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CSM9 - Day 310

I’ve been asked a few times over the last week if I was going to write a response to the sov dev blog. I pondered it and decided to leave it to my weekly update. The changes are slated for June so pour on the feedback. This is the time for change.

Looking at Sov has been one of the hardest tasks I’ve been charged with at Eve. Unlike many aspects of the game that I have involved myself in, Sov is not one that has ever struck my personal interest. This is complicated by the fact that I don’t live in Sov and my normal habits to bring personal experience as my foundation is lacking. It would be easy to throw my hands up and say that it isn’t my area but that wouldn't be helpful because there are things about sov that do affect me and there are people who engage in sov that wish to speak with me. I've been asked if I like it. My answer is, I don't know. I don't want to hold sov now and these new mechanics don't make me want to hold sov in the future. But, I also do not think they are geared towards me as an individual player. I don't like it or dislike it. I just want whatever comes out in June to be good and that is where my energy is going.

I call the current Sov ideas Capture the Flag. It feels more about fights and less about empire building as people crouch on top of their forts and eye their neighbors for strategic reasons. The third parties are disruptions and are being given the tools to do more than knock on the door and ask for sov holders to come play with them. From non-sov holders I hear a lot of cheers. From sov holders I don’t hear as many cheers. Personally? This doesn’t make me want to move into sov space. The small gang people that wanted disruption ability have it. Harassment will be easier and space not lived in harder to defend. I worry about the time zone windows. I don’t like the idea of people feeling separated into their regional groups. I worry that there are not enough incentives to empire builders to build empires instead of take over forts.

The player that wants sov today and the player that may want sov tomorrow feel like they may be very different people. That matters. There has to be someone vested in the space to go disrupt them, troll them, harass them, and everything else that the non-sov owning crowd need to have the content that they foresee. This is a dramatic change in the game play of sov and I do not have predictions on how it will go. I do know that we're not at an end stage yet. Serious questions keep coming up like wack-a-mole.

“That’s nice Sugar. How about the feedback and lack of developer response?” The feedback has been hot and heavy. I know there has not been as much on the public forums as people would like from CCP. I can say that it has filled our Skype chat with them for the last few days. We’ve been talking threads, and mails, and news articles, and blog posts, and Google documents and laying them out and going over them. I’ve had concerned members of the AUTZ come to me as have others and we’ve taken all of that forward. CCP has been talking, discussing, and digesting the feedback. It has consumed my Eve time since the dev blogs were released. I've flat out just asked people to do detailed write ups. I'm not interested in missing information because of filtering. I've listened to my fellow CSM member's opinions for the last few weeks. Now I want the rest of the player base's.

That is topped off by the Eve Downunder podcast in which a comment about a potential change to supers is made. I have had a stack of upset super pilots coming to me and telling me that they do not find anything appealing about becoming big link boats.. I have no idea where it came from nor have I seen any plan to change supers. I will try to sit down and listen to the show tomorrow so that I can hear it directly from CCP Fozzie on the podcast.

In between sov and link discussions I’ve been talking to people about the UI. I received another e-mail about visual disabilities and interacting with the Eve UI. I’ve asked for some more detailed information so that I can had that to the UI team. They have been active in their feedback thread.

CCP Affinity released a dev blog on Monday, right before everything turned into sov about the drifters and some stats with kills and losses. The reaction I’ve been seeing from people about the drifters is that they are enjoying the unknown elements. I’ve been able to tell a few people who have been away from game about them. Right now we don’t know if they are good or bad or what is going on. The negative vibes I have heard are about the hostility of them and the general lack of ability to interact with them in non-hostile ways.

Away from the other stuff this week, I spent Saturday morning in a really great detailed chat breaking down a popular feature request into its pieces. I was able to empty out one of my folders into it as well. Very, very productive. We also had our new weekly meeting with CCP Leeloo on Friday. This is the one that keeps the CSM updated as to the state of the roadmap and general discussion over some things that are moving along nicely. I only get to attend this one every other week due to my work schedule. This is the second to last one for CSM9.

The CSM elections end on the 10th of this month. If you have not put your vote together these are the final days.

Fanfest is in ten days. I'll be arriving the Wednesday before and am currently working on a Minmatar themed outfit.

This next week I expect to continue the discussions about sov. I'm reading and discussing this nonstop. I do hope that they got an auditorium or something for the sov round table. One of the little twenty person rooms is not going to cut it.


  1. By reading the icons thread, I've got the impression that CCP really didn't knew what to do or why or how, they just marched on fearlessly and without a clue.

    It was like "oh let's do some pretty icons and let's see whether that sticks o don't". No thought given to why or how is used the GUI, no thought given to people who don't see the GUI perfectly but are able to use it... It looks as if the icons system was bult by graphic designers for a static website and not UI specialists in a videogame. It *looks* pretty but is pure bullshit as a UI. True to CCP spirit, in my bitter opinion.

