Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Next Week

The CSM Summit is next week. It has been a frustrating year so far. An anger making one in truth. It is a muddled mess and it has become harder and harder to sort out what can be said and what cannot yet be said and what shouldn't be said and what should. It is a greater struggle to remain polite or neutral about things. It is something that I have always prided myself in but it is something I have not been able to do for some weeks now.

I'm not happy to the change in the white paper that excludes media. I was less happy to learn about it second hand while at work when someone messaged me to inquire about it. I have presented that disappointment to CCP. It is an unacceptable break down in communication. I find myself rather embarrassed in such situations. It is the other side of honesty. "Hi there everyone. I had no knowledge of this change. I'm blindsided by a document that is supposed to define huge swaths of what I've been doing here."

It makes me angry enough that I don't want to have a polite, rational argument about the idea being a good one or not.  Normally, I'd want to sit down and go over pros and cons and figure out what we are accomplishing. Now, I'm angry enough that I want to reject the change.

So, call me frustrated. Ishmael would be a cooler name, but I'll stick with frustrated. Actually, angry but I've been actively working back down to frustrated. I'm a hot head when I am angry and I will say things that I will not regret. However, I don't feel that I have the freedom to do that in a position that isn't just about me. Consider me late to the party.

It also means that next week I still get to be politely productive. I still get to make an effort to be comfortable to work with. Over the last few weeks I've struggled to express the 'stuff' aspect of the CSM. But maybe I can now.

Next week two things will happen. We will sit in many meetings and discuss aspects of game mechanics, player relationships, and pros and cons of the games development features. As happens each time we will learn good and bad things. Limits will have been reached by the developers. Mortality and the limits of it will be faced with all of its frustration. It will be as productive as we can make it.

The second part is, what feels like the endless dance of the CSMs position inside of CCP. Communication. Trust. Interactive. The place in CCPs informational cycle that includes the players feedback. There will be frustration that things where not averted sooner. Often that frustration is that things are not averted before you, the player knows of it. I've long considered that one of our more important jobs. I want developers to dream, reach, and stretch. I just want to be there to point out where it may cause harm or angst in their community before it gets there and frustrations build. I'm delighted when features are rolled back but I want to keep as many of those features from every reaching the public.

It has been a learning experience, one that I still find a bit overwhelming, to figure out how to balance all of these things. It is the second part that is the exhausting part. We're not employees. We're a weird volunteer contractor customer. But, we step into what I consider a professional relationship and when that relationship is not fulfilled and instead struggles along, it becomes an unpleasant experience.

It is one I've tried to share and I have come to feel that I've not done a good job of doing so. This is something I have to sit down and consider. Perhaps, when I write my retrospective, things will be more clear. For now, I refuse to give up on the potential of what we can be and what we should be.

I have a lot of unresolved issues to try to work into the table. More things are cropping up as these major changes are going forward. But that to is the nature of these things.

28 comments:

  1. Please ask CCP Afinity to share her 2 year plan in a devblog.

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    1. I will. We have sessions with her at the summit and we had a meeting with her two weeks ago to get updated on where she is and what is happening with her plans and team.

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    2. If I may bother you with another question for CCP Affinity, it would be nice to know who she asked (as in, which players) when she started working on the PvE changes, since the little she shared at Vegas displayed quite a dissonance with what PvE players have said.

      FAI, something has gone horribly wrong when the plans for standings are to cut off PvErs from working with all Empires but one, since that's a shot to the head of why do PvErs manage their standings so they can, precisely, work for every Empire and have full access to the limited set of missions.

      Nobody bothers a mercenary with questions on his loyalties as long as he does the work and doesn't bites the hand that feeds him. Or so it's how I see the mission runners from a lore perspective.

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    3. Thank you asking Sugar.

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    4. Hi (this is CCP Affinity) I thought I would just reply as I read this blog a good bit :) A lot of the things I discussed at Fanfest were just theories and ideas, put out there to get feedback (of which I would love to hear yours!!) They were somewhat misrepresented by media outlets and they have since corrected that and apologised. As far as a 2 year plan, we don't have a concrete plan.. we have ideas and backlogs of things we would like to do but they absolutely are not set in stone, solid things that will happen regardless of feedback :) Feel free to hit me up to chat about PvE, I would really like that!

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    5. (the same applies to Vegas too ^^ )

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    6. Hi CCP Affinity!

