February 28, 2015

Tactical Voting

Now for something I expect every thoughtful CSM voter struggles with to some degree - tactical voting.  When do you vote with your heart and when do you vote with your head. I'll walk through my list to wrestle with my demons of pragmatism as I compose my vote before I head over to sort through the many faces posted on the CSM site.

I recommended a list of candidates, without explicitly giving them ballot ranks.  That's our base to work from.  Then we can consider what other people/groups have put forth as their recommendations (see cool chart from Danikov).  In general the wisdom seems to be that your vote will be all used up in your top 6-8 slots. So for instance...

Sugar Kyle: I'm far from alone in thinking she's a great choice for CSM X.  She even appears on some official bloc lists (though not super high).  So should I vote her first to match the work she's done and will do, or move someone I'm more worried about towards to top?

Ashterothi: as a new candidate he has the media presence of two podcasts and the lore surge behind him.  But he doesn't show up on nearly as many blog lists and is absent from the bloc lists.  I've heard he's concerned about staying off the cut-list from the bottom.  So he needs to move up to the top.

corbexx: Surely the wormholers will pull together to make sure he's in, right?  But there is dispute out there on how big the WH population really is, and the analysis of CSM 9 voting showed how fragmented the WH vote was, so he's not as much of a lock as you might think for the undisputed best candidate for an entire class of gameplay.  On the other hand, I'm not really a WH guy.

Mike Azariah: Speaking of being the top candidate for an entire security class and yet not secure... so will highsec players actually turn out this year, after a series of decreasing voting rates?  Will his media presence help carry him?  He's in the "top tier" of Danikov's analysis of blog recommendations.

Jayne / Bam: So how much weight does the RVB ballot and Mangala's recommendation really carry?  Is RVB truly a bunch of alts who will instead vote with their mains, or is it (combined) the fourth largest alliance in Eve?

June Ting: It sounds like I am in the minority in thinking she sounded great.  At least she's on the Declarations of War list.  If HERO had gotten their ballot together I assume she'd be near the top, but it sounds like they did the disorganized thing instead.  I looked around the Brave Newbies subreddit and didn't see anything about CSM at all, only their local Council of Newbie Management election.  So that then speaks to Cagali Cagali as a candidate too - if he can't get organized enough to put a ballot out for his alliance, can he be organized enough to be an effective CSM?

So I think my top six votes if I ignore tactical voting is something like this:
Sugar, Steve, Ashterothi, June, Mike, corbexx (or maybe Gorski as a wildcard)

If I vote more tactically it's more like this:
Ashterothi, June, Gorski, Mike, Psianh, Steve ... but can I really not put Sugar in the top?

Now I have been known to overthink things (*ahem*) but I expect this is the kind of thing that just leads people to say "screw it" and vote the ballot that their alliance leader or favorite blogger suggests.

Off to the ballot box...

Update: if you dither too much on the voting page you'll get a bit of a surprise - apparently it logged me out for inactivity?  Fortunately it appears to have saved your ballot in cache, so when you log back in you won't lose where you were.

February 25, 2015

CSM X Voting lists

If you want to balance multiple bloggers against each other on the topic of CSM candidates, here you go.  These voting lists are in no particular order, and I'll keep adding to them as I hear of more.  If anyone knows of the null-bloc ballots, I'd be interested to link those too.  I'd be curious to put together a meta-analysis to see who the blogosphere is voting for - maybe later.  (Hint: from reading these I'd say that Sugar Kyle would be the top slot of such an analysis.)

Edit: Noizy points out this has been done: Danikov's List Mapping
Blue = Bloc
Green = Top candidates
Yellow = Second tier 

Jakob Anedalle - what, you didn't think I was going to list my own?

Rixx Javix - Lowsec/Pirate POV - Eveoganda

Rhavas - WH POV - Interstellar Privateer

Noisy Gamer - WH / Security POV - Noizy Gamer

Lockefox - Market POV - Eve Prosper

Kirith Kodachi - Lowsec POV - Inner Sanctum of the Ninveah

Neville Smit - ex-EveUni boss and all-round elder statesman POV - Neville Smit.com

Sugar Kyle - CSM Incumbent, Lowsec POV - Low Sec Lifestyle

Declarations of War Podcast - DoW Ballot

Steve Ronuken - Fuzzworks - CSM X Ballot

Mangala Solaris - RvB Ganked - CSM X Community, Community, Community

Jakob's CSM Ballot Recommendations

So, it's voting time!

The way I'm approaching CSM X is to build a strong portfolio of candidates.  When you are making a portfolio of investments, you want exposure to a mixture of sectors and you want strong returns.  You'll want some positions with consistent and unexciting returns, and depending on your own personal risk flavor you'll want to take a chance on some positions that may have great returns but on a lower probability.  You may also consider some sectors of the market more valuable to you.  My returns from this portfolio I hope to be a better game, and greedily a game that I personally will enjoy more.

So I want to see a CSM that has a wide variety of aspects of the game covered.  I have a bias towards lowsec, so that will get heavier weighting, but I want to see nullsec, highsec, wormhole space, PVPers, PVEers, industrialists, traders, mercenaries.  The whole lot of them.  So let's see what I can find for a portfolio of 14 candidates.

Portfolio by Sector

Let's envision parts of the game as sectors of a the investment world that we might want to invest in.  If I want to have that diversified portfolio, while still having emphasis on what's most important to me then who would I put my votes with?

Security Space:
Lowsec: Ashterothi (FW), Sugar Kyle (Pirate)
Highsec: Mike Azariah
W-space: corbexx
Nullsec: June Ting, Psianh Auvyander, (see also "Off Balance Sheet Assets" below)

Activity Type:
PVP: Gorksi Car (solo), Ashterothi (small gang), June Ting (null fleet)
PVE: Mike Azariah (missions, incursions), Ashterothi (exploration)
Industry/Trade: Steve Ronuken, Sugar Kyle
NPSI/Social: Bam Stoker, Jayne Fillon
Mercenaries: Psianh Auvyander
NPE/Marketing/Wildcard: Chance Ravinne

Where I'll put my voting investment

Sugar Kyle - Proven High Return, Low Sec Sector and Strong Communicator
She's the undisputed hardest working member of CSM 9.  She covers low-sec as well as industry and trade activities in her expertise.  She's a huge communicator.  Really, what more could I ask for in a CSM? In fact, she's so focused on communication that you can see her helping to publicize her quieter colleagues work for them.  Speaking of which...

