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CSM_7

Sometimes it’s interesting just to ignore what’s being said and listen to the sub-text instead.

Rather than just looking all the way in at the newbie and trying to guide them into joining a corporation, [CCP] Seagull explained that she was confident that if the instigators and enablers were stimulated enough and excited about what they were doing, they would support the recruiting efforts plenty themselves. In her opinion, the superior model is to focus on having more exciting things going on that people want to be a part of.

Focus: CSM Summit Minutes, “Bounty Hunting” session
Focus: CSM Summit Minutes, “Mercenaries, Wars and Crimewatch” session
Focus: CSM Summit Minutes, “The Next Decade” session

Pages from 58 through 70 of the CSM Summit Minutes comprise nothing less than a philosophical discussion about the nature of EVE Online itself.  I’m not going to list the sides, the arguments and counter-arguments, the positions and the policies.  As I keep telling you, I’m not a journalist.  Go read the Minutes.  ;-)  I just want to talk about them, because the implications are fascinating.

It’s no coincidence that this section of the Minutes is drawing a lot of scrutiny, and it’s also no coincidence that some members of the CSM — notably Trebor Daehdoow — are taking a lot of heat from EVE purists from one side of New Eden to the other.  You see, Trebor spends several these 12 pages playing quite the little Devil’s advocate position: what if some EVE players just want to be left alone?

I’ll give you a second to let that little heresy soak in.

[CCP] Soundwave clarified that he doesn’t mind people being bothered by [having bounties placed on them], because no EVE player has the right to be shut off from the rest of the world.

Now let me be clear: I’m certain that Trebor doesn’t really believe this.  After all, he also comes up with how to justify high-sec players having bounties placed on them and how to keep bounties from scaring brand new players right out of EVE Online.  But I also don’t think it’s a coincidence that it happens to be the one section of the Minutes written by Alekseyev Karrde — Bounty Hunting — where Trebor comes off looking the worst.  Maybe a little bit of internal CSM7 politics there, what?

The rest of that section and the Wars and Crimewatch section, though… these are truly remarkable!  And again, you kind of have to remember the sub-text while you read the text.

Remember, CCP is motivated to have as many people — not characters, people! — playing the game as possible.  One of the very smart things CCP Seagull is doing is taking that much more seriously than I think CCP has ever taken this before:

Seagull didn’t feel comfortable working under the illusion that increased character participation in an activity or increased subscriber count actually meant that they were gaining new customers as a business. [CCP] Unifex reiterated that this was an absolutely critical problem to solve in the near future, and that their analytics team was actively researching the number of human users in particular.

Emphasis mine.  Within that context, remember that CCP is motivated to have new players enter EVE Online, and wherever possible, join long-term EVE Online corporations.  That’s where their money is: players are much more likely to remain EVE players if they are in long-term corporations and much more likely to stop playing the game if they’re not.

So ideally, CCP would like to see players in corporations… and they’ve shown no qualms at all about directly designing the game mechanics to encourage new players in that direction.  But you’ve also got CCP in these sections very gently reminding the CSM that there are other types of EVE players out there too, and sometimes they just want to mine or mission in peace… by themselves.  At the end of the day, CCP gets their money too and would probably like to keep it.  That’s the sub-text.  And there’s Trebor and Meissa Anunthiel gently and from time to time taking their side.

“EVE is a sandbox,” we’re told again and again, usually by an EVE player right before they inflict some deliberate horror on someone.  “It’s a dark cold universe and I can play EVE however I like, because EVE is a sandbox.  You have no right to tell me how I can play this game.  If I want to hurt this guy, he’s in the sandbox and I can do that.”  But it’s also apparently true that CCP likes money, and the harsher and colder of a universe EVE Online is, the less likely that EVE is ever going to be the mass market gaming universe that CCP Unifex, Seagull and CCP Ripley clearly want (see “The Next Decade”).

Netted down to basics: some of CCP is becoming a tiny bit conflicted about their own game.

