Please join me in welcoming Malcanis, Marc Scaurus, Trebor Daehdoow, Ripard Teg and Nathan Jameson to a small questionare/interview.
The names listed here are the names of the candidates that have put their names forward, for a chance of representing players over the next term of the Council of Stellar Management period.
The Council of Stellar Management is a board of players making up a stakeholder within CCP, thus representing the playerbase. CCP has made the choice of letting players decide who’s going to represent them in this stakeholder position. While they don’t have any say in development on a personal level, their collective wisdom is often used to sway priorities within CCP and influence development.
The common denominator for these candidates is that they have announced their candidacy for CSM8 and are active in answering questions from players, on the forums or other venues.
Please note that the order of the replies are in order of received, they are not sorted by some tinfoilhattery prioritised list.
Who are you?
Malcanis: A 41 year old englishman who’s no-one much. Just an ordinary guy.
Ripard Teg: I am an EVE player running under the name of one of my three mains, Ripard Teg. I have five years of experience in a wide array of play styles from incursions to missions to mining to industry/invention to sov warfare to small gang PvP. I am also one of EVE‘s most active and prolific bloggers, something that I’ve been doing for two years at my blog, Jester’s Trek (http://jestertrek.blogspot.com). There, I’ve written hundreds of blog posts about the EVE experience, and more than 40 guides to playing EVE, all of it free and without advertising.
Nathan Jameson: I am Nathan Jameson, the executor of the pure-wormhole alliance Talocan United and administrator for the website www.TalocanUnited.com, which houses a large amount of information to help pilots and corporations get their footing in wormhole space. I have been in wormhole space since soon after I started playing, during Apocrypha (2009). Dissatisfied with the way my current alliance was handling itself, I set off to start my own group; and over the next two years grew it from a one-man-corp into a 700-man alliance spanning numerous systems, taking part in and influencing current wormhole space.I am not the only candidate running for wormholes, and I wish to distinguish myself from my peers by pointing out my personal values–communication and diversity. My alliance and I have always had an eye on the “little guy,” as it were–the new and unsteady player that needs help getting into the difficult wormhole environment, and I want to make sure such people are not forgotten in any changes to wormholes. Changes to dreadnoughts, for example, would spice up large-scale combat, but they could also greatly disadvantage small groups that rely on them for defense. Large C5/C6 groups have the majority of power and the voice in wormhole space, but everyone pays for their subscriptions, and everyone has a right to be represented.You can find more about my person and my platform on my blog, http://csm.talocanunited.com
Marc Scaurus: I am Marc Scaurus, currently a member of Quantum Cats in the Gallente Militia, Editor at TheMittani.com, Owner/Operator of Evebloggers.com and the EVE Blog Pack, and blogger at scaurus.com
Why do you want to burden yourself with the workload that is CSM8?
Trebor Daehdoow: I enjoy the work. Also, I’m apparently a closet masochist.
Malcanis: I don’t. But I do want to make EVE a better game to play, as it’s my main hobby. I think I can make a useful contribution. I have no expectation of serving a second term.
Ripard Teg: This is quite an amusing way to put this question! But the real answer is to help improve the game that we love, and to represent a broad array of EVE Online players. I believe that I can help CCP, and I believe I can help EVE players. It probably sounds corny, but if I didn’t believe that, I wouldn’t run. In particular, though, I’m jumping into the fray because I felt like CSM7’s communications strategy was a little weak and I’d like to help develop a more formal communications strategy that future CSMs can follow.
Nathan Jameson: I’ve always enjoyed being less a player in games and more an enabler. This is why I’ve particularly enjoyed being an alliance and website administrator and doing copious amounts of tedious paperwork. More than playing myself, I love to help others play; and I think the CSM would give me a wonderful opportunity to help shape a system that so many people enjoy.
Marc Scaurus: I feel like it is important, with CCP’s new approach to themed expansions that touch on all aspects of the game, to ensure that lowsec has a strong voice on the coming CSM. With upcoming changes to the game in the form of POS revamps, Dust 514 expansion, and more – it is too important of a time at CCP to let lowsec go unrepresented.
Can you dedicate 10-30 hours a week for the position and the occassional weekend travels?
Ripard Teg: Yes. I’ve proven it with the work I already do on the blog I write in virtually every day.
Nathan Jameson: The CSM doesn’t really involve “occassional weekend travels,” unless you are referring to the two Summits and the FanFest. In this case, yes to both questions. I am handing off control of my alliance to trusted peers who have already shown good judgment in the handling of it, and I’ll make sure my IRL job is aware of my commitments.
