Campaign Trail – Microtransactions

Thank you for your interest in my campaign to be part of CSM 6. It is my intention to work diligently, effectively, and tirelessly to bring the concerns of the player base to the CSM, to CCP, and back to the players.

The following is a user submitted request for my stand on a topic important to them. I have given thought to the topic and formulated my opinion, but it’s just that; my opinion. Nothing more. There is no guarantee the opinion expressed herein will ever see the light of day.

My platform isn’t one of issues, but rather one of integrity, tenacity, and the willingness to hold the CSM and CCP accountable  to the players that support everything we do. I will not push my own agenda, unless it coincides with what the majority of the player base wants for a given topic.

Never start a fight you can win. #RocTheVote

QUESTION: Here’s a question that will undoubtedly bring more wrath your way. What is your view on microtransactions?

My Game vs Your Game

I can answer this one easily; I’m all for microtransactions, provided they don’t affect the game play of others.

I’m going to use Captains’ Quarters as my example. If I have to pay $2.99 to have the corpse of the last Amarr I killed made into a coffee table within my personal quarters, for my own morose enjoyment, that’s my business.

If I want to pay $4.99 to have my Rifter painted hot pink, still my business. If I want to pay $9.99 for a pre-animated exotic dancer to pole dance in my living room, again, my business. None of these things affect you in any way.

I would actually hope for microstransactions to become a part of Incarna, allowing me to interior decorate my quarters differently from yours. It would also finally let me get my facial tattoo back, since CCP obviously thought it would be funny to have unmarked Brutors walking around, denying us our cultural heritage and emasculating us all in front of the other races. Hell, I’ll pay for stylish glitter pants, and a slaver hound to strut around with me everywhere I can eventually go.

We already know microtransactions were proposed for DUST 514; the game itself would be free, but ingame items would be  microtransactional.

Your Game vs My Game

I do not support microtransactions when it involves upsetting the balance of game play. See that incredibly rare Officer warp scrambler on my ship? I bought that for $14.99 in game. No. Not acceptable. At all.

Anything that can affect the performance of one player against another should never be made microtransactional. Ever. Ever. Being able to buy an advantage over another cheapens game play, and while CCP may see that an opportunity to profit (I really don’t know if they do or not), it should never be allowed. What will inevitably happen is that everyone will have to start purchasing items in order to stay competitive, and as we see so often now, larger alliances will benefit from this type of approach.

Now for CCP, the profit makes sense if everyone is buying items, but for me, I like having a set monthly amount for my EVE experience. The clothing and exotic dancers? That’s my own personal fun. Forcing me to spend additional money each month in addition to my subscription just to be able to play on equal footing with other players? Not fun at all.

But who knows? Maybe Eve Online will become free to play, and CCP will make its money from microtransactions alone. That might work, if done properly. But I’d rather not see that on the drawing board at all.

It’s already here

Here’s the kicker; microtransactions already exist in Eve Online. We call them PLEX. Essentially players pay real money for ISK. That ISK can then be spent on anything ingame. To me, that constitutes an advantage. I spend a few hundred dollars, I can go buy that faction cruiser, and appropriate fittings to go with it, and well, you didn’t spend real money so you can’t … I win.

Am I the only one that’s thought about that?

Campaign Trail – Weight Loss

Thank you for your interest in my campaign to be part of CSM 6. It is my intention to work diligently, effectively, and tirelessly to bring the concerns of the player base to the CSM, to CCP, and back to the players.

The following is a user submitted request for my stand on a topic important to them. I have given thought to the topic and formulated my opinion, but it’s just that; my opinion. Nothing more. There is no guarantee the opinion expressed herein will ever see the light of day.

My platform isn’t one of issues, but rather one of integrity, tenacity, and the willingness to hold the CSM and CCP accountable to the players that support everything we do. I will not push my own agenda, unless it coincides with what the majority of the player base wants for a given topic.

Never start a fight you can win. #RocTheVote

QUESTION from CCP Manifest: What kind of workout regimen can you provide to me that will help me lose the next 15 pounds to reach target weight 🙂

Basic Math & Physics

Despite what the entire diet industry tells us, it’s really quite simple to lose weight without any help:

1 pound of fat = 3500 calories = 7 days in a week = 500 calories per day

1- 2 pounds of fat loss per week is considered safe, and as you can see, the reality of it is to eat 500 calories less per day to accomplish that.

Any pill or powder that tells you it will help you lose weight is a lie and not good for your body.

How does that work?

That’s where the physics comes in.

The first law of thermodynamics states that the flow of heat is a form of energy transfer. There are only two ways to shed fat: thermal and kinetic.

Eating 500 calories less per day is sufficient for the thermal, as digestion accommodates thermal energy transfer.

But you cheated!

You actually sabotaged yourself with your question though. I cannot give a complete answer because there wasn’t a complete question.

You stated the amount you wanted to lose, but not when you wanted to lose it by.

body change x timeframe = goal

So let’s look at your question again.

If you want to lose 15 pounds in 15 weeks, then the caloric reduction will work.

