CSMX Candidates Quizzed: Chance Ravinne

A few years ago, I ran a questionnaire for CSM candidates regarding lowsec. This year, I’ve decided to do the same, with a twist: there is now a bonus round of questions tailored to each individual candidate that fills out the questionnaire. As quickly as I can, I’ll be posting up their responses: without edit or commentary. Next into the questionnaire octagon is Youtuber Chance Ravinne.

Character Name: Chance Ravinne

Candidacy Thread: “Give Your Voice A Chance!” WINGSPAN//Chance Ravinne for CSM X

PART 1 – The Questionnaire

What single part of the game do you feel requires the most work in terms of iteration by CCP?

It’s no secret that the general gaming public views EVE Online as distastefully difficult to learn and boring to play. If EVE is to not only survive, but also thrive in its second decade, these negative perceptions must be surmounted in two distinct ways.

First, EVE needs a formal reintroduction to the gaming masses, with media that comes from both CCP and the EVE community. We all saw the enormous impact of the “This Is Eve” trailer, and initiatives that build on this concept must become a staple of EVE promotion.

Second, the new player experience, despite its many improvements over the years, is still atrocious. There are few internal resources for week-old characters, and “just Google it” isn’t a real solution.

Working on correcting both these issues will engender a larger and more informed player base that, in the long run, will bolster all sectors of space.

Do you feel that lowsec is ‘fixed’? If so, explain why. If not, explain what you want to see done to fix it.

The laws of entropy teach us that nothing can ever truly be “fixed.” Sure, lowsec is in a better place than it may have been in the past, but “fixed” is definitely not the right word for it.

Hi-sec pilots tend to avoid it. Nulsec groups have no reason to go there, other than for logistics. Wormholers may view it as a source of content or a “neutral ground” exit, but that’s about it.

We’ve seen CCP toy with incentivizing lowsec in the past: higher level mining ores, more wormhole connections, and specialized exploration sites. But these incentives were simply not enough to draw risk-averse players out of their comfort zones into lowsec.

To some degree, that’s not all bad. Lowsec remains the domain of its loyal inhabitants – for the people, by the people. However, more meaningful incentives could be employed to introduce fresh blood and a more diverse array of lifestyles to lowsec.

Do you have any plans to push CCP, if elected, to iterate on lowsec in general?

Aside from deep fryers and torpedo launchers, I don’t like to meddle with things I don’t fully understand. To that effect, I’ll defer to lowsec experts when it comes to particularly divisive issues.

In your opinion, where should lowsec rank in terms of priority for iteration by CCP?

Going by your previous question on whether or not lowsec was “fixed” I’m sure most capsuleers can agree that nulsec is definitely *not* “fixed.” To that end, nulsec is probably in more pressing need of immediate attention.

Lowsec would thus fall above hisec, below nulsec, and parallel to w-space (across the w-axis, of course).

What, in your opinion, are the main factors that make lowsec more attractive to its current residents than other areas of space?

I’m not a lowseccer by trade, but my impression is that these regions offer interesting, emergent content in the form of small gang roams, faction warfare, and exploration. It does so without the bubble clusterfucks you find in nulsec, drastically limiting the “home field advantage” attained by would-be campers. That’s not to say the gates aren’t camped… I’ve certainly lost ships that way!

What is your thinking regarding piracy in lowsec – is it good, bad, or ugly?

As an ammunition delivery agent myself, I’m not in any position to criticize piracy. Whether these so-called pirates are podding mission runners, bumping haulers, or smuggling rum, I support their optimistic, libertarian approach to spaceship operation.

ALSO just for the record, I reached Legendary Grade (top 100 pirates in the world) in Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag AND beat The Curse of Monkey Island without using a strategy guide. #legitpirate

What are your thoughts on the notion that increased protection for PVE players in lowsec will result in a better lowsec?

This ties back to my previous statement about increasing rewards and incentives for otherwise risk-averse players to come to lowsec. As long as lowsec remains 100% fatal for these players, they have no reason to venture beyond their safety zone.

What if lowsec asteroid belts had “gate” guns installed? Without polling hisec miners, I can’t say it would be enough assurance to draw them out. But I do believe there exists some kind of change that can tip those players over the edge from “never leaving lowsec” to “I can profit as long as I am very, very careful.”

What are your thoughts regarding Faction Warfare, particularly the idea that FW is the killer feature of lowsec?

If you put together a list of things lowsec has over other regions of space, “sexy system names” would be #1. But “faction warfare” would be a very close #2.

So yes, I’d say FW is the killer feature of lowsec, especially since it’s one of the only viable ways for pilots to earn steady income via PVP in EVE.

In that regard, it’s important that FW remain the sole domain of lowsec. Ultimately, I’d also like to see Project Legion step in where Dust514 fell short in order to fully realize CCP’s long-term vision for dynamic faction-based conflict.

If elected to CSMX and subsequently informed by CCP that lowsec was the ‘hot topic’ for iteration in the coming year, what input and advice would you have for them?

