CSMX Candidates Quizzed: Soelent

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 Soelent of Fidelas Constans.

Character Name: Soelent

Candidacy Thread: Vote for change!!! Soelent the mega-diplo 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?

Above all other issues in this game stands new player retention. If CCP do not fix that, if they do not find a way to break the “dont know what i am doing” in the game early on and players simply stop playing and never come back, then they will not sustain this game past its current levels for very long and it will go the way of games like Pirates of the Burning Sea reasonably quickly, and the game we know and love will fizzle into the internet history books.

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

Lowsec is lowsec.. its not broken persay, but it certainly doesnt offer the potential content that Null does, meaning there is no draw factor to it.

To clarify: you go to nullsec to get rich… and you can do almost everything you need or want to do in high sec and there is no reason to go to low sec.

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

Low sec, needs to be different from each other unique type of space.

Nullsec has benefits, increased rat bounties, better resources to feed off, scanning sites etc.
High sec has lower chance of losses but also lower yields of shiny things, missions etc are a viable money making exercise

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

It should be pretty high.. . maybe third behind sorting the issue of new player retention and fixing Corp management/POS code and permissions.

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

It offers, to an extend, the PVP opportunities of nullsec, but without the need to be in the very very secular

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

Piracy in lowsec is “working as intended”.. However to comment on a very good point regarding this, its pirates vs pirates.

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

No.. low sec’s dangers should remain the same.. if you go into the wild wild west, then you need to be able and knowledgeable enough to protect yourself.

however the rewards for successfully navigating to low sec, should very much be suitable enough to make people WANT to risk their ships, and potentially pods, to get out there.

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

Faction warfare is not faction warfare.. it is a farmable instance that generates people billions if isk but serves little of the content purpose it was originally put in with.

I believe that a lot more people would be interested if the “as above, so below” thing was removed. So i could go join proper faction warfare with my main without corp and alliance having to be involved as well.. I am a PVP pilot..

i also think that if you have a warp core stab on your ship you shouldn’t be able to go into a complex.. again, risk vs reward.

make the rewards for completing the objectives suitable, and instead of farming a little here, and there, players will work to actively complete them. A little like Sansha incursions in nullsec.

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?

Make the rewards suitable enough to attract people into Lowsec.

Make lowsec offer something that you can get only in lowsec, specific components for builds, specific minerals not found in high or nullsec.

its part of a larger picture really Each section of space should be both mutually exclusive to, but totally Dependent on, each other.

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

I would nag and nag and nag until it was sneaked back iun under 3000 layers of options and settings because i want to be able to pirate and sneak up on people without them knowing *devil horns*

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?

I teach secondary school children in the uk, subject is science and the age ranges I teach are 11 to 18 year olds. I am a member of 5or so focus groups regarding educational practices, very similar in format to the csm and how this works, so I figure I have a good understanding of how it all works and what is required.

I would assume that this would give me a little heads up, I deal with people every day, it’s my job. The children I teach are some of the most difficult in South Wales, from one of the poorest areas and I see them in part as an extension of my family. It’s because I care that I teach, and it’s because I care about eve that I want to run for csm.

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.

It’s going back a ways, but if I had to pick anyone else, it would be Vile Rat (may he rest in peace.). Why? Because every person I have ever spoken to, every person who had any dealings with him, had the same positive comments for him. They, each and every one of them commented on what an outstanding person he was, how he would go above and beyond to sort things out, sometimes on a personal level. You need only look to YouTube at some of the tributes for him.

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

I have been playing a lot of skyrim, it looks lovely after I spent about 2 hours importing addons, it’s a nice break from eve occasionally.

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

Yes, I played there for a while, unless you want to kill player pirates, there is nothing else much that gives you reason to go to. So it was what I would describe lacklustre.

In your campaign thread you stated, in answer to the question of ‘why run for the CSM’, “Why not?” Do you feel this is really sufficient enough to get you on the Council? What makes you better qualified to be on the CSM than the dozens of other candidates who have a cause?

