RL >


I don’t often talk about RL here – this is a space I reserve for amusement, hobbies and to keep my writing skills functional. I have plenty of stress in my real life and games generally speaking are where I go to escape that.

But this week, I’ve been writing about something other than EVE, something more important. My grandfather passed away this week, having lived a full and happy life, at age 92. I was very fortunate to share more than 40 of those years with him. I took a day off work to write his eulogy, and then read it at the service this morning.

He was a decorated veteran, an optimist, a man with a great sense of humor and someone who knew how to min-max a card game like no one else I’ve ever seen (bonus points for those of you who get the reference from the picture above). My love of games in general goes back to playing with him and others in that side of my family. He was a listener first and a talker second, more likely to answer a question with a question than an answer. He worked hard, played hard, and gave a lot back to his family – most often in opportunities for experiences.

As I got ready for the funeral this morning, I saw the announcements of layoffs at CCP blip past on Twitter, and thought of the many concerns and fears that come from that event (I’ve had that experience, and it’s not fun), the scrambling to make ends meet. I thought of the lives and families of those employees, and the stress they must be under. I wish them the best in the coming months. It is times like this that they will need to lean on their friends and family.

This is a rambling way of reminding you: RL > EVE … or any other pastime, really. Make sure that a job or a hobby serves its purpose, but don’t lose sight of the main event. Make sure you take the time to go make memories in the real world as well – “make hay while the sun shines,” as my grandpa might say. In time, most things pass, but your family and closest friends are what matters in the end.

Posted in Non-Fiction | Tagged , | 8 Comments

The CSM You Deserve


“Bad officials are elected by good people who do not vote.”
– George Jean Nathan

So today CCP Leeloo posted the actual CSM 9 voting results. I’m going to apologize now for what I expect will get a little ranty.

Let me start by congratulating Mittens, Sion & Mynnna for an election approach excellently planned and expertly executed. You’ll see why in a moment.

Here is a table of the results, looked at three ways. The first (STV-14) is the order in which they were elected in the CSM selection. It is a good approximation of the actual order in which seats were won. The second (STV-2) is the method that selected the permanent attendees, and is a decent measure of who had the broadest support. The final (FPTP) is a count of #1 votes only – which while not a literal match to what first past the post would have been (with different rules the null blocs likely would have taken a different voting strategy), is a reasonable approximation of who else had a chance if it had been FPTP and really highlights who benefited from STV rolldown.

STV-14: Order of Election STV-14 1974 Quota Round STV-2: Breadth of Support STV-2 Count FPTP (Approx): If it had been the old way #1 Votes
Sion Kumitomo 4495 Ali Aras 7784 Sion Kumitomo 4314
Coreblood 3122 Sion Kumitomo 6055 Coreblood 2944
Sugar Kyle 2315 Steve Ronuken 5685 Sugar Kyle 1915
Ali Aras 2230 Sugar Kyle 3930 Steve Ronuken 1692
Steve Ronuken 2142 Coreblood 3721 Progod 1655
Progod 2042 Progod 3141 Ali Aras 1521
Mynnna 1974 Corbexx 2897 Matias Otero 1453
Xander Phoena 1974 Matias Otero 2606 Mike Azariah 1418
Matias Otero 1974 Mike Azariah 2177 Corbexx 1171
Corbexx 1974 DJ FunkyBacon 2008 Major Jsilva 970
Mike Azariah 1974 Mangala Solaris 1420 DJ FunkyBacon 959
DJ FunkyBacon 1974 Major Jsilva 1384 Mangala Solaris 857
Mangala Solaris 1549 Asayanami Dei 1302 Psychotic Monk 853
Major Jsilva 1475 Mynnna 1237 Asayanami Dei 828
==== ==== ==== ==== ==== ====
Asayanami Dei 1395 Psychotic Monk 1087 Mynnna 786
Psychotic Monk 1146 Xander Phoena 893 Xander Phoena 775

So what can we learn from this? Well, disclaimer first – I’m betting that Foo will weigh in on my conclusions, and he’ll have some good insights, so check out the comments below (he understands STV better than I do). But here’s what I see in these results besides the obvious items I hit in my general analysis post.

