CSM 15 has just wrapped up its first month of work since our election on June 13. One of my campaign pledges was to promote greater transparency, especially when it comes to what we are doing and the issues we are bringing to the table to represent you to CCP.

Given the realities of 2020 amid the global pandemic and there being only one CSM summit this term, a much greater emphasis is being placed on our virtual relationship with CCP. Unlike the summit, however, there has not been an emphasis on providing players with information about what the CSM does on a daily and weekly basis. That can create the false impression that most of the work is done at the summit, when that’s not generally the case, and it doesn’t let players see what we’re doing in real time. This post is the start of what I hope will be a monthly series of posts designed to help provide players with a greater insight into what the CSM is doing outside of the summits. My goal is to produce one of these posts each month that highlights the previous month’s work.

There are three ways that CSM members interact with CCP outside of in-person CSM summits. The first are through weekly meetings, which are generally recorded, and which I have been taking minutes for. I’ve made those minutes available to both CCP and to the rest of the CSM in case of issues with people arriving late or leaving early, as well as inevitable technical issues that can result in garbled communications. The second method for interaction with CCP is through conversations with the various segments and teams via CCP’s internal Slack and their internal Confluence systems. Most folks are familiar with Slack, and Confluence is essentially an internal wikipedia where more in-depth plans and designs can be posted, reviewed and comment upon. Finally, CSM members can chat privately one-on-one with specific CCP staff as necessary.

So far, we have had eight meetings, which I will briefly summarize here. Where I include specific meeting lengths, those are for sessions where we have a video recording and I can get the exact time length. For those with “about an X,” those estimates are based on my meeting minutes and memory of the meeting itself. For the record, all of the information included below has been cleared with CCP for release.

Meeting 1 – June 19 – On-boarding Session
Duration: About 1 hour

Our first meeting was held the week after the election, but prior to the meeting, CCP Dopamine held 1 on 1 onboarding sessions with most of the new members of CSM 15 and some returning veterans, including me. This helped get us up to speed and gave us a chance to get to know our primary community team contact. Each of the on-boarding sessions lasted about a half an hour.

The June 19th on-boarding session was our first formal meeting as CSM 15, and included some of the members of CSM 14. It was the first chance for CCP and the new CSM to get acquainted. All of the members of CSM 15, along with two members of CSM 14 ((Dunk and Olmeca) and the entire CCP community team were present. There was an explanation of roles and expectations, a review of the Code of Conduct, and CCP walked the CSM through EVE’s development structure.

Meeting 2 – June 23 – Roadmap Meeting
Duration: 1 hour

This was our second meeting as CSM 15, and our first with CCP team members outside the community team. The entire CSM was present. In addition to the community team, the CSM met with CCP Burger, CCP Muppet Hunter, CCP Shreddy, CCP Goodfella and CCP Rattati, who went over the roadmap for the third quarter of 2020 . This was a high-level overview of the roadmap and did not go into much detail about specific features and specific aspects of some planned areas. The CSM was told the name of the quadrant (which has since been revealed as “Zenith”) and a number of features that have since been announced were explained, including the PvP filaments, the command ship rebalancing, diminishing returns on bounties, the ESS revamp and roaming weather effects. The CSM had a number of questions regarding what we were shown, and we went back and forth for over an hour with the CCP team.

Meeting 3 – June 24 – Team Ra Meeting on PvP Filaments
Duration: 1 hour and 10 minutes

This was a specific meeting requested by Team Ra to meet with CSM 15 to brief us on the PvP filaments that would be included in the 3rd Quadrant and would be announced shortly. In addition, the community team, many of the members of Team Ra, including CCP Fozzie, CCP Signal, CCP Trash Panda, CCP Cerberus and CCP Deadlift were present. All CSM 15 members were present. CCP presented the ideas behind the PvP filaments, explained how they would be rolled out and showed us the arenas and how some of the mechanics in the abyssal arenas would work. The CSM had significant questions and spent about an hour and a half with the team working on the filaments. I did specifically note that some players would have concerns that this would kill roaming and that this was instanced PvP. It was also brought up that some players would ask if this was going to be sold as a potential tournament tool or replacement for the Alliance Tournament.

