YouTuber examines the quit rate for EVE Online CSM members – and why they bail

    
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Keen.

In the comments of our Daily Grind on voting for MMO player councils earlier this week, Wilhelm of The Ancient Gaming Noob pointed me to a recent video from EVE Online YouTuber Jin’taan that struck me so much that I wanted to amplify it here.

Jin’taan, a former member of EVE Online’s player-elected Council of Stellar Management, starts by examining the idea that a lot of elected reps to the CSM actually quit the whole game after their year-long term is over. After determining that it’s a real effect (“CSM-itis”) and a sizable number (about 40% of those he served with over his three years in office) and then dismissing the idea that people run for the CSM as part of a winding-down of their in-game careers, he uses his own experiences with the council to offer multiple converging explanations for why the CSM appears to burn out some of the most dedicated EVE Online players.

First, Jin’taan argues that CSM members suffer a prolonged feeling of helplessness, specifically because they know their feedback and contributions affect so many people and the future of the game, and yet they often can’t do much and feel as if they’re not listened to – or even that some CCP devs don’t quite know as much about the game as they do, to the degree that councilors suspect something truly game-killing could “slip through the cracks.” It translates to a “lack of faith” in CCP: “I think that second-guessing CCP like that is something that is going to inevitably make you kind of bitter.”

Second, he echoes something that so many MMO players who’ve lived through sunset after sunset come to realize: All online games die. “Being a member of the CSM forces you to come to grips with the mortality of EVE Online,” he posits. Councilors in particular become weighed down by this confrontation of existential dread – why donate so much work and time, hundreds of hours and weeks of unpaid labor, to the game if it’s all going to end eventually?

It’s heavy stuff – and worth consideration for anybody thinking about turning a hobby into a job, even if it is just volunteering for a for-profit company’s marketing or R&D arm.

Source: YouTube. Thanks, Wilhelm!

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Wilhelm Arcturus

If I had known you were going for a post about the video I would have included a link to the AMA with Jester/Ripard Teg, former blogger and member of CSM8 whose 5 year NDA expired back in May. He did an AMA on /r/eve to answer questions about what he saw/did. It is in the horrible Reddit format, but there are some additional nuggets about the trials of being on the CSM in there:

I was on EVE’s CSM8, I was space-famous for a long while, and now my CCP NDA is ended. AMA from Eve

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Daniel Reasor

The reference to quitting the fame as “winning” it got a hearty out-loud laugh from me.

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memitim

It’s not the fame, it’s the game, the joke is the only way to win EVE is to quit. ;)

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Sean Barfoot

I played EVE pretty intensely for about 18 months five years ago, and I was a huge fan of Jester’s blog at that time. Nice to see him again, and he’s still as insightful as he ever was.

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Sasha Alex

I honestly didnt understand how people could play a game wth crafting timers that involved real world days and possibly weeks. That alone told me not to touch the game.

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Danny Smith

Ultimately all games, mmo’s especially, are a grand waste of your finite time and when those servers die its all gone forever. We know this but continue to engage because ‘nothing matters’ is rarely a conscious present impression on the player during playing. The one time it happened to me in Warlords of Dreanor i literally closed the program mid lfr, uninstalled and stayed that way till the final month of Legion.

The moment you have the player consciously saying to themselves “this is a waste of time and not worth it” you have lost them and thats one of the biggest mistakes a game designer can do outside of pay to win or crippling bugs.

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Barnoc N'Draak

why donate so much work and time, hundreds of hours and weeks of unpaid labor, to the game if it’s all going to end eventually?

Never been in a position like this, but this kind of perspective does affect my willingness to sink a lot of time into any particular endeavor in a game if it’s not fun.

The same can be said for cash shop purchases.

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Tobasco da Gama

I know I took a good, long break from LOTRO after my time on the Player Council. I didn’t feel the existential dread or lack of confidence that these CSMs refer to, but at the end of a year of feeling like I had to have an opinion on so many different aspects of the game I was just done and ready to move on.

(It wasn’t a permanent departure, I came back after taking an update or two off, but still.)