Before beginning this post, I want to point you to an extremely well-written, well thought-out post written by Seismic Stan, He of the Unabashedly Nerdy Roleplayer Fame. It was so good, even if I disagreed with some of the statements therein, that a huge part of me wishes he had the time to run for CSM7.
I think that if future CSMs leaned towards his views regarding the role and purpose of the Council, rather than towards TheMittani’s view of being a representative of his constituents, we might benefit without resorting to drastic measures like mass unsubscriptions. To adapt a quote from Edmund Burke:
[CSM] is not a congress of ambassadors from different and hostile interests, which interest each must maintain, as an agent and advocate, against other agents and advocates; but [CSM] is a deliberative assembly of one [game], with one interest, that of the whole… You choose a member, indeed; but when you have chosen him he is not a member of [Nullsec], but he is a member of [CSM].
Of note is that certain CSM members do tends towards the ‘trustee’ attitude towards election to the CSM and go to sometimes great lengths to gather input from ‘subject matter experts’ on things they have no to little experience of – i.e. wormholes, lowsec, etc. These members have my utmost respect – but as can be seen in the recent minutes, even the best of intentions can break down. The obvious nullsec bias bleeds through on several occasions, almost like Freudian slips.
Right now, and likely for the foreseeable future, the ‘loudest voice’ in Eve is going to be the most organized one. Obviously, the most organized entities in Eve belong to large nullsec blocs, thus it is no surprise that the majority of CSM6 was made up of nullsec entities. And when changes came to Eve, it is no surprise that CCP responded and catered to those who unsubscribed in droves. But here comes another point of contention in my opinion: was it the CSM that drove those changes?
I am still undecided as to the effectiveness of the CSM in driving Crucible’s rapid development. A more logical conclusion to draw from CCP’s renewed interest in gameplay balancing vs. ultimate sci-fi simulator can be drawn from the facts.
Fact: Following the NEx roll out, the half assed WiS implementation, and the mood shift in the community that CCP seemed to be bent on ignoring actual Flying in Space content, people unsubscribed in droves.
Fact: CCP was indeed fully committed to Incarna and their vision for the game, even as CSM6 was in office, up until the very noticeable and loud banging of doors as the FiS-centric crowd exited the building.
Fact: Those who in effect voted with their wallets and withdrew from the game shook CCP so hard that 20% of their staff fell right out on their asses . Changes were made to company structure, and plans were immediately implemented to get those walkouts back.
Logical Conclusion: Crucible was implemented in direct response to the droves of unsubbed in an effort to sate those who would soon follow them, as well as to lure them back.
Of course, we on the outside can’t determine with anything regarding accuracy as to how much CSM6 influenced the content or prioritization of fixes/features rolled out in the package now known as Crucible. It could very well be that they were instrumental in helping CCP figure out what should and shouldn’t be in Crucible. I just don’t know.
However, let’s get one thing straight – Crucible happened because CCP was informed in the one way that truly matters (revenue) that players would not stand for the sacrifice of FiS content in favor of WiS/NEX content. The players rocked the company – not CSM6. Thus, the victory chants spouted by CSM6 after Crucible – victory chants that are likely to serve as much of the platform for those running for reelection – ring a little hollow. As Mike Azariah pointed out succinctly in his blog, it’s rather a lot like CSM6 taking credit for the sun rising after a long, dark night.
“Oh, I see where this is going,” you might say, “Marc is just a big mean CSM basher.” But you would be wrong. I’m not suggesting the fault lies with CSM. In fact I don’t think many would disagree that this particular fault came from an unwillingness to listen on CCP’s part. I believe in the viability and usefulness of the CSM, particularly in this current mood of receptiveness in CCP. I believe that at least some of the members of CSM6 are excellent trustees of the playerbase. I also think that CSM7 is incredibly important to the future of Eve.
CSM7 will have an unprecedented opportunity to work with CCP – not just as sounding boards, as CCP says they are – to enact positive change on the game. Like Stan, I would love to see the ‘Ultimate Sci-Fi Simulator’ goal return, tempered in the fires of Incarnageddon and ever-mindful that Flying in Space is what Eve Online does best. Correspondingly, I think that we, as players, need to be very careful and very thorough with the candidates for CSM7. Talk with them, learn about them, give them feedback and see what they do with it. When they take office, remind them that they are the trustees of the playerbase, not the delegates of nullsec alliances.
Work with the CSM and encourage CCP to give them more of a role than that of sounding board. As this past summer, and the resultant Crucible expansion, shows –our wallets are what really matters to CCP. Always remember that should the Arbiters we elect fail (whether through their own shortcomings or those of CCP), the loudest voice emanates from our Eve account subscriptions.
Note: this was not the sole reason, but served a large role. CCP was undoubtedly already overstretched by their commitment to two other games.