If you want to lose 15 pounds before Fanfest, which is 6 weeks away, then:

(15 lbs x 3500 calories) / (7 days x 6 weeks) = 52500 calories / 42 days = 1250 calories less per day

You cannot safely lose that through diet alone. This is where increasing your thermal and kinetic transfer comes into play. There are many exercises you could do to burn 700 calories per day:

  • run 10k
  • do a HIIT routine
  • spin class
  • Tabata
  • Zumba
  • Kinect Your Shape: Fitness
  • Martial Arts (high intensity form)

This is just a partial list.

Where do I start?

The first thing I recommend is to spend an entire week accurately tracking your caloric intake. There are many devices that do this, as well as many great apps. If you are on the iPhone, I recommend DailyBurn; it’s free and it’s fantastic!

At the end of that week you will have an accurate picture of what your eating habits are like, as well as your average caloric intake. Be honest with yourself. Track everything.

From there, set your goal. What do you want to change, and by when?

Then do the math, figure out if  you can accomplish this with caloric changes alone, or if you need to supplement your efforts with exercise.

The logic is simple. You didn’t gain the extra 15 pounds overnight; you’re not going to lose it overnight. Don’t be discouraged if it’s tough at first; it gets easier. You just need to get out there and get active!

Campaign Trail – EVE API

Thank you for your interest in my campaign to be part of CSM 6. It is my intention to work diligently, effectively, and tirelessly to bring the concerns of the player base to the CSM, to CCP, and back to the players.

The following is a user submitted request for my stand on a topic important to them. I have given thought to the topic and formulated my opinion, but it’s just that; my opinion. Nothing more. There is no guarantee the opinion expressed herein will ever see the light of day.

My platform isn’t one of issues, but rather one of integrity, tenacity, and the willingness to hold the CSM and CCP accountable to the players that support everything we do. I will not push my own agenda, unless it coincides with what the majority of the player base wants for a given topic.

Never start a fight you can win. #RocTheVote

QUESTION: Thanks for your post about monetizing the API, even though I disagree with it. I’m more interested in learning about your thoughts outside of profit. What do you think of the API in its current state, and where do you think it should go from here?

As I’ve mentioned previously, I think that CCP giving us a free and extensive API to play with is one of the most innovative things they have done for our community. They were certainly ahead of the times doing this.

I also believe that developers should profit from their efforts, but that was covered in the other post. Onto API discussion!

Security

CCP recently announced that they are switching from HTTP to HTTPS. It’s a small and simple thing, but I think it’s one of the most forward thinking moves they have made regarding the API, and I certainly hope they follow through. We all know internet spaceships is serious business, and protecting our valuable character information should be a high priority. One time use keys would also be a practical option for enhancing security as well, as several corporations/alliances use the API for character validation on recruitment applications.

It would also be fantastic if the API offered OAuth support.

Another key aspect of information security is monitoring. I strongly feel there should be an automated intrusion system that notifies a player if their API is accessed in a suspect way. Currently, players need to login to their EVE account, view the list of IP addresses they have authorized their key to, and try to remember which is which. Many players have a difficult enough time figuring out how to use their API key in the first place, let alone trying to sort out IP address usage. This needs to be simplified for an easier user experience.

Cleanliness

I’m just joking around with this subtitle, and won’t go into the details of SOAP vs REST, etc, because the bottom line is I don’t care. As long as the API works, and is easy to access, it doesn’t matter to me what paradigm CCP chooses to go with. My opinion.

Customization

CCP also recently announced an API initiative that will allow players to customize what information is made available to a given request. I think this is brilliant, as currently with only Limited and Full API key options, it’s almost all or nothing. Having multiple keys, that I have customized for the various apps I use, will go a long ways towards my first point about security.

But these are the knowns. What about the unknowns? What is lacking in the API? What enhancements would I like to see made? What agenda will I push regarding the API?

I want to take a moment to reiterate my stance on the API from a high level. I don’t believe that any usage of the API should be made a critical part of EVE Online. What that means is that you shouldn’t be forced to use any third party developer application in order to have a full EVE Online experience.

To me, API development is meant to enhance game play, not replace it in any way, shape or form.

Enhancements

So what are the main issues players have with the API, including myself?

Communication

CCP, though they are getting better, still needs to have more consistent community interaction in regards to the API. I probably didn’t need to put the API part, as I believe CCP just needs to have more consistent community interaction overall, but I feel this is a particularly important distinction. Even though there are only a handful of third party application developers, the majority of EVE players make use of the EVE API in some way, so the API should be viewed by CCP as an important and ongoing topic.

To that end, CCP also needs to have their support staff recognize that although API petitions do not directly affect ingame play, they should be treated with the same seriousness of any other petition, and respond accordingly, giving their full attention to the petition.

Consistency

As it stands, there is an inconsistency to API access. Eve Gate boasts features not available in the current API, and since site scraping is a violation of the EULA, it is a frustrating experience for developers. On the one hand I can understand why CCP wants to have CCP only features, but the API is about the community, as is Eve Gate. A single toolset should be mandated. Empower the community with the same rich toolset used by CCP, and they will be surprised and impressed with the quality the community produces.

