Tuesday, July 29, 2014

33B/month without skill, risk or investment

I wrote how no-life multiboxing should be limited by CCP charging subscription not by months but by logged on hours. It wasn't exactly popular, because the loud minority are those who play the most, so enjoy paying as much for their account as a casual who uses the server 1/10 as much.

Instead of more arguments, I prove my point by bringing the mining mission farm to the extreme. For those who don't want to read that long and detailed business post: there are level 4 missions in highsec that require you to warp to a deadspace complex, start your ice/gas harvester on one big resource, go AFK for 10/20 minutes, then dock up. No other player input needed, the pilot is perfect after 2 months of training, no investment is needed and there is no risk of losing ships to rats. In case of ganks you lose an empty pod and a 5M venture or 30M retriever, but no one ganks in mission deadspace areas due to having to scan it down then slowboat from the mission entrance to the barge, which is impossible if your sec status is below -5.

It's an extreme form of AFK-farming. You don't even need multiboxer software, you can just click on the window where input is needed. You can leave the computer at any moment, if you are away for long, you just find your ships full. This means that you can go nolifer without actually affecting your life. If you live or work near a computer, you can run such AFK farm without impacting your main activity. The question is how much you can earn with this. To measure it, I let the farm run whenever I was at home and awake and I checked on it when I had a few free minutes. The amount of LP can be calculated from the amount of ISK spent in the LP store, since all the implants I was buying needed 666.66x more ISK than LP:

I copied these journals from all 5 involved pilots to Excel, got the average implant prices from the Jita market history and got:

Oops! 32.7B income over a month. So an extremely easy, dumb, risk-free and solo activity provided more than a supercarrier a month. My trading income which is gained by understanding markets, investing hundreds of billions and taking risk by flying around with tens of billions is barely more.

You might also noticed that my pilots spent more than 25 hours a day doing this. This is possible by having 5 miner accounts (+1 for Orca boost). I have 5 because I had 5 accounts with slots available for this test. I didn't expect such numbers, so I didn't start more accounts. I mean I had the calculated income, but didn't expect to be able to run so many hours a day without it affecting my ability to work, do chores, write this blog and upkeep a relationship. Cliche nolifers can't do these, but that's because other games need constant player input. In order for your avatar to farm an hour in WoW, you must sit front of your computer and click buttons for an hour or risk banning for botting. To run the mentioned mission farm, you need to talk to an agents 4 times an hour, press the undock button 4 times, warp to the mission bookmark 4 times, approach gas 2 times (other 2 are ice, in range of the lasers), start mining 4 times and press dock 4 times. That's about 2 mins/hour/account activity.

While multiboxing is a plague in all games, the constant need of inputs in other games force (non-botting) multiboxers to be at the same location, so their income is diminishing. 2 WoW avatars kill mobs faster, but not twice faster. After 5, killing mobs is so fast that adding more avatars doesn't speed you up further. In EVE I could keep adding miners up to 30 (where they start idling as I can't do the mentioned clicks fast enough for all of them). They are all in their own missions, not affecting each other. So a cliche nolifer doing the mentioned mining mission farm with 30 pilots (+Orca), doing it 12 hours a day can earn 15.5B/day. Let me put this in perspective: that's 50% more ISK than Pandemic Legion makes (the alliance, not the individual members). Or 2x more than TEST on its peak. The price of a titan every week. If you want to buy the same money on the legitimate PLEX market, that's over $100K a year. All that by one guy, with beginner skills, without exploit or even a multiboxer software and without paying a dime to CCP.

Do you need any further proof how horribly broken it is? The obvious solution is charging after playing time. If you watch 2x more movies, you pay 2x more to the cinema. The subscription should allow X hours/month play, if you want to play more, you have to activate extra PLEX-es. This is needed to put a pricetag on pilot hours which are currently free (pilot existence is not free, but his hours are). This will decrease the farm income by PLEX_price/X ISK/hour. With the increase of PLEX prices, it would market out many farms, opening up niches for casual players. As they play less already than X, their income isn't taxed.

Other possible solution is making AFK-farming impossible. In WoW if your pet kills a mob, you can't loot it and your "kill 10" quest won't progress. You need to put at least one bit of weapon damage into the mob to claim it. The same could be implemented for drones and smartbombs in EVE: if no targeted module activation happened on the rat, it dies without leaving a wreck, giving no bounty nor standings. AFK mining can be killed without complete rewrite by breaking up asteroids into one-cycle chunks. Of course making mining engaging would be better. The point is that you need to perform actions front of the client to earn ISK, decreasing the income/effort ratio (which is over 1B/hour with the mining mission farm now). Of course, botting will still be a problem, but at least botters risk banning, while AFK-ers don't.

