Mike Azariah for CSM16

It is like deja vu all over again -Y. Bera

“Who are you?"
“No one of consequence.”
“I must know.” W. Goldman

I am Mike Azariah. I have been playing Eve since 2008. In that time I have done a lot of things in the game, lived in a wormhole, been in wardecs and null sec wars, ran with a gank crew once, gate camped and been gate camped, gone on small gang roams, fc’d, flown logi . . . . Eve is like that, there is lots to do if you go out and look for it. In that regard my ‘Eve Story’ is a lot like a lot of other players. We stick to it, trying different things until we land in something we enjoy and/or are good at.

For the past few years I have been running a New Player help initiative called Operation Magic School Bus. I will continue to do this throughout the campaign and beyond, win or lose.

In addition to flying all over the place I have served on CSM 8, 9, 10, and am just finishing off my term on CSM 15. I am usually pigeonholed as the ‘hisec guy, or the NPE guy’ by folks who choose not to get to know me any better than a simple label or two. I have tried, over my terms to keep an eye on the forums and keep lines of communication open to the players, as best I can under the NDA.

I stream now and again but do not consider myself a streamer, I make lesson videos for Eve players but do not consider myself a youtuber, either. I have a blog where I write my Eve thoughts but in fictional form (this, apparently drives some people a bit mad). Mainly what I do a lot of is talking and listening. Turns out that I have some skill in that regard.

“We have top men working on it right now” . . . “Who?” -Raider of the Lost Arc

Now if you insist on asking my area of expertise? Yeah it is hisec and the institutional memory of Eve and CSM, I have been here a long time and that does count for something. But I do like to look at the over-all connections. How one small change in one area may have a huge impact on another.

What do you want from me _A. Lambert

What you can expect from me is more of what I have a proven track record of being active on the forums, talking to the players and taking their concerns back to CCP. I attend all the CSM/CCP meetings that I can and take an active part in them.

But there is another thing that you need to consider. You are not electing some space captain immortal. Quite the opposite. You are voting for men and women who will have real lives, real families. So I thought you should know a bit about me.

paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars. - W Yeats

I am a retired teacher in Canada. That is probably why I tend to help the new bros and have the time to ‘drive the Bus’. My health is not the best and this past year was a rough one. While serving on CSM 15 I spend time in the hospital (Cancer, not COVID). I do my best to balance real life with Eve Life and have a loving family that reminds me when the balance gets out of whack.

Help me help you - J Maguire

In the end? We are playing a game. I want that game to thrive, to grow, to be all we can imagine and more. To that end I serve on the CSM and try to help. A few things started in CSM 15 that I want a chance to see through to fruition. No, I cannot say what they are but I really want to be there to finish things that I had a hand in starting. So what I am asking for is that you put me on your ballet, preferably at the top. The nature of the election process is that if a candidates name is not in the first few positions they are unlikely to survive long enough to get the trickle down votes.

There are some good people running already in this race and I hope I get a chance to work with some of them. But that will be up to you.

Ask questions below or
twitter @mikeazariah
Twitch Twitch
Discord is the least of my comms, it gets too noisy for me, most times. But I can and will show up for specific chats/events.

One last thing, the following is a talk I gave in Eve Vegas in 2017. You want to know how I think? Take some time and watch that.

tl:dr
I have the experience
I want your votes

m

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As always, I will vote for Mike, but only at the bottom of my list.

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What do you see as the biggest pain points of Eve in your area of expertise?

How do you see the CSM in showing that to CCP?

NDAs withstanding, how did you resolve a conflict between CSM and CCP over a proposed change to a major issue?

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In my area of the new player experience? The churn, that is the loss of players who start eve and do not last out the week. If we could keep more players then perhaps it would expand the possibilities. As to some of the things that may attribute to this churn? Yes, I have worked with CCP on it . . . a lot.

Let me take that back a step and make it less about me and more about how the CSM works. We have multiple lines of communication with them and access to a lot of different levels of management. The key is always talking to the right people for the right thing. This is one of the reasons electing incumbents like myself is such a boon. We HAVE the names and contacts already formed. I cannot go into specifics but arguing till you are blue in the face to the wrong people will get you nothing. Different CSMs have different modes and strategies.

