What I learned on the CSM

Being on CSM 14 was an honor and a privilege. I got meet many people and I learned several things.

Here are three things I’d like to share:

CCP is a business

Players can easily get caught up in the subtle nuances of their playstyle niche, but CCP looks at EVE Online development with two key goals in mind: bring new players into the game & generate revenue.

CCP is a business and they need to continuously grow. Whether players want to hear it or not, catering to the person who has been playing for 5+ years is not CCP’s primary goal. Development is always going to prioritize work that directly influences the new player pipeline over other needs in game. We are seeing a balance in development currently, but bringing new players into the game is almost always going to be prioritized heavily.

Monetization can be a dirty word to some players, but without generating revenue, there will be no EVE Online. Some monetization ideas are non-controversial, like ship SKINs, while other options, like those involving skill points, are highly controversial. CCP will continue to look for ways to make money, and players should expect them to do so.

You cannot please all the players

Being on the CSM opened up my communication with a large number players with various viewpoints. Even on topics I expected to be non-controversial, I heard from players with serious concerns, some with serious vitriol.

Every change to the game will be faced with criticism by someone. As I have previous described, “CCP could cure cancer, and some players would complain that they are putting doctors out of work”.

Trying to make all the players happy is a fool’s errand. You cannot ignore player concerns, but you have accept that someone is going to absolutely hate a change with fist clenched anger, regardless of the benefits other players might see.

EVE is more complex than you can imagine

After playing EVE for over 12 years, I thought I had a good understanding of most aspects of the game. I could not be more wrong. The deeper you look into any playstyle, the more strange and byzantine it gets. Esoteric missions from the first days of the game with significant rewards that the developers have no idea how they were created. Obtuse ways to calculate the industrial production across the universe. Use of PVE oriented modules to influence PvP success. Elaborate manipulations of high sec crimewatch and war dec mechanics. Endless attempts to predict and force wormhole behavior.

Yes, as you read this, you think to yourself, “naw, I know about all that stuff”, but you are wrong. There some crazy ass shit that goes on quietly behind the scenes that the CSM discuss among themselves and even stranger stuff you hear from the developers during late night drinks in Reykjavik.

The intensity of thought and persistent effort that players put into EVE to gain an edge is unmatched in video gaming. I was continually surprised by information discussed on the CSM as to whether a complex and convoluted action was simply innovative gameplay or abuse of the game. No single player knows it all. No developer knows it all. It’s simply to much for any one person to grok.

Part of the continuing allure of EVE after all these years in the mind numbing complexity and the impossibility of truly mastering the entire game. There is always something new to learn or white rabbit to chase.

Snooters, maintaining her chill


War is likely coming to New Eden

For most of Brave, this is not due to a grudge or animosity.  It’s about blowing stuff up.

There are a lot of grudges between other groups in the game, but those aren’t a prime motivating factor for Brave.  Our pilots want to have fights and get a chance to use their big toys. 

It’s been almost a year since the end of our last serious war effort, and the familiar internal discussions of pilots wanting something ‘serious’ to do has continued to increase.

War is hard and will likely tax the energy of everyone involved.  Bonds will be forged and memories made that last far longer than the conflict itself. EVE is about making stories, and stories will be made.

We will not underestimate our opponent.  They will care as much about protecting their home as we would about ours.  The true deciding factor will be maintaining morale and the will to fight.  I have no idea how that will go.

War will bring glorious memes and shitposting, as is tradition in EVE.

I, like many others, have good personal relationships with players in every large coalition, even those that have attacked us in the past.

Brave is pushing our members to keep attacks in-game and not resort to personal attacks against individuals.  We are all part of the spaceship nerd community IRL, and 2020 is hard enough without being personally attacked.

We look forward to good fights, laughs, looting the field, the butterfly effect, and inevitable betrayal.

See you on grid.

-Dunk Dinkle
Electromagical Majordomo, Brave Collective

P.S. Wear a face mask

P.P.S. As an industrialist, in an anarcho-syndicalist collective, I will likely get filthy rich as a war profiteer.

