Hydrostatic’s CSM Interview
Brendan Drain over at Massively recently completed his interview with CSM member Deirdra Vaal regarding the latest council member. Not wanting to be out done (and also recognising that the CSM is more than just one persons point of view) at The Hydrostatic we were lucky enough to question Carole Pivarnik, better known to EVE players as council member Mynxee about all things CSM……..
Cailais:- “A former member of Hellcats Corp with a popular blog, now a member of the well known VETO Corp, and a CSM Delegate not to mention a confident presence on the EVE and Scrapheap Forums – you present an image of someone driven within and without EVE. What are the burning issues that make you want to get out there amongst the trolls and forumites of EVE Online?
Mynxee:- “After playing the game for four years now, almost one of them on the CSM, it’s impossible not to have opinions and insights that beg to be shared ;). Actually as a CSM delegate, there is a sense of obligation to do so. And while forum trolls and the slightly more tame forum warriors can be daunting, I think it is important for those who enjoy intelligent debate and discussion about the game to don the flame suit and add their voices to the mix. It kind of balances things out. Truth is, Scrapheap Challenge used to terrify me but the more I participate there and get to know people, the more I have learned to appreciate the smart and experienced folks who post there. But I don’t personally play the trolling game…except for occasionally falling prey to it, I tend to just ignore that stuff”.
Cailais:- “You recently expressed disappointment with the censoring of the final part of the CSM Summit minutes by CCP under the NDA. How much should we, the players know of EVEs future plans, and how much should remain hidden by CCP? I guess this question really asks who ‘owns’ EVE? The people who make the universe, or in a sandbox the people who make the game – i.e the players”?
Mynxee:- “Clearly EVE is CCP’s product and they can do whatever they want with it. Of course, every decision they make has a bottom line impact so if they don’t consider the desires of their customers in what is essentially a service oriented business, it’s likely to have a negative impact on that bottom line. My annoyance with the heavy handed “NDA” censoring is related more to my opinion that they are doing it to control the message about Incarna rather than prevent future plans from being revealed. The fact is, CSM has been told and shown almost nothing about Incarna. I don’t believe there is any documented plan, vision, or roadmap for it. I believe those responsible for Incarna are furiously working on that right now to have something to present at FanFest–as Hilmar alluded to in his session. Certainly the CSM has not been shown any such thing, and I believe had details of the Summit discussions been included in the Minutes, that would have been quite clear”.
Cailais:- “Recently some of the CSM Summit meeting details were released ahead of the minutes. You could call that a journalistic scoop. What’s your personally view of how a collective like the CSM should interact with the wider external media? After all you may find it difficult to speak ‘with one voice’”?
Mynxee:- “I believe the CSM should not only make itself accessible to the media, but seek out the media when appropriate. On issues where we agree among ourselves, he CSM speaks as one voice. But we don’t always agree and in that case, varying opinions are given equal time. I don’t believe the CSM should have as a goal being in agreement on every single issue we tackle. That is unrealistic considering the Council consists of 9 people with very different backgrounds, experience, and interests–both in-game and out. Differences of opinion are healthy and to be encouraged…even in media interviews or public documents like CSM Blogs or Summit Minutes”.
Cailais:- “As a CSM member do you feel more, or less, a part of the EVE Community? What do you say to those who suggest that a CSM is more “one of them (devs)” than “one of us(players)”?
Mynxee:- “I feel more beholden to the community and much more strongly a part of it than ever. Personally I don’t identify in any way as “one of them (devs)”. Quite the opposite in fact. I can’t speak for other members of this or any previous CSM, obviously. I do think that part of what gives rise to this perception in the community is former CSM members being hired by CCP. It may be true that individuals run for CSM with the goal of making CCP contacts that will help them get hired by CCP. That’s never been my goal. I have no desire to be employed by CCP”.
Cailais:- “Many political systems start out with the idea of elected representative who are ‘for the people and by the people’- over time though those elective members start to believe they know best and stop listening to their ‘constituents’. What are your thoughts on this with respect to the CSM”?
Mynxee:- “I don’t think that blanket statement can apply to a council of 9 people, all of whom treat their CSM responsibilities differently. Some delegates carry out their duties in a more visible manner than others. Some issues do not get the attention that players had hoped for due to other matters needing more urgent attention. This is not because those issues are deliberately ignored, but more a matter of having limited bandwidth and just the way priorities get managed within the CSM in terms of stuff that requires focus. The perception may also come partly from CSM delegates not having a robust presence in the forums…but again, available bandwidth for a volunteer activity can be limited and besides that, many delegates are quite active within their own alliances or groups of constituents…it’s just not publicly observable”.
Cailais:- “The June CSM Summit seems to have gone down in Summit history as a testing event. Were you surprised out how divergent the player bases view of EVE seemed to be with the Developers view of EVE? More to the point do you think the developers are still moving away from the current player base”?
Mynxee:- “I think there are two camps in CCP–the one consisting of those who have chosen to engage with the CSM and discovered some benefits for having done so, and those who do not engage. The latter group tends to be the ones who seem most out of touch with players. And yeah, it surprises me sometimes that devs can seem so clueless about stuff that is common knowledge among experienced, long-term players”.
Cailais:- “CCP have remained very tight lipped about Incarna. What are your fears about what Incarna could mean to EVE if it’s introduction is poorly handled”?
Mynxee:- “My biggest fear is that long-term, heavily invested players will be irritated and/or disappointed in how Incarna is initially implemented and quietly leave in apathetic resignation that all their concerns fell on deaf ears. Add to that the possibility that new customers drawn to EVE by Incarna will be casual in their approach to the game. This combination could potentially result in a culture change in the game that tips toward shallow and short-term, which could mean ever fewer big stories of epic heists planned over years, null sec politics, etc. that have forged EVE’s nature from the early days. The very thing that makes EVE so special as an MMO and as a gaming experience in cold, harsh universe could well be compromised by such a culture change. And that would make me sad”.
My considerable thanks to Carole (Mynxee) for sharing her opinions and views with us. You may not always agree with the direction a given CSM takes on a particular topic but it does seem clear that there are players out there willing to put in genuine time and effort into making EVE a better game. You can (and should!) read more from Mynxee at her blog ‘Life in Low Sec‘.
If your interest has been caught by the CSM you may be interested to know that the next candidacy period opens soon with more details from CCP here. Alternatively you can put your opinions to test in front of the rabid mob of EVE players and, perhaps, have your cause selected to be championed by the CSM through the EVE Forum Assembly Hall.