Monday, July 28, 2014

You are only safe in the central corp

The personal reason of leading a crusade against the Goons is that I can never be one of them. I'm an "n-word" in their eyes, because I'm not on their out-of-game forum. I can only be their minion, their slave. This obviously bothers me as - unlike with PL and N3 - I'm not into this "elite PvP" nonsense. My playstyle fits CFC much better, but I am not allowed to enter, regardless of what I do.

So far so good, you've heard it too many times. But Goons aren't treating their "slaves" so bad, otherwise they wouldn't have so many and Lucas wouldn't protect them like his life depends on it. Sure, Goonwaffe Goons get preferential treatment, they can stay without any stratop participation, they can stay while they do nothing but ratting all day. But this is an academic argument as I don't want to slack. When I was in TEST, I had near perfect statop attendance. I would probably be in the top 1% of those paplink listings, maybe protesting against bombless bomber fleets by showing up in a Phoenix. Sure, I'd be annoyed that some slackers are being carried, but there is big difference between being annoyed with them and spending 160B+ on defeating them. The truth is that I didn't know why I resented "Goon minions" and just rationalized it with social justice bullshit.

However the recent stupid drama about The Red Barons made it clear why. Alliances, and recently coalitions are having identities. They do stuff. They get mentioned in news. Yet you can't join an alliance, you can only join a corp and corps can join an alliance. Why do corps exist? Because players are social and want to be in a social group smaller than the Dunbar number. While they fight in an 1000-men fleet, they still prefer to be in small, social corps "with friends" in the meantime. But being in a corp is more than a hoop I'd have to jump in order to be in an alliance: it's a serious risk of drama.

When Doc Know lost his cool over someone being mean on the internet, all members of his corps were removed from The Marmite Collective. They lost access to the wars they joined for. They didn't do anything to lose access. Of course in a PvP game, you can lose against your will. If the enemy invades your land, you can fight back. If you fail, you failed, so deserve to lose. But in case of drama, the line members can't do anything.

Except if you are in the central corp. Since it is the anchor point, in case of stupid drama, always the other one loses the alliance/coalition membership. If an SMA leader loses his cool with The Mittani, SMA will ragequit/gets ragekicked from CFC. If the Wildly Inappropriate CEO melts down and gets yelling with The Mittani, WI will leave. If The Mittani loses his cool with the FCON management... yeah, FCON leaves. Goonwaffe can only lose Goonswarm and CFC membership if CFC failcascades. As long as there is CFC, Goonwaffe will be in it. The bottom line is that a Goonwaffe member can only be kicked if he personally does something bad. If you are outside of Goonwaffe, you can lose your CFC membership without anyone even blaming you. It's enough if your corp ceo or alliance leader does what social people often do: gets mad over words.

The above isn't an academic issue. The HBC failcascade, the TEST failcascade, the Falcon-drama, the Halloween Russian failcascade are all examples of people losing their land without even a fight, just because someone above their rank acted like a kid. Of course you can never be safe from drama as long as there are social people around. Even the central corp of HBC lost nullsec. But being in the central corp gives you a safety net: as long as there is a surviving fragment, you'll be in it.

PS: tomorrow comes a shocking business post. No Goons will be mentioned! No speculation used, everything is tried out!

PS2: terminal case moron here.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Weekend minipost: expanded cargoholds

Putting expanded cargohold on haulers is good if you are hauling veldspar or other low-value, large volume goods. Not so good if you are hauling valuables. Even less if you are also the minion of evil with a stupid name, with T1 expanders or dodging bubbles in null.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Weekeend minipost: The three lies of the head of evil

