I just arrived home about two hours ago from my final CSM summit, this one for CSM 17. As the last remaining CSM member who has attended a summit before (I attended two summits on CSM 13, and no one who served on CSM 14 and was present for the previous two summits to this one remains on the CSM), I think my perspective is more valuable this term than it may have been in the past, at least in regards to comparisons.
Let’s get this out of the way first, since it is what I expect everyone wants to know - I left this summit feeling energized, excited about the future of the game, and looking forward to working with the rest of the CSM for the rest of this term. I was on the fence about attending Fanfest in September, but I am almost 100% certain I’ll be there now.
First, let me talk about this CSM specifically. I got to know each and every member very well over the course of the week, and I like and respect all of them. This has not been the case in the past. This was a professional CSM, once that wasn’t afraid to ask tough questions (as you’ll see from the minutes, I expect) who were willing to put in the time and the hard work to make the week useful for both the CCPers as well as their colleagues, and who showed up to every meeting, stayed late to socialize, and generally worked well together. It was, to me, by far the best CSM I had worked with since at least CSM 13, and (other than not having a chance to see Merk and Nom, who are two of my best friends IRL as well as in the game) probably even better than 13.
Second, unlike past CSMs, especially those with no summits, I felt like we were there at CCP HQ at exactly the right time. They had just finished their early work on the next expansion, slated for 2nd quarter (as you can see in the roadmap in the producers letter from January), and were open and receptive to our feedback and suggestions for things to include in the expansion. We had a lot of good sessions where our feedback was not only actively solicited but listened to, and I’m looking forward to see how much of what we presented ends up in the game.
I was impressed with how willing CCP was to acknowledge our concerns, to answer questions and to give us the data to prove what they were asserting, not just expecting us to believe it. I was especially impressed with our meeting with Team Security, which gave us some never-before-seen insights into how that team deals with RMT and botting issues. I can’t go into any details in regards to this session, but I think it was one of the most well received of all of them, and I am no longer as skeptical as I have been in the past about CCPs efforts to combat cheating - I know this won’t be well received by the community, largely because CCP can’t show the tools and processes they use to catch the bad guys, but I was floored by the entire presentation.
We had some good discussions over the future of the CSM and ways to make it more representative, although I continued to oppose things I’ve traditionally opposed, like quotas for areas of space.
The quality of life, ship balance and ecosystem meetings went as I expected them to, although I did feel like there was more discussion of CSM priorities this time around than I recall in the past.
We had an extremely long discussion on Pochven, and I was pleased to see that not only were multiple CSM members going over the results of the Pochven roundtable that was held earlier in the year, CCP had the document and had clearly read it.
We got a chance to see the Excel integration, and this was another one of the extremely well received sessions - the versatility of this tool, which folks should get to see soon now that beta has been announced - is pretty impressive. It blew the minds of some of the CSM members who are spreadsheet nerds, and it even impressed me.
We also had a long discussion with the Tech team about ESI and assorted issues. We made it abundantly clear how important ESI and third party tools are to the game, and I felt better that our concerns were heard and were actively being addressed after this meeting.
Finally, we had multiple sessions with EVE senior leadership, where a variety of subjects were discussed openly, including discussions about the price increase and concerns about PCU and DAU counts. I was pleased to have a frank discussion with Hilmar and the other senior leadership about these issues and that they were willing to go into detail with us rather than just shrugging our concerns off. I expect that will likely be one of the sessions that gets redacted, but I did want players to know that I specifically asked about the price increase, as did other CSM members.
Finally, we had another good chat with the Photon UI team who, in my opinion, are doing a great job in listening to player feedback and addressing issues as they arise. During the summit we saw SISI was updated with the news that Photon will be required for everybody soon, and we were able to discuss some active concerns about things that still needed to be addressed. Given how quickly this team has jumped on bugs and issues in the past, I am cautiously hopeful that when the final day hits for Photon being required, many of the leftover bugs that still exist will have been addressed.
As noted in the schedule, we also talked about heraldry, projection issues, monetization, upcoming player events, Fanfest, player research, wormholes (Mark actually never shut up about them the whole week), and a number of other topics that escape me at the moment but we will see when the minutes came out.
Thanks to CCP Zelus who took notes for the minutes and coordinated the recordings of all the sessions. CCP Swift, CCP Paragon, CCP Bee and CCP Convict helped shepherd us around and make sure we knew what we were doing, and a special shoutout to CCP Convict for helping me put together a Live from CCP HQ Meta Show that aired last Thursday night on INN. And, as always, thanks to CCP Helmar, CCP Rattati, CCP Burger, CCP Orca, CCP Mannbjorn, CCP Psych, CCP Aurora, CCP Mystic, CCP Emerald, CCP Nomad, CCP Dragon, CCP Trash Panda, CCP Rise, CCP Cognac, CCP Goodfella and a whole host of other CCPers who met with us and hung out with us while we spent a week giving them free advice.
This was a long, work intensive week, with meetings starting at 10 each day and running through 5, and then continued discussions and chats happening late into the evening. I’m exhausted from the trip, but I am pleased that my final CSM summit felt as productive as it did.
Finally, thanks to my fellow CSM members. You guys made this an easy week, free from ■■■■■■■■ space drama and personality conflicts, and for that alone I probably should have bought you a few more beers.
I will do my best to answer any questions, but remember - I can’t tell you what CCP said (it’s NDAed), I can’t tell you how they responded to anything we showed them, and I can’t tell you what other CSM members said (unless they give me permission). I can tell you what I said and how I felt, so please don’t ask me things it’s obvious I can’t answer.