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So,  here are the notes for those who haven’t read them yet: http://www.eveonline.com/council/transcripts/2011/CSM_CCP_Mettings_7-9_12_2011.pdf

As always the notes are broken down into subcategories and I was rather impressed that they did come back so quickly.  If you recall, the last set of minutes were heavily censored and there was much back and forth about what to add and take away between CCP and the CSM.  This set of minutes is about 44 pages long, covering all sorts of topics including the make-up of the CSM to current state of the economy and plex as well as Incursion and continuing Supercap nerf/buffs.  There is a lot of information, and to be honest, read it all.  Big, powerful changes are a foot.  Seriously.

Here are the sub-topics:

  • Meeting with the Senior Producer of Eve Online, which included CCP Unifex, CCP Zulu, and the CEO of CCP, CCP Hellmar
  • The CSM, with CCP Xhagan and CCP Diagoras
  • Eve Veterans and Loyalty Program, with CCP Dr. EyjoG, CCP Alice, and Senior GM Homonia
  • The Economy, with CCP Dr. EyjoG, CCP Soundwave, and CCP Thomas (a lot of originality in that last name huh.. “Next up, CCP Bill and CCP Fred..”)
  • The PLEX, hosted by CCP Dr. EyjoG and CCP Thomas
  • Security, by CCP Sreegs and CCP Unifex
  • The Crucible Wrapup, attended by CCP Unifex, CCP Soundwave, and CCP Ytterbium
  • Incursions, with CCP Soundwave and CCP Bettik
  • Null-sec Sovreignty, Stations, and Resources, with CCP Soundwave, CCP Greyscale, and CCP Unifex
  • Little Things like Faction Warfare and Wormholes, with CCP Soundwave
  • Game Balance, given by CCP Tallest, CCP Ytterbium, CCP Soundwave, and CCP Unifex
  • Future High Level Discussions on War, CCP Soundwave
  • Future High Level Discussions on Fixing Broken Systems, CCP Soundwave
  • Web Cell, CCP Alice, CCP Illurkall, CCP Unifex, CCP Seagull, CCP Priya
  • Microtransaction Microsummit – CCP Unifex, CCP Flying Scotsman, CCP Nerf Herder, CCP Dr. EyjoG
  • NPE or New Player Experience with CCP Endboss, CCP Flying Scotsman, CCP Feyhr, CCP Nerf Herder, CCP Unifex, and CCP Dr. EyjoG
  • The Art Department – CCP BasementBen, CCP Huskarl, CCP Mannbjorn, CCP t0rfifrans
  • UI Discussions, present with CCP Arrow, CCP Punkturis, CCP karkur, CCP Optimal
  • The CSM and Hilmar – Hilmar CEO, CCP Unifex

The Breakdowns:

Meeting with the Senior Producer of Eve Online

This part actually just goes into the re-organization of CCP and where CCP is going, what it is doing now, and who is in charge.. even the thought processes that are now going to be used that are different from Pre-Crucible times.  The big point was that they have come to realize that they are standing in a place where they have to seriously consider the needs of players who have played the game a year, three years, five years, even eight years and why some of those people leave, never to return.

Three big things came out of that meeting that I thought were important.  The first was this quote:

  1. “Going forward into 2012 this will be the mindset: how can we cater to our players by working on a theme (e.g. conflict, resources, PvE, character advancement), fixing things, paying technical debt (both internal tools and user-facing matters) and work on small things that make the life in EVE a much more enjoyable experience – i.e. more Crucible-like.”  Developing themes can help keep developers on track with reachable goals.. as well as make the world more alive.

  2. Putting a new senior producer in charge, CCP Unifex.  I never was a big fan of CCP Zulu, particularly his delay of fixing projectile weapons.  Plus, he made the failed anomaly change and such as well.  So, I think this change will be a good thing in the long term, especially since CCP Unifex has had quite a bit of Eve experience leading their CORE group.

 

“CCP wants to emphasize the fact that the reorg looks good on paper, but what is being aimed at should not take precedence over what makes sense and helps EVE.” – Smart move.

