February 12, 2015

Meta of the Meta: Themes from the CSM interviews

There have been some themes developing from the CapStable interviews of the CSM candidates.  I verge on calling them myths.  Let's back up a step and look at when the meta of the meta is here.  For each of these the initial take is negative, but stick with me for the good news.

CSM X will be all about Null Sov mechanics, therefore we should (disproportionately) elect nullsec players

This is blatant with some candidates and more subtle with others.  In the CapStable Analysis podcasts we see them getting carried away by this too.  I think it's a mistake.  I agree that nullsec issues will be the biggest theme of CSM X, but we're going to need a CSM that covers all the other things too.  This isn't even getting into the "how null impacts the rest of the game" argument.  We've got the building Drifter/Jove/Sleeper thing which is not-just-null, we're going to have ship rebalancing and maybe new ships, we're going to have ongoing changes in corporation mechanics.  While null is important for CSM X, we have to get away from thinking CSM X is going to be "all about null."

The Good News: The major null candidates appear to be serious about the change, bringing a very open attitude about the game being more important that their null-bloc.  We've come a long way from The Mittani saying he was only there to represent Goons.

Anything CSM X not about Null Sov will be about NPE, therefore we should (disproportionately) elect new players

The logic here apparently is "I'm a new player, therefore I'm an expert on the New Player Experience, therefore I should be a CSM."  There have been so many of these that I'm finding it hard to say new things about each of their interviews.  We've had someone who is barely old enough in the game to vote in the election, that's how far we're going here.  I'd rather have one Sugar Kyle or Mike Azariah gathering feedback from a lot of new players across the scope of the game than a dozen brand-new players whose suggestions may be well-intended and very true to their experience, but either already beaten to death or completely at odds with Eve as a game.

The Good News: We've seen a lot of very new players who are very excited about the game, so much so that they're willing to step up to run for a very tough job that puts them right in the spotlight.  I may be critical of them in the context of whether I think people should vote for them, but that passion is to be praised.  If these same people show up next year or the year after that then we're going to have a lot of great competition for the CSM.

Gender Imbalance in Eve

It's a long running commentary that while half of the characters may be female, there are very few female players compared to other MMOs.  This is nothing new, and more a sidenote than a theme. I'm finding it more and more amusing when a character has a particularly feminine name and avatar, then you fire up the CapStable interview and you get this really deep male voice.  I think the "Suzy RC Mudstone" interview with the thin, vulnerable avatar image was the tipping point here.  The classic straight-male-stereotype MMO logic here is (to paraphrase a friend) "if I'm going to have to stare at the ass of my character all the time, it might as well be a hot woman's ass."  So this is doubly funny in Eve because you pretty much never see your avatar outside of the little picture next to your name, and that the game exists so much on voice comms where the disconnect between your name and voice is constantly present.  I wonder if this speaks to the disconnect between what a brand new person thinks Eve will be like and what the actual experience of Eve is like.  This also reinforces the idea that only men play Eve - as some may recall how Ripard Teg referred to Sugar Kyle as "he" in one of his blogs.  My position here continues to be the same as the comment I left on Ripard's blog post.  I'll use the gender pronoun that matches the character as default until I have reason to know the gender of the player behind that character.
Full disclosure: My main is male, my two alts are female with one named after my daughter (I should really resculpt her too). I only have one account.

The Good News: The women who have served on CSM or who are running for CSM are really shining brightly.  Ali Aras last CSM, Sugar Kyle this CSM, and now with June Ting as a new candidate.  If a mainstream gaming magazine was to do an article with some awkward title like "The Women of Eve" interviewing these women plus Greygal, Mynxee and Nystrik then you would end up with an article that had a wide sweep of the playstyles of Eve and a great representation of the player base as a whole.


  1. An interesting fact about Suzy RC Mudstone. At the beginning of the campaign, he made an appearance on one of the EVE Radio talk shows and when the subject of allowing name changes came up, he stated he wished he had named his character RC and left the Suzy off.

    1. I know there has also been a thread on potentially gender-shifting characters as well. It would be interesting to see the stats on that if it's added.

  2. I should be clear that I am not running on a platform based on my gender. I happen to be female, but I'm offering no specific platform features around gender balance at this time, and would prefer that people vote for me because they like my platform rather than reasons related to my gender.

    1. Please do understand that while I am happy to see more women getting the spotlight in what is seen as a male-dominated game, my positive impressions of you from your interview were driven by your crisp and professional approach to the game and your potential role as CSM, not your gender. I do hope that years down the road the gender of players (and CSMs) in Eve will be so irrelevant that they are not worth even mentioning.

  3. Offtopic: who needs a resculpting, your daughter or the avatar based on?