Thank God it's weekend, I refuse to waste more real posts to refute the lies of the head of evil. So he is out again with propaganda against supercapitals. Now this post isn't a good propaganda. Whenever someone is worried for the poor newbies, while his organization massacre them as a recreational activity, it's obvious he is lying, even if you don't see how. The only people who can legitimately speak for newbies besides actual newbies are those who actually helped newbies recently. Everyone else are just wanting to ride on the Malcanis-effect on his newbie-saving suggestion, me included. But let's cut the introduction, it's a minipost. Let's see the three lies!
  • "Eve Online's unique draw was once that a new player could jump into the game and have an impact on the galaxy three hours in." The validity of this statement can be easily seen if we read a bit more: "But true newbies spend the first few weeks being confused by the UI and bumping into things hilariously, calling rats on gates as hostiles, and generally being cute." How can you affect something in three hours if you are being confused for weeks?! But that just proves that he is lying, not that he is wrong. The true proof is in the new player graph: it skyrocketed after B-R and not after 6VDT. Why? Because the unique draw of EVE is inflicting and suffering/avoiding loss. Blowing up $300000 in ships is unique in MMOs. Blowing up a subcaps the target can re-grind in minutes is just World of Tanks in space.
  • "Humans are the sand in the sandbox; the more unique humans involved in a setpiece battle, the more viral the experience." Remember the sov-dropping of BoB? Everyone knows the story in EVE. Lot of people knows the story outside as it was covered well. How many people were involved? One. In this lie The Mittani shamelessly pulls the WoW-lolkid-defense: "BlizzardCCP must create content available to every player, regardless of skill and effort as we are all subscribers." The truth is that WoW had increasing numbers until the mass nerf of WotLK and EVE had increasing numbers until the mass nerf of "tiericide", because dreaming about being a top dog one day is better than facerolling everything and running out of content in a month. Note: killing different peoples frigates isn't new content. I couldn't make myself gank another Mackinaw after 10 weeks, despite I was probably the #1 killer in EVE and not just some nameless frigloller.
  • "Out of control sentry drones and ewar-immune spider-tanking supercarriers ensure he cannot make an impact until he has reached the endgame and acquired a capital or supercapital ship of his own". It's not only a lie because I could afford a super pilot and a supercarrier after 2 months of playing. It's even lie in the sense of "you must fly super to matter". You know how can a frigate single handedly destroy a supercarrier? By stopping its creation. Supers are expensive. They cost 30B to create and a PLEX/month to upkeep as they need a dedicated pilot. That's lot of ratting to gather. Go and kill the ratters and they won't be in supers. Even better: rat yourself, donate and then your alliance won't depend on moongoo and renters, so you can live in NPC space and can troll the "apex force" while they are outside your NPC station and can't do anything. You can defeat a super-riding empire without a super with asymmetric warfare! Of course he doesn't want you to think about that, because an 1000 Megathron riding empire can be defeated the same way.
The Mittani is probably the most powerful man in EVE. So we should ask: what did he do to help newbies in this month? Don't say it's impossible, I have charts to prove you can help them.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Someone stole the Drama Llama's handbag

You probably know that the best PvP-ers of the Lemmings were collected into the corp called "The Red Barons", lead by the Lemming main FC Doc Know. After the Lemming project was closed, they were moved to The Marmite Collective. Despite their small size, they quickly became one of the top killer corps of Marmite. Everyone was happy, until they wasn't:
I guess you noticed the key point: he didn't even accused anyone with wrongdoing. His reason of removing his corp from Marmite, swearing eternal revenge and messing with my highsec wars were simply someone being mean to him.

I'm not worried. Not because Tora Bushido, the leader of Marmite was pretty chill about this drama (his response is the title of the post). Not because the members of his corp joined to kill CFC and not for personal vendetta over "he said she said" (numbers are already dropping). But because I won't be harmed even if he could (he can't) destroy Marmite. Marmite wasn't the first highsec wardeccer, and it's possible that they won't be the last. They might close doors one day. But as long as there are highsec wardeccer pilots, there will be highsec wardeccer corps. They will naturally join into an alliance to share the wardec costs. They will be happy to shoot CFC alliances as they are literally the best targets after the 3 big renter alliances. So I can always make a mutually beneficial deal with "the" highsec wardeccer.

There is no possible way to prevent drama. Social people want to be liked and respected. Stupid words signalling it's not the case drive them maaaad. This is why you shouldn't get invested or attached to any particular one. They can brake down at any moment and turn into raging irrational creatures. The only possible way of cooperating with them is business: you negotiate mutually beneficial terms and you keep your part as long as they are capable of keeping theirs. When the inevitable meltdown happens, you just replace them with ones that function well at the moment.

I honestly hope that my current partners, The Marmite Collective and Mordus Angels will live long and prosper, providing me lot of dead CFC. But I go with open eyes, checking the killboard for prospective alternatives. No social bullshit can ever get into my way.

PS: it seems that drama did not diminish the ability of Marmite to massacre the minions of evil.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

What does TiDi tell us about EVE?

TiDi is an anti-lag mechanic, increasing the cycle time of modules, therefore decreasing the amount of server queries the player can reasonably start. But that's not the topic here. The interesting thing is that TiDi is unique to EVE. No other game operates with TiDi. Instead, they operate with size limits. When WoW servers were lagged to hell by Wintergrasp battles, Blizzard put a hard player cap on the battles, turning it into yet another battleground, abandoning the "epic battle" plan. Even more strangely, no developer implemented TiDi after it clearly proved itself for EVE. Why?

