Has anyone noticed the trend in which game companies really want player feedback? SOE is pretty visible with its weekly Round Table polls asking about how players about EverQuest Next development issues. Back in August, ArenaNet held an in-game "election" to the Captain's Council to determine the course of Guild Wars 2's Living Story. But the most frequent model is the game devs trying to form what is, in effect, a focus group. Turbine created a player council in Lord of the Rings Online in April and are in the process of creating one for Dungeons and Dragons Online now. The members of those councils are selected by Turbine. Bioware went one step further and actually held elections for a group of class representatives back in July.
Of course, EVE Online has had such a group of player advisers, the Council of Stellar Management, in existence since May 2008. Currently in its eighth incarnation, the CSM brings another layer of reality to the virtual world, albeit with a lot of detractors. Some people want to lead while others cover the election process with a greater professionalism than we've seen in MSM muster in recent U.S. presidential elections. After all, internet spaceships is serious business.
I listened to the latest CSM town hall on EVE Radio yesterday and discovered that EVE's next silly, er, I mean election season basically begins after the Winter Summit, which begins Wednesday and ends on Friday. Normally, internet spaceship politics is an amusing aspect of EVE that I sit back and enjoy. Well, except for last year when the new election rules left me baffled. But I'm starting to get a bad feeling about this election cycle.
Normally, I wouldn't worry about what I might post about the CSM election. This blog is small enough, and my knowledge of EVE is noobish enough, that what I think and type about the CSM and the great issues of the day really doesn't matter. I really only have one specialty concerning EVE: the study of CCP's efforts to combat botting and the selling of ISK on the secondary markets. Given some of the events of the past year though (i.e. SOMERblink), the subject might come up and people might pay attention to my opinions. Yikes!
I'm also starting to get a bad feeling about some of the issues that may arise. Yes, I know that I can see bots and RMT where others don't, but what happens if I begin to point that out? One of the worst accusations to throw around is that someone either favors or actually approves of botting and illicit RMT. Sure, I know that the people throwing around some of the ideas have no clue of the implications their ideas may have on EVE's shadow economy, but do you think people engaged in a political campaign are going to care? I know, I know. I really should stop asking rhetorical questions.
I'm beginning to think I should just avoid this whole CSM election thing. I have the feeling I may wind up posting about some of the issues anyway, but maybe I can couch my writing into something that isn't EVE-specific. When are the elections again?