Greedy Goblin

Monday, February 20, 2017

My blog was much more alive back then

As I'm indexing old posts, I realized that I had 30+ comments despite half as much traffic. Both me and my commenters engaged "trolls" who - often in a primitive manner - defended social thinking.

Today I don't engage them, I just moderate them out. I'm annoyed by them as they repeat the same old crap that was disproved almost a decade ago. No, just because he writes, a friendly social guild will not complete any meaningful content. No, "getting skillz" will definitely not let you rise out of the masses who all believe in "skillz".

Maybe I am wrong with this approach. Maybe I should engage with these people if my goal is to change their thinking. I have to accept that - despite I spent 4 years in EVE - I couldn't weed out the 0.01-ing. It's not a philosophical thing, it's not something pressed by Goons or protected by corrupted devs. It's a simple idiocy coming from lacking any clue about economics. And I failed to exterminate it. I'm pretty sure that if I'd go back to EVE, I'd find the market full of 0.01-ing idiots.

Does moderating every single idiot who says "market is about 24/7 sitting and updating orders" helps? Well, it helps with me feeling better. It probably helps the choir I preach to feel better. After all, seeing these idiots hurts. But does it help the World? Wouldn't it be better if I'd take the time to not only throw a link to them (which they won't read), but answer their retarded arguments the zillionth time?

I start to see that by moderating out idiots, I'm just creating a sterile ghetto for educated/rational people which acts like a closed facebook group. We are happy about being not idiots and make absolutely no difference.

On the other hand I see how much different I was back then. These things were new and I enjoyed debating them. Now they are trivialities. I've argued for them over almost a decade, I've seen all possible counter-arguments and defeated them. It's very unlikely that any 0.01-er could tell me anything that I haven't seen at least 100x.

I admit that I'm frustrated by this lack of progress. I mean my position about 0.01-ing is something obviously true and would greatly increase the income of anyone who listens. If people can't be convinced about that, how could they be convinced about social stuff? On the other hand my high hit count on business tip posts show that many people are interested in them and want to learn. So maybe I'm doing it right and moderating out the idiots was the right call. After all, most readers never commented, just read.

I don't know. The thing is that I enjoyed blogging and playing more back then. Maybe the two were connected and if I find a good game, it will be enjoyable again! Like many of us, I'm hit hard by the gradual "accessible gaming" + pay-to-win changes of games. The question is: can I increase blog quality and enjoyment without the games I write about getting better?

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Weekend minipost: ultimate power

I'm indexing old posts and found this gem from 2009. It's just as true as it was back then. And it's still funny.

Friday, February 17, 2017

The only way to raise salaries in capitalism

People are still not getting why it's crucial to deport the illegal immigrants and decrease the number of legal immigrants. Not because they "take the jobs". Most advanced countries have near-perfect employment. The unemployment rate of the US is less than 5%. Also, people aren't just workers, they are also consumers, creating further jobs, so jobs will never run out.

The reason why immigrants must be evicted in a swift, shock-like move is to create worker shortage. The only way salaries rise in capitalism if the workers are in short supply and companies have to lure workers from the competition with higher salary offers. This is happening in Hungary right now as large part of the workforce is working in the UK and Germany, leaving awful lot of empty positions in Hungary. Even low skill jobs like shop shelf packer is in short supply and gets raises all over the sector to keep/lure workforce.

Sure I realize the irony of Hungary's job shortage is due to de-facto immigration to the UK and Germany, but the effect on the British and the German workforce is not my problem. It definitely seems like the British can take care of themselves.

Immigrants are low wage earner population who can be removed without having to give them welfare or have to deal with their protest votes. They are not economically different from other low wage earner populations, but they can be removed without political costs. By doing so the wages of everyone else will rise.

No doubt that employers are all out against Trump, raising the salaries of domestic workers will be paid from their pockets.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

BDO wealth: Cooking for little profit and lots of CP

The #1 material sold on BDO marketplace is Beer. Beer is the most common "fuel" used to make workers running. You can make beer by cooking. To do that, you must have a residence in a town and place cooking utensil in it. Then use it and place the materials:
Of course you can cook other foods, they provide various buffs. While cooking anything, you don't just get the food, but various collectibles:

Here are the products of cooking beer from 3000 potatoes. Please keep in mind that output in BDO is the function of your skill, I'm a top 10 cook, so if you just start, you'll make less, but your skill will increase with work. I simply turned in these collectibles. So I got:
  • 1546 Beer (including from collectibles)
  • 163 Cold draft beer
  • 35 milk (from collectibles)
  • 45K silver (from collectibles)
For every production batches, (600 for 3000 potatoes), I had to use:
  • 1x Sugar: 20 silver
  • 2x Leavening agent: 20 silver each
  • 6x Mineral Water: 30 silver each
Calculating with 2000 silver per milk and 1 cold draft beer = 1.5 beer, the final totals are:
  • -3000 potatoes (893K opportunity cost)
  • 1790 beer (1.98M after tax)
  • -35K from silver + milk - materials - utensils
All together 1.06M profit over 4200 seconds (I have +2 cooking armor) or 0.9M/hour. That's not much, especially if you consider that you have to grab a new utensil every 10 minutes, so you can't leave your computer. Or you can use Balneos utensil, which costs 10x more per use and takes 2x more time to cook, but can be left for two hours. Seems like much hassle for little.

So far I didn't mention the real profit of cooking, the fifth collectible, that can be turned in for contribution points:
I got about a dozen daily quests worth of XP for my beer. Replacing the utensil once in 10 minutes is much less clicks than doing daily quests or even leveling alts for contribution XP. Cooking is flat out the best way to get contribution points. Beer material (corn, wheat, barley, potato, sweet potato) is in large supply from workers (on the marketplace they are permanently missing), so if you can replace utensils or just leave the computer with a Balneos utensil for two hours, your contribution points will just keep rising with minimal effort.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Why PvP is such a big deal?

Tobold reminded me how much it's a dealbreaker for some people that a game is PvP. It's easy to forget, because from an objective standpoint, it's not. In a video game you lead character(s) who battle with other characters. Are these lead by other players or AI is secondary to how challenging they are. Also, remember the grey area: when a player supposed to lead, but he uses a bot instead.

Most of the pre-video games were PvP, simply because it's very hard to create an entertaining AI without computers. There were some "turn the page" adventure books (are these games?) and human dungeon-master driven RPGs. But sports, card games, tabletop games were all PvP. Today most players play with PvE games and PvP became a niche.

Why? "Free for all PvP games are designed specifically for loser jerks who still live in their mother's basement and who need the success experience of PvP griefing in order to feel better about their pathetic existence." - Tobold says. You can laugh on him, but more agree with him than not. What is "PvP-griefing"? Defeating him. This is the core problem. In a PvP encounter, one player will lose. In a PvE encounter the loser is almost always the NPC. Players are so entitled nowadays that they consider it griefing if they don't win.

It's not just about PvP. Computer power increased exponentially over a decade and AI research progressed to the point that chess programs beat human chess masters. Yet NPC opponents got dumber. A typical MMO opponent just stands in one place, oblivious to its surroundings until the brave heroes arrive and AoE them down with their l33t ability of pressing any key.

For my generation, winning and losing was obvious. For today, anything else than winning is unacceptable. Preferably without effort, simply for logging in. There are rewards for simply starting the game. For someone who got used to being called savior of the World for literally just pressing one button, it does feel griefing to lose a round in a game.

If a game has PvP, it has defeat, therefore it has meaningful victory. Sure, it also likely have pay-to-win, but every advantage can be beaten and every rigging can be identified and exploited. However you can't do anything about spoiled brats saying "I pay for this game, so I entitled to win it" because they can just move to the next game which gives them their participation badge. We have to agree that most games will be like that and the same entitled kids will call us griefers just because we want a meaningful win.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

BDO Wealth: worker empire

This is the detailed description of the best way to get rich in Black Desert Online: having a worker empire. It is long, so most people won't read it. Well, as workers create no silver and selling on the market destroys silver, the silver must come from somewhere and that "somewhere" will be people who don't read it and grind instead.

The workers are essentially a stereotypical mobile game resource gathering implemented into BDO for some reason. You click on the resource and it's collected in real time. How much? About 20M silver worth a day. To harvest it, you need less than 30 minutes of actual "at keyboard" time, but even most of that is not clicking, but waiting for character switch and autopathing from spawn point to storage. There is one catch though: for some bizarre reason, workers only work when you are online. So in order to use them, you must leave your computer running.

Important note: you don't need levels or gear to use this method. You can start using them literally as a new player and earn income thousand times higher than grinding low level mobs. With the income you can buy gear a new player can't dream of and oneshot level-appropriate monsters.