Steve Ronuken - Proven High Return, API and Market Sectors
He's the opposite of Sugar in publicity, but right up there with being praised by existing and candidate CSMs for his hard work (by Sugar, corbexx, Sion, Bam, etc).  There is no competing candidate who can do what Steve can do when it comes to the API, though there may be some competition in the depth of knowledge of the markets.  Steve should be on list for pretty much everyone in the game. (for amusement value, see Sugar's comment on his CREST API blog post)

Ashterothi - Multiple Vital Sectors, Strong Market Leverage
As a Faction Warfare pilot I don't see any candidate who can better represent FW lowsec.  As someone who is excited about the intersection of the Lore and the game itself there is no candidate who can speak to that like Ash.  As someone who prefers small gang action there are few candidate on the same level, particularly if you then restrict it to engagements in the lowsec environment.  As a bonus put in his potential as a communicator though High Drag and Hydrostatic Podcast.  Ash is a natural vote for me.

corbexx - Proven High Return, Wormhole Sector
Like Steve it appears corbexx has done far more work than he may get credit for.  Just as you've probably all seen in RL, sometimes the kind of people who do hard work are the kind of people who aren't good about advertising themselves.  In possible reinforcement of this point, after I posted about his interview from CapStable I got an email from corbexx.  He was polite in his email and argued his position on specialists versus generalists very well.  Now it is very nice as a small time blogger to get a response from a CSM, and it shows that he's keeping a finger on the wider community outside the top sites and blogs.  Wormholes aren't hugely important to me right now, but I wouldn't want them to go unrepresented.  And if you're going to pick a top rep for wormholes, it's corbexx.  There's just no argument.

Mike Azariah - Solid Blue Chip
Mike is a prolific communicator and one of the few strong voices for the casual player (which is very important to me) as well as highsec and to a lesser extent the incursion community.  I don't know that he's a huge contributor from what I hear compared to people like the ones above, so not a "big return" investment, but a solid consistent one.  I can be confident Mike will continue as he has and not blow up in some fiasco or go off the rails on an ego trip.  This may sound like a weak argument, but you don't have to read much of the Eve media right now to see people you might regret voting for later.

June Ting - Solid Null Sector Opportunity
I was very impressed with her interview, as I said in my earlier post.  She has a good background and an even better professional attitude.  I think she will help balance the bloc-null opinions in the big null work that is generally expected during CSM X, and after hearing the other HERO-bloc candidates interview I think she's also the best of that group.  As Ali Aras' campaign manager she also knows what she's getting into.  I'm not terribly worried about the fact that she won't be able to go to Iceland given her RL skills and the reports of CSM 9 candidates who have been able to be effective remote attendees.

Psianh Auvyander - Solid Null Sector Opportunity
As I said in my original analysis of Psianh and June, I felt they were very close.  Both un-affiliated (ish) null-sec leaders with all the experience with the corp interface and POSes that this implies.  Both with a legit claim to back up NPE planks in their platform that was beyond the "I'm a new pilot, so I know how to fix NPE."  Both with medium-ish size fleet leadership experience.  Psianh has the additional kick of being a mercenary leader I can respect (sorry, highsec griefers) and an opportunity to be a communicator through the Declarations of War podcast.  At the time that both of the interviewed I thought I might have to pick only one.  Having seen the other candidates, I think my ballot is best served with both.

Bam Stroker - Niche Social Sector, Promising Returns
Bam comes to his candidacy with a list of bona fides as a community organizer and the fact of the AU time zone.  In my original analysis I spoke entirely of his Social and NPSI aspects,  which is pretty much all he's running on officially, but we shouldn't ignore that he is also a null sec resident with the mindset of PL.  The risk is that he'll be a one trick pony, but I think that's balanced with a broader base that comes from his wider social network.  Even if he isn't running on other topics, with a rolodex like that he should be able to call on experts in pretty much any topic.

Gorski Car - High Risk, High Return
I was back and forth on Gorski, but I have to say that Sugar Kyle saying that he has blossomed as a CSM and transcended his troll nature means a lot to me.  Having someone who can represent the solo PVP playstyle should be very good.  I can imagine that the interaction between Gorski / Rise / Fozzie on ship rebalancing would be amazing to be able to eavesdrop on.  The risk here relates to his engagement level and how well he can keep his head and influence CCP and the other CSM.

Chance Ravinne - High Risk, High Return
In my review on his interview I said I wasn't sure if I'd rather have him as a CSM or for CCP to just hire him.  I can't influence CCP hiring him, but I can vote for him to be CSM and bring some of that infectious energy and marketing brainstorming into the equation.  Maybe they'll hire him afterwards.  The risk here is one of the candle that burns twice as bright - will he survive a full term at the energy level he's exhibiting now?  It's enough to put him on my ballot, but I admit he isn't going to be near the top.

Jayne Fillon - High Risk, High Return
Many candidates were tainted by the blow-up that was Funky Bacon, with the blogopodosphere largely laying that at the door of media types.  I think it was more of an ego thing, which makes me worry about Jayne - at that's the High Risk of this investment opportunity you see before you.  The High Return is very similar to Chance Ravinne: huge amount of energy and a representation of what can help energize Eve and bring in more players.  My gut is that Jayne and Chance will be one-CSM-and-done, either through burnout or blow-up.  They're the kind of candidate I might regret later, but if they pay off it could be big.

