EVE Online's Council of Stellar Management (CSM) is a unique institution in all of gaming. It is a representative body of players who actively influence the future development of the game. Working in an advisory capacity, the CSM are an important stakeholder in design decisions by CCP Games.
The list of official candidates for the ninth iteration of the CSM has been announced - 33 of them in all, and voting is now open. Elected through the use of a single transferable voting (STV) process to facilitate selection of a balanced group of representatives of all the different styles of play in EVE Online, the CSM interacts with CCP Games regularly through Skype chats and periodic summit meetings.
As players of EVE Online, voting for candidates who represent our individual interests is important. This is an opportunity for each of us to make sure that our point of view is reflected in decisions made by game designers.
Through April 22nd, each subscription may vote for up to 14 candidates, in rank order, which will then determine the composition of CSM9, to be announced at Fanfest on May 3rd.
Getting the Facts
There are a variety of sources that players can use to understand the candidates' positions. These are the ones that I've found most useful, so far:
- CSM9 candidate interviews by the Cap Stable podcast - very good, concise interviews with each candidate, with incisive questions. This has been the most influential source for my own candidate selection process.
- Legacy of a Capsuleer podcast interviews - also very good, with some different perspectives provided beyond those found in the Cap Stable interviews.
- Jita Park forum posts by the candidates - almost every candidate has posted an explanation of their campaign platforms here.
- The Nosy Gamer blog CSM9 links - very useful compilation of links to relevant information on each of the candidates.
- The automated Vote Match tool - good for quick comparison of candidates on selected issues.
There are other sources that have their merits, of course, but the above have been the most useful to me thus far. In addition, there are now a lot of different recommendations and endorsements from various EVE Online observers and players, too. I find these lists to be helpful - especially those that include rationales for why they selected different candidates.
- The Nosy Gamer endorsements
- Life in EVE endorsements
- Sala Cameron endorsements
- Trebor Daehdoow's endorsements (and handy guide for how to use the voting interface)
- Ali Aras' endorsements
- Rhavas' endorsements (with recommendations for EVE University and Brave Newbies)
- Xander Phoena's endorsements
- Tyrant Scorn's (Legacy of a Capsuleer podcaster) endorsements
How You Should Vote, and Why
In my opinion, your votes for CSM9 should be very selfishly based. I've heard arguments that you should vote for a "balanced" ticket of candidates, representing all types of play styles in EVE Online. You are certainly welcome to do so, of course. However, I ask voters to consider for a moment the effect of voting bloc constituencies, especially by the well-organized and huge null security alliances. They will not hesitate to take every opportunity to secure as many seats on CSM9 that they can, in order to push their own agendas and interests.
If you are one of those voters, and you agree with that objective, by all means do vote as part of your bloc - and all the more power to you. But if you are not, then consider which type of play styles you most align with, and vote for candidates that best represent that perspective.
Under the STV process, if everyone votes in their own self interests, then a representative number of candidates for each play style - nullsec, lowsec, w-space, high sec, PvP, PvE, or whatever - should emerge, assuming that a representative proportion of EVE Online players vote at all.
Also, you should vote for at least a half-dozen candidates. The way that STV works is that your #1 vote has more influence than each subsequent vote, in rank order. Consequently, the chances of your #14 vote making a significant difference in the final results is very low. Please do complete a full 14-candidate ballot if you can, but if you don't think you know the candidates well enough to do that, try to select at least a half-dozen of them, so that your ballot carries a significant impact on the voting outcomes.
So, my advice, in a nutshell:
- Vote for at least six candidates - and a full 14-candidate ballot, if you can.
- Vote to represent your own self interests.
My Candidate Criteria
I have certain interests in EVE Online that I would like to see included in CSM9's agenda, as they work with CCP Games over the next year. These criteria will drive my voting selections:
- Improving the new player experience - a constant influx of new subscribers into EVE Online is essential to the success of the game, and retaining them is absolutely vital. Any candidate that empathizes with the new player experience, and who has ideas for improving it, is a candidate that I can get behind.
- Supporting the high sec play style - I spend most of my time (with the occasional dip into w-space) in high sec. I support candidates who understand that level of balance between risk and reward, and who want to add more content and enrich the high sec play experience - this includes those who want to maintain a rational level of risk in empire space. I'm not a supporter of turning high sec into a carebear fantasy theme park.
- Enhancing industry - I make most of my ISK from making and selling things. I support candidates who appreciate the role of industry in EVE Online. I suspect this will be a major theme for the next few expansions, and we need experienced industrialists on the CSM who can competently represent this aspect of the game.
- Improving PvE content - Player vs. Environment activity in EVE Online needs a major revamp - it's far too predictable, which gets boring quickly. We need more dynamic and unpredictable PvE experiences, and more kinds of PvE that encourage group gameplay. I like candidates who want more investment in this area of the game.
My CSM9 Votes
Based on my personal interests, here is who I am voting for this year:
- Mike Azariah
- Steve Ronuken
- Sugar Kyle
- Ali Aras
- James Arget
- Mangala Solaris
- Matias Otero
- Karen Galeo
- Asayanami Dei
- Xander Phoena
- Jayne Fillon
- Psychotic Monk
I've synthesized this list from all the above sources, filtered by my personal interests and priorities. If my interests align with yours, then your final voting list should be very similar to mine.
Good luck to all the CSM9 candidates - may all of my selections win! :-)
Fly safe! o7