Marc Scaurus: I can indeed. While I have a full time job and a busy home life, I’ve always been able to make time for the things that matter to me (outside of those two arenas, of course). Being a CSM representative for lowsec on CSM8 would take precedence over my other ventures in the coming year.
Did someone suggest you put your name up for CSM?
Ripard Teg: Before I ran for CSM6, I had a long conversation with Mynxee, Chair of CSM5, who after hearing what I hoped to accomplish during the following term, encouraged me to to run for CSM6 and provided me with a lot of insights and advice. For CSM8, I’ve been encouraged to run by a large number of my readers and by several CSM7 members, notably Hans Jagerblitzen and Trebor Daehdoow.
Nathan Jameson: No. I’ve actually wanted to run for the CSM before I even created my first EVE character. However, I spent the past four years learning the game and forming connections before I felt I was finally in a good position to apply.
Marc Scaurus: A few people suggested it, actually. I had raised the question on Twitter, since Hans Jagerblitzen was stepping down from the CSM, who would be best suited to represent lowsec on CSM8. To my genuine surprise, a bunch of people (Hans himself, Rixx Javix, Seismic Stan and others) all came back with the answer: You!
Have you represented other people before, in a similar or different capacity?
Trebor Daehdoow: Not in a RL political context, but I’ve been an entrepreneur for >30 years.
Malcanis: I have run a corp in EVE if that’s what you mean. I’ve also been a team leader in my work, co-ordinating financial data quality work, running a small team in a warehouse and my current job as a logistics lead. Also I was once chosen by my colleagues as employee rep for a redundancy consultation.
Ripard Teg: Yes. I have been a play-tester and a player advocate for the developers of several miniature and tabletop war-gaming games. In addition, in my real world experience, I am a leader and professional negotiator in the IT industry with almost three decades of communications experience.
Nathan Jameson: I have served as a team leader in combat arms in the military, in a combat environment (over two years in Iraq). The representation there is not democratic, but it is no less significant. When a military leader, one must constantly balance both the needs of the mission and the needs of one’s soldiers–no easy task.
Marc Scaurus: I’ve never been elected to anything before if that is the question, but I have been in other roles that demanded representation of one side to another in both work and in EVE.
If not, do you have any leadership experience, negotiating experience, teamwork experience, a high level of group dynamics knowledge or other relevant experience that can benefit the CSM (and can be documented)?
Ripard Teg: See above. In particular, in real life, I have presented before hundreds of people at technical conferences, and presented to and worked with C-suite level executives of Fortune 500 companies.
Nathan Jameson: Along with the aforementioned military experience, I also have been a school teacher for the past five years. I deal with up to twenty-four children in a class each day, and can maintain and guide their attention for several hours each day solo. As the ages change with each class, I’ve learned to be flexible in how I deal with groups of people, while still getting the end result I need. While the CSM/CCP meetings are hardly the same, I would consider them to be far less stressful than teaching twenty-four kindergarteners for an equal stretch of time.
Marc Scaurus: In game, I’ve been a corp CEO and Director as well as a small scale FC from time to time. In my role as Editor at TMC, I’ve often found myself working with very different, and sometimes challenging, personalities to get the job done, and have excelled at those types of issues.
How often do you participate in events in EVE to meet other players? (ie. social, player gatherings, fan fest etc)?
Ripard Teg: Of course, most of what I’m known for is writing one of the most active blogs in EVE Online. I enjoy quite a bit of back and forth repartee with my readers, other EVE bloggers, and EVE players in social media on Twitter’s #tweetfleet. I’m going to my first player gathering in a couple of months, my first trip to the tenth anniversary Fanfest! So I’m looking forward to meeting and being met by a lot of EVE players there.
Nathan Jameson: As I currently live in Taiwan, I’ve only ever met one other player in real life. Air fares are incredibly prohibitive to travel these days.
Marc Scaurus: I’ve not been able to make it out to any real life events, as my local area doesn’t have one and it would be quite a trip to get out to something like EVE Vegas. I do have plans on attending both this year’s EVE Vegas as well as next year’s FanFest, finances allowing.
What is the players top 5 issues currently?
- Risk/reward balancing (which touches on almost everything).
- Improving Industry (Mining, POSes, Manufacturing, PI, etc).
- Rethinking Nullsec.
- Improving the User Interface.
- New Stuff to Do, New Places to Go, New people to blow up.
