This Sunday at 21:00 UTC, the CSM held an open town hall Q&A on the Eve University Mumble server. The CSM has returned from their recent Iceland summit, and discussed the upcoming expansion, CCP's future plans, and other players concerns. Eve Radio has recorded the Townhall, and the meeting has been transcribed below.
CCP has increased UI customizations recently; will there be possibilities to customize or mod the EVE UI like other MMO’s?
Trebor: CCP is hesitant to allow the UI to be 3rd party customizable, as there is a lot of legacy code that is difficult to work with. Secondly, CCP is afraid players would create powerful mods that would imbalance the game. I don’t agree with latter cause, but with the resources CCP has, cleaning up and securing the UI code for 3rd party modification may not be best use of resources.
Seleene: Also CCP is really anal about the way their game looks and feels; they want the game to look a certain way whenever it is presented to the media. It’s very unlikely that CCP would allow people to change the way the game looks to any significant degree. While there are code issues, I have not seen CCP put significant efforts towards making the UI modular.
Hans: That being said, CCP is working to improve the UI and add their own customization and information display, but they will all be first party as opposed to opening up UI development.
Regarding the CSM election reform proposal, is it going forward the way that Trebor proposed, or some other way is being implemented?
Trebor: We don’t know for certain, it depends on CCP Xhagen.
Regarding out of game Communications, are there any plans to allow EVE Voice to work during a client crash? Some players do not have the resources to rent their own voice servers, and a native voice client should be superior for authorization purposes.
Two Step: You can already use EVE voice out of client through EVE gate, but Eve Voice sucks.
Seleene: CCP is talking about this, but as Players already have good 3rd party voice clients, they don’t feel it’s the best use of developer resources.
What is the CSM’s feeling on DUST representatives being elected to the CSM?
Two Step: There is no CSM consensus; the concern is while DUST is connected to EVE, it is another game, and the CSM mainly deals with EVE. A DUST rep has to be relevant during the 99% of the time when the CSM is talking about EVE; he has to be useful during that time. A DUST rep has to be able to deal actively with EVE, it’s more likely there will be EVE CSMs that play DUST, or a separate DUST council.
Are there plans to improve the drone UI, such as a “deploy drones” hotkey?
Two Step: That was on the CSM minutes last summer, but we don’t know what happened to it; we thought about having drones being controlled like a module that you can drag onto the taskbar.
Hans: CCP likes to do mockups of little things they would like to do while working on the main project, and they’ll look at the plausibility and ease of implementation before committing. Mockups of Drone UI exist, but so far no implementation is planned.
How is the stakeholder project working out? Are you guys having an effect on the summer expansion? As CCP Seagull basically said “sorry but no” to the POS revamp, what’s happening now?
Seleene: Stakeholder is working much better, part of that was CCP changing how they will be doing their development process, part of that was changing the way expansions are planned. Since then, we’ve see an increase to information flow, we’ve been asked to go to meetings and presentations. We are shown what’s happening from day one of development - we asked for this last time and didn’t get it. We will document as much as possible to help CSM8 to carry the torch.
Two Step: I was not expecting a “oh we’ll start doing POSes”, it’s not realistic to expect that the thread will coerce CCP into anything. While we do have a lot of access, the point of the thread was to let CCP know how important POSes are, that they are not only used by “a minority of players”. What is important to me is that some fixes are implemented in the summer, and work on modular POS is started ASAP, and that the thoughts and concerns of the community have an effect on the eventual outcome.
Hans: There is certainly a lot of room for small fixes in the summer expansion. CCP has not definitely said no to taking POS off the table for summer.
Issler: I think the stakeholder thing has advanced dramatically, CCP has changed their approach to the planning of the future of EVE. The one good thing about the POS threadnaught was that it was a good example of the way the CSM and playerbase can influence the development of EVE.
Seleene: The CSM has gone under a lot of changes from 5 to where we are now, and a lot of people have their own ideas about what the CSM does. If you are running for the CSM, it’s important to know that the CSM is much more involved now, not just a couple chats and a trip to Iceland. Communication is weekly and the “free trip to Iceland” meme is out of the window. If you plan to vote for a CSM, know the impact they will have on the game.
Is there any plan to use the certificate program being used improve the newbie learning experience?
