News Release, 25th June 2008
‘Internet Chieftains’ Head Home from Iceland
First Council of Stellar Management meeting hailed a success
Delegates from the first democratically elected MMO player Council have declared themselves pleased with their initial face-to-face meeting with CCP (www.ccpgames.com), the developers of leading Internet spaceship game, EVE Online (www.eve-online.com).
Over 25,000 EVE players voted to select the initial nine delegates to represent them on the ‘Council of Stellar Management’ (CSM). Following the elections, the nine Councillors worked with the player base to identify and prioritise game-related issues ranging from combat through economy to design of the user interface. These issues formed the basis of the agenda for the three-day meeting at CCP’s Headquarters in Reykjavik, Iceland.
Prior to the face-to-face meeting, Councillors (and players) aired concerns that the CSM had been created simply as a PR tool to generate publicity for the game. However, it soon became apparent that senior management at CCP have really bought into the process and see a long-term role for the CSM as an important institution for player participation in the future development of EVE.
Over the course of the CSM meeting, more than 30 game related issues were discussed by Councillors and senior members of the CCP development team, which included game designers, programmers, storyline staff and members of the quality assurance team. The meetings were chaired and moderated by a neutral arbitrator from an Icelandic university.
Many issues and ideas raised by the CSM were accepted by CCP and are being built into the game development pipeline for implementation in future patches. Other ideas were seen as problematic to implement but compromises and alternatives were discussed for further feasibility investigation by CCP. A few ideas were dismissed outright on the basis of being technically difficult to implement without diverting huge programming/development resources, at the detriment of advancing other elements of the game.
“We had a great dialogue with the developers and they were exceedingly open to our ideas and suggestions and pretty straightforward in explaining technical limitations where not. It was clear that some changes we suggested were already on CCP’s agenda, but it was also nice to see the occasional ‘Eureka’, – ‘why didn’t we think of that?’ moment amongst the developers. This clearly demonstrated the value of the process both to us as players but also to CCP,” said Andrew Cruse, Chairman of the CSM.
As part of their trip to Iceland the CSM Councillors were taken to visit the birthplace of Icelandic democracy at Thingvellir (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%9Eingvellir). Thingvellir is reputedly home to the oldest Parliament in the world. From 930 AD chieftains’ from across Iceland would meet there annually to discuss the law and settle disputes. During the visit to Thingvellir, Dr. Eyjólfur Guðmundsson, CCP’s lead economist, made a rousing speech describing the CSM delegates as the first ‘Internet chieftains’ and ‘pioneers’ of democracy in online communities.
“While it is very gratifying to be described as an ‘Internet chieftain’ what really matters is proving to our constituents, the players of EVE, that we have actually delivered results that improve the virtual universe in which they play. To that extent we are reliant on CCP continuing to be an active partner in the process and delivering on the promises made in Iceland,” said Sean Conover, a CSM delegate.
Hot on the heels of the first Council of Stellar Management meeting in Iceland, comes a first press release from the CSM itself.