Because in my day to day job I see people with opinions that don’t necessarily know how to articulate them. I do that for a living in most part with the school focus groups. In this setting i need to articulate some complicated ideas from people who don’t necessarily have the skills to articulate it for themselves. Whilst I am not saying this community is not inarticulate, it is very difficult to know how to say something in the sort of setting that the CSM presents.

You also stated that the fact that new players enter the game 10 years and 100 million skillpoints behind other players and that they cannot compete due to that fact. What would you suggest be done about that situation? Should someone who is in the game for 10 days really be able to compete with players in certain areas of the game that have been at it for 10 years?

It’s a much more multifaceted and complicated issue that simply extending or changing one aspect. And as such it needs an approach taking this into account.. Methods that look at the safety of new players in eve, whether they get mentoring, additional help in some written form, that player should be 100% ready to leave the nurturing environment and make trails in eve as a game that hey are ready for, rather than is the feeling at the moment that they are blindly thrust into the abyss knowing but half of what they need to… What is low sec, what is nullsec, who are goons, who is pandemic legion. What is a trade hub, will concord attach me if I shoot that rat.. Etc

I have two alts in the noob corps and quite often see simple questions that should be simply answered asked over and over by different people.

A few suggestions I had was to give players 3 things to start with. A longer trial to get a better feel for the game, more immersive quests (see elite dangerous’ scripted training missions) which took a good few hours to complete but gave me a fantastic standing in elite, and understanding of how to do most if not all of the basics, and to make the benefits of those quests and tutorials such that the new players will want to do them, for example giving skill points to spend when they complete the program so to speak, implant sets, insurance for their ships etc. obviously for people who have mains and are making alts they can skip this.

In addition to this a safe zone, which is eve as normal but without the implications of normal eve, ie Gankers, , low sec, that gives them a proverbial layer of cotton wool which slowly gets removed until they choose to leave the area and head into proper eve. The idea of this being they can do what they do in there without risk, for as long as they want, and when they do leave they will have the necessary knowledge, to an extent skills, and understanding of what to expect so they are equipped to get the most out of the game.

The bloodline-based attribute bonuses were removed some time ago. In fact, it may not be long before attributes themselves are gone. What about this aspect of EVE is worthwhile, in your opinion? Doesn’t it just place new players at an immediate disadvantage, by and large?

This weekend we attended Nashh Kadavr’s EVE_NT knotting ham uk. Attended by CCP des, guard, gargantuan and punkturis. On the Friday night we sat and had quite a nice discussion about the new player issue and that of attributes. I know, and understand the reasoning behind taking them out. It was a sensible move and removed the feeling that people had to be x race, y bloodline, and z school to be good at a particular role.

BUT it also removed a little diversity in eve amongst players. The age old argument do you fly gallente or min star if you want to pvp or which race is best for manufacturing.. And from a lore perspective removed a large part of the game for me.

Now. I know removing the attributes was a good thing so when chatting we came to a consensus that two ideas were good. The first, you wouldn’t choose bloodline immediately. After 6months of playtime, and or a set amount of skill training points accrued you would be given the option to Discover your heritage so to speak (there are a million and one ways you could include this into lore) and then would embark on a series of quests to elaborate nowhere you came from.

The second would be that it wouldn’t be a game hanging change, you wouldn’t get more attributes as it worked out before, but you would get a small racial bonus (again nothing so big it would break the game) based on your choices during the quest line.. So for example if you were gallente gallente immigrant you might get a 2% bonus to drone hit points where as a caldari pilot might get something to do with missiles or shield.

There are literally hundreds of combinations of race, bloodline and school that could provide many many bonuses and really expand the background of lore drawing people into it without going so far as to break the game completely.

Your ideas for the new player experience would appear to be centered on simply making the experience longer, so as to better equip new characters to face the wider world of New Eden. Why do you believe that this is a good idea? Wouldn’t a two week long tutorial be even more off-putting to new players than the current system?

