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CSM Winter Summit 2015, or as CCP Guard called it, the Council of Selfie Management.

Before the summit, CCP released the CSM review which contains the impressions by members of the CSM of their term so far.

Most of us arrived on the weekend of 17th January from our home countries all over the globe which included a big change in time zone, temperature and amount of daylight. The travel itself was very well organized with the fly-bus ready to take us to our hotel, the Center Plaza, in the heart of Reykjavik. I met up with Progodlegend and Xander and they took me under their wing along with Corbex, Sugar and Sion (Ali arrived later). Me, being the Iceland noob, quickly learned about whale penis, dark beer and the famous sandwich bars.

Monday we started by collecting our passes, taking pictures and an introduction to the CCP HQ. This picture was taken over the rooftop from the window of the room where we sat for four days in a row. We got the grand tour and got to meet a lot of people whilst Corbex acted as Santa, with a endless bag of coffee, tea, sweets and gifts for a lot of people. We have to get him a Santa hat next time for sure.

I liked how the company is built around teamwork and matches the atmosphere of the game & employees that craft it. I have never seen a company where employees get a sword on the wall and where family and kids take part in dinners at the cantine. The introduction to Icelandic working ethics was interesting.

Tuesday the meetings started with CCP Seagull explaining to us the changes CCP has undertaken in the last 12 months. How they have reworked the agile project management system to take out scrum teams, make them leaner and to fit them into the current dev teams that make the game you play, and where traditional managers and top down “blame” culture is actually replaced by empowering those teams, making them responsible for what they make, the speed they make it, deliverables and the things they need to do their job.

All of this is necessary to keep up with the current release cadence. For me as an IT manager it was impressive to see during the week that Seagull not only talked that talk but that the teams actually really made her less-corporate way of doing things work for CCP, being both proud of their responsibility and highly engaged in their deadlines.

A lot of the stuff you guys are getting are derived from a huge company change and they were needed for the shift in the release cycle. We talked about the future, moving away from the current dates of release and even being able to turn stuff on between cycles, like updates to the beta map, rather than doing nothing between releases or making things too big to ever work properly or implement correctly. There is a lot of really exciting stuff coming up in our future.

The rest of the week were showcases of individual teams showing us their engagement, plans, ideas, work methods, and possibilities. We saw teams working on structures that would, rather than deploy a single feature, instead would provide a structure to release X amount of new elements, redo the whole value chain and so on.

A small example is the Tengu – ‘ok it is too powerful, but if we nerf it, people will use a Proteus instead, and after that they might use the Eagle. However, they are all rail guns, so maybe we need to change the railguns, not the ships that use them.’ Trying to allocate development time where it has the most impact was therefore also a challenge the CSM faced during the summit, letting go of individual agendas to instead look at the general state and health of EVE Online.

A unannounced but potentially big thing is the fact that Seagull announced that the CSM will get direct access to Confluence, the online work place for the DEV teams and where the CSM now has its own corner. This should enable more direct contact between individual teams and the CSM, in addition to the current forums & Skype channels. Confluence will promote a more collaborative approach as the CSM can readily review documents CCP produces and vice versa. I think I can speak for everyone present how happy we are with the opportunities this offers both the teams and the CSM to interact and communicate with CCP. We already receive reports and ideas on which we can comment, like and post our own views and opinions. It’s great to see a move that fits the genuine realization of the assets at their disposal. I hope the devs use this system a lot and that the CSM take advantage of the new communication channels!

The future health of EVE looks promising to me. I see a CCP which is taking charge of their game, making some bold decisions in the last year with issues like BLINK, jump fatigue, Jump Freighters, new wormholes, and adding a lot of content to the game, whilst still easing into this new cadence. If you would like to get more details, then you should read the CSM minutes, which were being pumped out during and in between the meetings, an amazing effort by the ‘team community’ and the people who went over them in the evening (my spelling was no help to this endeavour). It was nice to see the compliments aimed at the people who deserve them. In the past getting the minutes out to the public took ages. I feel the speed reflects the new CCP and their commitment to their new cadence.

To me another big change driver was “This is EvE” video.

