Who am I?
My in-game name is Sarin Blackfist, but some in the EVE community might know me by another name without even realizing it. I have not exactly done a great job in separating my real life from my in-game persona. In fact, I’ve been downright terrible at it. My real name is Lee Yancy, and I write as a freelance journalist for Kotaku.com and over the years a few other sites as well. If you’re not familiar with me, you can check out some of my work here: Lee Yancy
I started writing about EVE almost as soon as I started playing EVE, after noticing that Crossing Zebras (https://crossingzebras.com/author/sarin/), an EVE blog that has since closed down, was looking for content writers. I was so enthralled with EVE, and looking for an outlet to talk about how crazy and amazing I thought the game was, that I jumped at the chance to share my experiences. My real life friends at the time were sick of hearing about it, so being given this outlet was a good thing for them, too.
Writing about EVE has given me opportunities that a lot of players normally wouldn’t get. Pretty much any alliance leader in the game is willing to talk to me about random things whenever I reach out, CCP and I are in constant communication about upcoming releases, and I’ve had the honor of breaking some pretty crazy news about EVE to the rest of the gaming world, seeing my words repeated, shared and spread across the world.
I don’t just write about EVE though, I am a director in KarmaFleet, one of the biggest corporations in the game, as well as an alliance director for the Goonswarm Federation, in charge of our squads and special interest groups. In both of those roles, I do my best to help players organize into like minded groups and help them get out into space and play the game.
It’s my in-game job to make sure that the players in my corporation and my alliance have a chance to do just about anything they want in the game. Because of this, I’ve touched a great deal of the game, either flying and experiencing it myself, or interviewing players that have and trying to get an understanding of the needs and wants in different areas of the game, so I can help groups organize around it.
We all know that EVE can be a difficult game to play at times, for a variety of different reasons, and it’s because of that fact that I enjoy what I do so much. I share the stories told in EVE to try and get people invested in our little universe, and once people do wander their way into New Eden, at least if they’re in my tribe, I do my best to make sure there are structures in place to help them do whatever it is that they want to do to start telling their own stories.
Why do I want to be on the CSM?
In my opinion, CSM is the next logical step in pursuing my particular passion for EVE. By being on the Council, I’ll have the opportunity to provide more direct feedback and maybe a suggestion or two to the development team with the goal of helping players find their way, and tell their own story through EVE.
I think I understand why people play EVE, and I know I understand why people that don’t play EVE pay attention to it. I hope that this knowledge, and my somewhat unique experience as a player, will let me bring a fresh new viewpoint to the CSM.
Aside from that, I love EVE Online. I think it’s a fascinating game, an incredible living, breathing science fiction world, and one of the most interesting social experiments ever run on willing participants. Anything I can do to help this game succeed, thrive, or even just survive, I would consider a massive personal achievement.
Why do I think I’ll be an effective CSM?
I’ve interacted with a lot of current and former CSM over the years and consider several of them to be my friends. Because of this, I have a more realistic view on how much impact the CSM have in CCP decisions, and perhaps more importantly how much they frustratingly do not have in others. This gives me a realistic outlook on exactly how much influence and power I would have over the state of the game.
To be more clear about what that means, I am not expecting to kick open the doors of the CSM meetings and tell everyone to shut up and listen to exactly how to fix the game. If I am elected, I don’t intend to walk away from my tenure on the CSM with some system named after me by the player base. My ideal legacy would be a relatively anonymous one, I just want to see people play EVE and do incredible things. Things we can talk about at EVE meets for years to come, and things that the rest of the gaming world can look on with the slack-jawed wonder that we’ve always inspired in them.
One thing that has been repeated by former CSM members in the past, is that there is often a “warming up” period, where new CSM come in, and CCP Employees have to spend time meeting them, getting to know them, and generally feeling them out before maybe fully accepting feedback from the newer members of the Council. I hope that my previous experience with CCP will get me past this phase a bit quicker than most, since I’ve already spent quite a bit of time talking with a lot of them about EVE already, due to my many interviews and stories over the years.
What is my CSM “platform?”