The CSM

There are quite a few people who deride the CSM, especially the current CSM Chairperson, The Mittani.  And while I don’t like Goons, or his general manner.. it would be stupid of me to say that this CSM wasn’t the most effective in Eve history and has proven to be intrumental in making some much needed changes.  That being said.. I do think The Mittani has probably hogged all the credit as if he was the “messiah” of Eve.  Three things were discussed regarding CSM elections in this meeting: Demontratable Electorate Support, Restructure of CSM alternates and membership, and Single Transferrable Votes.

The first point on having Electorate Support was really quite pragmatic.  Basically, you could not be on the final ballot unless you could get “X” number of votes (the number of votes was not determined, but CCP figured between 30 and 70).  To me this makes sense.  If you can’t get even that many to support you and your idea, you aren’t likely to get the 1500 to 2000 votes necessary for grabbing a seat on the CSM.

The second point was made primarily because CCP needs to cut costs and reducing the number of people being flown to Iceland is a major factor.  The world economy, and in particular, the European economy being the way they are.. this makes sense.

The third point was by far the most controversal.. and also one that appropriately got hammered.  Single Transferrable votes essentially mean that if a vote is surplus or unused they “are transferred according to the voter’s stated preferences should their highest preference not need them or make it in).  As pointed out by the CSM.. if implimented, this would give major alliances the ability to pick and control every seat on the CSM.  In addition, it was considerably more complex to field and that there are still too few voters to actually stop this from being manipulated “to hell and back”.  It will come up for public discussion later.. I for one.. am not for it one bit.

Eve Veterans and Loyalty Program

Yea!  That’s me!  CCP is looking into this and they discussed this with the CSM.  CSM used the example of City of Heroes and how they reward their veteran players (Found here: http://eu.cityofheroes.com/uk/community/paragon_rewards/paragon_rewards_details.php).  Personally.. if they go this route.. I think customizable ship skins would be a nice veteran reward..

The Loyalty program is still being reviewed, the Buddy program is being considered for a revision/enhancement, and there is talk of CCP Master accounts that would allow access to ALL accounts owned by that person.  The meeting ended on the note that if you have played Eve for 3+ years.. it is highly unlikely you will leave.. ever.

Addicts..

The Economy

First off, the Eve Economy is better than the world economy.  So expect Eve isk players to be the new leaders of power after the old rich has-been are thrown out for being carebears (I wish..)  Discussions about the number of jumps metric, missions and Incursion profits, about joining all the currency systems: Loyalty Point, Nex, Contract, and Market systems into an all-encompassing common market (but this is still being thought about and won’t happen in the near future).  Changes to the Insurance system has reduced the amount of isk being put into the economy.

The PLEX

Ooo.. da PLEXIES!!  Looks like CCP’s local economist is being into the Quantity Theory of Money.  And that graphs from the economic department apparently went to the school of “Spinal Tap”, because all of their graphs added up to 110%.  Way to go!  Aside from that, nothing of outstanding interest to me.

Security (a.k.a. bot wars)

CCP Sreegs is developing a new security team to work on infrastructure.  CCP Sreegs said that botting and RMT issues are being handled and that there is no significant increase  in bot frequency.  There also apparently was no significant decrease either.  Also, rest assured botters.. there will be no highly successful “Unholy Rage” campaigns either.. just a slow choking off of effective botting activities.  Needless to say, there is significant disagreement between the CSM and CCP Sreegs about dealing with botters.  CCP Sreegs seems to be to get into a technical arms race against those using bots, and the CSM suggested using more behavioral analysis.. kinda like what is in use for Spam Detection software.  Both have good points, but personally, I have to side with the Behavioral Analysis crowd.

The rest of it was mind-numbing, but probably important.

Crucible Wrap-up, or what we really wanted to know

Little Things (I love the little things..):  Problems with frame rates and lag indicate that Team Gridlock needs to be restored.  POS fuel block delayed.  T2 Triage modules not useful, so CCP working on that.  Problems with Capital Nav Window.  Also desire to have more corporate bookmarks as well as “insufficient clone” notifications added to podmails.  Not sure why this was a “little thing”, but the CSM discussed the problem with moon goo profits, in particular Technetium and that sov-independant incomes should be tied to possessing the territory, not just having the POS.  In addition, changes to the Talos and the Naga are in the works as the Naga is too powerful compared to the Talos.

