CSMX Candidates Quizzed: Khador Vess

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 Khador Vess of RVB.

Character Name: Khador Vess

Twitter: @Khador_Vess

Twitch: Khador_Vess

Candidacy Thread: Khador Vess for CSM X – New Players, Bitter Vets… Lend Me Your Ears

PART 1 – The Questionnaire

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

New player experience. At the moment what we have pushes people into very narrow areas and channels in the game… this is perhaps why so many people end up ‘leveling for my raven’ and not as engaged in other parts of the game including Lowsec, Nullsec and Wormholes.

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

There are some aspects of lowsec that are in a much better place than they have been in recent years but certainly not fixed. Its more active than it was and solo and small gang activity is always somewhere to be found however there are some tweaks / changes that would improve this even more.

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

CCP have to take an approach which looks at all aspects of the game, there is no point in focusing specifically on one area or as we’ve seen in the past parts of the game wither in the mean time.

That being said though there are some improvements I would like to see CCP work on that would improve the game generally but have a very positive impact on lowsec, for example more pathways to different areas of the game for new players because a lot of players don’t even know lowsec is a thing or what that thing is really… they just know that there is a warning saying here be dragons, enter at your own peril

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

All areas of the game need equal love and attention. There is no point fixing low, or w-space, or null if there are no newbies sticking around in hisec and are all un-subbing

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

Lots of fun, easy to access fights and a place where players don’t need to worry about some of the mechanics of null (bombs and bubbles) but can freely engage almost anyone they want.

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

Like everything in eve, its all these things.

All PvP consensual and non consensual has a place in eve and this is as true in lowsec as everywhere else.

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

I’d say the one thing we don’t need is more safety in lowsec for missions at least.

As with everything its a risk / reward calculation that people need to make but make in an informed way. The rewards are out there people just need the information to let them decide if the risk is worth it for them.

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

FW in lowsec gives us some good fights and this aspect of the game is in a better place than a few years ago but i wouldnt say its the defining feature of the space. Its certainly a good way to PvP without worrying about your sec status.

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?

I’d say give more new player experience focus onto different areas of space such as low, null and w-space. Anything that encourages players to embrace their own immortality and take a few chances can only be good.

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

The UI in general has undergone significant changes and mostly for the better, but i agree that i miss some of the of ‘default’ ways of doing things.

CCP has made great inroads into tackling the UI problems, I think that this next year will be the time for us to capitalise on that and really make this game something that knocks the socks off people that try it rather than confuses the hell out of them.

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?

In real life I’m a consultant for a company that manufactures banking equipment. I feel it has more influence on how I play eve rather than affecting my chances one way or another. I’ve pretty much carved out a niche as a generalist in a industry that values specialists and that is true in both real life and eve life…

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.

Jayne, he’s a great guy and has some great idea’s for social groups in EvE and that’s something that I see as being a key to growing and enhancing both the new and old players experience of PvP and PvE

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

DayZ, I love being a lone wolf in that game which is completely the opposite to how I play a social game like EvE.

What’s is your personal experience with lowsec?

I frequently PvP and PvE in lowsec using Khador as well as my alts. Sole, small gang, even large fleet, in fact some of the best roams that Ganked have ever done have been through lowsec or entirely in lowsec. I’ve had alts in FW corps in the past, I’ve even mined and manufactured in lowsec so in keeping with my generalist of eve persona… I’ve tried lots of things.

The only downside of lowsec in my experience is that its far too quiet… getting a fight can be a real challenge some times, unless you are in a bait mining barge / exhumer in which case theres never too much of a problem there.

Are you replacing Mangala as the RVB official candidate?

RvB doesn’t ever really have an official candidate, we’re not like that as an organisation, Mangala has a special place in the heart of those of us who fly with RvB and no one could ever replace him. I do hope though that I can earn the support of my friends in RvB and throughout New Eden.

You stated in your candidacy thread that CSM9’s work in communicating with players was good, but that it could be better. How can it be better? It seems of the active CSM members, nearly every one of them points to communication with players as their crowning achievement.

I’d point to some people saying a lot but meaning little. My idea is more about the CSM enabling the two way communication and pushing CCP to talk (or allow the CSM to talk) more about what they are planning (not half baked idea’s like we have seen in the past) but swinging back from this other extreme that we see where the CSM only sometimes hear about things the day before its announced and the situation where we only hear from some candidates at election time.

