CSM Winter Minutes Analysis, Part 1

Earlier in the week, I found myself facing a tough choice on what topic to write this week’s post on. Fortunately, CCP swooped in and made that decision for me by releasing the CSM minutes for the CSM13 Winter Summit. If you haven’t read them, you can find them here. I’ll be providing a topic by topic evaluation of my thoughts on the minutes, followed by some notes on big topics that are missing, and then a bit of a wrap up. So let’s dig in!

Summit Welcome

The biggest point in here is less on the CCP side and more on the CSM side, with Capitals, Attributes, Insurance, and Monetization representing their biggest points. These are pretty solid options for the most part, though insurance is more of a subheading to capitals. A big thing missing from these priorities is the less loved space, namely lowsec and wormholes, but I’ll get to that later. Attributes are a big quality of life change, or rather deletion, that I am not alone in saying should go through as soon as possible, though LP stores and similar will need a bit of a rebalance to compensate for lost income options. Monetization is fairly important for the continued existence of CCP, so I can see why that’s on there.

The other big news is the loss of CCP Guard. He’s been an integral and well known part of the community for quite a while, and is a pretty big blow to the team as a whole. It’s some pretty big shoes to fill, and I’m hoping they can find someone capable of doing so. CCP mentioned they’ve been adding some people, but not as much in the community department from what I can tell. Hopefully, this will result in an expansion of the community team back to its former capabilities rather than continued folding inwards.

EVE Leadership Team

This next section is more regarding the company organization than EVE-specifics, but it remains very important, especially in the long term. I’m a big fan of the Ninja Team idea, it seems very similar to the Little Things project but with better resources, which is a big plus, as EVE has consistently struggled with having odd bugs and bad designs that fall through the cracks while bigger things are worked on. Anything that helps prevent that is a good thing. One other line that’s easily lost is that CCP now has more game designers working on EVE than ever before. This is pretty big news, as there’ve been a lot of high profile departures recently, so this means they’ve been not only replacing, but actually adding people. This is the kind of thing that should be publicized far more, rather than sitting as a throwaway minutes line. In general, one of CCP’s biggest flaws is the lack of communication that comes out, which relates back to the community team issues previously. CCP Burger seems to agree with this, so hopefully this pans out.

On the EVE side, the main points are related to the CSM focus spots from earlier. I’m fully on board with attribute removal, as mentioned earlier, as long as the economic effects are compensated for. Insurance, as mentioned before, is mainly a capital issue, so I’ll talk about that more in depth once we get to the capital section. Monetization is also discussed in a later section. Disappointingly, this section also has one of the only mentions of the AT. I also wish that the UI concepts mentioned had some kind of visuals attached to the minutes, as it’s difficult to comment on them without seeing the actual ideas. That being said, if it does result in character selection being easier, that’ll be a win.

Balance

This is one of the biggest kahunas of the summit, and of my platform, so it’s nice to see some solid points on it. A lot of my thoughts on this can be seen in my previous post regarding the balance patch. However, it is interesting to see the process that led to that balance. Rise’s point that the goal is to add things is a good one, though it’s important to avoid constant power creep, much like how speed creep happened, and is still happening in the case of the Muninn/Monitor interaction mentioned later. This interceptor notion continues to pop up on CSM discussions, implying someone seems to strongly care about it. The removal of nullification from half the inties seems to have worked well, and I’m unsure that it’s necessary to nuke the other half. If this does go through, there definitely needs to be some kind of instawarp nullified option, ideally with similar tank.

As I mention in my platform, being able to tackle ratters easier and making sites more active is a big deal. Infinite scaling PVE is a negative for the game, even without botting, and even worse with botting. Making sites less AFKable along with a payout buff would be very worthwhile. The simple short term solution in terms of ratting safety and butters, however, is the addition of more scram-capable rats. As mentioned earlier, blops make me very sad right now, and even more sad as the Widow is completely left out of the ECM discussion, but more on that later. The big issue facing ECM ships post-rework is that solo intended ships like the Rook and GNI are no longer viable. It would be nice to see them have some kind of middle ground between the two extremes.