Supercap Rebalancing:  Titan guns still too effective against sub-cap ships.  Ewar Frigates might be a nice counter to the EWar-immune ships like Supercarriers and Titans.  Also discussed that current “travel” fits can effectively make both titans and supercarriers immune to attack in low-sec.  Discussed the possibility of having the jump drive “spool up” for a period of time before a jump happens.  This would slow the massive supercapital fleets now plaguing null-sec space.

Incursions

Everyone says they are awesome and often used.  However, they are still imbalanced somewhat because Vanguard High-sec missions have a far better time/isk ratio than any other incursion.  Discussed on this topic was having individual site variations within the class of the incursion, Site DPS changes, better fleet consistancy meaning that pilots don’t have to change ships all the time to participate.  Bugs/exploits/Site Mechanics were also discussed, especially thinking of challenges that go beyond the usual “more dps = more win!” situation.  Also noted were that incursions are in too few locations, and there need to be more incursions spread out and they spawn too fast as well.

Null-Sec Stations, Sov, and Resources

After reading this, it seems pretty clear to me that CSM6 is serious about making a good game for everyone.  Considering how making changes here affect most of the CSM members directly, it was nice to see they were putting the quality of the game and its fun factor first.  The first part is changing Drone alloy drops to bounty instead of materials.  Surprisingly this came from CCP, not CSM, and the CSM believes that this is a major reason why minerals have been easier (and cheaper) to get in high-sec then it is to mine them.  CCP is also looking into a new format for how an alliance’s isk from income is handled.. with the isk going to everyone at member level depending on how much space is held.

The CSM also pushed that the income an alliance has should primarily be a direct result of holding territory, rather than things like moons which don’t require sov to control.  In discussing Moon income, the CSM was in agreement that this really wasn’t the conflict driver CCP thought it was, but just more of a cherry on top excuse.. but the big downside is that since line members don’t get directly (or even indirectly) benefited for taking over moons, fighting for them isn’t enjoyable or rewarding.  Another option on the table was alliance level taxation similar to the corporation taxing mechanic.

CSM members also brought before CCP the problem of Supercapital combat, regarding how in the past, when battles were engaged that capitals would cyno in, siege, then death.. either of themselves or the enemy was certain.  This is no longer the case, especially with supercapitals who have ewar immunity and the poor siege mechanics and tackling problem compound the ease of their escape.  Things like high warp core strengths were suggested instead of Ewar immunity. 

On the subject of supercarriers, the CSM would like to see supercarrier have the ability to dock as well as fit a hictor style focused point.  However, there needs to be a counter to their deployment speed, which the CSM suggested should be a mechanic requires a minute or so for the jumpdrive to “spool up” before it activates.  A considerable problem that the CSM points to is that irregardless of what new tools CCP brings to the table to defeat supercarriers, the biggest problem still is the fact that they are being produced in huge numbers and that there has been little change in those production values and the combat losses do not counter that level of production.

CCP floated the idea of a new “tackling” capital ship, but this was looked down on by the CSM because it really doesn’t address a very complex problem well.  In addition, the CSM indicated that they would not support any new supercapital ship designs being added because even years later, the problems caused by supercapitals is still difficult to control.  This lead to a stalemate view from CCP asking if they don’t bring out new capital ships for veteran players to shoot for.. what other options are there?

