Since some people think I should put in my .02 ISK, I'll go ahead and put out my list of who I plan to vote for.
Sugar Kyle. Sugar Kyle is the top candidate on my list this year. A resident of the low sec region of Molden Heath, Sugar brings more to the table than her skills in PvP. During her career she's done significant amounts of PvE content from low sec combat sites to high sec incursions. She's even mined in low sec on corp mining operations, although the source of some of the ore for the Orca she built was obtained in a typically piratical fashion .
Sugar also has experience in the industrial/trading side of the game, having established a successful market in the low sec system of Bosena in Molden Heath. Showing that PvP isn't confined to space, she used her store to force down the prices of those gouging the low sec residents of the Heath. While transportation costs will ensure that prices are always higher than Jita, her experience with jump freighters should prove useful in discussions on power projection and how any proposed solution could affect interstellar commerce outside the obvious null sec/Jita routes.
Sugar also has first-hand experience with one of New Eden's most burning issues: player owned stations. She has maintained a POS to manufacture boosters for over a year-and-a-half, publishing a guide on the subject in December 2012.
Despite all of Sugar's interests that should keep her in the midst of things making sure that a low sec point of view is brought to a vast array of issues, the two qualities I feel make her the best candidate running for CSM are her anti-themepark mentality and command of the issues. Sugar sees low sec not as an inevitable stop on the rails to null sec, but as a viable place for people to live, even new players. When CCP removed 1/10 and 2/10 statics from the game, she didn't see that as a loss of a place for PvP. Instead, she saw that as the loss of an income source for new players who didn't have the skill points or resources to tackle the tougher complexes or rats. And she did something about it.
Throughout the campaign, one noticeable difference between her and many candidates was her command of the facts. Having listened to so many candidate interviews, I was struck that on a couple of occasions Sugar was almost overwhelming the podcast hosts instead of the other way around, which happened quite frequently. I also saw this same type of performance at Fanfest last year. On a day following the announcement of some changes I didn't consider very low sec friendly, I met with Sugar and CCP Masterplan to talk about them. Well, I mainly listened as Sugar had all her facts together and argued why the removal of the 1/10 and 2/10 static sites were bad. More importantly, a few months later 1/10 and 2/10 sites returned to low sec, although not as statics. A small victory, but with that Sugar showed that not only is she persuasive, but not intimidated by the "dev" tag.
Combine all of the above with the fact that Sugar is the candidate most likely to continue Ripard's weekly updates and Sugar Kyle gets my nod as the candidate who should top your voting list.
Mike Azariah. Mike Azariah is a candidate I perennially vote for even though some people have always considered it a "wasted" vote. Except last year he won and over the course of his term went on to prove how smart I was to keep wasting my vote.
Mike is a casual player who currently bases out of high sec, although he was involved in null sec fighting for the SOCO against TEST and the CFC back in 2012. When he gets the urge to PvP, he winds up flying with Bombers' Bar or Spectre Fleet. In addition to running incursions, Mike is a known philanthropist, not only with his own giveaways but aiding causes like The Angel Project. Mike is also known for writing his blog, A Missioneer in Eve, in character, marking him as a role player, which is a quality also in short supply amongst CSM candidates.
So what makes Mike so attractive as a candidate? First, his demonstrated stubbornness, as he won a seat on the CSM on his fifth attempt. He will need that because, of the candidates, he is the only one I know who will naturally look at an issue from the mind of a high sec mission runner, incursion runner, or miner. I would not classify any of the other high sec based candidates as carebear-friendly. That is a perspective that needs representation on the CSM. Also, while lore is not always the best reason for doing something (see camera drones), trying to keep any changes made fit within the EVE universe is something worth doing.
For his first term, Mike was extremely active on the communications front, a weakness of previous CSMs. In addition to writing on his blog, he was a frequent guest on podcasts and EVE Radio talking about issues. Also, Mike seemed one of those people who were a stabilizing force on the CSM. The notoriously acerbic Malcanis stated that Mike is so nice that he couldn't find it in himself to troll him. Finally, Mike was given a lot of credit for fighting the drone assist nerf so that the changes would not impact the incursioners' style of play. Originally CCP planned to eliminate the mechanic, but eventually CCP was convinced to allow one pilot to a limit of 50 drones assigned to him.
DJ FunkyBacon. DJ FunkyBacon is a long time presence in the EVE community for his show on EVE Radio, which covering such events as the disbanding of BoB, the Summer of Rage in 2011, and most recently the Erotica 1 situation. When not on EVE Radio, DJ FunkyBacon flys as Mirana Niranne, the executor of the 300-man Gallente factional warfare alliance Monkeys with Guns..
Some might suggest that this endorsement is about putting Funky under an NDA so he will stop scooping me on stories, but I actually like the fact that a candidate who not only shares some of my concerns is running, but has expressed those concerns so publicly in the past. We may not, as in the case of Erotica 1, agree on every particular, but even then I shared many of his concerns.
