Saturday, January 21, 2012

Jester's Schmeck

A few days ago, Jester posted an amusing article on his blog poking fun at the style of the CSM minutes, in which we generally don't identify individual CSMs opinions. This is mostly because the recordings we work off are not very good (I've already bitched about this), and it's often hard to tell who's talking, and also because it would take a huge amount of time to transcribe the minutes at that level of detail.

I had previously stated on FHC that if anyone wanted to know where I specifically stood, they should feel free to ask. So Jester, clever fellow that he is, posted a laundry list of questions. Several other CSMs have posted their answers, so I guess it's my turn.

Now, as most people are aware, I tend to concentrate on higher-level issues (ie: pushing for more dev/community interaction, more resources for the UI, addressing fundamental game-mechanic issues, etc.), so you can assume that any of Jester's questions I don't answer are those I don't have a particular opinion on, or I think are just irrelevant.

Pilots -- most particularly super-carrier pilots -- should be given a "partial respec" of their skill-points (page 12).

I am in favor of this, as long as it is limited in both the amount of SP that can be respec'd, and the frequency at which it is available is rare. This is, I know, not a popular opinion. My reasons for thinking it is acceptable is that it will be a useful tool both for conversion of noobs into long-term customers (undoing early mistakes, trying a new career path), and encouraging reactivations. I view it as a similar issue to remaps.

As a general principle, I think the "it was hard for me, so it should be hard for you" argument is bogus, unless there is a really good reason for something to be difficult. In the UI discussion, for example, I was the CSM who was in favor of better, easier to use situational awareness tools, and strongly disagreed with another CSM, who felt that the current system (numeric values for angular velocity, for example) was better because it provided an edge for skilled players.

Super-carriers should be able to dock in stations (pages 13 and 17); 

Only if those stations can be blown up with the SC's inside them. :)

Drones should just give ISK bounties instead of dropping alloys (page 16).

Does not seem unreasonable, though I am sure many will disagree. This decision will be largely driven by the Research and Economics people at CCP.

Alliances should be able to tax member ratting income (page 16).

I am generally in favor of activity-based income rather than passive income for Corps and Alliances.

Wars in EVE are driven by hatred and grudges rather than resources (page 16).

Well, part of the problem is, if you don't have resources now, you don't have the resources, under the current sov system, to go to war to get the resources. Catch-22.

Fleets of Rifters should be able to tackle and hold down a Titan (page 17).

I am tempted to agree with this just because the mental image is so much fun. But it would have to be a big fleet.

There both should and should not be a new class of capital ship specialized in tackling (page 17).(1)

No new cap ships. Too many other things to fix.

There should never be new super-capital ships added to EVE (page 17).

I would never say never, but I don't see a need anytime in the next several years.

Outposts should be destructible (pages 17 and 18).


NPC station services should be destructible (page 18).


Station service hit-points are at the right level (page 19); and, they should not be a viable target for small gangs looking to force sov-holders to defend their territories (page 19).

I think shooting at structures is boring, and using it as a basis for a sov system is ridiculous. IMHO, you should gain sov in a system by holding it and using it, and you should take sov from someone by getting in their face, blowing them up, stopping them from using their space, and using its resources.

In other words, sov is not something you use to control space; sov is something you get from controlling space.

Note that such a system, if properly designed, would greatly reduce the ability of existing alliances to control large amounts of space.

Faction Warfare stuff (page 20).

I think CCP ought to be going to the FW folks and discussing improvements to FW. And then doing something interesting and innovative.

Rewards in low-sec, particularly Faction Warfare rewards, are not high enough (pages 20 and 25).

Low-sec is a difficult design problem, because it is sandwiched between high- and null-sec. If you set the rewards too high, the null-sec folks will move in to farm it; if you set them too low, the high-sec folks won't touch it. And because high-sec people tend to be very risk-adverse (they hate losses more than they love gains, which is very human), there may not be a sweet-spot.

There should be some sort of wormhole stabilizer to make invading w-space easier (page 20).(3)


Sleepers should attack POSs and/or pod people (page 20).(3)

Maybe. But it would have to be balanced by some improvements to WH space, like the ability to have clones in WH systems.

Electronic Attack Frigates should be able to "impact" super-capital ships immune to e-war (page 21).(4)

This was spitballing to find a good role for EAFs, which are currently almost completely unused according to CCP. It seems like an interesting possibility.

Sov-holders should be able to build a module in their own space that hurts other people's sov space (page 24).