Off Balance Sheet Assets

But Jakob, I hear you say, you left out some really incredible people!  There are many people who are guaranteed (or nearly so) spots due to their position on null-bloc voting rosters.  The second contains people who may be strong in particular areas but who I think are bested by others.  So allow me to review:

Endie / Manny: As I mentioned in their interviews, these guys both really impressed me.  I've heard some rumbling that these guys might not be locks because of other people running from their blocs.  That really puts me on a fence for including them on the voting list since I think it would be a real loss if they aren't on CSM X.  You'll notice I only have eleven candidates above.  While it may not really matter, there's a strong chance these guys will fill out my ballot, perhaps also with...

Xander Phoena: I'm up in the air on Xander.  His demeanor on his podcast had been rubbing me the wrong way, which pretty much played right into the allegations that Sion has had.  I think that Xander has made a strong defense of himself on Crossing Zebras, but now I have enough doubt that I'm recalculating what contributions I think he's made.  In the end I'll leave it that if he is elected on the strength of his bloc and his media presence then I'll be happy enough with that, but if he doesn't make it then I won't be sad either.  I hope that if he doesn't make it then he can be a strong, positive light on the CSM and CCP and won't be made too bitter by the struggle with Sion and whoever is part of his faction inside of the CFC.

Sion Kumitomo: I was very impressed with his interview on CapStable and his articles on TMDC.  Sugar Kyle thinks highly of him, and that carries a lot of weight for me.  But let's not kid ourselves here, the CFC will elect him without the help of the likes of me, so my vote is best spent elsewhere.

Sortdragon / Thoric Frosthammer / corebloodbrothers / UAXDeath: So these Null folks are going to get voted in by their respective blocs.  For an independent person like me what this means is that they effectively take away slots I can help put people in.  If wormholes are an area of the game that I like to dip into from time to time, I have much less interest in null so even if I had more votes to give they wouldn't rise to the borderline level of Endie or Manny.

If you're in the independent group, realize that 6-7 of the 14 CSM slots will be taken by these heavy bloc folks.  The question is who will be the other 7-8 CSMs?

So get out there and VOTE.

CSM Candidate Summaries, Part 6

So apparently there are 66 candidates out there, but since not all of them did CapStable interviews then this is the LAST of my candidate summaries.  Coming up next will be my personal recommendations for a ballot.  In a later post I'll also try to link to as many other ballot recommendations as I've seen out there for readers who might better match those authors in playstyle.

Top Notch Candidates

None.  Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that the very last people to get an interview in are also not exactly the top notch candidates.

Worthy of Consideration

Xander Phoena: (Null/PL)
CSM Incumbent. My estimation of Xander has fallen a lot over this CSM year, particularly because of the whole Twitter-blocking incident and all of the fallout that came from it. On the plus side, I respect a lot how he stuck to his guns on the jump range nerf even as he got kicked out of the CFC for it.  The public media fight between him and Sion make both of them look bad.  I think he's going to be polarizing for people, but I think each voter should review what Xander has fought for, what he has done to communicate with the community, and from there decide where and if he should be on your ballot.  (Forum Thread)(Podcast)

Ariete: (Wormhole)
Ariete does both PVP and PVE in C5, dropping into null and low to roam.  He has done a similar role in Star Wars Galaxies engaging with the developers and player representatives, so that's a nice positive.  He makes a good argument in response to the usual "this is going to be a nullsec CSM" in pointing out that corp and alliance management are very true for WHs groups, as well as concern that T3 cruisers could be nerfed for their nullsec role and impact their usage in WHs. Then we get into POS work, which is obviously huge for wormholers.  I appreciate his wanting to make wormholes part of the NPE, but it really seems at risk of a "run before you walk" scenario.  Think of all the things the newbro realisitically has to know before stepping into that WH for the first time.  Note that this interview was before the "Opportunities" dev blog which might be a way to level this in as a link in the web out on the edges.  In response to the obvious corbexx comparison he states that he wants to assist corbexx in his goals.  If you're a wormholer you probably would like more than just one CSM, so you should consider Ariete.  I see he's done a Wormhole Town Hall on his candidacy, so I'd recommend WHers seek that out and definitely do read his forum thread.  There's a flag for me that he mentions that he's not a blogger and his communication plan as CSM would be to "just talk to people."  There is a good point made there that since corbexx is a hard worker but not a big communicator, then a second WH candidate who is also not a big communicator may not be a good idea. (Forum Thread)(Podcast)

Alyxportur: (Null/Kadeshi, PI, Nerf Ishtars/Cloaks)
With a low-key, calm demeanor Alyxportur doesn't exhibit the passion that we hear from some candidates.  He has a number of items that he's interested in but it's hard for me to get a feel for how that all pulls together for him.  Nerf Ishtars (so sayeth we all?), Cloaky campers (common null hot topic), Corp/Alliance bookmarks (common), Logi on killmails (ditto).  He did speak on some length on PI, which is a topic that a lot of capsuleers would care about given how often I hear them mentioned as an income source for people.  Then at the very end of the interview when he threw in the concept of corp-set LP tax that we got to a potentially interesting topic that might be relevant to a reworked null, but that's not even one on his forum thread or CSM Wire entry. He seems like a guy that has some interesting ideas sprinkled in amongst the common F&I requests, but he hasn't pulled it all together an polished it.  Like some other candidates he seems more like a good person to have on a CCP focus group than as a constantly-engaged CSM.  (Forum Thread)(Podcast)

Angrod Losshelin: (WH, Multiboxing, Corp/POS Mgmt)
Presenting a positive platform for multi-boxing makes Angrod a good call for a subset of playstyles, as well as a lightning rod for those opposed.  To be clear, Angrod supports the ban on input broadcasting but makes an argument that there has been a witchhunt of multiboxers that labels a wide range of players as all being of the same stripe as the 20+ cloned ship/account variety.  His distinction of a "problem-boxer" may undermine his support in the multi-boxer community thought.  He also widens the NPE bandwagon to include getting new players into wormholes, and this seems to be an interesting facet that could be positive. He has a number of topics in his personal blog CSM post, including some not covered in the interview.  Unfortunately when looking at his blog then I start to have all new concerns - namely his ability to have a professional and constructive relationship with CCP with posts such as this one and this one.  In the interview he also seems to come down on FunkyBacon's side of the recent controversy, which doesn't exactly paint him as a diplomat.  I can't see voting for Angrod, but I also can't see putting him in my "Ignore him" category because the topics he is engaged with are very hot currently and very important to many players.  (Forum Thread)(Podcast)

