The Short Version
Greetings! I am running for CSM17 as a candidate expert in the life of small-to-medium sized independent PVP alliances. I am a director in Of Sound Mind, currently based in NPC nullsec Syndicate. In my position, I wear a lot of different hats part time, from FC to recruiter to alliance logistics. While we live in NPC null right now, within just the last two years I have lived as a Lowsec pirate, Faction Warfare participant (for Minmatar), and as a denizen of wormhole space. I can and will share with CCP my knowledge and experience of how those spaces play out for alliances that field fleets at the 5-30 person scale.
The Long Version
Who Am I?
My name is Cael Caderu. I am by practice and preference an explorer and logistician. I play EVE to seek challenges and find ways to complete them. I like learning how systems work, and while I enjoy a job well done the highlight of my day is the discovery.
My story begins in the system of Nakugard, in Metropolis, in 2014. I was a bored highsec miner, terrified of PVP. A slightly more experienced friend convinced me to try diving into nearby Great Wildlands in an Imicus, and learning through trial and error to slip by Sabre camps on the way is when I fell in love with this game. Still, when all of my friends quit, I did too.
My story properly starts in 2017, when I rejoined the game to play with another friend and joined Of Sound Mind. Ironically, that friend stopped playing just about when I started, but for me this time was different. Playing with experienced mentors allowed me to rapidly pick up skills and enjoy content that I would not otherwise have had access to. I still learned some skills through trial and error, but others I picked up through chatting with corpmates. There are so many specialized systems in our game, and even in a corp of 20 people you benefit from having friends who just know things about areas you’ve hardly touched. I fell in love with the wormhole space hunt, stalking prey in a slow-moving cloaked frigate angling for just the right place and time to call in my backup. I also came to love the intricacies of moving supplies through w-space, especially under hostile conditions such as games of hole control.
I’ve stayed with SOUND since, through our move to a “high class” wormhole, through our move to Minmatar faction warfare, through our move to Syndicate. I took a brief break to finish my degree while we deployed to the nullsec South, then returned in time for a deployment into Lowsec and redeployment back to Syndicate.
My CSM Philosophy
At its best, the CSM is a body of subject matter experts. CCP are the game designers in the room, but being a game designer does not make you an expert on small-gang combat, or sov warfare, or logistics, or life in wormhole space, or… you get the idea. An effective member of the CSM needs to be able to identify and convey to CCP (and other CSM members) where their own expertise lies. When a developer is describing some idea, an effective CSM member can point out if there are unintended consequences that affect their domain of expertise. When a CCP employee is asking what members of a community actually want, an effective CSM member can speak to both frustrations their community members have, and equally importantly speak to the highlights of gameplay experience for their constituents.
It is not the job of the CSM to force CCP to listen. The CSM is an advisory group with no actual power. Moreover, like a cybersecurity consultant, the CSM’s successes are basically invisible. Proposed changes that were dropped or changed due to input from the CSM are not and cannot be visible to the general EVE public. This does not make the CSM any less important or effective. Without the CSM, CCP has no real window into the in-game lives of any players, and our game would be very much the worse for it.
My Domain(s) of Expertise
In game, I am a director in a small-to-medium sized independent PVP alliance (Of Sound Mind). Part of being a leader in this setting is that I wear a lot of different hats in my day-to-day. In a given week, these are the kinds of things you might find me doing. (Note that I’m trying very hard to only list things I might do in an average week. There are plenty of other things I would like to do beyond this list.)
- PVP fleets at a scale of 2-30 actual humans
- PVE (mining) fleets at a scale of 5-20 actual humans
- Backup FC roles (backup target calling, anchoring, logi FC) for PVP fleets at a scale of 2-100 actual humans
- Combat scouting for small-gang roaming fleets
- Wormhole chain finding
- Jump Freighter hauling
- Blockade Runner and Deep Space Transport hauling (primarily in highsec)
- Managing public and private courier & buyback contracts
- Managing corp supplies & fit loaner ships
Alliance HR/People Management
- ACL/Roles/etc management
- Assisting new members
- Small gang (nano, brawling frigates, brawling cruisers…)
- Mid-sized fleets (10-100 people, doctrines vary but I’m often in a logi or specialist role if not fcing)
- Gas harvesting
- DED Sites
- Generally 1-2 characters of indy lines active
- Station trading
- Market-making (in Jita and in my home citadel in nullsec)
Why Apply to the CSM?
A critical component of a successful CSM is broad representation. I am able to speak to the needs of a variety of groups that do not traditionally get much representation. While I would prefer to work alongside another CSM member who actively lives in w-space, for example, I am able to flag changes that would have an adverse effect on quality of life in wormholes. I believe the CSM needs people with expertise similar to what I have, and I believe I will be good at it.
