CSMX Candidates Quizzed: Jayne Fillon

 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. First into the questionnaire octagon is Jayne Fillon, bomber extraordinaire. 

Character Name: Jayne Fillon

Website: SpectreFleet.com

Twitter: @BomberJayne

Candidacy Thread: Jayne for CSMX

PART 1 – The Questionnaire

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

The corporation and alliance redesign is my main focus and platform for CSMX. This is work that needs to be done before CCP can iterate on the things that players have wanted change for a long time: sovereignty warfare, player owned structures, and wardecs just to name a few.

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

Faction warfare is in a better place than it used to be, but I’m worried about the future health of solo and small gang PvP, especially with the changes to force recons. At the smaller scale I’d like to see a reduction in “cowardice” such as non combat cloaks and stabs, and at the higher end I’d like to see a reduction in the necessity to run slaves and high EHP platforms.

Reducing the tracking speed of gateguns, for example, would promote the usage of frigates in fleets even when fighting on gates. Small chances, but it would be nice to reduce to barrier to entry for newer players even further.

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

My main focus in on mechanics that are game wide, regardless of whether or not you call lowsec home. Although I currently live in lowsec with my corporation, there are no lowsec specific that I would push for CCP to implement at the moment.

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

In my opinion, the importance will always be on highsec, despite the fact that I spend the least amount of time there. This is the place where new players live and learn the game, and if it’s not any fun, then new players are simply going to quit. In the same vein, lowsec can be viewed (and not everyone agrees with this) as a stepping stone into nullsec. The majority of nullsec is filled with older players and what most would consider “end game content”. Using that as my reference frame, highsec should be CCP’s priority, closely followed by lowsec, and then nullsec.

Please don’t take this as “Jayne Fillon doesn’t care about nullsec,” because that’s completely false. I learnt to PvP in nullsec and I still prefer to fight in nullsec, however for the health of the game, CCP’s priority should be elsewhere.

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

Accessibility and proximity to high sec, which has become drastically more important in the post-phoebe universe.

Also, the lack of bubbles allows people a nice mix of “freedom to travel” and “elite PvP” with high end clones and the ability for the majority of fleets to disengage from a fight if necessary.

Less risk, less effort, essentially.

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

It’s… hmm. Fun is the first thing that comes to mind.

In terms of good or bad, I feel that the “victims” or lowsec piracy are often those who are inexperienced in either PvP or simply how the game works. I would be happier if there was some magical mechanic to let new players, or players on the recieving end or piracy to find out just what they did wrong to get blown up.

Other than that, I think that in lowsec “pirate corp” is synonymous with “PvP corp” which is unfortunate. It would be nice if there were a way to separate the two, or at least motivate PvP focused individuals towards either not being pirates, or hell, even full blown anti-pirates. That would be cool.

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

We don’t need to make PvE pilots in lowsec more protected, we need to make them more knowledgeable about the dangers, the risks, and most importantly the rewards.

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

Faction warfare has never interested me, and I’ve never participated in it. Within the circles I reside, FW is almost always viewed as a place for new people who don’t know better, or bitter vets who just want easy risk-free ISK farming. To that extent, FW certainly doesn’t have the reputation of a killer feature, so I’m just going to have to assume that it is not one. I could be wrong.

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?

Combat in lowsec at the highest levels is plagued by near uncatchable supers, fully slaved high EHP ships and either large logistics wings or triage support. My suggestion to CCP would be that no matter what part of lowsec they want to change, change it in a manner that will encourage smaller, more sporadic, and more local engagements. Increasing local income in lowsec would be a big part of this, and would reduce the necessity (or at least the perceived necessity) for all major groups to either be explicitly blue, or blue when required.

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

How about just making overviews better as a whole.

CCP Karkur made a good effort to start, but there is still much to be done.

PART 2 – The Interview

You ran for CSM9 and were ultimately unsuccessful in securing a seat. Why run again?

Last year things were very different. As an individual, I could have generously been described as an overenthusiastic schoolboy in my attempts at securing a seat: well intentioned, but simply lacking in experience. I was passionate about the game – still am – and really truly wanted to contribute to the development of Eve as a whole. My inspiration to run for the CSM came from two currently sitting CSM9 members. Ali Aras was the first person who I broached the subject with, and her advice regarding the CSM quite simply boiled down to “why not give it a shot?” I had nothing to lose, and could only gain experience about the process while networking and meeting all sorts of interesting people from bloggers to candidates. Mike Azariah was the second voice that helped convince me to run for CSM9, who had himself run multiple times for the CSM without success before finally being elected. As well as echoing what Ali had said, he helped shaped my view of what role the CSM plays in the game and how best the members of the council can serve the playerbase. Although not usually known for his flamboyant charisma, those small discussions with Mike over last year really excited me about the prospect of being able to help the players have their voices heard.