  1. The CFC vote was solid, organized and disciplined. Because CFC had their shit together and as The Mittani predicted, “Given how poor a job CCP did with getting the CSM8 minutes out the door, my personal take on this election is that turnout will be at an all-time low. If I’m right, that’s hilarious news for the CFC, because there’s nothing this coalition does quite like marching and voting in lockstep. In a low turnout situation, the impact of organization, unity and force is magnified. Even if you don’t care about the CSM, vote the way we tell you to, simply because it’ll make a gaggle of shitlords who hate us very, very angry should we succeed.” The CFC landed three in the top nine, practically unaided, without breaking a sweat. If you didn’t vote, for god’s sake you better shut up with the Grr Goons, because your non-participation achieved it. The #1 votes for Sion alone were more than enough to elect two people. For the record (as I told Mynnna) I have nothing against Goons, I find them fun gank targets and their leaders are smart people. I endorsed Mynnna in the top tier and Xander in the second tier. But people bitching about them and then having them land three seats tells me how serious their detractors are.
  2. If the CFC had been less organized and disciplined, or if turnout had been larger, it is entirely likely that Xander Phoena would not have been elected. I expected Xander to have very broad support, but instead it looks like he was elected purely by the CFC and Tweetfleet – and most of it CFC. Xander, make sure to write Mittens (rather than Ripard) a thank-you.
  3. Mynnna’s seat was also a rolldown victory, and while he had broader cross-ticket support than Xander, it wasn’t by much.
  4. Corebloodbrothers’ coalition is larger, stronger and more motivated than I think anyone anticipated. I really want to understand why. All I’ve seen from Core so far is complaints on Twitter about getting blobbed by the bigger sov null guys. I find it really ironic because we generally avoid Provi these days because individual ships and tiny gangs get blobbed so bad by Provi-bloc!
  5. Ali had the broadest support by far, even though she wasn’t as high on the #1 lists as I expected her to be.
  6. Sugar Kyle and Steve Ronuken had far better support than I expected. Kudos to both for beating expectations handily. Those in the top 6 slots were solidly top 6 in all three views of the rolldown.
  7. Mangala Solaris’ support has really dropped off from last year. Last year he had large, broad support – this year not so much.
  8. Psychotic Monk just can’t quite get there. I actually think that if the griefer crowd was ever going to get someone in it would have been this year, due to the flap over Erotica1. But it just isn’t enough – I hypothesize that the griefer crowd just isn’t big enough to get the job done.
  9. If you’re a wormhole voter and didn’t vote a full wormhole ticket, you have only yourself to blame that we have only one representative. As is plain to see above, Asayanami Dei just barely missed out. What if every wormhole voter had listed the top as the wormhole 5? Here are the #1 votes for wormholers: 1171 (Corbexx) + 828 (Asayanami) + 653 (James) + 518 (Proclus) + 141 (Karen) = 3311 votes. If we use STV-14 numbers instead it’s 1991+1395+888+561+151 = 4986. Final quota was 1974, so that means that we could have elected 1.7 to 2.5 candidates. Asay should have made it without a problem but the wormhole community couldn’t get it together. There was even an outside chance for James if we had been able to muster the turnout. Son, I am disappoint.

So that quote at the top? Not at all meant to insinuate that this CSM has bad apples – in fact right now I am very optimistic that most will be very active and will represent their constituencies well. The problem is the unbalanced nature of what’s there:

  • Null: 7 (Sion, Core, Ali, PGL, Mynnna, Xander, Matias, JSilva)
  • Highsec: 3 (Steve, Mike, Mangala)
  • Lowsec: 2 (Funky, Sugar)
  • Wormholes: 1 (Corbexx)

Sure, you can argue semantics about Core and Ali and Xander and Matias, but they’re all null players – that is their experience and their focus.

Now let’s get to the real dismal number: Turnout. Of hundreds of thousands of characters, only 30,000ish accounts (even less actual people!) voted. That’s a 1/3 drop from last year. Terrible, terrible participation. CCP, you need to step up your promotional game next year. In a player base as large as EVE, this small a voting population is a travesty.

DisenfranchisedWho voted? The organized (sov null and to a lesser extent wormholes) and the disenfranchised, fearful and angry (lowsec, highsec & Provi). Just ask lowsec players how well they feel like CSM 8 did for their space – you may hear they did well in general, or for communication, but I guarantee you won’t hear how great they were for lowsec space.

The bottom line is that we, the voters, got exactly what our participation dictated. We have the CSM we earned, the CSM we deserve through our action or inaction. If you want to change this and get heard, you need to take the null strategy on – not the one of back room bargains, etc. (Sugar Kyle and Steve Ronuken prove that isn’t required) but you do need to vote for your playstyle, unless you truly believe those of your playstyle are so bad that you’d rather have those of a different style represent you.

If you didn’t vote your playstyle, I hope the person you did pick can represent you – they may be a good person, but they likely won’t get some of the critical specifics of your kind of space. Me? I wish we had another wormholer on there.

Oh, and if you didn’t vote at all? Then you should STFU with any complaints you have, and vote next year. You failed in one of the most basic tenets of democratic responsibility.

Posted in Non-Fiction | Tagged , , | 44 Comments

This Game is Going to the Dogs

barghest_paintingLet’s talk briefly about the new Mordu’s Legion ships and their names – current and recent past.

First a quick shout-out to CCP Fozzie and CCP Rise. On the heels of the success of my ferreting out some of the things behind the Sisters of EVE ship names last time around, our favorite ship guys decided to move from real names of the ships to code names to confound all the speculators.

