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My name is Hallan Turrek. This is my blog.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Interview with Omber Zombie

Do you have a website and forum thread? If you've got links that would be good.
Website | Eve Forum Thread

So, how long have you been playing?
Omber Zombie the character was born on May 21, 2003, but I had been part of the EVE: Online beta program from beta 6 onwards.

What have you done in Eve during that time?
Pretty much everything. From my corporate history you can see I have been part of (and directed) corps focussed on both the industrial/science side of the game as well as the PvP side, I've pirated with m0o, helped create an alliance (The Big Blue), built outposts, brokered hundred's of millions of isk in bonds/shares/betting/
equipment, traded on markets, was part of the original CSM and this newest incarnation. As I said, pretty much everything.

What real life experiences do you have that will aid you in your elected position?
I was the president of the student council at my campus while at University, so that helps with understanding how meetings run and how minutes need to be written. Apart from that, nothing really.

What's your favourite thing to do in Eve?
Unfortunately due to the workload of CSM, my time has been limited lately, but my favourite part of the game is the complexity in the industrial side. Both from managing production flow from basic materials to end product, to trading the finished product on the markets. Making people explode is always fun too.

What changes do you believe could be made to make it easier to do that?
There are too many to put into a summary - but basically better interfaces in eve would remove a lot of the pain.

What do you think of the recent Bob/Goonswarm fiasco?
It is a game mechanic that has been there since the inception of the alliance system and I am surprised that BoB left it self open to it's abuse. I don't particularly like the mechanic itself, and CSM were asked to workshop some ideas around possible changes to it. My initial idea was:
Alliances should come in 2 flavours, Dictatorial or Democratic/Communist (call it whatever you like)

CEO of Executor corp
* can add/remove member corps - 24 hours from button being pressed to take effect, can be cancelled at any time within that 24hours
* can disband alliance - 24 hours from button being pressed to take effect, can be cancelled at any time within that 24hours
* can set standings of Alliance

Directors of Executor Corp
* same abilities as CEO, but also requires at least 1 other director to approve the button click or the CEO to do so too. If more than 2 directors, the yes/no situation comes into effect that if you have more no's than yes's, the action doesn't go into effect. Yes/no votes can occur any time in the 24hour period after the action is started. CEO has overriding vote on any action.

Democratic/Communist/Whatever it's called
All actions bar standings require greater than 50% agreement from all CEO's in the alliance corps.

Do you have an opinion on the Renaming of KenZoku to Bob Reloaded?
As a member of the CSM, we were part of a discussion with the GM's regarding this. While I ca't go into specific details due to NDA restrictions, the general consensus of the CSM was for the GM's to follow protocol. As that protocol is basically "We don't rename people/corps/alliances" we didn't expect anything to change. A month later, the GM's decided to rename KenZoku to BoBR and after a public outcry, change it back to KenZoku. GM Grimmi came to the next CSM meeting after that to try and explain what happened. The GM's have an internal unofficial rule that if an entity asks for a name change within 1 week of something bad happening, they will look at it and change it as they deem fit. The problem here was that due to perceived bias to BoB, there was an internal debate among all the GM's and it took that long to happen - and after the community outrage, decided that the majority vote between the GM's in this case was wrong. The full minutes and transcript of that meeting can be found here.

What do you think of the re balancing of ECM?
ECM definately needed balancing - the weight of numbers of Rooks in fleets proved that alone. Whether the changes that have been made work as intended - time will tell. I think it's a step in the right direction though.

What do you think of the re balancing of Stealth Bombers?
This is something that both CSM 1 and 2 have been asking for and while it doesn't go to 100% of what was asked, a fair chunk of what was asked for has been implemented. The only thing I'm not sold on yet is the change to Torpedoes, but like the ECM changes, time will tell on that one.

Does it bother you that Veldspar is more profitable than any low sec minerals?
Not at all. One of the best things about EVE is that it has a player driven economy. If something is in demand, prices go up - it's pretty simple. However, both LaVista and I have been working with CCP to figure out how to rebalance loot drops recycling and ore distribution so that it is more even across the various security systems - IMHO middle band ores should be the main source of middle band minerals, and at the moment based on the data we have been given (which I need to point out is incomplete), it seems that most midband minerals are not coming from there. This is definitely a high priority issue.

What is the single largest imbalance in game, and how would you fix it?
I don't htink there is a single issue that is the largest, if for example you look at the issue of Sovereignty - there is no single problem with it, it tends to be a bunch of smaller issues combining to create a larger one. There is no simple all-in-one fix for it, otherwise it would have been fixed already. However if you create a goal for it and then break down the steps needed to reach that goal, you can start to see what needs tobe fixed, and in what order. The problem with large issues like that is that fixing all those minor issues take time - and the longer it takes, the more other things in the game changes. I think that's one of the main things most people don't understand about eve - the simplest change in one area of the game can have massive follow on effects in totally unrelated parts of the game. As such, CCP are open to almost any idea from the player base for any perceived issue, the more options they have to look at, the faster they can figure out the jigsaw puzzle.

