So, the summit. The focal point of what the CSM does, wherein a selection (or in this case, the CSM as a whole) is flown up to CCP's headquarters in Iceland to work in person with the various teams that the CSM have been working with previously, to both have planned developments revealed for feedback, and to properly discuss player issues with the game.
We all arrived in Reykjavik piecemeal, coalescing together on the Sunday and - despite some travel issues - managing to put names and voices to faces in a night of introductions. The majority of the USTZ attendees then went off to correct their jet lag as best as possible, whilst those with sleep schedules more in tune with Iceland discovered the pub adjacent to our hotel, which became the place to discuss what had been talked about with CCP, go over plans for the next day, and generally shoot the shit amongst ourselves.
Our sessions with CCP went from Monday to Thursday, with teams/features/topics all being allocated 1 hour blocks, though some sessions did cover 2 to help us really dig deep into a topic. The actual way these sessions ran depended on both the topics, and the people involved on either side. Some sessions were heavily focused around revealing something to the CSM, then asking for feedback on said reveal. Others were more CSM driven, such as the Balance, Nullsec and Wormhole sessions. In general however, Devs seemed to be very willing to not only take on board our feedback, but work to build upon it, or reach deeper into the reasons as to why a certain problem was being raised.
It was very clear to us however that CCP was entering a full crunch to prepare the company for Alpha Clones. Both in the hardware end of things, and of course, the feature development side. There's a desire to prepare the game for a potentially huge avalanche of players that may overwhelm existing training organisations, so refining some of the more obtuse aspects of the game with things such as a new Character Sheet, Ghost Fitting and a revamped NPE, all of which were given as much feedback as we could muster.
The thing that most surprised us and and the CSM was how well we worked together in person, and how civilly we were able to discuss high level topics, even those which directly affected our own play-styles. The most heated any debate got was during a topic tangential to NPE, something that caught us all off guard.
I think this is simply a product of having all the CSM in one physical location, which reduced any sense of superiority or cliquishness from the group. It's hard to think someone's trying to screw up the game for nefarious purposes when you?re drinking together in a hotel lobby, you just end up realising that there are different perspectives on the matter. This was something that the CSM brought up in the internal review, and whilst we know this was a very deliberate choice to help ensure that no opinion was left behind with regards to Clone States, and likely won't be possible for the next summit, I hope it's something CCP considers doing again for the next CSM. Even if it requires a reduction of the numbers of the CSM to allow it, I think that is a worthy sacrifice.
I encourage you all to read the summit minutes when they come out from behind the NDA curtain. We?re expecting this to take roughly 1-2 weeks, but don't have a solid time frame with regards to that yet. In the last CSM this was a 24h turnaround process, but having talked to CCP Falcon, I?m glad we?re not putting that kind of weight on their shoulders. I'd rather Logibro didn't associate us with 2am-Red Bull fuelled writing.
With all that said, I'd like to take a moment to thank the CSM Co-coordinators (Guard & Logibro). They were absolutely amazing to work with, and helped us to break the ice with the rest of the company. I'd also like to thank those who voted for me last Spring for letting me take part in this experience, and share my viewpoints with CCP. I only hope that I have done you proud and helped shift the game's direction for the better.
Weeks Ending 11/09/16 & 18/09/16
Attendance Sheet Here