Missing in Action

POS module setup, silo fill levels, gun ammo fill levels, location and nearest anchored moon, Planetary Interaction information, Contracts, Jump Clone information, Character implant information, employment history, etc, etc. There are a great many things missing from the EVE API that developers have been requesting for a long time now without any real forward movement on CCP’s end.

I understand the API team is a small one at CCP, but still, consistent communication goes a long way with the community.

I could go on about Killmail API issues, parameters for minimize returning results for large data sets, write access via EVE Mail, etc, etc, but I won’t.

The point of this post is to let you know that the API is important to me, and that as part of the CSM, I would make sure it’s constantly brought to the table. As a third party developer, and as a player, the API is an essential part of the community, and as such, should only be progressed.

There are some that have accused me of flipping my position on the API, citing my last post regarding how I would monetize the API as contrary to encouraging the API community, even to the point of saying I am anti-player, but nothing could be further from the truth.

I have always been about community. Check my blog. Ask your friends. The historical facts are there.

Monetizing the API and improving the API are two completely separate topics about the same subject matter. It would be liking asking me how would I improve the recipe for apple pie, then accusing me of being anti-pie when you also ask me how I would go about selling apple pie.

Campaign Trail – Third Party Apps

Thank you for your interest in my campaign to be part of CSM 6. It is my intention to work diligently, effectively, and tirelessly to bring the concerns of the player base to the CSM, to CCP, and back to the players.

The following is a user submitted request for my stand on a topic important to them. I have given thought to the topic and formulated my opinion, but it’s just that; my opinion. Nothing more. There is no guarantee the opinion expressed herein will ever see the light of day.

My platform isn’t one of issues, but rather one of integrity, tenacity, and the willingness to hold the CSM and CCP accountable to the players that support everything we do. I will not push my own agenda, unless it coincides with what the majority of the player base wants for a given topic.

Never start a fight you can win. #RocTheVote

QUESTION: What is your stance on monetizing the EVE API? Do you think third party developers should be able to benefit from their efforts? How do you think CCP should enact quality control?

As half of the team that brought you the popular Capsuleer iPhone application, this particular topic is near and dear to my heart. I have had vested interest in this topic for quite some time.

CCP, once again, showed great innovation and community spirit by even offering a public API to their game. Few do. Recently, I’ve been working with the Need for Speed: World API, but it’s incredibly limited. CCP has opened up so much information through the EVE API, and has sporadically enhanced what data has become available as time goes on. Kudos to them on that.

The way I see it, and again, this is my own biased opinion, there are only two real options when it comes to the EVE API

Down with the API

The first solution is for CCP to remove the public aspect of the API altogether. Focus their social efforts internally, create their own mobile app, enhance the functionality of Eve Gate, and be done with it. Period.

Personally, I don’t like this option, but it is viable from a business point of view. By producing their own usages of the API, they easily have full control of their intellectual property, and all profits go directly to them. No fuss. No muss.

Quality Control

The other option for CCP, as I see it, is to develop a system where they monitor/control third party efforts, and let only the best uses of the API have their financial stamp of approval. I’m going to use EON Magazine as an example. EON has complete creative control over their efforts, yet every publish is thoroughly reviewed and approved by CCP. Not a single issue of EON goes to market without the CCP stamp of approval. It’s a good process. It’s also a much easier process when dealing with a tangible, printed product.

The world of digital property is much more complicated. For an iPhone app, CCP would need to setup a business agreement with the third party developer, taking a certain percentage of the profits from the sales of the app. Additionally, Apple also takes a cut off the top. This could result in an EVE Online app not being very profitable for the developers unless they have, let’s say, 60,000+ users. There are those that say this is typical of any competitive business practice; let the cream rise to the top. The dilemma there for CCP is they potentially stand to have a few crappy iPhone apps using their API that if it were up to them wouldn’t have the CCP stamp of approval at all, but then are they showing bias? Would the whining and flames begin? This last statement could be said for any mobile platform or use of the API, not just iPhone.

So there is a fine line for CCP to walk. Developers want freedom to express themselves how they see fit, but at the same time CCP needs to ensure quality control. How can they through their lot in with one development group without alienating others? There’s also the question of longevity. Anyone remember EVE Tracker? For that matter, anyone remember Capsuleer? We all want pay for work, otherwise development can only go so far. And at the end of the day, CCP is a business. They want to profit. Subscriptions to EVE Online = profit.

So how does CCP deal with this situation? One solution presented recently was to create a volunteer body to govern standards of usage for the API. This group would be aimed at nurturing and helping developers work within a pre-defined set of stlye guides in order to bring better quality products to the EVE community. It’s great in concept, but again, there is the question of longevity, not to mention who is qualified to participate as an advisor, and who determines those qualifications? What weight to they have in decisions regarding API development? Any? Do they even work with CCP on this initiative, or try to make a go of it strictly as members of the EVE community?

I think the heart of the issue is that CCP doesn’t have this level of mobile/social experience, and is having a difficult time choosing a path. Who is qualified to make recommendations within their organization? Do they alienate existing developers by restricting usage, or eliminating the API? Do they let anyone create an app for the API, even if it’s a piece of crap? How will that affect perceptions of their intellectual property? Of course, choosing no path means they are letting all options pass them by. Inaction is the worst choice.

