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CCP Speaks On Player-Elected Advisors For EVE Online 70

Posted by Soulskill
from the taxation-with-representation dept.
Kheldon points us to an MMOGamer interview with Petur Oskarsson, Valerie Massey, and Dan Coker from CCP Games about EVE Online's Council of Stellar Management, "a democratically elected group of players who serve as advisors to the development team." The elections happen every six months, and regarding their effectiveness, Oskarsson says, "I did some numbers checking and the council has brought up 128 topics for CCP. And out of that, nine have been denied. The rest has been either injected into a backlog, or if it was already in the backlog it has been given an added prioritization." In a related interview on Massively, he said this is a tool he thinks most new MMOs should use, since it facilitates two-way communication, especially in situations like the recent economic exploit.
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CCP Speaks On Player-Elected Advisors For EVE Online

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  • First vote! (Score:1, Troll)

    by Mortiss (812218)
    To introduce this system into Warhammer and make Mythic listen.
    • Re:First vote! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by montyzooooma (853414) on Friday May 08, 2009 @05:39AM (#27873965)
      The problem is you're always going to have fundamental differences between, PvP, PvE and RP servers on WAR etc. EVE has 1 server (farm) to worry about so a consensus of players applies to that single server. With MMOs that have a multi-server philosophy you have to cater to fundamentally different mindsets across the different varieties of servers.

      The other problem with listening to the players is that it dilutes any strong vision the devs may have originally had.

      • After so many years of hearing "vision" from Sony/Verant I vomit uncontrollably when I hear it used in the context of an MMO.
      • by Burkin (1534829)

        The other problem with listening to the players is that it dilutes any strong vision the devs may have originally had.

        Your strong vision means jack shit if none of the players like it and stop playing your game.

    • by McGuirk (1189283)
      They had something similar via Team Leads with DAoC.

      Sadly, they were mostly ignored.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Friday May 08, 2009 @05:10AM (#27873821)

    Let's face it, democracy in something as small as an MMO, is a "two wolves and a sheep" dinner discussion. There are quite frankly Alliances that can ensure they have a few seats in this.

    And, well, why'd you think players are more altruistic than the average politician? Especially in a cutthroat game like EvE?

    • by khallow (566160)
      I'm not sure I see the problem here. As you imply later, the two wolves and one sheep situation is rather common in the game anyway. CCP won't implement changes that are obviously biased to one faction and will cost CCP lost business. And there are in game solutions (eg, dogpiling) to dealing with alliances that try to game this system. Look at what happened to BOB. They lost their space and their name.
      • It's not so much that one alliance would get a hand over another alliance. I rather guess that most of the PEAs would be from large 0.0 Alliances, simply because they don't really exist amongst Empire corporations.

        So even if (I'm not saying it is so, I'm saying if) there were more Empire players, they most likely would not be heard because of course 0.0 Alliances want more content for 0.0 players.

        • by Saib0t (204692)
          The thing is that the type of player who gets elected are ones who have a large following. This tends to be people in large alliances. In the current CSM, you find people representing:
          - Northern Coalition
          - Goonswarm
          - BoB pets
          - IRC/ED
          - Etc.

          As a matter of fact, there's 2 people in the current CSM not representing a large alliance (ankhewhatever and myself)

          However, you'll find that even the large alliance players tend to care about the way things are in highsec, piracy, industry, etc.

          On the other ha

    • by cowscows (103644)

      True enough, but don't think that they're letting the elected CSM members actually develop the game patches, or letting them mess with the databases. There's still CCP acting as a filter between these ideas thrown out by the players and what finally makes it into the game.

      And despite the animosity between some of the different player-run alliances, I don't think that's where the big divide would be in what the player base wants the developers to focus their efforts on. The big player divide is between peopl

    • by Judinous (1093945) on Friday May 08, 2009 @08:59AM (#27875309)
      I'm a member of Goonswarm, both the largest alliance in EVE and the one whose reputation for meta-gaming might persuade you to think that we would use the CSM to give ourselves an advantage. While we openly admit to working as a group to get people into the CSM (we have enough votes to get 1-2 every time), as far as I know we haven't even tried to use it for our own political advantage because it would be almost impossible. What kind of change could we possibly propose that would benefit us over our enemies? Asking them to do something like improving the quality of the space we live in (which is the best in the game, anyway) would be transparent and silly. At best, we can (and do) ask them to fix some of the absolutely broken 0.0 mechanics such as POS setup times, titans, broken loot tables, among other things. While this does benefit us as an 0.0 alliance, all of our enemies are 0.0 alliances as well, so there is no real advantage gained. 0.0 alliances are not in direct competition with low-sec or empire alliances, so there is no advantage gained there, either. Of course, we also push for changes that affect the entire population, such as fixing broken ship types (probably half are worthless) and general balance tweaks (ewar springs to mind as the recent example).