Malcanis: You’d have to ask them. EVE players aren’t a homogenous group with unified interests. I can only say what *I* perceive as the key issues I want to focus on in the CSM, and even then, not all issues are suitable for the CSM to address. My big issues are, in no order:
- Rebalance productive activity so that 0.0 players can viable operate in their own space. This will have several hugely beneficial secondary effects, including much more small gang/solo activity in 0.0, relieving overstrained hi-sec space, giving CCP and the players a clearer picture of player demographics, encouraging newer and non-PvP orientated players to see a niche other than “close to Jita” and so on. Included in this, a rework of moongoo to bring the best moons down to the “nice to have” category, rather than “you must have top moons or be a second class alliance forever”.
- A sov system which is based on player activity rather than the current multiple timer system that actively drive ever-huger bloc sizes and AFK landlording. This has to follow an industry rebalance though.
- I want to bring forward proposals for new space, not just more of the same, but new types of environment as W-space was. Sov 0.0 supports very large groups, W-space supports small groups, we need an intermediate type with tuned barriers to power projection and maximum group size to allow the medium-sized alliances that used to exist to flourish once more.
- I see the major problem in attracting and retaining new players as getting them connected with existing groups of players. I reject the idea that they need more cotton-wool. People don’t sign up to EVE because they hear that mining is exciting, or that you can smoosh red pluses day in day out, they come because they hear about space battles, piracy, scams, thefts and grudges, They want in on that, and the sooner we get them in on the good stuff, the better.
- I want the CSM to raise its profile with the playerbase. I know full well that the last 3 CSMs in particular have worked their guts out for us, but people only ever hear about the ~drama~ when there’s a discord between the CSM and CCP. The rest of the time, as far as the average player is concerned the CSM are not doing anything because they’re not telling anyone what they’re doing. Now some people equate drama with CSM activity, and silence with inactivity. I want to change that. The CSM is a hugely valuable resource for the players, and the more support & interest it gets from the players the more useful it is. Making sure the players are properly informed is essential to that.
Ripard Teg: In my opinion and in no particular order:
- the “big blue doughnut”, as it’s called, and the general lack of things to shoot at among the largest null alliances;
- related, the slowing down of conflict within the game generally;
- trying to draw new players into the game without breaking the nature of EVE Online itself;
- the necessary POS revamp; and,
- the need to shake up income sources at all levels in the game and put them “bottoms up” into the hands of the players and corps instead of “top down” to the coalitions and mega-alliances.
I’m not running for the position of junior game developer, of course, but if I were asked this question by CCP, these are the items that I’d list. There are other issues I’d probably also bring up, like super-cap proliferation, the problem with EVE‘s rather boring PvE, and the lack of creativity involved in mining.
Nathan Jameson: As I am predominantly interested in making sure wormholes are not forgotten, my first few issues would concern them specifically:
- Redesign of POS securities and roles, to allow more granularity and flexibility.
- Adjustments on the Moros to bring it back in line with the other dreadnoughts, with concerns to the “dread-blapping” tactic.Drawing on one issue from the other three areas of space, I would add to my list:
- High sec: Improving on the current wardec system to make it functional again.
- Low sec: Strengthening the EVE-Dust link and inter-dependencies.
- Null sec: Shaking up the null-sec warfare stagnation by looking at the current sovereignty mechanics.
Marc Scaurus: That is a pretty broad question. In general I believe that POS revamps are at the forefront of every involved EVE player’s mind, even if they don’t or haven’t yet run a POS themselves. In nullsec, players have been clamoring for a sovereignty revamp more or less since the last sov revamp. Here in Empire, there are a wide variety of players that have different issues, but I would have to say that the risk/reward balance between high and low is a major concern for many players. Beyond that, you start getting into more granular items like improving on war decs, continuing revamps to PVE in terms of AI and different opportunities to engage in it, continuing to expand and improve upon the New Player Experience, and much more.
Which method of adressing issues do you believe is the most effective?
Trebor Daehdoow: Within the CSM context, it’s this:
Hone your arguments against people with differing opinions, and let them do the same. Take your ego out of the process. Come to a core consensus. Prepare a brief that presents the group’s position in as professional a manner as possible. Make sure you understand the mindset of the audience when doing this; you don’t have power, you have the opportunity to influence. And be able to do this with a 48-hour turnaround.
Malcanis: That’s too open a question to answer with anything but “it depends”. I don’t like drama, equally I don’t like folding on core principles merely to avoid hurt feelings. I don’t give two shits about claiming credit or gaining recognition.