That depends on the conflict and how far down the path we are. There are times when CCP is not stopping the truck on our say so, the best we can hope for is to try to (as my dad used to say) hit something cheap. Other times we can argue and make them aware of WHY something is a bad idea. With specific examples. What we don’t do is what the forums seem to revel in. We don’t call for the head of whoever thought of the idea. We don’t scream and enumerate the number of accounts we are unsubbing. As I said, above, we learn who is the right person to talk to and what the best ways to argue are. This is another reason why you want at least a few incumbents on the CSM to help the new council members learn the ropes. More than that I do not want to go too much into detail because who knows? Maybe CCP reads this stuff too and I do not want to show them all the cards.

Good questions JV, thank you

m

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Mike is a man of focus, commitment and sheer will. You sir can count on my undevided support for CSM 16. There are a lot of great people that makes Eve what it is, and you sure are one of them.

P.S.: It’s about damn time CCP release a yellow school bus skin for that freighter of yours!

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Hi Mike,

I voted for you last year and I’ll probably vote for you again this year. I know you do very commendable work in trying to keep new players around and so I donated to the Magic School Bus program. I am very interested in this area and think new player retention is an area of extreme importance that many people do not fully understand.

My question is - and I hope this isn’t misinterpreted as being misanthropic - do you think player-led inititatives like the MSB may make CCP feel new player retention is a job best done by the community, rather than their need to overhaul/improve existing systems? Of course, I’m not for a second suggesting you stop running the MSB, like I said I know you do great work.

I guess I’m asking - how do you communicate to CCP that this is an area of extreme importance and that player initiatives (such as yours) indicate that the existing systems are lacking and that CCP need to put more effort into it, as opposed to a “well, Mike’s got new players covered so we can focus on other stuff” approach?

I support this product and/or service

Do you consider this year to have been a sucessfull one? After a year off so many negative changes to the player economy, do you feel you have acchieved anything in the CSM? If you are wondering what I mean. I think it s called not enough carrots by Dunk. I also include the Edencom and Pochven debacle, where the cataclismic story ended in introducing useless things a whole Ship race and Region that the playerbase did not ask for and is not using, not to mention that anyone supporting Edencom got completely shafted. What is your stance on the Industrie changes?

The new player experience needs PvP content. I think it’s the #1 reason new players leave the game, they are bored out of their mind and don’t want to grind.

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New player retention is currently still a major problem in Eve .
Running for the 5th time and being involved in this , when can we expect to see improvements ?

I agree, if it is such a major part of the game it is a mistake not to include it in the NPE. Thing is? We need to find a way to make it something more than a small pond where more experienced hunters come for cheap kills.

m

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I’ve always suggested that they could take new players in Ventures, put them in a site together, and they have a choice. They can share the ore, or they can fight over it. Winner takes all. I remember as a new player, I wasn’t even sure if EVE was a PvP game at all. I tried to find content, and I had no idea where it was. Other players were asking the same question. People said, “Go to lowsec” but I couldn’t find any PvP. Most systems were empty. People would just warp away from you, or I would warp away. Lowsec was boring. So I just started killing miners in Highsec. You can blame the NPE for that.

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They know this. They have run the stats on the GM version of the Bus which and looked for the Magic Moments that seem to have a serious effect on player retention. Tricky part is? The Magic was in us all along . . . .sorry could not leave that joke just lay there. The Magic is the interaction with other people. GMs, me, you. This is why even being ganked can be a retention tool. It is realizing that this game is an MMO and that the other players out there see you. THAT keeps some folks playing.

m

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They could also just EXPLAIN PvP to new players. There’s very little information in the NPE, and CCP shouldn’t be outsourcing to EvE Uni (which is NOT a neutral organization). They should just explain how to fight, where to find fights, all the stuff that new players are never told. Something simple like “Go to Tama” would be good, but instead the NPE pushes new players into BORING grindy content. The combat missions are way too easy, and you are just soloing wave after wave of braindead rats, gaining no real understanding of what a properly fit frigate can do.

The last time I checked, D-Scan and combat probing wasn’t even mentioned in the NPE. It was just grindy carebear stuff like “This is how you do a relic site.” Why not add a “Scan down the enemy Venture and kill it with your Catalyst” mission?