      I'm not saying that we wouldn't exploit the CSM for our own gain, but it just doesn't have the potential for doing so.
      • by Saib0t (204692)

        What kind of change could we possibly propose that would benefit us over our enemies? Asking them to do something like improving the quality of the space we live in (which is the best in the game, anyway) would be transparent and silly. At best, we can (and do) ask them to fix some of the absolutely broken 0.0 mechanics such as POS setup times, titans, broken loot tables, among other things. [snip] I'm not saying that we wouldn't exploit the CSM for our own gain, but it just doesn't have the potential for doing so.

        I'm a member of the CSM, and I can concur with Judinous. The representative of Goonswarm in the CSM, Darius Johnson (his character name), hasn't been unreasonable in the least.

        Quite frankly, he's been reasonable and intelligent. Sure most of the thing he's been interested in was 0.0 improvements, although not limited to it at all.

        In my experience, the ones you have to "fear" in the CSM are the carebears, empire dwellers who know nothing of the game except what happens in empire.

    • by Loki_1929 (550940)

      It's not a Democracy, it's a Republic, and it's not even purely that.

      All we're talking about here is a small group of individuals chosen by the players to put a face on player interests and concerns. The representatives aren't sitting down at a CCP terminal to code in what they want, nor is CCP making the absurd mistake of being a slave to player demands. What they're actually doing is using the CSM to filter the chaos of player complaints/ideas/suggestions into a simpler and more comprehensible form such t

  • by Daedra (119144) on Friday May 08, 2009 @05:17AM (#27873863)

    With many MMO's (WoW coming first to mind obviously) having their playerbase divided into realms/shards to cope with the load, a lot of players never come in contact with oneanother. Selecting two or more advisors (for different factions that might or might not be able to communicate) from large amount of reals could quickly produce unreasonably large amount of elected folks.

    Using WoW as an example, I'm rarely confident that the MMO developers already listen to the community concerns by keeping an eye on moderated and intelligent conversation, such that happens on Elitist Jerks forums (http://elitistjerks.com/forums.php) for example.

    In a way, the most respected and popular discussion forums are elected to represent community as it is. The votes are simply count as "page views" and "posts".

    • by Rungi (1098221)
      EVE has only 1 shard.
    • Actually, if we're at using WoW as an example, an even better thing they do is: generate statistics from the servers, so they can actually know if they actually have a problem or just a bunch of whiny arseholes. They don't need to have the players vote on whether the Rogues' backstab needs to be even stronger. (Let's be honest. Half the players will likely tell you that if there is anything on the server, whether player, elite boss, end boss, or faction ruler, that they can't one-shot, they're nerfed and mi

      • by Sobrique (543255)
        EVE's much the same - the players can propose a motion for the CSM to debate, but anything that doesn't actually have any basis to it gets shot down. CSM can also request statistics on something, to see if it supports such a discussion.
  • by ciderVisor (1318765) on Friday May 08, 2009 @05:34AM (#27873935)

    Developer : Hi, tell me what the advisors want the new release to do.

    Advisory Council : It has to have a 45" screen and still fit in a purse or a wallet. It needs to act as a communications satellite as well as a room freshener. It must cure deadly diseases and whiten your teeth while you sleep ! HA HA !! And it has to be capable of time travel !! And have a telepathic user interface !

    *** SLAP ***

    Developer : I could write a patch that allows you to fart in your opponent's general direction.

    Advisory Council : Yeah...a lot of people want that.

    • by Xel'Naga (673728)
      I believe the Dilbert version has the developer saying something like "I could develop a screensaver to show fish on the computer" in the end. :)
  • What's Important? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Plekto (1018050) on Friday May 08, 2009 @05:38AM (#27873959)

    What's really important here isn't how much they listen or plan or talk, but what they actually implement. CCP has one of the worst track records in the entire gaming industry for actually fixing or addressing player concerns.

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      No EVE just have the highest amount of overly vocal whiners then any other game so it appears lots of people want something changed when its only a small majority bitching and crying cause they fail at Eve and sadly that small vocal part trolls the forum 24/7 till they get what they want over what the larger silent majority thinks or wants.

    • by tero (39203)

      Yes,

      And every single player will say the same thing about the devs in the game of their choice. Just look at how the WoW community is accusing their devs of "ruining the game".
      How about you back that claim up with some facts?

      To me it seems CCP devs really listen to the community - and they've implemented a bunch of player addressed concern over the years.

      C'mon man, show us the stats - show us just how bad the CCP track record is compared to entire gaming industry. I dare you.

    • Hey, aren't you the guy that keeps posting threads about how salvaging wrecks is theft, and should flag the player?