What has changed to make you think you have a chance this year?

Last year my platform was very imprecise. I loved the game, I felt I knew a lot about the game, and I wanted nothing more than to contribute the future of the game…. and that’s really where my platform ended. I had no specialty that could separate myself from the other CSM candidates: Manny was viewed as the authority on Sovereignty Warfare, Steve was the authority of 3rd Party Development, Funky for Faction Warfare, Mike for Highsec, Core for Provi… etc etc. This was a pattern I quickly noticed when I looked at the council members who had been elected. Not only did a member of the CSM essentially have to be a “jack of all trades” but they also had to be “the master of one,” and that’s where I truly fell short.

For CSMX, I had originally decided that I wasn’t going to run.

Early in the year I was focusing on running my corporation as well as growing Spectre Fleet into the community I knew it could be. The first time I considered running for CSMX was when I heard that Mangala Solaris from RvB would not be seeking re-election, which came as a major surprise. Famously, Mangala Solaris founded and still runs RvB Ganked, the sister community to Spectre Fleet and had been the premiere NPSI community in Eve for a long time, with roots stretching all the way back to 2006. During his term, Mangala had been working on a project that I strongly supported, called the “New Eden Social Groups” and I had heard nothing else of this project from any other CSM. I finally decided to run for CSMX while at Eve Vegas. during the Keynote presentation. CCP Seagull revealed a modified version of the development roadmap which reclassified corporation and alliance redesign as an ongoing project (the minutes would later reveal this to be a massive understatement) and without Mangala on the CSM to spearhead this project, I felt like none of the CSM would give it the attention it deserved, and a lot of great opportunities could be missed

With my experience as both a CEO and leader of the largest channel based community, I knew that I could be that voice. I knew I could be the expert in this topic, in a council where no one else seemed to care.

From a more quantitative side, and why I think the voting will be different…. well that’s thankfully has a rather simple answer.

I really wasn’t that far away from getting a seat during the CSM9 elections in the first place. I was ranked 18th overall with a total of 670 votes – a stones throw away from the lowest ranked candidate who was elected with 830 votes. This was at a time when Spectre Fleet was still only one month old and a tenth of the size it currently is, let alone that very few people knew who I was or thought that NPSI was anything more than a phase…. for all intents and purposes I was a newcomer of the greenest variety. This year, it will be much different. The two major changes that will make a difference are Mangala not running for CSM, which caused a split vote last year, as well as Spectre Fleet and the entire NPSI community having seen astronomical growth in the last year. People are realizing that there are ways to play this game outside of the traditional corporation and alliance mechanics, and this is where I’m likely going to draw the majority of my support since they know I can be their voice.

Will it be enough to earn me those extra 160 votes? Only time will tell.

What did you learn from your previous run that you think will help you going forward?

Two things spring to mind. First, as I mentioned earlier, you can’t just be a “jack of all trades” and have your heart in the right place to be effective on the CSM, you have to be able to represent a portion of the playerbase that would otherwise not have a voice at all. If you don’t fulfil that requirement, then there is essentially no purpose for you to seek a seat on the CSM at all. The second thing I learned was the importance of voting blocks. It’s ugly, and people don’t like to talk about it, but that’s how the STV system works. I was humbled to be included on the CFC official ballot last year despite not being a part of the coalition, and was one of two individuals on that ballot not to be elected, the other being Angry Mustache. As far as I’m aware, the only two candidates who were elected to the CSM as individuals were Matias, who eventually resigned, and corebloodborthers, who had an incredibly motivated voting block after the perceived betrayal of Ali Aras. This points to the simple conclusion that unless you have unwavering support from a massive voting block, you need to play nice and work with others, even before you’re elected to the CSM.

Do I think that the STV system is better than FPTP? Yes, most definitely. Despite the politics it provokes, I truly believe it leads to a more balanced CSM.

Tell me about Bombers Bar, Spectre Fleet, and the whole ‘impersonating Seraph’ thing. If half of what I’ve read is true, you almost certainly broke the EULA at one point or another, but considering the sources are rather one sided – what’s your take on events?

Oh, Seraph. That man truly hates me more than I’ve ever seen anyone hate anything.

Anyway, the part of the EULA that I was accused of breaking was the controversial “impersonation of another player” rule, but it really comes down to a technicality more than anything. The story goes like this: I was trying to disrupt the operations of a rival corporation while pretending to be friendly with them. This specific corporation lived in highsec, and I knew that they would not be able to handle the pressure of a sustained war. The problem I encountered was that this corporation had friends and alts in marmite as well as other highsec merc groups which made finding a group who would actually take a job against them extremely difficult. Long story short I found a mercenary group who would take the job and hired them, but to seed doubt as to my involvement, I used an alt to convo marmite and offer them the same job – knowing they wouldn’t. Acting predictably, marmite refused the contract, and sent a copy of the convo with my Alt to my rival corporation’s leadership.