Thoric Frosthammer: (Null/CFC, Medium-sized Groups, Social aspects of the game)
Official CFC candidate as Chairman of LAWN.  He states that the lack of game mechanics that reward conflict leads to groups like the CFC being "the masters of the no-fun game." But it's unclear that he's willing the same kind of strong statement like Endie and Mannie that he's willing to see change on that front.  When Thoric says that there is no reward for conflict or for not blobbing then as a FW player I can't help but think again that FW is a good counter-example: LP is higher in enemy systems, LP is shared amongst the fleet encouraging smaller groups.  So yes, the player behavior follows the mechanics - now what are Thoric's proposed solutions?  It is good to hear him saying that what is best for Eve may not be best for the CFC, following with similar comments from Endie and Manny. Which leads up to the obvious question: we're pretty much guaranteed to have Sion, Endie, and Manny on the CSM.  Why do we need this guy too? He seems like a level-headed, experienced guy, but the marginal value on him as a CSM is questionable to me in this context.  (Forum Thread)(Podcast)

Move Along, Nothing to See

Erika Mizune: (Null, Mining/Industry)
This was a tough one to listen to just for the presentation/communication skills.  I've said before that I sympathize greatly with the nerves that a candidate must have coming into a big interview like this, but they're going to have a similar problem with CCP and other CSMs - there isn't going to be a neutral interviewer working to pull your opinions out from you.  On the plus side, it is nice to see someone who is mining focused since that is a specialty we don't hear about from CSM candidates.  I do like the idea of trying to make mining something more engaging.  Other background in general industry, POS management and such seems well covered by other, stronger candidates.  Her position for nullsec industrial self-sufficiency goes against the current structure of having no one area being able to do everything, but with the jump range nerf and the idea of a new player-stargate opened area perhaps that will be need to be revisited.  The real bottom line is that a lack of presentation skills here that doesn't match with the idea of a CSM that needs to be able to clearly sell her ideas to an audience. (Forum Thread)(Podcast)
Edit: Erika noted in a comment below about some of the communication difficulty in the interview that arose from the combination of Bhock's accent and her hearing difficulty.  I'd recommend reading her blog post about being hard of hearing in eve.

Citricioni: (German, NPSI, Lowsec/Nullsec)
The German community angle here is interesting, since there is a separate election world going on with the separate language communities.  I was a bit worried about the rate at which he was having trouble understanding the interviewer's English though, since that's the language that he will need to communicate with CCP and CSM with.  It's also tough to interview so late and be compared to everyone ahead of you.  As a voter I want to hear why he should be ahead of Jayne or Bam on the NPSI ticker, and I'm not hearing that.  There are also some concerns about his tendency to respond to criticism with trolling - that's not something I want in a CSM.  (Forum Thread)(Podcast)

February 19, 2015

Imagine there's no CONCORD...

So for post 100 (whoohoo!) I'll go for something that Kirith recently said would make a CSM candidate get labelled as a crank candidate: eliminating CONCORD.  No wait, don't leave!  Hear me out... and prepare for lots of question marks.

The Background and Lore (TL;DR version)

CONCORD is formed by the joint efforts of the four factions plus the Jove.  Notably, the Jove supply the super-ship/super-weapons that allow the CONCORD ships to incapacitate a capsuleer ship and destroy it handily while being invulnerable themselves.  Once upon a time it was possible to tank CONCORD, but that was far before my time.

Now we are led to believe that the Jove may be gone, though we have Sleepers and Others and Drifters oh my.  So can CONCORD employees manufacture this super-Jove equipment?  Can they do routine maintenance on it?  If they can do either of those things then shouldn't we expect this tech to be leaking out from CONCORD into the general population?  Or are we on a track where gradually CONCORD will start to lose capability?

If we have a Drifter / Sleeper threat that has CONCORD at high alert, shouldn't we expect these super-weapon ships out there hunting down Drifters?  Is Angry CONCORD guy really going to be more relaxed if capsuleers get involved with this new alien tech?

And on the meta-level CCP has signaled that they are looking to reduce the role of the empires over time, so what if...

CONCORD and Faction Police

Game News: CONCORD announces a "wider cooperation with local law enforcement" which includes a more active role for faction police, particularly in mid-security space (0.5 thru 0.7).  Leaks suggest that problems in maintenance of Jove equipment has led to a smaller number of effective CONCORD vessels.

Game MechanicsFaction forces become responsive to Crimewatch activities.  The actual impact for offending vessels remains generally the same for now (since only one CONCORD ship is needed to shut them down) but the damage dealing is from a mixture faction and CONCORD ships.  This becomes more pronounced the lower the security rating of the system.  Actions which cause a CONCORD Security Status increase or decrease also cause a corresponding (but not necessarily equal) change in status with the faction within whose borders the action occurred.  This makes it harder for gankers in that they become unwelcome within empire space if they keep committing crimes there, but over time (i.e. 6 week releases) the mixture of CONCORD begins to slip meaning that gankers see a longer response time until the first CONCORD ship with super-ECM arrives.  The gank-response experience doesn't quite become "tankable" yet, but CCP gets to feel out what that might be like in the modern New Eden.

CONCORD and Null

Game News: CONCORD announces that it is "refocusing its mission" in service to the founding factions.  Bounties will no longer be paid out for pirate ships in null-security space, since that is beyond the boundaries of the factions, and that responsibility is handed over to the sov-holders.  Leaks suggest that budgetary disagreements between CONCORD and the factions is a part of this decision.

