NOTE: TL;DR at the end of the post.
---- Some Context ----
I’ve been playing EVE-O seriously for over 4 years now, I had tried it previously a couple of times but like probably a lot of people in here, it didnt stick due to confussing UI and lack of newbie guidance. Despise that, I kept watching videos and reading news as the concept of the game itself fascinated me: player driven conflicts, economy, coalitions, backstabbing, salt, big battles, (more) salt… EVE was unique in its own way, enough to keep me interested although I wasnt playing it.
4 Years ago, after reading Empires of EVE and stumbling upon some news about WWB I, I decided to give it another go and never stopped since, that was the same year I switched from a Computering Science degree to a Game Design degree.
The more I played and learned about game design, the more I became fascinated with the complexity of the mechanics in EVE and how hard must be trying to balance every aspect of the game so even most of the playstyles remain viable whilist keeping a steady flux of changes in order to keep the game interesting. That was when I started looking into the CSM, an elected representative player council whose primary goals were help CCP shape the game and act as a bridge between the players concerns and the company.
The concept on paper sounds great, but what do the players think about it? How does it work? And most importantly, does it work?
It doesnt take a thorough research to see that players are very vocal about the CSM, wether they like it or hate it there seem to be plenty of valid points on each side, and thats where the “truth” becomes a little blurry.
I decided that I wanted to try to shed some light into the matter. As I’m approaching the end of my studies and I have to write a closing thesis, this seemed a perfect opportunity to work on it.
---- My Goals ----
Once established that I wanted to work on this subject, I set a list of goals that I want to cover:
- How does the CSM work?
As stated several times already by the community, there’s not much information about how the CSM works and what do they do other than the Summit Meeting Minutes and the CSM webpage.
On this behalf, it seemed to me like not enough information was beeing shared about the CSM for the players to feel like it was something real and useful for the game.
- Do players like it?
It may seem out of place but, ultimately, a videogame is a product, and the players are its consumers. Finding out if the general playerbase is happy with a feature its important by itself, regardless of that feature beeing good or bad for the game.
- How legitimate are the usual complaints of the playerbase about the CSM?
“Is the voting system fair?” “Does the CSM act thinking about the health of the game or only their own organizations?” "Is the CSM just a PR stunt? " If theres some talk about the CSM there will be people arguing about this stuff, so I wanted to research and ask about this as much as I could to try to give an educated answer to this questions by myself.
- How different it is compared to other player councils?
There’s other online games with player councils similar to the CSM, I want to research how do they work and what pros/cons could I find comparing those to the CSM.
- What does the CSM provide compared to other traditional ways of gathering player feedback or how can it complement them?
Perhaps the most important question, analyzing what does this exact approach can provide in terms of feedback, suggestions and ideas that would make maintaining an organism like this over the years worth it.
- Could something like the CSM be integrated in other videogame genres?
Not a simple question to answer, as EVE’s council is very unique in its approach, I wanted to experiment trying to find a model that could work outside MMOs.
---- What did I do? ----
With this list in mind and after researching, I started contacting some eve personas, CSM and ex-CSM members with a list of questions to try to give an answer to some of the points stated above, at the same time I contacted CCP with the same goal (thanks u/CCP_Dopamine for your help).
Kindly enough a number of them answered my polls (thank you too guys), and even one of the topics I wanted to adress have found some short of response in this excellent post (https://www.reddit.com/r/Eve/comments/ht08ke/csm_15_monthinreview/) by Brisc Rubal explaining some of the CSM agenda and giving us, the players, a perspective of how much work they put into this game and what are they working on.
---- The Poll ----
Now that I’ve put in perspective some of my work, I need your help with a short poll to find out what you guys think about the CSM. The poll itself its very short by design, so as not to driven away people with a cascade of endless questions, but theres some blanks where you can write your opinion in any topic you may want to adress, I would love to hear all of your opinions and experiences on the subject so please share as much as you want.
I have been writing a thesis about player councils and the CSM for my Game Design degree and I want to know your thoughts on the topic, which is very important as ultimately you guys, the users, are the final goal when designing for a videogame.
For that I reason, would love you to take a short google form, which you can do while waiting for the next stratop to form, the next target to go through the gate or the next site to pop up.
Thanks everyone and fly safe o7.