The reason is that EVE is strategic game that could operate in a turn-based mode (and CCP probably should implement a turn-based mode for battles where TiDi is not enough), while the other MMOs are twitch games where the outcome is decided by click speed and accuracy. I mean an EVE battle in TiDi gives the same outcome as without TiDi (excluding reinforcements arriving because of TiDi), it's just boring, like having to wait for long minutes for the opponent in a chess game. The outcome of a WoW raid in TiDi would be very different. Practically everyone who is capable of defeating the boss in flexible difficulty (2/4) is also capable to defeat the boss in heroic (4/4) difficulty under 10% TiDi, assuming he has the gear to kill it before enrage. Why? Because the difficulty of heroic raiding is moving fast and organized, without error. If you don't notice the incoming fire and don't jump away, you are dead. In TiDi, no one would ever stand in the fire.

Realizing this helps a lot understanding why EVE is unique: it's the only strategic MMO on the market. Here the usual "game skillz" worth nil. It doesn't matter how fast you click, how well you you practiced a hard combo, because there isn't much, like in a Civilization or Chess. EVE is a game played with a brain and not with muscle memory.

CCP could make the game better by emphasizing this, allowing players to run short macros to eliminate the last twitch elements, for example to manually execute an MWD-cloak trick or to approach a target while upkeeping transversal.

PS: Evidence that highsec wars and null pirates like MoA do totally nothing as Goonies just laugh of the losses and YOLO and whatever their propaganda squad claim:
He is right. The corp image is very important if you are in the prestigious elite PvP alliance of The Bastion. By the way the author of these mails is best known for properly using an out-of-corp alt to JF to Jita... during Burn Jita.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Niche game vs WoW clone

We always here the terms "niche game" and "WoW clone", without understanding what do they mean. They are often cursewords or badges of honor, instead of descriptions. So let's see first what WoW is: "WoW is an interactive media that the subscriber can fully consume regardless of his input (besides open trolling)". WoW is like movies: if you pay the movie ticket, you are entitled to fully watch the movie, unless you make a scandal inside the theater. Both WoW and a movie exist without the input of the consumer. The movie is the same, even if no one watches it and an individual consumer gets the same experience regardless the existence of other consumers. Same for WoW, Deathwing is dead in a server where no player killed him.

Unlike the movie, WoW retains some illusion of interaction between the consumer and the World, but its results are limited to the avatar of the consumer. If you never killed Deathwing, you don't have the achievement or other rewards from it, if you killed him multiple times, you may have all the rewards. But you (or anyone else) killing Deathwing has no effect on Deathwing. Similarly, if you never engaged in Battleground PvP, you don't have the achievements or rewards. If you did, you have. However while you claim (and have rewards to prove) that you were victorious over other players, so do they claim and point to the very same proofs. The characters of both of you have improved and have the same rewards to show off your illusionary victory. So in WoW the consumer is not a player as his experience is uncorrelated with his input (besides extreme inputs).

Niche games are different from WoW because they are games. The outcome can be favorable (winning) or unfavorable (losing) depending on the input of the player and the inputs of teammates and opponents. The "niche" is defined by the ruleset. EVE is different from Counterstrike, each harboring different type of players who enjoy different kind of challenges.

WoW is an enjoyable one-time consumption for everyone (besides extremes). WoW clones wish to emulate its success, but fail, because they lack the funding to do so. Since - unlike movies - consuming such product takes lot of time, it's unlikely for a customer to consume more than one in the same time. They are also competing for the total consumer base. Therefore they are in direct competition and only the best-made can survive and it's currently WoW. WoW-clones cannot succeed, except for the yet-to-be-seen WoW-killer, that will take its place. Also, constant content updates are needed to upkeep with the consumers, in absence of these, they would leave. If WoW would receive no more content, it would die in a year.

Niche games only need to compete with games within the same niche. So EVE is competing with Darkfall, but not with Counterstrike, Heartstone or Starcraft. A successful niche game can (and often do) survive without further content. Counterstrike is being played without serious new content in the last decade.

PS: daily evil propaganda bashing. The head of evil is busy spreading lies. Not by mistake the punchline of his recent one is the usual "nerf supers because I have less". His article blames supers for being the reason for the two-block cold war nullsec. He is 90% right: the only counter of the "apex force" of supercarrier blob is a larger another supercarrier blob, forcing everyone to join blocks to be part of the "larger supercarrier blob". What he doesn't mention is the "apex force" logic doesn't need supercarriers. Something will always be the apex force (a fleet that can only be defeated by a larger version of itself), so groups will always be motivated to join a block. He doesn't want to nerf the apex-projection (which probably can't be done anyway), he just wants to keep nerfing the actual apex until the new apex is his own. When Drakes were the apex force, he didn't complain.

Power projection can be nerfed by ... nerfing it: greatly decreasing the jump range of all jump methods and/or putting timer on re-jumping. But the real solution to the power projection problem is what I'm proposing: asymmetric warfare. Small, mobile groups terrorizing the backyard of the undefeatable block until it is forced to negotiate peace or weakened to the point where the other bloc can safely go war with it.

PS2: how can someone be this stupid?

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