1. Don’t piss off people who enjoy faction warfare
2. Create new types of content that are exclusive to lowsec
3. Lists always sound more convincing with three items in them

BONUS – What lengths are you willing to go to in order to make pirates flashy red on overview by default again?



PART 2 – The Interview

What’s your personal background, in real life? What kind of work are you in? Does it help your chances of election, in your opinion? Why or why not?

Outside of delivering torpedoes, my real-life work involves branding, as well as online advertising and marketing. While I’m sure that grants me some kind of passive buff to all campaign tactics, I want capsuleers to know I’m not just blowing smoke about marketing EVE to new players. I have extensive experience planning and executing promotional campaigns for consumer brands, including relatively niche products.

If you weren’t running, but you could singlehandedly ensure that any other person in EVE would be elected to CSM, who would you pick and why.

I’ve mentioned in my candidacy post that, other than running myself, I am backing Suzy RC Mudstone for CSM X. Before I started WINGSPAN Delivery Services, I was part of a corp where I learned all about navigating and surviving in nullsec. Suzy was the defacto VP, and he worked tirelessly to translate our wants and needs into meaningful action points for our CEO. In a lot of ways, he was the CSM of our corporation, and I have no doubt he could transfer these skills to the CSM.

Other than EVE, what was your favorite game last year (2014)?

No contest, Alien Isolation. The Creative Assembly and Sega really pulled off something amazing with this title, and in more than one way. They took a risk and went all-in on the solo horror/survival approach, which has primarily seen success in smaller titles lately (Slender, Amnesia, etc.). They 100% nailed the mood and aesthetic of the original Alien. And they managed to release a AAA title with fairly-priced, meaningful DLC in a year that saw some of the most exploitative cash-grabs in the history of game publishing.

Do you have personal experience with lowsec? If so, what’s that like?

My experience in lowsec is limited to hunting explorers, stream sniping, and losing multiple Stratios hulls to local pirates. As you may know, I spend the vast majority of my time in spooky space, but I’m often forced to chase customers into lowsec to complete a torpedo delivery.

While my own experience in lowsec is not extensive, many members of WINGSPAN operate out of lowsec, and I receive a lot of feedback from them regarding the pros and cons of covert ops piracy in these areas. So my opinions are primarily informed by their experiences.

Do you feel it is important to have one of the 14 members of the CSM attempting to influence the marketing of Eve Online? To my knowledge, this is neither an area that the CSM has had great influence on, nor is it intended to.

The CSM represents the opinions and interests of the EVE community, and there exists no greater longterm threat to these players  than the slow, painful death of this universe. The new player experience is certainly a hot-button issue in this regard, but relies on the fatal assumption that EVE will continue to be a relevant, self-advocating entity in the gaming universe. “If we could just get people to stay” only has value if people start playing in the first place.

Was the CSM designed with marketing and positioning in mind? No, of course not. But unless EVE’s public perception is addressed, all reforms to the new player experience will be at least partially wasted. There is no point convening a boardroom of people to come up with a new lemonade recipe if you’re not also going to bother putting up a lemonade stand.

How would you like to see the New Player Experience extended or improved upon beyond the existing set of tutorials?

New players need direction, if only to learn what is possible in EVE before deciding what they’d actually like to spend their time doing. But no static tutorial can really capture the breadth of opportunity in New Eden; and just telling every new player to join EVE University or BRAVE isn’t a solution, as wonderful as those initiatives are.

Imagine something like the STAR volunteer program, but institutionalized on a much greater scale. Let’s say new players could get career coaches on various topics: exploration, mining, trading, whatever. There would be an in-game interface to request a coach for a specific period of time. And veteran players accept these requests just as they accept missions, placing them in a locked private chat and giving them some tools for directing the trainee.

The coach would earn standings/LP at the end of the allotted time based on how their trainee rates them. These ratings would be publicly visible, and I’m sure the EVE community would create additional support tools around it. New players could essentially choose what they wanted to learn (since CCP could add new topics at any time), and existing players would have a new career option (teacher) and a real incentive to be helpful.

This system might require less long-term upkeep than an equally dynamic career agent system, and is less risky than asking newbies to join random corporations and hoping they don’t get exploited in the process.

As you state in your responses above, CCP has played with the idea of trying to incentivize people into lowsec, with generally poor results. How would further incentivization work, exactly, when all signs point towards it failing to achieve the desired result (more people in lowsec)?

The problem with all lowsec incentives is that they don’t address the basic issue risk-averse players have with lowsec: other than traveling between stations and gates, lowsec is almost completely as dangerous as nullsec. If you believe you can’t mine, rat, or explore with locals in system, what is the point of going there compared to nullsec or w-space? No matter how good the loot is, pretty much anyone can take it from you without repercussion.

I previously mentioned the idea of putting something like a gate gun at asteroid belts and/or anomalies (signatures still have the safety nets of scan time and acceleration gates). The actual deterrent of sentry guns would be small, since anyone with a good tank or a little planning would easily deal with them.

