CSM 15 has completed its second full month on the job. As I noted in my last post, my goal is to provide the players with greater transparency by providing a more in depth review of each month of our work, given that more work will be done outside of summits this term, if we are even able to have in-person summits at all.
As I noted last time, CSM members generally interact with CCP outside of summits in three ways – weekly meetings, conversations and discussions via internal Slack (instant messaging) and Confluence (wiki style topics), and private conversations.
Since my last update, the CSM has had a total of 8 meetings, which brings the total number of formal
meetings the CSM has held to 16. The duration noted is exact for meetings that were recorded, approximated for those that weren’t.
As with my last article, all of the information included below has been reviewed by the CSM and cleared by CCP for release.
Meeting 9 – July 21 – Meeting with Team Event Horizon
Duration: 1 hour 10 minutes
This was our first meeting with Team Event Horizon, who has been largely working on the Triglavian Invasion content. All of the CSM except Merkelchen were present. The CCP community team, along with CCP Mimic, CCP Coyote, and CCP Sledgehammer were in the meeting. There was a lot of discussion over the existing Trig content, including the issues with Werpost lock times and NPC behavior, as well as other concerns the player base has had with the content, from issues with time zone concerns as well as the geographic distribution of the invasions. The issue of Edencomm Cyno Jammers was raised, with the CSM noting they were especially disruptive and the mechanics were not clear. Discussions were also had regarding the Zirnitra, as this team had some say into how it was balanced originally. There was also discussion over how the content was being received, how players were figuring out what the rules were and how that information was being disseminated throughout the player base. Because of the nature of the content and the desire on CCP’s part that much of the invasion content be mysterious and teased out by the players, there were a number of questions they did not answer, including how the storyline would eventually wrap up.
Meeting 10 – July 22 – Ask-Me-Anything Meeting with CCP Hellmar
Duration: 1 hour and 30 minutes
One of the highlights of each summit is the session with CCP’s CEO Hilmar Petursson. Since there won’t be a summit this year, CCP was kind enough to provide us with a session with him early on. The entire CSM was present, as well as the community team, CCP Hellmar, CCP Muppet Hunter and CCP Goodfella. The discussion was varied and broad. The CSM brought up a number of issues, including things like the debate between fixing current issues versus designing new content, greater collaboration between the company and the various community streamers and Youtubers, and what can be done to hasten the return of the Alliance Tournament. Hilmar shared with the CSM a lot of solid data, including CCP’s internal tracking of new player retention, age of player accounts and those cohorts, and the number of people downloading and trying the game. He also gave a run down on where CCP stood as a company, highlighting that this year has seen some of the best quarters for the game in terms of revenue in the company’s history. He also discussed the goals for the Serenity server and how EVE Echoes was shaping up as it got closer to its launch date in August. Hilmar also confirmed that the company is still working on a new game (the project formerly referred to as Project Nova). Finally, there was a larger discussion about content creation. This was one of the best meetings the CSM has had so far this year.
Meeting 11 – July 24 – CSM Weekly Meeting, Week 5
Duration: Approximately two hours
The Community team and all of the CSM except Merkelchen met for the weekly CSM meeting. The goal of this meeting was to begin a process of creating a top priority list for this year’s CSM. Prior to the meeting, CCP Dopamine had asked each of the CSM members to provide him with a list of ten priority areas they wanted to see addressed this year. This meeting began the process of winnowing down the lists to a number of topics that the entire group could agree were priorities. Needless to say, this was a contentious meeting with a lot of debate and discussion, and the result was that we made very little progress in coming to a consensus on top priorities, despite this being one of the longer meetings we had. Issues that were discussed included citadels, conflict drivers, the subcap vs. cap debate, improvements to existing content, the AT and structured competitive play, EVE Portal’s development, Lowsec/FW complete revamp, the NPE and hurdles for new players, skill training, in-game customization, the red dot, improved PVE and missions, group management tools, nullification, and resource gathering, among a number of other topics.
Meeting 12 – July 31 – Meeting with Team Ra (CSM Weekly Meeting, Week 6)
Duration: Approximately 1 hour
Team Ra asked to meet with the CSM during their regular weekly meeting to discuss the upcoming introduction of weather into nullsec. CCP Dopamine was on leave, so CCP Convict led the meeting, along with CCP Aurora from the community team. CCP Fozzie joined along with the rest of Team Ra. The whole CSM was present except Merkelchen. CCP went through the design document on weather and answered a number of CSM questions about how the mechanics of weather would work. The CSM reiterated the concern that this could be an issue that impacts the war, although because it impacts both sides the effects would likely be mitigated. Since Team Ra also handled the abyssal PvP live events, the CSM asked a number of questions and raised some concerns with those events, including issues with collusion and discussed concerns about the impact on roaming and other sandbox PvP.
