In this post, I will highlight the heroes and villains among the CSM reps and CCP employees about whom we gained insight. As a disclaimer, this post should not necessarily be taken as an endorsement of the CSM reps who are presented in a positive light, since they may have "problem areas" on other issues. I'm merely writing about the portion of the minutes that jumped out and grabbed me.
Since thousands of people read this blog each day, it is my responsibility and privilege to influence elections in a positive direction. Regardless of whether I end up running for CSM, when we get close to voting day, I will conduct a thorough review of the candidates to let everyone know who deserves votes and who doesn't.
All quotes from the minutes are in italics.
Judging by the minutes, Trebor is the chief villain of the CSM. He expressly and repeatedly advocates the removal of non-consensual PvP from highsec. According to Trebor, the wardec system is bad because people who get wardecced don't want to be wardecced. Instead, the wardec system should be for "mutual" wars only--like a corp-wide, honourable 1v1 duel. Speaking of carebears who find themselves on the wrong end of the wardec, Trebor says:
"They just use highsec for their logistics. Okay, so they get wardecced, and what happens? It just interrupts their regular game play; it's a griefing mechanic."Trebor at least allows for the possibility of suicide ganking to exist in highsec, because it carries enough penalties to be rare:
"In the case of a suicide gank, they lose their ships and they lose sec-status. There is a cost to them. If they declare war on you, and except for the ISK cost, they don't lose their ships and they don't lose their sec-status. There's no risk."The reader might be perplexed by Trebor's belief that aggressors can't be killed during a war. As he explains, the aggressor is usually much more powerful. Combat in such situations shouldn't take place, says Trebor. By the same logic, shouldn't we outlaw nullsec alliances from waging war to grab territory from their weaker neighbors, because there's an imbalance of risk? (Likewise, gate campers and pirates shouldn't exist, since their victims are always at a disadvantage.) But surely, you say, Trebor can't really be in favor of eliminating wardecs. I'm afraid so:
"90% of the time, the corp that gets wardecced just turtles up because they have absolutely no choice. They're outgunned and outmatched. Look at the wardec system, with all of the exceptions, and the rules for adding allies, and timers, and all that crap. What does that remind you of? What system that everybody agreed was awful did you just rip out of the game and radically simplify?"Sorry folks, allowing combat in highsec is too complicated. Time to pull the plug.
Two step thinks along the same lines as Trebor. He begins the conversation on wardecs by complaining that there hasn't been a reduction in "random wardeccing and grief wardeccing" since the latest wardec nerf. Yes, another of your CSM reps thinks there's entirely too much aggressive PvP in highsec right now. The wardec nerfs haven't gone far enough, yet. And what does Two step have against "grief wardeccing"?
"The issue is that the sharks don't have real risk. If I'm wardeccing 5 man mission corps, and let's say they're the best 5 man mission corp in all the world, and they're really good and kick my ass, all I have to do is let the wardec lapse."Two step is apparently among those who think wars should be fair fights--that aggressors should never pick on those whom they perceive as weak or defenseless. Note, again, the inconsistency: It's not "risk" if an aggressor can let the war lapse, i.e. dock up for a week. But if the victim of the wardec has to dock up for a week, that's griefing. And what ever happened to calling in allies? Isn't that risk, and an option for the defender besides docking up?
Meissa didn't have as much to say, but from what he did say, his opinions reflected Trebor and Two step's. His main issue with wardecs is that they don't invite real combat, since the victims are forced to dock up. But wouldn't immunity from wardecs allow highsec players to have near-total safety? Meissa disagreed:
"You can always be out-marketed, you can always be suicide ganked..."Of course, if we're going to end wardecs on the basis of aggression being bad, why not ban suicide ganking, too? As readers of MinerBumping have seen, highsec miners are petitioning us on the assumption that suicide ganking has already been banned. Meissa elaborates, pointing out that the people who get wardecced tend to be innocent victims, who should not be forced into PvP with more powerful foes:
"You're talking about being able to own POS's as one of the advantages to being in a player corp. How many of these corps that are decced have POS's? If it's 10%, I'll buy you lots of things. But it's not that. The vast majority of the groups are small. They're poor."It's the same old line we hear time and again from the miners: If you want to shoot at someone, fight pirates in lowsec who want combat. Apparently the CSM members represent their constituency well. But it's not just CSM. There are those in CCP who share this view.
Solomon had a lot to say about wardecs. He's not a fan. He begins by joking that "it would be easier to just remove the wardec system completely", but I can forgive the joke. I object to the things he said in seriousness.
...Solomon explained...that the general idea has always been to develop a toolset where two entities could participate in mutual combat even in highsec space.This might appear to be an innocent remark, since wardecs do include situations where both sides want to fight. But Solomon went on to say that the problem is, in the majority of wars, one side just stays docked up, and no kills occur. The point of wardecs, Solomon says, is balanced, consensual PvP:
"Should it be limited to each party's ability to engage and fight, though? I mean that's what we're trying to zero in on: That consensual, highsec engagement where it's mutual, and both sides have the ability to participate and cause losses and cause damage. That's the kind of thing we want to be moving towards and encouraging... If we're going to balance the system, you need to understand what the primary goal is that you're trying to satisfy. And is that you want mutual highsec engagements, or do I want a situation where one side is the complete aggressor, where the strong preys on the weak, and the weak huddle in stations?"So far, the situation is looking pretty bleak for wardecs. After all the nerfs to aggression that have already been put in place, aren't things balanced yet? No, because carebears still occasionally die. It's like I said from the beginning. The carebears want to completely remove aggression from highsec. No more non-consensual PvP.