If this issue was brought to the CSM, I would work with the CSM and CCP architecting a solution that works for everyone involved. Again, as half of the team that brought you Capsuleer, I worked for two years with CCP towards this very goal, and most of my documenation and business proposal is still relevant and valid. Maybe the weight of the CSM might make this topic of more importance to them. Maybe it will the EVE API more urgent.

Time will tell.

Campaign Trail – Factional Warfare

Thank you for your interest in my campaign to be part of CSM 6. It is my intention to work diligently, effectively, and tirelessly to bring the concerns of the player base to the CSM, to CCP, and back to the players.

The following is a user submitted request for my stand on a topic important to them. I have given thought to the topic and formulated my opinion, but it’s just that; my opinion. Nothing more. There is no guarantee the opinion expressed herein will ever see the light of day.

My platform isn’t one of issues, but rather one of integrity, tenacity, and the willingness to hold the CSM and CCP accountable to the players that support everything we do. I will not push my own agenda, unless it coincides with what the majority of the player base wants for a given topic.

Never start a fight you can win. #RocTheVote

QUESTION: Factional Warfare has over 20,000 active players, and is obviously broken. What are your thoughts on how to improve this game system?

When I first heard about the attack at Malkalen, and the subsequent massing of forces by the Amarr to assault the Minmatar Republic, there was no hesitation on my end; I would serve. And serve I did, bringing the offensive to the Amarr Empire time and again, earning the respect of my fleets as I rose through the ranks to Matar Colonel, the admiration of my people as the face of the war initiative, and the fear of my enemy as they trembled before me in system.

As a player, I eventually retired from Factional Warfare for one simple reason: what was the point?

Factional Warfare was an enticing and interesting idea when it was first introduced. Now it’s stale and pointless.

So what can be done to make this existing aspect of the game more engaging? Ironically, at Fanfest 2009, I had the opportunity to sit with a few of the CCP devs after a round table and pitch what I am about to discuss. It was received with great enthusiasm by the devs, and they were eager to go back to the office and run with it. Somewhere within the depths of CCP, I can only assume factional warfare became a non-priority, as obviously nothing has changed since its inception.

Dynamic Content

My first consideration was something I believe all MMOs fail it: the ability to generate content faster than players can consume it. It’s a problem that has existed for decades. Every new expansion of every MMO results in old players returning, new players signing up, an influx of capital to the production company, then a gradual decrease in subscriptions as players quickly finish the new content that took months/years to develop. It’s a vicious cycle.

What I proposed, and still adhere to, is the idea of a dynamic landscape. After talking with CCP devs and server architects, I know the technology can handle the demand of my idea with little overhead, and minimal effort.

Essentially there would be a dedicated server pool that tracks NPC objectives, in this case, factional warfare. When the idea proves solid, this could be expanded to other NPC factions. Let’s use the Amarr as an example in the table below:

* these are just sample ideas, not actual ideas to pitch

As you can see, there are multiple tiers for objectives. Each tier is dependent on the previous being completed. This results in a more challenging and difficult build up for both the NPCs, and for the players. Each tier has associated benefits, and penalties, depending on whether a player is for, or against, this particular faction. Also note that this strategy can also result in NPC vs NPC, which adds another fun dynamic to the equation.

At any tier, if a NPC faction is defeated, they do not cease to exist. They simply go back to the pool, pick a new objective, pick a new system within their sovereignty, and start again. It should be obvious that if you are an enemy of a faction, you want to defeat them at Tier 1. Of course, players that support that faction want to protect and work with them, enabling their faction to accomplish Tier 5, which has the most perks and benefits for players with good standing within that faction. Better LP rewards, higher level mission agents, better storyline missions, better FW perks, etc, etc.

There are caveats up for discussion within this dynamic content scenario. On the one hand, you’re denying players equal opportunity to content. Well, suck it. EVE does that now. I tried to do the level 1 Epic Missions during my time serving in the Tribal Liberation Force, and while the missions themselves were seemingly easy, trying to accomplish anything within enemy space was nigh impossible.

The other concern, in this example, would be that the 24th Imperial Crusade would blob their Amarr NPCs, almost guaranteeing Tier 5 success. To me, that is part of the challenge, and is a mechanic that also exists in many other areas of EVE, such as gate camping, blob capital fleet battles, etc, etc.

Intelligent Officer AI

Imagine, if you would, facing Lord Elwin. Lord Elwin is a Divine Commodore of the 24th Imperial Crusade. He’s also an NPC. He has survived many Minmatar attacks, and he has learned how they fight, and adjusted his attacks accordingly. He has grown more powerful. His bounty is worth more. He actually plays on the same ranking system we do, entitled to the same perks, rewards and benefits we are entitled to. He is a powerful adversary.

By allowing military Officer NPCs to remember previous engagements against players, we’re adding yet another element of complexity to Factional Warfare. You’re not always going to have the same fleet composition. You’re going to need to be smarter as a Fleet Commander.