Seleene: I was the last person to touch certificates, that was years ago. At the time it would have branched off into an achievement-like feature. Since then, I can’t recall certificates being discussed at all.
Kelduum: Absolutely nothing about certificates has been discussed at our CSM.
Does CCP have anything new for the NPE (New Player Experience), the career funnel missions?
Trebor: CCP recognizes that improving the NPE is one of the best returns on investment; every newbie that subs to the game is a huge win. The exact changes are in planning, and we don’t have concrete information yet. You will definitely see improvements to the NPE in 2013.
Would you consider it a failure on CCP’s part if nothing about nullsec is being revamped in 2013? Null economy, industry, and Sov mechanics are all very problematic.
Elise: CCP is not avoiding nullsec, it just wasn’t on their schedule. You can see this on the meeting on the CSM minutes. CCP kind of knew what was wrong with nullsec, and has ideas to fix the largest points of contention. I can assume that many issues will be resolved in 2013. CCP is not clueless about Null issues, including industry and objectives for small gangs.
Two Step: The first couple of nullsec meetings I had with CCP were like “yea yea we’ll talk about it but no commitments”. I felt a lot better after coming out of the second meeting; that CCP has reasonable approaches about nullsec. CCP has revamped FW by applying fixes and observing, this same approach can be used to fix Null.
Trebor: An encouraging sign is the new development strategy rolling out. What will not happen is CCP devoting an entire expansion to a feature and never coming back. Every feature will be tweaked, observed, and iterated on in subsequent patches and expansions. Nullsec will not be fixed in a day; changes will be incremental in doable chunks that control the impact to other aspects of the game so you don’t break something else in the process of fixing one thing.
You guys seem to have a consensus on SOV being based on use?
Elise: I believe that if you have an empire, it should not be just 'pay isk have space'. You should have to harvest and work and live in your space for you to own the space. There are many ways of doing this, but the CSM cannot actually implement anything, but we can tell CCP what would be a good idea and guide them on the right path - but telling CCP “This is the one true way to fix null” is not something we do.
Seleene: There should be some level of activity that is needed to hold sov. Sov right now is a room with just a floor, no walls no furniture. You should live in your space to hold it.
Two Step: My view is that sov is part of the reason that 0.0 has not been touched for a while. “lets fix null by fixing sov” is not the right approach. The approach I have believe would be to address “why do we want sov?” before fixing sov mechanics.
With the Battlecruiser skill changes and the added armor tanking skills, there seems to be more skills that a newbie needs to train to become combat effective. Is there anything to address the issue of high SP barrier before newbies can be effective in PVP?
Two Step: I don’t like how they are widening the skill point difference, and CCP adding lots of 'have to train' skills, like the sensor comp skills. While the game needs new skills, CCP should add new skills for new things instead of adding skills for existing things.
Elise: You are right that you need more skills to fly a ship, but the amount of SP needed to fly a combat effective ship has been greatly reduced. It used to be that if I wanted to fly logistics on a roam, I would have to train logistics V and other tech 2 skills. Tech 1 ships are very combat effective and can be used in serious fights without having to use extra skills. Before, you fly a Rifter, and then you fly a Drake, and keep flying a Drake for the next year. Now you can fly a variety of ships and still be effective, logi, ewar, you name it.
Is there any plan to make PVE more engaging?
Hans: There are big plans for EVE PVE, CCP has a sense of where they want to take it. CCP is aware that EVE PVE sucks compared to everything else, there have been things done like bringing in sleeper AI, but that’s a Band-Aid.
Two Step: PVE is a lot like other MMOs, but EVE is not like other MMOs where you run raids with a dozen friends weeks on end. I know some people play EVE as a PVE game but EVE is just not a very good PVE game.
Do you guys feel the Corp role system is something that is holding down POS revamps?
Kelduum: Yes, corp roles are a mess, yes they will be sorted out.
Two Step: The way the corp roles are coded is a mess. There are ways to fix POS that don’t involve corp roles, but corp roles don’t help the mess in the slightest.
Seleene: The corp code is based on bitmaps, and running out is a limitation. It’s very old code, and it’s an absolute mess.
What is CCP’s views on Miner bumping/ganking/harassment?