CSM 14 – Final Update

June 13th, 2020

Yesterday, the results of the CSM 15 election were announced.  Congratulations to all those elected.

The next few weeks will be a transition period as CSM 15 members sign confidentiality documents, get accounts to access CCP systems, and receive a basic orientation on how the group meets and interacts with developers.

For a short period, there will be a overlap of CSM 14 & 15 members to discuss the transition and pass on any ongoing work and answer questions.  By early July, the change should be complete and my term as a CSM member will be over.

CCP has gone through significant changes over the last year, and the next year looks like significant change for EVE Online as long term plans are designed and implemented. The role of the CSM to reflect player desires and concerns remains an important part of the design process.

The last year has been a privilege to serve as a representative of EVE players to CCP.  Meeting so many new people at meetups and online was wonderful.  Being entrusted with people concerns & hopes with the desire to improve the game was an honor.

I did my best to provide regular updates on what the CSM was doing, clearly state my positions on various topics, and earnestly try to answer every convo, EVE mail, Discord message, email, and in-person request with my full attention.

While I didn’t always agree with what players asked for, I tried to reflect their concerns to CCP so that their voice was heard.

While I won’t be on the CSM, I continue to play EVE and remain a part of this amazing gaming community. I remain available to anyone that wants to chat or has concerns, to share what I can.

Snooters gatecamps at the fig tree

CSM 14 Update – Week 50

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

June 6th, 2020

Discussion of upcoming game live events

Discussion of new in-game features

Discussion of CSM transition

Discussion of game client changes

Dunk’s Corner

Don’t have a big topic to write about this week. 

There’s a tremendous amount going on in New Eden lately. 

The Triglavian Invasion is a big draw for all kinds of players, showing up for lore, PvE, and PvP action.  Plenty of activity and action all over these systems.

Toss in the abandoned structure Spring Cleaning and people have plenty to do daily.  I’m usually too busy with space logistics to do bashing, but the structure bashers seem to be having a great time with a minimal amount of looting drama.  Many items returning to circulation after years of being forgotten in out of the way hangars.

Upcoming are the new EDENCOM ships and events.  This kickoff will surely lead to a nice industrial race to build the first ships and get them into combat. 

The addition of more needlejack yeet filaments into the game continues to create impromptu fights and surprises in every region. 

Caldari militia are systematically flipping Gallente systems. Hail Tibus Heth!

Alongside all these events, there large scale fights occurring all over the map.

If you think New Eden is stagnant, you simply aren’t logging into the game.

Feral queen bee caught – who says you can’t control the Goons?

CSM 14 Update – Week 49

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

May 29th, 2020

Extremely detailed discussion of upcoming new design

(that’s astoundingly vague, but it’s all I can really say)

Dunk’s Corner

Today is the start of voting for CSM 15.  Many groups have recommended ballot slates, but I encourage you to make your own decisions.  The CSM is there to represent YOUR views, which may differ from your group.

Here are my suggestions on what you should look for in a CSM representative.

Ability to listen – A CSM member needs the ability to listen carefully to both CCP and players.  CCP has a plan and roadmap.  A CSM member needs to be able to listen to the plan and take the time to understand WHY it is seen as important by CCP.  Rather than defaulting to an immediate reaction, a CSM member needs to gather the information first, consider it, and then give feedback.

Similarly for players, a CSM member must be open to listening to players who have wildly different agendas and different perspectives.  Ideally, the CSM member can present the concerns to CCP in a constructive way that ensures CCP is hearing a wide range of feedback.

Ability to compromise – A CSM member needs to be able to work well with the rest of the CSM and CCP in a positive way.  This often requires compromise and ‘politics’.  A CSM member that creates acrimony or cannot adapt to the concerns other CSM or direction of CCP, will find themselves unable to get much done.

Finding creative and workable solutions that navigate between the various points of view is no simple task, but progress is often stopped until consensus can be reached. 

Understanding of complex dynamics – EVE Online is a complex game with complex issues.  There are no simple fixes.  Most changes can have impact outside of the target problem and a CSM member needs to be able to understand the complex dynamics of the game.