      I liked a lot of what I heard at the Vegas PVE panel, especially the dynamic aspect to much of it.

      I'd encourage you to release what details you can, maybe by backing up to some of the recent additions like burners, aspects of Drifter AI, etc. The way that you rolled this together at Vegas and extrapolated it to next steps made logical sense. What's your vision/philosophy (design ideals) for PVE?

      And if you can't tell us the entirety of the plan, can you tell us what's next on your agenda? What's your biggest challenge?

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  2. I dispute that you’ve done a poor job of relating your CSM experiences (you haven’t). I also dispute that there is any need to correct things with a retrospective (there isn’t). Finally, I dispute that a retrospective will settle the mismatch between your expectations of yourself and your actual performance (it can’t). Now I’m not saying don’t write a retrospective. I actually hope you do as it’s something I’d be very interested in reading. Rather, I simply want to point out that what percolates out of the retrospective will be the thoughts and reflections of someone with two years of intense experience under their belt. Accordingly, the person that’s going to write the retrospective won’t match the person that underwent the experience. Life changes us. This neither adds nor detracts from retrospectives. Retrospectives stand on their own – wonderful artifacts reflecting our present understanding of an unreachable past.

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    1. I have a solution for that as well. :)

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    2. Radical time travel and space magic?

      When this Jaguar hits 8.8 AU/s, will we see some serious shit?

      :D

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  3. So don't be polite next week. Show CCP your frustration. Make sure they know that if you're as frustrated as you are, the players will likely be more so. You're not doing anyone any favors, especially yourself, by bottling up that anger.

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    1. I have not been bottling it up. Just not releasing it here. And frustration can be expressed politely. "I do not find this acceptable," is polite. "This is bullshit," is not.

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    2. There's a degree of difference in how unacceptable something is between, "I do not find this acceptable" and "This is bullshit". At some point, "This is bullshit" is the accurate and polite statement. :)

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    3. If this is so, I will never be able to find the acceptable and accurately polite statement. I think I will still be able to express my point.

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    4. When you are being antagonized, it's time to be less diplo and more agro.

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    5. I'll be the counter voice to Anon @ 4:14.

      I've been fortunate enough to have worked for and with some really wonderful leaders in my adult career. The best of them understand and demonstrate the difference between being "agro" and assertive and direct.

      Any fool can pound on the table and throw a fit. Any idiot can rationalize their own bad behavior as being "justified." Truly effective people - the kind people respect ant gravitate to - are the ones that can clearly articulate their position with grace and composure, and a side helping of withering condemnation, without resorting to juvenile tactics.

      You will choose how your CSM term comes to a close. I'm glad to hear you say it will be on your terms and in your own style. You've kept to the high road all this time, no reason to deviate now.

      Be memorable for the right reasons.

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    6. Shrug, cursing is just a matter of course in my job. We toss the things out with abandon. We have technical detailed conversations and somewhere we'll hit a problem, out pops, "This is ****ing bull****.". Usually it's aimed at a vendor product, sometimes it's aimed at sales. We went on a rant of epic proportions over a mail filter awhile back, sailors would have walked out. None of us think anything about it, we understand the difference between anger, disgust, and just blowing off steam. Probably why they put our department 6 floors and the opposite edge of the building away from anyone who matters. Some jobs just attract the type of personalities to whom language doesn't matter. We'd rather everyone says exactly what they mean instead of being polite about it.

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    7. I struggle to understand how I am not saying what I mean by saying what I mean sans cursing. You also said they've tucked you away in a corner. I consider my interactions with CCP to be business professional time, not hanging out with my co-worker. I am friends with my supervisor but I address every e-mail to him starting with, Sir.

      I'm sorry if that isn't getting the job done.

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    8. I'm not saying you aren't getting the job done. My first comment had a smiley face behind it. I was trying to bring levity to what a dour topic.
      I failed miserably.

      My second wasn't directed at you. It was to Abavus Durden. In it I'm just pointing out that all work environments and personalities involved aren't the same. Some thrive off bad manners, especially thankless ones with long hours were you're technically always on call. The being away from everyone else was a joke if you'd worked in building with a server farm. I'm where I am in the building because of physical realities. All the utilities come in on a single side of the office building. Power, network connection, water. Everything hooks up on the west side of the building. Since no one wants to remodel an office block to code so they can run high voltage through it's core, our departments are always away from the ranking employees who want nice views on higher floors. It's a decades old joke about techs always being in the basement.