Perks

As a Matar Colonel, it is my opinion that I should be a more decorated pilot than a green rookie to the TLF, and I’m not just talking about the rank medal. The table below shows some small incentives for players to remain involved in Factional Warfare:

* these are just sample ideas, not actual ideas to pitch

Again, these are not game changing bonuses, and they are only applied in Factional Warfare fleets, so the overall game still maintains balance (if you can call it that).

Rewards

Currently, there are no exclusive rewards for Factional Warfare. I can use my Loyalty Points to buy a Republic Fleet Firetail, but I can do that without being a part of Factional Warfare.

An added incentive to engage in the war should be the ability to cash in loyalty points for exclusive items. This could be Officer ship types, one time war fleet bonuses, unique implants, any number of things really. See the table below for some sample reward ideas:

* these are just sample ideas, not actual ideas to pitch

Essentially, that’s it. By introducing a dynamic landscape with NPCs that remember players, as well as incentive rewards to participate in the war, CCP would have created a more unique and interesting experiences for the pilots engaged. All the while, there is no unbalancing of those not involved in the war, thus no whining from others that Factional Warfare needs nerfing, though that will inevitably happen with any game system that changes.

Campaign Trail – The Party

So there it was, I was officially on the election ballot. My therapist was going to love hearing about that life adventure.

Like any good politician, I needed supporters, so my campaign staff had already been hard at work filling my calendar with various interviews, appearances, parties, and other events. It was going to be a busy few weeks. I was thankful it was a short time frame before the election. I’d rather have been out fighting the good fight against the Amarr, but we all do what we must.

“I’m telling you, man, those two Gallente babes over there are totally checking you out.” Byron tried to say privately, but still speaking over the loud music at the party. “They all want a piece of the Roc.” He smiled from ear to ear, thinking himself witty. I swear he lived vicariously through me.

I looked towards the two ladies he was referring to, subtly of course, and had to agree, they were definitely hot, and seemingly interested. Who was I to shrug away from two potential voters? I had a responsibility after all.

I casually walked towards the two sexy Gallente capsuleers (the fact that this entire party was filled with capsuleers was more than a little unnerving), grabbing a new drink from the bar as I passed by.

I strode confidently up to them, flashed them my most charming grin, and gave a little nod. “Ladies” I said, forcing my voice a little deeper than usual.

They both smiled to each other, then back to me, their bright eyes giving away far more than they realized. The three of us already knew where this was going to finish, and I had stocked up on good breakfast foods for just such an occasion.

I charmed them, telling jokes, acting nonchalant and semi-interested, waving at passers by, enjoying the spotlight, knowing this evening was all about me. They basked in every minute of it. If it was an act, it was a convincing one, and truth be told, I wouldn’t care the next morning.

The three of us had just finished laughing at my latest witty joke when I finally got around to taking a drink from my glass. I never broke eye contact with these two beautiful specimens. That was my undoing. Had I taken a moment to be more self aware, I might have noticed that the bartender had put a straw in my drink, and as I raised my glass to take a sip, I would’ve noticed the straw going right up my nose, jabbing into the high cartilage.

I yanked the glass from my face, spilling booze on myself, and the ladies, my other hand quickly reaching up to my nose. It hurt like a mother. You wouldn’t think those little plastic straws were sharp at the end, but let me tell you, one up the nose will make your eyes water something fierce.

The two of them jumped back, bumping into others as they tried to avoid being spilled on, the sparkle in their eyes having changed from being a sure thing to a sure loss. I flushed with embarrassment, and bolted for the men’s room to see if my nose was bleeding.

Great start to your campaign, dolt.

I splashed some cold running water over my face, doing my best to look up my nostril to ascertain the damage. There was no blood, which was a good sign, but it still hurt pretty bad. It felt like an old trick I used to fake emotion: essentially I’d yank a few nose hairs out to get the tears flowing; ladies were always more likely to sleep with a sensitive man.

I laughed at myself then; Roc Wieler, Hero of the Republic, reduced to tears by a plastic straw.

My stomach interrupted my self-deprecating mockery with a sudden and serious set of uncomfortable churning. It was probably the Amarrian sushi I had been eating by the handful an hour earlier. You’d think I would know better than to trust anything from the Empire.

Holding my stomach, I raced into the nearest stall. It felt as though I couldn’t get my pants off fast enough, and believe me, I was well practiced in the art of quick pants removal. This was definitely going to be a photo finish.

Genetically superior or not, there were sounds and smells escaping me that just shouldn’t be made by immortal man. It took several courtesy flushes, and even more grunting, before I felt like I wasn’t going to pass out.

My brow was sweating. What. The. Hell.

The door to the stall burst open, inwards, smashing into my knees. A large Amarr, with two more behind, attacked. On the up side, the stall prevented more than one assailant at a time. On the down side, I was literally caught with my pants down, and not in any position to effectively defend myself.

I turned my face, trying to roll with the first punch, but his meaty fist connected like a siege cannon. Small white streaks filled my vision, and vertigo set in, threatening to dethrone me. I vomited. A few more hammer fists quickly followed the first attack, knocking my glasses free. It felt as though a few teeth had been set free as well. This was a really bad situation.