Which is why this gentle suggestion — “What if players just want to be left alone?” — is quite the little heresy.  What if they don’t want to have anything to do with war-decs or bounties?  What fun is a high-sec war-dec if it causes a massively out-gunned high-sec industry corp’s players to stop playing EVE Online while the war goes on?  Who benefits from that?  Don’t they also have the right to play EVE however they want, even if that involves not wanting to have anything to do with war-decs or bounties?  Isn’t EVE a sandbox for them, too?

And that’s why these 12 pages are fascinating to me: they are a philosophical examination of the soul of EVE Online itself.

During the Bounty Hunting session, according to the Minutes, there were no fewer than ten CCP devs in the room.

Hans prompted for some introductions because he did not recognize everyone in the room.

Some — notably CCP Soundwave and CCP SoniClover — are clearly firmly in the “let capsuleers kill ‘em all and let the gods sort them out.”  And as an aside, if a few EVE players fall by the way and unsubscribe, then maybe this universe isn’t for them.  Others — like Ripley and CCP Solomon — are seemingly more concerned for them:

Solomon: The strong prey on the weak, but the weak aren’t responding, and nobody’s getting particularly fun or nourishing game play out of this. Is that a failure?

Reminder: those words were uttered out loud by an EVE Online developer.  ;-)  Needless to say, the CSM is not happy to hear this heresy.  The argument goes on — quite loudly at times! — for two pages.  Again, I encourage you to go out and read it.  At the end of it, though, Seleene gives the majority CSM answer:

Seleene: Well then maybe they need to get more friends and they need to learn to defend themselves better in a PvP game.

But wait… I thought… errr… isn’t EVE Online a sandbox?  Doesn’t that mean EVE players can play the game however they want?  Or did Seleene just define what an “EVE player” is, and in so doing, drastically reduce the scope of the sandbox?

I have no answers for you.  Lots of times I do this: I bring up fiddly little points of geek philosophy and I have no answers.  But the discussion sure is fascinating, don’t you think?

Ripard Teg

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If you would like to read more we invite you to visit his blog here.

27 Comments

  1. LOL.

    while i don’t like seleene much, i have to jump to his defense here.

    saying that the weak player should get more friends and learn to defend themselves is in no way reducing the sandbox, that answer is basically the essence of the sandbox.

    there is ONE sandbox for all eve players, not every player gets his own. Its what makes eve so great, that the actions of players influence eachother.

    Your the smallest kid in the sandbox, and you dont make an effort to get friends? So don’t be suprised if someone kicks in your sandcastle.

    January 22, 2013 at 11:40 am Reply
    1. Shattershark

      1) Find three friends
      2) Learn how to defend yourselves and your sand castle.
      3) Get curb stomped by a blob of goons.

      Yeah, I can see how it works for a lot of people.

      January 22, 2013 at 12:02 pm Reply
      1. Ynglaur

        Obvious politics are politics. Smaller groups defeat larger ones all the time. It's why you see 5-man corps wardeccing 200-man carebear corps in high-sec.

        January 22, 2013 at 2:11 pm Reply
        1. M1k3y

          Because the 200 man carebear corp isn't interested in fighting… neither is the 5 man corp. They are looking to gank some mining ships, there isn't an actual FIGHT there. If there was a fight, and you had the 200 carebears in rifters vs 5 man corp in pretty much any subcaps, the 200 rifters would win.

          Smaller groups do not defeat larger groups, not in the long run.

          January 22, 2013 at 2:17 pm Reply
          1. LTA

            Rooks and Kings, Verge of Collapse, Genos Occidere. All three have diffent styles of play. All three fight against the odds, against the numbers, and against the trend. These are only three examples of many more.
            There are only a fair few groups that are good enough to do this, but it can't be argued that it is totally possible to fight against larger groups with limited or abundant resources at your disposal.

            The reason I play eve is to enjoy the stories it creates, I literally play for the fight that I can tell stories about and laugh with my friends about for years to come. In the long run I believe that it is human nature for people to want to interfere with other people's way of playing the game, to restrict this or to not restrict this both interfere with the sandbox style of the game. Really in the end the players can whine to the devs but both the devs and players need to work together to make a sandbox better. Not just through suggestions, but some groups need to tear down the blue blobs of null. It will happen in time, one group will get a spy, the spy will be trusted and a betrayal will tear part the coalition. These actions fuel the game, and they need to continue.