It’s, again, a difficult question to answer. The tutorial/cotton wool rap would need to be immersive enough to keep players engrossed, flying with wingmen, helping collect or salvage things during quests so they could adequately engage most major aspects of eve online whilst not getting to a point of feeling repetitive and/or diminishing the benefit of them by doing seemingly innocuous tasks with little insight to the end and in this respect there needs to be a fine balance between length and content.

Increasing the trial period to 28 days, 2 months etc (with appropriate limits on actions that the trial period encompasses now) and implementing a change to the way the newest players interact at the beginning of their eve career would be beneficial in two ways.

It would remove “the I don’t know what I am doing and the trial is over in 2 days” mentality that new players face by giving them the time they needed to feel comfortable in the game without the burden of having to pay for it yet. And also give them the skills and knowledge foundation to allow them to play eve in its most immersive full way, and get to a point whereby they would be Ready to pay for the extra benefits of having a subscribed account. For example the next step in their career would be an exhumer. Or a larger or tech 2 ship.

In your candidacy post, you also stated as one of your major points of contention with current EVE mechanics being the fact that a frigate can defeat a battleship. Is this really a problem in EVE? Why do you think so?

It’s a point of frustration as much as contention. Not because I don’t like the fact that frigates can kill a battleship, they could. But the fact that it takes about a minute to kill a fully Tanked battleship hundreds of times larger than the thing doing the killing. Many many frigates yes, death by a thousand cuts springs to mind.. But the roles of defined ships should be more clearly defined, and it should be encouraged through this to bring a larger variety of ships to the fore to deal with challenges faced by one or two.

At the moment all I see is interceptor roams, Ishtar fleets and the occasional cruiser roam. If you want to bash a pos you take battle cruisers sometimes, now mostly replaced by ishtars.

You wouldn’t get a navy sending out a group of tiny gunboats to deal with the carrier that was approaching on the sea now. Because they know that if you did those tiny boats would get eaten alive. You would however deal a nasty blow with a squadron of stealth bombers.. And likewise if they met a group of interceptors they would be toast.. This is the variety that is lacking img are, there is no planning any more it’s just Get in crows guys.. We are going out for a roam.

You state in your responses to the survey that if CCP does not fix the new player retention issue, EVE will ‘go the way of games like Pirates of the Burning Sea reasonably quickly’. New player retention has never been very good, and yet EVE Online grew in terms of its player base year on year for a decade. Is there anything to support the claim that EVE will quickly die out if retention is not improved?

Pirates of the burning seal. It is eve set in the Caribbean a few hundred years before today. Think pirate ships with cannons and such. The model was pay subscription for the longest time, and it went as below

The learning curve was quite high, how to fit ships, which ship for what, etc pretty much the same as eve. And that relied heavily on access to the other players in the game who were experienced enough to offer advice to new players. This gave the new players a sense of encouragement from the other players and in time were inducted into the corps of these older players and the cycle continued.

The game was played for about 5 years by me on and off. Over this time due to natural wastage amongst the player base the net migration from the game became greater than the influx of new players. The knowledge pool was diluted and as such the number of conversions from trials to full accounts became less, because of the lack of help available from regular people. This in time led to less and less people playing and the regulars then stopped playing because of the lack of content. The game eventually went for a micro transaction model. But when was the last time you heard about PoTBS.?

EVE is an enormous universe, but it saddens me now that I can, in some parts of space, even high sec and low sec to an extend, I can fly 20, 30, 40 jumps without seeing anyone. It’s getting to the point where people who started playing qt years ago are selling up and moving on out, I don’t want it to get to the point where that outpouring of players is propagated by the fact that there aren’t enough players to offer enough content or social aspect to retain our players now.

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

I can’t fly a drake… No, on a serious note it would be my dedication to what I believe in, it sounds like some corny political line but I believe in eve. I want eve to be as good as it is to day, in 10 years time. Better.. And I feel that as a player, and with my skills it is up to me to help CCP and its players achieve this. Stuff fame, stuff glory, stuff history telling people about my contributions to CSM X, I would do this anonymously if I could.. Unfortunately I can’t.