With the beginning of voting for CSM7 now is the time to make a complete fool of myself and endorse a slate of candidates. Fourteen candidates will win, but only the top seven vote getters (or next highest ranking member if one of the top seven cannot make it) will make the two summit trips to Iceland. So I'll pull out the flame resistant clothing and remember, yea though I fly into the Vale of the Silent, I will fear no evil, for I am immortal and remembered to update my medical clone.
#1 - The Mittani: Yes, I am putting Mittens at the top of the list, which means I think he deserves a second term as chairman of the CSM. During his time playing Eve, he has shown himself to be a player able to seize opportunities (the destruction of BoB) and rise like a phoenix from defeat (the Goons' loss of Delve because they failed to pay their bills). He displayed both qualities in dealing with CCP over the past year, especially in the aftermath of Monoclegate.
In addition to his antics in Eve, I am picking him for what he brings to the table with his outside experience. A former D.C. lawyer who managed to retire to Wisconsin at the age of 30, he has the experience and the huge ego needed to go up against the upper management of CCP. He also has experience in the industry, writing the Sins of a Solar Spymaster column on MMORPG and holding the distinction of being the first player to ever give a presentation at the Games Development Conference in 2010.
#2 - Trebor Daehdoow: If The Mittani does not win the chairmanship, then Trebor deserves the prize. In a CSM criticized for a lack of communication with the player base, Trebor has worked tirelessly to put out the word of what is happening in the game. Trebor also conducted the crowd sourcing exercise that gathered up what players really wanted to see fixed, even though some like The Mittani didn't think it was a worthwhile effort. I'm not sure how much that list aided the CSM's efforts after the layoffs and CCP's return to emphasizing Flying in Space, but due to Trebor's efforts, the CSM was prepared.
Trebor also brings a lot to the table in real life. The co-founder of one of the first anime importing companies, AnimEigo, his experience in Japan should come in handy as CCP, in conjunction with Nexon, will soon release a Japanese language client for Eve. Trebor was also a game developer, creating Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord. Trebor also wrote Interferon and Virex, two of the earliest anti-virus protection programs for the Macintosh. Given both his accomplishments as a member of the CSM and his life experience, Trebor deserves election to a third term.
#3 Seleene: Seleene brings not only his experience as the head of the famous Mercenary Coalition, pioneers in the mercenary trade in Eve Online, but also 3 1/2 years experience as a developer on Eve Online. Among the features Seleene worked on were wormholes, faction militias, planetary interaction and the sovereignty system. His knowledge of CCP, what the developers originally wanted to do with certain features, and his desire for CCP to actually finish developing some of the features makes him a valuable addition to the CSM. Besides, I like the way he writes. With all that said, I believe Seleene deserves a second term on the CSM.
#4 Alekseyev Karrde: A member of CSM 4, the head of the Noir. Mercenary Group would bring a lot of small gang experience, whether it be highsec, lowsec, 0.0 or wormhole combat, to the CSM. More importantly in my view, though are two big issues I see in New Eden. The first concerns the war declaration situation. As Aleks repeated in the many podcasts I heard him on, no one likes the current war dec system. As someone who makes his living on wardecs, Aleks has a great deal of experience to draw on when discussing the issue with CCP.
The second issue concerns the integration of DUST 514 into New Eden. One of the things that players will face is how to interact with each other on a business level. Not only is Noir. a successful mercenary alliance, but Aleks has worked to build up the mercenary trade within Eve. I can see him coming up with good ideas on how to integrate the DUST mercs into our game. After all, he wrote the book on mercenary contracts.
Aleks also impressed me with his performances on the various podcasts he appeared on during this campaign and his stock rose as I felt more comfortable about his communication skills. Add to that fact that he is not part of one of the major power blocs and I believe Aleks should be elected to return to the CSM this year.
#5 Two Step: Two Step, although only voted to CSM6 as an alternate member, proved himself as one of the hardest working members of last year's CSM. One thing that I heard thoughout the debates is that wormholes are one of the best things in Eve and efforts should be made to keep CCP from "fixing" them. As a wormhole specialist, I expect that Two Step would make a valuable contribution in face-to-face talks with CCP at the summits in Iceland. I also expect he would make a contribution to some of the fixes we will probably see in the next year (POS improvements?) with a different point of view that would make features better for everyone. For these qualities, I am endorsing Two Step to be one of the members who goes to the summits.
#6 Mike Azariah: Before last weekend I did not plan on endorsing Mike, but as I did my research and listened to the debates Mike's stock rose to the point I put him in the #6 spot of the list. Mike does not like being pigeon-holed into a category, so I will just label him the "every-bear" candidate. He doesn't really specialize in anything although he jumped into Incursions at the launch of the feature and formed the Gallente Hero channel as a first step in helping organize the assorted collection of pilots looking to fight the Sansha. The writing style on his blog, which has at times clearly irritated The Mittani, labels him a role player. But the thing that really clinched the deal for me was his attitude of building onto Eve to make it better instead of tearing down one area of the game to make another more attractive. That and the easy way that he and Alekseyev Karrde got along on their appearance on Voices from the Void #37. If the key to being a member of the CSM is an ability to disagree with someone with good humor, then Mike qualifies.
For those who wish for a high-sec candidate who is not in a power bloc, Mike is as good as it gets. That's why he gets my endorsement as one of the top seven candidates.
#7 Kelduum Revaan: For those who read the blog on a regular basis, my endorsing Kelduum is a no brainer. As the CEO of Eve University, Kelduum has the most experience with bringing new players into New Eden. While some mock the Uni, those who attend the player-run school tend to stay in the game longer than those who don't. Having that type of experience in the room during the summits would help tremendously, considering the current CSM member with the closest connection to new players and the NPE is The Mittani. Also, Kelduum would represent the views of those in high-sec, although Unistas have a tendency to roam through lowsec when given a chance. Another big issue Kelduum could help with are the wardec mechanics. Eve University represents the highsec players who don't want to deal with what Unistas call "faildecs". A faildec is a wardec by a corporation who discovers they bit off more than they can chew and hide for a few days. Of course, an effort that leads to a faildec against an organization like Eve University can be a crippling blow against a small industrial corp. That is the perspective that Kelduum would bring to the debate.
Having served in leadership positions in a training corporation/alliance for several years, Kelduum brings a needed perspective of the new player that was not present in CSM6 so gets the final endorsement.
Having listed the top seven, the question is: who will I vote for? I have three votes this year, which I will split between two candidates. Two votes will go to Alekseyev Karrde and one to Mike Azariah as they are the two candidates on my list I am not sure will win a spot in the top seven to get to go to the summits.