Game Mechanics: This obviously takes away a big ISK faucet and income source in null, and would be done in combination with the fundamental change to a "farms and fields" economic model. For instance, if the local industrial capacity of null became feasible then manufacturing, mining, and PI then can become the income for players right in their own homes.  What if all of these are taxable to the corp or alliance level, but can be threatened by both NPC and player pirates?  Can I use orbital bombardment to blow up your PI system?  What if the bounty-payment mechanism was handed over to the sov holders, so that there could be a cycle whereby the taxes of the producers could be used to pay the ratters that keep the producers safe to produce?  This could be a part of the "needing to live in your space" that people have been asking for.  It also makes a lot more game-immersion sense in that keeping the pirates down is aligned with wanting to keep your space safer, rather than "I wish we had more pirates in our space to make money from."  Secondarily, this could play well with the idea of players aligning with pirates such like the can align with the factions today.

So these are just some ideas to play with on what it might mean to give the players greater agency and move away from the "unstoppable NPC" as a immersion-breaking means to put solid structures within the sandbox.  I'd like to see more thinking like this around the Eve Community and within CCP.

February 17, 2015

CSM Candidate Summaries: Part 5

After having two subdued and quietly confident null-sec veterans in our previous batch, we start this set of interview summaries with two candidates who are brimming over with fire and enthusiasm for Eve.  I thought I was going to manage to get this out before CapStable got to their 5th analysis panel podcast, but those guys are just too fast.  Listen in on that as well, particularly for the description on the STV system if you aren't solid on that. 

Top Notch Candidates

Ashterothi: (Lore, FW/Lowsec, NPE, Exploration)
With CCP rediscovering the Lore and putting out regular videos such as this report from The Scope, it's surprising that Ashterothi is the first CSM candidate we've heard with such an expertise and enthusiasm for the Eve Lore.  He makes a great argument for how Eve could leverage the Lore to get more personal involvement with the sandbox by making player actions actually affect the long-neglected framework of the game.  This could be the next big breakout for Eve and one that I've blogged about before (ex: Rebellion: Let Players Change New Eden).  Ash makes a good argument that this could be a key element of a NPE that results in more player retention as well.  Ashterothi's work on the High Drag podcast is largely why I'm in FW right now and with Aideron Robotics.  That's both a disclaimer on my own personal interest and a statement about the energy he shares with the community.  We've seen other candidates with lots of out of the box ideas for Eve, but they've either come from a place of newbie ignorance of what has gone before, or from a very partisan position.  As a long time player, Ashterothi has both the experience and the enthusiasm to come up with out of the box ideas that would actually be well-received by CCP and the player base. (Forum Thread)(Podcast)

Chance Ravine: (Marketing Eve, NPE)
Having exploded (literally) on the Eve scene under the banner of Wingspan Torpedo Delivery Service, Chance Ravine is now ready to take on the challenge of being a CSM.   This is a must-listen interview if nothing else for two analogies he makes on Eve Marketing: the "Lemonade Stand" and the "20 Million Ketchup bottles".  IRL Chance is a marketing professional and it shows.  At the end of the interview I wasn't sure if I wanted him to be a CSM or if I wanted CCP to just hire this guy and put him on the front lines of their marketing group.  I was surprised when Chance named Suzi RC Mudstone as the "one person to be elected with me" - his rationale did more to raise my opinion of RC Mudstone than the entire Mudstone interview - but then it makes me wonder about Chance's judgment and political nous in putting that out there.  My other concerns would be his overall experience with the game, but if you're going to put one "real newbie" candidate on your ballot then Chance is your man. (Forum Thread)(Podcast)

Interesting Candidates Worthy of Your Consideration

Gorski Car: (Solo, Small Gang, WH/Thera)
CSM Incumbent.  Gorski is known foremost as a solo pvper, and right off the bat that's something that I haven't seen in anyone else.  As readers may know, Gorski is technically an incumbent, but he only came in after Major JSilva resigned in October.  There is some disagreement over his level of engagement (such as Winter Summit remote attendance) in his forum thread. Gorski's relatively chill and distant attitude makes it a bit hard for me to get excited about him, but I do like that he's representing a style that I'm not seeing elsewhere and that I have a lot of respect for.  But I must say that this is barely keeping him in this middle tier for me.  If you're about solo, or a fan of his in general, then I could see Gorski having a spot on your ticket. (Forum Thread)(Podcast)

Migui X'hyrrn: (Null/TEST, Spanish, Lore)
Like with Borat Guereen it is a nice bonus to have a CSM that can represent a non-English-speaking group.  I like his ideas on trying to tie the Lore in with the gameplay, but he's pretty clearly behind Ashterothi on that front.  These last few interviews have really been reinforcing for me the weakness of generalists over experts, but more on that in my final ballot recommendation blog post when this is all over.  I don't know enough about null to speak on his opinions on null rebalance, but his push for top-down alliance income seems out of line of a lot of the meta I've heard for bottom-up where having your corp members succeed makes your corp/alliance succeed.  Looking over his Eve-forum thread he has a lot of topics in there that he didn't cover in the interview, so there is potentially a lot to like in there - speaking generally it looks like he covers all of Klapen's ideas for instance (see blow).  If you're a Spanish-speaking player, then his platform on lack of Spanish translation and community is a clear win. (Forum Thread)(Podcast)

DonmanarK: (Communiation, Nullsec)
My take on his strength is his theme of communication and a high level of networking.  This comes from his nature as a generallist on playstyles with characters in null, faction war, and highsec.  On more specific issues he has an interesting take for nullsov as "hard to take sov, easy to lose sov you aren't using" with NPC pirates as mechanism to take sov back from passive groups via an incursion-like mechanic. His ideas on pirates not being able to dock in highsec will certainly be controversial, and his comments in the interview point out that he's not terribly conversant about lowsec.  If you're interested in a new-ideas kind of candidate then check out this interview and his forum for your own take on his ideas.  It's hard to see CSM as needing another high communicator compared to incumbents like Sugar Kyle and Mike Azariah, and he seems to be out-specialized by candidates in other areas - heck, he says "I'm not #1 on my own card [ballot]" - but I think some readers may find him an interesting candidate to consider. (Forum Thread)(Podcast)