Specific expertise can be important, but if a tight focus on one area of gameplay is the only lens a CSM member looks through, they will often miss the effects of a proposed change in an unexpected area.  Being able to understand how others play the game and being able to think from an ‘opposing’ point of view is valuable in reaching good decisions.

Lastly – The person has the commitment to do the job – The CSM election can be seen as a popularity contest and in many ways is.  Being a good member of the CSM requires a lot of time, focus, think skin, and persistence.  History has shown multiple players being elected and then basically going AFK from their role as CSM when faced with the workload.  If a candidate is running because they think it will be ‘fun’, they probably won’t be a good CSM member.

Snooters, chillaxing in her sov space, sniffing for intel on neutrals…

CSM 14 Update – Week 48

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

May 22nd, 2020

New in-game efforts for players

Revisited various balance & gameplay topics to check status

Discussed imminent Second Quadrant releases

Discussed longer term Third Quadrant plan

Dunk’s Corner

Last week I posted a short note on CSM voting dynamics.  This sparked a little discussion and some people asked what could be done to change voting to create a wider diversity of CSM members.

Here’s a review of some of the options that have been discussed. 

ALL OF THESE OPTIONS CAN AND WOULD BE GAMED, just some less than others.

Limiting ‘block’ candidates to one per group – The idea would be to disallow block candidates, typically at the coalition level, from putting multiple candidates on the CSM.  Or even disallow multiple candidates at the alliance level.

This idea is trivially easy to get around. With coalitions undefined in-game and alt alliances trivial to create, this is a non-starter.  Some may call for CCP to decide who is and isn’t in a ‘block’ but this would open a can of worms where CCP is asked make subjective decisions about out of client player affiliation.

Creating spots for specific playstyles – This idea would create slots for specific playstyles such as high sec, low sec, small gang PvP, industry, wormholes, etc. and ask players to campaign for these slots.

The issue here is how do you define if a player is qualified for a slot or not?  As an example, I am a director a large null sec alliance, executor of a high sec alliance, and top 1% industrialist.  Can I run for any of those slots? Most large groups could field candidates that qualify for any spot imaginable.

There is thought of limiting voting on slots to characters that partake in the playstyle. Again, this becomes untenable scale.  Again, as an example, on one account I have my null sec PvP main and a high sec hauling and market alt.  Which slot does this account qualify for in terms of voting for “playstyles”?

We have seen that CCP’s tools are not perfect when attempting to determine a player’s playstyle from data and metrics alone at the character and account levels.

Hybrid CSM – This idea is to have part of the CSM filled by open voting and part of the CSM reserved for “playstyle” candidates in slots created by CCP. 

This option has the same issues as the wider “playstyle” slots idea, it’s too difficult to prevent gaming the system and making characters designed to be eligible for “playstyle” slots and receive block voting help.

Voting based on players not accounts – This idea would have voting based on players not accounts. Each player would have a ballot as opposed to each account having a ballot.

This would reduce the influence of players with multiple accounts (widely seen in null sec groups), skill farmers, and other serious multi-boxers.  Also, this idea would attempt to move to a voting system that cannot be ‘bought’ as we have seen in previous elections.

CCP’s ability to determine actual humans owning multiple accounts is fairly good.  However this too, could be gamed, but only with significant effort that doesn’t scale.

However, this doesn’t guarantee any prevention of multiple CSM members from a single group or ensure any single playstyle is represented more strongly than before.

I would prefer this idea, as it solves some problems, but it doesn’t address everything.

Unfortunately, these is no simple way to lessen the influence of powerful social groups on the CSM election. It’s true that political parties make a difference in real life and New Eden.

Snooters enjoying Spring weather

CSM 15 Voting – A few thoughts

The CSM 15 election campaign is underway.  There are 40 people vying for the 10 slots.

Here’s a realistic look at the possible outcome.  I’m making some assumptions here about block voting, but knowing a lot of null coalition leaders and my CSM experience, I think it’s a reasonable take on the situation.