That particular session of the minutes was all spitballing about possible future ideas. My major comment about all this stuff was that I wouldn't want resources diverted to such ideas when there are so many pressing global issues. I mean, most people think the current sov system sucks, so why spend time polishing the turd?

Null-sec is about hate and cruelty (page 25).

Some people like to think so. I personally think everyone has a different reason for being there. Or not.

The contraband system should be removed (page 25).

It's just annoying, and it would reduce the load on Crimewatch.

Buying a PvP ship should be an investment that brings in ISK (page 25).

The major concern here is that the % of the ship's value you get out of a kill varies widely, and perhaps it should vary a little less. But I don't view it as an earthshatteringly important issue.

The person who destroys your ship should get 10-20% of your insurance pay-out for that ship (page 26), including if they gank you in high-sec (also page 26).(3)

I am indifferent to the first part, but I was the CSM who raised the issue that gankers shouldn't get rewarded.

Despite the fact CCP has a large number of assets for the NeX store, they should not be released at this time (page 30).

It would be a waste of resources. If they agree that NeX and Aurum are a failure, they should re-engineer the system (using ISK, PLEX, and perhaps micro-PLEX) and release the new stuff then.

Players should be able to train more than one pilot per account by paying for this privelige with PLEXes (page 30).


Players don't care about their corporation logos (page 30); and, they care about their alliance logos much more (page 30).

Probably the case for most, but largely irrelevant, since if CCP permits people to put alliance logo nose art on their ships, they'll be able to put corp logos on as well.

The unique attraction of EVE is "you can grief people" and "it's not a game for wusses" (page 32).

Absolutely. For example, it allows smarty-pants bloggers to try and grief hard-working CSMs, except for the fact that we're not wusses, so it never works.


Friday, January 20, 2012

The Cold Equations of the CSM Election

The announcement in the Winter Summit Minutes of changes to the structure of the CSM and the election process presents some interesting dilemmas for candidates who do not have the backing of Nullsec power-blocs.

For the upcoming CSM7 elections, the changes are:

* No differentiation between "main" and "alternate" CSMs.

* There are still 14 CSM delegates, but only the top 7 available CSMs go to Iceland for summits (down from 9 currently).

* In order to get on the ballot, a candidate must get a nomination thread "liked" some number of times (as yet undetermined). CCP hopes this will reduce the number of candidates.

In terms of having a say in Iceland, these changes are a huge buff to the Nullsec powers-that-be, since they can easily obtain the necessary number of votes to get into the top 7 without any active campaigning. I would not be surprised if 5 or even 6 of the top 7 slots in CSM7 go to power-bloc anointed candidates.

The key to their strategy will be to exploit their ability to focus votes on their preferred candidates, while at the same time doing everything possible to diffuse the voting power of non-bloc voters and try to get them to waste votes on candidates that have no reasonable chance of a top 7 finish.

Before we go any further, let's address CCP's attempt to reduce the number of candidates. IMHO, it's pointless, because it is trivial to game. No evil conspiracy required, people will do it for the LOLs.

With that out of the way, let's look at the numbers.

In the last election, getting the #7 spot required 2240 votes, and getting on the CSM itself required 921.

I don't think it's unreasonable to expect a 20% jump in voting in the CSM7 elections; that boosts those numbers to (roundly) 2700 and 1100 respectively.

Quite frankly, I think the threshold for getting into the top 7 is going to be higher, perhaps 2900 or even 3000. This is because the nullsec power blocs will focus their voting in order to try and guarantee they get at least 5 out of the 7 slots.

Whether they can do that (or better), or whether non-bloc candidates can manage to grab 3 of the top 7, depends entirely on how successful they are in splitting (or suppressing) the non-bloc vote.

To give you some numbers, in the last election, 33635 votes were cast for successful candidates, and 14528 were cast for candidates that did not get elected -- that's 30%. The vast majority of those wasted votes went to independent, non-bloc candidates.

This is a cruel waste of voting power, but it highlights the fundamental dilemma that potential non-bloc CSM7 candidates must face.

It is simply this: unless you can honestly say that you have 1000 votes locked up and in the bag, running for CSM just increases the voting power of the organized blocs. You need to have a constituency behind you already.

If you don't have those votes in the bag, then your best bet is to find a candidate with similar views who has a better shot at being elected to the 14, and do everything in your power to get out the vote.

The days of being an "issue" candidate (as I was during the CSM5 election) are over -- except perhaps during the nomination phase.

It's a cold equation, to be sure. But it's very cold in space.