My wits returned, a few moments too late, and I fought back like a cornered animal, my instincts causing me to lash out in any way possible. I started pissing everywhere, covering myself, my assailant, the floor. I grabbed at his hair, his ears, my thumb finding purchase in one of his eye sockets, and I squeezed as hard as I could.

He shrieked, backing up, slipping on the urine, falling into his two companions, who let him crash to the floor, focusing their attention on me, pure hatred in their eyes.

One of them, I don’t remember which, leveled a gun at my head, and pulled the trigger.

The last thing I remember thinking before darkness embraced me was “People seriously need to lighten the hell up.”

CSM 6 – Roc the Vote

VOTING IS NOW OPEN: ROC THE VOTE PEOPLE!

I believe in Eve Online. I believe it was once one of the most innovative and trend setting games ever created in the MMO industry. I believe it is still a beautiful and immense environment, with the strongest and most loyal community I have ever encountered within an intellectual property. I believe our game has so much potential for its future. I believe CCP can take it there.

All of my beliefs in this are dependent on one point, and one point alone: listening to the people.

A game succeeds or fails not based on board room meetings, or even how good/bad a game might be; it depends on its audience. A game is only as good as its players.

I could tell you about my ideas for EVE; how I would make factional warfare meaningful, how I would make low sec the single best area of space to live, how they should have tea as a commodity instead of just synthetic coffee. I could share with you the same ideas I shared with the CCP Dev Team last Fanfest, about how to create a dynamic and innovative player driven content system, or how the EVE API could be improved upon, as well as working with CCP to build a model that would allow third party developers to actually monetize their efforts, but I won’t. I won’t overpromise on any of these things.

Do you know why?

Because they are my ideas, and my ideas alone. Don’t get me wrong, if the opportunity arises to introduce my own agenda to help shape and mold EVE Online, I would certainly make the best of that opportunity, but to me, that’s not what CSM should be about.

The CSM is the voice of the people.

In the real world, my voice has been a pain in the arse to many over the last 15 years of my career. I’m a technical lead developer; a business analyst. My job is to work with a client, identify their needs, make a granular list, architect a solution for them, then work with the team that develops and delivers that solution to make sure it stays true to the original vision.

I have no fears of saying no. I have no qualms with showing flaws in logic and providing better alternatives. My entire career has been about qualified communication. I have always brought all of my passion to my work, to my hobbies, to my life.

To me, being on the CSM is no different. Qualifed communication is key. There must be passion. There must be an understanding on many levels of how our game works. I have that.

I’ve also already done business with CCP as the face of Capsuleer. I know much about how they work internally. I know people there; some that like me, others that do not.

Capsuleer had over 60,000 users. I know how to market and nurture a well-built product to success.

I am also all about community. Between this blog, my artwork, my music, and everything else I do, I am immersed in many aspects of EVE Online, and only want the best for our game.

So what are you getting when you vote for Roc Wieler? You’re getting an intelligent, charismatic bulldog that won’t back down from a fight. You’re getting a man that will stand tall and proud, shouldering your requests to the CSM, and then to CCP. You’re getting a cigar smoking, exercise driven ex-Matar Colonel that will fight with his last breath for what he believes in.

Prosper or Perish by the People.

@rocwieler

#RocTheVote

Facebook Roc the Vote page

Candidacy

I truly think CCP is afraid of me.

Either that, or they’re sick of what a pain in the ass I must be to them.

The story thus far…

I wanted to run for CSM 5. I knew Mynxee was running, and we speak often about the trials, tribulations, victories and frustrations she has endured as CSM 5 president. I think she’s done an amazing job, and set the bar very high for any that wish to continue her legacy. Anywho…

I wanted to run for CSM 5. I submitted my application, and was rejected. When I petitioned and demanded an explanation, it turned out that I had received fraudulent ISK. That was news to me. At the time, the Capsuleer iPhone application for EVE Online was doing very well, with around 60,000 users. PyjamaSam and I were even occasionally receiving ISK donations from players for our efforts. Apparently, one of those donations was with ill gained ISK. The Capsuleer Accounting character, of course, had split the donation 50/50 between PyjamaSam and Roc Wieler. Capsuleer Accounting was a lifetime free account I had received during a promotion for the initial boxed version of EVE Online with EB Games managers.

It was literally the fight of my life to get my account unbanned, and while Roc Wieler continues to live and breathe to this day, the free lifetime Capsuleer Accounting account was removed. It was the best I could make of the situation, and frankly, the alternative was worse.

I swear though, that sometimes I wonder if CCP is so crippled by lack of consistent internal policies and is devoid of internal communication that it’s virtually impossible for them to make the right decision when it comes to ascertaining the truth of a situation.

Don’t even get me started on Capsuleer.

Fast forward to the call for CSM 6 candidates.

I submitted my application on the first day the call went out only to find through the automated system that my application was denied. The reason? Affliates of CCP are not eligible to participate in the CSM.

I’m an affiliate? Again, news to me.

