Wednesday, 4 February 2015

CSM X Candidate Analysis: Mike Azariah

This is the first of my posts about the CSM X candidates.  I'm leading off with Mike Azariah, as he's a player I've followed for a while now and a CSM member who is currently on his second term.  Mike is primarily a highsec candidate, who describes himself as a casual highsec carebear.  While this means he will take on issues relating to highsec, he's proven over the last two terms on the CSM that he is willing to not only listen to players outside of his area of expertise, but to strive to get a better understanding of other playstyles.

While I'm not a highsec player for the most part, with the extent of my highsec activity being some industry and trading around the major hubs, slinging some ISK to red frog to move assets about from time to time, I have in the past been a heavy highsec player, and if you follow me on the forum at all can be quite outspoken about the way highsec players are and should be treated.  When listening to Mike talk about what should be done with highsec, I rarely if ever disagree with anything he says.  One of his main points about highsec is that highsec players like it, yet there are many players who would like to tear it down to add more forced conflict, claiming to be wanting it to be more dangerous.  To be clear though, this doesn't mean what he wants is a safe highsec.  There should be danger in highsec, but it should be supportive of the highsec player base.

In his Cap Stable podcast interview, he notes his resistance to a player’s proposal to stop concord from protecting T2 ships as an example of players wanting to change highsec in this way.  He points out that what most players like this really want is more targets for them to shoot that won't shoot back.  I wholeheartedly agree with this.  Highsec is not the place where you can just fly around and shoot everyone you see with no response.  Remove or reduce that too much and you've just got lowsec.  Most highsec players don't want that, which is why they play in highsec, and forcing them into playing in a different way is just as wrong as forcing a player to PvE when they don't want to.  That reminds me of a post Mike made a while back about the idea of a "peace dec", the opposite of a war dec.  Anyone reading it knows it's ludicrous, which is the point of it, to get you to see things from a different perspective.  Nobody likes to be forced to play a game they don’t want to play.

During his Cap Stable interview a very interesting analogy was made for EVE and the way many players try to force more combat into highsec with no regard for the players who live there.
“Everyone keeps saying ‘but EVE is a PvP game’.  No Eve is a space simulator in which PvP can happen and does, but it’s like a rec centre.  There’s a swimming pool, there’s hockey, there’s a library, there’s a weight room and there’s a squash court.  Now just because the hockey players like to do body checks does not mean they get to freeze over the swimming pool then laugh at all the people freezing their asses off in bathing suits.”

This is shockingly accurate for the EVE forums.  Players often want to force more PvP combat onto the highsec player base, and they often use the "EVE is a PvP game" as a reason for why highsec players should just accept changes to force them to be someone else's fodder.  EVE is not a PvP sandbox, it's just a sandbox.  What you do and how you play is up to you.

The new player experience is something Mike is also very supportive of.  He petitioned to get put back into the Rookie Chat channel (which you automatically get booted out of once you've played a while) so that he could help out newbies in there, and he also runs a project called Operation Magic School Bus, which is a project to give new players PvP fit frigates and put them with players who will take them out into the game and guide them, to get a taste of the rest of the game.

Overall, Mike Azariah is an excellent candidate.  He constantly communicates with the player base, being a highly active member of the community and is often willing to go on podcasts to talk with players.  When it comes to communicating, he's well-spoken and confident which is vitally important for a player that you are expecting to express your thoughts and concerns to CCP.  He understands that the CSM is designed to facilitate communication between CCP and the players, and to give views to CCP on the changes they put forward, rather than come up with ideas the individual CSM member likes.  I'd definitely recommend reading Mike's platform thread and sending a vote his way.

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