This led to them putting false names out for the three new Mordus ships. I did an analysis of those false names and bit hard on the troll.

FozzieAndRiseTrollingWell played, gentlemen, well played.

But before we go on from that, let’s look at a couple of interesting facts, shall we? First off, this still leaves the story arc around the compact gravity well generators unresolved. Make no mistake, this is an important story arc; my bet is it’s connected to the future gate mechanics and the research being conducted at the Ghost Sites.

It also does not in any way invalidate the names of the ships presented. If the miniaturized gravity well generators are to be incorporated into ships of various sizes, they will likely be Boundless Creation ships in the Minmatar line, and these names would be quite useful – Freyja in particular is a good Minmatar ship name IMO.

So what about the new Mordu’s Legion ships that are in fact the real thing? They are:

  • Garmur. Or as I understand is more appropriate, Garmr. This is a Norse name, and thus fits the Minmatar piece of the puzzle. It is the hound at the gates of the underworld, much like Cerberus in Greece.
  • Orthrus. So right off the bat there’s a bit of a problem with this one. See, the name is already taken. As any C5/C6 wormhole dweller knows, this is the name of a Sleeper gun emplacement. Orthrus is the brother of Cerberus in Greek myth. UPDATE: CCP Abraxas (@cloisterphobe, official lore guy and Keeper of Names) confirmed this on Twitter, saying: “Probably going to rename all the Sleeper sentries. We want to use those names for more high-profile stuff.”
  • Barghest. A spectral dog from English lore who would appear in times of death.

So we definitely have a theme here, although I find it a bit jarring with what I know of Mordu’s Legion – generally known as mercenaries with honor. Maybe this is somehow tied to Valkyrie. Perhaps they think of themselves as the Dogs of War, but these are the Hounds of Hell – I personally would have associated such more with Sansha or Blood Raiders … but maybe that’s just me.

Posted in Non-Fiction, Releases | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

CSM 9 Results

csmlogo-blackWe don’t know exactly how the voting went yet, but I do know that my predictions post was almost spot-on. There was only one real miss, and another that I made the right prediction first and should not have made my last-second tweak.

The big bummer is that this also means that my corpmate and CSM 8 veteran James Arget didn’t make the cut. We’ll talk more about why below.

The Winners I Called Correctly

  • Ali Aras (Permanent Attendee). I think that Ali was the MVP of CSM 8. Great outreach and communication, hard work, strong representation not just of her constituency but of the game as a whole. Picking her as a permanent was a guess, but a good one. My opinion is that Ali should be the Chair if she wants it. She’ll be great.
  • Sion Kumitomo (Permanent Attendee). Top of the Goon list. An easy call both to make it and to know he’d be a permanent. I don’t know much about him but his image is that he’s a Goon’s Goon. If The Mittani is CEO, Sion is COO – and if you’ve spent any time in a large RL company, you know that often the COO is the real driver. Doesn’t spend a lot of time in-game, he’s a metagamer first. It’s not a pedigree I love in a CSM member. I hope he’ll come at this role with a broader perspective. I’m honestly interested to see if he will have time to do it properly, with running all of the CFC also on his plate.
  • Corbexx. The only wormholer this time around. Corbexx was right on message with most of the wormhole community, whose perspective is one of cautious optimism. The first principle is: Don’t Fix What Ain’t Broken. Wormholers have an almost mantra-like short list of things they do want fixed, and Corbexx recited all of them properly. He also has a lot of experience across the game and deep depth in wormhole space knowledge. I had a great discussion with him during the campaign about my removable POS idea, which he is supportive of. I think he’ll be a solid representative.
  • DJ FunkyBacon. The Faction Warfare rep. Funky is forthright and a good communicator, even if not everyone loves his message. I hope that he (along with Xander) will leverage their podcasting platforms to talk with the community this year. I think he’ll be a good voice for his constituency and the game.
  • Major JSilva. I know nothing about him except that he is the PL candidate. Guess I’ll have to read up on him now.
  • Mangala Solaris. Mangala is a leader in RvB and a proven content creator. I find Mangala likable and there’s no question he loves the game. He did a workmanlike job last year and I think he will again this year.
  • Matias Otero. Brave Newbies was one of the great success stories of the past year at some level due to his vision. I don’t know a lot about him other than that his corp is fun to fight with and they seem to like him. I hope that he will be a strong member but his campaign was lackluster and BNI has been having an ugly stretch, so time will tell.
  • Mike Azariah. I am glad Mike got in again. I think he was a great rep, a hard worker and counter voice to the nullsec majority. I think it will be valuable to have him there again.
  • Mynnna. Mynnna is smart and capable, essentially the Goons’ CFO to Sion’s COO. I think Mynnna did quite well last year and I expect the same this year. While I understand why he was #2 on the Goon ballot (it was actually a pretty brilliant strategy, IMO) I wish he was a permanent rather than Sion.
  • Progodlegend. I started with a pretty negative view of PGL last year, and through December felt like I had called him right. But then he stepped up and finished his term strong. I am hopeful he will continue the upward trend.
  • Sugar Kyle. I am really pleased that Sugar got in. I think she’ll not only be a good worker but will bring an extremely well-balanced perspective that will benefit the whole game. Non-faction lowsec has desperately needed a good voice since Mynxee (CSM 5) left and I am confident Sugar will be that voice. I really hope she picks up where Ripard Teg left off in blogging weekly. She’s been doing it through her campaign and I would love to see her continue this through her term. (Update: A couple hours after I wrote this but before it posted, Sugar put up her own post stating that she is going to try to do this. Very happy to see it.)
  • Xander Phoena. Call it what you will – the insider candidate, the Tweetfleet candidate, another CFC candidate … Xander got in on strong endorsements and broad name recognition. He’s a very likable guy. I suspect we’ll see a very broad voter base for him in the results. I think he brings an unquestionable passion for the game, an incisive view of the CSM, and will work hard. I hope he leverages his podcast platform to reach out. I think it’s going to be interesting to see how he holds up with the shoe on the other foot (he hasn’t always weathered criticism well) and it will also be interesting to see how CSM work meshes with life on an oil platform. I like Xander and want him to be successful.