Nothing To See Here, Move Along

Klapen: (Nerf Ishtars, Hats, Small Gang, Lowsec)
So it's never a good thing when early in the interview you're asked to confirm that you're not a joke candidate.  The keyword line I've put next to Klapen's name above will give you a hint why.  He definitely fits in the "features and ideas" candidate box and confirmed as such when asked directly, but I don't think he follows the CSM meta enough to know why people think that might not be a good thing.  But if he really was more about Ideas, I'd expect to see some to back up his running points on his thread, and there isn't anything there really other than a commonly repeated set of concepts about abandoned POSes. It doesn't help that he also speaks out about intra-corp aggression mechanic in Tiamat and gets it wrong.  Maybe he's enthusiastic about Eve, but I can't see anything about this candidacy that would recommend it over 14 other runners for any playstyle or group.  (Forum Thread)(Podcast)

February 13, 2015

Always a Bigger Fish

I'm actually caught up (briefly) with the CapStable interviews, so it's storytime.  I live in Fliet, the home of Aideron Robotics.  A sleepy low-sec backwater it is definitely not.  After the Phoebe changes we soon found that we were within jump range of several large "pirate" organizations.  Add that to the newly resurgent Caldari Militia and there has been plenty of content to go around.

The Worm on the Hook

About a week about we took a mixed destroyer/frigate fleet into the Caldari system of Hasmajala, parked ourselves into a small plex, took a look at the huge number of CalMil pilots in local and figured we'd have a fight (possibly overwhelming) in a few minutes.  When that didn't appear then the smacktalking began, including a quick jibe:

"Hey Templis, do you get the feeling that someone is taking a piss on your lawn?"

Maybe 10 minutes later we got reports that Templis undocked a Sac / Guardian fleet that was 2-3 times the size of our fleet.  Now those can't fit into a small, so what are they doing?  Apparently heading right out of Has and towards our Gallente controlled system apparently.  They then set about reinforcing our POCOs in Deven and Fliet.  Their FC sent a message back:

"So, do you get the feeling that someone is taking a piss on your lawn?"

Oooh, nice CalMil, gotta hand it to you.

So we have POCOs come out in a few days, AIDER brings out Pospreys and reps them up, then they get reinforced again. Fast forward a few days to when I log in just in time to help with the POCO rep and jump into a Posprey...

Red Fish

We're repping up a POCO in Fliet, chattering on comms and I gotta say that discipline is lax.  We get the POCO up above 25% and I align back to our home.  As I hit warp I hear one of the guys say that he's bringing his missioning Proteus onto grid for no particular reason.  Next thing that happens... Cyno.

Mercenary Coalition piles through a cyno on top of our departing Pospreys, the missioning Proteus, and an Atron who had dropped by.  A Posprey and Atron are popped but the Proteus gets away.  The attackers have a mixed bag of armor cruisers ranging from Ashimmu to Vigilant plus a Panther and a Confessor - 11 ships in all it looks like from the killmail.

I land at the FDU station and switch over to a CovOps to check things out, but that's not the end of it.

Blue Fish

As I'm hopping into my Helios I hear that a second cyno has been lit off.  Mercenary Coalition's Arazu is quickly pinned down and dispatched by the new incoming fleet from Overload Everything.  Four Aeon, Ten Nyx, and an Archon.

I bounce off a safe just in case there's someone clever at 100km off from FDU, and by the time I'm back on grid the carriers and supercarriers have re-reinforced our POCO and headed off to the Heyd gate.  Apparently they didn't bring sup-cap support, so they couldn't lock down more of the Mercenary Coalition fleet.

I trail them from gate to gate, putting their fleet comp and travel path up on GalMal intel, but I'm guessing that we don't exactly have the kind of power on call that would be needed to do anything to that force.  At first they started to straggle out a bit, but then they tightened up, perhaps because obvious people like me were around.  After six or seven gates I headed on back home.  Apparently they knocked down the defenses of a POS on their way home, but nobody bigger jumped on top of them as far as I can tell from zKillboard.

"Do you ever get the feeling we're a worm on a hook?" one of my corpmates commented.  Yup, we're small enough that this may be the nature of FW lowsec around here.  It can make for an exciting night though.

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.

February 11, 2015

CSM Candidate Summaries: Part 4

This batch of candidates is pretty clearly split, with the huge presence of the veteran nullsec masterminds Endie and Mannie balanced against three candidates who are ... well ... not so experienced and illustrious.

Top Notch Candidates

Bam Stroker: (Null/PL, Social Groups/NPSI, NPE)
With a focus on the social group concept there is going to be an immediate comparison to Jayne Fillon as a successor to Mangala Solaris.  Bam expands this topic more widely than Jayne, including the out of game social gatherings as part of his target constituency.  Personality wise Bam sounds more level-headed than Jayne, so there is an argument to be made there to be a more persuasive and bridge-building CSM (see also the list of endorsements he's gathered on his forum thread as an example).  Bam clearly has organizational skills given his Eve Down Under work.  He also has established connections with CCP through that gathering that he can leverage as CSM.  So if you are only going to put one Social/NPSI candidate on your ballot, it looks to me like Bam is the choice. (Forum Thread)(Podcast)

Interesting Candidates, worthy of consideration

Endie von Sideous - seriously, there is a lot in common between these two, so let's start with that.  Both of them will be elected to CSM based on their respective block votes, and that's largely why they are in this second tier in my mind when it comes to what the average player should vote for.  Both of them are highly placed officers of major coalitions with huge amounts of experience in nullsec campaigns.  Both will be incredibly valuable contributors to the nullsec sovereignty re-work that is widely expected to happen in 2015.  So with that said, let's move on to specifics about them.