And yet, there are still those who believe in spaceships being able to commit acts of violence against other spaceships in highsec. Let's look at the bright side...
If Trebor is the villain of the CSM, Alek played the role of the hero. He strenuously defended the continued existence of wardecs. When the carebear caucus brought up the point about corps turtling up during a war, he observed that very often the wardeccers are small corps who force larger corps to dock up.
Alek pointed out this has little to do with strength or capability, but simply willingness to engage in PvP. "...you should not be able to play EVE in your own little world and not be affected by other players."The carebears complained that even when the defenders do start to win, the aggressors will dock up, and no one can have any fun. Alek made another good point in response to that argument:
"But why do you care? You won! Why does it matter that they couldn't beat you, they fought, you kicked their ass, and that's EVE for you."My favorite part was Alek's response to Trebor's observation about the highsec logistics people being wardecced.
"God forbid you actually defend your highsec logistics. Wow. That's soooo crazy."At the very least, we have a CSM member who is willing to speak favorably of non-consensual wardecs. Proper EVE players should be concerned that we're at the stage where this is seriously being debated, though.
To begin with, Seleene just let the conversation play out. But then, as if realizing for the first time how much the situation in highsec has deteriorated, he came to life.
"Wait a minute. Something just went off in my head here. You're literally advocating that the days of 'I am pissed off at these people and I don't care if they agree that I'm pissed off at them, I'm going to wardec them and rip their shit apart', is that what you're trying to get away from?"NPC corps are immune from wardecs, but they lack certain advantages that player corps have. There was some talk about a third option (i.e. player corps that are immune from wardecs). I'll get to that again later, but Seleene wisely spoke against it.
Seleene took a moment to reiterate once again that this middle ground between the safety bubble of the NPC corp, and the rest of the hostile world, didn't make any sense. Seleene emphasized that there should be a clear choice between the two.Seleene also got to put in the last word of the conversation, when Meissa bemoaned the fate of the "small, poor" corps that get wardecced:
"Well then maybe they need to get more friends and they need to learn to defend themselves better in a PvP game."
Hans didn't have too much to say, but in these dark days, we'll take what we can get. He spoke in favor of the continued existence of wardecs, since it allows a form of PvP where the number of combatants in a battle can be limited, as opposed to nullsec battles where giant fleets can be hot-dropped on top of you at any time. Hans had one other good comment, in response to the suggestion of a middle ground where people can hang out with friends in highsec without being eaten by sharks:
"But that's what EVE is. Being eaten by every other shark out there."The CSM can be a force for good. When a member of the CSM explains to a CCP employee "what EVE is", the CSM is pulling its weight. But have things gotten so bad that no one in CCP stands in favor of the spirit of EVE?
Fozzie only spoke up once, according to the minutes, but it was to say something intelligent.
"A wardec where only one side wants to be in it isn't any less legitimate than a bounty that only one side wants. We're not going to go to anyone and ask them if they'd like to accept the bounty placed on them."A good point. Much of what happens in EVE is non-consensual. That's just the give-and-take of games in general. Sadly, it gave CCP Solomon the opportunity to offer this terrible response:
"But at least with the bounty system, Concord is still there to protect you. In the wardec system, it's not."These are the kinds of conversations occurring between CCP employees who determine the fate of EVE.
I really wanted to put SoniClover in the good column, because he said some very encouraging things. Unfortunately, he also made one very troubling remark--so he's in the gray. Let's start with the good. SoniClover made an argument that I have been making for some time now, which is that highsec players can have a huge impact on the rest of the galaxy. Lowsec, nullsec, and wormsec people can't simply ignore them. All areas of EVE affect each other.
"...the higher economic impact that you are having, the higher the chance that other people will be interacting with what you are doing. You should never be able to have a huge economic impact on the game and become completely immune by the game mechanics, to be completely safe from others."SoniClover took a strong stand against those who would remove all risk from highsec:
"And it seems that some are clamoring a lot for the game system to protect them. And we're trying to minimize that as much as possible. EVE is never going to give you complete game system security. And we're never going to go that route."Now that's the kind of attitude we want from CCP. On the other hand, proper EVE players should be concerned that clamoring for total safety is reaching CCP's ears. It is as I warned you. And now for the comment that disqualified SoniClover from the good column:
"Maybe the solution is in giving players more choices in how to set up the risk they are putting themselves into. Right now you have two choices, you can be in an NPC corp, with taxes and lack of social identity, but it gives you immunity from wardecs. Or maybe you can form player corporations with all the economic advantages, and social interaction, but there’s nothing in between. There are no other choices. Maybe I want to form a group with my friends, and enjoy that social interaction, but not be able to be eaten by every shark out there."This is the middle ground comment I was referring to earlier. The middle ground option would simply be a wardec-immune corp--like an NPC corp--with additional privileges currently available only to player corps. In other words, yet another big nerf to highsec aggression. One more step toward the carebear dream of a risk-free theme park. No thanks.
That's it. I realize that meeting minutes have the potential to be inaccurate, and I am a fair-minded gentleman, so if the minute-taker got you wrong, feel free to send me an EVEmail or leave a comment.
As for the rest of you, I hope that this was an eye-opening experience, and will serve you well when it comes time to vote. Many of the current CSM members will be standing for reelection this spring.