Jin’s combat interceptor proposal is something I highly disagree with. Assault frigates just managed to carve out their own niche, giving the combat interceptors the various AF bonuses would ruin that. The anti-fighter platform, however, is an intriguing option, similar to how Daredevils are sometimes used. If combat interceptors got a role bonus vs fighters, in an inverse manner to the way SS fighters work, that could add a new role to the game for them, as fighter wars are a massive part of capital fights. It also would give it a solid place in roaming comps to counter carriers to some extent, though right now carriers can pull and launch drones nearly at will so it would need some more work to be viable.

Killah is spot on with the Muninn nerf, it leaves their other big positives intact while providing what would hopefully be enough of a nerf to not make them the default choice in many scenarios. The worry with the Ferox nerf is that it becomes too similar to its natural foe, the Hurricane. On defenders, I’ve actually been pretty happy with the way they work, it adds a significant role for newbros, and also the ‘clear the defenders’ form of gameplay, while the random missile assignment means that bombs get through when there’s enough of them. The Monitor is an issue I’ve noticed, where you need a snake pod to use it for a lot of comps. This is related to the speed creep point from earlier.

Triglavian ships are definitely something to watch out for, the big limiter currently is the skill book availability, but as they become more and more common, they’re definitely going to begin to dominate more and more, especially in roaming comps against capitals. It’s really solid to have a subcap option that can reasonably deal with caps, but it’s a fine balance. Battleships, on the other hand are actually not something I think necessarily need a buff, and I feel Sort is wrong in this case. The issue isn’t so much that the hulls are bad, it’s that caps are really good, especially LR guns. If caps see reduced capability, battleships are a big deal again, and they still are currently, though not as much as a few months/a year ago. It’s similar to how anti-bomb strategies enabled more battleship usage before, the issue isn’t with the hulls, it’s the counters.

War Decs

This section will be fairly short, as I’m actually very happy with the wardec changes currently. They’re even fixing the biggest bug that allows structures to dodge wardecs. The neutral FC thing is something that wouldn’t exist in an ideal world, but there’s not really an easy solution to it, as restricting fleets to only people in a current war would be an enormous pain. I do like the idea of the 100m flat fee, as right now there’s not too much point to the scaling system. As long as CCP maintains their stated path, I really have nothing to say.

Launcher

The launcher is one of the things that I’ve felt Reddit has been severely overreacting to, despite the minimal issues in a good long while, so it’s good to see hard data on that. One thing I’m really excited for is that now it’s in a stable state, more features can start being added. Having an indicator on Alpha vs Omega, along with a launch to character option, are my two big hopes. It’s good to see they’re looking into the account status one, and I hope they also take up the character.

EVE Portal

This is mostly NDAed, so I’ll take the opportunity to give some thoughts on it. Right now the EVE portal app is pretty mediocre, I find myself only really using Neocom, as it does everything and more. If they can improve the functionality so that it actively is in competition, that would be nice to see. In a dream world, you could even engage in EVE chat and similar with it, thanks to the new chat system, but that’s asking for a lot. Really, it needs a firm update, and I hope taking it in-house will assist in that.

Culture

This is something near and dear to my heart on a personal sense, since there’s a lot of unnecessary work that I end up doing because of the limitations of EVE’s in game options. The biggest issue regarding corps that’s been present basically since EVE started is the roles system. With the advent of ACLs for most structure perms, I’d really like to see a move towards ACLs for corp roles and hangars as well, allowing for more granularity on permissions, as well as a safer system. Right now, there are far too many bundled roles, or actions that are locked behind other, far too powerful roles.

The other big one is tax systems, with the changes to PVE as a whole, there’s been an increased shift EVE-wide towards alliance taxes. Being able to automate this collection would be a massive reduction in work, giving all alliance access instead of just those with in-house IT. Mining taxes have also experienced a similar growth, due to Rorquals rising in prominence, so building an assessment system into the already-existing ledger would be nice. Also alliance bookmarks please for the love of god. Wormholes are so bad at the alliance scale without them.