Endie von Posts (aka Endie): (Null/CFC)
Official CFC candidate for CSM.  Endie is a good example of a candidate who is pre-eminently qualified.  He gets across that he has a lot of knowledge about his slice of the game, but doesn't go to any efforts to sell the player population in general on his candidacy.  The big thing that stood our for me in Endie's interview was his discussion about the pains of having to travel across an entire region to find fights, about how he wants to see an Eve where you're more shoulder-to-shoulder with enemies.  Let me tell you Endie, there is such a place and it's called FW lowsec.  Come join us!  Seriously though, for all the times I hear nullsec people saying that FW has nothing to offer and how they reject FW mechanics for sov outright, it sounds like the things Endie wants to see in null is what we already have in FW... just saying. (Forum Thread)(Podcast)

Manfred Sideous: (Null/PL)
Unofficial official PL candidate. Like Endie, Mannie has a huge amount of quiet confidence in his slice of the game and no real apparent need to sell the general player population.  I think he did a good job of explaining why what PL would want for the game and for null sec compares to what needs to be done.  I have a huge amount of respect for his suggestion that he would be glad to see nullsec reduced to ruins, with the confidence that PL could rebuild on a new system and a new nullsec as fast or faster than anyone else. (Forum Thread)(Podcast)

Not worth your time, move along capsuleer

Suzy RC Mudstone (NPE, Null/Goon)
The suggestion to make the start of Eve a theme-park style storyline isn't going to go over well, I'm guessing, though with the new resurgence of lore support from CCP perhaps the idea of leading a new player into the Eve universe isn't a bad idea.  I'm not sure if CCP is ready to make that level of investment though.  Suzy fits a theme we're seeing of "hey I'm a new player, therefore I'm an expert in the new player experience and should be elected to CSM."  I'll cover that more in a meta-post later, but I'm not a fan of this as a legitimate strength of a candidate.  Once you take that away from Suzy, you don't have much left.
(Forum Thread)(Podcast)

Dave Korhal: (Null/HERO, NPE)
So we have another "I'm a new player, let me tell CCP about NPE as your CSM." He's got some out of the box ideas, sure, but it sounds like they largely come from not knowing the game, the culture, and the history of where these suggestions have gone in the past.  I could see this being fine for a focus group that CCP might pull together, but not for CSM. There's really just not a lot more to say here. (Forum Thread)(Podcast)

Khador Vess: (NPE, RVB/NPSI)
I admit that after listening to his interview I didn't remember enough to write this up without going back and listening again.  On the other hand, that tells you a lot.  So he's a very active RVB guy with a lot of enthusiasm, but he barely even trying to be the Mangala Solaris replacement.  If NPSI is your thing then you're better off looking to Jayne Fillon.  If NPE is your thing then there is a plethora of better candidates.  He's not stronger than any one candidate in specifics, nor better in aggregate as a generalist.  So he's just not there.  (Forum Thread)(Podcast)

Doudou LaChatte: (NPE)
So if I'd thought that other candidates were green new candidates, they are all veterans compared to this guy.  He is barely old enough as an account to even have a vote.  To jump in at this point try to tell everyone how the game should be done is either naive, ignorant, or arrogant - pick any three.  I don't think he expects to get elected from his forum thread - maybe we'll see a different level if he stick around and try again next year.  (Forum Thread)(Podcast)

February 6, 2015

CSM Candidate Summaries: Part 3

Continuing commentary driven by the CapStable interviews.  I realize that my sequence here is a bit out of order.  My podcast playing sometimes ends up picking up the more recent interview rather than the oldest.  We have a very interesting batch here.

Top Notch Candidates

Sion Kumitomo (CFC official candidate, Null)
Any discussion of the official CSM Incumbent representing CFC comes with the understanding that he will be reelected.  Period.  End of Story.  With that said he could have simply chosen not to even bother having an interview with CapStable.  What we see with Sion in his interview is a calm, intellectual statesman like we have not seen in any previous interview.  If we still had a CSM Chairman then this interview would be a great argument for why he should hold that role.  The interview is very worth listening to primarily for the discussion of the relationship between the CSM and CCP, with the related sidebar on his opinions on Xander Phoena as a bonus for those looking for a bit of political bloodletting.  I think it is also interesting to hear Sion praise the hard word of Sugar Kyle, Corbexx, and Steve Ronuken for the very reason that he has no need to seek favor from such. (Forum Thread)(Podcast)

Steve Ronuken (API, Industry, High Sec)
CSM Incumbent. The past year has seen a blossoming of the Eve API thanks to CCP Foxfour and by all accounts Steve Ronuken has been a big part of that on the CSM.  The stereotype of a technical expert seems to fit Steve well.  He's not a big communicator (check out his blog), he's not a politician from a big bloc, he's not a high-profile streamer.  He just solidly gets the job done that he set out to do, as reported by his fellow CSMs, CCP, and the people who use his tools (such as the Eve SSO library mentioned in this interview).  The CSM would not do well full of people like Steve, perhaps only needing one person like him, and by that (perhaps circular) logic then we'll all be well served to see him on CSM X.(Forum Thread)(Podcast)

Interesting Candidates

Cagali Cagali: (HERO, Null, New Players)
Brave (if not all of HERO) will surely rally support behind Cagali Cagali.  His enthusiasm is undeniable.  With that block of votes behind him, I expect he'll be there to push the New Player Experience.  I just didn't get the feeling of a great CSM candidate here.  There wasn't a feeling of confidence here, a sense of purpose besides "help all the newbies", and perhaps most importantly a vision for sov-null that can stand up to the weight of that topic.  Was this someone just unprepared for the interview, someone too busy with their other Eve duties, or someone just plain not ready for something like the CSM?  Listen the podcast, check out his thread and decide for yourself. (Forum Thread)(Podcast)