The Winners I Called Wrong

  • Corebloodbrothers. As I noted in my predictions post, “In fact, when I wrote the final draft of this post, I had him in and James/Proclus out – I changed my mind literally at the last minute.” So I can’t say I’m surprised he got in. I think Core has good intent, and from what Ripard Teg has said, it sounds like there is a complaint the Provi folks had that drove them to the booths. I’m not sure what it is, so am looking forward to Ripard’s analysis post he says is coming. I think Core means well, but I also know what it’s like to have a hefty career along with kids, so I hope his schedule can handle the load.
  • Steve Ronuken. Russian out, Steve in! In truth I see this as a very happy outcome. Steve has been tirelessly campaigning and building tools for a year and deserved a seat. I’m happy he made it. Especially with industry and CREST changes on the horizon, CSM needed Steve’s background and understanding. Based on his perma-campaign I have no doubt he will work hard and serve the team well.

Called But Didn’t Win

  • The Russian (Alner Greyl). I am frankly amazed that there is not a Russian on CSM 9. I just take it as a given that a Russian will be on the CSM. It’s a happy result from my perspective, and I’ll be very interested to see the voting rolldown and what happened. Maybe the Russians finally decided to put playstyle before nationality.
  • James Arget. Last and most disappointing for me, my friend James. We’ll know more when we see the vote rolldown numbers, but I think two things did him in.
    1. I think that the wormhole vote was both smaller and fractured. Smaller as in both a smaller pool to pull from and a smaller number that voted. Fractured in that last year most wormholers voted for 4 or 5 of the candidates, assuring rolldown to a wormholer. This year I am less sure – I suspect that many voted for 1-2, some 3, and very few 4 or 5. If the number show we did so, we screwed ourselves. I suspect we’ll see the opposite from Lowsec, who I suspect overwhelmingly had bot Sugar and Funky in their top 2-3.
    2. James made a couple of missteps that were blown way out of proportion. He was always planning to run. Except for one day. Only one day – in fact, I actually missed it and wondered what the hell people were talking about him not running. James in fact said so on a podcast, and rescinded it the next day. Then he was late posting things up and getting interviews all done. This combined to make it look like he was taking a win for granted and indecisive to boot, when in fact neither was the case; from being on comms with him I know he was continuing to do CSM work to the detriment of his campaign in many ways. James worked hard as a CSM, and I’m disappointed that he didn’t make it back in. It will, however, be nice to have him back in fleets more often!
Posted in Non-Fiction | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

CSM9 Results Predictions

csmlogo-blackSo the voting for CSM 9 is just about to close. I’m going to keep this short and to the point. Here is my guess on the voting outcome to be announced at Fanfest in a couple of weeks. In the end, I think that only 3 of the 14 seats are truly “in play” – and those three will have a ton of competition. With so many different large blocs voting, exact order is a turnout-driven crapshoot, so I am only calling the top two as far as order – the rest are listed alphabetically within a likelihood category.