A key thing to remember is that getting #1 pick votes is crucial to being elected. They keep you in the running during the elimination rounds. In CSM 14, eight candidates had more than a 1,000 #1 votes and all but one were elected. Sort Dragon lost by 11 votes due Steve Rounken being supported on a wider number of slates than Sort did, who had more limited external support.

Unless you are part of a strong voting block and high on their ballot, having less than a thousand #1 votes means you probably won’t make it.  If you can’t count on having at least 500 #1 votes it’s almost impossible to get elected, unless you are the number choice on a big block voting slates.

The Sure Things – these slots are basically guaranteed based on previous voting dynamics.

Gobbins & second Panfam candidate – The PanFam block is strong and easily put two people on the CSM last year.

Merkelchan & Innominate – With Imperium level coordination, these CSM veterans are locks to return for CSM 15.

Vily – As a Legacy Coalition #1 pick, Vily will easily return.

Brisc Rubal – Supported by The Initiative + his constant campaigning, it’s hard to see Brisc not making a return now that he is tanned and rested.

That’s six of the ten slots that are basically locked in. Only 4 slots open to other candidates. I have very high confidence that those six slots will

The Get Out The Vote Candidates – these people having the needed number of people in their playgroup to win, but the question is, will they vote?

Maria Taylor – The Fraternity candidate.  If Fraternity members vote and there is real support on the wider PanFam ballot, this should be an easy seat.

Ikarus Cesaile – The Silent Company. Silent Company is huge with well over 10,000 characters.  If they can be motivated to vote, high sec will have a representative. However, it’s unlikely that Ikarus gets a lot of support outside of Silent Company, being new to the EVE politics and community scene.

Second Legacy Candidate – If the Legacy Coalition can coalesce on a second pick after Vily for the ballot, a second Legacy CSM member is a lock. 

Wormhole Candidate – The votes are there from the wormhole community. ExookiZ showed that on CSM 14.  However this year, Loroseco Kross of Hard Knocks is also running.  With ExookiZ currently out a wormhole and associated with Initiative and Hard Knocks relationship with the rest of the wormhole community listed as “It’s Complicated”, it remains to be seen if the wormholers can concentrate their votes to get candidate over the line.  The votes are there, but it’s unknown if they will be split or not.

If these candidates can “get out the vote”, they can likely get themselves on CSM 15.  That would be the 10 slots all filled.

There are many good candidates out there, several with good non-block support behind them.  Can any of them become an election surprise like Olmeca Gold on CSM 14?  Stitch Kaneland got 937 votes and made it to the top 13 before being eliminated. This could be his year if he gets a little wider support.

It’s really impossible to say.   Ballot slots 3, 4, and 5 start to matter when you get to the last slots and those aren’t usually known until the last minute before voting.

Larger groups and running statistical scenarios based on previous voting numbers and trying to game the negotiation of voting slate slots to ensure outcomes. 

Needless to say, if you aren’t one of the top six slots I mention and you aren’t extremely well known in New Eden, getting onto CSM 15 is an extremely difficult task.

CSM 14 Update – Week 47

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

May 15th, 2020

Discussed ideas for new player retention & new player issues

Extended discussion of new concepts with Ecosystem Team

Dunk’s Corner

A bit of a lull in news before two big things kick off.

With the abandoned structure state coming into the game with the next patch, I think we are on track to see some glorious explosions and interesting loot reports. While it’s not a perfect solution to citadel spam, it’s a good start in the direction of making citadels less disposable and making assets more at risk.

As someone who does alliance logistics, the last few weeks have been busy with discussions about what’s worth fueling and preparing for the change. A bit of a headache for those in the game that do this kind of thing, but in the long run it should lead to more fun and a general house cleaning of New Eden that is long overdue.

There will likely be some sad stories of players returning after extended break to find their assets gone in some locations. Active players will have plenty of warning about what’s happening, but those that are truly AFK or haven’t logged into their spy alts, may sing sad songs in the future.

Also imminent is the next phase of the Triglavian invasion. I think people will be surprised about exactly what CCP has up their sleeve. I will be exceedingly vague about this, but I do hope that the developers have not underestimated the energy that players can muster to create chaos & havoc.

