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.