After the Team Ra portion of the meeting ended, the CSM had their usual weekly meeting with the community team. A number of CSM requests for meetings were made, including meetings on the economy, mining, lowsec and merchandise.
Meeting 13 – August 7 – CSM Weekly Meeting, Week 7 – Merchandise
Duration: Approximately 1 hour
CCP Convict and CCP Aurora introduced CCP Oracle from the merchandise team, who joined the meeting at the request of the CSM the previous week to talk about merch. She was joined by CCP Goodfella. There was a free ranging discussion over CCP’s existing line up of merchandise as well as things players have been asking for. CCP Oracle informed the CSM that the top two items in the current store were EVE coffee mugs and EVE ball caps. They are looking at releasing new t-shirts soon, as well as some community sourced lines. While the CSM suggested a rainbow of colors for EVE shirts, CCP Oracle confirmed that black sells the best, a fact obvious to everybody who has ever been to an EVE meet. There was a discussion on the impact of COVID-19 on international shipping and production of items. Goodfella also provided some information on upcoming in-game item sales and asked for continued feedback on monetization.
Meeting 14 – August 14 – CSM Weekly Meeting, Week 8
Duration – Approximately 1 hour
This was the lightest meeting of the year so far, with most of CCP out or unavailable on vacation. CCP Convict was holding down the fort and met with the entire CSM. The CSM discussed structured gameplay again, as the topic was generated by the announcement of EVE NT’s tournament. There was also discussion of some issues with the game launcher. Once those topics were exhausted, the CSM continued its discussion of priorities that began in Meeting 11, which filled the remainder of the time.
Meeting 15 – August 21 – Meeting with Team Talos and the Ecosystem Group – CSM Weekly Meeting, Week 9
Duration – 1 hour and 25 minutes
Team Talos and the Ecosystem team asked to meet with the CSM to discuss structure token mechanics (since renamed “Quantum Cores”). The entire CSM was present, along with the community team, CCP Rise, CCP Masterplan, CCP Rattati, CCP Bartender and CCP Psych. CCP Rise walked the CSM through the design document on Quantum Cores and began a discussion on the overall concept as well as some of the specifics. The CSM highlighted issues with the price of some of the cores, as well as the volumes of the cores and a discussion was had surrounding potential ways to move cores through various areas of space. There was further discussion on the design goals of the changes as well as a long discussion on the implementation and roll out. The CSM made it clear that there needed to be a significant grandfather period to allow groups to get these cores in place, because this change would have a massive impact on structure owners of all sizes, and because this would have a major impact on all of the belligerents in the nullsec war.
The CSM then had their usual meeting with the community team, where they were informed that the Trig balance pass, the MER and the new Abyssal proving ground event would hit in the next week, and the CSM raised some players concerns, including the neutral standings in Trig content issue that arose in the last update and the autopilot router not recognizing Niarja as nullsec.
Meeting 16 – August 28 – CSM Weekly Meeting, Week 10 – Lowsec Discussion
Duration – 1 hour and 10 minutes
The weekly meeting included a discussion of lowsec and faction warfare issues with CCP Shreddy and CCP Goodfella, at the request of the CSM. The community team was present. The CSM was present except for Kenneth Feld, Maria Taylor and Torvald. Goodfella gave an update on the current roadmap and is planning on providing a more in-depth update to the CSM on what’s ahead for the Q4 quadrant when the final planning has been completed. The CSM and the team then had a discussion on issues with lowsec and faction warfare, with the CSM requesting that CCP give lowsec/FW a greater priority and allocate some dev time for work on these issues at some point during this CSM cycle. Merkelchen also presented an idea to address the issue with the hard limit of clones and multiple clones in upwell structures.
The CSM also had an in-depth discussion with CCP Goodfella regarding communication and issues with various means of communicating with the player base that CCP uses.
Despite CCP’s traditional lighter summer schedule, the CSM maintained its same meeting pace during the end of July and throughout August. September is traditionally one of the most active months for the CSM, as it typically would see the first CSM summit of the year. Since there will be no CSM summits in 2020, it is likely that September won’t be as active a month as usual, but the CSM and the community team have begun discussions on how to provide some kind of a summit-style event in 2020 that could provide a similar impact with expanded access to the devs.
As for other communications options, both Slack and Confluence saw daily usage for discussion and debate, with the CSM bringing concerns in real time to the Devs on a variety of issues. There were also some heated discussions over ideas to address node death during big structure fights, long discussions over the “quantum core” structure token announcement and feedback from the player base, and discussions of the impact of Niarja flipping to the Triglavians, among a variety of other topics.
As always, I’m happy to answer any questions I can within the limits of the Code of Conduct and the NDA.