Wednesday, February 20, 2013

CSM 8 candidates, at the post, sort of

     I've read through a bunch of the initial posts on fora, and listened to Xander's interviews.  Xander, by the way, has a refreshingly candid interview style of the CSM members, CCP and the CSM candidates.  He asked straight up questions, without all the soft balling and smarmy prancing around that most other podcasts seem to do.  While he isn't always able to escape his own opinions and prejudices, he does a pretty good job on his short, and to-the-point candidate interviews over at Crossing Zebras.  A few days ago, there was also a wormhole candidate gathering at Down the Pipe, and it was pretty good too.  In the order they had their CZ interviews, my thoughts . . .

     First one is Mynna.  He's fairly high in the Goon directorate and is one of the people who was responsible for the multi-trillion isk FW exploit a while back.  I was pretty critical of the Goons and the players involved at the time, but in retrospect, if CCP and their "economics expert" (whatever) were incapable of figuring out in months prior, what the Goons figured out in a matter of days, that's CCP's problem for being too fuckin' stupid.  At any rate, Mynna is not quite as flamboyant as Mittens, and I'm not sure how much of a puppet he will be for Mittens, but it's pretty much guaranteed that he'll get onto the CSM.  He's obviously a null candidate, but refreshingly, he mentions the fact that he feels fucking up high sec isn't going to fix anything in the game, nor will it force/cajole/persuade high sec players to move to low or null sec.  He also mentions that while he hasn't done much indy play in a while (as he's a market/finance guy), he does think the indy UI needs to be addressed.  I would agree on that point too.  I'm not voting for him because he doesn't need my votes.  He's a shoe-in right now.  *

     Nathan Jameson is a wormhole rep, and founder of Talocan United.  I've read their site numerous times for info on wormhole space and POSs.  Great resource.  For Nathan though, he sounds like an intelligent and articulate guy.  A pretty good communicator, and I think, he would be a great spokesman for wormholes.  How much he represents other areas of the game is, by his own admission, limited, but I think he wold be a great CSM addition that would and could speak up knowledgeably if something was mentioned that might fuck with wormholes.  The two main issues with wormhole space are pos's and dreadnauts.  2 things that are also a thorn in other parts of the game.  If I was concerned about wormholes being represented, I would seriously consider voting for this dude.

     Next is Roc Weiler.  He's a FW role player, a music writer/composer, a fiction writer, 3D artist and coder.  He doesn't really have a specific platform or a specific block of players he represents, instead, his platform is to use his skills to represent all players to the best of his ability.  That may sound mamby-pamby to some, but he's a talented dude, in a lot of areas, he's articulate, intelligent and a great communicator.  He's run multiple times in the past, but lost.  Mainly I think, because in the past, the CSM members were mainly representatives of big in-game voting blocks from null.  With many of the block candidates not running this time, I think "every man" candidates like Roc have a good chance for CSM 8.  Depending on the rumoured "new" voting system that CCP might implement, Roc is definitely in my top 3 choices.

     Next is Mark Scaurus.  He is a low sec rep, and also an editor over at Mitten's news site.  He wants to fix low sec to make it more attractive to players.  I believe the problem with low sec is the way the current players use it, not anything game related, so to me, his goals are vapour.  He's also a fan of ganking, pirating, can flippers, etc.  In other words, many of the things that piss other game players off, and keep many more players away from Eve.  He's no one I would ever vote for, even though he seems an intelligent and articulate individual.  He doesn't speak for the majority of players, aka high sec, he only speaks for the 6 or 7% that play in low, and gank/grief in high sec.  As another possible "pet" of Mittens, he doesn't need my vote as he will be another one that is unfortunately an almost assured winner of a seat on the CSM.  *

     Xenuria is the next one.  He/she/it/whatever also ran last year on the platform of changing the options on Eve avatars so that tits could be put on the male avatars too.  Brilliant.  A few other public faux pas meant that he ended up not even being elevated to the height of "complete laughing stock".  No however, he claims, it was all role playing.  Riiiight.  Anyway, this year, his platform is balancing risk vs reward, and fixing the new player experience.  He is also playing the disability card with "Hey, I am autistic too!".  He also likes to mention his prowess in psychology.  The fact that he talks about "risk vs reward" as a mechanic shows me he doesn't know shit about it, nor shit about psychology, because risk is a personal assessment, not a game mechanic.  He's vapour.  The fact that he falls back on the new player experience, like THAT isn't already a panic button for CCP, also tells me he's vapour.  As someone who also is a card-carrying disabled guy, from personal experience, anytime someone plays their disability card when it isn't at all needed, is doing it as a sympathy gig.  More vapour.  He also states that his "disability" causes him to have communication and relation problems with other people.  As the CSM positions are all about communication and relating to all the players, the other CSMers AND CCP, what the fuck is he running for?!?!?!?  More vapour.  Anyone voting for this guy is proof positive that "the smartest players in MMOs are Eve players" is complete horseshit.

