An Interview with Dierdra Vaal.
Asking the questions, Psia, in Nov '09 as a part of the ongoing series of director interviews.
So, you are Eve University Director of Education, what does that mean exactly?
It means I'm the head of Eve University's education department, and responsible for its smooth operation. The education department has 4 divisions: Teaching (classes, guest lectures, etc), Events, Mentoring and our advanced student program D6. Each of these divisions has its own manager who are responsible for most of its operation, but I oversee these managers and make sure each division's direction fits with the direction we want Eve University to take.
And before you joined the University, what path did you follow?
I was a frustrated newbie before I joined Eve Uni - I'd already quit Eve 3 times.
If you weren't in the Uni, where do you imagine you'd be by now?
If I'd never joined Eve University I doubt I'd be playing Eve now. If I had moved on I may have joined some of the more reputable pirate corps, or possibly a 0.0 alliance.
If you had to sell the University to a new player, how would you do so?
I have advertised a lot already - I used to be an RO. I'd probably link them to our commercial or just tell them about who we are and what we do. It usually does the trick.
What one thing would make your life as Director of Education better, easier or more pleasant?
More teachers, without a doubt. We still do not have as many classes as I'd like and despite trying to recruit more teachers it seems it is exceedingly difficult to attract reliable, consistent teachers. We also haven't made as much progress on the syllabi library as I'd like. More mentors would also be useful although I understand the mentoring programme is doing quite well already. Ultimately, Eve University needs a group of volunteers willing to help other pilots - just as many of our current mentors and teachers were once helped by other veterans. Without our volunteers we couldn't run Eve University.
Mining, Trading or Combat?
Combat. With a mix of exploration but that is not included in this list. I find mining dreadfully boring and I dont have the patience and will to become good at trading - which is probably why I'm relatively poor for a player my age.
Given a free choice of role in a combat fleet, what would chose to do?
Probably damage or electronic warfare. I've done just about eve fleet role by now except for logistics - overall I usually just pick whatever is needed.
And what's your favourite ship, and why?
Probably the Pilgrim (Amarr recon). It cloaks, it has a huge tank, two types of electronic warfare and reasonable damage output. It is one of the few good solo pvp ships.
You are not only a Uni Director, but also you are a twice elected CSM rep, and the chair of the third (current)CSM. What does that involve?
The CSM communicates with CCP on behalf of the players of Eve. This means we read the forums - a lot - to make proposals based on forum threads in the Assembly Hall forum. We meet every 2 weeks (sometimes more) to discuss the issues and vote on them. All issues with majority support end up in front of CCP who are obligated to give us an answer.
It is very interesting to see how the CSM can affect the development of Eve. For example, the skill queue is a direct result of the CSM. CCP initially had a lot of resistance against the idea, but as the CSM kept pushing for it, eventually CCP realised it would be a good addition to the game.
And how did you find yourself standing for election the first time?
When CCP announced the first CSM elections, the directorate decided it would be a good idea to try and get an Eve University pilot on the council. After an internal poll, we decided to put me forward as the Eve University candidate.
What made you stand for re-election last time around?
The same thing that made me stand for election the first time: I believe that if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. I also knew the process the 2nd time, and felt I still had a lot of useful input to give.
What difference that the CSM has made makes you the most proud of your work with them?
Well there's ofcourse the ingame changes, but I think the biggest difference is simply that we have proven that the process can work. CCP and the CSM have started a very useful partnership that you don't see in any other game - and I think Eve has become a better game for it.
And as your final term draws towards a close, do you have any regrets?
Not really. It was very nice to be able to be Chairman the 2nd time around - it makes me feel a bit like this is 'my CSM'. Of all 3 CSMs we have put forth the most issues with CCP, as well as engage in some very interesting brainstorming sessions.
A bit of future gazing now, how long do you imagine that Eve will persist, and will it go out with a bang or a whimper, when the time comes?
If CCP continue as they have been doing, I very much doubt that Eve will ever go out. At this point CCP is committed to Eve Online, and have stated that they are not interested in developing an Eve 2.0 or something. They just want to keep improving and expanding the current universe. You can see that now with Dust, New Eden (spacebook) and Incarna, which all greatly change or expand the way we interact with the game universe.
Are you planning to play Dust 514?
Not at this point, I don't own an xbox or playstation.
When you aren't playing Eve, what other games (online or offline) do you play?
Mostly shooters. I currently play a lot of Team Fortress 2, Unreal Tournament 3 and Battlefield 2142. Sometimes Audiosurf.
Any forthcoming MMOs that you'll try out?
None, one addiction is quite enough.
Back to Eve, what change would you most like to see to the University?
I've been trying to move to a more stable curriculum, and a better teacher roster so I can guarantee that class X is taught every Y weeks. Right now if someone were to ask me when the next Trading class is I'd have no idea. But for a better curriculum I need a lot more teachers.
And where do you see your Eve self in 2 years time?
That is hard to say. I may still be with the uni, I may be off doing my own thing or maybe not play Eve at all.
Beer or Coffee?
Depends on the time of day.
Pirates or Ninjas?
Dogs with hats or flying monkeys?
Is there anything else you'd like to say?
Nope I'm all typed out!