  • The Locks (Top 6) – If these people don’t get in there was a disaster at the voting booth or a massive shift in sentiment no one ever expected.
    • Permanent: Sion Kumitomo. Top of the CFC list
    • Permanent: Ali Aras. Broadest support with highest listing in endorsements of any candidate
    • Corbexx. Actually this should be Wormhole Winner, the wormholers will absolutely get one in. My bet is it’s Corbexx, but if not it will be James or Proclus.
    • Major JSilva. Top of the PL list
    • Mangala Solaris. Top of the RvB list
    • Mynnna. #2 on the CFC list but with broad support and disciplined voters
  • The Probables (7-11) – Strong odds that they get in.
    • Alner Greyl. As with the wormholers, this is actually Russian Winner – the Russians always get someone on and form ranks nationally rather than along playstyle lines. Ripard is betting on Alner, and I have no idea, so I’m going with it. If not Alner it will be Podli
    • DJ FunkyBacon. Top of the Faction War list – the only “maybe” here is that not everyone loved his stance on the Erotica 1 flap.
    • Matias Otero. Top of the Brave Newbies list – but Brave has had the worst two weeks of its existence smack in the middle of the voting period, including another candidate bailing on CSM elections and doing a virtual AWOX on BNI – I think this drives votes away from him that should have been Locks.
    • Progodlegend. Top of the N3 list – but N3 isn’t renowned for disciplined voting.
    • Xander Phoena. Second most broadly endorsed after Ali, including high placement on everything from the CFC ballot to Ripard Teg’s endorsements.
  • The Guesses (12-14) – I think these have the best chance to break into the tail end of the vote rolldown. These are the truly tough to guess slots in my opinion.
    • James Arget or Proclus Diadochu. As above, this is actually “Wormholer #2″. I think that this person is the last one in, #14. The reasons is that the Wormhole 5 vote is a lot sketchier and less solidarity is being seen beyond the top 3. If someone does get in, my money is on James Arget due to strong CSM 8 service and endorsements, but Proclus has run a great campaign. Asay is seen as too focused on the community sites where the focus needs to be in-game (although he raises a good point that these are different teams – but it isn’t resonating), and Karen is seen as too new.
    • Mike Azariah. Mike is almost a “Probable”. He did a great job in CSM 8 and has gotten very good endorsements. But the highsec vote is fickle, disorganized and could go to Ali or the suddenly real candidacy of Steve Ronuken.
    • Sugar Kyle. Sugar has run, in my opinion, the best campaign of anyone. She unquestionably deserves to get in, again in my opinion. But her election falls on the shoulders of bloggers, largely unorganized lowsec casual players, and a handful of organized pirate groups. I think it’s going to be a close thing, but I think she gets in.

So that’s 14. Unfortunately it also leaves some good candidates  out in the cold. So who else might get one of the last three seats in place of one of The Guesses?

  • The Wild Cards (15-21) – These folks have a strong chance of displacing one of the Guesses – especially the second wormholer.
    • Awoxing Pizza-Spymaster McBlushooter. No one is really sure whether he’s for real or a joke. The only things that are certain is that he is in Brave Newbies, on multiple lists, and that he has an amazing name – and one that doesn’t bode well for the CSM (if your ROs let a guy with this name into corp they should be fired!). He’s the wildest of the wild cards.
    • Corebloodbrothers. It’s going to be a close thing for Core. In fact, when I wrote the final draft of this post, I had him in and James/Proclus out – I changed my mind literally at the last minute. He has Provibloc to himself this time (Ali is no longer there) but in the end I am betting on him for #15 because he has almost no cross-ballot support and Provi isn’t big enough to elect him singlehanded if turnout is what it was last year. He also had a more lackluster campaign this time. He has to pray for good turnout from Provi and bad from everyone else to get in.
    • DSNBLACK. Promoted by Trebor. DirtNap is a strong independent entity with good visibility. He’s made a handful of lists.
    • Gorski Car. Gorski has run on a bit of an unusual platform – small gang in sov null and lowsec. He’s gotten some nods and some interest from various parties but I don’t think it adds up to election. There are other more high profile candidates (like Jayne and Sugar, or in slightly larger circles FunkyBacon and Mangala) who will siphon votes. He’s also a member of PL, which means many won’t buy the small gang image even if it’s technically accurate … and I don’t think JSilva will have many votes to pass down from the PL ticket.
    • Jayne Fillon. Jayne has run a good campaign and has strong visibility – CCP even did a profile of his work right as CSM voting was gearing up. I don’t think it’s quite enough to get him in, especially with the big pile of null candidates that are likely to make it.
    • Psychotic Monk. Monk ran a good campaign last year and missed by a small margin. The ganker community is motivated this year and strongly disagrees with the Erotica 1 decision, and this should drive voting participation up. Monk also has a broad endorsement base, since he is the oddball “normal, reasonable” ganker.
    • Steve Ronuken. Steve also ran a good campaign last year and missed by a small margin. This year his campaign has been even stronger and he had great achievements to stand on unlike last year. I’m betting that if it’s not Core that knocks out Wormholer #2, it’ll be Steve.

I don’t think any of the others running have a realistic shot.

So that’s it. I’ll be back to do some analysis once we know the real results. Good luck to all the candidates!

Posted in Non-Fiction | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

CSM 9 Voting Slate

csmlogo-blackSo once again we’re on Dolan Standard Time (i.e. the voting site is not up yet even though it was going to be up at downtime. See also time frames for winner announcements and last two summit minutes). So while you wait, here is some information for voters new and old. If you are looking for my endorsements (which is different than my voting slate due to the STV mechanics!) check here.

