCP.

There was discussion of the upcoming EVE meet-ups, mostly concerning EVE Vegas.

The CSM followed up on the status of a few announced changes to understand timing of the development and deployment.

Dunk’s Corner

Since the CSM Summit Minutes have been released, there has been a tremendous amount of discussion in the community about it.  I’ve tried to respond where I can.  Here are some of the common points/questions that I’ve seen and my responses in a single space.

Q: What do you think about the future of EVE Online after leaving the Summit?

A:  I am cautiously optimistic.  As I have said before several places, CCP has a lot of great ideas and good people that can put those ideas into action.  The question is on prioritization and execution.  CCP has some tough decisions to make (like every company does) on how to best use their resources.  The future will rest on how CCP makes these choices and what they give focus to develop properly.

Q: No, seriously Dunk, do they fucking get it?

A: Yes, they fucking get it. CCP clearly sees the wide array of issues facing the game. In the formal meeting room and outside of it, there was lots of honest, straight talk about the challenges facing the game. They get it. The real issue is deciding how to best allocate people’s time and energy to work on solving problems and introducing new things.

Q: I didn’t read much about [insert concern here] in the Minutes. Why didn’t you talk about [insert concern here]?

A: Going into the summit, there were two huge issues to address on the plate, more significant than others. Those two issues were new player retention and the effects of Chaos Era (blackout) on player activity.  These were the two topics that needed the most discussion and focus. Unfortunately, many other important topics did not get much time they need to plan significant changes.

Yes, the CSM knows that there are big concerns all over EVE, from faction warfare to small gang PvP to low sec in general to structure spam to [insert your primary concern], but the truth is we cannot go deep on all of these subjects when CCP’s focus in elsewhere.

Lastly, the Summit Minutes are a rough approximation of what was discussed.  They are not detailed transcripts, are heavily redacted, and don’t cover any of the side conversations that occur during the week. Many ideas and concerns were discussed that are not represented in the minutes. I am hopeful you see some results for those unreported conversations in the future.

Q: Seems like the CSM is only representing Null Sec concerns in the topics discussed.  Why aren’t you representing all players?

A: Right now, CCP’s focus in the Chaos Era is shaking things up, specifically with Null Sec, so it is the focus of a lot of the discussion.  The CSM is adamant that player activity and engagement is a key issue across the board, in every area of space.  This point was reinforced repeatedly n the CSM’s ask for a clearer vision for the game that all players can hang their hopes on for the future.

At one point, the CSM is asked if their are personally in favor of removing Asset Safety and several CSM raise their hands in the affirmative. When asked if it is in the best interests of the game overall, no CSM raise their hand.  This is just one example of putting the wider game ahead of personal or ‘null sec’ interests.

I’m not going to be able to convince some that I and others on the CSM aren’t working on some personal agenda to benefit our groups specifically, but it is the truth.

That said, I am openly advocating for T2 Salvage drones and a new role for the Primae. If you disagree with those priority issues, you are simply wrong. 🙂

Q: Why didn’t the CSM demand/force/make CCP fix things immediately?

A:  The relationship doesn’t work that way.  The CSM is there to provide player input into the design process.  The best way to do that is in a healthy, respectful relationship, not in an antagonistic way.  The CSM can’t make CCP do anything.

CCP is the CEO & FC of the Summit Fleet.  CSM are like the scouts and recons helping them find a good path. 

The CSM has a lot of passion for the game, but realizes that if that passion is channeled in a negative way, it can have a detrimental effect on the game. 

Q: But the data, statistics, and graphs clearly show that…

A:  “Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are pliable.” ― Mark Twain

The truth is that the data released, like the MER, are helpful to get some understanding of what’s going on in EVE, but they do not paint the entire picture.  People tend to interpret data to fit their existing bias, so care must be taken that to keep that in perspective.

As an example, there were several that put forth the idea that player activity losses during Blackout were mainly from botter accounts and that actual players leaving was compensated for by other players returning to the game.  Others argued that player losses were mainly due to people leaving the game completely.  To determine this from the data as a fact, is nearly impossible. 

There were many factors at play during Blackout: login events, WoW Classic release, in-game wars, summer for the Northern Hemisphere, etc., all affect the numbers.  Which numbers to look at?  Daily Account activity versus Monthly Account activity versus in-game player counts versus PvP losses versus PvE metrics all are involved and it’s not possible for the players at home to draw hard conclusions from them.  There are some basic trends that can be shown, but even those require a lot of interpretation. 

Good game design cannot solely rely on statistics. They can be one of several guides, but they cannot be the sole driving factor.

Q: The CSM is a waste and should be abolished! They don’t get anything done and don’t represent me!

A: You are welcome to this point of view, but the CSM has value and is interest in your point of view to convey it to CCP. My contact info is on this page. Feel free to reach out with your comments or concerns. I can’t promise that I will agree with you or that CCP will change anything, but I will listen with an open mind.

I’m available on Discord, via email, and in game to chat. Or see me in person at EVE Vegas!

Instead of my dog, here are my bees.

CSM Summit – September 2019

The CSM Summit was last week.  Many people would like to know what was said, but unfortunately, I really can’t get into the details.  This will be painfully vague and will likely result in salty Reddit comments.

