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.