Wednesday, October 3, 2018

The CSM 13 One-Coat Summit Minutes Part I: Summit Welcome

Yes, I am blatantly ripping off Dirk MacGirk's description of the CSM 13 Summer Summit since CCP Guard gave the minutes the wrong title. The minutes are now out and I plan to review all 53 pages while I sit on the train commuting back and forth from work. As I get older, I find writing about something gets the topic stuck in my brain. Since I land in Las Vegas in two weeks, I probably need to hurry up and write so I can get the most out of my opportunity to bug the developers.

For these summit minutes, I will go through and give a summary and my thoughts on each section. Don't worry, I will break up the review into multiple blog posts. With that disclaimer out of the way, let's begin.

Summit Welcome -  Our representatives on our internet spaceship council seemed eager to get to work as the initial meet-and-greet session turned to business. The minutes went in chronological order as good minutes should, but I'll list the contents in order of importance. Your judgement may differ.

First, the CSM believes that the game needs incremental changes rather than Jesus features at this time. Sort Dragon and Jin'taan both argued for incremental changes over new large features, with Brisc reminding people that CCP can work on both at the same time. Suitonia chimed in with recently added small changes such as the HAC and AF balance changes and the Muninn change that were well received.

Nosy's take. CCP is an Agile shop and should, with enough resources, have the ability to work on both. However, working on an MMORPG like that is relatively difficult. I wouldn't have used Wizards of the Coast as an example, as Jin'taan did of multiple teams. I would go with ArenaNet's three teams that worked on the 1st season of the living story. As I recall, they pretty much burned themselves out. However, I don't think ArenaNet was an Agile shop at the time.

Second in importance, in my eyes, were the priorities the CSM entered the summit with. They were:
  • Server Stability
  • War Decs
  • Devs playing EVE
  • Bounty system
I'll include some of the chatter surrounding the subject of lag, as the issue was of paramount importance to our elected representatives...
"Sort Dragon talks about the lag in the game and conflicting ideas about what the cause is. The cloud is brought up and what services could be brought into the cloud to take load off TQ. There is some chatter about which teams are involved in this topic, and who would be in the meeting specifically about server stability. The talk moves over to distinguishing lag, client issues, crashes and fleet fight system performance as these issues are varied and can be caused by different scenarios. The tether system is brought up as a potential cause of the performance issues in flights."
The bounty system seems a strange topic to make a priority, until one thinks about the affect the system has on large fleet fights. Sort Dragon asked if CCP could just remove the feature altogether. An appeal was also made to the affect receiving a bounty has on new players, but that sounded like Malcanis' Law coming into play.

Other topics related to new players were providing an improved default overview for new players and a warning about putting too much into a hauler. The CSM argued that the current default overview was inadequate to complete the tutorial. As for the hauler, keeping a brand new player from getting all his belongings wiped out in a high sec gank is not optimum for player retention.

At the bottom of my priority list of subjects discussed in the opening session of the summit involved client issues. Sort Dragon asked about localized clients, specifically whether a Chinese client would become available to players on Tranquility. He also asked about other languages, specifically Japanese and Spanish. Jin'taan also brought up the subject of allowing limited modification of the client itself. Given the history of players hacking the client to do nefarious things like make themselves not appear in local, I'm not sure how much acceptance of the idea inside CCP would gain.

Nosy's take. Very interesting. One has to take into account the dominant representation on CSM 13 of the major null sec alliances when looking at the priorities. The overarching goal of CSM going into the summit was server stability. I would consider the bounty system as part of the server stability issue, as the system puts extra loads on the servers during large scale fights. The issue of developers playing their own game, or lack thereof, is an old theory on why some things never get fixed, or the wrong solution is implemented. But the war dec system? That's definitely looks like a high sec issue. However, I understand that Crimewatch also affects server performance in big fights. Perhaps I'm to cynical, but that might have something to do with the interest amongst some members of the CSM.

This concludes my review of the minutes of the first session of the summit. Reviewing all of the minutes promises to take several blog posts. I figure by the time I finish the summit will have faded from the headlines in the EVE media. But I figure I should still put in the effort to understand what CCP may intend for the future.

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