If you are looking for a detailed description of exactly what was discussed, stop reading now.  Hopefully, after the minutes are released, I can go into more detail and specifics.

Instead, I’m going to describe what actually happens at the CSM Summit, since there appears to be a lot of misconception about this.

The CSM Summit is a 4 day long business meeting between CCP and a small group of their customer stakeholders.  It is not a detailed game design meeting.

Over the week, there are 30+ individual sessions with a wide variety of teams from CCP

Basically, there are 3 types of sessions:

What happened or is happening in EVE? – data, metrics, and analysis of various aspects of the game

What is planned to happen in EVE? – new game design, artwork, events, and other items in the development pipeline

What is the strategy going forward? – high level discussion of goals, options for improvement, and long term direction

Like any business there is a separation of responsibility between the different CCP teams and often in a session you’ll hear “our team doesn’t handle that, you’ll have to talk to team X about that…”   As an example, the Art team might show some neat graphics of a new in-game item, but will have no clue as the functional details of the item. 

What is NOT at the CSM Summit?  – the CSM presenting game designs, fists pounding on the table, detailed discussions of that special one thing you care about and posted about on /r/eve.

Many players think that the CSM shows up in Reykjavik with a printout of a big proposal that was posted to the forums or Reddit and makes CCP read it.  That simply doesn’t happen.  There are no manifestos pinned to the front door of CCP. 

What else happens at the Summit?  – another significant thing is the social interaction between the CSM and CCP. 

This is the first time that the CSM gets together in person in a room together. It’s easy to judge someone over the interwebs, but much more complex when you meet them in person.  Some feelings about people are confirmed and others are reversed.  Importantly, this is where a higher degree of trust and understanding begins to form on a team.  Even if a team doesn’t agree on everything, personal trust and understanding is critical to a team’s ability to perform.  This may sound like management woo-woo hand waving to some, but it’s a key thing that makes or breaks teams.

Out of sessions, the CSM is interacting with CCP staff, eating together, chatting about non-EVE stuff, and often going out for drinks late into the evening. Again, this is crucial to building the rapport and trust that is needed for the two groups to chat honestly with each other. Not only do EVE ideas get discussed in these moments, but the groundwork needed for further discussion is established in these moments. 

The summit starts with a bit of awkwardness and suspicion and ends with hugs and handshakes all around.  This can lead to a much better working relationship for the rest of the year.

Hopefully the actual CSM minutes will be made public soon and then discussed openly, until then, my comments will be necessarily vague.   But I will make these broad statements:

Yes, CCP is looking deeply at the data and metrics of everything that is going on in EVE.  There is a huge six-screen dashboard display on the wall on the way to canteen showing critical KPIs all the time.  The issue is interpreting the data into actionable analysis.  How do you define if a customer is “high sec” or “null sec”?  By logged time? Where the most characters are? What the characters do? Earning ISK? Undocking? Gate jumps?  No easy answers on how to interpret data with confirmation bias.

Yes, CCP has put thought into what they are doing.  That said, it is not “throwing random shit at the wall”, nor is it 4D chess with CCP “metagaming” the community.  It’s in the middle, with lots of variation.  Most of what I read in player posts or on streams/podcasts is wildly offbase as to what is actually happening.  People like to tinfoil rationales to support their ideas by either framing CCP as blind fools or crafty geniuses.  The truth is they are neither.  They are hard working people trying to make a complex game fun and profitable, which is no easy task 16 years after launch.

No, the CSM can’t make the CCP do anything. CCP runs the game as they see fit and uses the CSM to bounce ideas off of and better understand exactly what the players are doing in the game. The CSM doesn’t make them fix faction warfare or remove warp core stabilizers or nerf [insert your choice here]. 

Dunk’s Corner

So what do I think will happen? In short, it’s complicated.  CCP is facing some tough challenges.

While they are working hard to find ways to retain new players, they are also trying to find ways to excite veteran players in a world of many free to play options, WoW Classic, and near endless list of other things to drag customers away. 

Further, CCP is working on improving their internal processes and shedding technical debt, neither of which is easily seen or appreciated by players.  There’s a huge amount going on here that is only lightly described to the public. 

CCP has the people and skills to innovate and make amazing things, but the question is on their focus.

Is it going to happen?  I can’t really say. Both because of confidentially, but because there are so many variables in play, it’s impossible to predict.

What’s happening in the game now, is similar to what’s described in The Three-Body Problem.  When the Trisolarians are faced with a Chaotic Era, the dry out and go dormant.  Currently the Null Sec groups are turtling up to see how the Chaos Era goes. 

tl:dr
The truth is that players need a reason to log in. A goal of some sort that gives them a reason to get in and do things. The recent changes have not been motivating for many. Discussions of “faucets” and other abstract rationales are not good ways to give people hope for the future. IMHO, until some strong motivators appear, we are going to continue to see people disengage from the game.

Maybe this write-up helps clear things up on expectations for the CSM Summit, but feel free to yell at me anyways for not explaining exactly why [insert your pet peeve] isn’t fixed yet.