            January 23, 2013 at 9:35 pm
  2. Lugalbandak

    Im playing this game long time , warp stabs where still mid slots and it haz always been tactics over numbers.

    It changed lots in my opinion esp with Dominion patch ,now days fw , wh , incursions , low sec , tey all require more skills then null space. Numbers is needed to get sov & wealth.

    "" Well then maybe they need to get more friends and they need to learn to defend themselves better in a PvP game.""
    this comment proofs the mentality of today 0.0 experience , but that was my geuss already when i saw who you can vote on.

    Good thing retribution gives us nice small thing to have fun with outside 0.0 , tnx ccp , try again csm8

    January 22, 2013 at 12:16 pm Reply
    1. babydollyz

      BLAME the f(*&^#g null sec…. true Null sec dwellers are just plainly the devils of this sandbox and must be nerfed… More money to the High Sec so they can get more and more isk without loosing it… Get the plex prices up towards 2bil isk/unit… Get all the people from null and low to High Sec because security and risk free = building in prosperity. I just love this thing… Yeap CCP do this…

      January 22, 2013 at 6:38 pm Reply
      1. Lugalbandak

        Thats not the reason ppl leave 0.0 for high sec risk free isk.

        Null is like more safe then high sec , 4 choices , hbc/cfc/n3/solar , thats it. change you ran into suicede gankers in highsec that kills your pimp out faction bs / Hulk is higher.

        You got that nice little thing called local , Red shows there , high/low you dont know so many neut, you need a scanner to check if you in danger.

        Truly , almost all aspects in eve require more skill then in 0.0 space , Thats wy we leave 0.0 , add the blue coaltion balls , endless sov grinding , etc.

        edit: And thats okey , plenty to do elsewhere without lag. its just 0.0 is different nowdays , if you like it stay , if you dont just leave otherwise you turn in some snuffy old bitter vet who doesnt like anything anymore.

        January 23, 2013 at 4:05 am Reply
  3. Mike

    I hope everyone that reads this understand how easy it is to take quotes out of a 70+ page document, and twist those quotes around, with little to no context, point, and scream "they bad!"

    It should also be noted that Ripard Teg wants to be on the CSM, and plainly stated it many times, and slandering his potential opponents is a great way to get ahead.

    January 22, 2013 at 12:21 pm Reply
    1. PowerTrippin'

      Get out the tinfoil hat – "slandering" really?

      January 22, 2013 at 2:57 pm Reply
  4. DarthNefarius

    "and that their analytics team was actively researching the number of human users in particular."

    It seems obvious to me Eve has alot less players when loking at the server counts pre incarna & comparing them to late last year before retributions release. When CCP announced that they now have the most subscribers ever I could only determine that this made sense if these where due to alt accounts that are not multiboxed much due to my conclusions from theprevious sentence.
    This trend puts CCP in a more precarious position when multi subscribers get mass PO'd & threaten unsubs.
    Sorta surprised CCP has't studied this before & I doubt thier analytics team will be able to count botters so easily

    January 22, 2013 at 1:07 pm Reply
    1. zeName

      Not making any sense , as usual. Carry on.

      January 22, 2013 at 11:02 pm Reply
  5. petwatch

    Trebor has always seemed to me one of the more sensible CSMs. You need people to play devils advocate without fear that it'll cost them votes.

    January 22, 2013 at 1:14 pm Reply
  6. Ingwe

    As a small war dec corp ceo, i feel that while harassing people is definitely for me, new characters and people may feel overpowered by the fact that a simple bounty of high enough value can shut them down. A friend of mine with only 10m sp recieved a 2bil bounty on his alliance, in which his corp was too newb enough to know how to defend themselves, in which they just disbanded. Imo by making eve a more accessible game to more players, it will have to be a tad bit "simpler" in certain things so that they can recreate that big new player base that will in turn help all areas of the game. Also, i feel that the pvp system in the game atm is currently fine for older players, retribution patch was a good thing, and i only see better improvements for some of the other parts where things fail for eve such as 0.0, pos's, and some battlecruiser improvements.