Issler: Some say it’s working as planned, mining is not meant to be a “fall asleep and mine” thing. We’ve put up with wars and bumping. We don’t like it, but it’s the price you pay to mine. It’s great that barges have been buffed. The change in crimewatch makes it easier for miners to retaliate, and don’t pay the bumping bastards. If war decced, fight back. We don’t like war, but some members like the change.
Hans: The general feeling about James 315’s shenanigans is that it’s emergent gameplay, but if someone is picking you the player out and following you from system to system that’s harassment. But if miners are not doing anything active like counter war-decs, dodging bumpers, and hopping systems, CCP is not going to intervene.
Is there a possibility of changing active skill training from outside of the game client?
Seleene: CCP used to like that you have to log in to EVE to change skills, but they’ve seen the progress of mobile devices and decided to go along with history. The Crest API should allow much more powerful interaction from out of game, such as skill training and market orders.
Last Fanfest there was a tech demo that showed off tessellation in EVE, when is that happening?
Trebor: There's no way we can influence that, that’s all depending on CCP’s art team.
Seleene: Tessellation is cool but hard, it’s not 'turn on a switch and look pretty'. I would not recommend CCP spend resources on that when there are much more pressing matters to attend to.
It’s clear from CCP’s methods that they use SCRUM internally, has it been serving the CSM well?
Two Step: EVE tends to attract technical people, Trebor used to write code with rocks and sticks. CCP uses SCRUM differently from others, it’s part of the learning curve. IF you are running for CSM, I recommend you learn what SCRUM is.
Issler: I used to be a software programmer, CCP seems to have adaptive AGILE pretty well to their product. There’s not an awful lot of time to sit around and plan, success depends on reacting quickly to situations and feedback. A Software engineering background is very useful to being on the CSM.
Earlier there was discussion of changing SP training from outside of the game, is there any plan to extend or abolish the 24 hour training limit?
Two Step: We haven’t really talked about that, CCP has been traditionally resistant to allowing external modification of skill queues.
Hans: The idea of having gimmicky things like having people log to train skills is bad. If someone is only logging in to train skills, then you have already lost their interest, you have already failed to provide them with entertainment. Don’t force people to log in if they don’t want to, make them want to log in and PLAY the game. This is applicable to DUST as well, as Active skill points in Dust complicates the matter further.
Is there any talk of changing moongoo production and tech 2 material bottlenecks?
Elise: What we have talked about is changing how you acquire material and move away from trickle down production. Harvesting should be done IN space, which populates space and creates content and interaction; almost all income should come from bottom up to increase member involvement. CCP does think space should not be equal, as good space should form a conflict driver, so a gradient of system quality should exist.
Seleene: We’ve had discussions with CCP about all this, and we should be informed quite soon. The worst possible thing is CCP working on something for 4 months in secret, and then yelling surprise and putting it on the server. CCP not vetting stuff through the community and CSM causes broken monuments.
Regarding the CREST API, it seems CCP is not giving a lot of guarantees of security for third party applications. Will we there be a standard for API security when using third party apps?
Seleene: No, the whole idea of CREST is to give a set of tool to developers so CCP has more time to do their stuff. Access restrictions will be clear, but there be good apps and bad apps, players decide what they will use.
Issler: When you download a CREST, there should be clear restriction and indications of what that specific app has access to. It should not be possible for say, a jump planner app to have access to your wallet. IF you download an app that openly says “this app can modify your wallet” and you use it, and your wallet gets emptied, that’s your fault.
Trebor: It should be fairly similar to Facebook apps, where when you install one, the app tells you it is allowed to check friend lists and post on your wall. The capabilities of an app should be absolutely transparent.
Because CCP has been fluffing up stuff for new players, what are they planning to do for 100mil sp players?
Seleene: I would love to tell you that CCP have a concrete plan for veteran players, but they don’t. But the best way to do so is fixing the broken stuff in the game so we have fun when we log in and play.
DUST question: When the economy merges, how will they make it so EVE does not hold us ransom? 10 mil is a lot for us, but chump change for EVE.
Hans: We have no idea right now, economies are very complex and probably one of the last things to be connected. There needs to be reasons for cooperation, but a massive wealth disparity between EVE and Dust is not healthy for either game.
Has there been any talk of updating the wardec mechanics? Is there anything planned to let defenders to inflict damage on the attackers or end hostilities?