Last year was my first encounter with a live STV election, which is how CSM voting works. In short, your vote trickles downhill if the person you voted for explicitly gets elected or gets mathematically eliminated. Therefore your top vote is critical as are your top 5-10. For this reason, I strongly recommend that at minimum you list at least 5 choices.

It also became very clear with the high level of organization of last year’s wormhole voters that non-null-bloc candidates can get “bloc voted” if their constituents are disciplined and treat the candidates of a given type as a bloc.

TLDR: I’ll suggest a couple of mini-blocs (Lowsec, Highsec, New Players, Wormholes) here to top your lists. In addition, you’ll find my own personal ballot at the end. I’ll leave sov null bloc list creation to the CFC, PL, N3 and allies.

Lowsec Players: This year there are finally lowsec candidates. Both are great, both deserve your vote, and if Low Sec all votes together it is very realistic that one will get on, and potentially both. But if you want that to happen, Sugar Kyle and DJ FunkyBacon must be 1-2 on your list! If you put them further down, they risk not getting in. I think FunkyBacon has a better shot than Sugar right now, even though I think Sugar is the better choice, because FunkyBacon has a large base of voters in the form of the Faction War crowd, where Sugar pulls more strongly from the rest of Lowsec. List them both in the top two positions on your ballot! Of course James Arget should be #3. :)

New Players, Brave Newbies, EVE University: Wow have you got a crop to pick from this year. The founder of BN, people who live in UNI chat or teach classes there, newbies themselves who are running. Here is my recommended ballot-topper for new players:

    • Sugar Kyle (Literally sits in rookie chat and E-UNI mumble on her off time to adopt and answer questions for new players all the time)
    • Ali Aras (Ran as a newbie last year, still a major focus of her campaign)
    • James Arget (Graduate of E-UNI, long-time contributor there)
    • Karen Galeo (A wormholer and newbie herself)
    • Matias Otero (Founder of Brave Newbies)
    • Mike Azariah (A very new player friendly candidate who focuses on highsec, missioning, incursions, etc.)
    • DJ FunkyBacon (Representative for Faction War, a common place for newbies to go first)
    • Mangala Solaris (Representative for Red vs Blue, another common newbie starter location)
    • Asayanami Dei (Creator of the Wormhole Fundamentals videos to help new wormhole players)

Highsec Players: Like Lowsec, your options are a bit limited, but there are key people you should hit if you want to champion the highsec lifestyle. There are actually two lists; one for the PVE/Markets/Industry crowd and one for the PVP/Wardec/Ganker crowd (merge them if you do both!). Here are the candidates that should top your ballot:

    • PVE, Markets & Industry: Mike Azariah, Steve Ronuken, Sugar Kyle (Mynnna fits here as well unless you hate Goons)
    • PVP, Wardecs & Gank: Mangala Solaris, Ali Aras, Psychotic Monk

Wormhole Players: It is critical that you list as many wormholers as possible in your top 5, at minimum your top 3. Make no mistake, wormhole questions will be tackled this year – in all likelihood system effects (now including Pulsars and Wolf-Rayets, not just Black Holes), POS augmentation or replacement, and potentially T3 rebalancing. If you do not stack, you risk getting NO wormholers in. The reason is that if votes get distributed among the candidates rather than stacked through them, it is entirely possible that NONE of the wormhole candidates will be elected. The stacking factor cannot be underestimated. Your top 3 should be James, Corbexx and Proclus, in whatever order you feel appropriate. I recommend my full personal ballot to all wormholers – it starts with the wormhole stack, then a bloc of top CSM8 alums and lowsec (because lowsec roams FTW), followed by PVP and market folks. My ballot will look like this, and I recommend this full ballot to all wormhole voters:

  1. James Arget
  2. Corbexx
  3. Proclus Diadochu
  4. Karen Galeo
  5. Asayanami Dei
  6. Sugar Kyle
  7. Ali Aras
  8. Mike Azariah
  9. DJ FunkyBacon
  10. Xander Phoena
  11. Steve Ronuken
  12. Jayne Fillon
  13. Psychotic Monk
  14. Mynnna

Yes, I realize that the Mynnna vote is a throwaway – he will be elected long before my 14th vote. It is also exceedingly unlikely that my ballot will reach #14. But as I said in my endorsements post, Mynnna deserves to make your ballot regardless where you live, and so he gets a spot here.

Good luck to all the candidates.

MOST IMPORTANT NOTE: Regardless of who you vote for, VOTE!

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CSM 9 Endorsements

csmlogo-blackFirst, a few things about how I endorse. My endorsements are not the same as my recommended voting slate. There are some great candidates this year that will not be getting my vote because frankly, they don’t need my help. They have massive voting blocs behind them and will get in whether I vote for them or not. Conversely there are some that are in my second tier that will end up high on my voting list because of my voting priorities. But more on voting slates in the next post.