     Mike Azariah is another every man candidate with no fixed platform.  I've read his posts and blog, and I've listened to him multiple times on podcasts (Podside).  He's intelligent, articulate and a smooth communicator.  He's got plenty of time in Eve, and is currently in null sec.  He's not afraid to speak his mind, and more importantly, he's not afraid to ask questions about things he doesn't know, and he also listens.  He's not a fanboy of any specific style of play that I've seen, and I think he would be an excellent addition to CSM 8.  He's another guy who has run for CSM multiple times, and lost, and again, mainly for the same reasons that Roc ran and lost, I think.  With the change in CSM weather, I'm thinking/hoping that he has a good chance for CSM 8 too.  He's another that is in my top 3, and if the new voting system allows, he'll likely get some of my votes too.

     Night Beagle is another wormhole candidate.  His platform is to champion the concept of every player having a voice and a chance to vote on any/all the issues or game changes that CCP decides to implement.  In theory, it's a noble idea, I suppose, but there are so many problems and reasons that this wouldn't work, I can't help but think he's dead in the water before he starts.  How can CCP go out to the entire player base and ask us what we think about an idea that would be the same kind of thing that neither they or the CSM can talk to us about because of the NDA??  I can't imagine he's going to get many votes.

      Unforgiven Storm is a Goon, but running as an independent for changes to industry mechanics.  He also wants to get CCP to focus on a single problem and fix it before moving on to something else.  He claims to have fixes to an umber of the industry click-fest game mechanics and UI, which I'm in favour of.  His plan, however to get CCP to focus on single big game change items is a lost war.  Their new process of taking a bunch of game issues, and making a number of small changes to them, over a larger number of updates, is in completely the other direction.  He seems like he can communicate well enough but I don't know how much support he will get.  The fact that CCPs update methodology has changed means that there might be a chance that some small industry changes might make it into each update though.  He wouldn't be anyone I'd vote for though.

      Hunter Blake is a null sec Eve player of a number of years, and also a DUST player and an "official" DUST representative on the CSM.  DUST is still in beta and CCP has lots of unimplemented features for DUST and no hint of a release date, so I don't see what an Eve CSM member can do with DUST to any more of an extent than the current CSM 7 members have done.  I play DUST too and it's a long way from being anything but an FPS right now.  If the DUST players get Eve accounts and get behind him though, they get a DUST rep on the CSM pretty easy.  He's no one I'd vote for though.

     Ayeson is another wormhole candidate.  He also comes across as articulate, smart and a good communicator.  His "angle" that sets him apart from the other wormhole candidates is his interest and work with the API and CREST.  CREST is the new interactive system that allows both reads AND writes to the Eve universe, unlike the current read only API system.  CREST is also what currently connects DUST to Eve, so it is a powerful system and tool.  Ayeson would be another great choice for the CSM.

     Chitsa Jason is another wormhole rep.  He's another guy with lots of wormhole experience and likely also a great choice for the CSM.  His special "angle" is that he's also a mercenary.  He'd also like to see more random site spawns in wormholes to make pve less predictable.  If it was my choice, I might lean more towards Ayeson and Nathan.  This is the 3rd strong wormhole rep, IMO, and I think the voting system might allow multiple choices to be made, and if not, the wormhole community is going to hold a primary to pick a single representative.

     Daehan Minhyok is another "every man" candidate, a null sec player, and standing on a platform of a lot of general points, including the "risk vs reward" thing.  New player experience, "re balancing" high sec, etc.  I don't believe high sec is out of balance, it's just being used to it's potential, unlike low and null.  I don't buy the risk vs reward schtick either.  Daehan, known mostly as "Min" is also a regular on Podside.  He's a nice enough guy, articulate and been communicating with the community for a while, but overall, he's a "meh" candidate to me.  Not very strong.  For an "every man" candidate, I would go for Roc or Mike first.

