My big complaint with CSM7 has been their apologist attitude towards CCP. They’ve been less about advocating for the players and more about apologizing and making excuses for CCP’s lack of movement in certain gameplay areas.
Some people have told me I’m wrong wrong wrong. That I need to supply examples. Well, here’s an excellent example. Actually, I’ll give you an example of what they’ve been doing wrong, and then I’ll give an example of one specific thing a particular representative did right.
I’d like to see CSM8 move more towards advocating for the players, and leave CCP to explaining their actions to the players. Let CCP fall on their own sword. The CSM shouldn’t be offering to fall on swords in CCP’s stead. It’s not the CSM’s job to explain away the things CCP does. It comes across as defeatist, and what we don’t want from the CSM are people who won’t advocate for players because ::effort::.
(Before I go on. Quick disclaimer. I could give two shits about live events. I think they’re mostly a waste of CCP resources, and that the storytelling is overly linear. But, this blog post isn’t about live events specifically, but about a general attitude I’ve seen from CSM7 most of the year, something I hope ends when CSM8 begins its term.)
So today on Twitter, some of those people who like live events were commenting on the recent Uprising devblog. Uprising is an initiative to give players more story-driven live events. Here is a sequence of tweets on the issue. (I’m not going to call out the CSM representative specifically. That’s not the point of this post. This has been an issue endemic with all CSM7 throughout their term.)
Player 1: How many kicks to the implants will it take before you acknowledge USTZs?
CCP Dev: I’d love to. We simply don’t have the manpower to do it currently.
Player 1: Please remove special items until you can figure it out. We don’t need it rubbed in our faces that we can’t attend the events.
CCP Dev: You’re assuming we’re only going to give out items once and never again. We’re not.
Player 1: You already know that live events piss off the USTZ’s. How about a little good PR and stating that in the posts for live events?
Player 2: CCP should open an office in Atlanta or something… Would be nice for USTZ events. San Fran would be good too.
(Note: Player 2 is being funny. CCP has an office in Atlanta, and they just opened another in San Francisco.)
CSM Rep: As tempting as it is to throw those staff right onto Live Events though, training is CRUCIAL.
And there we have it. A CSM representative explaining why it’s a dead issue and why it’s not worth time fighting about. Instead of speaking up as a player representative, perhaps strongly and publicly supporting USTZ live events, he chooses instead to take the side of CCP, and offer a reason why it’s not a reasonable request. He basically kills the debate and lets CCP off the hook.
The CCP dev gave his reasons why they won’t do USTZ specific events. There was no need for the CSM representative to follow-up with an additional excuse, to soften the blow of CCP’s refusal to solve the issue. That’s exactly what the CSM representative was doing, trying to soften the blow. Appeal to reason. Kill the argument. Let CCP off the hook.
Except, I don’t see it as the CSM’s job to be softening blows. They’re there to advocate for the players. To stand up for the players. To support the players. They weren’t given their positions to be a soft landing for unpopular CCP decisions.
This is exactly the sort of CCP-focused behaviour that I don’t want to see from CSM8.
How should the CSM rep have handled the situation? He should have simply tweeted that USTZ live events are crucial. He should have focused on player advocacy. He should have supported Player 1 and Player 2′s position. The CCP dev might have been upset with the CSM rep for publicly decrying CCP’s reasons for not engaging more with USTZ players, for trying to force an issue, but we didn’t elect CSM reps to make buddy-buddy with the devs. We didn’t elect them to act as a public relations tool between the corporation and the customer base. We elected them to stand-up strongly for player issues.
This particular CSM representative should been more like Two Step. And with that I refer specifically to the POS revamp issue. CCP explained that they were pulling back from a POS revamp. Rather than apologize or make further excuses for CCP, Two Step advocated for the players. He pushed hard against CCP’s decision and forced the issue. Did that make him unpopular with CCP during that time? Very likely, with some of their employees. But people didn’t vote Two Step so that he could broaden his circle of pals, they voted him in to stand strong and firm on important gameplay issues. And that’s exactly what he did. We need more Two Steps on CSM8. And I’m hopeful we’ll get that.
You can read more of Poetic Stanziel’s opinions at his Poetic Discourse blog.