    This is one instance where the CSM was required. ASK the CSM how, when, why, they use the GUI. If they don't know, task them to ask players. Once you know what needs improvemnt in the three crosses system, work on it, keeping usability above aesthetics (yes, in my EVE!) and build several prototypes to show to the CSM. Because the GUI is something that every player will be forced to use, want it or don't. It's not a ship rebalance or Sov rebuild or something 90% of the players will not care about as it's not a part of their EVE trade. The GUI, shall I insist, is something that EVERY PLAYER WILL BE FORCED TO USE.

    And all we get a CCP Surge & al making pretty icons for don't-know-why nor don't-know-how, and once it's all done, oh well le'ts go ask the players and run a mass test, mmmkay?

    Terrible process, terribly conducted and with terrible outcome. At least the "new" CCP may not just shove it down the throat of players, but it's a baffling failure to grasp even the essentials of the task.

  2. Bearing in mind that I am an outsider to the Sov metagame with no interest in joining that sort of alliance ever again, I find this new system quite interesting and appealing.

    The new system does feel a bit 'gamey' and 'over-developed' to me. In a way, 'game' and 'sandbox' are antithetical concepts and this feels close to a non-sandbox game system, designed to achieve a narrow goal rather than allow open-ended gameplay to develop. It reminds me a lot of the design of the ESS.

    The Primetime mechanic is very artificial and I'm not sure whether it is a necessary evil or an un-necessary one.

    I have roamed in null-sec a handful of times. I pass through empty swathes of claimed space, occasionally coming across a ratter or miner. They will run and hide and there is nothing I can do about it; I cannot force them to fight or punish them for refusing to fight. Their best option is to avoid engaging with me as part of a 'weaponised boredom' strategy and there is nothing I can do in response.

    I find the concept of the Entosis module and the new Sov system promising because it might allow me to provoke a reaction or punish a defender that chooses to hide behind the forcefield walls of their castle, rather than give me a fight. The new system provides a framework for burning farms and razing fields...but a lot of further iteration is required before that can become a reality.

    The 'Freeport' idea sounds like great fun.

  3. I've done the sov bit, both as sov holder and renter. The current system is gamed as much as the complaints about how the new system will be gamed. Example: Under the current system, in order to take sov, the attacker must online SBUs at 51% of the gates in a system. There can be only one SBU per gate. Once 51% of the gates are blockaded, the system becomes vulnerable to the aliance that placed the SBUs and structures can be attacked. So defenders will often blockade their own system, thereby forcing an attacker to grind down the defender's SBUs before placing their own. Nothing illegal about it, but it sure breaks the immersion/common sense threshold.

    Will the new system be gamed? Sure. But I don't think that's a good enough reason not to change things.

    Once of the things I really like about the new system is the fact that industrialists will be able to directly contribute, in a way that PVPers can see, to their alliances. Yes, they do contribute already, by providing ships and ammo and whatnot, but most PVPers I've come across don't see that. The majority seem to think ships and equipment come to them like food does from a supermarket; a magic truck arrives and dumps food onto the shelves. By having the industrial index count directly towards system defence, industrialists will now be able to say that they're doing their bit directly.

    As I've thought more about it, I'm not sure having these command nodes pop up constellation-wide is a good idea. Susan Black makes a good argument for why it seems silly. ALso, having done FW plex orbiting, I'm concerned that CCP may be bringing FW plexes to null. The problem is there's not a lot of detail about how these command nodes will work. Will there be ship size limits? Will attackers have to orbit a button for X amount of time? Will it be a structure that's easily destroyed?

    I do like the temporary freeport bit. It has the potential to generate even more fun as people who've had stuff locked in that station (who may not even be members of either the attacking nor defending alliances) flock to the system in an attempt to get stuff out.

    The prime time mechanic is almost identical to what we have now with setting windows for poco reinforcement, so I see it as being neutral. Alliances that have issues with TZs have had those issues before the new changes. I don't see why the new changes will suddenly cause issues.

  4. When the extended downtime was in prime AUTZ no one cared, but following the release of the sov blog? It is at the forefront of concern. Amazing the difference that a mere week makes. Perhaps it's time that AU stopped being the Pine Gap of New Eden.

    1. So what is the concern, exactly? That all alliances will set the time for a TZ where almost none of their own people will be available?

    2. Actually is it the opposite, when a USTZ setting will mean that AU will not be able to assist in the defence. Thus they have less value to the alliance or will miss out on the good-fights. It is one of the arguments against the TZ setting feature of sov holding.

      I just consider it ironic:

      Extended DT impacted AUTZ; no one cares
      Sov defence TZ impacts AUTZ; torches and pitchforks

      Put is another way; if AUTZ can have the biggest player gathering outside of Fanfest and Vegas; then perhaps they have enough to actually form a "national" coalition. (badum tish)


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