I should add that while I sell my products in Molden Heath, I currently do the majority of my low sec activities in Minmatar FW space. So my wish for better play for those engaged in factional warfare is a bit selfish. The better the combat is in factional warfare, the less the FW warriors bother me in my peaceful pursuits. Currently I see too many gangs chase after a plexer, only to get frustrated by multiple warp core stabilizers. Frustrated, they then tend to strike out at anything, like your friendly neighborhood Procurer. Having an FW alliance leader on the CSM will hopefully lead to happier FW pilots.
In conclusion, I think that a 10-year player who has turned to low sec as his home for the past 2 years on the CSM would help reinforce the fact that low sec is not just a stepping stone to null. He has stated that in the past and it is the last reason that I endorse DJ FunkyBacon and plan to vote for him.
Ali Aras. Ali is turning into the classic insider candidate, with a lot of insiders endorsing her but not giving an affirmative reason why someone should vote for her. Usually when the establishment tries to stampede the voters like I see happening now I get very suspicious. However, after further review, she's earned a place on my voting list.
Most of the hype seems designed to make up for the fact that Ali no longer has a large natural base of support. She left Provibloc and moved to Noir. Mercenary Group, a much smaller group. While having a mercenary on the CSM to represent that style of play is valuable on its own merits, Ali was another example of a CSM member who aimed to improve communications with the player base. To my knowledge, Ali was the first CSM member to use Google Hangouts as a communications device with players. Every other week she would inform people about the goings-on of the CSM and ask for input on issues.
In her candidacy thread many stated that Ali would often reach out to players looking to understand issues and come up with solutions. I can confirm that she did this as she contacted me trying to get a better understanding of how the EULA and ToS worked in the Erotica 1 situation.
Ali also served as the Vice-Secretary of CSM8, which means she was left a big, steaming mess once the Secretary, Kesper North, became a no-show. I'm going to gather that her efforts in stepping up into the Summer Minutes mess, combined with her work in trying to improve the minutes process and the smoother functioning of the release of the Winter Minutes is what has garnered so much support from her fellow CSM members. The fact that CCP delayed the release of the minutes should not reflect badly on the level of effort that Ali put into the editing process on the Winter Minutes.
DNSBLACK. What a crazy year! In October I was ready to call for the permanent ban of the player behind DNSBLACK. Today I'm endorsing him for a position on the Council of Stellar Management.
As the executor of Dirt Nap Squad., DNSBLACK would bring a view of null sec from outside the major null sec power blocs. As a black ops specialist, having his input to any changes in stealth (i.e. AFK cloaking), power projection using covert cynos, and a black ops battleship revamp would prove useful.
But DNSBLACK's major focus for the campaign is community. Of all the candidates who use the term, DNSBLACK is the candidate for which the term is not just lip service. Most candidates are focused on what is occurring inside the game. DNSBLACK plans to make looking at what CCP is doing outside the game a priority. After the past year and the accusations of favoritism towards SOMERblink, combined with DNSBLACK's exposing of SOMER's RMT scheme, give credence to the claim that someone needs to watch that area of CCP's operation as well.
Sometimes people forget that one of the original purposes of the CSM is to reassure the player base that CCP is following its own rules and not playing favorites. I don't expect DNSBLACK will quietly allow that type of favoritism to pollute the sandbox. Given greater access to the developers, I don't think we will see him resort to the type of theatrics we witnessed this past October. Because of that, combined with his real life experience as a labor negotiator, DNSBLACK gets my final vote.
I am only endorsing five candidates this year. Why only five? First, I'm not going to endorse candidates from null sec blocs. These are the null sec bloc candidates I see winning seats on CSM 9.
- GSF - mynnna, Sion Kumitomo
- Other CFC - Xander Phoena
- Provibloc - corebloodbrothers
- Nulli Secunda - progodlegend
- Pandemic Legion - Major JSivla
Xander Phoena is a hard case to rule on. Due to the scheduling of the election, I can't tell if Xander is an official CFC candidate. I'm pretty sure he will appear high on the official CFC ballot however. That, plus last night's endorsement by Ripard Teg will undoubtedly lead to Xander's election.
I'm not really sure about corebloodbrothers. Is Provibloc really large enough to elect a candidate by themselves? If his campaign is as poor as I've heard, then we could see Twitch streamer Gorski Car squeak in. Pandemic Legion has a long history of getting more candidates elected than their numbers would suggest. Could we see this happen again this year? Or am I just making too many assumptions?
Null sec is not the only area of space that have large player organizations that will send candidates to the CSM. I don't want to endorse those candidates either. The other blocs (and their candidates) are:
- RvB - Mangala Solaris
- Brave Newbies - Matias Otero
- Wormholes - 2 candidates (to be determined)
But perhaps more importantly, after listening and doing all my research, I couldn't find any other candidates I want to support. Call me picky, but if I can't really support a candidate, then I'm not going to vote for him or recommend that anyone else do either. I know that some will say I'm wasting my vote, but people told me that about Mike Azeriah for years too. In my eyes, they were wrong then and they're wrong now, too.