When confronted, I said the follow regarding the mysterious alt:

“Okay, well as much as Id appreciate you didn’t share where you got this information from, I can’t control that.
Seraph IX Basarab has returned to the game. No one hates tempelman [Member of Rival Corp] like he does.
Also, he’s been trying to rebuild his current corporation which…. I destroyed the first time around.
Explains why both SASH [My Corp] and Venga [Rival Corp] have been targetted.”

The argument goes like this: does suggesting to Person A that my alt is Person B truly count as impersonating Person B? Seraph says yes, and wants me banned for it. Thankfully, Seraph isn’t CCP and doesn’t have that power. At no point did I claim to be anyone else, on my main, or on my alt. I acted like someone else using an alt, and when I was asked if I knew who that alt was, I simply suggested an alternative answer. To me, this isn’t impersonation. During this whole “scandal” I reported myself to CCP to make sure no rule had been broken, and I’m sure that Seraph did as well. Considering all of my accounts remain unbanned and have never been banned, I’d say what I did was well within the rules.

Welcome to Eve.

The trend in recent CSMs has been for an assortment of one-trick-ponies (by and large) to come together and each put forward their particular expertise in helping CCP build EVE. In fact, CCP has gone so far as to just start picking the most relevant members of the council to come to Iceland for the Summer and Winter summits. What’s your expertise? What do you bring to the table that no one else does?

Corporation and community management, which is essentially how players come together and form groups, and what can be done to foster this and allow players to thrive regardless of where or what they do in the game. That is to say, I’ve been a CEO for almost two years now, and I know how terrible corporation management can be, and how limited, finicky, or completely useless some of the tools are. This isn’t to say that I’m the only CEO who could voice these opinions, but my real specialty comes in the non-corporation based groups. Thousands of players interact with one another everyday in groups that have no affiliation to the corporate or alliance mechanics. With Mangala not seeking another term, there will be no one left on the council to speak for these groups. In fact, I’m unsure if anyone else on the council beyond Mike Azariah has ever participated in one of these groups, let alone knows how large or popular they have become.

You are one of the many candidates running this year who has a past affiliation with TheMittani.com – in essence, you used to work for me! But, you only used to, as you didn’t have the time to contribute at a certain point. What are your current time commitments like? If elected, do you think you’d be able to put in 20 hours a week, every week, for a volunteer project of this nature? Are you willing to sacrifice other projects for the CSM, or will you seek to balance things out?

I’d like to share a picture with you.

This is on one of three accounts which I consider my “mains.” I do play a lot of Eve – probably too much, in fact, and when not playing I’m always connected to Eve in one way or another. From the Eve subreddit, the official forums, failheap challenge, the three news sites, podcasts and blogs, or even just interacting with my corporation I’m always plugged in when not at work. Unfortunately, I do work a full time job and we were recently slated with an enormous project that forced me to cut back on Eve, which sadly included time I had otherwise spent writing articles. That project will be ending in April, thankfully, and I’ll be back to my regular work schedule. That being said, people like Xander Phoena have proved that you can still contribute to the CSM even when you have a full time job, or even a job that can take you away for small periods of time. The man works on an oil rig throughout the year, yet by connecting with people using Skype et el, he’s able to maintain his status as a contributing member of the CSM.

You might even say he’s a role model of mine.

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?

My background is in Engineering, and I’m currently employed as a Military Pilot. I can’t really go into much more detail than that, nor do I want to.

I’ve found that my background in Engineering has been incredibly helpful, as it makes understanding the technical side of Eve a lot simpler. I can look at the numbers proposed in various DevBlogs and create an empirical and informed decision on whether or not something is balance or overpowered. That way when someone questions me on why I think this is the case, I will always be able to substantiate my opinion and have an engaging conversation. That’s been ingrained into me for a long time. Unfortunately (for me) not everything can be solved or quantified using math and equations. However, I’m very used to working in an environment where everyone is a specialist in a specific and highly technical field that most others on the team don’t even have a cursory knowledge of. In situations like this you have to be able to admit you know nothing, and listen to those that do, asking the right questions. On a team like the CSM, “I don’t know” or “I have no opinion” are never valid responses; you either have an informed opinion, or you gain one from the people you trust.

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?

Ouch. Tough question.

I have to go with Manfred Sideous.