The topic then switched to Destructable outposts.  This brought up the current problems of the Dominion sov mechanic and how it was much worse than the previous requirement of just having more POSes in the controlled system.  The CSM figures that destructable outposts will be a way to attack and raid an enemy without the requirement of occupying it.  The problem then presented is that if there are destructable outposts what happens to everyone’s stuff.  The CSM put forth a pretty bad idea with having a “forced fire sale”, which places everything up for auction.   This is a bad idea for two reasons:  First, the loser, even if he bids on his own stuff could never get it out. and Second, it would conceptually be very easy to have everyone in your alliance to not bid high and essentially getting tons of items for next to nothing.  So, that idea will kill null-sec occupation.  The second idea put forth from CCP has items impounded at the nearest NPC station, and this is more reasonable and playable.  Ideally, however, there should be some loss regardless as well as some direct reward for those who were fighting.  Neither offered a good solution to that problem.

The next item was station services on Null-sec NPC stations.  The CSM brought up a point about “Iceberg” alliances who live cost free out of NPC null-sec stations and apparently own hordes and hordes of high value moons and supercapitals.  Personally, while I bet one or two of those alliances exist that are strong enough to maybe hold their own moon.. I have my doubts that they are a significant problem in of themselves.  And if any CSM members are reading this blog.. I would stipulate that before you make this claim, that you bring up some serious and factual numbers to back that view up.

Unfortunately, the CSM made another mistake in not taking up a suggestion by CCP.  CCP asked to see if stations could have their EHP reduced so that they could be a target for small gangs.  Actually, it would be a great idea if at least some of the services to be disabled by small gangs.. it would give the locals a reason to get out and defend themselves rather than just stay hold up until they are gone.  Particularly reprocessing and market services..

Factional Warfare and Wormholes

Finally, they are getting some love in 2012, as well as continued changes in both the medium and long term spectrum.  CCP finally fessed up and said that they don’t like either the FW mechanics or the 0.0 sov mechanics and would like to do something that works in both arenas eventually.  In addition, CCP would like to have the drama surrounding the CSM elections to have its own mark in FW, such as voting for faction admirals.  These voting actions would allow the FW members to increase things like low-sec station taxes as well as setting up strategic goals… and getting some isk flow back into their member’s wallets.  The CSM suggested that some of the upgrades that FW control could offer would be system upgrades that would decrease risk.. such as reducing the effectiveness of probes.

One major point is that the CSM did bring up the list of issues that FW pilot are upset about currently, but CCP dispelled many of them because most had to do with a mechanic that they are already in the process of rewriting and would have to be addressed after the “Crimewatch” mechanic was implimented.

Game Balance

Several Crucible introduced modules are being reviewed, particularly the T2 Triage Module, for usefulness.  Some older aspects like Leadership bonuses to shields being applied immediately rather than waiting for the shield to recharge as in times past (the new change will put it in line with Armor Leadership bonuses).  In addition, the following ideas were brought forth:

  • Tech One Frigates and Cruisers – CCP is considering boosting these ships, possibly with more speed, but likely more EHP and Slots so that they remain viable combat ships in PVP.  Awesome idea.
  • Battlecruisers – CCP wants Tier One Battlecruisers to be examined and balanced in comparision with the Tier Two and Tier Three battlecruisers which clearly outclass the Tier Ones.  This is awesome.
  • EAS or Electronic Attack Ships – The CSM would like the EAS to be able to impact Ewar-Immune capital ships, though more combat functionality and survivability are needed.
  • Electronic Warfare – Both Sensor Dampeners and ECM are going to be looked into, since Sensor Dampeners are pretty well useless in comparison to ECM, but the CSM also would like to review the merits and/or issues of ECM.  Bout time.
  • Assault Frigates:  As already noted, these are being improved.
  • Drake – The Drake is going to be rebalanced simply because it does everything too well.  CCP suggested that it become a more aggressive ship, having bonuses similar to the Caracal and the Raven, not the defensive and kinetic bonuses it currently has.  The CSM “vehemently” approved of this idea, and thinks that this would allow the Nighthawk to have its own place in the sun.  I think this.. this was heaven sent.
  • Command Ships and Warfare links – CCP is now planning for each Command Ship to have their utility expanded to handle TWO races of leadership bonuses… friggin awesome.
  • Vamps – These were changed a few years ago because they were quite overpowered.  Currently, they aren’t much use to anything over a frigate sized ship, so CCP is look into a “trickle” mode version where if you target has less percentage of cap than you, you still get some benefit with the NOS, just not as much.  Currently, you get none if their remaining capacitor percentage is less than yours.
  • Cloak Hunters – CCP brought up the idea of a Cloak Hunting ship.  Though still Hypothetical, the idea was thought a good one by the CSM.  Maybe that is what the Electronic Superiority Ships should be used for.. hmmm?

