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Eve Online is a Game.

I need to remind myself of this from time to time because it is so easy for me to get caught up in all the information (i.e. raw data dumping) that happens in the Eve Universe.  I know I am not alone because there are Facebook pages on Eve, a Reddit thread on Eve, two large forums dedicated to Eve (Kugus and Scrapheap.. er Failheap), and countless gamer mags, blogs, and dev posts that are available to us if we want to research it.

And we do.  And I do.

This is where we start to get what is often called “information overload”.  Most of us know this from the dawn of the 24 hour news cycle, wherein we get information just as it is made available.. often without any serious background or anything legitimate to compare it to.  “Information Overload” starts to happen when we get more raw information about what could be happening, what is happening, what might happen, etc. which is then broken down into little snippets that are supposedly easy to digest.  But, its akin to being drowned by plan M&Ms:  A few bits at a time are tasty, but a whole ton isn’t.  The problem with “Information Overload” is, of course, the substance.  If you are that hungry for information, virtual m&m bits aren’t useful in the first place, but being innundated with them makes you waste time trying to find good, reliable facts for us to really enjoy and to share.

So, how does this relate to the CSM?

First, let’s start here, the rather infamous CSM 7 Minutes.  This was brought about because, from CSM 1 thru CSM 6, the voting populace (i.e. those that actually care about this stuff) determined that there just simply wasn’t enough information getting to those interested.  In particular, these minutes talked about who exactly said what in various meetings on various topics.  Now, this is a good thing in my book because I found out that many of the players I was supporting turned out NOT to have the same views on things that I had.  However, at this level of detail, there is also a lot of “garbage data” that is either rumor, or speculation, or just plain “not data” at all.

This is then spurred on by posts like this.  Or this.  Or this.  Bloggers like Poetic Stanziel and Ripard Teg constantly zinging the CSM if they don’t speak out often and constantly.  Some would argue that they keep the CSM from thinking it is an exclusive club.  Others would argue that all they are doing is setting themselves up for CSM seats next time around.  But do they really foster the idea that all the information they can give us, no matter how premature, is a better option?  Are we to endlessly, and perhaps needlessly, push the CSM to talk about stuff.. when there simply isn’t anything to talk about?

CSM 7 is without a doubt the most visible CSM to date.  This is true because it has:

  • Highest number of interested voters.
  • More CCP interaction based off of the success of CSM 6.
  • Two very active Eve News sites.
  • Several CSM members have blogs or websites or podcasts that are routinely (well, somewhat) updated.
  • Efforts in Reddit, Kugus, Failheap, and Eve Online forums to get more direct interaction going.
  • Bloggers in general more interested in CSM actions.

So there is no question that CSM 7 is already under more scrutiny that any previous CSM before it.  Every decision, every COMMENT is being viewed and reviewed, removed out of context and critizied.  Granted, part of those critizisms are legitmate, but others not so much.  Remember that each of these people have jobs, got Real Life ™ commitments that go above and beyond this game, and in order to keep relevant, they gotta keep playing the game too.  But it also goes deeper than that.  We want to avoid getting so voracious for information that we forget WHY we want this information, and we start demanding information just for information’s sake.  That viewpoint has no use for any of us… it doesn’t make us play our game any better.  Nor does that extra information allow us to gain advantage over our enemies if it hasn’t hit the server.

I took a look at Han’s blog today, where he talks about what the CSM 7 has done lately.  And it made me wonder if perhaps we are doing a severe disservice to ourselves, by forcing them to talk about everything, that they get too distracted from seeing bigger problems down the way.  It is great that CCP is now using the CSM as a sounding board for their ideas, and its true that some of those projects have been made better for it.  But if they miss a big issue before it becomes a big issue.. aren’t we going to blame the CSM, despite the fact that it may have been our incessent demand for pandering that made them unable to see the problem?

“Tomorrow”?  What is “Tomorrow”?

Oh, there is no major problem, you say?  Oh, but how do you know?  As Ripard Teg said during a podcast with Aleks of Noir, (and I am paraphrasing), Each CSM is defined by the emergency at hand.  I personally can think of one feature that CCP is just DYING to integrate.  One that they have spent millions on.  One that could drastically improve the numbers of players in game.  A “Jesus Feature” if you like.  One that people are already wondering if it will ever come to be.  The funny thing is, it wouldn’t take all that much for this feature to be successful.. all other MMOs rely on it. making CCP’s job of cherry picking the best ideas even easier.  But, if it is done badly.. as it was once before.. it could harm the future of CCP and Eve Online.

I know you know what it is, and perhaps you think its a bad idea or maybe a good idea.  The end truth of it is that it is still being developped and I’d rather make sure the CSM’s eyes are nice and clear to see where this can be a success for CCP.. and by extension us, rather than waste their time putting out a blog which tells us nothing more than what we already know or is pure conjecture from the devs or CCP.