Eve Online Elections

By Jim Rossignol on March 20th, 2008 at 4:25 pm.


Eve Online developers CCP are preparing to hold elections from the player base to the “Council Of Stellar Management” in a two-week long election period beginning May 5th and ending May 19th. The Council, designed to liase between the 200,000-strong playerbase and developers CCP, was proposed after the scandal in which CCP employees were accused of unfairly aiding the alliances that they were a part of. It’s hard to say exactly what kind of power or influence the organisation will have, but it’s interesting that CCP increasingly see themselves as janitors, or operators, rather than controllers or directors of the game world.

CCP’s PDF document explaining the whys and wherefores of the implementation of the player council can be found here. Essentially, as I’ve tried to point out in commentary elsewhere, this has come about because Eve is both a game, and therefore competitive, and also one of the few genuine persistent worlds – in that it’s a single space that everyone logs into, rather a sharded, exploded world like those found in other MMOs. The sheer numbers of human interactions, and the fact that it’s filtered through a deliberately “gamey” system that keeps things flowing. Rather than building up and dying off like in Second Life’s ghost towns, it means that these kinds of human events will inevitably arise in Eve’s gameworld. Betrayal, cross-world perfidy, etc.

What’s most interesting, I think, is that Eve most socially sophisticated online system, as well as one that has a gigantic working economy. And yet all the mainstream coverage is in Second Life. Eve is relegated by virtue of it being a science fiction combat game – its achievements in virtuality somehow devalued by its gaminess. That needs to be demolished.

The Council Of Stellar Management blog has gone up here.

Also, coming soon: Space Week on RPS. Ooh, that’s going to take some putting together. Sigh.

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18 Comments »

  1. Cian says:

    You raise an interesting point at the end there. Strange that a game which includes such horrors as rubbery, spasmodic sex acts is more mainstream than the beautiful elegance of Eve.

    Though admittedly, that elegance doesn’t really apply to the interface.

  2. Jonathan Burroughs says:

    Council? Surely the infrastructure could be established to allow all decisions to be put to galaxy-wide referenda?

  3. Tikey says:

    but it’s interesting that CCP increasingly see themselves as janitors, or operators, rather than controllers or directors of the game world.

    That’s something I’ve always found interesting in Eve, the whole user driven universe. Although I’ve never played it, and probably never will (not only because time and money constrains but I grow tired very quickly of MMOs) that’s something that always got my attention.

  4. Nuyan says:

    While it’s ofcourse for a big part a PR stunt, which will get some articles in the non-gaming press (And yes, it should get at least as much coverage as Second Life.), I actually see it as something that could be very good for the long-term of EVE. EVE has a very good chance of a game that will still be there in 2020 or so, with the same universe and the same characters and with many old (often long forgotten) epic stories.

    For that long-term it isn’t a bad idea to have a player council. I see it as an institution that keeps an eye on CCP, just like you have institutions in real-life that keep an eye on the people with power so they don’t abuse it . CCP will have the end-word on things, but they can’t piss off the council because the playerbase press would quickly find out about it.

    Oh, and I’m waiting for the EVE GDC stuff!

  5. Noc says:

    I’m convinced that CCP is only doing this so that in a year or so they can say “The Council of Stellar Management has been dissolved. Individual Devs will now have direct control over their own sectors.”

    “Fear will keep the players in line. Fear of this Battlestation!”

  6. CannedLizard says:

    But what, indeed, of the rebellion?

  7. Will Tomas says:

    Second Life, unlike Eve, is free, and is played by a wider demographic. I agree that Eve doesn’t get the mainstream credit it deserves for its persistent world, but it’s easier to explain the concept of Second Life to non-gamers, who then will have the chance of playing it without having to pay subscription.

  8. Janek says:

    I like the idea of sort of “trusted representatives” bringing up issues with the devs, but I don’t see what surrounding it in red tape and making them wade out to Iceland every 6 months will accomplish that, say, the occasional MSN discussion won’t. Except then you’d get all the morons coming out saying “zomg zomg Alliance X are devs” and all that rubbish.

    And I guess the playerbase is too large and too loud to properly hold forum-based discussion like what used to happen when TomB and Hammer did all the balance stuff.

    The thing that also potentially worries me, is that since it will probably be ignored by most of the general Eve public (i.e. a majority of the votes will come from territory-holding alliances) we’ll just end up with a one-sided block of candidates being voted in because they have the most friends.

    But yeah, idea of CCP taking more notice of the playerbase: Good. Execution: Potentially wobbly.

  9. Tak says:

    It loses some of the dramatic flair when you can just enter a database query and delete the rebellion, though :p

  10. Jim Rossignol says:

    @Nuyan, I’ll put the CCP GDC stuff up during Space Week.

  11. cannon fodder says:

    Jim,

    You should stand for election.

    Seriously.

  12. Jon says:

    Like most elections this will come down to popularity, the Empire players will inevitably be under represented due to them being a lot less organised than 0.0 space holding alliances.

    I would not be suprsied if the entire council is taken from PVP orientated alliances.

    I find one part interesting about the whole election process, you’ve got to run under your actual name. This I don’t understand.

  13. YouMeanMe says:

    I played eve for about a year before cancelling my subscription. I found that after a while I was only logging on to start new skills learning (you learn while offline just as fast as you do while online). After a while it became obvious that I was paying to not play the game, it was basically a $15 a month version of progress quest.

    Making ISK I found very easy using old school elite style trade goods ferrying between systems, I had far more ISK than I could actually use even within a short time. This is part of what I didn’t like about the game. It didn’t matter that I could afford better ships. I could build them but had no way to fly them. In effect I very quickly ran up against an artificial barrier to progress. When you have no option other than to stop playing for three weeks so your skills can catch up with your finances it becomes a bit of a joke.

  14. Devin says:

    You’d be surprised, there are some pretty famous empire-side players. Chribba’s probably as famous as anyone this side of Sir Molle, Tyrrax Thorke, or Seleene, and without the major disadvantage of losing every politically-opposed vote.

  15. FaceOmeter says:

    If the EVE players democratically elect some crazy fascist dude who vows to destroy CCP and take over the galaxy for his evil army, what will happen?

    I know it sounds ridiculous, but this open-end MMO stuff gives one to think…

  16. davidAlpha says:

    well its a good idea but in the end the members of the big alliances (GoonSwarm, RA, IAC) are going to vote their representatives.

  17. Blackhat says:

    For some reason, this is the most recent post I can read. Anyone else getting this, or did RPS writers suddenly die, or what?

  18. Nachshon says:

    My bet is this:

    The 0.0 alliances will vote in major representatives. However, they represent a minority of players, so they won’t necessarily control the council.

    I have few doubts that Chribba will be on the council. If he were still alive, INNOMINIATE NIGHTMARE would also be there. I, for one, am voting for Hardin of the CVA, in order to get a roleplayer on the council.

    Hardin for the CSM!