Today's post is a continuation of my explanation of my philosophy about the daily workings of the CSM. Join me, won't you?
It seems like the New Order is being talked about everywhere these days, doesn't it? Wherever EVE is being discussed, the polarizing name of James 315 seems to pop up again and again. This development doesn't surprise me--I wrote about it back in October.
It's a simple, unintended consequence of the buffing of highsec. As EVE's population crowds into highsec, and as emergent gameplay continues to be nerfed, the ideologically-driven New Order becomes the only game in town, so to speak. In the same way that the mining systems of highsec are completely mute until we arrive, the focus of the EVE community will center on the few individuals who supply emergent gameplay to an increasingly carebearized playerbase. If we're the only thing disrupting the silence of highsec, and if everyone makes their money in highsec, then a lot of EVE players are going to spend a lot of time thinking about us. Ironically, the very people who despise the New Order and hate hearing about me are the ones pushing the game design changes that ensure my notoriety.
This isn't something that I desired or pursued. I am not interested in becoming famous for the sake of it. My only concern is the improvement of EVE. I would rather accomplish the goals of the New Order, even if that means the New Order would be less at the center of attention, due to emergent gameplay of all kinds flourishing across EVE.
Even so, there are those who genuinely fear my presence on the CSM. Those who spend time with me or my Agents in-game understand that I am not the monster that my enemies make me out to be. I'm not power mad; I ain't even mad. It's easy to take for granted that everyone else understands this, too. But I understand that there are many EVE players out there who are paranoid and distrustful about my intentions. There are even people who agree with many of my policy positions who nevertheless worry about the possibility of my attempting to dominate the CSM. I would like to put all those fears to rest.
Consider the basic characteristics of the CSM. It's a group of volunteers. They come from all different backgrounds, and have different points of view. The CSM transcends the lines drawn between corporations, alliances, and coalitions in EVE. And they all come together for the purpose of improving the game. Sound familiar? I'm acquainted with the concept.
Everyone who has been following the CSM campaign thus far knows the central issue of this election. It's about the choice between, one the one hand, a carebear-driven theme park that (purportedly) maximizes CCP's subscription revenue, and on the other hand, my vision of an EVE with balanced game mechanics and restored opportunities for PvP and emergent gameplay across the board. That's what it's all about; that's the big, fundamental question for EVE right now.
Obviously I had a hand in framing the scope of the debate. Is that evidence of my "pushiness"? I don't think so. Even without my efforts to give these issues prominence, it's not as if people couldn't see what was going on. And, to be honest, it's not as though there a lot of CSM candidates out there trying to drive other issues to the forefront. Even if you have been paying close attention to this race, if you were asked to write down basic bullet points of what you've learned so far, you would probably end up with a list that looks something like this:
1. James 315 thinks risk/reward is severely imbalanced and damaging the game.
2. People who live in wormholes really like to run for CSM for some reason.
I've spoken quite a bit about the need for balance in the game, and balance is just as important for the CSM. On one end of the spectrum, we have the temptation to say that the election is all about James 315 and his ideas, so let's just have him run everything on the CSM and tell CCP what to do. This approach would strike a lot of people as being arrogant. Equally problematic is the other end of the spectrum, the "business as usual" approach.
We all know how the "business as usual" approach goes: Everything is on autopilot, nothing of real importance gets done, and the CSM has no impact on anything. We can almost write the meeting minutes for such a CSM in advance...
The CSM met with CCP and shared their ideas for fixing POSes and sovereignty. CCP was fascinated and told them that something may happen in a few years. The CSM's vice-chairman voiced his enthusiasm for the improved level of communication that this achievement represents. Meanwhile, CCP reported significant progress has been made on creating a blue ribbon with the word "stakeholder" on it, which may be pinned on the CSM at some point in the future. "Huzzahs" all around.
After a well-deserved break, the CSM and CCP reconvened to discuss other matters. One member of the CSM suggested that stations could be made destructible, which will never ever ever ever ever in a million years happen. A lengthy conversation ensued about how interesting this would be if it happened, which it never will. Another member of the CSM, speaking on voice-chat, echoed those who liked the station destructability idea. The environment in the conference room became very tense, because that CSM member had not previously pulled his weight in the "busywork" department. His voice-chat was put on "mute" while the remaining CSM members debated whether he had earned the right to speak. They came to the conclusion that he had not. This had little impact on the rest of proceedings, because his ideas were pretty much identical to everyone else's anyway.
The next day, the CSM met with CCP to discuss the upcoming expansion, which was to be rolled out in two weeks. The CSM expressed surprise, as they had not previously been told about the expansion. CCP assured them that a devblog would be released in a week, and that they could read all about it there. The atmosphere became noticeably tense. CSM members insisted that they could have offered useful input. A CCP employee apologized and assured them that in the future, they would be given more access. Finally, another CCP employee broke the tension by joking that things would be so much easier if they abolished the CSM altogether. Many good-natured laughs were had by all.
When the CSM and CCP returned from lunch, they took up the subject of highsec. One member of the CSM had heard disturbing reports about people being killed there. An intense discussion about risk in highsec followed. Some were in favor and some were against; the CSM and CCP were split about evenly on the question. One member of the CSM questioned whether it was such a good idea that new players with only a few years of experience had to descend into the depths of 0.7 security systems to mine ice. In addition, he pointed out the unfairness of wardecs occurring in which one side was more powerful or had better leadership than the other. In such cases, the defending side might need to spend up to several minutes and two million isk dissolving and reforming their corp to nullify the wardec.
The result of the conversation was inconclusive. All agreed that wardecs were overpowered, except for those who disagreed. It was decided that no decision about changes to wardecs should be made until at least a few months prior to there being a chance for community feedback on the issue. The session ended. Everyone on the CSM expressed a profound feeling of accomplishment, and that they would not be running for reelection next term.
That's the kind of CSM that we need to avoid. The "business as usual" approach is lacking in substance, just as an "All About James 315" CSM would be lacking in style. Some compromise between the two should be found. Obviously I have no intention of hewing strictly to the agenda by which the CSM meetings are supposed to be run; breakthroughs rarely occur according to a schedule. However, I am perfectly willing to spend as much time listening to others' ideas as I spend promoting my own.