After waiting for a month for the Minutes from CSM’s Winter Summit, the EVE Community was greeted this week not with Minutes, but Hours, of reading. Having delved into the Minutes and doing a reread (sometimes two) of the various sections, I’ve decided to share a brief overview of their contents, to be followed by between 7 and 10 more in depth dissections of their contents. With 113 pages of ‘Minutes’, information overload is both inevitable and regrettable.
However, I’m not one to complain. The level of depth and thoroughness in the Minutes from CSM7 has been commendable, as well as a direct response to the baying of the transparency hounds. Ironic, then, that those same people now complain at the length of the Minutes, but that is a topic for another day.
To me, there were a few standout items to take special note of in the CSM’s Winter Summit. First and foremost was the future direction of EVE development, as discussed in the Minutes’ first section. Therein, CCP Unifex and CCP Seagull shared with the CSM their philosophy towards EVE Online’s future development. To sum it up, they are pairing an increased effort to gather statistical data regarding EVE’s player base with a solidly defined framework for future expansions to deliver more, and better, content to EVE Online.
What does this mean in layman’s terms? It means that, rather than chasing the shiny (be it the Jesus Feature or the Low Hanging Fruit), future expansions will be focused around a central theme. From this central theme, CCP will either fix existing, legacy features – or introduce brand new features in an attempt to do the same thing. An example of this could be seen, albeit in a reduced form, in our latest expansion Retribution. The theme of the expansion was ‘War’, and featured both iterations on old mechanics as well as the introduction of (essentially) brand new mechanics.
While some say this is just returning to past habits, I believe that CCP Unifex will steer the ship a bit more steadfastly than his predecessors at the helm. Expect future expansions to be tight, sleek and well rounded in addressing a particular area of EVE – not a geographic area, but a thematic area (such as Industry, Production, Sovereignty, etc).
One of the most controversial reveals in the Minutes was the fact that, contrary to the information given to CSM previously, Modular POSes are no longer a primary focus of CCP’s development. Some have taken to calling this an outright travesty, with a thread begun by Two Step reaching epic proportions. However, it is important to point out that Modular POSes have not been dismissed entirely. It will simply not be a central feature to an expansion in the near term. Instead, iterations are to be expected from CCP on the existing POS system, time and resources allowing. The code for POSes is quite possibly the oldest untouched code in the game, and as was described at the last FanFest, has been allowed to creep into virtually every facet of EVE’s core code. Unraveling that particular ball of yarn will simply take longer than initially estimated.
While not explicitly stated in the Minutes, I do believe that some reading between the lines of the Faction Warfare section in particular indicates a renewed willingness on the part of CCP to address lowsec as a whole, as opposed to just Faction Warfare as we have seen for the past year. Of course, I could be completely off base with this, but I would not be surprised to see at least one expansion in 2013 make significant changes to lowsec. However, the current CSM did not seem inclined to capitalize on this, which is a shame.
Of final interest (to me at least) were the discussions regarding the CSM itself. A commitment has been made for a revised CSM White Paper to be released in the coming months (before the CSM8 election gets underway). There is also the strong possibility of an entirely new voting system being put in place. Following the laughable effect that the ‘100 Likes’ modification had during the CSM7 elections, this is not surprising – but is a potential cause for alarm. With so many prominent members of CSM7 not running for reelection (Elise, Hans, and Aleks have all confirmed they will not be seeking another term), there is a real possibility that CCP could implement a tragically flawed voting system due to a complete lack of interest on the parts of those who are active on the current CSM, but not invested in the next.
Part One of my actual dissection of the Minutes will begin tomorrow, with an in depth look at the future conceptual development of EVE Online, as described in section 1 of the Minutes as well as the dual devblogs rolled out by Unifex and Seagull just the other day.