Tora Bushido (HighSec Mercenary, Eve is Evil)
Marmite leader Tora Bushido proclaims that his mission is to make Eve more Evil, a platform that will appeal to many just for that soundbite I'm sure.  Beyond that he comes across a lot more reasonable than you might expect.  He advocates for moving away from AFK gameplay, from mining to AFK cloaking, including a suggestion on his forum thread that you should have to hit a button every 30 minutes to stay logged in.  His thread also has a number of ideas that could be seen as making things harder for high-sec mercs/griefers like Marmite.  However, in the interview he wants to "un-nerf" many of the recent changes so if you like where Eve is now, you may not like the past-is-future view.  Nonetheless, if you'd formed an opinion on his CSM candidacy based on your opinion of Marmite, I'd recommend you look things over and see if it changes your mind.
(Podcast)(Forum thread)

Bobmon (Nullsec)
He's perhaps best known right now for his age, and honestly I think that carries over into this interview.  He is an enthusiastic player and promoter of the game, but I don't really get what he brings as a CSM candidate.  He seems more reactionary in wanting to undo recent changes, for instance complaining in the interview that he can't cyno his BLOPS all over the universe all night like he used to.  If he didn't get that risk-free long range movement was exactly the problem then I'm not sure really what he understands.(Forum thread)(Podcast)

Not worth your time, move along capsuleer

Loreli Ierendi (High Sec, Carebear vs Gankers, NPE, Wardecs)
So I completely understand the argument that "people should be able to play Eve without using Google" and I appreciate wanting CCP to back up the idea of the professions listed on the website, but I'm not really sure what Loreli is trying to bring to the table here.  While I understand people focusing on one part of the game, in a CSM I do expect that they have a bit of a clue about the major other sectors of the game.  The stumbling conversation about wormholes compared to highsec felt more like Bhock trying to pull the conversation forward. Some of his other ideas seem way out of the feel for what Eve (forcing some way to make a ganker vs miner a "fair" fight) is all about or similarly seems infeasible (wall of shame for bans). Overall not someone who seems to be ready and able to swing in there with the CSM level discussions. (Forum thread)(Podcast)

February 4, 2015

CSM Candidate Summaries: Part 2

This next batch of interviews had some really strong candidates in my opinion.  Huge kudos to Cap Stable for doing these interviews and keeping the quality up particularly at the rate they're turning these out.

Top Notch Candidates

Mike Azariah: (High Sec, Casual Players, New Players, Communication)
CSM Incumbent and podcast hot-dropper extraordinaire.  If you're familiar with the Eve meta then you're probably already familiar with Mike.  He is very consistent in his approach and is continuing in the same vein.  That's by no means a narrow path, and Mike definitely comes across as a friendly-get-along kind of guy rather than a big-idea guy.  I think this can make his contributions seem less intense, but yet I get the impression he brings more of a soft-power kind of representative.  He's a good counter-balance to the "I'm so important!" style of candidate we see elsewhere.  (Forum Thread)(Podcast)

Jayne Fillon: (NPSI, Socials)
The concept of a social group mechanism in Eve has blossomed recently, but I hadn't really heard a good presentation of the points until I listed to this interview with Jayne Fillon.   Now that may be more about me not looking for such, but in terms of the CSM this means we get to hear how Jayne uses both passion and reason to make his arguments.  Frankly, I'm concerned that the passion outstrips the reason - he really seems to be one of the aforementioned "I'm so important!" type of candidates.  Nonetheless, tNPSI is a part of the game that we really should have represented more in the CSM.  With Mangala Solaris out of the picture it looks like Jayne is the right choice ... at least unless there is another candidate coming up I'm not aware of.  (Forum Thread)(Podcast)

corbexx: (Wormholes)
CSM Incumbent and foremost WH representative.  The work he has done in collecting information on WH site payouts for CCP has been reported commonly and also shows up in the Winter minutes.  I also note that several other very active CSMs have lauded him for his work (Sugar Kyle, Mike Azariah) and this backs him up as far as I'm concerned.  Corbexx is clear about his approach and expertise is relatively narrow. I am not a fan in general of the idea that CSMs should shrug and defer rather than tackle questions outside of their home area.  However, it sounds like corbexx has been doing an excellent job and I don't see any reason why he shouldn't continue to do so.  (Forum Thread)(Podcast)

Interesting Candidates, worthy of consideration

Psianh Auvyander: (Small Group, Null, Mercenary, New Players)
The CEO of Noir Academy has a strong sell similar to June Ting, and perhaps too overlapping with her for either of them to get to the CSM.  That's a shame as they both seem to bring a lot to the table.  Both have a strong professional real-life background that could make them very effective CSMs.  I would like to see a mercenary in the CSM, and Psianh makes a great argument for that play style in his interview.  I'm tentatively putting him lower than her in my mind, but I definitely will have to learn more about both.  (Forum Thread)(Podcast)

Sabriz Adoudel: (Ganker, Chaos, High Sec)
Here we have a CSM Candidate from CODE. Given that group's history you do have to at least consider if Sabriz is as much of a troll candidate as the Alliance Tournament team was.  Perhaps, but I must say I was much more impressed with Sabriz than I expected.  I'd also recommend checking out this post of his concerning changes to wardecs.  Some of his information is just off, for instance his assertion on WH populations compared to what was reported in the Winter Summit minutes.  I disagree with a lot of his positions and certainly won't put him on my ballot, but there's enough there that I wouldn't recommend immediately ignoring and passing over him.  However, you may find that Tora Bushido (next post) fills this niche better. (Forum Thread)(Podcast)

Not worth your time, move along capsuleer

Commander Aze: (High Sec, Null Sec, Incursions)
This candidate confuses me and certainly doesn't make me think he should displace any of a wide range of his competition.  His platform thread is about "questions not being asked", but his thread lists a lot of things that I think have been and are being discussed a lot such as wardecs, killmail reform, social groups, alliance bookmarks.  If you think those aren't being asked I'd suggest you haven't really been paying attention.  In the interview he talks about being in nullsec, but his forum thread talks about being confused by the Sov mechanics.  So in summary it sounds like Aze is interested in a lot of good topics, but cannot confidently communicate his ideas on them, which is pretty much what the CSM is all about. (Forum Thread)(Podcast)