Anything to add?

I'd just like to wish all the other candidates good luck in the campaign, and I hope they can live up to the workload requested of them if they get elected. A lot of people look at the CSM and think "heh, I can do this in my sleep" but until you are actually involved it's impossible to understand just how much work goes into it. It's definitely not a holiday. I'd also like ot thank both you and your readers for their time in coming up with these questions, hopefully it will help those interested in the CSM to vote for the candidate that they think will do the best job looking out for their interests.

Also, to answer some of the questions asked in the comments section on your blog:

I would love to see some sort of "political" ideology definitions in those who are trying for the CSM.
I suppose I would be seen as having a Neoliberalistic ideology. While I understand the need for CCP to be the 'gods' of eve, things like the CSM allow the players to guide those 'gods' into directions that they think would be best for both current players of EVE and for new players. By having players electing their own representatives to the council means that level of control is in the player base's hands.

One of the benefits of a single-sharded "sandbox" MMOG is that what we do happens in the game, and that can be nearly anything. What effects should players have on the EVE storylines? Do you feel CCP should take steps to better reflect the news posts inside the game itself? Recent examples might include food shortages in a given region, or FW-related storylines.
This is actually a very hard question to answer. One of the most awesome things about the EVE universe is the backstory and the continuing storyline of the four major races and the 3 minor races (and I'm sure a few more to come). Allowing the playerbase direct access to effect those storylines is a dangerous thing if given without constraint, but conversely if given with restraint it feels like you have no real effect at all. As a former member of the volunteer Events Team, I can empathise with CCP in that the stance of 'if you allow players free reign, they will cock it up' There is nothing worse than working for a month to plan an event only to have a bunch of players completely uninterested in that event turn up and destroy it.
On the other hand - yes, i think there should be more involvement from the stories to the game. I.E. A corp announces that it has had some major technological breakthrough, then some of it's NPC trade goods prices should be affected. It's a small step, but as things like that are added to the game, i think it will become more immersive for the players that enjoy that side of the game.
In the end though - EVE is about the players making their own stories up, we shouldn't rely on CCP to make stories for us to be involved in.
See, I said it was a hard question :)

Currently, once your NPC faction standings drop below -2.0 (including skills), you are forever banned from that faction. Additionally, outside of agent access and KOS status, faction standing has little effect in the game. Do you think CCP should address the general issue of standings, and how so?
This is an issue being raised for discussion in this week's CSM meeting - standing is something that needs a serious look at as atm it has no real relevance except as a barrier to entry. Some previous ideas that have been thrown up for this is to player standing having an effect on system security status, socking fees, production/lab fees and a few other things like that. Personally I think the standing system as a whole needs a serious look at to see whether it's still the best system to use.

The respawn amount of ore (hope that makes sense) is very low. And with veldspar now being so popular, it's hard to find a belt (even in remote systems) that has not been vacuumed by a hulk / orca combo.
Do you think something should be done about this ? I dont think it has changed since 2004 and since then new mining vessels have been released that can clear a belt in a matter of hours...

Ore regeneration is something that needs to be looked at - and is as part of our look into the Veldspar issue asked above. There is no simple answer (like everything else), but the proposed system wide belts which you need to scan down was an interesting idea thrown around.

Question: What can you offer, if elected, to bring true transparency to Eve?
The honest answer is nothing. CSM can only provide answers that are given by CCP. If you don't trust CCP and it's Internal Affairs Department to police it's staff, than nothing the CSM does will be able to help you. All we can do as CSM members is ask CCP hard questions, but I think since the inception of the IA department, CCP have been very open about these things.

Do you believe that the CSM has been communicating effectively with the players that it represents. How do you think that this process could be improved?
Yes and no. There has definitely been an improvement as time has gone on, but in reality there is only so much information you can put out there that people will read. Recently the CSM has moved from an internally run wiki system to track issues to using the Evelopedia to track information. There was also a push to change what the CSM can ask and how the answers are communicated, so that the information is much more widely distributed (newsletters, front page news, media outlet distribution, EON etc.). It's a work in progress, and as new tools become available, the information will spread and evolve into something that is far more accessible.

1 comment:

  1. in the "What do you think of the re balancing of ECM?" rooks should actually be falcons - was thinking falcons and typed rooks... oh well :p

    thanks for the questions tho, looking forward to reading everyone else's answers