I’ll add that since I put in my application, I’ve been pleased to see candidates pop up from a wide variety of backgrounds. Not all of us will be elected to CSM17. I hope that if I am not your first choice, you will still consider me for a spot lower down your ballot.
What Can You Expect From Me?
If elected, you can expect me to serve with professionalism and dedication. I care, deeply, about our shared game. Working with CCP and with other members of the CSM for the good of EVE is a given; you can also expect me to be responsive to other players whether or not we have history with each other. Specifically, I will hold regular AMAs on r/eve (where I’m currently active as u/actually_ixex and often can be found in the newbie help “No Question Is Stupid” thread). You can additionally expect me to reach out proactively to wormhole, faction warfare, and unaligned nullsec groups so that their voices can be heard.
Some Thoughts on Pain Points and Highlights
As a reminder, I am not running to be a game designer. There will be times when I point out a problem that I don’t have a solution to. Even if I do have a solution, I will try to present the problem and possible solutionS separately, as my primary expertise is the former. Still, I imagine you want to know a bit about what I think current problems are and what sorts of changes I might advocate for.
As a general principle, I would say I favor changes that encourage more ships in space, more ships moving between systems in space, and more ships exploding (in space).
Here’s a few specific examples.
Pain Point: Nullsec Hunter/Ratter Balance
EVE is probably the best game in existence for asymmetric warfare. I want to focus on one specific interaction, the usually involuntary PVP between someone who wants to shoot players and someone who wants to make some ISK. The dilemma for CCP is that, even though Hunters and Ratters are often the same actual people, in that moment the Hunter wants there to be a fight and the Ratter doesn’t.
Right now, as a decent but not exceptional interceptor pilot, it generally feels like I’m continually beating my head against the wall, hoping for my prey to fall asleep, or happen to go to the bathroom, or disconnect, or generally make a drastic mistake. Enough do to keep me going, but it doesn’t make me happy. I would like to tilt the balance a bit toward the Hunter here, and the rough threshold I would suggest is that if I make it into the Ratter’s system unscouted, if I do everything right and the Ratter does everything right, at least some of the time I should still land a point on them.
Before you get excited, understand that I rat in nullsec as well. As a Ratter, I want this change too, but I want it coupled with some other changes. As an alliance leader and as a mentor of new players, I think a fair amount about ISK-making options in different spaces and with different skill levels or amounts of resources. The general principle I believe in is that the rate of isk-making should scale up in general with four criteria: (1) skill required (player skill, not sp), (2) preparation required, (3) lack of control over availability, and (4) rate of loss. The 4th element is key, and wherever possible this should be optimized to rate of loss to PVP activity. Nullsec green sites take minimal skill, some preparation, and are maximally controlled availability. I would like to see both the rewards and the rate of loss increased dramatically.
Highlight: The ESS
I think just about every hunter at some point says “I’d rather fight your response fleet”. I love how the ESS provides the ability for a hunter to throw down a gauntlet and invite the response fleet. I love the ability to select the offered response time through Main Bank, 15min Reserve Key, or 45min Reserve Key hacking. I love how the ESS bubble creates a reason for me to fly afterburner ships in nullsec, something I would have essentially never considered a viable option before their introduction.
Pain Point: Lack of Strategic Objectives for Larger/More Organized Faction Warfare Groups
SOUND fought for the Minmatar. We made friends with allied groups in the warzone, and frankly we made friends among our enemies too. We liked fighting them, and on several occasions we banded together to fight the pirate menace. However, it quickly got to the point where our day-to-day stagnated. When we were active, the Amarr militia started to avoid us. We could plex, but that felt generally pretty aimless. We wanted to fight for the Minmatar.
Eventually we left the warzone and moved out to Syndicate, but I loved the warzone and I learned more about individual piloting from our less than a year in Asghed than everywhere else I’ve lived combined.
I’m encouraged by what I heard was announced at FanFest. Give us more excuses to have the kind of battles where pilots reship multiple times, please!
Highlight: The Nullification Change
CCP managed to make T1 industrials (sorry… haulers) slippery! I’ve never been so happy to fail to kill a Tayra or an Epithal. I used to feel bad about killing those ships, because they were utterly defenseless except that more than half the time they were equipped with 6 warp core stabilizers. So they were helpless against an interdictor but basically immune to everything else. This made hunting them all about exploiting the gimmick of the bubble, and frankly it wasn’t that fun. Now they can use the cloak+MWD trick in combination with a nullifier to outfox me, but the long cooldown of the nullifier gives me room for counterplay.
Also, I love that travelceptors are still technically possible, but aren’t practically usable for hunting, and that shuttles are the default travel option.
Pain Point: Trying to Do Industry with Multiple Characters in Different Corps
Yeah. This sucks. I don’t enjoy trading or contracting items and blueprints back and forth between alts all the time. I would love to be able to designate the ACL of a can or a hangar, even if I can just get the ability to run industry jobs and can’t “take” items out.