Bring back focus groups!

I know that I’m not alone in thinking that the CSM is very vulnerable to players being voted in whose motives are purely self-serving even if the outcome or unintended outcome on CCP’s end is detrimental to the game and other playstyles.

I firmly believe that in a game such as Eve Online it’s important the developers and community managers have a healthy line of communication that can be used to discuss potential ideas and changes to the game. I believe this would best be done through focus groups.

Why do we need Focus Groups?

  • It’s no lie or surprise that often times we as players have a far more intimate understanding of the meta and the games mechanics.

  • I believe that Focus Groups will allow the Developer <-> Player feedback relationship to be far more transparent.

  • The CSM is hardly a representation of players that have an intimate knowledge of the content they are the elected voice for. It’s a popularity contest and that’s about it.

Why do we need Focus Groups when we have the CSM?

  • I understand that there’s sensitive information that CCP often reveals to the CSM under a NDA and that’s fine. Focus Groups should serve as an open-ended discussion where CCP maybe proposes that they wish to change “X” and the people that know the meta and it’s mechanics give ideas and feedback as well as discussing the possible loopholes and exploits that are opened up.

An example of the above is the Wardec changes and the frustration surrounding that. I as well as others were able to accurately predict what the meta would be and how CCP’s proposed changes could be better. I understand that it seemed like there needed to be a rush job of sorts given the data surrounding player retention, but I didn’t trust that any of the CSM members at the time gave valuable information on what happens after the changes and what Highsec wars look like - It’s a big deal because they could hardly care less about Highsec wars because 95% of the CSM represent Nullsec. So they could likely care less how Wardecs operate and feel in the aftermath.


In conclusion, I believe that the CSM and Focus Groups could co-exist. I think that if game changes are going to have the consideration of anyone it ought to be players that are subject matter experts, not the winner of a popularity contest.

I’m hoping that this is something that the newly hired @CCP_Aurora can get behind?


Focus groups are terrible, it just ends up being a clique and the rest of the players have no say.

All customers should have an EQUAL voice.


I think you accurately described what the CSM is :slight_smile:

I agree that all customers should have a voice, but what I’m talking about has been a thing before. I remember reading the logs for the Capital changes focus group as well as the Contracts and Hauling focus group around the time Upwell Structures were first released.

It’s something that contains more than people arguing and calling each other names because player “X” doesn’t like player “Y”s gameplay.

Currently what method do we as players have to give developers in-depth feedback on changes and how they will effect the game?

  • Reddit: It’s a place where if you don’t play the game like the masses or if your group is disliked, you get censored through downvoted.

  • The official forums: It’s hard to make any kind of thread without various people jumping in to derail it or attempt to have the thread locked.


What I’m proposing is a scheduled group for a specific duration in time where discussions can occur around balancing and changes. It’s something that the community group could facilitate and moderate if someone appears to be toxic.

And why would a focus group be any different?

Oh right, we already know, because the group would be made up of only people with a particular viewpoint.

Focus groups are just a method of getting rid of the opposing voices.

I preferred the focus group idea as well.

The csm are essentially a nullsec focus group and null sec has had a ton of attention because of that. Some real time has been spent on null sec the past 5 years…or nearly a decade.

But when it came to wardecs…yeah that was just ■■■■■■■ awful. And the latest lowsec changes feel like a quick band aid solution too.

That’s not true at all I don’t believe. Depending on the subject there are more than enough voices that have knowledge on the content. The problem for example here on the forums is there’s just a bunch of people arguing and lots of the people arguing actually have no real knowledge or wisdom on the subject.

This also isn’t about Highsec, Wardecs, Ganking, and all the usual stuff we argue about here. It’s talking about if CCP changes “X” with Lowsec that players will adapt and do “Y”.

These types of things aren’t discussed and I think CCP has a treasure trove of experience and knowledge that they aren’t currently using in their players.

Yep I agree. There’s much more that could have been done / done differently and I’m skeptical that it gets any more attention until maybe 10 years down the line CCP digs up some data showing that they could have done it better.

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That’s ok, developers don’t need help understanding who is using false facts or making stuff up. It is obvious when the next 35 posts are some love spat between posters. All the input is valuable, even the post in all caps because the amount of angst and anger is an indication of the seriousness of the issue, or the depth of the divide.

However, as a developer (30 years) I have to tell you, at best we skim this crap and do what WE WANT :smile:

Yeah haha I understand that. I guess it would be neat to interact with developers more where they ask a question and they can gather what they will from the responses. As it is right now there’s just no communication to the Non-CSM elect population.

Question: Do you think that they should care about the experience or expertise we have or do you think they are entitled to create and make changes as they want with little / no consideration with how we could have had input or advised them?

I don’t think it has anything to do with caring, from a practical standpoint it is their job to create.

True. My opinion is that it can make the whole process more streamlined. The fact that CCP doesn’t actively punish the way we often play the game is very different than most other games policy.