    January 22, 2013 at 2:09 pm Reply
  7. Killey

    EVE Online is a sandbox, and I'd like to see it grow, and see the player base grow. I want to see new players come in to play, experiment, have fun, then look up and find other people to go play with and before friends with. I don't want them to instead have the experience of looking up to find out that the sandbox they're playing in is just the floor of the Thunderdome.

    January 22, 2013 at 2:58 pm Reply
    1. babydollyz

      OH REALLY? Check first what a sandbox is…. than remap your f*****g brains. Everyone else that supports this "killey" put a bullet in the head, you would be helping eve quite a lot with that. Thanks.

      January 22, 2013 at 6:29 pm Reply
  8. LowSexBestSex

    I don't know how many more tools we can give these carebears to help themselves. The problem is they won't use them because they all know all they have to do is threaten CCP with the ultimate screed of "If I don't receive X or Y feature/nerf then I'll just unsubscribe!".

    CCP has made it where the corp on the receiving end of a war dec can bring in mutual allies to help. CCP has added the ability to transfer kill rights so as a carebear with minimal pvp skills trained can let someone more capable take care of their revenge. CCP has made it to where if you take even the most minor aggressive action against anyone in High Sec, anyone can shoot the aggressor.

    Even with all of this. They still want more. They want to be able to never have to interact with anyone… ever. Just sit back and watch their wallet grow. Which is an entirely different rant on how that is one of the driving factors destroying the economy in EvE.

    This is not a game I will continue to play if they make it to where there is zero risk, danger, threat or adversity. The danger and fact that at any moment everything can go completely pear shaped is one of the main reasons I continue to log in after 7 years. There is simply no other game out there that I know of at least that offers that sort of rush.

    January 22, 2013 at 4:03 pm Reply
    1. dat irony

      On carebears getting their way:
      "because they all know all they have to do is threaten CCP with the ultimate screed of "If I don't receive X or Y feature/nerf then I'll just unsubscribe!""

      The lowsec pirate, on his action if he doesnt get his way:
      "This is not a game I will continue to play if they make it to"

      Irony, anyone?

      January 22, 2013 at 4:38 pm Reply
      1. dat truth

        Irony in the fact that he asked for nothing to be nerfed or buffed? He simply wanted his ' risk, danger, threat or adversity. The danger and fact that at any moment everything can go completely pear shaped' to stay in the game or he might not play anymore.

        I think you're missing the point he's making.

        January 22, 2013 at 10:28 pm Reply
    2. babydollyz

      The moment they change the game mechanics into a free risk enviroment -> EvE is uninstalled.

      January 22, 2013 at 6:24 pm Reply
  9. Wiu Ming

    I can't wrap my head around why anyone would want to mine or build shit in Eve. Others hate shooting red crosses. Still others can't fathom the enjoyment of shooting someone in the face and podding them back to… wherever. It’s great that CCP set out to make a cold, dark, heartless spaceship game. If a million players wanted the entire game to be nothing but free ships, no stations and all nullsec, then by god CCP would have built it that way. That’s not how shit works, though. We may not like the way other players like to do things. We certainly don’t have to understand it, but we should respect it.

    PvP may be the focus of the game, but carebears make Eve go ‘round. They’re why we can buy shit on the market. They are the market. They’re why all the things exist. They’re why we get freighter ganks, frigates with PLEX and other lol-mails. They built the ships for your 200-man fleet and will replace them when you get your teeth kicked in. Without bears the game falls apart.

    I can see how new and/or passive players may find the ability to be wardecced without their consent very hard to fathom. It’s like being told that, with 24 hours’ notice, someone can legally enter your home, watch your tv and eat all your food because, well life isn’t fair and shit happens. Experienced players modify their behaviors or ignore wardecs completely – they’ve learned how to deal with them and shake their heads at the waste of money. To the total bear, however, it’s an incomprehensible and unmanageable violation of their “alone time” online.

    Why not create a wardec tutorial? Not how to make one, but how to manage one. We teach newbies how to initiate things; why not not give them pointers on defending themselves as well? There’s nothing wrong with leveling the playing field; the decs will keep coming and the kills won’t stop. Those players would, however, at least have better in-game resources to help them cope with its harsh realities.