Sort brings up a good point with burnout, not everyone wants to put an enormous amount of time into the administrative side of EVE like I and others, so the less time spent running a corp, the more time available to FC and create content, which is ultimately good for EVE. It’s something groups like Black Legion have always run into, where they have great FCs but terrible backend. In general, all the listed improvements are really nice, but the ones I’ve listed here are the ones most important to me. I’m also always pro more recruitment tools, as the spy game has seen dramatic buffs recently, and I say that as the guy who runs Test’s spies.

On the less important side, alliance skins and logos would be very nice. It’s good to see that they’ve been building up the support structure for those.

Skills on Demand

Much like the wardecs, this is another change that I’m wholeheartedly behind, skill price rebalance included. One suggestion brought up in the minutes that I’d really like to see go through is the ability to buy skill packs for members. Right now, most new player corps have to stock up tons of skill books and manually transfer them as needed. It would be nice to be able to give people a preset list, or even a budget.

Marketing

This is something I’d say CCP has been doing an ok job on recently. More trailers is definitely a big plus, though they take a lot of resources. Despite the resources, I still think it’s one of the big points that should be focused on. A lot of people join the game because they see the cool trailers, which makes it a net benefit. Killah’s Bjorn suggestion is a good one here, he’s been doing a great job streaming, and if CCP can motivate more people like him, that’s good for the game. They later in the minutes discuss a dedicated content creator program to help drive people to do that kind of stuff, which is one really good way of doing it. Internal marketing is fine, but the more organic player-created marketing is tough to beat. I hadn’t thought about the omega vs premium rename before now, but it would be good to see. Killah’s point on the billboard’s is one I’ve personally noticed quite a lot as well, they’re very good to have but directing people to dead corps is not great.

Capital Balance

This is another big one for me, as you may notice from the continued balance theme in my platform. A lot of these points are addressed in my response to the balance patch last week, so I will skip past those in the interests of avoiding walls of text. It’s good to see the CSM also bringing up tackle fighters and LR titan guns, as well as the lack of a role for subcaps in the supercap world, as these are the big issues that weren’t addressed in the balance patch. I definitely don’t think T2 gun buffs is the way to go here, those see enough use on titans, and I think dreads will see enough of a benefit from the Fax changes. Not every ship needs to use T2 guns. As mentioned in my balance response, I don’t think banning HAWs is the way to go, I think the nerfs are fine, as the LR guns are the real issue. They also mention the drop in roaming gangs. This is something I think would be greatly aided by the ability for Marauders to act as cyno inhibs with bastion, as well as a cost reduction. As mentioned earlier, the ability for carriers to repeatedly swap out fighters is something I’d like to see changed. Also please no shield slaves I like my genos.

Structures

I’m so glad to see that POS removal is in sight. It’s incredible to see the progress CCP has made on structures in the last three years or so, and I will be glad to see the back end of POSes. That said, I really hope that CCP reverses course on not allowing for an FOB-style replacement option, as that’s one of the few remaining gameplay options that aren’t yet replaced in the new system. It’s especially an issue for wormholes.

One of the big things I’d like to see, primarily to buff dreads, is the nerf to capital guns on citadels, along with a corresponding increase to subcap guns. It’s a horrific imbalance right now, where forts can delete caps at will from the field, while virtually harmlessly plinking off subcap fleets, due to the nature of logi vs siege. I really want dreads to be useful against structures again. I think Brisc is also severely overstating their impact on subcaps, especially with the bomb nerfs, and I’m firmly with Killah and Sort here. Sort also mentions the fact that bridges take too long to reinforce them, which is something I’ve personally experienced. A reduction to 10-15 minutes, along with reduced HP, would be far better, as I think these are a great opportunity for small gang content drivers. I remain undecided on the fatigueless JBs, but I think making them easier to disable would help balance it.

I realize this post is pretty drawn out, so in the interest of not making people’s eyes glaze over, I will end part 1 here, and post part 2 later.