Ripard Teg: I believe the best approach to make suggestions to CCP is to show them how both they and the players benefit from suggestions, particularly if you can frame suggestions to CCP in the context of bringing new players into the game, expanding their revenue, or expanding the scope of EVE’s audience. On the player end, I believe the best approach is to involve as many types of players as possible in issues and make sure their voices are heard.
Nathan Jameson: I think CSM members should follow a few basic steps in solving issues (game-related, anyway). The first would be to discuss the issue and their ideas with the other CSM members directly, probably via their shared Skype. This way, the member can used the shared knowledge of the group to ensure that it is indeed the problem he believes it to be, and that common solutions are agreed upon. The second would be to raise it with CCP via the procedures normally used by both parties–mails, calls, etc. I believe that a “Destroy the Jita Monument” scenario is an extreme case that should rarely, if ever happen–only when there are grevious issues that CCP blatantly ignores on multiple occasions.
Marc Scaurus: I’m a big fan of logic over unreasoning passion when it comes to addressing issues. While passion is great, you have to be able to hear all sides, understand where those sides are coming from, and pick the best path through the issue to best satisfy all parties. In terms of the CSM/CCP relationship, I think that the quiet competence of CSM7 was a good example of that thought process. However, you cannot be unwilling to cause a ruckus if a ruckus is ultimately what is called for.
In which bar in Iceland does a CSM member have a higher chance of adressing issues for his constituents; effectively?
Trebor Daehdoow: These days it’s Gorillan.
Malcanis: That’s a question a CSM rep who’s been to Iceland might be able to answer. I can’t. I doubt I’ll get enough votes to go in any case. If there are sufficient mysterious CSM rep deaths that I do, ask me afterwards.
Ripard Teg: As I noted above, I’ve never been to Iceland and the tenth anniversary Fanfest will be my first trip there. To take full advantage I’ll be there for a week, two days on either side of Fanfest itself. That said, I’m told Islenski Barinn is the place to be to encounter CCP devs. I look forward to visiting it. Hopefully, they have a good stout on tap because that’s the type of beer I drink. I hear Olvisholt Lava is drinkable.
Nathan Jameson: As I’ve said, I very rarely get out of Taiwan at all, much less to Iceland. I have no idea about the pubs there. I hope they know enough to serve neat scotch, however.
Marc Scaurus: Islenski Barrinn seems to be a CCP favorite, but honestly anywhere that serves booze would probably do the trick.
Piggybacks fixes are common but can appear out-of-the-blue; How do you plan on creating and reacting to opportunities for bug-fixes/issues?
Trebor Daehdoow: CSM pokes interested CCP devs when an interesting bug report comes up, and we try to point out synergies when they become available. Often the best way is to plant seeds that might grow into something in an expansion or two, by simply making sure devs are aware of a particular issue.
Malcanis: Again, that’s a pretty open question. As a point of general principle, by maintaining open and complete communications as possible with CCP to make sure we get as much advance detail as possible of such changes.
Ripard Teg: Good question! I want to return to a bit of an “old school” CSM4/CSM5 approach to this issue. Directly, I’d like CSM8 to have a monthly meeting, preferably on text chat somewhere. Each of these meetings would be no more than an hour. The point to this meeting would be that all CSM members would pull ideas that they like out of Features and Ideas, other forums, players they talk to, or their own ideas. Those ideas would then be brought before CSM8 to vote upon. The ones that pass this vote would be submitted to CCP as a new list of “little things”. If you look at the items on CSM4/CSM5’s lists, you’ll find virtually all of them are now in the game we’re playing. CCP needs a new list. 😉
Nathan Jameson: I would think the best way to create opportunities would be not simply to follow developer and forum posts myself, but to make sure that all the CSM candidates were following the same threads as I. I have only a limited scope of knowledge of the game and programming, and the CSM is 7+7 people for the ability to pool shared information and experience. By ensuring that all of us were keeping abreast of the same issues, we would be improving the odds that one or more of us could spot something and respond to it.
Marc Scaurus: Unfortunately in the CSM’s current role, it seems like such fixes are just as out of the blue for the CSM as they are for the players. One just has to look at recent changes to static plexes to see evidence that, while the CSM is more plugged in to the development process than ever before, they certainly aren’t plugged into everything. However, if such a bugfix did happen to cross the skype chat, I would definitely aim at getting some suggestions in on related topics to improve the game.
Thanks a bunch to all the CSM candidates that participated!