    In my opinion, the biggest problem isn’t whether or not to offer safety in the game, it’s how to implement it. Every degree of safety should see the isk-making opportunities drop exponentially. Let some shmuck solo mine for hours in total safety, enjoying the space graphics and listening to Yanni, but with the condition that he’s going to make virtually nothing compared to what he could in lowsec or null. It’s logical, it’s fair, and it (mostly) stays true enough to the game’s original intent.

    January 22, 2013 at 4:37 pm Reply
  10. gunna-get-trolled

    increase concord response time in 0.5-1.0 systems, making them safer. add a feature where concord responds in 0.1-0.4 systems, for a price that you pay when you enter system if you are not in a player corporation, or, if you are in a corporation your corp can pay a monthly fee as if they are renting a corporate office. this payment would go for each system or constellation, not lowsec as a whole. you can choose to decline the payment, and be subject to normal lowsec pvp, or pay the price and be protected. they keep talking about how they want to invigorate lowsec, now more roaming fleets can go out and look for targets, although this really makes them look for targets since some people can be killed legally and some not.

    it seems to me that people that get ganked keep playing the game anyways after their initial bitching period of 'oh i lost my ship', so maybe just knowing that concord will blap their aggressor is enough for people to be satisfied with these changes. and if lowsec is somewhat more secure due to these changes, that means nullsec will see more roaming fleets.

    January 22, 2013 at 7:02 pm Reply
    1. raaaahhhhhhhhhh im going to troll you.

      but im not. Low sec should stay as is.Pirating is fun, it is part of the game and it should stay as is.

      January 22, 2013 at 7:46 pm Reply
  11. Sally Bowls

    The tension is that things that will increase CCP's revenue are very unpopular with the players, at least the one who participate in foums.

    Their current plans still seem to be for the HC EVE experience, which is good for vets but not shareholders. Perhaps this will all be resolved by DUST? I.e., if CCP need money than perhaps even devs will decide that running off most players and staying a 3-400k niche is not good business.

    January 22, 2013 at 9:05 pm Reply
  12. Knee GarLips

    eve stopped being a 'sand box' in 2005. it's basically world of warcraft in space now, comlete with instances: [wormholes and incursions]

    January 23, 2013 at 12:57 am Reply
  13. qwer

    The reason why people are confused about sandbox, is that they think that sandbox is "do what ever you want to who ever you want with who ever you want", when that's not actually sandbox gameplay, it's god gameplay.

    Sandbox is "TRY to do what ever you want to who ever you want, with people you have met through accident"

    January 23, 2013 at 8:51 am Reply
  14. The Raider

    I played EVE for years but the game continually grew to reward players based upon how dedicated they were to playing the game. The rewards were exponential. A player with several accounts managing their own little empire and spending hours each day playing was rewarded vastly more than a casual player regardless of where or how they chose to play. I don't disagree that a player that dedicates a lot of time to the game should be rewarded more than a player that doesn't but it was exponentially more!

    I did my best with the little time I had to manage a PI/trade/mission running duo but a friend I brought to the game was able to dwarf my income simply by taking my exact model and multiplying it by five accounts and spending 6 hours a day working at it. He was making billions a month while I was barely able to afford to pay for my limited PVP activity. Trying to just play by myself up in high sec was even worse. In the end I simply couldn't enjoy the game anymore as a casual gamer. To me, EVE has become something overly tedious for a limited reward that drastically favors the players that treat the game like a second job and serious business instead of players that want to have fun and play a game. All my friends have stopped playing for this reason. Including the one who was making billions a month. He also realized that the system significantly punished him for doing anything other than running his little PI/trade/mining empire so he found himself staring down a mountain of cash that he couldn't really utilize without setting himself back weeks of income to take a break and do some serious PVP'ing. It was a self destructive cycle. I have brought many players to EVE, all have left for this reason including me.

    TL:DR
    To me the game doesn't favor the hardcore pvp player so much as it favors the hardcore player exponentially more than the casual player and if the reward is fun in the end a myriad of games are drastically more rewarding to the casual player than EVE.

    January 23, 2013 at 12:13 pm Reply

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