Friday, July 23, 2010

EVE Blog Banter #19

Welcome to the nineteenth installment of the EVE Blog Banter, the monthly EVE Online blogging extravaganza created by CrazyKinux. The EVE Blog Banter involves an enthusiastic group of gaming bloggers, a common topic within the realm of EVE Online, and a week to post articles pertaining to the said topic. The resulting articles can either be short or quite extensive, either funny or dead serious, but are always a great fun to read! Any questions about the EVE Blog Banter should be directed to Check out other EVE Blog Banter articles at the bottom of this post!

This months topic comes to us from @evepress, and he asks: The CSM: CCP's Meta Game? - The CSM, an eve players voice to CCP.Right? In the grand scheme of things yes, the players bring up issues and the CSM presents them to CCP. But in its current iteration the CSM was supposed to be given small authority to assign CCP assets toprojects that the CSM thought needed work on. As it has not come outthis was not the case. So fellow bloggers, is the CSM worth it, has the CSM improved the game in any way, or is it just a well thought out scamby CCP to give us players a false sense of input in the game? What's your take?

I have to admit I've only breezed over many of the posts written by the CSMs and the Devs about the latest rounds of talks between them. Frankly, I am of the opinion this is a tempest in a teacup.

The CSMs are frustrated as they feel they have a mandate from the people to "force" CCP to listen to their demands. After all, they represent the people that pay for CCP's existence and that has been the mantra of every player of every MMO since Everquest. You HAVE to listen to us, we pay your bills, without US you'd be nothing!!!

The fact of the matter is the CSMs are not a true representation of the EVE player community, and more importantly, CCP knows this. Mxynee was swept into the lead CSM position on the strength of her importance to low-sec inhabitants and her popular blog. I'm positive she will do a wonderful job in representing some of EVE's players, but in no way can she represent the majority of EVE players. Frankly, like any election, the silent majority who didn't bother to vote probably do not want any of the changes Mxynee and others have proposed solutions for. These folks don't live in lowsec or nullsec, they don't run into the game crippling lag, they abhor the random violance and e-peenery that many low-sec pirates exhibit. They "carebear" their way through missions and focus on the myriad of industrial opportunities available in our sandbox.

Its often the illusion of the rabid forum leader that they represent a major faction of the gaming community. You go to any MMO, (WoW, DAOC, EQ2, etc) there will be major forum names that the dwellers recognize and lend "internet" expertise to. However, game developers know that most players don't even read the forums (or blogs) at all. Take WOW for example, hard-core raiders spend hours online and have a heavy representation in the forum, but they are a small fraction of the 11 million players in WOW.

The bottom line is this, CSMs are not game developers and do not have access to the corporate plan CCP has. They cannot, nor SHOULD not, be able to direct CCP to "do" anything. That is not to say that the CSM program is not successful nor useless. CCP has been chasing down the reason for increased lag, in large part, because of the representation made by prior CSM groups. Yes, CCP is focused on its next two major projects. No, many forum dwellers do not feel these projects will be useful to you. CCP, does not and SHOULD not care to the point they crumble and move corporate assets to meet the mobs every whim...especially when the mob can't even agree in which direction to move. They do have a responsibility to shareholders (not stakeholders) to grow and return a profit on investment. The return can only be build by continuing to bring in new and more players. Frankly, in my opinion, they HAVE to do something completely different to renew EVE, especially to bring in a more diverse player base. YOU may not like the new advances, but its not like CCP has TAKEN anything away from your playing experience that you enjoy now.

Finally, the CSMs are important. They have argued for CCP to become more transparent to the player base on what their plan is. Much to my surprise, CCP has accepted the challenge and posted where almost EVERYONE OF THEIR DEVELOPERS are working. That is a huge change to openness. When has any company ever done anything like that? I encourage the CSMs to continue to work with CCP to press forward their agenda, it will not be quick, it will not be easy...but if CCP gets to the agenda press forward by CSM5 in 18 months, which is still a successful mission. Company's do not respond like a college student changing their mind on a major...they project for costs and goals a minimum of a year out and most like on a five year schedule...they can't and won't change those no matter what the CSMs propose...but the CSM can help CCP develop the next iteration of the company plan...and THAT is making a difference.

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