     James Arget, is (in no real order) wormhole candidate number 5.  Nothing much to differentiate wormhole candidates from each other aside from what I call their "angle".  POS and dreads - check.  James' angle is he wants to teach CCP how to play Eve in wormholes.  I don't have any doubt at all that CCP devs know next to fuck all about playing Eve in any depth, and likely little about wormholes either, but I think it's an exercise in futility.  I think he's one of the weaker wormhole candidates.

     Cipreh is wormhole candidate number 6.  He wants to promote wormholes more to the player base and he wants to promote more small scale pvp in wormholes.  ?  Nothing he needs to be on the CSM for, and not much else is original or anything the other candidates aren't standing for either.  He's one of the weaker wormhole choices, I think.

     Ripard Teg.  For anyone even remotely familiar with the meta side of Eve, Jester's Trek is a blog that comes fairly easily to mind.  I think he's got a lot of qualities that would make him an easy and obvious choice for the CSM, but due to the amount of research and quality and quantity of his blog posts, he's also a guy that I think can have as much of an effect on CCP as a blogger as he could on the CCP.  My fear would be that his ability to write what he writes, and the way he writes, would be compromised if he was on the CSM and under NDA.  I've told him that a couple times.  According to CCP and the CSM, his blog is well known in Iceland, but also according to some CSM members, Jester's blog doesn't have much of an effect on CCP.  Now that statement, I think, is pretty funny.  Based on the personalities of some of the CSM 7 members, how critical Ripard was of CSM 7, and the egos of some of the devs at CCP, this sounds remarkably like "Well, I don't give a shit that you blew up my titan, I didn't want it anyway".  I, like many other players, think his blog has a definite effect on CCP, as it certainly has an effect on the player base.  While I don't always agree with Jester's comments, or opinions, he is also an every man candidate, and is also aware that high sec players are paying customers too.  I don't think he's always held that opinion, but I think that he will represent the entirety of the player base far more thoroughly than many other candidates would.  At the very least, if he makes it and only does one term on the CSM, it will give him valuable insight into the way CCP thinks and that would make his blog and analysis that much better.  This is the third guy in my top three, but I believe he is almost a shoe-in for a position, so I'm going to gamble on that belief, and save my votes for other candidates that I think might need them more.  Ripard is the third one of my top three so far.  *

     James315 is a claimed high sec representative for Eve.  In fact though, he doesn't represent high sec, he wants to tear it down.  He specializes in greifing and ganking high sec players (specifically miners), because he feels high sec is too easy, and there's too much money being made.  He waxes longingly about the good 'ol days of pvp when roaming pvp gangs would duke it out, and then he goes and suicide ganks high sec mining barges.  ?  He feels players should be forced out of high sec and made to play in null or low sec.  His views are way past extreme, and I believe he is a troll candidate.  To lend "legitimacy" to his play style, he wraps it in a pseudo-religious story and "role plays it".  He also believes the big blue bro-pacts in null sec are a myth, and that the amount of money players in null are currently making needs to be increased.  ?  Did I mention I think he's a troll?  No one, with any amount of game experience like this guy claims to have, could possibly believe any of his . . . "ideas" would do anything but make about half the Eve customers leave as soon as those changes went live, and then Eve would be history.  If he isn't a troll, and if people actually vote for this guy, again, it pretty much refutes the PR schtick that Eve players are some of the smartest gamers on the intarnets.

     Trebor Daehdoow has server on 3 CSMs so far, and is one of the few current CSM members that has decided to run again.  His CSM performance and experience, and Eve experience, are well known.  I think it's a great addition to CSM 8 if he gets re-elected.  I can't see how he wouldn't get re-elected.  A valuable source of continuity from CSM 7 to CSM 8.  A great choice, but again, I'm saving my votes for others that aren't a "lock" like him.  *

     UAxDeath is the perennial Soviet CSM choice, and on CSM 7 but no idea if he is going to run again for CSM 8.  If so, that is another position locked up for CSM 8.  *

     So, just spit balling for now, out of the ones listed about, there are likely 5 candidates for sure with asterisks, and you can pick one of the wormhole candidates to add a 6th.  That leaves 8 more players.  I hope at least one, or maybe two of those, will be Mike and Roc.  Still a long way off and more candidates to hear from.  I like hearing their voices.  Somehow that's important to me.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

CSM 8 Wishlist

     I have no illusions about CSM members being able to wield the power of real life politicians.  So politicians can't, won't or don't wield the power of real life politicians.  Any one running for CSM, in this new "age" of CSM influence with CCP, that makes promises like they are a politician, is no one worth supporting for the CSM.