They could have an in-game FAQ, instead of the spammy off-topic worthless Rookie Help channel. This game is nearly twenty years old now, there’s just no excuse. I could write a better new player tutorial myself, so CCP should really get back to basics and stop making silly side projects.

The real problem with new player retention is a LOT of people don’t want to grind, but the NPE leaves one with the impression that grinding is the whole game.

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Okay, very efficient paragraph, there, a lot in it to unpack.

  1. I and Brisc often ask for the carrots in CSM meetings. So this is not something being ignored.
  2. I thought the Trig storyline was a fantastic addition to the game, I just did not like the results. There are a few people making a LOT of profit in Pochven space but not me, I flew for Edencom.
  3. I see where CCP is trying to get with the industry changes but I liken this to physiotherapy. If you want things to work later you are going to go through a lot of pain in the short term. That said some of their methods seem off and I am very glad that we have CSM people like Kenneth Feld who has been instrumental in getting right into the numbers and the nitty gritty.

That last bit demands a little expansion. You are electing a council. I am asking to be on that council but it would be a huge mistake to elect 10 of me. Diversity of skills, experience, attitudes makes the CSM strong. Null has and probably will get their people in and that is OK . . . as long as other viewpoints are represented as well. Wormholers? Get your Sh*t together put some real candidates up. Lowsec, same thing.

Null campaign folks will tell you that hisec never manages to elect anyone because it refuses to coordinate, to organize. In a way it is true. Most solo players, the unattached? We do keep to hisec. I probably am best known amongst the Alpha players that I help, which is not very useful when the Alphas cannot vote. This is why I am in here answering questions . . . campaigning. And if you think I stop working at it once I get elected then i ask you to check my record, ask the other CSM or the past ones.

I need the votes and I work to get them.

m

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Hello Mike

Thank you for your reply. You seem to agree with me in many points, so I would like to come back to my first question. Do you feel the CSM was able to stear against scarcity, mineral distribution and Industry changes? or were you just put in front off facts. Because apparently the wealth accumulated over the past years seems to be regarded as a problem, but CCP is going after income generation and it feels like the miner, the guy running havens and the industrialist is getting punished. But the ones that amassed the wealth, that are sitting on stockpiles off supers and dreads just doubled their networth. Why is a taxation on wealth and assets not beeing considered, when that is aparently the problem?

Agree 10,000%.

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At times the Devs come to us with a plan, ready to roll. We than can ask why, what the goals are . . .etc but stop it? No.

as an aside I still really miss Dr Eyjo. (The economist CCP had on staff for years)

What we could do is ask them to explain why they had this plan in place and what the goals were. I am also one to ask ‘how will you know when we get there’ in other words was there a set destination for this trip through industrial turmoil.

Tax things? Hard to press for as I am sure there are a lot of players who claim to have ‘won eve’ who would be quite ticked off if they came back to find their wallets empty as we taxed them for the audacity of owning things.

As to the other part ‘the rich get richer’ well that has, sadly been a fact of life for a long time but some of those industry changes may have a larger effect on the big boys as opposed to the small fry. As a lot of the smaller industry folks live more hand to mouth and the big ops need to access a steady supply or dip into the stores . . .

When people ask ‘Why didn’t you stop CCP from doin X’ my mind always goes back to a scene from Lethal Weapon. Riggs handcuffs himself to a possible suicide then jumps off the ledge. When asked what he was doing he yells ‘I controlled the fall’

There are times when CCP is on the ledge and we know it is going to jump so if we are beyond talking them down we try to control the fall. We chip at the edges to lessen the possible damage and try to help CCP see that there are players out there. We are in mid air when it comes tot he scarcity and industry changes. They jumped and we are handcuffed to them, trying to aim for for the big inflatable at the bottom.

m

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No doubt, you got my vote once again.

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I feel that the real problem here is that this is a numbers game. There have been a small handful of WH candidates over the years who stood no chance at all in the running despite being very good candidates who actually understood wormhole issues. Overall, CSM is extremely unbalanced. There is no HS representation, no LS representation, and next to no WH representation.

How would you feel about pushing for a CSM that includes a set number of candidates from each region, rather than 8 goons + 2 randoms every year? (e.g. 2 from NS, 2 from HS, 2 from LS, 2 from WH, etc.).

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