High Level Discussions

War – Changes are being made to the wardec system and is still in the design phase.  However, due to the NDA, the CSM was only able to see that they were positive overall about the changes being fielded.  One thing that you can read in between the lines is that CCP is thinking about removing the ability to wardec any one you want.  If this gets released to the public, there will be stiff outcry.

Fixing Broken Systems – This was a free form discussion.. better to just read yourself to get the sense of it.

Web Cell

There is ship spinning.. on the web.  nuff said..

Microtransaction Microsummit, or Playing with the devil

Again, this discussion seemed that a lot of economic theory combining the wishful thinking of economists and the wishful thinking of investors trying to outweigh the cold hard fact that MTs don’t work well.

New Player Experience

CCP plans to literally completely rebuild the tutorial experience from the ground up.  Yes.  Seriously.  An idea was floated similar to what many games do today when they field “career paths” with milestones and “unlocked” ships/abilities.  Of course, for some reason the guy with the Economics Degree was let into the room, and like the economists of the world, again tried to screw things up and say, “Why not throw out the current skill point system?”

Ahem.. we will beat the economist after your regularly scheduled program…

CCP and CSM clearly saw that not only was the economist not really helping in the new player discussion.. he was also stealing all the donuts.

CCP and CSM continues to hash out potential ideas while they poked the economist with fire pokers.  Poke, poke, poke.  However, all of them being cityfolk, none of them realized that they could actually heat them up and it would be more fun.  The Mittani, after finding out that fire pokers could work with fire, decide to sue the fire poker builders for poor design and flawed instructions.  The Mittani, unable to find the instruction manual, proceeded to form a new company called “Fire Poker Unlimited.”, made it into a corporation, then sued the company for millions of dollars for failure to provide safety protections from the pointy end of the firepoker.

Meeting with the Art Department

Even the Mittani was awed by the Greatness that flowed from the Art Department, and subsequently tossed his newly made millions at the shining light that bathed him in warmth.  At least until the Intern turned it off, collected all of the money, then ran out of CCP offices screaming, YES!  I’m Free!  I’M FREEEEEEE!!!!  Feeling that this was a sign from God, or a sign he had too much Russian Vodka, he changed his clothes and wore a toga for the rest of the art department review.  The rest of the CSM were uncomfortable because they had to see the whole tranformation.

  • V3 Project working on Minmatar and Amarr ships – Basic work done beginning of 2012.  V3 also is the beginning implimentation of skinable ships.
  • Redesign of noob ships
  • New missile effects and other “magical” effects that we lowly pleibs aren’t allowed to see yet.  All we know is that the CSM was “extremely excited”.  Many firstborns were sold that day…

All wasn’t roses and sugar in Paradise.  Apparently the Art department, with their newfound power, think that throwing more crap, beautiful crap to be fair, would make the game better (um.. do they know about lag?).  The CSM, after worshiping the ground they walked on, kindly disagreed, and after getting permission to speak, informed them that perhaps stations and other things that the players use more often might be a better idea.

The Art department sent down another intern from on high, who said, “Um.. we’ll um.. think about it.”.. and there was much rejoicing.

Art department also had the best quote when asked why Art was still a bottleneck despite having more people:  “You don’t make a baby in one month by putting nine women at it.”  I’m sure quite a few of the art personnel there attempted to prove her wrong. 

All in all, you should read it in its entirety.

UI Discussions

CCP Punkturis (all hail CCP Punkturis – Savior of Logi pilots everywhere..), CCP Arrow, CCP karkur, and CCP Optimal showed more UI improvements, many of which have already been shown to the Eve public for implimentation.

The CSM and Hilmar CEO

Crucible good.  CSM good.  More Money good.  No Jesus features.

 

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