     CSM members are advisors and message-passers.  If CCP is going to do something, the CSM says "hey, that's a bad fucking idea", or they say "it's a good fucking idea".  When information makes it out through the NDA filter, the CSM passes it on to the interested player base.  When some players have an idea or concern, and they think it's getting smothered in all the bullshit and whitenoise of the "official" forums, they can bounce it off the CMS members for passage on to the lofty heights of Iceland.  In theory, if CCP is going to plan something, hopefully they might deign it advisable to bounce it off the CSM members, who in their hopefully broad knowledge base of player gameplay, would be able to give them timely and informed pinions on what the player base might think.  At least, this is my "take" on what the CSM is and based on that take, I have a few criteria for who I think is worth a vote or 3.

     Anyone who neither understands or accepts all the styles of play, of all the players in Eve, has no right to be on the CSM.  If they are too fucking stupid to understand that all play styles have allowed Eve to remain financially viable, mostly . . . so far, is too fucking stupid to represent the player base.

     Anyone who doesn't understand that ALL the players represent financial security for the Eve game, is too fucking stupid to be on the CSM.

     Any mouth breather who parrots the a business killing and brainless meme like "HTFU or go back to <insert clever kids' game here>, is too fucking stupid to be on the CSM.  This is closely tied to the point above.

     Anyone who think that you HAVE to associate with other people to play Eve, is too fucking stupid to be on the CSM.

     Anyone who thinks that Eve is "all about pvp", is too fucking stupid to be on the CSM.

     Anyone who thinks all players need to be draggin out of high sec and/or NPC corps and turned into pvpers is too fucking stupid to be on the CSM.

     Anyone who thinks that fucking up high sec to "drive/force" players to move to low or null sec, is too fucking stupid to be on the CSM.

     Anyone that thinks that there is some imaginary "majority" that plays in null sec, is too fucking stupid to be on the CSM.  At ANY TIME, all anyone has to do is hit F10, and turn on either docked up pilot statistics, or current players in space, and it only takes a double digit IQ to be able to see where the MAJORITY of the dots live.  If someone can't figure that out, they're too fucking stupid to be on the CSM.

     In the past, lots of people have been representing some type of play, or play style.  That flew in the past because the most vocal part of the player base, is usually the most aggressive, and that is usually the pvp crowd.  That has been no different than just about any MMO I've played since the days of Ultima Online, Everquest and Asheron's Call.  The most vocal, are usually a minority, like on fora.  Voter turn out is low enough that organized entities can easily get a representative on the CSM.  The high sec players usually have the least or no representation, and yes, even with the one we currently have, she is pretty much completely fucking useless.  Not even worth the effort to Google her name.  A lot of high sec players don't vote, and don't care about the CSM or the meta game, because they just "play" a game.  They are casual players.  Eve is a part time distraction, little more.  As such, they have little interest in Eve politics.  In null sec, where being part of a herd is part of play, and also pretty much a necessity, it's not hard to organize a few thousand votes to get elected.  Same with tighter communities like wormholes.  While wormholes have the smallest percentage of active accounts, they are capable of electing their own representative to the CSM.  Faction warfare, mercenaries, you name it, all aggressive play styles and all able to represent their style of play on the CSM.  Even high sec corps like Eve University managed to get their man on the CSM, but he hasn't really represented high sec, mainly the new player experience I think.  No true high sec voice or opinions have been expressed by any CSM member, or even CCP member, aside from the new CCP dev who finally noticed that high sec, pve players, also pay for accounts.  Only took 10 years for that news flash.

     If a CSM candidate only plans to represent their little herd, like Mittens did for his mouth-breathers, that's a fine strategy (maybe) for the old CCP plan of focusing on a major item to patch.  With the new CCP plan of making small changes, over a broad range of game content, I think a new age of more open, and more general mindsets is required to match that.  Having an interest in one facet of game play is fine, but to the exclusion and prejudice of all others, is stupid.  I think with this new CCP plan for their game updates, we're going to see more general interest CSM candidates get voted in.  Sure, special interest groups will still likely get their guys in, like null sec, faction warfare, and wormholes, but I think players with a more rounded whole-game view will get in as well.

     A bigger view is what I'm looking for.  An adult view.  A long term view where all players' game play is included in Eve plans and where it's understood that getting the non-asshole players out in the MMO universe, to join Eve, is a smart goal.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

CCP's fucked up bounties

     Hypothetically speaking, of course, say I'm a space-rich asshole in Eve who gets my rocks off by using the chip on my shoulder (from real life inadequacies) to fuck with other people in-game.  For any old reason, or none at all, I think I'll take 500 million isk and drop it on someone, just for the lolz.