I don’t have one. No, really. I have things that I would like to see changed about EVE. There are things that I think EVE currently does very poorly, and other things that I think the game does extremely well.
However, I understand that the CSM is a focus group, designed to provide feedback on whatever it is that CCP wants to put into EVE. The CSM is not a group of stakeholders setting a development agenda, it is not a governance body that has final say on what can or cannot go into the game. Personally, I find it disingenuous for players to pretend that the CSM can direct what will be introduced into the game, and I will not run under the guise of promising to deliver on features I have no influence over.
There are things that I would like to see introduced or changed, but I refuse to call them a platform, or an agenda, because there is no reason to expect I will be able to change CCPs roadmap or development queue.
That said, what would I like to see improved in EVE?
- More players in space. - EVE is a game about flying spaceships, and using those spaceships to interact with the game world. The more people that are actively sitting in a spaceship and doing literally anything in space, the healthier everyone’s game experience is.
- Better PVE Experience. - EVE’s PVE is… not the best. It is incredibly binary, you either completely succeed or completely fail in most cases. It can be terribly boring and uninteractive, to the point that in a lot of cases being AFK is the most optimal playstyle. This needs to change for the game to be more healthy, and to get more players in space.
- Short session gameplay. - Sometimes you don’t have three hours to sit down and play EVE. Sometimes you only have 30 minutes, and for a lot of playstyles, 30 minutes is not enough time to get anything done. By the time you pick a ship, pick an activity, fly to that activity, or roam around to find a fight, your time is up and you have to head home. Finding niches for players to spend a smaller amount of time in EVE, if that’s all they have, would be great for the game. More players choosing to play, more players in space.
- Reasons to fight. - This is more for the giant alliances and coalitions than anyone else, but there needs to be constant, compelling reasons for players to fight one another. Players need to have reasons, other than hating the other groups of course, to uproot everything they are doing, and go to war. Giant nullsec wars are incredible for the game’s health - for the most part, anyway. They drive the economy, they put players’ butts in spaceship seats, and they draw the attention of the entire world, bringing fresh crops of players into the game. The more reasons we have to fight each other, the more these happen.
- More player control over where they live. - I don’t mean this in the way you might think. This is not about fortifying space, or making it generate more money. I want players to be able to make their mark on their own territory. Change the cosmetics of the area so that you know you’ve entered someone’s turf. Alter the way pirates spawn in a more significant way, alter the composition of resources that are generated somehow. There are a lot of options here that can be explored to allow people to “terraform” their own space so to speak.
- A more level playing field for smaller groups. - EVE will likely always be a game of N+1 when you are talking about balance between groups, and that is a difficult, maybe impossible thing to change. What can be changed is providing tools for smaller groups to bridge the “soft” gaps between small groups and massive entities like Goonswarm. Better taxation options, better in-game corporation tools, better recruitment options, etc. All the things that the giant groups have optimized by using their own internal workforce should be solved by the game itself. You shouldn’t need a dedicated IT team to develop custom software to help run your space tribe, and I think a lot of optimization could be done in that area to help smaller groups.
I would like to stress, I am not promising any of these things, I am not capable of making that promise. This is just a list of some of the issues I currently see with EVE that I would like to see CCP address, on top of bringing out new content, and continuing to develop the game world.
In the end, my true agenda for my CSM term would be to see that “EVE Forever” is not just a marketing term for CCP. I want EVE to grow, evolve, and continue to mature in its third decade, because I want to keep telling our stories to the rest of the world. I think they are worth telling.
The elephant in the room.
Yes, I am in Goonswarm. In fact, I am in a leadership position in Goonswarm. For a lot of you, that means I am the bad guy, and that I am perhaps not even in consideration of your vote this year. I want to make it clear that I am not running to be a “Goon CSM.” I’m not even sure if I will be on the official Imperium Ballot, and if I am, I will not be high up on it. My intent is to run as an independent candidate, and If I am elected, I will be elected on my own merit by people largely not in my alliance.
If you have concerns about this, or anything else I’ve said, please reach out. I absolutely love talking about EVE Online!