CSMX Candidates Quizzed: June Ting

 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 June Ting, alliance executor for Of Sound Mind.

Character Name: June Ting

Twitter: @lizthegrey

Candidacy Thread: June Ting for CSM10 – newbies and independent PVPers

PART 1 – The Questionnaire

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

The new player experience.

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

No, lowsec is not ‘fixed’. As a null player, I have no reason to care about happenings in lowsec. Until I have to care about lowsec interactions as a null player, lowsec is not fixed. Making lowsec even more of a mandatory logistical hub (e.g. 70% or more of nullsec logistics) requiring more interaction with low other than “light cyno, warp JF to highsec gate” will solve this problem.

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

I believe that the CSM should be balanced with members from all groups. I am not well-qualified to push specific agendas in lowsec, because I don’t live there. I would support lowsec resident members on the CSM in pushing CCP to make well-thought-out changes to lowsec, but I wish to avoid ‘too many cooks in the kitchen’ syndrome by interposing myself, a non-lowsec player.

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

Getting newer players involved in interacting with other players is important to retaining them. Lowsec can become an even more fantastic playground for new players due to the low friction involved in getting involved in lowsec play, but CCP needs to do it. I believe that lowsec should feature prominently in any plans CCP makes, but there are ugly areas of balance in low, null, high, and whs that all need urgent attention, and will ultimately benefit all areas when fixed.

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

Being able to independently operate in lowsec without having to kowtow to others is a huge draw to lowsec play – it’s got a substantially lower barrier to entry.

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

Gate gun mechanics need a substantial rework. Trying to find frigate fights outside of FW complexes is pointless because of gate guns.

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

Enticing PVE play in lowsec is a desirable outcome, but increased protection may not necessarily be the right way of accomplishing that. Increased rewards, and helping players even realize that PVE in lowsec is lucurative should be the first step rather than something stupid that CCP should never do like adding guns to asteroid belts etc.

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

I’ve lived in Derelik lowsec for a few months, and it has a very, very, very different feel than FW lowsec. Non-fw lowsec, especially the more remote parts (e.g. solitude, derelik) feels very tumbleweedy, and tends to present a much higher barrier to entry to newer players than FW lowsec where easy fights can be had in plexes. I’d like to see non-FW lowsec made more popular and more engaging, but don’t think nerfing FW is the correct way of accomplishing that.

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?

Listen to the people that live in lowsec e.g. Sugar Kyle first and foremost.

Secondly, give better incentives for players who live in other regions of space to interact with lowsec, and make it harder to ignore lowsec for players in other areas of space.

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

File a little things request 😉

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?

My day job is, generically, making your intertubes work. More formally, I’m a Site Reliability Engineer (a cross of a software engineer and systems administrator) working for Google, currently on Google Flights (https://www.google.com/flights) and formerly on ‘SSL added and removed here’. In a past life, I was a game developer employed by Three Rings Design in San Francisco, working on Puzzle Pirates specifically in the areas of cheating/botting detection, customer support automation, and ‘little things’. I hope that voters will recognize that I bring a tremendous amount of out of game experience to the table that is directly relevant to the CSM role – I know how to project manage, I know how to call bullshit on wacko software development schedules, and I have fought cheaters in the trenches.

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.

Sugar Kyle. She has a great mix of experience with newbies, communicates what’s going on with the CSM really well, and also represents lowsec extremely, extremely competently.

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

The one non-EVE game I play with any kind of regularity is Civ V with all the expansions – my wife and I both play EVE together and play Civ V together when we’re not playing EVE. She tends to favor doing military conquest of everyone else, I’m a bit more of a research race/culture victory kind of person.

What’s the nature of your past experience in lowsec?

In early 2013, I led a moon campaign in Derelik on behalf of Provibloc, and took a few dozen moons from Broken Toys and other assorted Provibloc reds. We weren’t resident in lowsec, but lived two jumps from it and regularly roamed into it. When Brave Newbies moved into Rahadalon, we frequently made the trip to go fight them as frenemies. The lack of Crimewatch 2.0 definitely made the mechanics super confusing to newbies, but it was an interesting experience and my first toes in the water as far as fleet commanding.

My alliance lived in Hasateem/Sendaya for a month in mid 2013 between living in Provi and living in Curse. Our experience was that Derelik was shit for income and had very little for our newbies to do. This was prior to CCP buffing lowsec by increasing wormhole frequency, clone soldier tags, Mordu’s rats, etc. – all we could really do was do some amount of piracy (except that newbies in frigates are a terrible, terrible tool for gate piracy in the face of gate guns), and spinning in station. Not fun times.

We helped BRAVE from time to time in Placid in late 2013/early 2014, but weren’t resident in lowsec, instead staging out of LSC4-P. I really don’t have great insights to share from that, as we maybe took substantial fleets down to low three or four times during that period – my largest complaint from that time period was carriers on stations and link alts on stations that would dock if aggressed.