Meeting 4 – June 26 – Week 2 Weekly Meeting
Duration: 1 hour

This was our first regular weekly meeting of CSM 15. It was one of the shorter meetings, and it was the last change over meeting we had with CSM 14. All of CSM 15 was present, and we were joined by Dunk and Exookiz from CSM 14. This session included a number of requests from the CSM to CCP, including requests for meetings to be scheduled. There was discussion regarding the Roadmap, the red dot, and a reminder that summer in Iceland generally means things slow down for CCP. Dunk and Exookiz providing some final thoughts to the new CSM as they rotated off, which were much appreciated by all.

Meeting 5 – July 3 – Week 3 Weekly Meeting
Duration: 1 hour and 30 minutes

This was our first meeting without members of CSM 14 present. All members of CSM 15 were present, as well as the CCP Muppet Hunter, the Design Director for CCP, who was there to explain the EVE development process in greater detail to the CSM. Before Muppet Hunter began his presentation, the CSM was told that the official announcement that EVE San Diego was being cancelled and no CCP planned events would be occurring in 2021 was going to be released sometime in the next week (it ended up coming out on July 8). The CSM discussed a variety of issues with Muppet Hunter, and we informed CCP that we would be putting out a statement about the war (which was released shortly after this meeting ended). There was a discussion about the statement with CCP. Among the issues discussed with Muppet Hunter were the red dot, conflict drivers, the sov system, and some PvE related issues. This meeting took about an hour and a half.

Meeting 6 – July 8 – Citadel Session with the Ecosystem Team
Duration: 1 hour and 10 minutes

This was the first CSM requested meeting that was scheduled, this time to discuss issues with citadels and citadel mechanics with the Ecosystem team. This was largely a CSM led discussion, where the CSM passed on player issues and concerns with citadels to the CCP team. The entire CSM was present, along with the entire community team and CCP Psych, CCP Masterplan, CCP Paradox, CCP Bartender and CCP Rise of the Ecosystem segment. This was probably the longest meeting we held, and included significant back and forth discussion amongst the CSM members as well as with CCP.

Meeting 7 – July 10 – Week 4 Weekly Meeting
Duration: 1 hour and 50 minutes

This was our fourth weekly and our longest of the CSM so far. All members of the CSM were present, along with the community team and CCP Dragon, CCP MrHappy and CCP Mischief to discuss the NPE, PvE missions and some new features being worked on. None of the information presented in this meeting has been announced yet, so this will be the vaguest of the meetings we had. It was remarkably interesting and there were a lot of questions from the CSM to CCP about what we were shown. Following our meeting with the NPE team, we had a discussion with the community team around the CSM itself, how we approach the community and things we can do to help provide players a better insight into what we do, which was the genesis of this article.

Meeting 8 – July 17 – Week 5 Weekly Meeting
Duration: 1 hour 10 minutes

This was our most recent weekly meeting. All members of the CSM were present, as well as the community team. The topic of discussion was a new community partnership program that the community team is working on as a replacement for the old fansite program. It is still in its early stages, so it will take some time before we hear more about this publicly. There was significant discussion around the program and potential issues and concerns.

We also confirmed that we will be meeting next week with Team Event Horizon and having an ask-me-anything (AMA) session with CCP’s CEO, CCP Hellmar, along with our weekly Friday meeting.

Slack Discussions

While it’s much harder to summarize the discussions we’ve had in Slack with CCP, those lines of communication have remained extremely active with discussions of all of the above topics, as well as the passing along of bug reports and concerns from players, more discussion of upcoming features and issues, as well as scheduling and requests for future meetings. Not a day goes by when we aren’t discussing things with CCPers in Slack, and this is also where we generally get to see drafts of potential dev blogs, announcements of things like marketing campaigns, and where we can provide real time feedback to teams on things they want us to know about.

I also want to highlight that, so far, we have had perfect attendance from the CSM during all eight of these meetings. Not everyone was able to sit through every entire meeting, but for each meeting, every single member of the CSM showed up and participated at some point, which is pretty good, considering we spent almost 10 hours in meetings throughout the month.

This wraps up our first month of work. I think we hit a large number of subject matter areas that players care about, and I know we passed on many player complaints, concerns, feedback and requests. I expect there will be questions about what I have written here, and I welcome them. That being said, generally speaking, please don’t ask “did CCP tell you X” or “what did CCP say when you said X” because I absolutely can’t answer those questions, but I will do my best to elaborate where that’s possible.