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    9. Halycon, we're good. I wasn't reacting to you and I see your points. If you reread what I wrote, you'll notice I didn't talk about harsh language at all. The effective leaders I was referring to were actually former military - sailors and Marines - and you can bet our office likely rivaled yours for language that would peel the paint from walls. As a small group, we were as crude as you can be. Yet, when it was time to do business, the dialog was direct, assertive, and generally free of tantrums.

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  4. Glad to see you post again. Do you feel there have been deliberate attempts to sabotage this CSM? (Either from within and / or from CCP?) Or is it issues with personalities, or just simple blunders and mistakes?

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    1. Its blunders, mistakes, and poor decisions.

      I don't think there is a conspiracy to actively do a thing with the intent to destroy the CSM. But there have been a lot of poor choices, selfish choices, bad choices, and things left to long before they were addressed that have dragged down the potential.

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  5. Sugar,
    For next week if you get a chance, and I recognize you wont expose anything you're not allowed to, can you ask CCP Seagull when she expects the "Big Content" she has promised to EVE will arrive?

    Backstory: I was at FF 2013, her first after being newly hired, where CCP Seagull's vision for the future of EVE was presented for the first time. @.@ player built star gates leading to where? More space volume to expand the nomadic EVE players into ... yes I was excited. FF 2014 I got screwed at the last minute by work and ate all the ticket costs including planes and lodging, but CCP Seagull was there with "WAIT FOR IT" the big content once again, reigniting the excitement for more adventure. FF 2015 I had a personnel issue the day I was to fly out and sadly once again I failed to make it. CCP Seagull was there though with the be patient it's coming speech ... FF 2016 I really wanted to go, to hang with my space friends, to talk EVE, to just be in the EVE moment, but I realize that 3 years of ship rebalancing, new ships (none that are more than 6 weeks of wow and then its back to the normal doctrines) module rebalancing with an occasional new module added, oh and lets not forget the mind scalpel, have all left me feeling "slow rolled" ... and I have decided that the only way I can communicate my disappointment to CCP is by avoiding the "Party on top of the World". It's a huge financial boon to CCP and their local business partners for all of us to come to FF so I intend to communicate to them via that wallet my displeasure. I want to be excited about EVE, I want to explore new things and see new places and do more than just Grrrr Goons all day but for 3 years CCP Seagull has only promised and not delivered. So if or when you get the chance please pass on to her my disappointment and that I feel she has failed to deliver on her FF 2014 story line.

    SLy

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    1. "but for 3 years CCP Seagull has only promised and not delivered"

      I dispute this statement. The last three years have been astoundingly productive. In addition, if you've been eyeballing the upcoming March release, it's looking to be a pretty big deal.

      One thing I think you're missing SLy is that we're never going to get an Eve 2.0. Eve's a massive, interlocking game meaning, like real life evolution, it has to evolve via cumulative iteration. You can't just suddenly slap in a revolutionary change since such changes, though very possibly extraordinarily exciting, destabilize the rest of the game. Seagull has an entire ecosystem to keep afloat meaning, like a physician, she’s well-nigh required to follow the popular conception of the Hippocratic Oath and ‘first, do no harm’. You can see this cumulative approach in practice as the long, torturous process of sun setting POSes unfolds to eventually be replaced by Citadels.

      I think you may also be cutting off your nose to spite your face. I certainly understand the desire to “to explore new things and see new places” but that’s not the only thing Eve is about. Eve is also a purposely designed interaction engine meaning much of its gameplay arises out of player to player contact. Hanging with your space friends, pursuing your space projects is a major part of the game. I suppose you can stick it to CCP by refusing to attend fanfest but why deny your space friends the pleasure of your company? CCP will hardly notice the difference but your space friends, they will miss you.

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    2. The party is about the eve community in large imho, not about the Company's preference to use the event for game journalistic marketing opportunity. And at FF you can see what micro community will suit your playstyle best for the next while. Go and have fun, if you can o7

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  6. I'm proud to have voted for you wice, I'm proud of the work you've done and the way you've carried yourself above the fray.

    Thank you :)

    - Jam

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    1. Indeed, you have been the biggest delight to have seen on the CSM X, hope you can finish on a high note in Iceland o7

      Regards, a Freelancer

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