Doing endorsements this year was a lot harder. I think the community owes Cap Stable and Legacy of a Capsuleer a debt of gratitude for their interviews, and the same for groups who have done debates or panel discussions, including Declarations of War, EVE University and Down the Pipe. But that said, I very much miss the style and approach that Xander Phoena brought to the effort last year on Crossing Zebras. As a candidate himself this year, he has stayed out of the interview business, but last year his approach was hard-hitting and almost always found a way to get the candidates to trip a little bit and show the differences between themselves and other candidates – and they were always over in 30 minutes (Cap Stable tried to stay within that this year as well).

Last year, I had a lot more time (I was mostly sitting in a hospital or living room as my wife recovered from surgery) around the election – this year I have been badly strapped for time so have only listened to about a third of the available content, based on my gut checks around viable candidates and my areas of interest. That said, as I have watched other endorsements get announced, I have seen little that surprised me and so am pretty confident in my list.

I approach endorsements through a very similar lens as Kirith Kodachi. This year I am separating my endorsements into two tiers rather than going through the entire candidate base.

First Tier Endorsements

The first tier are people who should simply be on everyone’s ballot. They will be good for the game regardless of your playstyle and you should want them on the CSM simply to make EVE better as a whole. In alphabetical order (ranked order comes next post):

  • Ali Aras: In my Grading CSM 8 post, I gave Ali an A+, the only CSM 8 member to get that grade, and one of only two to get an A. Ali was the adorable newbie candidate last year and this year still considers herself a newbie-friendly candidate, but she has matured into a great veteran player and CSM member. Not only do I endorse her, but if she gets back on CSM, I strongly believe she should be CSM 9 Chair. She simply blew the doors off her first year as a CSM. Despite her excellent abilities and qualifications, however, she no longer has the Provibloc vote behind her this year, and needs your vote to keep her in.
  • Corbexx: If you’re a wormholer, he hits all the right notes. If you’re not a wormholer, you should know that he is solid, experienced, and intelligent. He is a long-standing player of the game, formerly of Aperture Harmonics and now in No Holes Barred (NOHO). He is a champion of change, but in a thoughtful manner that works across space types. If James wasn’t running, he would be top of my ballot. Corbexx is this year’s Malcanis, in my opinion – smart, seasoned, and a keen observer.
  • James Arget: James will be top of my ballot, for several reasons. 1) He now has a year of CSM experience under his belt, on top of his formidable knowledge of game mechanics. He has been endorsed by all of his CSM colleagues that have posted so far, a testament to his effectiveness despite being less visible than Chitsa. I remember one particular issue where it was clearly something that the sov null guys were up in arms about, but had no effect on w-space. He seemed buried in it – I asked him why he was so concerned. His quote: “I represent the entire playerbase, not just wormholes.” 2) He is passionate about the game, and especially about wormhole space. 3) He is a tireless worker. 4) I trust James. We have more than three years of time together in fleets. He is not only one of the lead FCs, but the founder of Future Corps and Sleeper Social Club, built on his original vision. That vision included having the good judgment to step down from the CEO role when other demands claimed his time, rather than dragging the corp down.
  • Mike Azariah: Mike was a long shot last year, a surprise victor. He has showed his mettle time and again on this year’s CSM. He also represents a number of chronically under-represented groups in EVE, including missioners, incursion-runners, roleplayers and other highsec carebeary types. He has been a strong, intelligent and forceful advocate for their point of view and deserves to be there to do it again.
  • Mynnna: Mynnna may be the smartest person on CSM 8. The Goons may have their quirks, but they didn’t get where they are by being idiots. Mynnna can spot the proverbial butterfly and predict with seemingly uncanny accuracy exactly how the playerbase will manipulate changes into economic chaos – because he knows what he would do. His insight is invaluable to the CSM and he deserves to be in any open slot you might have even if you’re not part of the CFC. More on that in the next post.
  • Sugar Kyle: The CSM desperately needs a voice from lowsec. Sugar Kyle is the perfect lowsec candidate, in my opinion. She is not just a lowsec small-gang PVPer, although that is her core. She is also a lowsec hauler. A lowsec mission-runner. The founder and maintainer of a full-blown lowsec market that she created simply because she saw a need. A person who sits in E-UNI and Rookie chat and voice channels for fun to help people out. A lowsec manufacturer, with POS experience making boosters. And most recently, a Faction Warrior. In short, she is lowsec embodied. It is critical that you put her on your ballot for the good of the game.

I’ll talk about the order of these folks in the voting slate post.

