Posted Wed, Dec 14, 2011 by The Mittani
I'd been in Iceland for a week of blackest December. Spaceships happened. More accurately, over three days, I spent approximately 25 hours sharing a cramped meeting room with twelve or more spaceship nerds discussing the minutiae of an internet spaceship MMO while on a stormy volcanic rock in the North Atlantic, surrounded by fart-water and almost completely devoid of sunlight. In the northern Alaska, residents compensate for the lack of sun with full spectrum lighting, which has had a dramatic impact on the local suicide rate. In Iceland, they quaff shark oil and drink. Drinking seems to be the catch-all solution to Icelandic problems; in summer they drink for joy, in winter to stave off despair.
At CSM summits, every important discussion is held after work in bars. UAxDeath, CSM rep and leader of Legion of Death, which is now embroiled in a massive cross-Russian bloc civil war, came prepared; he had made some sort of Russian moonshine and smuggled it through Iceland's nonexistent customs in a pair of innocent-seeming Finlandia vodka bottles. This stuff left a trail of devastation across the livers of the CSM and CCP mandarins foolish enough to accept Death's polite invitations to drink with him. I managed to delay imbibing it until Saturday after the meetings were over, and poured half of my shot into the glass of one of my companions, leaving me free to wheel and deal during the summit without the minor impediments of alcohol poisoning - just the standard CSM dose of 5-8 beers a night, every night, from Tuesday until Saturday.
It was probably some combination of the moonshine, lack of sun, and the chronic lack of sleep that led to the decision to drive an hour outside of Reykjavik at night in a snowstorm, take off my clothes, and get into a volcanic hot spring. The Blue Lagoon is one of those brochure-featured tourist destinations that Iceland constantly advertises to entice the gullible to visit; Death insisted that Tyrrax Thorrk of the Guiding Hand and myself go. We asked Tyrrax, an Icelander, to drive. I had forgotten that Tyrrax had relayed a tale earlier that day of how he once took Istvaan Shogaatsu on a tour of the island and managed to get so lost that they had to call Search and Rescue to bail them out - in the summer. That wasn't in the midst of a horizontal December snowstorm which annihilated any visibility of the road more than a foot in front of our car. Tyrrax, unfazed, noted that this type of blizzard is 'very pretty’ and has its own special word to describe it in Icelandic - and then we got lost.
If you ever find yourself mostly naked in a hot spring mid-blizzard, the trick is to turn your hair towards the wind, or the constant blast of snow and ice will abrade your face. With your now-iced over hair forming something of a shield against the onslaught, it can be a quite pleasant experience. But that may be the testosterone poisoning talking.
Spaceships? This CSM summit was the first post-Crucible. The CCP staff seemed happy and relieved, unlike after Incarna where there was hunched shoulders and a fortress mentality. As one does not move to a volcanic, sunless rock to make virtual pants, the average dev was delighted to at last be working on spaceship content.
I expect that this enthusiasm will translate into not just more content for EVE, but content of a higher quality; spaceships are what the staff actually /want/ to work on, rather than what Hilmar now calls 'Jesus Features'. Why Hilmar felt that badly copying Farmville in Tyrannis or selling microtransaction pants in Incarna has much to do with walking on water is beyond me, but the more salient point is that he seems to have finally acknowledged the past two years as ones of hubris-fueled error.