That alone creates too many variables where an issue that other games can easily and outright ban players for is something that is continued to be allowed until the cancer it creates spreads too far.

Maybe I’m just being selfish in the fact that I want a platform that isn’t spammed with nonsense or a platform that’s based off of winning a popularity contest. :slight_smile:

It’s that type of game, they intentionally do not CONFORM to the mold. A good example of why customer feedback has to be taken with a grain of salt.

Many customers naively think that because WoW has X millions of players EVE could also have that many if they just CONFORMED to MODERN game design.

Just because those customers, and they have been passing through in droves for years, cannot understand that EVE is an intentionally different game that is not a reason to actually change the game.

Right and I agree with you. Here’s a personal example of what I’m talking about:

During the whole Highsec Wardec changes I was in constant communication with Brisc Rubal in both private DMs on Discord as well as the Wardec Project discord. When the proposed changes came out I as well as other voiced our concern as we knew what the outcome would be - Wars would remain largely unchanged.

All they managed to do was create a mechanic with a loophole where players can be immune and have absolutely no downside to it (thanks ACL!).

It was said that these were initial changes and that something better would come. Instead of changes that that promoted mutually beneficial content that will be something to draw players into, we had changes that completely favored the way that Nullsec plays the game, N+1. That’s cool and all but now we have a Keepstar in Highsec that is nigh invincible due to the servers capabilities and limitations.

Brisc was more interested in how the changes would benefit the Nullsec blocs instead of the people that have historically used the Wardec mechanics.


I’m not saying Brisc was all bad, I mean he at least made me feel like he was listening to me which is more than any other CSM when approached with this stuff… but ultimately I don’t believe he was looking to make day to day Highsec war content a better thing… unless there’s something under NDA he couldn’t disclose.


All I’m asking for is that we have a better line of communication with CCP where the people that actually partake in said game content have feedback and not some Nullblock that has little stake, interest, or experience in it.

First of all, I agree that CCP should bring back focus groups. So, I’m not trying to argue against that. I do, however, have a few nitpicks with what you said.

I don’t think most players that get elected to the CSM are self-serving. Based upon reading CSM minutes, listening to them talk in videos and podcasts, and all that, I think all of them care about the health of the game, and many of them value the entire player ecosystem. That being said, it does seem like many of them have horse blinders on when it comes to how changes affect play styles other than their own. And since the CSM is dominated by nullsec, this has ramifications for other regions (especially J space and LS). So, while I do believe the CSM is a useful institution, I do concede that it does have it’s limitations.

NS groups can have interests in other regions of space (i.e. the war for Perimeter that happened 1-2 years ago), can have HS branches (i.e. Horde), NS groups can be very active (as an whole or as SIG’s) in different regions of space, and, as stated previously, CSM members often care about the health of the game as a whole, and value the entire player ecosystem. Also, um… here’s a quote from the first summit of CSM 13:

CCP Guard asks if there are any particular sessions where the CSM would like to talk about
strategies or if there is something they specifically want to get out of the specific sessions. The CSM as a whole points at the whiteboard.
● Server Stability
War Decs
● Devs playing EVE
● Bounty system

Anyway, other than that, good points. And I agree that the CSM and Focus Groups should co-exist. +1

All customers do have a voice through surveys and on the forums and reddit. Unfortunately, these feedback methods do have their limitations; thus, it should be complimented with the CSM and focus groups. I mean, each feedback method has strengths and limitations, so it’s not a terrible idea to use all of them. For example, intel networks are highly useful for reporting enemy movement, but they aren’t perfect. So, in addition to the intel channel, I use in-game tools, 3rd party tools, and scouts to get a more complete picture of what’s going on.

I don’t doubt that most care about the overall health of the game, but I have no trouble believing that whatever changes land, they’d favor ones that put blocs at an advantage. A good example of this is in the Wardec Project discord where plenty of ideas and alternate ways to implement healthy change were proposed to some CSM and the response was either silence or opposition with tired one-liners about how they care about new players when in reality they didn’t want to get behind an idea that didn’t favor N+1. They still want the advantage, and I’m sure there’s cases that you and other can point out where the CSM concedes an advantage for a healthier game, but I guess I’m still paranoid of it.

No doubt they can have HS interests, but if you go dig through the data and see the lack of meaningful destruction and fleet fights surrounding this new Wardec system I’d believe anyone would have a hard time saying that their interest creates worthwhile daily content.

Yeah they inquired about wars purely off the theory that they were driving new players away. If you read plenty were in favor of completely killing wars as an attempt to stop the bleeding. I don’t believe an actual enticing solution was ever desired. Instead we have a boring meta of hardly any combat at all that revolves around structures. Basically all that Nullsec has to look forward to minus capitals.


The purpose of this thread isn’t to whine about what CCP did to Highsec but to give all players from all facets of the game a line to CCP in which we can give better feedback on specific issues and changes.

What limits? The developers can read any of this, on pretty much any topic, any time as much or as little as they like.

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