Mob Rule

Mob Rule
Politics in a Vacuum

Jordan Deam | 12 Aug 2008 12:41
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Some players are more patient than others. While the CSM may not have any formal powers with CCP, Shayne Smart, a 36-year-old internet strategy consultant from Amsterdam, feels that the CSM delegates' position within the community might be more powerful than CCP intended. After all, if bad PR was partially responsible for letting players have a voice within CCP, it can also make that voice harder to ignore.

"They say we're only going to be able to make recommendations, but we're talking about a game which thrives on social pressure and peer pressure," Smart says. "I think we have the opportunity, if we really wanted to push an issue today, to force CCP through a social engine or through the press, through the blogs, through the game - actually force them to do something."

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There's no indication what this action might be, or even if there's enough of a consensus among the CSM delegates to actually attempt this sort of coup. For Smart however, all options should remain on the table. "CCP's trying to say, 'We're listening,' and if we're doing our job and they are listening, we should tell that fairly to the community. On the other hand, if they're not listening, we bring out our Machiavellian chess."

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A month and a half after the inaugural CSM Summit, it's becoming clearer what role the CSM will have in shaping the future of EVE. Last week, the EVE developer blog announced harsher penalties to a tactic known as "suicide ganking," whereby players would sacrifice their ship in high-security space to take out another player. GoonSwarm is famous for this maneuver - they have a fleet within their alliance called JihadSwarm that employs suicide ganking to "preserve asteroids from the infidels." Many veteran players are unhappy with the changes, but for Eva Jobse, a 24-year-old student of game design from the Netherlands, whose solo play style makes her a target for suicide ganking, they're no doubt an encouraging step.

It's possible the revisions to suicide ganking were already in development before the CSM Summit - it can take months for even the smallest changes to make it into the game. Perhaps the CSM discussions provided the developers some incentive to put the issue at the front of the queue. The Council may not have the power to dictate what happens next, but as nine of the most prominent members of the EVE community, their opinions have clout.

Maybe the CSM are "chieftains of the internet." They're all politicians in their own right, either rising to prominence within their own factions or ingratiating themselves among a broader demographic. But their only authority is the power of suggestion, both to the game's designers and to the player-base. Ultimately, it's CCP's decision whether to enact their changes (or give them the credit if they do). Alliances can bicker all they want over space rocks, but the developers' word is still the Law.

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