It got me to some quick thinking about my level of involvement with CCP. What had I done in the last year that would’ve classified me as an official affiliate? Was it the NDA I signed when we began negotiations with CCP in regards to Capsuleer? I didn’t think so.

What else could it have been?

Then it dawned on me that only two months ago I had applied, and was accepted as an official fan site of EVE Online here at Roc’s Ramblings. But that really shouldn’t make a difference, should it? I did a quick scan of the official fan sites listed. I saw many names of previous CSM members, as well as the current CSM 5 president, Mynxee on that list.

So where was the precedent for this?

I immediately initated communication with CCP to find out what the deal was. Something I should mention is that if you are accepted as an official fan site, you are classified as a media site, and as such, get one free year on your account.

CCP Diagoras was kind enough to point out that was the reason my application was rejected. The system flagged me as a free account, pretty much the same as a trial account, which also cannot apply, and with good reason.

My understanding then was this: You can work hard at promoting EVE Online through your blog, bring passionate opinions and stories about New Eden to those that might not yet have had the opportunity to experience our wonderful game, and while you are rewarded with a complimentary year, which is nice, you are denied other avenues to express your opinions, or to improve the overall quality and direction of EVE itself.

To me, it showed a flawed approach to the CSM. I mean, Mynxee’s blog is listed, so she must’ve received a free year, right? And yet she ran for CSM, so where is the precedent for this “ruling” ?

So I’ve been working with/against CCP Diagoras in this matter, seeking resolution. I pointed out the flaws in logic, only to be repeatedly told that there is no impartiality, and that no CSM member, past or present, was able to apply for CSM while under their complimentary year of EVE Online.

The simple answer must seem to be that I simply ask for my blog to be removed as a media account, but that doesn’t seem right to me. I worked hard for that status. Why should I be penalized for my efforts?

I did ask if that status could be suspended, then reinstated pending the results of the CSM, but there was no reply to that. I also asked that since my media account status started during the middle of a paid subscription period if I would be entitled to the remaining time on my paid subscription should the media account status be revoked. No answer to that.

As it stands, CCP Diagoras is going to discuss my situation with the CSM body this coming week. CSM members also receive complimentary play time during their tenure. There is the possibility that my media account reward status can be transferred to my alt account, thereby allowing Roc Wieler to apply for the CSM. I am agreeable to that. I hope the CSM are as well.

I truly believe I have a lot of industry related experience, as well as a fierce passion and dedication to bring to the CSM table.

If anyone ever thought politics was easy, they would be dead wrong. I haven’t even managed to apply for this political position yet, and look at the hoops I’ve had to jump through to even get this far.

Part of this ordeal makes me think that perhaps I’m suicidal to want to be involved in this. A bigger part of me believes that it just reinforces the need for someone of my caliber to step up and continue to hold CCP accountable for their actions as Mynxee has.

I guess we’ll find out together.

Politics

“I have no disrespect towards Shakor, and you’re a fool if you think you can manipulate me on that path.” I said, remaining seated, my elbows propped on my thighs, staring at the bottom of my cell. This entire block smelled of urine, feces and blood, but my senses had already adjusted to accepting that as normal. It was the body and mind’s way of adapting for survival.

“That wasn’t my intentional at all, Wieler. I merely wanted to point out some simple and recent historical facts about the man we all call Sanmatar. The Republic is built on tribel democracy, on the strengths of our differences, by the unity of our core beliefs and culture. Every Matari has a voice within their tribe. Every tribal leader has a voice within the council of parliament.”

“Yes, yes, I know these things. I am not a child. Do not speak to me as such.” I said with muted hostility.

“My apologies; my intention was not to offend. It is just that when I heard of your current situation, and found you here, in this place,” he gestured with open arms at the cell, his robes of office flowing freely around him, “I didn’t know exactly what to think. I mean, it is a known fact you have been a hero in this war. It is known you are loved by the people, despite Shakor’s attempts to discredit your name. Ah, I see that has gotten your attention.”

Shakor and I were colleagues, friends, sharing very similar ideas for the future of the Republic. Both of us were military men, and had a straightforward, above board approach to how things should be run. He had my respect, and I thought I had his.

“It is also known that you would do anything to discredit the Sanmatar’s good name, Orvas Seriador.” I said in return. He withered slightly under the attack, but quickly regained his composure. Someone not as finely attuned to reading body language might not have noticed any reaction at all.

“I am sorry to have wasted your time, Matar Colonel; oh, my apologies, you no longer bear that rank or honour. Forgive my ill manners.”

He smiled with genuine inflection, but I knew it was just another manoeuver in his game. I would play along until I knew what his real agenda was.

As I was opening my mouth for a witty rebuttal, he continued on, cutting me short.

“Just think about the facts of Shakor’s rise to power. There were no opposing candidates during his election. There was no traditional policies upheld at all. And since he’s taken rule of the Republic, he’s pretty much dissolved parliament and has made military action his highest priority, sacrificing hundreds of thousands of lives to date in an unnecessary war we cannot hope to win. It’s madness.”

Madness. Interesting choice of words from the leader of the Sebeistor Tribe considering where our clandestine talks of usurping power were taking place.