CCP uses in game moments, moments that we, the players created. The impact of this video, and the way it was received by gamers in and outside EVE is currently also reshaping CCP workings. The realization of what you have out there in terms of resources and fans, and that you can maybe channel that into value streams for EVE Online is rippling through CCP. Through Brave Newbies and the recent KARMA Fleet we also see players catch onto the idea that new players matter, and that by getting involved with new players and helping them learn to play EvE is securing the future of their alliances as well as the game overall. The recent request for content from player created videos, currently valued at 100 plex is another great way of securing the future of EvE, make sure to check it out!

Also there is an invite to deliver content for the o7 show.

During the summit we got to see trial videos for new tutorials, this is one where I hope CCP will do the same, reaching out and letting players help make the tutorials, whilst CCP provides the framework of subjects, harnessing the power that lies in the community, rather than making them all themselves. Only the core features should be provided by CCP, as the item database is already hard to update. I fear for the long term health of CCP videos as tutorials. It was nice to discuss options, and see how CCP realizes that the NPE (new player experience) is a big thing. We all know a lot of new EVE players drop out quickly, and picking that up is a big thing and a lot of sessions touched the NPE subject from different points of view.

“This is EVE” put the game out there in front of the masses where it deserves to be and winning ‘Best MMO’ in a lot of awards again for 2014 certainly raises the awareness of EVE Online amongst other gamers as well.

Although exact numbers and paying accounts are hidden, the video definitely had its impact and now the ball is back in the court of both CCP and us, the players and the CSM to keep the trend going.

NDA covered some of the topics and some of them will be released or shown at Fanfest in March. I get a lot of questions about the nullsec agenda meeting, 2 hours of -REDACTED- and -REDACTED- . It’s out there that CCP wishes to look at the SOV mechanics and wants to push the fights that are tied to SOV to different systems, removing a lot of grinding, and the stuff we hate but still do for the greater good. Fatigue was the first part, and it triggered more combat in nullsec between players. But honeymoons don’t last forever, and round 2 is coming. As exciting as it looked it also worried me. It was a lot to grasp at once and wrap my head around all the implications and so on. Sion (Goons) and I mentioned our concerns as well as the parts we like about a first, very rough drawing. Without going into details I would like to explain how I look at certain things.

People love more payment, in RL and in-game. However we also know from countless studies that salary rise is a short spawn reward, and you forget about the rise very quickly after you got it. It’s not the driver that makes you work hard forever or engages you more. In-game we even saw in statistics shown by CCP that if they introduced something, then the numbers of players rose for a short while and then plummeted back to original levels. So there are other drivers to motivation, which can be : achievement, goal, purpose, mastery or making an impact or difference in your surroundings.

As a Provi block member I am a bit weird, but hopefully I can explain: I call Providence my home because of other factors than ISK per hour and I will defend my home if someone attacks something meaningful. If it doesn’t matter I will run or evade harmful action to me and my alliance. I can move to any incursion channel for isk, but I can’t buy a sense of home with that same isk. So if a new sov mechanic is introduced, it should motivate nullsec fighting in a meaningful way. That is: keeping people in null, keeping them fighting, keeping them logged in and pull more players into EVE and null sec (nullsec players and people in a corp/alliance stay in EVE longer on average than those that aren’t.)

  • Planting your flag, visually and in a way that matters.
  • Invest: if you work hard for something, you are more likely to defend it.
  • Feeling of achievement : you earned this, you worked for it.
  • Mastery, being able to be good at something, defending.

There are tons of motivators and whole universities have thesis on the subject, but in short, I would like to meaningfully invest in my region, up to the level that it matters to me and I will then try and defend it rather than evade a fight. In the extreme: for the period of a year it pays off to hold the SOV that long. Lets say my asteroid belts increase in yield, possibilities for industry increase, ME and refining rates may rise, I get to distribute points in areas that I want to utilize and to get ice belts, anomalies and missions to spawn in my region or get better over time. As I utilize the region and make it more my home it becomes valuable. NOT in general to make me more isk per hour but to be able to hold more people, have more options, and become self-sufficient in this one area of space. There are a lot of things possible to make a system feel like home and with it, the desire to defend it, as you have invested your time and energy into making it your own piece of EVE.