Let's start with the basics: there are nodes on the map that you can activate usince contribution points. Every city and major town is a "free node" that you can connect to nearby nodes. You can do it at the node manager or by using 10 energy if you have "subscription", the Value Pack buff. Then you can connect other nodes to the already connected ones, as long as you have contribution points. After a node is connected, you can connect its "work nodes":

Each town comes with their own separate warehouses and with one worker slot. You can recruit a worker to that slot at the work manager. You can find the work manager using the NPC finder, "worker" button. You can increase your worker slots by the pay-to-win item "[zone] worker lodging" and/or by using contribution points for renting lodging buildings in the town (and in some cases, nearby nodes):

If a resource node is connected to a town (trough any length of connected nodes), you can send the worker to harvest that resource. Then click on the resource and select your worker to harvest it for your warehouse. The worker lives in the town and exist in the game world. He walks out from the warehouse to the node, does the work and walks back like this little goblin from Tarif (town) to Kamasilve (work node):

Pick the resources based on their market value and don't miss on the "excavation" resources which provide rare crafting items. Their locations are: Bernianto farm, Lynch farm ruins, Mansha forest, Rhua tree stub, Glish ruins, Ancient stone chamber. You must pay 35 energy to "find" them and then normally activate. Work happens in cycles. The cycle length depends on the work and travel speed of the worker and the distance of the node from the town. The workers have 4 main stats:
  • Work speed: the higher, the faster the work is done
  • Walk speed: the higher, the faster the worker reaches the destination. Important if the node is afar.
  • Luck: the higher, the more secondary resources you get. For example if you farm chicken meat, you can get eggs.
  • Stamina: how many cycles he can do before refreshing. Refreshing must be done manually, by clicking on food item. You obviously can't do it while not at the keyboard.
All these stats depend on the worker quality (grey, white, green, blue, yellow, orange), level (gained with work) and abilities (one gained at ever 5 levels). There are also 3 races:
  • Goblins: fast work, fast move, low luck, low stamina
  • Humans: moderate work, moderate move, high luck, moderate stamina
  • Giants: moderate work, slow move, low luck, high stamina
You can see these on clicking on the worker icon top left of the screen or selecting the "Worker List" item on the ESC menu and mouseovering one worker:
?br: The quality of the worker is the most important thing. You can improve it two ways: by firing and hiring a new worker and promotion. That takes a day, only one worker can be promoted at a time, promotion fails more often than not and all workers get one try every 10 levels (3 combined).

You can improve the secondary stats of workers if they reached level 30. Just select the worst stat and you get a new one randomly:

Workers need "fuel" to work. Several kinds of food serve as fuel, typically beer is used. Refresh them often to top them up. Always have fuel in your backpack:

I currently have 302 Contribution Points. From that, I use the following nodes:
Olvia is the starting zone, yet it's really important, because Velia is horribly lodging-starved, so I staff most of the near-Velia nodes from Olvia.

Velia itself only staffs the nodes east of it:

Heidel is my headquarters, receiving all the products from all places. It also has a bunch of nodes, including the very profitable Fleece and Honey farms. The node in the southeast that doesn't look connected is connected trough Kamasilve, Tarif region:

Glish is the smallest region, only a handful of nodes, but one of them is excavation, other is pine, so don't ignore it:

Keplan has some weird long connections, because it only have 1 useful nodes next to it. But it worth making the chains, it's one of my most profitable regions:

Calpheon is hands down the largest network and probably it would be the optimal headquarters:

Trent in the Southwest corner of the map looks like some irrelevant remnant of pre-expansion content. Not in BDO! Most of the materials of the infamous Calpheon Timber Crate come from here. Too bad that its lodging is stretched:

Tarif covers the largest territory and its nodes are paying well. It's plagued by low lodging, so I staff some nodes from Heidel:

I barely use Altinova, because I simply don't have enough CP to cover its nodes in the Valencia continent, despite there are some lucrative ones, but that two I use make black crystal:

Poor Sand Grain Bazaar is in even worse condition. Update: since then I activated its teff farm, but there are still several lucrative nodes on the south I didn't even explore.