I think it will be good fun and hopefully I can get my space work done soon so I can participate more fully in the next phase of the Triglavian saga.

Overall, there’s lots to do in EVE right now. We are seeing fights all over space, people yeeting in and out of regions, and continued new PVE experiences. Doesn’t feel stagnant to me.

Snooters stands guard over her Empire of Dirt

CSM 14 Update – Week 46

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

May 8th, 2020

Discussed development cadence

Reviewed the DDOS attacks

Reviewed CSM elections and prep for CSM 15

Discussed the on-going login & celebration campaigns

Dunk’s Corner

The Plex Market on the EVE Portal app is now public and available.

Due to the CSM meetings, I’ve known about this for some time. But in that time, I’ve never been able to figure out who exactly is going to use this feature. 

For those that don’t know, the Plex Market on the app allows trade on the Jita 4-4 market only.  You cannot choose another location for the trading.

In buying & selling Plex there are few major use cases:

Plex traders – People who buy & sell Plex as a commodity, profiting by the arbitrage in buy & sell order and price trends.

People converting Plex to ISK – People who spend real life currency on Plex via the New Eden store and then sell it to get ISK in game

People “Plexing” an account – People who convert ISK to Plex to allow them selves to subscribe to EVE with Plex instead of real world currency.

There are a few other cases, like players buying Plex to pay for SKINs from the New Eden Store, but their are fairly minor in comparison to the other use cases.

In recent years, much of trade in Plex moved to player owned structures with lower tax bases. At the scale of value in Plex trading, even a single percentage of lower taxes has significant benefit. 

With all Plex Market trade occurring in the Jita 4-4 market, a player is looking at being at a serious financial disadvantage by trading on a comparatively high tax market in Jita 4-4 as opposed to a player structure market.

So the question is, “Who will use the Plex Market on the Portal app?

There is no way serious Plex Traders will use it.  Every fraction of a percentage point matters, and they will always choose the most economically profitable method, which remains in-client at player markets.

The person selling Plex to get ISK is going to want to maximize their return, which means using a market with lower taxes, which isn’t Jita.  Maybe they are in some sort of rush to get the ISK for some immediate need?

The Plexing an account person might try it, with the use case of not having a market character in Jita.  Seems like an edge case, but who knows. Maybe you realize while sitting on the toilet that your account is about to go alpha and you want to keep it Omega, but are stranded because you are out of toilet paper?

CCP obviously put a lot of effort into this feature, but I’m just not clear on who is going to use it and if it will affect the Plex market in any measurable way. If you have some thoughts, I’d love to hear.

Snooters thinks the type is kinda small in the app

CSM 14 Update – Week 43 & 44

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

Here are the two most recent CSM Meetings:

April 17th, 2020
Review of upcoming CSM election plan
Extended discussion of the EVE ecosystem

April 24th, 2020
Continued discussion of the EVE ecosystem

Dunk’s Corner

One of the least helpful CSM updates, but know that a lot is being discussed about how ISK moves in and out of the game.

The changes to structures have been announced with the Forsaken Fortress update.

It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s a good compromise in terms of reducing structure spam, managing development time, and creating reward for destruction. Solutions like this take a while to craft and refine, but I’m hopefully this a good step forward for structures in space.

Yes, there are some issues, like a few people losing things while they are long term AFK from the game. These are compromises needed to try to keep moving forward. Rather than being paralyzed by trying to solve for every possible situation, the changes are a good step forward that will give players new things to do.

Players are good at looking for the holes in new changes, and they are going to find some. In a game as complex as EVE Online, it’s impossible to make perfect solutions. Going forward, there will be more changes that are compromises between the “perfect solution” and doing nothing. Prepare yourself.

Back to abandoned structures, logistics folk in New Eden are probably doing a lot of planning about what to scoop, fuel, or simply ignore.

Personally, I’ve got some fueling to do, but look forward to some interesting explosions and scams…

Snooters says: “Maintain your chill”