      • by Plekto (1018050)

        No, I haven't bothered to even post on the forums in many months. There's just no point, really. CCP is a typical gaming company in that they are run by a bunch of people at the top who are looking for their next cool thing. Or if it weren't cold and snowing all the time/was in the U.S, their next golf game. We all know the type. Fixing bugs is something that they leave to the grunts down in the cave/server room. When it comes to their weekly Powerpoint discussions, they want glossy and flashy over

        • And the issue of employees cheating...

          Like the Karatechop incident? Screw ups in EVE are explained and published. In WoW they're ignored.

  • Ideas rejected (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FinchWorld (845331) on Friday May 08, 2009 @06:19AM (#27874201) Homepage
    "I did some numbers checking and the council has brought up 128 topics for CCP. And out of that, nine have been denied. The rest has been either injected into a backlog, or if it was already in the backlog it has been given an added prioritization."

    And of those not rejected, how many have been implemented? One I recall having cropped up at tje CSM a couple of times was black ops battleships, which failed pretty hard at anything, only in th last week or so have they begun to address them, but one of there most requested fixes, a fuel bay, is still out of the picture.

    For all the talk and CSM meetings, very little of there suggestions seems to make it into the game, as CCP add what they want more than anything.

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      http://www.eveonline.com/ingameboard.asp?a=topic&threadID=1038754

      It is not out of the picture.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by FinchWorld (845331)
        If you read the linked post, just as far as the second paragraph.

        The functionality which allows us to add special cargobays to ships (such as a fuel bay, ore hold, fighter bay and so on). That functionality is not ready yet so a black ops fuel bay sits very high on our wishlist still.

        And as such will not make the patch with other changes to Black Ops.

    • by khallow (566160)
      There have been some indirect effects that boosted black ops capabilities. One of their key benefits is the ability to generate a "covert" jump portal. More ships than ever can use that portal (blockade runner, an agile hauler with cloak capability and perhaps the new t3 "strategic cruiser with appropriate configuration, you might be able to turn it into a covert command ship, I haven't tried it) and one of the key current ships, the stealth bomber received a significant upgrade.
    • by Saib0t (204692)

      "I did some numbers checking and the council has brought up 128 topics for CCP. And out of that, nine have been denied. The rest has been either injected into a backlog, or if it was already in the backlog it has been given an added prioritization."

      And of those not rejected, how many have been implemented? One I recall having cropped up at tje CSM a couple of times was black ops battleships, which failed pretty hard at anything, only in th last week or so have they begun to address them, but one of there most requested fixes, a fuel bay, is still out of the picture.

      For all the talk and CSM meetings, very little of there suggestions seems to make it into the game, as CCP add what they want more than anything.

      There have been 3 different improvements to the Black Ops ships over patches, the first 2 failed to significantly address the weakness of the black ops. The third and latest makes black ops useful, convenient and not overpowered.

      I'm sure some black op pilots would have appreciated their ship to become FotM, but asking around, I think these patches finally fix the Black Ops issue for most of them.

      As for other things proposed by the CSM, some have been implemented, some haven't yet. Changes take time.

      One t

    • So I am a member of the CSM. I think everyone needs to take a few things into account. Nothing about the CSM changes the "laws of physics" of software development. Changes take time. Also, CCP has some great ideas of their own about how to make Eve better. The CSM is in my mind more about oversight of CCP that players demanded after several major game exploits were uncovered. I think to expect the CSM to somehow be the "good idea feature faries" and make CCP somehow change the game faster is destine
      • I am not a member of the CSM, but I am very much a software engineer who deals mostly with embedded systems, though I write some windows based software in dot net (largely to interface with the embedded systems). I'm not sure what these laws of physics of software development are, but pretty much every project I've seen has 3 main targets, on specification, on time, on budget. Pick 2, one is generally lost along the way for any amount for issues, and is addressed at a later date, to either complete the spec

  • by captainktainer (588167) <captainktainer.yahoo@com> on Friday May 08, 2009 @07:02AM (#27874481)

    People forget why they initially implemented the CSM system. Initially, CCP was so isolated (geographically and otherwise) from their playerbase that they didn't even care when one of their developers helped his Alliance get access to the richest region of the game (Delve) and gave them exclusive rights to blueprints that gave them monopoly rights to some of the most powerful ships in the game. After they got called out on it, and it looked like their subscriber numbers might drop, they brought in the CSM system to help hold them accountable.

    It's worked. They're a lot more in tune with what players want than ever, and while the stuff from the new patch seems to be utter failure, the core game is solid. People are actually debating ideas with the knowledge that someone is going to pass them along.

    The system isn't perfect - the community representative for faction warfare is intentionally filtering out player suggestions so she can help her own Alliance - but it's created a stronger game. The skill queue system means that my friends and I can log in when it suits us, log off to do other things, and not have to babysit the game every time a game finishes. That's directly due to the CSM system.