Kelduum: I will say that I have been talking to CCP, and the CSM thinks the wardec system is messed up.
Two Step: We had an argument; I feel that attackers risk too little and defenders risk a lot, I would like to see consequences for failed wardecs and more reward for successful wars. If Alekseyev was here, he would have a lot to talk about it. There is a wide range of allowed aggression that people believe should be possible in EVE.
Seleene: The CSM has some differences regarding this question. CCP likes and promotes how EVE has a lot of freedom and allows you to do anything to anyone, to be the ultimate asshole or ultimate hero. Finding the right balance can be hard.
Issler: Wars have to have conditions for both sides, with clear goals. If you dec and lose, there should be repercussions. If you defend and win, there should be rewards.
Does CCP have any plans of going over certain PI products? Some items like hydrogen batteries are still NPC seeded. And the resource requirements for various components can be unbalanced.
Trebor: There are some parts of PI that can be frustrating, such as reconfiguring large amounts of processors. The less NPC item seeding the better, and PI is a good way to provide for replacements to seeding. CCP Unifex has stated that PI was something that would be a good example of moving [gameplay] out of the EVE client, such as onto tablets.
Seleene: PI has been somewhat insular since inception. I would like DUST to greatly affect PI. But mostly I want to bombard the hell out of people’s PI from space.
Hans: PI needs to have better integration with the economy. PI needs to provide key components before it can become important enough for DUST mercs and EVE players to bother fighting over it. While POCO shooting is a nice conflict driver, there is much more that can be done to increase the amount of combat PI can cause.
Is CCP planning to do more iteration to drone warfare? Currently it seems like sentry drones are the only drone that have major impact.
Elise: With the current EVE environment, drones are a very effective weapon in PVP, with ECM, sentry, and neut drones all being quite effective. For small-scale combat, sentries are not very good, but I would like more ships being able to be effective droneboats. To be honest, there are things more pressing and broken than drones that need to be fixed first.
How does CCP intend to balance Nullsec and Highsec?
Elise: Null and high should have distinct roles, and have lots of interaction. But we should not have to import all our Tritanium from high, and high should not be absolutely reliant on null for some things. Overall null should be better, but there should be things that high sec can do very well.
Two Step: Right now the balance between null and high is whacked. Nullsec is supposed to be this high-risk, high-reward place, but right now there is not a lot more risk and not a lot more reward. There’s a lot of risk in taking territory in null, but not a lot of risk once that’s done, things like ratting and moon production are all relatively safe.
Seleene: Nullsec is great as it allows players to have control over their environment, and as such, null has more inherent problems. Null has been broken for a long time, and there have been many failed attempts to fix it, but players should not have a terrible time just living there. Right now highsec is working, and null is not.
Issler: Risk reward is broken, it seems like null can be extremely safe, and the passive rewards are not proportionate to the risks. The difficult part was null logistics.
T2 BPOs seem to be broken, is CCP planning to address this issue?
Two Step: As a T2 BPO owner; I don’t think they should be removed. I didn’t get my T2 BPOs from lottery. They are not as broken as people think. It’s nice that T2 BPOs form a kind of end game goal for industrialists. Although Seleene having lots of T2 BPOs is not related to him being a former dev.
Issler: I was back there in the lottery but never got one, my corp makes money from T2 production, but I don’t worry about people with T2 BPOs. You can make money without them; the volume from T2 BPOs reduces their impact on the market.
Any plans to improve other API? Along with plans to improve the in-game browser.
Two Step: The existing API is not something CCP wants to deal with; after CREST is done, people should have more information to work with from API. As for the IGB, it would be nice for it to have more functionalities, but we shouldn’t expect anything soon.
Any further changes regarding Titans?
Elise: Whenever we speak about supers, the response from CCP is “we’ll deal with supers when we are done with this”. I think the Titan nerf was overdone. With the amount of ISK damage, converted to plex, we would have wrecked a BMW. Fozzie and Grayscale thinks that supers should have some role, they should have uses in some way, they’ve been changing subcaps at a breakneck pace, you should expect Supercap changes SoonTM
Seleene: The reason that CCP is dragging super rebalancing is that CCP has a lot of other things to do that gives immediate impact to the game - everyone in EVE flies subcaps. Supercaps are a big deal, not just to the people flying them. Number tweaking will not suffice; CCP will have to put a more thought into it, which is why they are putting it off.