     In listening to a recent podcast, it appears lots of people don't understand how the new bounties work, including CSM members, so I thought I'd try it out and see how it works.

     First of all, the bounty is paid out at a rate of 20% of the UNINSURED value of the ship.  That part is important, which is why it's all big letters n' shite.  The bounty is also supposedly including the value of modules on the ship that were destroyed, but as the value of the ship is based on market price aggregates, I couldn't really speak to the surety of this.  For the purposes of this little experiment, I'll use round numbers for ease of matriculation.

     So, take a T1 ship worth 100 million isk. 
- top level insurance on that ship will cost roughly 20 million isk.  That level of insurance means you will get 80 million isk back if the ship is destroyed by mis-adventure or assholery.
- if you don't insure the ship, and it gets destroyed, you get roughly 20 million back in the form of un-insured insurance.
- if the ship is insured, the "uninsured" value of the ship is 20 million.  If the ship isn't insured, the uninsured value of the ship is 80 million.
- the bounty paid out in both examples is 4 million for an insured ship, and 16 million for an uninsured one.
- the total isk loss for the insured ship is 40 million (because of the extra cost of the insurance) and 80 million for the uninsured ship.

     Got the numbers straight?  There'll be a test later.

     Now, each time a ship is destroyed, 20% of the uninsured value of the ship is subtracted from the total bounty.  So on a 500 million bounty, it drops to 496 million isk for the insured ship, or 486 million for the uninsured ship loss.  Don't need to a be a rocket sturgeon to figure that out.  What isn't as obvious, is what the ACTUAL cost of a bounty is.  How much does it REALLY cost the player?  In this 500 million example, the "actual" cost of the bounty can be quickly calculated.  Best case scenario, at a 1/5th payout rate, it'll cost the bountied player

Insured - if all the ships bought are 100 million isk ships, we know that we lose 40 million isk and the bounty payout is 4 million per loss.  500 million/4 million = 125.  That means that the bountied player would need to buy roughly 12.5 BILLION isk worth of ships to clear the bounty, and that also means that the total isk loss from 125 destroyed ships will amount to 5 billion, 10 times the amount of the bounty.

Uninsured - if all the ships bought are 100 million isk ships, we know that we lose 80 million isk and the bounty payout is 16 million per loss. 500 million/16 million = 31.25.  Rounding it down to 31, that means the player would need to buy 3.1 billion isk worth of ships, never insure them, and then the total isk loss from 31 destroyed ships will amount to about 2.5 billion, or about 5 times the amount of the bounty.

     I'm not rich enough or motivated enough to test if these 5x and 10x ratios extrapolate to most ship types, but I imagine they'd be close for the rest of the T1 ships.  For T2 ships, the losses would definitely be higher because insurance sucks and costs are higher.  That might mean a faster payout, but the total loss for the bountied player is still multiples of the actual bounty.  Also, just like with belt rats, player bounties are shared with all fleet members.  If the bountied player gets podded at the same time, that's more of a loss and I don't know how much more bounty, if any, is paid out for that.

     So, if CCP had a clue, bounties would, and could only, be applied to people with negative sec status.  You don't get a negative sec status unless you did, or tried to, fuck someone.  "But what about gankers/can flippers/thieves?" you might inquire.  Well, if they go flashy, that means they took a sec status hit, they are open to be killed by anyone, and, you could lay a bounty on their ass while they are all flashy, plus, you could/can sell the kill rights.  Assholes can grind sec status too.

     "So what about scammers and thieves that don't go flashy?" you ask.  Well, CCP needs to stop and actually think and come up with some method to deal with those, or not.  It's these . . . "features" of their game that are keeping teh regular online gaming crowd away from Eve . . . in droves.

     Bounties on corps and alliances are fine.  If that helps encourage pvp, so be it.  That's not the same as an individual bounty because a player can shed a corp/alliance bounty by leaving said organization.  A personal bounty however, is permanent until it is gone, or low enough to not be a motivator for someone to kill you.

     If a player is an asshole, I'm fine with the bounty system the way it is.  Unfortunately, it's another poorly thought out mechanism for griefers to fuck with people, and this time, there is no way to defend against it.  it's permanent.  I've read that players have left because of it.  No doubt.  Too bad the ship re balancing guy didn't look at the bounties too instead of whatever moron Hilmarr had do it.  Fail.