But such a feature could give otherwise scared players the FEELING that they’re not completely sitting ducks. That a single bomber that spends 5 seconds on d-scan (hello!) can’t just instantly and easily wreck them. It’s essentially a 75% step down from CONCORD, instead of a 100% step down. There are obviously balancing and coding issues to worry about, but I’d like to see a solution that answers the threat of lowsec from this angle.

Do you believe that lowsec is 100% fatal for the general highsec population of Eve? If so, why?

I don’t personally believe it is, but it’s understandable players could feel that way, primarily for the reasons outlined in my last answer.

You appear to have been playing for just under a year. Do you believe you have the appropriate historical context (when it comes to Eve’s development) and general experience to bring something to the CSM that nobody else running can?

Well I certainly knew this question was coming. It’s true; I don’t have the same historical knowledge or context of the more seasoned players and/or CSM members. But what I do have is a fresh, optimistic approach and the passion to advocate for my ideas. They may be naïve, they may be hampered by inexperience, but they are viewpoints that need representation in a game so wholly saturated with pessimism and bitter sentiment.

And though I am new to EVE, I am certainly not new to being a voice for multiplayer gaming communities. I have been rabidly involved with every title I’ve ever played, engaging casual players, competitive players, developers, public relations managers, and the like to share challenging new ideas.

How would you like to see wormholes changed to incentivize ‘daytrippers’ (i.e. non-permanent residents)?

In general, there are already a lot of strong incentives to visit spooky space. Shortcuts, exploration loot, sleeper loot, drug deals, and the serene silence of an empty local chat channel.

What I think would best incentivize wormhole daytripping is building upon the quality of life improvements CCP has already started for this type of content. To recap, they’ve:

  • Allowed cosmic signature IDs to persist across downtimes
  • Given wormholes visual effects to reflect their properties
  • Rebalanced system effects to more evenly spread risk/reward
  • Changed K162 appearance to give an advantage to the entering player

I’m sure there are other things I’m forgetting. But the point is they’ve been working to make navigation in wormhole space less annoying (with some exceptions). It’s still dangerous and random, but you’re not fighting the game systems to do basic things like find new cosmic signatures.

Now how can we build on that?

First, we can make it so you don’t have to re-scan cosmic signatures once you leave and enter a system. It seems unfathomable that a spaceship computer 20,000 years in the future can’t auto-save a signature you’ve spent considerable effort scanning down. Legacy code or not, this is hugely annoying when you’re running up and down chains.

Second, maybe we could add a systems effect icon in the upper-lefthand corner of the screen. Players shouldn’t need to look this stuff up on Tripwire (I love you, Tripwire!) just to find out they have 8% more shields now. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that tons of players are 100% ignorant of wormhole effects. Get the system class and effect details listed on hover.

Third, it’s time we took stock of the changes to post-splash wormhole distance. I’m not saying it’s broken, and I’m not saying it should be reverted. Hell, the changes here completely benefitted my corporation and its w-space activities. But I think there’s been enough time that CCP and various wormhole groups can review how things have panned out and see if it’s working to the benefit or detriment of both system residents and daytrippers.

One of the hallmarks of wormhole space is its fluid and anonymous nature. How would you have the new star map give greater information about that space without compromising its defining features?

Nothing crazy here, but the map needs to be less useless in unknown space. I understand it’s unknown, but again… there’s no reason a future spaceship can’t have a filter for “systems with wormholes I’ve entered or scanned down.”

In the long, long run, it may also behoove CCP to add extremely basic wormhole chain mapping features to the game. I’m not talking about cross-alliance tools that will replace Siggy, Tripwire, and the like. These are amazing options that offer incredibly valuable information and actionable intel that I would never expect from the in-game map. But new players and smaller organizations shouldn’t have to pay ISK or trust strangers with their APIs to essentially have a map that says “you just left J123LOL.”

The map doesn’t have to show statics. It doesn’t have to create a complete chain. But it shouldn’t be crazy to think it could quickly show you which system you entered and how many jumps you’ve made since then. There could also be a button to beacon for torpedo delivery as needed.

Finally, if voters knew nothing else about you, what would you want that one thing to be?

Last summer, I went to Iceland with my wife. It was an amazing trip – the gorgeous alien landscapes, the cool people, the terrible food… it was great.

So we’re at the harbor in Reykjavik and we find the CCP building. I take some photos and try the door, but it’s locked and I realize it’s not the type of building you can just walk into. So I kind of slink off disappointed.

My wife says, “Why don’t you like, just buzz up? Like just tell them you’re a fan and can you come take some photos of the lobby?” And I was super embarrassed, but I tiptoed over and pressed the buzzer with a trembling index finger. The receptionist listened to my pitiful request and buzzed me up.

So we are going up the stairs to CCP and there are all the CCPeople in the office. They’re working, eating lunch, playing games, and I’m mortified because I’m just walking into their work with a camera. We get to the top floor and there’s like some memorabilia there, and I take a few photos and kind of awkwardly shuffle out. It was really embarrassing but I got cool pictures.

I guess the point of the story is that I understand new things are scary. But sometimes you try them, and they’re not scary. But other times they’re just as scary as you thought. The only way to find out is to try. o7 Fly fun!