CSMX Candidates Quizzed: Mike Azariah

 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 the persistent Mike Azariah.

Character Name: Mike Azariah

Twitter: @Mikeazariah

Candidacy Thread: Mike Azariah —> 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?

No. It is never ONE THING. There are teams for a reason, so many things can be worked on concurrently and that is how it should be. Rejecting the premise I cannot answer the question.

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 more affected by changes made to other things than it is ever fixed. The Faction Warfare was the last thing directly done to it. I’d like to see more crime mechanics brought in to make low the shady undergound and warfront.

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

Directly? No, I support the lowsec folks who do as I have in the past with Sugar and Bacon (the players, not the foods)

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

After the upcoming changes to null we will have to see what the spillover to low is. It may be that in changing one the other becomes a much higher priority as a result.

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

The PvP without having to worry about all the sov stuff. Smaller organizations with individual purposes.

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

Good, I have flown with the Bastards and roamed with some of the npsi folks. I think things have actually improved since the power projection nerf.

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

Better protection in what way? Lowsec is supposed to be less safe. If you make it safer how can you call that an improvement?

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

I honestly know almost nothing about FW except when I see things about the isk return or exploits. It seems a very niche thing and not the ‘reason for low’

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?

As always, I would go back to the public via the forums and podcasts and start collecting wish lists and input. It is not my job to know it all but to represent. If there were active Lowsec Candidates I would expect them to take the lead on any project but that would not preclude me from talking to the people who found me more approachable. This has worked for the past two terms and I would continue the practice.

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

Flashy mean you can shoot them (without concord repercussions) in the default settings. If the pirate is shootable, by all means make him flashy but in other situations he is a pirate by trade but not currently shootable, no flashy.

PART 2 – The Interview

What’s the nature of your past experience in lowsec? How much time have you spent with The Bastards?

Mainly roams, or passing through. I wander there once in a while but there is not much is there that holds my limited attention span. Again, with the Bastards a roam once or twice.

Do you often reject the premises of reasonable questions? To rephrase the first question, which feature in Eve requires the most work to fix right now, in your opinion, and deserves to be worked on?

If the premises are false? Yes. For example if I were to argue that walking in stations needed the most work as it is the most under realized feature of the game that would not mean that I think it needs to be worked on right now. Just that it would need a ton of work to ever reach its potential. One part of your question does not directly lead to the other. The other aspect I disagree with is the concept that there is ONE TEAM at CCP working on just one thing at a time. There isn’t. They have teams working on many projects at once, long and short term goals. I think that they need to complete what they have started with the power projection work and continue on null sov. But if we do not improve the NPE there will not be anybody around to care how good the null game it. Not one thing but all the things. That is why I had a problem with your premise.

What sorts of features do you feel might add value to lowsec that don’t currently exist? How might CCP enhance the ‘shady’ reputation of that space?

Smuggling as a profession. Bounty hunting as a profession and the bounty system given teeth. More additions to the booster trade.

Do you just run for CSM by habit now? How many campaigns have you embarked upon? When do you think you’ll hang up your cleats?

I wonder about that every year. This year the answer was more easily come by. I am not finished yet, not burned out and still enjoy what I am doing. I am fairly sure this is my seventh campaign. I have no idea when I will call it off but not this year (one year at a time)

What do you feel is the largest problem with the current edition of the New Player Experience? Do you feel that appreciable progress has been made on that front since you joined the CSM?

Appreciable progress? Yes. We have more voices in the past two years helping and pushing CCP and it is starting to show some progress. But not enough. Not yet. Largets problem is that it does not show all of what Eve is, only the PvE part (mainly) We need more leads and pointers and contacts to be made to help the players reach the greater world out there and not be mining to get enough for the next ship.

Nerfs and readjustments are a fact of life in online gaming. What is wrong with suggesting that some aspects of highsec PVE be nerfed (in terms of ISK generation) in order to rebalance the game’s economics towards a more appropriately scaled risk/reward balance?

I would counter with why is risk the defining quality of reward and not effort? Should we remove all rocks from 0.9 and 1.0 belts as the risk is near to non existent? Or is the fact that people are willing to do that task enough? If a group works hard in high, low, wh, or null to make their region safe should they then have all rewards removed from it? Or is the reward for that effort the lessened risk with the same reward? Who defines what the appropriate balance is? CCP.

You say you listen to all players, but don’t necessarily agree with all players (naturally). Can you give an example of a player proposal that you agreed with wholeheartedly in the last year?

Does it have to be a new one? Because I am fitting a lot of ships each day I SO want to see a mass fitting tool brought into the game. But that idea has been around for a while. If you want a more recent one? A player wrote me proposing “constellation based war declaration. The 24/7 War Corporations could use it to camp Uedama and / or Jita / Amarr. While smaller corporations could try to claim less populated areas and drive off others.”     The player had the same issue with wardecs that others have had but instead of asking for them to end was asking for more granularity in the decs themselves.

You’ve stated that the CSM are not game designers. Do you feel that is a 100% accurate assessment? You participate in the design process by suggesting modifications to ideas, or by bringing forward topics to address and ideas to consider. In my experience in the industry, that sounds pretty close to being game designers.

I would think that game designers actually come up with the design, we are more critics or quality control than designers. But then I do not have the industry experience to know the difference.

You dislike dealing in absolutes, instead preferring shades of gray. This is, of course, typically a wise thing. That being said, absolutes do exist. Name one absolutely good idea you’d like to see implemented, and one absolutely horrible idea CCP should never touch with a ten foot pole.

The mass fitting tool, mentioned above, is a GOOD thing, even if it will be used for good and bad purposes. Any form of direct money advantage where the person spending real money can achieve things that cannot be achieved by in game efforts . . . the golden ammo issue. Bad, plain and simple.

How do you define success and failure for the CSM as a whole, and for yourself as a member of the CSM in any given year?

Every CSM has managed to make more connections, work our way deeper into the process. if we manage to cover more ground, become more trusted and consulted then it is a successful year. But there is a saying that ‘a month af attaboys can be erased by one oh shit’ If a CSM screws up it will set us back years or even end this project. Failure is VERY possible and we have danced on the edge of it more than once, over the years.

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

One thing? My record on the CSM so far.