You state that lowsec can not be considered fixed until people in nullsec (like yourself) care about it. Would you extend this to highsec and wormhole space as well?

We already care about highsec because it’s where we buy/sell our shit, and we already care about at least low-class w-space if we live deep in null given Phoebe jump changes. But yes, in principle, I would argue to continue making the economies and logistics interdependent.

People in nullsec generally don’t want to have to muck around in Empire. People in lowsec generally don’t want to have to deal with nullsec ‘blobs’ in their home territories. Why should these two distinct playstyles be forced to interact?

Because EVE is about interaction. We’re playing one game, not four entirely separate games. A nullsec blob in lowsec is leaving objectives in nullsec undefended, and let’s not pretend that until Phoebe most of the lowsec moons were owned by null blocs anyways, so that interaction already was present.

What’s one way you favor to get new players more involved in the pvp playground of lowsec?

Explain to players what lowsec (and other non-highsec space classes) are in the tutorials, and why they might want to go there. The tutorials pretty much only point you at doing things in highsec (minus the token nod at FW), and if you try to jump a lowsec gate it warns you ‘here be dragons’ but doesn’t tell you positive things about why you might want to go there. Instead of just saying “CONCORD can’t protect you here”, it should say “You can blow up other players here without CONCORD responding, and by the way, there are some great rewards. You should know that CONCORD won’t protect you here though.”

You state that some areas of lowsec feel ‘tumbleweedy’ and that this presents a high bar of entry for newer players. How would increased population and activity in these regions help new players thrive?

More targets in terms of things to shoot in asteroid belts. More fights to third-party/whore on/ninja loot. People, especially newbies, don’t like being bored. If there’s stuff to do, newbies will stick around. If it’s just “the one set of resident flashies camping a gate with instalocking HICs” but no other interesting content in a region, players will move elsewhere (or just quit the game).

You’ve stated that, while you seek to replace Ali Aras on the CSM, you are not her – that you can be more confrontational rather than consensus-building in your interactions with others. Do you feel this is helpful in a group like the CSM?

Yes. The CSM needs to represent all kinds of players, especially those not present and those that are under-proportionately represented. It’s necessary to be a little bit more of a squeaky wheel if you’re not in the majority. A purely consensus-based CSM won’t get very far at representing the interests of people outside of large sovnull blocs. There’s a place for both styles. I aim to represent the confrontational style more than the consensus style but am capable of both as needed.

Do you think SOUND is enough to get you elected?

Fuck no. We’re an insignificant 400 person alliance. And I am probably not hugely benefiting from the HERO vote either, because BRAVE is likely to prioritize BRAVE candidates. I’ll need help from all over the EVE universe to be elected, and even if I didn’t, I’d still be campaigning broadly.

Your solution for war dec cycling, stated in your campaign thread, seems to consist of putting corporations in awkward situations – needing POSes and not being able to take them down during a war dec’s announcement phase. Wouldn’t this just result in corporations without the means to combat a war dec in the first place also being left behind on the POS front?

They can hire mercs if they don’t want to combat wardecs themselves, or they can do without the benefits that a POS provides them with if they are neither willing to hire mercs to defend their assets nor are able to defend their assets themselves. Ultimately, EVE is in fact a game of consequences, and if you’re not willing to try and make the best of awkward situations, then you’ll be at a disadvantage.

Do you feel that focusing on PVE and PVE alone is a viable playstyle in Eve Online?

Sure, but that doesn’t absolve you of the fact that players can and will come mess with your sandbox. If you really want to just do L4 missions in highsec solo, that’s your choice, but you shouldn’t make more money than someone who incurs greater danger and interacts with more people voluntarily, and you should be vulnerable to being harassed/ganked.

As with a couple of other candidates so far, you worked on TMC for a period of time. However, you do not currently, as you did not have the time to continue your work there. Can you guarantee you won’t be swamped once more after (presumably) being elected? Will you be able to serve to the required amount in the next CSM term?

My alliance was in such a state that it needed constant day-to-day attention and I also had a pile of business travel, so I had to choose to drop TMC work because I was, frankly, doing a bad job of setting aside the uninterrupted time to write each week given my travel schedule. It’s in a healthier state now, and I also am actively trying to avoid business travel after discovering how shitty spending 30% of my time away from home is. Can I guarantee that my alliance won’t fall into such a state again? No. But I’ve looked at the time commitments involved, and I’m pretty confident (as per my Cap Stable interview) that I can weave in the interrupt-y CSM text chat work with my existing interrupt-y alliance management text chat work, and that I can delegate my ingame alliance chores to free up the uninterrupted time to work on CSM ‘homework assignments’.

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

I stand for making newbies and independent groups a viable force in their own right, rather than simply being cannon fodder or insignificant vassals.