“It’s a crazy universe.” I grumbled.

“Indeed it is.” Seriador agreed, thinking I was acknowledging his points about Shakor.

“What is you want, Seriador?” I said bluntly, ignoring his honorific, my own shot back at him for being petty with titles. Respect was measured by the actions of a man, not by the shiny medals on his uniform, or the fancy robes he wore.

“I simply have a need for real answers, Wieler.” he replied with measured timing. “This is a dangerous precipice for our people. With the Thukkers returning to the fold, we are a united people, but at what cost to maintain? Already there have been failures, the Salvation Crusade debacle being one of recent note, as well as your incarceration here.”

“Did you ever think things might be worse if we had a lesser man at the helm?” I asked with sincerity.

“Perhaps. But perhaps you do not know our ‘captain’ as well as you believe, to continue your analogy. Where is he now? Has he been to visit you, his dear friend and loyal servant of the Republic? Did he speak for you at your defence?”

He let his questions hang in the air and I had no immediate answer. My thoughts raced, suddenly following new paths of reasoning, new paranoid delusions of political backdealings and deceptions.

Damn you Shakor. Why hadn’t you been there for me? I hated even questioning his integrity, but Seriador had hit a nerve.

“As you said, it’s as though the universe has gone insane. What better place to find the next Sanmatar than here?”

Seriador smiled once again, with the hypnotic gaze of a viper luring its prey closer until the predator was ready to strike.

“And why not you? Why don’t you run for the position? You’ve never been one to give away power.” I said, knowing some of the political history of Orvas Seriador.

Seriador held his hands up in surrender, waving away my comment. ” I know I am not the man our people need in the immediate years to come. I am here to advise, of course, but I am aware of enough to concede I simply do not bear the strengths needed to out Shakor for the tyrant he is, at least not now. No, better to have the right man for the right job, and in my heart, I know that is you, Sanmatar Wieler.”

I scowled at him for using that title. It was all illusion. Look at my left hand while my right hand slaps you. I had learned my lessons in politics well from Shakor. Is this why he kept encouraging me to get involved? Was it to protect me from despicable men like Seriador?

Or was Shakor protecting his own interests? Did he see me as a threat early on, and thought to keep me under his thumb?

There were too many unanswered questions.

“Just say the word, Wieler, and I can have you out of here, with a snap of my fingers.” He held up his hand, ready to snap his fingers to illustrate his point.

I have to admit, it was very tempting. I needed to be out of that hellish place. There were Amarr that needed to die. Despite what Seriador believed, victory in the war was not impossible. The Amarr Empire could be toppled. Yet I wasn’t ready to owe Seriador for my freedom; the price was too high. He would expect me to do his bidding, being the real power behind the Sanmatar title, and that was something I would never let happen.

I had too much to think about.

“You’ve give me a lot to think about, Seriador. I need to work through it, in solitude. Can’t think of a better place to do that then here.” I lied. I hated this place. I hated what it was doing to me. I thought it was starting to break me. Is realizing you were slowly being broken part of not being broken? Or is it the opposite? Were you already broken if you started thinking about yourself in the third person, narrating your own life as it unfolded around you? Either way, I was slowly starting to lose my grasp on reality.

I had heard rumours of sane people succumbing to insanity simply by being in environments like this. It happened in war, why shouldn’t it happen there?

“As you wish, Wieler.” Seriador said, bowing slightly, as he backed out of my cell. “Just know I will come back to visit you often, and we will not speak of politics, but rather perhaps I can simply be here to listen to a friend in need, if you will consider me such.”

“Yeah, whatever.” I replied.

“Very good.” Seriador said, ignoring my blatant sarcasm. “And as your friend, let me ask, is there anything you’d like me to bring on my next visit?”

A frigate to blow the hell out of this place? A platoon of marines? Nah, too subtle.

“I’d really like a nice…” Did I want to owe this man for anything? Did I want to play this game?

“Yes” he asked, his eyebrow arching.

“I’d really like a nice cigar.” I said.

He laughed, throwing his head back as he did so.

“Very good. I shall bring you some wrapped from leaves nestled in the jungles of the southern continent. We can enjoy the experience together.”

He laughed again, unprompted as far as I could tell.

“What?” I asked.

He leaned close to me, whispering in my ear.

“Isn’t it a little crazy when you think about it? Here we are, in this place, the famed Roc Wieler and myself, Orvas Seriador, secretly plotting to overthrow the government and usher in a new era of prosperity for the people of the Republic from the depths of an insane asylum? Perhaps we should both be kept here for the good of all.”

He stood up, laughing again, and suddenly I realized I hated this man.

“Crazy is as crazy does.” I replied. “And you’re free to stay. I could use the company.” I leaned back in a welcoming gesture.

Again he waved me away with his hands. The man had very easy tells.

“No, no, I speak in jest, and it was insensitive of me I clearly see. My apologies, my new friend. I shall come back as soon as my duties allow, and we will enjoy a fine cigar together. Fly safe, Colonel Wieler.”

Interesting.

“May the gods guide you.” I said, speaking the traditional reply.

Politics was draining. I needed a nap.