    • by Dan667 (564390)
      I have not seen any utter failure of the patch? A lot of people actively discuss sleepers in chat and a lot of really annoying things got changed like you mentioned, the 24 hour queue to training. If this is a result of the counsel, they made the right call.
    • by Vohar (1344259)

      The system isn't perfect - the community representative for faction warfare is intentionally filtering out player suggestions so she can help her own Alliance - but it's created a stronger game. The skill queue system means that my friends and I can log in when it suits us, log off to do other things, and not have to babysit the game every time a game finishes. That's directly due to the CSM system.

      So it's -already- being abused, and your main example of how this system has improved the game is that you don't actually have to play the game now?

      • by Taevin (850923)
        Correction: the skill training queue is for 24 hours only. As such you still have to "play" the game. Of course, you can still set that 34-day skill and not log in for a month but you can't queue up another skill after that one. The training queue solves one problem: short training (or nearly complete) skills. No longer do I have to worry about a skill finishing an hour after I go to bed and "wasting" the rest of the night because nothing is training. When I start training a new skill, I no longer have to
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by zerocool^ (112121)

      Wow, you're mis-informed.

      Initially, CCP was so isolated (geographically and otherwise) from their playerbase that they didn't even care when one of their developers helped his Alliance get access to the richest region of the game (Delve) and gave them exclusive rights to blueprints that gave them monopoly rights to some of the most powerful ships in the game.

      1.) Delve isn't the richest region in the game. Fountain is, by MILES and MILES. Fountain has 12 Dysprosium moons and 19 Promethium moons; if you cou

      • Nice reply. Very well informed. Unfortunately, most of the general populace of Eve believed the FUD that is spread about BoB, so you see a lot of comments similar to the parent. Its kind of a microcosm of what our own media does to the general populace. Misinforms. Provokes reactions that are not justified, etc.
      • by cbhacking (979169)

        Thanks for the history. After two years, I still didn't (and probably don't quite) know the full details of that event. I did hear that BoB captured a supply of blueprints from an enemy industrial, which had a total value well above what they got from T20, but that was just from shooting the breeze in corp chat.

        As for the CSM's changes, I agree that attribute remap is pretty sweet - long ago I put entirely too much into Pereption (starting as a Brutor no less - already had the highest Per and lowest Cha at

      • by brkello (642429)
        They shouldn't have punished the guy. They should have fired him. They should have also banned all the players involved. They should have also taken a huge chunk out of Bob's coffers. They really said "Don't cheat, or you might get a light slap on the wrist"
    • by brkello (642429)
      If it really worked, did they actually implement something that allows you to queue two skills yet?
  • RFO has already had this for a while. The game focuses heavily on PvP, and In order to become a race leader you must be voted in. That allows you to get into the leader chat and have the ability to choose enemy play targets for your race, and to chat restrict players within your race. The whole game is contingent on the race leaders getting their team to do good and figuring out exactly what the other two races are up to. Pretty fun stuff.
  • CSM has no Mandate. (Score:3, Informative)

    by harl (84412) on Friday May 08, 2009 @11:29AM (#27876979)

    Full disclosure. I've been playing eve since 2003.

    The CSM is widely regarded as a joke. According to numbers released by CCP the total votes for _all_ candidates (winning and losing) is less than 6% of the player base. A single CSM member has less than 1% of the player base vote for them.

    Just like any MMPOG company CCP does what they want regardless of how much the players yell or the validity of said yelling.

    • by Saib0t (204692)
      When you take into account all the people who don't read forums or read news blurbs, people who don't even speak english, it's not really a surprise.

      There's a sizeable share of the players who are french and don't speak english (the client is localized).

      There's also a very large share of russian speaking players. The only CSM candidate who seems to understand a limited amount of russian is myself, and I'm not even bothering with getting the word out to them, they're mostly not interested and out of touc

      • by harl (84412)

        So you agree that the CSM can not be described as representing the player base?

        • by Saib0t (204692)

          So you agree that the CSM can not be described as representing the player base?

          It represents a share of the playerbase, you can't represent people who don't want to be represented.

          Like for real elections, people who don't bother to vote don't have a ground to complain when they don't get what they want.

          Part of what I'm doing at the moment is make sure people who don't vote do so knowingly. I meet a few people who say "hey, I'm not voting, the CSM is a joke". Frankly that's fine with me. What I don't like, however, is the bazillion others who ask "what's the CSM?"

          The way I see th

          • by harl (84412)

            An insignificant share of the player base. That was my point. You have not contested it.

            You can at best hope to represent at best a fraction a single percent of the players. That means you have no mandate. Any agenda is yours and yours alone.

            They have no power. What happens if you bring something up and CCP says no? What options do you have?

            The CSM was originally created with the intention of policing CCP after the T20 fuckup. What police abilities do you have? How can you prevent another T20 incide

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