From the CSM side I think that the feedback and year in review is a good example of something that was a really good idea, and should be done more often… give an honest assessment every 6 months and have it as part of a devblog, have honest feedback from CCP about who is showing up to meetings, who is participating.

Do you think that the CSM offers a value better and distinct from simply assembling focus groups on hot topics (i.e. nullsec, faction warfare, etc)?

Focus groups are a good way to achieve specific ends, like looking at the new player experience for example but they take a long time to organise and collect feedback from.

The CSM is more than just a focus group to CCP because they understand the game at a deeper level and are covered by the NDA so CCP can use them as a sounding board to see how they think players will react to certain concepts,beyond this they can wor closer and feedback quicker to the dev teams in question. Finally because they are answerable to the general public in New Eden they have ‘skin in the game’ and have an incentive to make this work.

How would you improve the tutorials that greet new players in Eve Online (i.e. the New Player Experience)? What obvious follies have you spotted in the current iteration of the NPE?

It talks a lot and tells you little. There is a massive wall of text that I’ve seem many people just skip though. Instead you want a new players first experience of the game to be ‘WOW’ (or at least a little more pshhh 🙂 )

I would like to see a complete redesign of the first experience a new player has… drop a new player in a ‘simulation’ with a visual guided, almost drill sergeant approach to it (click this, do that, primary the other), giving the player first hand experience of what the whole combat experience will be eventually… make them hungry for more so that they want to go skill up to get into the battlecruiser or battleship that they know what the experience will be like and are hungry for it.

This works for more than just the Combat side of things, you could do an interactive walkthrough of most things in the game like this.

What sort of PVE experience would you like to see implemented and/or retooled to give new players an inroad towards lowsec?

So let me start this off with a little bit of story time… when I first started playing, like many players I was drawn into the SOE epic arc and once that was over I was asking ‘what else is there, can I do more stuff like that’ and the answer was no unfortunately there were some other epic arcs I could do later but I had lots of standings to grind.

I would like to see short story arcs for newer players that have branch points with higher rewards for heading into lowsec, maybe via gates or through k-space to k-space wormholes, maybe even mission specific smugglers gates that deposit you in a system (to avoid getting a newbie gate camped to hell on his first trip), let them see that lowsec isn’t as bad as it seems, but still allow them to see that getting killed isn’t the end of everything

What are a few ways in which the bounty hunting system could be made to be more impactful on New Eden?

I would love to see players given the chance to make a career out of bounty hunting. One good idea that has been brought forward is a hunting licence, to enable players to hunt for those with bounties in various areas of space, though with some restrictions to prevent players putting a 100000 bounty on a player and killing their freighter just for the fun of it.

Maybe a licence that allows you to attack players at different sec status thresholds (rather than the usual –5 they would be able to attack –4 or –3 players) or allow you to attack those who have low standings to the empire faction who owns the space.

I would also like to see things like higher bounty payouts where for example the ship isn’t insured (at the moment the fixed % is there to prevent gaming the system) and incentives for professional bounty hunters such as speedier locator agents and ui tooltips to give them an estimated bounty reward.

It’s early in the CSM election season, but your candidacy does not appear to be drawing much attention – at least not on the official EVE forums. Do you believe that you will be able to count on RVB to carry you through to election, or are you in need of reaching out to other audiences?

Its a marathon not a sprint… consider me a late bloomer. All joking aside, I represent most gameplay styles in the game and so I definitely need to reach out to other groups within the game and I am trying to change that by talking to podcasters, looking at panels that will be coming up etc.

One of your main platform stances is that you want to enable highsec PVP. You are in RVB, so it is perhaps natural that you would know a thing or two about this area – what does it need added to it? RVB is proof that, despite recent changes, consensual PVP in highsec is still very possible.

Wars are a good example here of something in need of change. At the moment there are no real consequences for declaring a war and groups use that to great effect declaring hundreds of wars at a time. I would like wars to mean something… give them strategic objectives, things that if accomplished have a meaningful effect and put in a mechanism to prevent lowballing…. Make wars more like a bet… as the aggressor you are betting that you can do more than X amount of economic damage to a group or remove x asset from space… if you achieve this then the war is over (to prevent lowballing) if you don’t achieve this then there is some sanction or cost associated with that.

As to the second part of the question, I feel that the forthcoming changes such as the In Corp PvP flag is a good example of why highsec PvP needs someone to represent them like Mangala has done so very well these past two terms.

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

I know some great recipes so the redacted sections of the minutes would be more flavourful.