Second Tier Endorsements

Beyond the top tier, there are some excellent candidates that while I can’t put them on the “everyone should vote for them” list, should be shoe-ins for various constituencies. These people are strong, solid, and worthy of your vote if their playstyle matches yours. The vast majority will be part of my personal ballot. Again in alphabetical order:

  • Asayanami Dei: Asay is a wormhole candidate, and famously the videographer behind the Wormhole Fundamentals and U-Boat videos. While I find his focus on community sites a bit meh, he has the right wormhole ideas in mind and should be on your list if you are a wormholer.
  • DJ FunkyBacon: FunkyBacon almost made it to the first tier. He is a faction war candidate with a ton of game experience and a high-profile community member through his EVE Radio show. If you live in lowsec, he should be second only to Sugar Kyle on your ballot. If you roam in lowsec, he should be in the top half. As a wormholer, I can tell you that these days most of our lowsec targets are FW or FW-hunters, so keeping this field of targets happy is a good thing.
  • Jayne Fillon: While there is some level of controversy around Jayne, there is no debate around whether he is a content creator. He is a highly-visible public fleet commander associated with Bombers Bar and Spectre Fleet. If you’re a PVPer, you should strongly consider giving Jayne your support.
  • Karen Galeo: Karen is that rarest of birds, a wormholer who is also a newbie. Ali Aras has already shown that a newbie candidate can be a fanstastic CSM representative. Karen took newbie to an extreme by setting straight off into w-space, something almost no one does. Big points for bravery, creativity, and HTFU. Younger players and wormholers should have her on their ballots.
  • Mangala Solaris: Mangala is another proven content creator and player organizer. As the head of Red vs. Blue, he continues to show that he is able to put immense creativity into the game and find ways to make highsec more interesting. His new column at Crossing Zebras is insightful and useful, even for those of us who aren’t part of that space. Yes, there are stronger incumbents, but a vote for Mangala is a solid vote for the future of the game. Everyone who lives in highsec, is new player focused, or part of RvB should unhesitatingly vote for him.
  • Mattias Otero: Mattias is the even-newbier, not-highsec mirror of Mangala Solaris. As the founder of Brave Newbies, he set a course that has gained growing fame for a year as it set out with “fun per hour” as its core metric. Brilliant. If he didn’t already have such a huge voter base, and I knew him better, I might have put him in the first tier. The guy can be nothing but good for the game with this as his base.
  • Proclus Diadochu: Proclus is another one with a bit sketchier history – he is particularly famous as a forum troll. I almost had written him off before I listened to his interviews. He was surprisingly direct, refreshing and articulate. Much like Psychotic Monk surprised me last year, Proclus surprised me this year. He has lowsec experience as the founder of Fweddit and now flies with one of my favorite fight targets, Red Coat Conspiracy. I have now been convinced that wormholers and lowsec residents should vote for him with confidence.
  • Psychotic Monk: Last year I advocated that Monk should get in, because someone needs to represent the dark side of highsec. Especially with the Erotica 1 drama, Ripard Teg on an anti-bad-culture roll (likely to surface again when his term is over), and James315 continuing to be the worst form of this type, the saner versions like Monk need a voice before they are stomped out for good.
  • Steve Ronuken: Steve came very close to making First Tier this year as well. Last year I wrote: “I would like to see Steve branch out this year to other areas of space, and expanded types of play. I’d like to see him put together a third-party app that had a level of renown among part of the playerbase, to give himself something specific to point to (be the next developer of an Aura-like, EVE Central-like, etc. tool and trumpet it) – he has loads of industry tools publicly posted on his site that I suspect could be rolled together into an impressive toolset and promoted by him.” Well, he still needs to branch out in space – particularly wormholes. He gave me a good response to my questions around his AFK Cloaking position (which is IMO really a force projection position) that allows me in good conscience to endorse him but it still gave me a twitch that prevents me from putting him in the top tier. That said, everything else he has done in spades. He is a great face of the highsec industrialist for EVE. He has taken on the mantle of very visible 3rd party developer, with loads of tools provided to the community free of charge. He rescued evebloggers.com. I think his point of view is a badly-needed one, and several CSMs have already said that it is critical that CSM 9 have a good CREST person. All that taken together is enough for me.
  • Xander Phoena: Xander is, I’m convinced, a good guy. I like his podcast, although I liked it better a year ago with less bloviating about “best podcast” and more clean, simple 30-minute commentary. Xander’s interviews last year were seminal – a master guide to how to incisively question and consider a CSM candidate. He has been a vocal CSM watcher and commentary man and an incredibly active community member. I have no doubt he’ll be a solid member if elected. The Goon Slate remains to be seen yet, but I’m concerned with his election chances. I think the ringing endorsement from Ripard Teg may be the only thing that pushes him over the top, since I suspect he’ll only be third or fourth on the CFC ballot, and he follows the ignominiously bad CSM performance of his CEO, Kesper North, who did Gents no favors in electioneering.

If someone is not listed here, unlike last year, it should not generally be considered a “strike against” them – since I did not do as exhaustive a review as last year, I may have missed a couple of diamonds in the rough. But I am confident that those above will serve you the voters well.

Next post I’ll cover how to vote to maximize your impact, and how I personally will vote.

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