It seems that CCP is introducing Learning Skills 2.0, with more mandatory skills like sensor comp skills instead of just nerfing ECM. Why are some modules such as armor plates getting skills, and others like ASBs are not?
Two Step: CCP should not be adding skill for the sake of adding skills; new skills should mean new interesting things you can do. I don’t like how people have to train through sensor comps just to be able to fight. But people need stuff to train; I’m training stuff for fun at this point.
Elise: I’m ok with the new skills because they are not necessary skills, but skills like armor comp lets you specialize without wasting too much time on them. I like the idea of being a better pilot in a certain ship because you put a bit more time in it. Although the ranks for some of the new skills could be lower.
How has the actual running platforms for the CSM7 election affected what you guys actually do/what has been accomplished?
Two Step: I ran on a POS platform and made a big fuss about it, and some things are being done. Some people ran for CSM with grandiose “how to fix everything” ideas. The most important skill for being on the CSM is being able work with other people, being able to communicate and provide appropriate feedback, rebuking CCP to hard might cause them to ignore the CSM altogether. The point of the CSM is not to play junior game designer, but rather looking at specific points.
Seleene: I ran on getting the CSM more power and responsibility. If the CSM has no power, no influence, then it becomes irrelevant. I tried to define a role for the CSM, getting it more involved, and getting the stakeholder project running. I think CSM8 will probably be the most empowered CSM that will take office.
Trebor: anyone who runs on a specific platform of “I’m gonna do this” is being a bit naïve. The best use of a platform is giving voters an idea of how they think, how they work, their sense of professionalism, and how well they would handle responsibility. The arguments that hold the greatest sway with CCP are the ones where you can make a good business case that the action will create/retain more subscribers over another. Crafting a good argument is key.
Six out the eight of you here are not running for CSM8. Why not? And for the two that have not stated intentions (Trebor and Greene), are you running?
Two Step: One of the reasons I’m not running is that it’s taking a lot of time, and I miss playing Eve. I live in the US where vacations are less frequent, 2 Summits and Fanfest means I have no vacation time for anything else. If not for that, I would probably run again. Putting a lot of time into the CSM burns you out; some people just need a break. Perhaps I’ll run again later
Hans: I have personal reasons regarding marriage and continued education. I planned to come in for only one year, and this played out how I expected. CSM is exhausting and rewarding; I’m looking forward to playing the game rather than just talking about it. In the past some CSM members get frustrated with the CSM and CCP when they finish their terms and they’ll walk away from the game. This time, most of us are just leaving the CSM but staying in EVE.
Seleene: It’s a time issue. I’ve been to Iceland a lot. I just started a new job a few months ago, and the amount of time you have to put into the meetings and reviews and feedback is exhausting. It’s a young man’s game. We’ve gotten a lot done, and I’ll leave happy that we left CSM 8 a very solid foundation to keep working. Anyone that can stay on CSM for more than a few terms is probably not right in the head, or has a lot of time.
Trebor: I have no final decision, I’ll decide when white paper edits are released and when I see who else is running.
Greene Lee: it’s a very complicated situation, there are lots of really good things about the CSM, but real life calls. I’ll make a decision next week.
Issler: I think the CSM is in a very good position now. I’ve done all I can do and would like to get back to play the game. CSM is a lot of work; it’s not a free trip to Iceland. Don’t run if you can’t commit your time.
Elise: I was really passionate when I first ran. It’s not like that I’m burnt out, I can do this again. But I want someone else to take up the reins of the CSM, and get that experience, and do their part. One of the reasons CSM6 was so successful was that it was full of fresh blood, and fresh ideas. If I ran again, I would be denying someone else that experience. Despite rumors, I don’t plan to work for CCP, as my game design ideas are crap.
Kelduum: I want to actually play the game, working with E-uni and not just the CSM.
CCP requires people to place their IRL identity to run for CSM. Is that preventing a lot of quality candidates from running?
Two Step: I agree that putting your real identity on is not a good thing, but it’s not our decision, its CCP’s.
Seleene: This has come up in every summit, CCP’ answer has always been yes, you need your real identity.