Manny is probably the best person that you could possible have given the proposed development roadmap. Corporation and alliance redesign, structure and starbase overhaul, sovereignty warfare and power projection… he checks all the boxes with ease. Additionally, he has just the right mix of technical mindset and personal experience to make informed decision regardless of what they are about. Manny for CSMX!

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

I’m not really a gamer. Eve is the first game I ever played seriously.

During 2014 the two games that I played other than Eve were Titanfall and Civilization, both of which I enjoyed briefly and then returned to Eve.

Could you elaborate on your belief that lowsec is a stepping stone to nullsec?

Well, you could take this in two ways. In one sense, lowsec is the literal stepping stone between high and null security space. Lowsec is not only interspersed between areas of highsec, but in most cases is the region of space that provides a buffer zone between the no-holds-barred PvP of nullsec and the concord-protected-themepark of highsec. In a player’s natural progression through the learning phases of this game, they are likely to encounter lowsec before they do nullsec, and in this situation lowsec would be their first introduction to Eve PvP. The second way you could interpret this is that lowsec has restriction and that nullsec doesn’t, such as bombs, bubbles, and engagement timers. Lowsec, in my opinion, has rules and restrictions that makes the combat less vicious and deceptive, and more “honest” if I may be so bold. Beacons, for example, only exist to facilitate the interaction between people expecting to engage in PvP. In nullsec, there are no beacons, and everyone is trying to kill you in whatever way they can possibly think of no matter what you are doing. They are simply two completely different mentalities.

What sort of background and experience do you have with lowsec in the time you’ve been playing?

I have never partaken in Faction Warfare, I’ll say that much first and foremost. I have very little idea about the mechanics themselves, and what limited experience I have trying to fight people from FW has left a bitter taste in my mouth  reminiscent of cloaks and stabs. Other than that, I’ve engaged in all other types of PvP in lowsec, from solo roaming in my trusty Hyperion, to small gang warfare with my corporation, large fleet fights with Spectre Fleet, and structure conquests with various alliances. I’ve been doomsdayed multiple times, fought with and against supers, and have lived in four different lowsec regions in the last year: Sinq Laison, Placid, Derelik, and The Forge.

You say in your initial round of responses that you learnt to pvp in nullsec and still prefer to fight in nullsec, yet nullsec should be on the bottom of CCP’s priority list. If nullsec is ‘end game content’ then shouldn’t it be at the front? Most people funnel through a game’s early and mid-content and bunch up at the end.

I was worried my response would be interpreted this way.

Nullsec shouldn’t be ignored, that’s not what I was trying to say at all. A sovereignty reform has been needed for as long as I’ve been playing this game, and to put it off any longer would be nothing short of criminal. That being said, I don’t think that highsec and lowsec should be overshadowed by these initiatives. Eve will always require an influx of new players to remain healthy, and not only does Eve have a reputation for having a terrible NPE, but that reputation is steeped in the truth. Furthermore, Eve is a sandbox, and I truly believe that there should be equal opportunities for “end game content” in all regions of space: high, low, and null.

Hell, to some players Incursions are end game content, and if that’s what floats their boat (or flies their ship…?), then power to them.

You say PVE players don’t need to be more protected in lowsec, but instead should be made more knowledgeable about it – how would you suggest doing such a thing?

Eve players are always applauded when they explain to a new player how they died, or what they did wrong. I’ve seen countless newbies makes posts and comments about their encounter with pirates, and how they were actually pretty nice, usually sending them some ISK to replace their ship or mail giving them some advice and encouraging words. This makes me heart melt every time, and as awesome as it is that this mentality is ingrained in our culture as a player base, I know that it’s not universal and that there is really no way for this to occur if the players were to sudden stop doing this on their own. I would love if we could have killcams, for example. This would help new players just as much as it would bitter vets. If this could be shared, then maybe people could get other opinions about what went wrong, what they could have done differently, or the experienced pilot could see if they timed their overheat correctly among a million other things. I have no ideas other than pie-in-the-sky wouldn’t-this-be-nice sort of concepts, but the sentiment is there. If people don’t have any way of knowing what they did wrong and how to get better, then they’ll quickly become discouraged and quit.

Similarly, you state that overviews should be made better. In what ways?

OhTakashawa has been doing a great job making a standard overview pack that is actually useful to players. In much the same way that CCP has been looking to Dotlan for ideas and inspirations regarding their map update, as they should, CCP should look to the playbase to see what we are actually using. Custom overviews are awesome, but you know what’s even better? Useful default overviews, so that new players don’t have to be code wizards to understand what’s going on in the space around them.

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

I love this game. I truly, dearly, love this game and will do everything in my power to make it the best game possible whether I’m on the CSM or not.