The examples used above are just examples, they do not come from sessions nor do they break any NDA. I hope the CSM and CCP will look carefully at the deeper motivations, which are not isk per hour per player but making space feel more like something you want to defend because it is your home.

I hope to also contribute to this topic as part of the CSM 10.

It feels like CCP has finally gotten rid of the restrictions they might have felt after the walking in stations fiasco and ‘monacle gate’, and they are moving forward with fresh energy and new ways of looking at EVE and into the future of this game we all love. To be able to watch this up close and engaging with so many CCP employees who work their ass off for all of us was a humbling experience. It reminded me why I ran and will run again for CSM, and hope in a small way, to help where possible.

Last but not least, a lot of the CCP employees have been incredibly nice to us. Each meeting was prepared, whole teams showed up to talk to us and we were taken very seriously. We were asked for our thoughts and what we had to say was listened to and valued. Every evening talk continued over a beer or two, and CCP Leeloo and CCP Falcon even invited us into their homes on Saturday after the summit was finished, for drinks and a card game of “Cards Against Humanity” for which I thank both of you. It was awesome you invited us.

A quick summit impression from me:

Fanfest is around the corner, I hope to see a lot of you there in person and whether you are CCP, CSM or a general player, poke me for a chat and a beer! I booked myself in on Saturday for the Golden Circle tour, which is also on the fanfest list. Here is a sneak preview.

Corebloodbrothers

  • Candyman

    I actually enjoyed reading that. Well done, and thanks! o7

  • nullbeer

    that seemed very well thought out, had proper grammar and spelling….did core really right that?

    • theseconddavid

      Sadly, my first thought as well.

    • Senex Legio 1

      You were convincing until you wrote “right” instead of “write”.

      • Zeltur

        Actually you would be both wrong in the spelling of the term “write”. Grab a dictionary and learn nerd.

        • Senex Legio 1

          I am pretty sure you are the wrong one. Maybe English is different where you are from. And who are you calling nerd, nerd.

      • nullbeer

        auto correct on my tablet likes to make me look a fool….cant have laptops at work anymore…apparently they dont like me playing eve when im suppose to be monitoring servers.

  • Frans Bovens

    Haha, so true, i sat down with a english spellchecker on my word and bobmon also asked a writer too do a spellcheck, its important enough to be put out right to people, but i did write it haha.

  • Trollolololololo

    TLDR: but CSM..useless pack of nerds

    and tbh.. NO ONE CARES about your free trip to Iceland.

    • ololololollort

      you cared enough to reply

  • Canaith Lydian

    Appreciate the article, Core. 🙂

  • Dracvlad

    Thanks for the update enjoyed the read, we are all waiting for the Sov changes.

    I would like to point out that many of us want to take space and defend it, however we have a fair number of very large groups desperately bored that look for targets to get fights out of or just to do it as they can. While that is an issue you will have to tailor the sov mechanics around that, I am not going to spend billions on a system to have it rolled over in one day by 5% of PL.

    That is the reality that the CSM needs to think about, so when you do this look at it also from a base level of what a small group can get too with some benefits but which is not going to cripple them to set up again due to this type of roll over, but also allows them to fight like guerillas.

    Make sure you do this, because the game blocks need breaking up and the important part is to make it so its not impossible for small blocks to run space at a level that is not worth a big block to come in to kick over the limited cost sand castle with overkill for so called good fights.

  • angry

    CSM meeting: Okay guys there are some things that need to be fixed. Some of the ships/mods in eve need a nerf. So lets start with rail guns. (someone in the back of the room) What about ishtars. NO STFU AND GET OUT WE ONLY BUFF ISHTARS GET OUT…. end of story.

    • Frans Bovens

      u angry ?

  • dethlock99

    That was the best spelling and grammar I have ever seen from Core. Or is he still really Core. . .

    • Frans Bovens

      haha yep, i asked for help mate lol

      • guest

        lol I wasn’t sure it was really you until you linked it on the forums.