The workers deposit their products in their respective towns. How do the products get from these places to Heidel where I sort, process and sell them? Two ways. The simpler is Warehouse transport. Just open the map, select the town and press transport. Then click Send and set the destination along with one available transport method. Then click on the materials until all of them is in the transport window and press Send at the bottom of the transport window. The catch? The stacks are broken up:
Why is that a problem? Because this single Olvia transport takes 37 packages and only 100 can be en route. Which means after a few towns you have to wait 2 hours while they are transported, use the same transport method in your headquarters and press "Receive All". Only after that you can start another transport. You must also connect the nodes between the two towns to make this possible. That costs contribution points. 3 for connecting Velia (and Olvia connected to that) to Heidel. Same for Glish. Tarif is already connected due to lodging problems. 1 point to add Altinova to that. But good luck connecting Sand Grain Bazaar or Trent. Finally, even if you connect Trent, there is no trade route. You must transport from Trent to Calpheon and from Calpheon to Heidel. Considering how many stacks the Trent wood is cut into, transporting it twice would be quite a pain.

So I transport from Olvia, Velia, Tarif, Glish and Altinova (double-transport via Tarif). But from Calpheon, Keplan, Trent and Sand Grain I transport via alt-AFK-transport. This means selecting disconnect from the ESC menu, selecting Transport and picking a town and another character:

The selected character logs in and the old one goes into transport. If you log back to her an hour later, she'll be in the destination, along with her mount. My transport alts have large wagons as mounts, so they drive it to the warehouse, fill it and their backpack with items and use the same AFK travel to get back to Heidel where they dump their stuff to the warehouse. These alts are equipped with the following gear for max weight limit:

How to get workers? You must go to the work manager (NPC finder, "worker") and select contract worker. For 5 energy a worker is suggested to you. If you are starting up and need to hire lots of workers, take every except Naive. But after your nodes are covered, start accepting only blues and above, firing greens. When no greens left, start to fire blues and replace them with yellows. You get a yellow from about 200 energy. You can get extra energy by buying a bed and lying into it. Remember: if you want a Velia worker, you must hire him from Santo Manzi, the Velia manager.

There is also a worker exchange where you can buy and sell worker contracts. It's a fast way to stack up with blue workers and you can get lucky with some higher quality ones. You can also use it to get some money for your no longer needed workers. Since my empire is already near maxed, I can afford to fire lvl 30 yellow workers after all their promotions are used, to hire someone in their place:

Monday, February 13, 2017

BDO wealth: the market system

Unless you want to spend hours actively grinding mobs for their silver, you will have to use the market to liquidate your products. Also, everything is available on the market, including high-end gear:

I got my full TET gear in August (now it's obviously outdated). I strongly recommend selling your drops and black stones and let others suffer with the upgrade system and just buy the gear you want. Only upgrade yourself if the item you want is totally unavailable.

I've returned only to write a comprehensive guide. I didn't even set my hotkeys and skills after they were reseted some time while I was away as I'm not planning to kill a single mob while climb back to the Wealth toplist.

The first and most important thing is that you must have a "subscription", by buying the monthly "Value pack". It has several effects, but the most important is the market tax reduction:
Without value pack, you get 65% of the money the buyer paid for your item, the rest is lost. With it, you get 84.5%. It's not optional. If you don't want to spend money on BDO, you lose significant part of your income.

The second thing is the fixed price system.
There is a minimum and maximum price hard-coded into the system (shown in the middle of the market screen, 205/281 on the example) and you must sell between these values. The problem is that for most items the equilibrium price is out of this range. When the price range is too low, the market is empty. This is most obvious with pay-to-win items that you buy with real money and sell for silver. The buyers would pay more for it, so even if you list for maximum price, it is instantly snatched:
When the price range is too high, there are many-many sellers trying to sell for minimum price, but there aren't enough buyers for that price:
While making money, you meet this issue more often. If the automatically suggested price is equal to the minimum price, you shall check the market listings of that item (yellow circle) and most likely find lots of items for minimum price. This case you should either transform your item into something that sells or vendor it. There is no point locking up one of your selling slots with a never-selling order. It's not the number of competing items that matters but its ratio against how many are sold per day. The EU servers are up for 300 days, so while there are lots of Cooking Honey on the market right now (23K), but I can still list it due to 65M sold, so 216K/day. All you should do is divide the big number with the small and if it's larger than 300, you'll sell in a day.

Selling time is crucial, because you only have 30 market orders and can't increase that even with pay-to-win. Ergo if every item takes one day to sell, you sell 30 items per day, which isn't much. You can increase the value of items by cooking or processing them first, but the main point is to either increase the speed of sales by cutting the price or when it's impossible, just sell the item to an NPC to prevent clogging the marketplace.

In Europe (and probably many other locales) the markets are linked, so if you list something in Velia, one can buy it in Altinova. You can also collect the gold at any marketplaces, but you can only cancel orders where they are listed.